Supper clubs and pop-up restaurants are the newest trend in London’s foodie scene. These days, underground dining experiences can be found at postcodes all over the city on Fridays, Saturdays and even week-nights. There’s even a new cookbook, Supper Club, by “anti-restaurant” epicurean Ms. Marmite Lover.
In the early days of supper clubs, talented home cooks would invite a bunch of strangers or semi-strangers “round to mine” for dinner via Facebook, Twitter or word of mouth. Now, the next generation of limited-time-only restaurants are all about a creative theme – collaborations between food and art, popping up in unusual venues – all dedicated to giving diners an experience to talk about. FIJI Water went behind the scenes with a few of its favourites:
The concept is simple: everything you eat and experience at the “Monday Chow” is contraband! Run by the intrepid Bonnie and Clyde, Stolen hosts supper clubs all over London; recent adventures include a take-over of a stunning arty town house in Notting Hill and sneaking into the Stables Market, Camden after hours.
Each menu is inspired by a famous chef, for example, Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social. It’s obvious that the Stolen team does its research. Rather than simply knicking recipes, they give diners a talk about the ”guest” chef’s background and signature dishes; almost like a home-made homage to the great cooks of the moment.
The intimate feel and diverse crowd are the best bits about this supper club – check out www.stolen.it for future dates and mailing list.
Named after the new East London overground trainline, Gingerline’s pop-up dining extravaganzas can be found anywhere between Stratford and Richmond, Islington and Clapham. You don’t know the location until receiving a text an hour beforehand and then must follow the paint splatters from the nearest station to a secret location.
The food is first class – last month the FIJI Water girls were treated to shared plates of tender poultry and more-ish pavlova. Each event lasts for a limited run of six or eight nights, almost like a show, and the production is equally theatrical. Most recently, at a blank canvas space in Forest Hill, Gingerline incorporated a puppet theatre and a labyrinth of reclaimed doors…slightly more tricky on the way out after sharing BYO wine around the ziz-zag dining table.
We love the fact that Gingerline is a creative showcase for London – even the menu is a collectible piece of art. Currently showing is the alternative traditional Christmas special! Sign up for first notice online or via Facebook.
Named after the arty East London studios in which it was born, Shacklewell Nights is one of the city’s original, and in our opinion, best pop-up restaurants. The dishes on each sumptuous but unfussy five course menu let the fresh, seasonal produce shine through.
The brilliant Claire Robertson and her team pride themselves on top-notch service and the ability to deliver Michelin-standard food from the teeniest kitchen in unusual venues such as furniture workshops and disused office blocks.
Coming up very soon is One Pig (15th December) – a collaboration with top chef Rosie Sykes of St John, and the launch of Matthew Herbert’s critically acclaimed album of the same name. As it seems, with everything that’s ‘hot’ at the moment…the venue is in Dalston.
For more supper clubs in your area check out www.londonfoodie.co.uk.
Photo credits: top and bottom, Alice Pennefather, middle Stolen Facebook page.