The Blind Tiger

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When is a “secret hideaway” not a secret? Perhaps when there is a large chalkboard sign outside pointing to it. Let’s just say it is not that hard to find out where The Blind Tiger is and 1920’s prohibition officers would be unlikely to be fooled but once tucked away inside it is easy to pretend you are in the type of place to indulge in “illicit dining and forbidden beverages”. If you can ignore the sign and swallow your feelings of idiocy ask at the gate in Clapham to see the blind tiger. A little hatch opens, a pair of eyes peer out and suddenly you are whisked inside to a restaurant lit with candles, slung with drapes and exuding a Moulin Rouge feel.

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Fish stew
 
I visited for my book club christmas party (always a boozy affair) and we plumped for the Christmas menu of three courses matched with cocktails for £37.50. We were not the only ones celebrating and the place was full with people toasting the festive season. By reason of demand alone Christmas menus are often a complete rip-off forcing you to pay through the nose, however Marek Novak, the chef at The Blind Tiger admirably resists the temptation. To start Christmas fish stew was not particularly Christmassy but all the better for it. Thick and luscious and with incredible depth of flavour this soup was a marvel which had everyone who had not ordered it in fits of jealousy. I also enjoyed the venison which was presented as lightly seared medallions, perfectly cooked to a blush pink state and teamed with foccacia and watercress.
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Turbot steak
 
Traditional turkey was on offer of course but a better option was the crisp skinned turbot steak which sat atop a pool of almost soup like parsnip and sundried tomato puree and chanterelle mushrooms. The book club nearly came to blows over the duck leg served as a roulade with chestnut stuffing and lashings of red cabbage and potato dumplings.
 
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Welcome cocktail
 
Desserts do not reach such heights. The sugar rimmed cocktail to accompany our dessert was actually rimmed with salt instead. Our waiter apologised and rectified the situation however it is hard to recover from sucking on a salty glass. Dessert of pear tartin with a caramalised almond crumble read better on the menu than it looked in real life due to the teeny-tiny size of the tartin. The cheese plate was also on the dull side and erred on fridge cold.
 
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Duck leg roulade
 
The somewhat mediocre end to the meal was only really obvious in light of the high standards throughout. Luckily the location of The Blind Tiger is not too hard to find as you don’t want to miss out on cooking of this calibre and the fun speakeasy atmosphere which included a live jazz singer crooning in the background during part of our meal. If you are wondering where the blind tiger comes into all of this apparently when people originally visited real speakeasy type places back in 1920’s America they used to lie and say they were going to see a blind tiger or something equally ridiculous.
 
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Cheese plate
 
Details
Essentials: The Blind Tiger, Secret address, Clapham SW8 (Ph 0207 498 0974) Tube: Clapham Common
Damage: Pricey
7/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in visiting an actual secret supper club- try the Old Hat Club or The Underground Restaurant.

9 comments

  1. Interesting – I live near Clapham (North) and saw the posters for this on the tube. To be honest I have recently despaired of Clapham High Street nights out, much preferring to go to Brixton, but this place sounds fun. Will give it a go! Sasha x

  2. PS like the sound of your book club – culture & cocktails = perfect!

  3. A book club nearly coming to blows over a duck leg- this sounds highly entertaining. Sounds like a great night

  4. That’s pretty funny (that you had to ask to see the blind tiger). Sounds like a tasty and fun evening out, though I rarely make it to Clapham.

    What a nice idea to have Christmas lunch with the bookclub. That’s never occurred to my group, so i’ll have to propose it next year.

  5. The mind boggles at who would actually order the turkey when the other options are so much more interesting. I also like the concept of ‘matching cocktails’, although I guess you could’ve done without a salt-rimmed cocktail glass with dessert!

  6. Wow that fish stew looks pretty amazing!

  7. Your story/meal has a “Russian ending”, the start was great (good price and starter) and the end was sad. Why “Russian ending” – I was told that Russians prefer movies to have sad endings.

  8. I too always order whatever other option there is other than turkey!
    I note that the book club Christmas presents in the background all appeared to be books! (did you all give each other the same one?!)

  9. Sasha – I know what you mean I used to study in Clapham and the High Street is a bit of a nightmare but this place is run by the Lost Society people so worth a visit

    Tori – Our book club nights are always entertaining!

    An American in London – I think it is nice to have something different to going to people’s houses.

    Mr Noodles – Yes matching cocktails were a great innovation and good value too in the price.

    Catty – It was easily the best starter.

    Easily good eats – A Russian ending – I love it! Great phrase

    LexEat – very observant of you! We do a secret santa (or KK as we would say in Oz) and give each other a book but they are all different.

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