Following their recent award as Best General Restaurant in The South Wales Echo Food and Drink Awards, Park Plaza have been enjoying some local praise so Mr V and I were pleased to be invited along to the launch of their new ‘Supper Club’. Supper Club is being held once a month at the Laguna Kitchen and Bar and will be an evening pairing food with certain well known drinks. The first Supper Club was entitled ‘An evening with Cloudy Bay’ and paired four courses with four glasses of the renowened Cloudy Bay wine.
Fellow food bloggers Hannah (Lovetodine) and Nicki of Cardiffbites and ther partners were also invited along and we were seated on the same table so we had some good company for the evening. Those attending the Supper Club were seated close together with a Cloudy Bay expert on hand to explain the wine that accompanied each course. The restaurant was still open to diners choosing from the A La Carte menu so it was quite a low key affair.
The evening was kicked off with a starter of Welsh Beef Fillet Carpaccio, Aged Parmesan, Micro Rocket and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This was accompanied by a glass of Pelorous Sparkling which was a fine way to set things off. The wine complimented the starter which was nicely presented. The flavours worked well together and the parmesan was especially nice but the beef needed a bit more seasoning to bring out its full flavours.
For the our second course we had a Free Range Chicken, Fennel and Chick Pea Ballontine, Spiced Carrot and Coconut Sauce and Couliflower Samosas. This was the best course of the night and as well as being beautifully presented, it balanced all the complex flavours perfectly. The chicken was moist and tender and the sauce was beautifully sweet and mildly spiced. The cauliflower samosa was the star of the show. We were all very impressed that what sounded like a accompaniment turned out to be the best thing we ate.
The wine that accompanied the dish (a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc) was also very well received. It was my favourite of the night and one I will most certainly be buying again and have done in the past.
After just enough of a break, we were onto our next course, Smoked Haddock and Spring Onion Risotto with a Soft Boiled Egg and Curry Oil. This is apparently Laguna Bar and Kitchens signature dish and it was very enjoyable. It was light and creamy and I loved the addition of the egg. This dish is definitely something I would order again as I love risotto. The accompanying wine was a Cloudy Bay Chardonnay which again was beautiful and worked well with the fish.
Feeling satisfied, we were looking forward to dessert but unfortunately, the dessert was savoury apart from a pear. We had a Walnut and Raisin Bruschetta, Red Wine Poached Pear and Gorgonzola Dolce. While very nice, we were disappointed not to end with something sweet. The Bruschetta sounded as though it was going to be sweet but it was definitely savoury and while I enjoyed the pear, it just didn’t satisfy my dessert craving. This course was accompanied by a Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir.
All in all, we had a very good night. The food was mostly excellent, the wine was fantastic and the setting was great. As the night was billed as a ‘club’ we were expecting a bit more interaction with other diners who we didn’t actually meet. I can understand that it would have been difficult as the restaurant was also open to diners who weren’t involved in the club but I think that more could be done to make it feel more ‘club like’. We could have had an area to mingle and have a drink together before the meal or we could have been seated on larger tables so it felt more exclusive and inclusive.
I also felt that as the evenings are arranged largely round the drink of the night, in this case Cloudy Bay, it might be better to market the nights as wine tasting events with food rather than the other way around. I love Cloudy Bay so I would have been just as excited to attend a wine tasting event with a meal as to accompany it as a supper club with wine.
The Park Plaza have told us that they have taken our comments on board and as this is the first Supper Club event, I think it went very well and there is still time to make a few tweaks to make it perfect. I would certainly go again and I am really looking forward to having a meal at the Park Plaza from the A La Carte menu too and offering a review with a spoon rating!