Uyen Luu’s supper club in Hackney – review

By : | 0 Comments | On : November 30, 2013 | Category : Reviews, Vietnamese

five spice pork belly rice vermicelli

I had found Uyen’s supper club on the internet while researching for supper clubs in London. Apparently, she’s quite well-known for it as there are numerous blogs praising her food. Added to that, she’s been lucky enough to meet Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc although it’s the latter that I really admire.

So it was a no-brainer that we would try to get a place in her supper club and see what the fuss was all about! Luckily, her supper club in November coincided with my work conference in London.

We were greeted by Uyen and she warmly welcomed us into her home. The dining room was very cozy with about half the seats already taken. We were seated opposite a couple so it was nice that we could converse with them as the rest of the table consisted of 3 friends. There were 8 courses planned and they were delicious!

The first course was the summer roll and this was a good start – lots of lettuce and perilla with a minimum amount of vermicelli. The meat came in the form of pork belly and cooked shrimp, accompanied by a side of hoisin sauce with a hint of lemon juice and crushed peanuts. 5/5

summer roll

The next course was pork pie. I was very surprised by this as my father used to make it all the time and I had always thought it to be Chinese but after some consideration, it’s more likely to be Vietnamese because of the French influence. The pie was very light and the  meat not dense. I thought that the pie needed some sauce though so 4/5.

pork pie

The 3rd course was five spice pork belly with rice vermicelli. The skin was very crispy and the flavour very nice although I would’ve prefer more nuoc mam cham on the side. This wasn’t hubby’s favorite as he found the pork still too fatty. 4/5

five spice pork belly rice vermicelli

The next course was beef with lemon grass wrapped in betel leaf, my absolute favorite Vietnamese dish! This was perfectly made and the rolls were thin as cigarillos. Hubby really liked this dish although he usually complains about the betel being too bitter. I found the use of pistachio interesting as it added a different taste, as supposed to the normal roasted peanuts. Kudos! 5/5

beef wrapped in betel leaves

The 5th course was chicken salad. Uyen made this dish more a carrot salad than the usual cabbage salad which made it sweeter than usual. I found that there wasn’t enough mint but the shrimp crackers that came with were delicious. 4.5/5

chicken salad

The next course was shrimp on sugar cane. Usually a favorite, I didn’t like this version at all as the garlic was so over powering that I couldn’t taste the shrimp. Too much of a good thing! 3/5.

shrimp on sugar cane

I was impressed with the pho ga or chicken noodle soup. The broth was very tasty with lots of meat in it.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough herbs for my taste (a cardinal sin). 4/5

 pho ga

The last dish was a failure. The avocado with coconut sorbet had a strange texture and there wasn’t near enough sugar to make it a dessert! Shame as I was really looking forward to a nice finish to the great meal.

avocado and coconut sorbet
On the whole, I’m glad we had a chance to taste Uyen’s food. It’s very good food and comparable to that at any restaurant on Kingsland Road in Hackney. Considering that she and her helpers produced this amount of food, 8 courses for about 25 people, I have to applaud her efforts. Although I was familiar with all the dishes, I learned several new things from the evening, like the use of pistachio in the beef in betel leaf dish and carrots instead of cabbage in the chicken salad.
We also got a chance to chat with Uyen at the end of the evening so that was a plus as well. One thing that I thought she could’ve done better was to introduce each dish with more pomp and ceremony and explain them in detail.
By the way, the whole evening was £35 so worth the money I think!

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