RECAP: Saffron Supper Club Persian New Year at Byblos
Saffron Supper Club is the brainchild of two passionate South Florida foodies, Sara Liss and Maude Eaton. Successful in their own right; Sara is a freelance writer for among others, Miami.com, and Maude hosts popular cooking classes and is an accomplished chef, they started gathering like minded food lovers for specially themed experiences focusing on Middle Eastern food, culture with a dash of poetry.
I was fortunate to attend the recent Saffron Supper Club at one of my favorite Miami Beach restaurants, Byblos, to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year that actually fell in March this year.
Promoted only thru the Saffron Supper Club Facebook page, one must be “in the know” to find out about these well planned, well orchestrated and well priced dinner pop ups. Saffron Supper Club, which describes itself as a “roving pop up dinner club” has hosted over 10 events since it’s inception, including this past January’s Open Sesame at Wynwood Yard…with a menu completely based on tahini.
The Byblos: A Persian New Year's Feast was a celebration that included many attendees dressed in authentic and colorful Persian accessories and jeweled headbands, and began at the downstairs bar and lounge at Byblos.
MIAbites featured Byblos in this recent article (http://www.miabites.com/home/2016/1/27/byblos-mezze-and-turkish-cuisine-on-miami-beach?rq=byblos) and if you have not yet experienced Chef Nelson’s exquisite and flavorful cuisine you are truly missing out.
The Nowruz cocktail was served in chilled metal cups and was a refreshing blend of rum, strawberry, basil syrup, lemon juice, soda, and topped with a basil leaf.
Passed appetizers included traditional kibbeh, a shredded duck falafel-like croqueta with a dribble of molasses and yogurt, two pides, traditional stuffed flatbread, and Labneh yogurt and honey topped toasts.
After 35 minutes of mingling with our fellow celebrants and by the way, Saffron Supper Club is a wonderful way to meet new people and a warm and welcoming setting for lone attendees, we were invited upstairs to the gorgeous Mezze Room where tables were set with menus detailing the next nine dishes.
Maude and Sara welcomed us all, and shared a bit of culture and history about Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the symbolic table set with seven offerings that represented health, prosperity and love hoped for in the New Year.
In addition, on each table was a clear bowl with goldfish representing fertility in the coming year.
They introduced Chef Nelson Fernandez, who explained each course and it’s Turkish influences and how the mixture of sweet and savory are important elements to Persian cuisine.
Wines from Zonin 1821 were poured freely beginning with a bright Prosecco, followed by a light white, a fruity red and finally a sweet Amarone style wine. Each wine paired perfectly with the dishes.
This is what we dined on:
First Course: (All three were outstanding and delicious and recommended starters if you go for dinner.)
Crispy Artichokes topped with Labneh yogurt and orange blossom honey
Lamb Roll stuffed with eggplant, Dukkah, Pickles, Tuum and Green Schug
Turkish Manti Dumplings with smoky eggplant, yogurt and molasses
Second Course: ( My favorite was the Cornish Hen and Sabzi Saffron rice)
Chargrilled Cornish Hen in a Lentil Sabzi sauce with crispy Fried leeks on top
Pan Seared Branzino in Harissa and Rose Buds with Grilled lemon
Sabzi rice with saffron and herbs
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi cheese, tahini and yogurt.
Dessert: Like many other International cuisines that focus on strong flavors and spices, sweet desserts are usually less important and these were no exception.
Chocolate Mousse cake with baklava topping
Yogurt Mousse pistachio cake
A thoughtful poem read by Sara and a cup of strong Turkish coffee ended the inspiring and flavorful evening.
You can be sure I will be back for dinner at Byblos and to other Saffron Supper Club pop up dinners.
Saffron Supper Club
LIKE them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SaffronSupperClub/timeline
1545 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139