NORDIC SUPPER CLUB
Louisa Walters tries something new
I’ve always been a bit wary of supper clubs. Why would I pay money to sit at someone’s dining room table with a bunch of strangers when I’d most likely get just as good a meal at my friend’s house with other guests with whom I have at least a chance of a connection? So when my husband and I took our seats at Matr – a new Nordic supper club in Hampstead – last Friday night, it was with a degree of trepidation.
Welcomed warmly into the home of Naina and Jonas Lorentzen, a married couple newly emigrated to the UK from Denmark, my husband and I were seated in a candlelit room with five other guests – three Moldovan foodies, a New York yummy mummy and an English writer, plus Naina at the head as hostess. Jonas was ensconced in the kitchen working his magic and popping out between courses to explain each dish. The conversation ranged from schools, Brexit and the cost of living, to favourite (and least favourite) restaurants and then, when it arrived, course after course of it (seven in total), the food. Because about the food there was so much to say.
Golden cauliflower with buttermilk and chervil oil was a flavour/texture sensation. Monkfish with salt and sour aromatic carrot, pumpkin jus and garlic chives reduction was a pillowy cushion of fish that burst into life when it hit the taste buds. Charred and beer braised onion on ‘Earth’ (rye bread, malt flour, porcini mushrooms and toasted walnuts) and herbal cream was possibly the best dish I’ve eaten this year. Crispy cod with horseradish cream and glazed beets was every bit as striking in the mouth as on the plate. Blackened and butter basted cabbage with seaweed and porcini foam was a stroke of genius – elevating the simple cabbage into something way beyond its humble roots. Pigeon breast with Jerusalem artichoke mousseline, cranberry and red wine reduction was screaming out for a Michelin star. Smoky walnut ice cream, pickled and dehydrated sweet and sour apple skins with a cranberry butter biscuit was the perfect gentle sweet finish.
Each course was accompanied by natural, unfiltered wines – the full gamut from rose, white and even orange through to red and, finally, a silky smooth dessert wine.
The New Nordic Food Manifesto, created by NOMA co-founder Claus Meyer has a clear cut message: focus on simple, fresh and pure flavours using seasonal and local products in a traditional way. Jonas Lorentzen has applied his skill and imagination to this ruling to create a seriously good repertoire of dishes. Watch this space for the next Matr supper club – there’s no way I’m giving up my seat but I strongly recommend that you book one for yourself.
To learn more about Matr click here