Laura Jackson and Alice Levine – the supper club maestros – invite us to their imaginary BBQ
Thanks for the invite to your dream BBQ! Is there a dress code we should know about?
Laura: Yes! The theme ‘Mexico City in London’ – we’re both obsessed with Mexican food but I’m especially passionate after I went on an extended holiday there last year. It was a taco pilgrimage – I ate about nine meals a day. Mexican flavours are amazing and the food is great for low-key, DIY dishes, which is perfect for us because we’re quite ‘no-fuss’ when it comes to cooking. The dress code would therefore have to tie in with the Mexican theme.
What shall we bring?
Alice: It would be great if you could bring some Mexican beer like Pacífico. We’ll be serving micheladas – they’re a spicy twist on a bloody mary but with beer instead of vodka. They’re delicious, like a Mexican firework in your mouth.
Laura: We’ll also have watermelon margaritas, which are really refreshing. They’re simple to make – you just blend the melon, strain it, and add ice and tequila.
So what’s on the menu?
Laura: We’re having a massive barbecue with pork pibil – a dish fromthe Yucatán region that has a rich, deep flavour from chillies and oranges. We’ve also got some slow-cooked beef, which falls apart and is perfect for tacos. And there’s a DIY taco bar so guests can build their own from all their favourite ingredients. Just grab one of our brightly coloured plastic plates, like you get with the street food in Mexico.
Alice: For vegetarians, we’ve got some chargrilled red peppers, which are quite fleshy and fill up tacos. And lots of cheeses, avocados and black beans. We also have corn on the cob – grilled, then slathered in mayonnaise and lime juice, rolled in finely grated cheese and sprinkled with paprika. It’s the most delicious thing ever. And we’ve got plenty of condiments too, like lime-infused sour cream and hot sauce – we’re obsessed with Cholula, a traditional Mexican brand that you can buy in most supermarkets.
We’re going to have to stop talking and start eating. But do we need to leave space for pudding?
Laura: Yes, we’ll be having chocolate chilli pots. They’re adapted from one of our recipes for olive oil chocolate mousse – we’ve rejigged it to make them spicy. As the night winds down, we’ll also bring out churros and champagne ice lollies – Fortnum & Mason do great ones.
Remind us where the party is…
Laura: We’ve hired a pontoon on the canal where we live in London’s Hackney Wick. There’ll be loads of outdoor bistro lights strung up and Confetti System are decorating. They’re a New York- based company who create amazing installations out of metallic foil, so you can’t miss it. We’re covering every inch – think Las Vegas, Mexico and carnivale combined! And of course, there’s some oversized piñatas hanging around – jam-packed with Haribo.
Who will we be rubbing shoulders with?
Alice: Obviously our nearest and dearest – we don’t spend enough time with them – and some of our foodie friends like writers Rosie Birkett and Georgina Hayden. We’ve asked Claudia Winkleman to come – she’d make an amazing monobrowed Frida Kahlo – and Graham Norton. And some Mexican soap opera characters to add a bit of drama to the night. We wouldn’t tell guests who they are, so when they started arguing over, say, who the father of María’s child is, everyone would be wondering who the hell these fiery characters are!
What kind of music is on the playlist?
Alice: We’ve hired a Mariachi band to play all the latest hits with a Mexican twist – Rihanna’s Work and Drake’s Hotline Bling would sound great! And, of course, some classic Mariah and Whitney to sing along to.
How does the night end?
Laura: With lots of dancing, a game of limbo and a classy foil swan-shaped doggy bag so that everyone can take a little leftover food home with them.
Photography: Jon Enoch