If I had to pick one thing I most love about supper clubs you may be surprised to know it’s not actually the food. Instead it’s the people. At supper clubs you’re almost always dining in an entirely new environment with people you’ve never met and everyone around you has a love for food, wine, socialising and a passion for eating out. That’s why I love Marlon’s Kitchen so much. It offers all of the above and with so much authenticity to it.
Arriving at this Colombian Supper Club in Fulham we cracked open our wine, took our seat and settled in with the other fellow diners. This was the first time I’ve been to a supper club and seen so many repeat customers. A lady next to us told us she’d never missed a single Marlon’s Kitchen evening and the gentlemen opposite has become almost as loyal as the chef himself. Front of house is looked after by the ever enchanting Lana who has such a natural charm about her which makes you feel right at home – especially when she’s feeding you as many warm pandebono (Colombian cheese bread) and Polish charcuterie snacks (Lana’s home).
I’m a sucker for a good empanada and I won’t lie I usually prefer the Argentinian versions, but I may well just about to be converted. Instead of pastry, the Colombia empanada is more of a crunchy pocket of golden crumb goodness and always completely packed to the edges inside. Here it was stuffed with a juicy chicken filling and served on a bed of avocado aji – the latter a nice idea giving more substance and also wetness to the dish.
When I saw the menu a few days before, I was particularly intrigued about the green plantain soup. I love frying plantain at home (when I ever decide to actually cook) and I live on bags of plantain chips smothered in chilli, but a soup – this was rather new to me. The verdict, well of course I loved it. The texture, the chunks of plantain and overall refined flavour. Seasoning was spot on too.
My absolute favourite dish from our evening was this glazed ham hock. I can’t recall a time I’ve ever had ham hock this good and it really has made me see it in another light. Head chef Marlon loves utilising a sous vide when cooking dishes for his supper club and for me this was such a triumph. Slow cooked for hours in a marinade and given a lovely dark glaze for a little sweetness and colour. It was accompanied by some rather unusual accompaniments of coconut rice, leek and a basil sauce but again they all worked so beautifully together. If this supper club ever needed a signature dish – this should be it.
It’s hard not to say every dish is your favourite when a supper club give you so much, but this dessert was another excellent triumph from Marlon and also very exciting and different. A game-changing guava parfait, milk skin pudding, sponge, crumble, little squares of jelly and dollops of passion fruit coulis. The parfait was my favourite and I loved how the guava texture still came through, retaining that trademark graininess which gave it a nice texture. The milk skin pudding was also lovely and very traditional, more commonly known as postre de natas in Columbia.
We finished up on some gorgeous home-made chocolate truffles which melted in the mouth, as well as a plate of Spanish sponge cake named tarta de Santiago (from Marlon’s time spent in Spain). Surprisingly I’ve never had this almond infused cake before but would happily tuck into some more right now. Fluffy on the inside and a good crust on the outside.
Once again Marlon’s Kitchen Supper Club in Fulham has outdone themselves with their best supper club to date in my opinion. The portions were perfectly sized, the company was fantastic and the food was packed with both flavour and surprise. If you fancy visiting this Supper Club in Fulham to experience this delicious cooking then visit their website. If a supper club isn’t quite for you then you’ll be glad to know they also cater for events. Marlon & Lana – we’ll see you soon!