Yes. Finally after being a chef for over 10 years, the time has come and I was ready to do my first popup. The entire story is – last November Pisti (a sommelier friend) asked about doing a food&wine thing together and I said sure. At that time I was working in the bakery and there was not too much challenge I could cling on. So we decided to work together on something nice and well thought out.

It wasnt easy as he had 2 jobs at that time and me also was doing tons of things in the same time as usual. We met up once a week or once in the next 2 weeks for a cheeky tasting, i put together some samples for ideas and he brough a couple of bottles of wines. Slowly but surely the menu started to get into shape. I draw out logo in one of those tipsy evenings and we found a place on the corner to hold the supper club.

Its basically a wine glass filled with the symbol ‘koji’

So the menu is all about mostly fermented food and wine. And how they making love altogether. Here is the final menu:

I feel like i want to describe all the courses so you will see why i chose these ingredients and these methods.

1. Warm Welcome.with a bottle of fizz – not too interesting by itself but was very nice with the cordial.

The first welcome bite was an actual real fresh koji – served in 2 ways. One cube was natural – only some cooked rice with me growing my sweet rice koji on it. I asked the guests to take their time and pay attention when they pop this little one in their mouth – and focus on all the flavours and aromas they can get out. The tiny bite was full of peach and apple notes – it was truly wonderful. Then they had another pinky one on the plate: the same koji but dusted with my cardamon and raspberry sugar – the same seasoning that i used to spice up our rhubarb bubbles (the welcome drink).

The little koji grew in less than 2 days (I am really nailing it now :) – for the rhubarb cordial i added cardamom, freeze-dried raspberries, sugar, pink peppercorns and Szechuan ones – sous vide the whole thing for a couple of hours than let it rest for a few days. Finally, i strained and reduced it to a syrup consistency.

2. The cabbage dish.with Mielie 2022, a refreshing little chenin blanc by Testalonga from South Africa

Yeah. So this was everyone’s massive favourite. Without a single doubt. I think this was the first dish i had it in mind as a ‘safe player’ and it was also the most difficult to find a wine for. Cause we had the dish first and not the reverse.

The photos are showing the development of the dish – love it. So for this dish, i grew albino koji – Luchuensis – this koji is known for its citric acid production. I was really aiming for a ‘kicker’ citrus dish without actually using any citrus LOL. So once I got the koji I bagged it with some water and salt and left it at room temperature to mature for 5-7 days. Once it was done I made a cheeky ‘fake hollandaise’ sauce by using this fermented albino koji rice as a base and just added fresh yolks, my wild garlic caper juice and melted brown butter. Was just mindblowing believe me. Also, it hasn’t split for days :) (I tried before of course). The main element was a roasted hispi cabbage which i served with a very complex salsa with mostly foraged ingredients.

salsa: -dill, parsley, wild garlic, garlic mustard, alexander flower, hoary cress, wild fennel, three-cornered leek, Mexican oregano… with toasted pinenuts, 1-year-old preserved lemon skin and my 1-year-old wild garlic capers, wild garlic flower, 3 cornered leek flowers and cuckoo flower for spiciness

3. The 3rd ‘shock’.with a bit oxidated manzanilla sherry from Gabriela Oro en Rama

Was probably the biggest ‘failure’ (but my favourite forever). Personally, i adore this dish but it was a bit too much for most of the people and also it should have been on the end of the menu as a ‘cheese course’ . It was my comte paris-brest.

For this dish, I harvested my one-year-old 100% Comte miso and mixed it with bechamel (50%-50%). This was the main filling with some sherry vinegar pickled raisin puree (and the juice of it). The pastry was my plain choux recipe with a sweet muscovado craquelin on top. I believe it is outstanding. But it was too big and literally kicked the face. The miso is sooooo strong – even if I got only 25% in the bechamel – would have worked better showing its milder side. But its got huge potential – just needs more refining.

Also it’s important that I made the miso using a few kilos of Comte cheese rind from my previous workplace where they kept throwing it away – so I saved a bucket one day and not knowing what’s gonna happen – I launched my Comte miso. Never made a better decision. Also another important little note here – that I did make a mistake forgetting to serve my comte tamari in a small pipette on the side – the best of the bests, like elixir for forever life :) – but it was kindof a lucky forgotten move with experiencing the people’s reaction to the strength of this dish anyways. Now I just have to keep it for the next great use! :)

4. The main course.with a very personal favourite, Tsuki aged sake from the londonian Kanpai people

Homemade buckwheat and chestnut tempeh in a roasted yeast dominated sauce. It was the second favourite dish in the supperclub after the cabbage. For the preparation, before i grew my patties – i sprouted the buckwheat for 2-3 days – if the grains are sprouted before ‘tempeh’ed the result is usually more ‘moistful’ and it is just lovely. So after sprouting them I lightly cooked them and mixed them with some cooked chestnuts – added a bit of vinegar for safety and inoculated them with my spores. If the tempeh is happy it won’t take more than 2 days to complete. This was the easiest part. The sauce was way more challenging. I wanted a real vegan ‘jus’ with complexity and umami. I made a vegetable stock first and a rich dashi. After mixing them i added some roasted yeast and toasted (intentionally bit burnt) oats. Cooked for a day slowly – keep replacing the water then freeze it down. A couple of days later i freeze clarified – so let it defrost by slowly dripping down thru a cloth to get as ‘clear liquid’ as possible. Reduced it to an intensity i liked and gave some shine with some cornflour. The final touch was seasoning it with my homemade 1 year old shoyu (sauce sauce).

You see the trial version and the actual party ‘wear’ :) I served the final dish with the moromi i had left after pressing my own soy sauce – which is literally the leftover solids (soy beans and wheat) fullon flavours and texture. I left a bit of sweetness in the tempeh and sauce so people can enjoy the saltiness of the moromi as well by seasoning their own food. Oh yes and wild white mustard for pepperiness and beauty.

5. The ‘queen’. – with the sexiest possible, 2020 Saint Peray from Francois Villard

The dish needs more work and finer lines between flavours and strengths of ingredients – but i also love the idea behind it. The parsnip ‘cheese course without cheese’. This is a sweet and savoury dish at the same time. Some people could not get over their ‘hatred towards this root vegetable’ and some people found the sauce too obstructive to actually see the whole picture behind it. I am truly grateful for all this feedback. For this dish we had a wine waaaaaay before everything – a wonderful 2020 Saint Peray – carrying unbelievable notes of almonds, apricots and minerals mostly – so we decided to create a savoury dish with marzipan. After a week of thinking i found the parsnip versatile enough to carry a sweet and savoury in the same time. Then i just made it more interesting and decided i will kojify it.

You see again – the original idea was to put the kojified parsnip into a pastry with the marzipan. It was yummy but there was no point of kojifiing. The final idea came when i roasted the kojified parsnip in butter and we ended up having a fudgy texture and mindblowing flavours. So i roasted the parsnip, then after peeling i inoculated them with sweet rice koji (they are very best friends) and if the koji is happy your parsnips are ready less than 2 days. After u just need a pan with butter and fry each side of it golden. Again – if parsnip can be better than it is – this is the way. I served it with a marzipan ‘laminated’ brick pastry. That has been covered with caramelized almond flakes (took me hours!!!!!! hahahaha) and another #nofoodwaste miso sauce. I saved a fruity rye sour bread back in time from the bakery and i turned it into a very nice easy tasty 3 month old fresh miso. I just used this with some homemade mirin and cream to reduce it.

6. palette cleanser. – :)

Its a piece of compressed chayote – compressed with my one-year-old elderflower cordial (still shining!) – served with a touch of citric acid and a very aromatic alexander flower. Very little but very powerful.

7. The pudding. with a late harvest Gewürtztraminer Alsace Grand Cru from Bott Geyl

My signature. Poppyso white chocolate rose geranium. It’s basically a white chocolate ganache. I mixed in my one-year-old poppyseed and preserved lemon skin miso and added a touch of rose geranium essential oil. I believe its one of the best things i ve ever created (so far LOL).

Served it with wild puffed rice in a rice paper wrap tempered with white chocolate and decorated with rose petals. The whole thing is sitting on a roasted barley koji pudding bed. The only single comment i would add to my own self – is next time i need to shape the rice paper into a taco – would be way more fun eating this with hands. :)

8. and 9. The petit four and finishing cocktail.with a salted caramel coffee kombucha martini

My miso and lacto fermented candied oyster mushrooms with my coffee kombucha salted caramel martini. Yes and yes. So the idea was coming from ‘let’s give a small petit four’ (then this became so BIG)! I was having several trials first with carrots but then i just turned to my very well-known best friend – the mushrooms. I got beautiful fresh oyster mushrooms – i slightly steamed them and pop them into a jar for 10-12 days with some rye sourdough starter, my mole miso, maple syrup, soy sauce, and salt. Let it be. After this time you take the shrooms out and pop them into a bath made out of sake and honey and leftover sake lees from last year. Waited about a week then dry them and slowly dehydrated them – it took about a day at 70 degrees – i brushed them with mirin 3-4 times. The results should be shiny and dark and beautiful and chewy like a jerk. Let this cool down ideally overnight and then i dipped it in tempered chocolate.

This mushroom was then served with ‘my martini’ – using coffee kombucha – again i used used coffee grains for this process which usually takes about 2 weeks. Then i made a coffee syrup reduction using some of the mushrooms bath i reduced to a fairly thick consistency (remember the sake and maple part). The final touch was the salted caramel vodka ‘treat’. And voila. Another favourite for all.

It was fun and we really enjoyed this. Hopefully, if all goes well we will gonna do some more of this. And hope you will all join and enjoy at some point. :) Keep checking us here for updates and also on Instagram.

Keep up the good ferments till’ next time …

Open up your mouth…!

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