29 January 2006

Cary Brown's Supper Club

On Friday, Suzy and I celebrated the fact that she’s managed to put up with me for five whole years! To show my appreciation I bought her some red roses and two sprays of carnations from Sainsburys. They’d been reduced to 99p each as they were all on their last day.

You’re probably thinking that I’m a real cheapskate. But I’m not. I also got Greenhouse to deliver a huge bouquet of flowers, which included five red roses – one for each year we’d been together. Despite Suzy claiming that I never buy her flowers, this is the third time I’ve got her some from Greenhouse! (I’ve tried other places in the past, like Interflora, but the quality of their flowers and bouquets simply don’t come close to the ones that Greenhouse deliver.)

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you know about the fantastic restaurant that I took her to for a lovely posh meal last night...

I’ve really got Christian to thank for recommending The Supper Club (previously known as Carriages and Brown’s). When I read his review in November, I immediately decided that I’d take Suzy there for our anniversary. After reading a few more reviews, I was still convinced that it would be something a bit special. We’d been to Cary Brown’s Slammers seafood restaurant on Ecclesall Road a few years ago and that was excellent, although it’s been closed for quite some time now, so I was really looking forward to trying another incarnation of his.

I’d booked our table a couple of weeks ago, so I was impressed when they called me on Friday to confirm my booking. However, this did make me a little sceptical. Were they calling me because they were so busy that they’d got people waiting for cancellations or were they checking that we’d still be going because they’d had some cancellations and were wondering if it would be worth opening? Well, they were certainly busy enough, so I had nothing to worry about at all.

We arrived early and had a drink at the bar. The staff were friendly and asked if we had any questions about the menu. As usual, I was spoilt for choice, so I asked them for their recommendations. For starters, Suzy decided on the Duck Breast with Pear and Walnut Salad whilst I went for the Chicken and Applewood Smoked Cheese Spring Rolls with Plum Chutney (although I was really tempted by the King Prawn ‘Pizza’). For main course, Suzy ordered the Seabass with Chorizo Gnocchi and I went for the Sirloin Steak with its own ‘Daube’ and Shallot Puree with some baby roasted vegetables to share. I had no idea what a Daube was, so I asked; it’s basically cubed beef braised in red wine. We also chose a bottle of South African Chenin Blanc to wash it all down with.

Before the food came, we were brought a selection of bread. I’m not sure if it was homemade, but it was warm and tasted great. When the starters arrived, the presentation was excellent – and they definitely tasted as good as they looked. I generally don’t approve of fruit being served with meat (with a few exceptions) but the flavours in each starter worked really well together. One of my garnishes tasted like a plant, but I’m not sure I should’ve eaten it!

The main courses were equally impressive. Having two different cuts of beef cooked in two totally different ways on the same plate really worked; the Daube melted in the mouth and the steak was perfect. I’d usually grab the horseradish sauce and mustard when I have a steak, so the shallot puree made a nice change and really complemented the flavours of the beef. I was worried that Suzy might have ordered the wrong main course as she doesn’t really like gnocchi. However, instead of having the usual slimy texture, this gnocchi was pan-fried with the chorizo which gave it a slightly crispy coating. Even the gnocchi we tried in Italy wasn’t this good!

For desert, I enjoyed the Lemon Tart and Lemon Sorbet whilst Suzy struggled to finish the Assiette of Chocolate with vanilla ice-cream. Both were served on the same triangular plates that my starter had been served on and both tasted great – the perfect end to a perfect meal.

Before we left work on Friday, I heard that someone had been to The Supper Club and said it had no atmosphere, small portions and they were in and out within an hour. Had I heard this a few weeks earlier, I might have considered cancelling our reservation. Needless to say, I’m very glad I didn’t. If you decide to visit The Supper Club, I would recommend that you book your table for no earlier than 8:00 PM (otherwise you might be the only ones in there) and you definitely order some vegetables to accompany your meal (which aren’t included). And be prepared to spend some money; we paid just over £90 for the two of us including a couple of drinks at the bar. Whilst expensive, it was definitely worth it for a special occasion.

In conclusion, my only criticisms of The Supper Club are that we didn’t have any side plates for the bread, nor did we have a butter knife for the butter, and our tablecloth was plucked. (As you can see, I’m really struggling to find anything wrong at all!) They also failed to leave a saucer on our table for tips after I’d paid when they returned my credit card and receipt. Since I don’t like to pay for tips on my credit card, as the staff often don’t get to see them, and I don’t like to leave money on the table. As a result, they didn’t get any tips, which I do feel a little guilty about. Let’s just say that you can’t put a price on excellent food and excellent service...

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Ahh. I rememmber the days when we could afford posh nosh. These days its nearly always the two for one menu down the local.

I'm pleased you enjoyed it. :-)