As the daughter of a practised “dinner hostess” I learned the art of curling butter (whilst it was hard and then returned to the fridge), writing place names (gold or silver pens were de-rigeur), setting the table (silver cutlery to be polished,) and loading the sideboard until it was heaving with After Eight Mints, desserts, cheese and biscuits and bread sticks (very Margery Forbes-Hamilton).
As the daughter of a practised “dinner hostess” I generally helped out at the beginning then went off to meet friends at the pub and then trundled home to snack on whatever may have been left over (not much). The next morning I then helped to clear up all the debris.
As the daughter of a practised “dinner hostess” I also saw the stress levels it induced in my mum until the first guest turned up (my dad was always chilled out – the perfect foil to the hissy fits). So I crossed off being the hostess with most-ess from my ‘Top 10 Things To Do Before I’m 40’ list.
Despite the high stress levels, my mum and dad entertained their friends regularly and the conversations were guaranteed to be lively, exuberant and non-stop. I missed those so when presented with an invitation to go to a Supper Club I jumped at the chance. Stress free eating and drinking and no washing up was right up my strada.
Baby sitter installed we jumped in a cab and made our way to Crouch End for The Glass Kitchen Supper Club. Home to professional chef Francisco Capel-Lopez and his partner, this lovely house enjoyed a large glass kitchen-cum-dining-room (hence its name). We were welcomed in with a choice of cocktails and introduced to the other 3 pairs of guests. As this is not a licensed affair we brought our own wine (recommendations were sent ahead by Francisco allowing us to team up wine with the food); labels were added to the bottles so that you could easily identify them (although that might not have been the case by the end of the evening). Canapés of black pudding with egg bite and roasted aubergine mezze with torched goat’s cheese and fig crostini were served whilst we were all standing giving us to mingle with the other guests; it was a great way of breaking the ice and ultimately helped to stave off any awkward conversational moments that may have occurred by just plonking us down at the table.
Then it was grub up time. As the table was in the kitchen Francisco had nowhere to hide if anything went wrong, but ultimately he had no need to. A luscious starter of ventresca tuna ceviche with Iberico ham & piquillo pepper was followed by an excellent chunk of pork belly & roasted gnocchi with artichoke puree & roasted pistachio. Whilst the pudding of mango sun pie was a little on the large side for me it didn’t stop me polishing off the accompanying black sesame ice-cream. All the time, the wine and the conversation flowed (not about sex or house prices some may be pleased to know!). We wound up with coffee or tea, petit fours and a homemade liqueur of vodka humming with either fresh lemon or orange.
So are supper clubs the “new jam”? Well they certainly strike a balance between a restaurant’s sense of occasion with the jolly merriment of a 70’s dinner party. Also, because they rely on word of mouth to build up a client base they tend to be more innovative with their offers. Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that you will be served Michelin starred food, if it’s anything like The Glass Kitchen Supper Club then you will have fabulous food, fun, meet a good crowd, drink and talk lots and probably miss the last tube home!
For more information or to book for The Glass Kitchen Supper Club: https://www.facebook.com/theglasskitchensupperclub
or call 07584 428484