I finally made it to my first supper club at the weekend. I've read about small restaurants run from private homes in places like Italy and Cuba, but more and more have been popping up around London in the last couple of years. I like the fact that the focus is on great cooking in a warm and more personal environment: it feels perfect for these more austere times and, if all supper clubs are as cosy as The Underground Restaurant, they are the perfect night out on a freezing winter's evening.
I've long had my eye on The Underground Restaurant, run by an enthusiastic home cook and food writer. Her blog The English Can Cook is a fantastic read, chronicling an obsessive attention to detail and sense of humour, which she brings to the table in the beautiful, huge, cosy flat from which she runs her supper club. What finally got me to get my act together to book a place was the special Thanksgiving feast she was hosting. (I always try to have a Thanksgiving feast, to celebrate alongside my esteemed American friends and, erm, eat a huge feast.) Staying true to her quest for authenticity, we were treated to several unusual dishes, some recipes given by friends and some taken from the Little House on The Prairie cookbook. This was marshmellows cooked with yams. Before...
...and after. It actually tasted ok, like a sweet puree.
This was a really odd combination of textures and flavour. Vegetables suspended in jelly. Americans really do eat jelly with savoury meals (my friend who went to college there confirmed this insane behaviour). I was really interested to try it but I can report that it was disgusting. Disgusting!
Visiting The Underground Restaurant was a unique experience; you are in somebody's home, which is odd, but in this case it is a huge, elegant flat with high ceilings and a luxurious bathroom, so it felt perfectly comfortable. The tables are mixed, so you're likely to get involved in some unexpected conversations with complete strangers. It was a really fun night out and nice to do something a bit different. Check The English Can Cook for upcoming events at The Underground Restaurant. I highly recommend it.
[Images with thanks to @MsMarmiteLover.]