February 2018 marks the 7th anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Bravas Supper Club Experience

Following a fantastic evening at the Bishopston Supper Club a Month or so previously, I was eager to indulge in another culinary foray of this kind; taking my love of top-notch nosh away from the familiarity of the restaurant setting. Cue the Bravas Supper Club whereby Spanish cuisine takes centre stage...what's more, with my lovely mum's birthday just days away, this was the perfect opportunity to avoid the tried and tested chocolate and perfume double act in favour for an experience a lot less predictable and perhaps one which would even secure some serious brownie points...! 

Date and Time: Thursday 17th November 2011 19:30 for 20:00
Name of Event: Bravas Supper Club*
Location: The lovely harbourside home of Kieran and Imogen Waite
Reason for participation: An edible escapade in line with pre-Birthday celebrations.

Tentatively descending the candlelit stone steps to the basement of the Bravas host's classically stylish riverside pad, mum and I were warmly greeted and shown to our table for two. With tables intimately arranged to separately accommodate each party, I was initially concerned that some of the atmosphere would be lost given that interaction with other supper club attendees did not appear to be part of the etiquette and so, meeting new foodie faces wasn't explicitly on the cards. That said, the interactive nature of the fare, whereby you share no less than ten tapas-style dishes with your dining companion(s) over the course of the evening, compensated somewhat for any intermingling lost as a result of the seating arrangements which, as it happened, were not too dissimilar to that of a restaurant after all. That is, until you catch a glimpse of the action unfolding in the kitchen and at once stand reminded of the undeniable fact that diners have been welcomed (like guests at a dinner party) into the home of this dynamic duo; Kieran, an 'event organiser and well-seasoned host' and Imogen, a talented chef who has mastered her trade amidst some of Bristol's top kitchens. Furthermore, this was a dwelling for which we had only received directions the evening beforehand via an informal yet duly enlightening telephone call; just one of the aspects of an event of this kind which builds on the intrigue and lends an air of exclusivity to the proceedings.

Onto the food and having whetted our appetites with the timely publication of the menu online, the arrival of the appetiser was rather well received; marinated olives and pimention toasted almonds alongside an aperitif of an Averys* Bristol Fashion Amontillado from Jerez (medium-dry sherry to you and me). This instantly set the bar in regards to the calibre of the cuisine and yet, it became apparent that each earthenware vessel set before us thereafter would contain courses of equal impressiveness. From the simplistic yet beautifully executed grilled hake with lemon to the phenomenally flavoursome seared acorn fed pork and rich, meaty offerings of the spiced sausage as well as the oxtail braised in red wine, the range of dishes ultimately encompassed a variety of contrasting tastes and textures yet each fittingly Mediterranean in terms of their composition. The bring-your-own beverage policy (as well as a list of suggested wine matches for the evening) led mum and I to the Sangre de Toro 2009 – a soft and juicy red that seemed to compliment the lighter dishes in particular; for instance, the Beetroot, Pomegranate and Herb salad with its appealing rainbow-effect presentation and fresh, palate-cleansing qualities. To end the evening; a sweet board on which stood two dainty glasses of dessert wine – a Bodega Lustau Pedro Ximenez (also from Jerez) - of which the birthday girl was treated to a cheeky top-up! This indulgent tipple, channelling sweet velvety aromas of fig and raison, had been perfectly coupled with the bite-sized morsels which constituted this course; slices of manchego cheese, two varieties of quince, juicy dates and individual salted chocolate tarts – just divine!
Oxtail Braised in Red Wine with Salted Potato Crisps
In conclusion, another unmissable supper club experience and albeit rather different from the first, I loved what Bravas had brought to the table (ahem)! Despite forgoing a sense of communal foodie-related appreciation (which, to be fair, is not everyone's cup of tea) for a dinner-date with your nearest and dearest, the concept of offering a tantalising line-up of small sharer dishes is suitably genius, (not to mention a snip for a suggested donation of £20-£25). In my opinion it significantly reduces the primary supper club anxiety of committing to dine blindly or, in other words, worrying that one of the courses will not appeal to your palate. Whereas elsewhere this could potentially alienate a quarter of the evening's offerings, the nature of the Bravas menu ensures that you still have a further nine dishes to delight in if one does not especially suit, (incidentally, it was the Radicchio for me which, quite simply, is not to my taste). Overall though, the sheer dedication involved in plating ten different dishes is a triumph in itself, as too is the friendly and laid-back ambiance which is so effortlessly achieved – my thanks go out to Kieran and Imogen for a truly fantastic supper – I certainly can't wait for the next installment...hasta luego!

And now for that all-important second opinion...
Mum gave the Bravas Supper Club 10/10 and in three words described her evening as a 'really special experience'.


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