Thursday, 10 December 2015

Supperclub - The Body Kitchen London Launch

2015 will be the year that I became a supper club convert. After attending my first one a few weeks back, I was contacted by The Tabl on Twitter - organisers of secret supper clubs and pop-up dining events who aim to reinvent how Londoners eat out. Their motto is "the best part about our dinners ins't just on the plate" the whole essence of supper clubs for me - I've met so many amazing people and made connections that just wouldn't happen at a London restaurant.

body kitchen london the tabl
A mini bathtub of Press London cold-pressed juices. 
The idea of Body Kitchen London's event -"an adventure in nutrition and gastronomy" immediately appealed to me. The evening promised healthy and sustainable food prepared by a Michelin-starred chef with an unintentionally gluten-free menu that doesn't sound like "health food". In the darkest, coldest months of the year we want filling, warming foods to nurture our bodies and souls. This menu promised just that and had options for vegetarian, pescetarian and omnivorous diets. The menu doesn't immediately look like the type of food associated with "healthy" eating and even those sceptical of healthy food could be convinced by dishes like slow cooked highland beef and stuffed rabbit leg.

body kitchen london the tabl
Greenhouse 4
We were welcomed with a Press London juice (I had Greenhouse 4 - a mix of kale, spinach, cucumber, pear, lime, fennel and parsley) but in the interests of healthy balance there was locally brewed, natural, vegan-friendly beer by Moncada Brewery and a selection of biodynamic wines curated by wine merchants The Sampler on offer, too. Our host, Paul, explained how Body Kitchen is a refreshing take on healthy eating after the "eat clean" phenomenon which had previously dominated healthy eating discourse - surely everyone has that colleague filling up the work fridge with plain chicken and brocoli-filled tupperware? Body Kitchen believes that food can be healthy without being too worthy or restrictive. The focus here is on a fine-dining experience using the highest quality ingredients and not the eliminating of entire food groups - if you enjoy eating meat, wine and chocolate then that's ok if they are organic, as unprocessed as possible and sourced in a sustainable manner.

body kitchen london the tabl
Roast butternut squash soup with toasted seeds and parmesan - I love butternut squash and the crunch of the seeds made this soup satisfying and full of flavour.
Before dessert, personal trainer and former rugby player, Simon Carty (he has a lot of Instagram followers, for good reason), explained his ethos on healthy living - rather than telling clients "eat x food, train x number of times per week" he focuses on positive psychology and giving people the tools to make good decisions themselves. While living busy, city-based lives its easy to let health take a back seat but as Simon (and the song) remind us - we don't know what we've got until it's gone. Taking some time to think about what we appreciate and making sure we don't have too much or too little of anything will help us set the right intentions about living healthier rather than say, running 10 miles per day or only eating quinoa!

body kitchen london the tabl
Body Kitchen's signature dish - slow cooked blade of highland beef with rich braising juices and caramelised onions. The most popular dish among the diners present!
body kitchen london the tabl
I had the whole roast sea bream marinated in aromatic spices with shaved fennel salad. The fish was delicious - perfectly cooked and flavoured. Ordering a whole fish is quite brave for me and I think this is the first time I've had sea bream so that's a double win for a new food experience there!  
body kitchen london the tabl
Rabbit leg stuffed with sun dried tomato, rosemary and olives with lentil salsa verde and roast lemon. Rabbit is quite an unusual menu item - perfect if you're feeling adventurous as this looked so good! The veggie option was roast red pepper stuffed with tomato, herbs, chill, garlic, spinach and feta cheese but no one ordered this so I couldn't get a photo. 

body kitchen london the tabl
The sides were served family style - this is mixed seasonal greens with caramelised onions and Puy lentils. 
body kitchen london the tabl
I could happily eat a bowl of just this - sweet potato masala. 
body kitchen london the tabl
And finally - dessert - the "20" part of the 80/20 rule and the perfect end to the meal - gluten free chocolate cake with creme fraiche. 
As the pictures show, the food was delicious, beautifully presented and full of goodness. The perfect mid-week dinner - I left feeling satisfied and happy but not like I'd overindulged or undone my recent good intentions (yes, I've been struck lately by an improvement in my resolve and willpower despite the office being full of mince pies and chocolates). Body Kitchen are launching a healthy delivery service in the new year and have upcoming supper clubs in January which can be booked here.


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