The first time I ever met Lynn Angel, we had just poured an entire glass of wine over her lovely silk frock. It was the second day of trading at The Nose and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if we had enough money to pay for the dry-cleaning, let alone the replacement cost. I rang her to see what the damage was and I still remember her graciousness and charm as she cheerfully brushed it off as being of little or no account and promised to come back again soon.
She did too, but last night was my first chance to return the compliment when I joined her in her new venture, the @3Fig Supper Club held at her renowned cookery school and guesthouse in Newlands. Supper Clubs are the in-thing in the UK and America at the moment - relaxed dining in someone’s home where you meet new people, enjoy delicious food and wine and generally have a much more chilled out and personalised experience than going out to a restaurant. Overseeing the wine at @3Fig is David Wibberley of borde(aux) room and on the food side is Neill Anthony - possibly the most exciting chef to hit these shores in many years.
Cheffing is a great trade for big-mouthed name-droppers, but when Neill was chatting about his time with Gordon and Marcus, it is very clear that not only does he really know them, but he’s probably quite good friends with them too. He doesn’t mention them to impress you, but since they’ve both been major influences on his cooking, it is inevitable that they will crop up in conversation (he also talked about Madonna, Gwyneth, Elton and Fergie – okay, those names might have been a bit dropped in then!).
The food was all matched beautifully to Graham Beck wines and course after course of delicious platefuls headed our way carried by Lynn, Neill and David. I won’t go into too much detail because it was all delicious (the Goats’ Cheese Beignet with herb mayo and pretty, pretty pink pickled radish was divine!) but I have to have one short rave about the Braised Karoo Lamb Shoulder with Aubergine Caviar, Shallot Fondue and Chickpeas. Neill told us how he’d prepared this dish and by the time he’d finished talking about slow-roasting, shredding, reducing, adding wine, rolling, searing, caramelizing and then slicing and serving – I was exhausted. And that was just the meat!! You really see why some chefs are so celebrated – certainly I would never have the time, energy, imagination, taste or dedication to produce anything quite as unbelievably exquisite as that dish last night.
If you are in Cape Town and you love food, then you must go there now. If you are visiting over the next few months, then book quickly because I suspect this idea is going to take off like a rocket. At R400 for canapés, amuse-bouche, four course meal, petit fours, all the wine you could want, water, tea/coffee and service, it’s the bargain of the century. Throw in the charming Ms. Angel, the cherubic David and my new God of Food, Neill, and this is as close to heaven as I am likely to get - take me to @3Fig and lose me forever!
@3Fig Supper Club can be contacted on 021 683 5318 or 082 440 9397, www.kitchenangel.co.za. It operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays, bookings welcome for 1 person or more, but they are happy to cater for groups of up to 12 on most days of the week.
@3Fig was reviewed by Cathy Marston, read her blog and follow her on Twitter.