Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Spoke Club

Dinner at The Spoke Club does not happen everyday for me. The reason is simple: The Spoke Club is a members-only establishment and I'm not a member. So yeah, I'm not gonna lie, it felt pretty great when Executive Chef Rob Klunder invited me there for a tasting the other night because let's be real, I don't think I'll ever be able to afford a $1000 annual membership fee there, at least not in the near future. One day perhaps? Never say never? *Fingers crossed*

Even if you haven't heard of The Spoke Club (Twitter: @TheSpokeClub, Facebook: The Spoke ClubI'm pretty sure you have walked by it if you frequent the King West area. It is discreetly nestled in a hundred-year-old building on the corner of King and Portland (the same building as the bier markt if that makes it any easier). The exclusive club has four floors where members can host private functions / dinners, business meetings, enjoy casual drinks and nibbles at the lounge or a nice meal in the dining room. It even has a rooftop patio with a panoramic view of the city and a screening room where members can preview films. Pretty cool, huh? I should also note that when you become a member at The Spoke Club you'll also get access to their reciprocal clubs in New York, Dublin, London, Budapest, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. 

Once I arrived at The Spoke Club I took the elevator to the 4th floor. As much as I would like to visit the gorgeous rooms and art galleries the restaurant is really where it's at (in other words I was starving so nothing else matters).

This simple yet elegant space is cozy and welcoming with large gallery windows letting in ample sunlight. The 50-seat restaurant is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and dinner on Saturdays.

Rather than serving what's normally on the menu chef Klunder (Instagram: @rkbones) prepared a special tasting menu for us. I'm pretty confident that after seeing my dinner you'll agree that it's a shame that we can't all dine at The Spoke Club:

Porter Stout Cheddar, Preserved Brandy Cherries and Triple Crunch Mustard

Beet Salad, Blue Cheese, Celery and Candied Walnuts

Garlic Butter and Pickled Red Cauliflower

Stuffed with Foie Gras, Brioche, Mandarin Gel and Late Harvest Apple Reduction

Tomato Water, Avocado, Sesame seeds and Spanish Olive Oil

Chili Fried Nordic Shrimp, Provencal Garnish with 50 year old Sherry Vinegar

English Black Pig Back Fat, Steamed Rice and Scallion Ginger Sauce

Yellow Tail Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Lime Soy Sauce

Tarragon Scallop Mousse, Nduja Paint, Olive and Bacon Jam

Boudin Noir, Maple Roasted Pear, Ramps, Red Cabbage and Bernaise Sauce

A selection of Sloane teas displayed in a pretty wooden box.

Strawberries with Basil Meringue, Amaretto Almond Tuile and Vanilla Crème Chantilly

Chocolate Morsels, Sour Cherry Compote and Luxardo Ice Cream

Right?! Don't you agree that it sucks that not more people can enjoy this food? First of all, every course I had was so pretty, so gorgeous to look at. I probably stared at each dish for at least five seconds just so I could take in all the beautiful colours and elements on the plate. Klunder's meticulousness and attention-to-detail is quite evident here but it's not just about the presentation, people. There were some really amazing flavours and textures that night, especially with the "Snails and Shrimp" wrapped in a thin flaky filo pastry, the "Candied Mandarin" with luscious creamy foie gras (meat fruit?!) on a thin crunchy brioche, and the "Ocean Smelt" served with a smooth scallop mousse and a savoury olive and bacon jam. For me, the dishes that hit home were the "Dungeness Crab" with the light and refreshing tomato water (a perfect spring / summer dish) and the "Roasted Chicken" with pork back fat served on top of steamed rice and a scallion ginger sauce (umami bomb!) Worth mentioning is also the rack of rabbit - something that I've never had before and seriously, isn't it the cutest?! - and the sashimi trio because they were served on top of solid ice spheres haha! The desserts were great too, especially that decadent "Black Forest Cake", but it was the savoury courses that won me over at The Spoke Club

Speaking of winning me over, the "Roasted Chicken" did just that. It was so comforting with the chicken, pork, and rice (ohh that scallion ginger sauce!) - all the flavours just reminded me of home, so much so that I started doing this:

Yes, I did that at The Spoke Club. *Sigh* Stay classy, Stella!