I love a good road trip, particularly when it involves gong in search of food, so when Taylah suggested we book tickets for one of Carole ‘No Ping No Bling‘ Mason’s Thai supper clubs I was keen to do so. I really like the fresh and lightness of Thai food, which is always plentiful in flavour but never feels too heavy despite the noodles and rice – plus it usually lacks dairy so it means I’m not going to suffer afterwards.
After nattering away with Taylah, we arrived at Carole’s home where we were offered drinks and met the other guests; Jay and Dee from Cook It Eat It Blog It Brum, some of Carole’s regulars and a few others who’d heard about the supper clubs via Twitter. Carole’s home is lovely and I’m very jealous of her fantastic kitchen, which we could see into whilst we were given appetisers and Carole told us about the inspiration for the day’s menu. We were also introduced to each other and whilst a dinner table of eight other strangers might be odd, everyone was so friendly it never felt it.
Up first we were given Ma Hor, sort of minced pork and prawn served on slices of pineapple. It was delicious, the chewy, slightly salty meat on the fresh juicy pineapple was a delicious constrast and I would’ve been happy with a plate of them. Our next appetiser was rump steak cooked with various forms of coriander, known as Neua Sawarn, which used corriander root which I’ve never seen before.
After our drinks were topped up we were led to the dining room, which as beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and a giant Buddha centrepiece – it was clear that Carole had really gone to a lot of effort to make sure that not only was the food fantastic, but the experience as a whole was. As we chatted away with those around us we were given Muu Satay, pork satay and peanut sauce which was delicious, and the skewers were passed round several times so we got plenty; and Prawn Pandanus, parcels of prawn and pork wrapped in pandanus leaf and steamed, accompanied by a hot and sweet chilli dip which gave it a nice kick.
This was followed by a street food soup called Pork Hok Parlow, which contained pork belly, half an egg and was flavoured with star anise. Aniseed is one of those flavours I’m not big on, but this was well balanced and I enjoyed the flavour of it which didn’t overpower everything else, rather just give it a nice hint.
I was beginning to feel a bit full by this point, but our final savoury course was delivered; Chicken Kow Soi Noodles. Carole explained that this dish was a little different because although it was a typical Chiang Mai shop house dish, similar to Malaysian laksa noodles, it had a bit of a DIY element to it with diners able to add fish sauce, crunch vegetables and crushed chilli paste to our own tastes. I love being able to play with my food so enjoyed this dish and added some crunchy veg and a little of the chilli paste, which enhanced the already lovely flavours.
By this point I was already pretty stuffed, but it would’ve been rude to say no to pudding and out final course was sticky rice and mango, made with fresh coconut milk – like Thai rice pudding, full of flavour but and less of a glutenous mess thank the school-dinner variety. After that we retired to the living room for some coffee, which was welcomed as I was so full I was ready for a nap!
Sadly Taylah and I had to scoot off home as we’d been there for well over four hours, although the time had flown by amongst all the lovely food and great company. Whilst I enjoyed all the dishes, the Ma Hor and Chicken Kow Soi Noodles were particular favourites, but I would be more than happy to see any of the dishes on return menus – and I really do hope to return to another Thai supper club. It was lovely to hear how passionately Carole spoke about the food she was serving, the origins and plans for some cooking classes. Although the supper club might be a bit of a trek out of town I’d highly recommend it for great food and lovely company.
Disclosure: I paid for my own meal and I tried to give Taylah some petrol money but she wouldn’t have any of it, so I owe her a cocktail instead (when she’s not driving, obviously). All opinions remain my own, as do the photos so please don’t use them without permission – which is probably a little less easy now I’ve bothered to put a logo on them.