History and Background:
Meal courtesy of Shanghai Supper Club
Supper club reviews are becoming more of a frequent appearance on eatwithsteph and with so many reasons for this. They are addictive. With many predicting this is the new thing for 2016 – why you say? People need different dining experiences. It’s not just sitting in a typical restaurant having your standard 3 course meal anymore. The London food scene has since evolved.
Shanghai Supper Club is run by Lillian, who was brought up in Shanghai cultivating her culinary skills alongside her Grandma’s home-cooking. Shanghainese cuisine is not common in London and most certainly non serves the Sheng Jian Baos which Lilian is most notable for.
Lilian herself is a one-woman powerhouse, offering takeaway, catering, cooking lessons and of course her pop-up dinners. One guest explains she ordered 100 dumplings at a time from Lilian after developing an addiction to them!
The meal: (@£50.00)
Worthy to note that supper clubs are BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) – we had a chance to taste some of Elyse’s sake, her particular specialty, (if interested see uk.japan-gourmet.com).
The drunken chicken and the tofu skin was one of my favourite starters. Fine knife work comes side by side when it comes to Shanghainese cooking. Something that is evident as you see the imagery throughout this post.
The tofu skin roll is wrapped over chinese vegetables creating a soft and chewy texture.
Drunken chicken was aromatic. Served cold, and are one of my favourite Chinese dishes, usually cooked with wine or alcohol, in this case with rice wine, a common ingredient in Shanghainese cuisine.
The egg plant was delicate and with sesame seeds and sesame oil seasoning, it became a very fragrant dish. The cubed tofu with tong ho was similarly refreshing but I tend to be quite picky with how I eat my tofu and prefer softened, silkier tofu. I think both dishes would have been even better served hot.
Shanghai Supper Club’s most notable dish. Sheng Jian Bao – pan fried pork buns! Now I devoured this. The base was crispy and with the rest of the bun similar to a mantou. The dough was thick enough to give a soft texture, holding a meaty pork filling within. I was surprised at the amount of soup the buns have managed to withhold, each mouthful was as appetizing as the next.
The shredded chicken with glutinous rice cakes was chewy and moreish. I am so used to having rice cake Korean style it was nice to try this without the sweet and spicy seasoning that tends to overshadow the taste of the rice cakes themselves.
This was a hit and miss with some of the guests I was dining with, some had never tried octopus before so it was a new experience! I loved the combination of the pickled mustard green with the octopus. This paired really well with simple boiled rice. Due to the seasoning it is salty in nature so I would recommend not having too much of it too quickly…like I did!
This is a classic Shanghainese dish and one which my mum also makes a lot. This was braised very well, seasoned with soy sauce and rock sugar to give it a savoury but also sweetened taste. It can take a lot of hours to prepare this, to braise it long enough so the pork belly meat crumbles away inside your mouth to give you a melt-in-mouth sensation.
We finished off with some tong yuen, or the English name glutinous rice balls in black sesame filling. I don’t think Lilian prepped the actual rice balls herself but it’s the way it has been served which is different. Her Shanghainese influence in this dish comes with the fermented rice soup where rice wine and goji berries have been added to boil, to create a very fragrant finish.
Service: Lilian and her family are very hospitable, with her sons welcoming you upon your arrival to her husband greeting you out as you leave the premises. ‘Service’ doesn’t really exist with supper clubs its more of a homely and welcoming affair.
Bits and bobs:
- Lilian holds her supper clubs quite frequently. Best check her website for more information – you may not find it on sites like grub club.