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Moro Guests at Possessed N1’s Supper Club

December 5, 2013

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When I got an email from the fabulous Moro saying that Sam & Sam Clark were cooking at a pop-up supper club in Islington, I knew I had to go and it probably took me less that 30 seconds to decide to forward the email to Annie and ask if she was keen too. Fortunately we were quick off the mark for this two-night event was soon sold out and we happily had seats at the first evening, last night 4 December.

Regular readers of my blog know that I get quite ecstatic at the thought of dining at Moro. It has for years been one of my very favourite restaurants. If I lived closer, I’d be there a lot more often, but for special events it’s a clear family choice. When my son turned 30 at the end of August I offered to take him anywhere in London for a meal to celebrate – the only proviso being that if it was very expensive we’d have to do the bargain lunch deal! We talked about various options in the months leading up to the birthday but in the end he said, ‘I want to go to Moro.’ So we did!

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Tania Rowling used to work at Moro and then two years ago opened a vintage emporium in Islington’s Chapel Market – Possessed N1. An artist and ‘collector of all things beautiful’ she specialises in 1930s to 1950s fashion, vintage dinner sets, mid-20th century furniture and other wonderful things. It was such a delight to be surrounded by all these beautiful things as we ate last night.

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I was the first to arrive. Well, anyone who knows me well knows I always am. It could be embarrassing to admit, but there, I’ve done it. I managed to park just outside, some market stallholders still clearing things away but the parking restrictions thankfully lifted. The little shop looked so welcoming as I entered, and there were the Sams plus two helpers from the restaurant, and Tania and her sister Cindy hard at work in the tiny retro kitchen at the back. Tania was wearing a gorgeous vintage dress with a red bow in her hair, a nod to Almodovar movies to fit the Spanish theme of the night.

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They welcomed me warmly, despite my slightly early interruption and soon brought me a delicious Pomegranate Cava cocktail in the prettiest glass.

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Not long after, other people started arriving – including Annie – and the little shop was soon full. In supper club style people were friendly and introduced themselves. There was a feeling of arriving at some friends’ dinner party rather than a restaurant.

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After a little while Tania asked us to sit down as the food was about to come. Annie and I sat opposite a lovely couple who were also great Moro fans. In fact, the evening may well have been the inauguration of the Moro Fan Club. Everyone was talking about their Moro restaurant experiences, the books and recipes, their favourite dishes – as if, we all agreed, you could choose! At some restaurants it can be a challenge to find something you really want. At Moro you want to try it all but how on earth do you decide! It was easy for us last night; no angst over what to leave out. It was chosen for us so all we had to do was enjoy it.

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On the tables there was of course the wonderful Moro sourdough bread. There were cups of olives and almonds too. The table was beautifully laid up with vintage dinner ware and glasses; beautiful candlesticks. The first course was Chestnut & Chorizo Soup, served in vintage cups.

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Wow! We were in awe. How does soup taste this good? It was thick and earthy yet sweet with the chestnuts, the chorizo adding a warm spicy note (you’ll find the recipe in Moro the Cookbook). It was glorious. Happily, Tania came round with seconds too! Next came Sea Bass Ceviche with Bergamot Orange and Cumin.

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It was so well seasoned, enhancing the natural sweetness of the delicate fish. It was so good we ate it with reverence, discussing the taste with our dinner companions and mopping up the dressing with bread. All the while we could see the two Sams and everyone else putting plates together in the little kitchen. There was such a friendly, informal atmosphere I almost felt I should offer to help when Tania came to clear plates, as you do at a friend’s.

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The main course was a visual delight: Duck Fattee with Chickpea Pilav, Pistachios and Crispy Onions. Sparkling pomegranate seeds on top added to the festive atmosphere.

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This delightful mound of duck and pilav with a yogurt dressing on a flatbread base was a treat of flavours and textures. The recipe is in Moro East and the Sams say they often serve it at Christmas, which sounds an excellent idea to me. Finally, came Sherry Trifle.

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Now, when I read ‘sherry trifle’ on the menu I have to confess feeling a slight slump. What, sherry trifle? I thought, thinking of those rather awful over-sweet trifles of my childhood. That didn’t sound very exotic. But of course I hadn’t tasted Moro’s sherry trifle with its Oloroso sherry, home-made custard and cake and tangy fresh raspberries at the bottom counteracting the sweetness. We were all quite full but there was no way we were leaving any of this. What a treat. I think it was the best sherry trifle I’ve ever had.

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We finished with tea – fresh  mint, of course –  which came in a beautiful vintage teapot to be drunk from pretty vintage cups. Then people started to stand up. Sam, Sam and Tania came from the kitchen and mingled and everyone talked until it was time to go home. Coats were taken from the clothing rails and put on to meet the cold waiting outside. What a wonderful evening it had been. Closer to eating in someone’s home than a restaurant experience, yet the food had been outstanding and the whole experience enhanced by the gorgeous setting of Tania’s shop and the friendliness of everyone there.

The meal cost £50 a head for 4 courses including the cava cocktail. Bottles of wine were on sale for £23 each. If you want to find out more about Tania’s shop and supper club visit her website: www.possessedn1.com and for more news of Moro: www.moro.co.uk

To read my interview with Samuel Clark last year see: Top Ten Cookery Books: Samuel Clark. And for my review of the restaurant: Restaurant Review: Moro.

11 Comments
  1. Oloroso sherry trifle. Absolutely yum. I too love Moro. True style and substance. Thank you for taking me through your evening of delightful food. Sophie

  2. My, my my … this sounds like what “eating out” should all be about! How wonderful indeed, it makes me happy just thinking that this kind of evening is ‘possible’ ! Talk about win-win situation ….

  3. What a delightful evening. It did sound like you might have been visiting friends…how lovely.

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