Walking up Kingsland Road and then merging onto Stoke Newington Street, I was wondering if I would ever find the venue for Shacklewell Nights’ latest dinner. Past rows of closed shops with the metal shutters locked tightly, Turkish grocers and off-licences, I spied a hipster with a clipboard in the battered open doorway of what seemed to be a long closed establishment. This had to be it. And it was.
After making my way past the entry room, it opened up into a (covered) still surviving Victorian street, (awesome!) complete with dwellings on both sides of the street, one serving as an open kitchen. Aperitifs and dinner was served in Ruby House, which was across the street from the kitchen, and is set over 5 floors of a Victorian townhouse, with plenty of retro furnishings and faded grandeur. The entire venue is known as MC Motors and is very shabby chic.
Auchentoshan was one of the sponsors and we got plenty of single malt whiskey cocktails before setting down to dinner. Shacklewell were serving roast chicken and I was asked by the organizers to recommend a red and white wine with dinner.
I chose the 2010 Terradora Falanghina to go with the chicken. Falanghina is one of the easier to pronounce Italian varietals, coming from the slopes of Vesuvius, it is one of favourite white wines. Falanghina is a wine made for food, full of minerality but having good structure and plenty of apple, quince and citrus notes. It is rather round on the palate but not oily more like a substantial, elegantly textured white wine and miles better then any pinot grigio. A good match with the roast chicken, I enjoyed it with the starter of langoustine as well, the wine’s citrusy character coming to the forefront.
In the middle of dinner, we were escorted, table by table, to a circa 1930’s decorated basement bar to sample Auchentoshan whiskey and learn a bit about the history of the whiskey. Luckily, we weren’t left to starve as sliders of oxtail tongue were on hand to stave off inebriation from the strong but smooth whiskey.
Lately, I’ve been drinking single malt whiskey’s with food and I have to say, with an ice cube or two, it can be a very good companion, especially for heartier foods and, of course, with chocolate. Auchentoshan is a Lowland whiskey and as such, is sweeter then say, the Talisker I had recently, not having the seaside iodine notes that Talisker has but rather exhibiting citrus and honeyed flavours.
After the whiskey tutorial it was back upstairs for dessert and lots more sampling of Auchentoshan and drinking into the night. A big thanks to Auchentoshan and Shacklewell Nights (Claire Roberson of Green Onions Supperclub and Jonathan Woolway of St. Johns Restaurant) for a delicious evening out.