I was recently asked to attend the first ever ChamCham supper club at Moka Lounge recently. Having sampled what they can do back back at the Roath Summer Fest in July I was more than happy to chow down on some authentic African cuisine.
I was joined by my partner (in crime) on the evening and fashionably late as usual but still rewarded with a welcome drink to get us in the mood for the imminent spice fest. The supper club was upstairs in Moka and was nicely decorated for the evening with some table nibbles of little crackers and what I found out to be some sweat inducing hot chilli chutney that certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted and glad i don’t fall into that category. It gave us a inkling of things to come and i was more than happy with a bit of heat.
Not having a chance to ponder over the menu prior to the event plus i thought it would be more fun having each course as a suprise although I hadn’t had anything like the menu read anyway when i did get a chance when we sat down.
I wasn’t sure on the plan of attack for the evening as there were quite a few dishes on the menu so I thought we would have a choice for each course. Little did I know how Nanu liked to party as we were having everything on the menu!
First up on the starters was cubed sweet plantains with spiced baked beans with a twist, served with french melba toast. The guys told us the twist was they were actually baked beans used instead of the normal beans used in African cooking that take about 2 days to boil on low so they were more intwined with our palate back in little old Cardiff.
They weren’t no standard beans though. Delicately spiced and not to overpowering with plently of fresh limes on hand to add a citrus kick to each dishes. The soft plantains and crispy melba adding another level of texture to the homely dish. Luckily we were served each dish on it’s own to give us a bit of a breather in between.
Second starter was the oxtail soup with soft dumplings and crusty bread. This dish reminded me of my grans Welshy cawl she serves up for our tribe of 20 some Tuesdays up the pub and was so heart warming. Rich gravy with silky ribbons of oxtail mopped up with chunks of buttery bread. I could of filled up on this alone. I’ll be honest i’ve only had oxtail to my knowledge as a kid in Heinz oxtail soup but we all know that’s nothing to write home about.
First of the two mains was chicken granat stew with basmati rice. Granat as I soon found out was peanut. Tender morsels of chicken with a very pronounced smack of nuttiness. I’ve played around with peanut and kimchi dishes but I’d never tasted anything quite like this.
Llio was a course of antibiotics from the doctors, which had led to a loss in appetite. Normally I’d doing a little dance under the table but seeing as we were only half way through and already had more than a normal 3 course meal I wained at helping her out.
In true African or at least in the ChamCham family the guys kindly offered to box up what she couldn’t get through. It wasn’t only her starting to struggle mind as the table next to us had taken up the offer to take leftovers home too.
Something more towards what i’ve sampled in the past up next with jerk lamb shank, creamy sweet potato mash, red wine jus and side of seasonal root veg. I’d had their jerk chicken back at Roath Summer Fest along with a box of suprises but I absolutely love a good lamb shank if cooked well.
True to form the lamb was a behemoth of a portion especially considering we’d already had a main course with rice, but who am i to complain! The lamb was cooked to perfection and I could of eaten it with a spoon with it leaving the bone with little to no effort. A rich, sticky jus added a punch of flavour to the mildly spiced lamb mountain. The lamb was delish but the only feedback was it could of been a tad bit warmer for my liking but I didn’t leave a fleck of meat on the bone after resorting to what god gave me to get the last of it off.
Llio might of well have gone to sleep by now as the whafting trail of food being brought out turned her smile upside down as she struggled to eat more than a couple of fork fulls even though it tasted amazing. I wasn’t too disheartened as the lamb made it into my lunch box the day after and filled me up for the rest of the day too.
The group as a whole agreed on a half hour gap between the courses so we could do a few star jumps and squats to make room for not one but two desserts.
First of the two was a homemade coconut loaf cake served with warm rum vanilla sauce. Expecting something lemon drizzle esque myself but the cakes were individually cooked somewhat like a muffin, doused in fragrant and boozy pool of white sauce. This was stodge porn to the max and we could of shared one between us…but i didn’t. I love coconut, i love rum and I put vanilla in most of my breakfast apart from bacon sandwiches. Coconut does have a tendency to dry things out, well at least when i’ve attempted coconut pancakes but the rum and vanilla sauce acted as the perfect lubricant between the spoon and my greedy lips.
Last but not least was as well earned dish to soothe the numbing gums from all the heat throughout the feast. A ginger beer, rum and coconut sorbet gave a pleasant zing and brought the tantalising journey through West African delicacies.
Well what can i say I absolutely loved the evening from start to finish. From the delicious and perfectly spiced banquet to the welcome and hospitality from what was a total family affair. The group we sat next to gave us a bit of insight as they were friends of the family and it was exactly like attended one of their parties in the house with mountains of food made with love.
Everyone working were family from Nanu (the grandmother) the head of the kitchen who cooked the majority of the courses to the father and children all digging in, helping out and talking us through each course. They were all so friendly and really felt like we were one of the adopted family members.
I loved that they boxed all the bits that weren’t finished for everyone who couldn’t finish to take home, that didn’t include me obviously. We also had a pot of Nanu’s now famous hot sauce to take home, which i’ve put to good use more than once since I got home.
The price for the evening with 6 courses was just £25, which was an absolute bargain. We were both asked to attend the evening as guests but we loved the expeirence we did give £20 tip each just because we both loved the food, the hospitality amazing and everyone was just so lush.
If you like your spicy food and a lot of it then don’t hesitate to book onto one of the next events because I know i will if they do a different menu. Not because I didn’t like it but I was living off it for a week with the doggy bag we took home so i’d like to try something else if they do alter what’s on offer.
Make sure you follow ChamCham on Facebook to find out about their next supper club event or upcoming food festivals they’re attending.