One of the loveliest things about being a food blogger is the amazing worldwide community of people that you become a part of...people who are just as passionate about food, cooking and entertaining as you are. Every now and then, you might be lucky enough to meet some of those people "in real life". Case in point: Vanessa, a fellow Bangkok-based blogger who dishes up some awesome Asian fusion cuisine on Mango Ginger. Other than the blog thing, Vanessa and I happen to have several other things in common, including both working in development, having lived and worked in different parts of Africa and Paris and apparently even our husbands have similar personalities ;-) So you can imagine that I was excited when Vanessa decided to launch her Mango Ginger Supper Club to share some of her delicious cuisine, which we had the good fortune to join on Thursday night.
Supper clubs, also sometimes known as underground restaurants, are all the rage in Europe, North America and increasingly in other parts of the world as well. Instead of going to a restaurant, you pay to dine in someone's home and enjoy a several-course meal as well as the opportunity to meet cool new people. It's trendy, convivial and fun! The Mango Ginger Supper Club is particularly special here in Bangkok because not only does it seem to be the only supper club in town but it also provides a refreshing dose of home cooking and relaxed, intimate atmosphere in a city that is obsessed with eating out (most apartments not being equipped with proper kitchens).
|Photo courtesy of Mango Ginger|
Moving to the dinner table, a trio of "Asian fusion mezze" began the evening. There was a version of miang kam, described by Vanessa as "little gem lettuce flavour bombs with crisy bacon (or veggie)". I love miang kam, which is traditionally made with wild betel leaves (bai cha plu) which serve as a wrap for diced lime, chilies, peanuts, toasted coconut and shallots. Vanessa's version was gorgeous and delicious!
The mezze also included an intriguing Bangladeshi-style butternut and red lentil hummus, served up with some delicious bread (Vanessa, where did you get that bread?). The recipe for this hummus, like most of the dishes served at the Mango Ginger Supper Club, is available on Vanessa's blog. Bet you can't say that for any restaurant! Laced up with the flavors of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this dip was an original and fitting nod to South Asia.
Rounding out the trio of mezze were "Mina's Thai island fish cakes", which Vanessa recently learned to make while on a trip to the island of Koh Yao Noi. I didn't have any of these of course, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them. With homemade yellow curry paste and kaffir lime leaves in them, I can certainly understand why.
After a pause and continued interesting conversation with our fellow diners (a mix of expat and Thai), the beautifully plated main course was brought out. It was spiced crispy duck breasts with ginger and orange sauce, served with sesame noodles and Chinese greens. Mine was a vegetarian version with spiced blackened tofu replacing the duck. I loved this dish, especially the ginger and orange sauce and the lovely flavors of Chinese five-spice powder and star anise, which I wasn't very familiar with before.
Not having much of a sweet tooth, dessert is never the highlight of a meal for me. But Vanessa's stellar mango cardamom mousse, served with soft pistachio cookies, was a real delight. The perfect consistency, the delectable flavors of mango and cardamom...yum!
All in all, we had a wonderful evening at the Mango Ginger Supper Club. A lovely meal, meeting new people, Vanessa's stellar hospitality - can't beat that! And all for the bargain price of 400 baht (about $12-13 or 10 Euros). If you live in Bangkok or are passing through, consider going to a future edition...you definitely won't regret it. And if you want to learn how to make some of these dishes and other great Asian fusion cuisine, be sure to visit Vanessa's blog!