Duo lifts lid on Limehouse cafe supper clubs
Flavours from the other side of the globe meet east London produce at a series of supper clubs in Limehouse. Cooking duo Kiwi And Roo have started a monthly residency at the Yurt Cafe, serving up a fusion of Antipodean and English fare under its giant canvas canopy. They are New Zealander Fi Hannah and Australian Lara Lee Wood, who combine their childhood food traditions with vegetables and edible flowers grown in the venue’s garden.
Fi said: “People will be surprised by the flavours - things that are familiar but not as they know them.
“It’s a more refined version of Antipodean food than people might be used to.”
Her love of seasonal produce contrasts with Lara’s palette of Asian influences.
Fi, 35, said: “We really complement each other flavour-wise and each bring something different to the kitchen.”
She inherited a love of cooking from her female relatives and is inspired by seasonal produce, whereas Lara grew up with a mum who loved “meat and three veg” and an Indonesian father who delivered a sprinkling of Asian flavours.
Lara’s influence can be seen in ingredients such as the yuzu and soy dressing used on the Hiramasa Kingfish they serve with shimeji and pickled jalapeno. The pair joined forces two years ago to create Kiwi And Roo after both giving up their day jobs to go to cookery school.
Lara, 34, had been working in IT and said: “I would stare at a computer screen all day but would spend hours fantasising about what I would cook that night.”
After training at Leiths Cookery School in West London, she did placements at The Ledbury and The Harwood Arms. At around the same time Fi took a break from working as a service designer for clients such as Barclays to go to Ballymaloe cookery school in Ireland. Their first venture was a stall at Leyton Market.
Lara said: “We got in the kitchen and decided to create a steak sandwich to sell. We kept adding flavours like sesame and soy and chilli jam and then when we ate it. It was a eureka moment and we knew we had something special.”
Their first event at the Yurt Cafe in Limehouse, an award-winning a social enterprise run by charity the Royal Foundation Of St Katharine, sold out in three hours as has the November 11 Yurt Feast.
But they will return every month for more supper clubs where diners will be served a tasting menu featuring dishes such as Lucky Beef canapes, miso roasted heritage carrots and honey semi-freddo with meringue and praline. Pairing drinks may include the Bees Knees cocktail made with New Zealand Scapegrace gin, honey and lemon and Coopers Pale Ale from South Australia. Tickets cost £50pp and can be bought from billetto.co.uk
We really complement each other flavour-wise and each bring something different to the kitchen Fi Hannah, Kiwi And Roo
Fi Hannah (left) and Lara Lee Wood, aka Kiwi And Roo, are set to host supper clubs at the Yurt Cafe in Limehouse
The cafe is London’s only food and drink destination in a Mongolian yurt. Inset and below left, dishes by Kiwi And Roo