By now, you all know that I love food. I love many different cuisines, and I especially love Asian food - Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean... the list goes on. Although I'm no expert in those cuisines (well, I'm obviously quite familiar and know a lot about Japanese food, but that aside), I've tried my fair share of popular dishes from such cultures.
However, Malaysian cuisine is one that I hadn't explored much before, so when Angela (a Malaysian native) organised a get together at the Nyonya Supper Club and I was able to join last minute, it was the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the Southeast Asian cuisine I'd only heard good things about.
It was also my first time going to a supper club in the chef's home - the chef being Guan, a Finance Analyst turned Supper Club Chef, after an impressive stint on Channel 4's The Taste (a cooking competition featuring Anthony Bourdain) and training at Le Cordon Bleu, and discovering where his true passion lies.
We turned up for the 10 seater dinner at his flat in London, and we were lucky enough to meet his wife Jo, who isn't always around - so that was a bonus! Both of them were great hosts, chatty but not intrusive, and set up a relaxed and fun atmosphere for the evening. We were welcomed with rosewater G & Ts which I loved, and then we got started with the feast!
Guan specialises in Nyona dishes (a mix of Chinese/Malaysian influences) as well as more traditional Malaysian fare, and let me just give you a spoiler right now: the whole meal was a flavour fiesta.
First up, as we were still within the Chinese New Year celebrations period, we started with Yee Sang, known as the Prosperity Toss Salad. As tradition demands, we all gathered around the salad (various fresh vegetables, smoked salmon, topped with crispy wanton skins and a plum sauce dressing) with our chopsticks, and tried to toss it up as high as we could - got to get the maximum luck out of it! A delicious and refreshing start to the meal.
Our starters also included Lemongrass & Belacan Chicken Wings, which were ridiculously moreish and flavourful, and Fried Assam Tamarind Prawns, which I could have had by the bucketful.
Having started on such a high note, I was wondering what the mains would bring... and they did not disappoint. The Daging Pongteh (Beef Flank braised in fermented soya bean paste) came first, which we enjoyed with fluffy white rice. The meat was superb, and what I would call serious comfort food.
Although this dish was excellent, we all agreed that the star of the show was the Ikan Masak Nanas (Nyonya Mackerel and Pineapple Curry) - I'm not sure I've ever tasted a curry more addictive than this! Even though I was pretty full by this point, I kept picking at it (as did my dining companions!). The flavours in this dish were so sophisticated and intriguing, and somehow the spice, sweetness and the taste of the fresh fish worked in perfect harmony.
Accompanying these heavyweights was the Sambal Belacan vegetable medley, which was an ideal side dish to the richness of the meat and curry - again, Guan manages to make every dish tempt you for just one more bite.
It seems a little unfair that as well as nailing the savoury dishes, Guan also manages to be a brilliant pastry chef and talented in the desserts department. We first enjoyed the Horlicks Parfait with Caramelised Banana and Nestum Crumble, which was the perfect size and the the malty taste of the Horlicks was delicious. We were then spoilt with a little dessert addition on the house - my favourite, choux cream buns! These were outstanding - the outside perfectly crispy, and the whole thing dreamily light and not to sweet.
To top it all off, we had freshly baked (as in, piped as we were tucking into our first two desserts) Pandan Madeleines, which were the cutest mini bites and beautifully green from the pandan. We had multiple trays of these coming out of the oven one after the other, and although I was far too full to take any home with me, Guan and Jo let us take the rest away in doggie bags.
As you can probably tell, we all had a fantastic time at Guan's Nyonya Supper Club, and I couldn't recommend it more. The minimum donation for the supper clubs are £35 per person, and you can BYOB for drinks. Places sell out very quickly (his current dates are all sold out!), so keep your eyes peeled on his blog and social media.
Thank you Guan and Jo, I definitely hope to be back soon!