BY PALOMA LACY
Three weeks ago, I did something I once took for granted, and recently feared I’d never get the chance to do again.
I went for dinner and to see a show.
Sadly, I caught one of the last performances of The Great Gatsby at its Immersive London home in Mayfair but, rest assured, it will rise from the ashes once more, as soon as Government rules permit.
A friend recommended dinner at The Lucky Club, which inhabits the same building as the theatre company.
Rather in keeping with Gatsby’s 1920s art deco theme, the club has the feel of a private members’ establishment, but without the pomp and ceremony.
It’s the equivalent for a modern generation. A well-loved bar, cocktails are the order of the day here, and what a spectacular drinks menu there is on display.
Twenty cocktails managed to encompass a list of popular and undiscovered but enticing, without even touching upon those perhaps thought of as passé.
I happened to choose a drink the waiter said was one of the more popular, which surprised me – Pandaquiri – rum, coconut rum, lime and pandan syrup.
Convinced I was being flattered, I looked around to see every one of the four on the next table drinking the same.
I had literally taken a punt, lured in by coconut rum and vaguely familiar with what a pandan leaf is.
It was a lucky gamble that paid off – moderately sweet, fresh and packing a medium strength punch, this was my kind of drink.
Had I been in less of an experimental mood, cocktails of the moment – Espresso Martini and Negroni – would have done nicely.
My husband’s Old Fashioned was welcomed with open arms.
The price point of the menu was the biggest surprise, starting at £7, with most hovering around the £9 mark, in an area of town where drinks such as these easily cost at least £12.
Lucky Club has recently introduced a new name to the kitchen – Katsubo, a range of Japanese Burgers.
I’ve subsequently discovered that there are other places offering this niche, but this was a new one on me.
And what a discovery this was. Japanese seasonings lend themselves so beautifully to the dishes, taking the humble burger way off into a direction you won’t have previously associated with it.
Burgers are perfect pre-theatre food – ensuring you can be in and out in 45 minutes is an easily achievable goal.
Karaage Chicken Burger (£10.50) – panko-karaage coated fried chicken thigh, ponzu mayonnaise, sriracha, smacked cucumber and slaw.
It encompassed a roller-coaster of flavours and textures with each mouthful, taking in sweet, sharp, and spicy.
Perhaps most intriguing of all was working out quite what I was eating. The chicken was super crunchy, moistened by several sauces and cucumber ‘smacked’ to release the juices.
A side of Nori Fries – chips seasoned with salt and seaweed – finished of what was a fabulous dish.
All burgers are served in a Hokkaido milk bun, baked in-house daily, and fries are extra, but one portion is enough for two.
My husband was easily swayed by Katsubo’s signature burger – Soft Shell crab (£12.75). Deep fried crab, wakame tartare sauce, cucumber, red raddish and slaw was described to me as “a triumph”.
A similar style burger can be made vegan, replacing fish for king oyster mushroom dipped and fried in panko breadcrumbs for under a tenner.
Veggie friendly teriyaki tofu looked interesting, including deep fried avocado. For pudding, in which we didn’t partake, there’s Asian-inspired white miso Hackney gelato and coconut Hackney gelato.
Lucky Club, 56 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 5JF.
Good news in lockdown 2 is that food markets are deemed essential, so newly-established Crystal Palace Park Market is allowed to continue operating every Sunday from 10am until 3pm.
Many of the traders are regulars at Borough Market, so the provenance of producers is most certainly proven.
So many names are there, peddling seriously good food, and it’s definitely worth a visit – Heritage Cheeses, Crosstown Doughnuts and Da Fish Ting are among them.
It’s located at the bottom end of the park, near the children’s play park. The best entrance is Thicket Road, next to Penge West railway station. Visit www.crystalpalaceparkmarket.com
Independent wine bar and restaurant Peckham Cellars has certainly rolled with the punches during this past year.
With the restaurant shut during the first lockdown in March, it is continuing trading by highlighting its order and delivery wine business.
Local people leapt with joy when the restaurant reopened in the summer, but lockdown 2 has seen it once again fall back on its drinks offering.
Known for its eclectic wine selection, beer and bottled cocktails have just been added, with everything showcased on a new website, and nationwide delivery available.
There’s currently 10 per cent off on a case of wine, and best of all, a tree is planted for every order that’s made, helping to offset carbon emissions. https://peckhamcellars.co.uk/shop
Main Pic: Great burgers at the Lucky Club
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