The Gravy Social by Luke Findlay

Having worked in some of the UK’s most exciting kitchens,  including Nopi, The Square, The Hand & Flowers, (and more recently) Head of Development for Patty & Bun, Luke Findlay has just taken the plunge to launch his first solo supper club, The Gravy Social.

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Friends of Luke and hungry foodies gathered at The Gun pub in east London. We got to know the other diners on our table while enjoying a fruity aperitif. Dainty little Kobez flatbreads arrived, topped with a variety of unusual toppings like the comforting charred corn, aioli, gremolata, tahini and soft egg.

Starter was an ideal Autumn warmer, Braised mussels with fennel and garlic sausage, clamato juice and prickly oil. The sausages were a highlight, coarse meat flavoured with lovely fennel and garlic. I found the prickly oil slightly overpowering, and after a few bites my mouth began to feel numb. But other guests seemed to love this unique sensation, and managed to finish an astounding quantity of spicy mussels.

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As soon as the sides were placed down on the table, my comrades rushed to get the best mouthful. Indulgent hash browns with a crunchy outer layer and lashings of mayo. Super sweet onions in a rich and intense herby juices, and Fried spicy brussel sprouts which had me looking forward to the festive season. The main course showcased the very under-appreciated goat meat, it was full of flavour and beautifully tender, perfectly seasoned with tamarind and bitter melon.

The Gravy Social

Dessert was rough and ready, served in childlike plastic yellow bowls. The crunchie ice-cream was delicious, but I found the grape molasses a little too sweet paired with the other components.

It was a fun and raucous night at The Gravy Social, meeting interesting like-minded people and sharing overflowing plates of bold and brilliant food.

For more information on the next Gravy Social supperclub follow Luke on Twitter here.

Little Pitt, Soho

I have always been a fan of Pitt Cue, the delicious wood-smoked meats concept from Tom Adams and Jamie Berger. So recently, while researching my new Cornwall book, I was very excited to learn about Coombeshead Farm in North Cornwall, the working farm (and new foodie retreat) which provides the meat for the Pitt Cue restaurants in London. Tom Adams spends the majority of his week on the farm rearing the Mangalitza pigs especially for the restaurants, which is important for the ‘farm to fork’ aspect of the company’s work. A few weeks ago I went along to the original Pitt Cue site in Soho, which has recently reopened as ‘Little Pitt’, to try out the meaty offerings.

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On a Friday lunchtime Little Pitt was heaving with Londoners working nearby rewarding themselves with a special, nearly-the-weekend gourmet lunch. We sat outside and let the kitchen take care of our order, which consisted of tasting almost everything on the menu!

Little Pitt

The tagline for the new concept here at Little Pitt is ‘Buns, Bourbon and Beer’, as they have an impressive and unique collection of each… but there is also so much more to try. Of the buns, we loved the Sausage & Kimchi, a huge bap filled with flavoursome pork and spicy homemade kimchi. Grilled Onglet is a luxurious option, served with wonderfully sweet onions. Bone marrow mash and grilled corn provide the ideal accompaniments to the meat… the corn is charred to perfection while the mash is creamy and rich with a dangerously good gravy.

Little Pitt

There are no puddings at Little Pitt so you can really indulge in the savoury dishes. I recommend trying a few of the extras. Caramel Chicken Thighs are an all-round hit, sticky sweet juicy chicken with a wonderfully crisp skin and Grilled Lamb Heart is a delicate dish, silky smooth meat coated in a lovely marinade.

Little Pitt will leave you seriously satisfied and stuffed. If I worked nearby I’d be in here every Friday lunchtime.

More information and book a table at Little Pitt here.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Bodean’s BBQ

As I sat with my fellow diners on Tuesday, sampling the delights of Bodean’s menu, conversation topics ranged wildly, from Michael Hutchence’s living arrangements to Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear posturing. From this point, talk then turned to what we would choose as our last supper. After Tuesday’s dinner at Bodean’s, I think their unique brand of slow-cooked, smoked high quality meat could well be in with a chance of being my last meal, were North Korea to unleash Armageddon. If you are reading this, then we are probably safe for now, in which case my advice to you is to get yourself down to the nearest Bodean’s branch and tuck in.

My introduction to Bodean’s experience was a holistic one, as we were first taken to their smokehouse, where every week 7 tonnes of meat is smoked, ready for hungry customers in four different restaurants across London. Five top-secret smokers are in operation 24/7, smoking the various cuts of meat for anything between twelve and twenty-four hours. Secret recipes for the various seasonings were stuck to the walls all around the smokehouse (no spoilers here, dear reader), but having seen and smelled it all being prepared, we were all very keen to head back to the restaurant to taste it.

I ordered pulled pork and burnt ends, a spectacularly tender preparation of beef brisket, which arrived with fries and coleslaw. Bodean’s approach is very much a no-nonsense one, with food delivered up as if at a backyard barbeque or a laidback cookout, albeit the best barbeque you’ve ever attended. The waitresses were very helpful, suggesting various sauces specifically tailored for the various meats ordered from around the table. One pair from our party took on the mammoth Boss Hog Platter, which looked a mammoth task. Another chose Jacob’s Ladder, a unique dish of beef ribs. All in all, a spectacular array of slow-cooked deliciousness greeted us, and we were only too happy to polish it off.

To accompany the culinary delights, Bodean’s head mixologist Dave served us up some classic American drinks. The first was the intriguing Nevada Bellini, comprised of Jim Beam Black Label bourbon, mango purée, angostura bitters, agave syrup, and topped up with Sierra Nevada craft beer. On paper this represents an eclectic mix, that is unlikely to deliver a successful cocktail, but the resulting beverage was light, refreshing and delicious. This was followed by a cocktail made with interesting smoked vodka, served with creole bitters which gave the drink an aniseed flavour, finishing sweetly through the agave syrup. Dave saved the best for last, bringing us the “Devil’s Cut” after we had finished our mains. In the distillation process of whiskies, a stage of evaporation called “the angel’s share” means some of the whisky is lost, absorbed by the oak barrels. A new technique, which recaptures this liquid and re-blends it with the rest of the whisky, has given us “The Devil’s Cut”, and the results are remarkable. The added vanilla flavour from the reclaimed whisky was delicious, and despite having quite a kick to it, the Devil’s Cut was very smooth drinking. Several more were ordered.

So if you can find your way out of your nuclear bunker, and make your way through the post-apocalyptic fallout, tucking into a hearty portion of Bodean’s finest offerings will be well worth it.

More information here: www.bodeansbbq.com

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, James Bomford.