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Jim Haynes @ Fernandez and Leluu

I was thrilled when I first heard that Uyen and Simon would be hosting the Jim Haynes’ After Eight Party at one of my favourite supper clubs. I was delighted for them as it confirmed what I have been saying since I started The London Foodie – that Fernandez and Leluu is one of the best supper clubs in London.

I was even more thrilled when my invitation arrived from Joanna of Grayling PR to attend this event and meet Jim Haynes, a pioneer of what today is the well known concept of underground dining. Little did Jim know when he first started his legendary dinner parties at his Parisian flat 30 years ago that such a concept would evolve into a world-wide phenomenon.

Jim Haynes is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever met. It would be impossible for me to summarise or recount his life’s many twists and turns with any justice. His year by year chronology is a fascinating read, and I was pleased that I did not get round to reading it before I met him as I would have been completely intimidated!

What struck me about Jim was his gentleness, his ability to engage in conversation with ease and charm, and his genuine interest in people. We had a long chat about food, our South American connection (he spent a few years of his life in Venezuela), and his legendary Sunday dinners. I felt humbled and inspired by this man, and lucky to have met him. You can also meet Jim at his home in Paris for Sunday Dinner or watch him here as the face of the After Eight TV advert.

This was my 5th visit to Fernandez and Leluu and as always there was a great party atmosphere. It was lovely to see some familiar faces like Su-Lin (Tamarind and Thyme), Tom and Jen (TomEatsJenCooks), Aaron (Grubworm), Siany (Domestic Sluttery), Gail and Simon (One Million Goldstars), Ian (Le Cool), Melanie (Om Nom London) and many other food bloggers I admire and read.

I was also pleased to meet some bloggers I had never met before and whom I have followed for a long time like Douglas (Intoxicating Prose), Denise (The Wine Sleuth), Euwen (A Rather Unusual Chinaman), Kang (LondonEater), Claire (Green Onions Supper Club), Mark (FoodbyMark) and Laura (Feast of Scraps).

The food was also excellent, and I would not have expected any less from Fernandez and Leluu. We started with a plate containing various delectable morsels of food, my favourite being Uyen’s summer roll which was sensational.

The starters were followed by thin slivers of roast fillet of beef, potato mash and mushrooms, and these were all very delicious.

For dessert, we were served a delicious variant of bread and butter pudding made of croissants, white chocolate, whisky and summer fruits, which was also excellent.

Johan Svensson of DrinksFusion was on hand preparing us some stunning cocktails. A great write up of all the evening’s drinks can be found on Billy’s Booze Blog (see my blog list). My favourite cocktails were the Bellini, the Rose Club (gin, vermouth, rose liqueur, raspberries and lemon juice) and the Spring Tom Collins (gin and lemon juice with elderflower cordial and soda).

It was a memorable event, and one I will cherish for years to come. Many thanks to Siany of Qype for organising it, to Joanna of Grayling PR for inviting me along, and to Uyen, Simon and Jim for being the perfect hosts.

After countless Rose Clubs cocktails and glasses of Prosecco, I have vague recollections of Dr G forcibly removing me from the house at about 1:30am as I shamelessly strutted my stuff on the improvised dance-floor, but then, the gorgeous Niamh (Eatlikeagirl) has always had that effect on me!

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