Rosalind Sack discovers an intimate and spirited evening of food and wine at Bel & The Dragon Cookham’s Lauren Perrier supper club…
Whether in the drawing room of a country estate, a barn surrounded by fields, or someone’s home, the informal and sociable nature of sitting with strangers and enjoying good food and sparky conversation is right up my street!
Supper clubs have become enormously popular in recent years for those looking for a more memorable and personal dining experience, and the lovely Bel & the Dragon country inn in Cookham holds regular events headed up by creative Head Chef Ronnie Kimbugwe.
Its lofty dining room is quite a surprise considering this pretty black and white former coaching inn doesn’t look especially large from the outside. You can choose to dine in intimate booths, cosy corners, even private dining rooms or, for their supper clubs, together with others on large communal tables.
In partnership with Laurent Perrier, Bel & the Dragon Cookham’s recent event was a joy; friendly, genuine and spirited. The evening began with a fascinating introduction to the long-established traditions of this legendary French family champagne house, followed by a tasting of three of their key wines.
The first being Ultra Brut , which is beautifully clean and crisp with an underlying minerality; a good low-calorie option, famously drunk by Kate Moss and friends. The second, Brut, was more yeasty and a good all-night tipple, and the third was the elegant and fruity Cuvée Rosé, which comes in the signature bottle.
Each champagne was then expertly paired with a course; the Ultra Brut was the ideal bedfellow for the fresh and slightly salty starter of seared tuna with earl grey tea, basil mayo and candied beetroot, which was devine.
Main course of succulent and flavoursome roast chicken was as local as you can find, coming from Cookham-based Copas farms, just a couple of miles up the road. The Brut sat perfectly alongside this classic dish.
Zesty lemon tart topped with a layer of caramelised sugar, served with ice cream and fresh berries rounded off the meal perfectly, springing into life paired with the Cuvée Rosé.
Ronnie and his team at Bel & the Dragon Cookham create beautiful dishes with heart and spirit, and their warm welcome and attention makes you feel like you are dining in a friend’s home, rather than a restaurant. Surely this is the key to a successful supper club. Fortunately for me, it’s also just a short stagger home!
Keep an eye on the Bel & the Dragon Cookham website for more supper clubs and special events throughout the year.