Saturday, September 22, 2012

Epicurely feast with Chef Josh Posner


I met Elco through a friend and soon we were chatting about my favourite topic – food. He’s part of the team that launched Epicurely– a website for people to find out about all food events in London or even host their own event.

There are some great supper clubs in London but it’s hard to find information on them. You usually have to be on a mailing list or hear about it through a recommendation from a friend. Epicurely is perfect if you want to attend a supper club and check out all your options in one place.

When he mentioned the next feast that was being organized, I was quite keen to check it out. I think supper clubs are great way for budding chefs to showcase their talent. Too often you really never get to see or meet the chefs behind the amazing dishes you eat.

So one Friday night after work, my friend O. and I went to the featured Epicurely feast – an 8 course meal by Chef Josh Posner. Josh is a young chef with some serious street cred – he’s worked at Roganic and with James Knappett at Bubbledogs& - 2 of the most talked about restaurants in London

That's the chef - Josh Posner plating away

Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the location of dinner at Acton Town near Ealing since it was quite a trek across London from where I worked. But in the end, it turned out quite well as it was a cooking school that was conveniently right outside the tube stop. And since we sat around the chef’s counter, we could see Josh cook and plate right in front of us which was fun and interactive – something you normally don't get when dining at a restaurant.

The minimum contribution was £18 and at the end of the meal I was quite happy to put in a little extra with £25.  It was great value for money – good food, fun conversation, new people, and a chef who put in so much thought and effort - made it quite special 

I had met Josh before and had an idea of what the menu would be like - lots of unexpected pairings and each course had a number of components. I did wonder how it would all get executed. And the verdict - he was pretty flawless with his execution. Despite chatting with us through out, he didn't miss a beat. He plated everything so beautifully, seemed totally in control and more importantly, like he was really enjoying himself - which I think definitely set a good vibe around the table.

Cured salmon belly, gin, dill, wild fennel and vanilla

The first course was cured salmon belly with dill, wild fennel and a dressing made of gin, juniper, lemon and vanilla. The salmon belly was gorgeous but I felt the vanilla didn’t really belong and overpowered the rest of the dressing.


Black bread crisp, beef dripping mustard, pickled shallot

Next were tiny little brown bread crisps that had a dab of mustard made using beef dripping and pickled shallots.  Unfortunately, I found the mustard too strong and couldn’t really taste the beef dripping but my friend O. did, so maybe it was the one I had. 

We then had baby potatoes cooked in a terracotta pot – homage to his Grandmother’s cooking. The potatoes had an intense, earthy flavour that I couldn’t quite place but wanted more of and came with a brown butter emulsion that was delicious and pickled cucumber slices.

Terracotta potato, brown butter emulsion, cucumber, yarrow

The fourth course was one my favourites - Braised Shallots in rice wine served in a bowl of chicken broth with blackberries and marjoram leaves. It made quite a pretty picture and the simple shallot was elevated by tasty chicken broth. I couldn’t get enough of the broth and ended up spooning what was left out of the bowl!

Xiao xing braised shallot, pickled unripe blackberries, marjoram, cooking juices
Then came the Roasted Cauliflowers covered in a mushroom glaze served with a chicken and sherry vinaigrette and toasted sliced almonds. I love how with the shallots and this dish, Josh makes the vegetable the main focus on the plate. I didn't even realize we hadn't yet had a meat course. This was one of the top dishes of the night for me. Who knew cauliflowers could taste so good – the mushroom glaze in theory sounded a bit strange but actually added a nice savoury taste.


Mushroom glazed cauliflower, chicken and sherry vinaigrette, toasted almonds, celery seeds, sorrel

I think one of Josh’s strengths as a cook is how he makes his sauces. Whether it was a purée or broth or emulsion, he was pretty much spot on with taste and seasoning.

Pork neck and tenderloin, burnt creme fraiche, baby leek, roasted hazelnuts, turnips, pork sauce

My favourite course of the night was the Pork neck and Tenderloin. Two cuts of meat paired with roasted hazelnuts, burnt crème fraiche, leeks, turnips and a sprinkle of crackling. Full of porky goodness and so utterly satisfying. I really liked the addition of the roasted hazelnuts. I’ve never had Pork neck before and I quite enjoyed eating it.

The pre-dessert was Ricotta and Greengage (a type of plum) seasoned with white pepper and tarragon. 

Ricotta, greengage, tarragon, olive oil

The last course was Baked Figs with blackberries, damsom plum jam, and yoghurt – sprinkled with oats and violet petals. The petals were a nice touch, making the dessert look really eye-catching.

Baked fig, allspice oats, yoghurt, blackberries, violet, damson jam.

Oh yes and if you're curious to check it out: this is the Epicurely website and here is the link to Josh’s profile. I'm pretty sure Josh is going to be hosting a lot more dinners. This meal was the perfect combination of quality food from a professional chef and the easy intimacy of being at a dinner party with friends. I’m looking forward to seeing what feasts are going to be coming up on Epicurely.

What I really wasn't expecting was how much I would enjoy the social element. It was fun meeting a whole new bunch of people, who all have at least one thing in common - the love of eating well! So I think the Epicurely concept is great - bringing people together over food and in this case that's by organising feasts featuring young and upcoming chefs like Josh.


Thanks for the lovely meal, Josh!


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