Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Dining with a difference: The Spice Club Supperclub

on January 30, 2012

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On Friday, hubby (apparently now called Mr. J!) and I had a very special treat. We went to a supper club. Supper clubs are also sometimes called underground restaurants. It’s kind of a cross between a dinner party and restaurant eating. Or a dinner party for strangers perhaps. They’ve been slowly growing in popularity over the past few years. Basically, it’s private individuals, friends or family, cooking delicious food and opening their home to strangers. They operate on the fringes of legality so they’re secreta and you find out about them through word of mouth and contact them through email and the internet. We were text our location 24 hours beforehand. Which all adds to the excitement and mystery of an ‘event’.

So I thought, I’d break with tradition, and blog about our experience. And maybe, change the tradition and blog more about the restaurants and other culinary experiences we have, not just about the food I cook. What do you think? It was a suggestion some of our fellow diners suggested.

I kind of stumbled across it a few months back and thought it would be fun to try out. It’s great to try new dining experiences, meet new people and I loved the more informal nature of it compared to restaurants.

We chose The Spice Club, because it had great reviews, we love Indian food, and they had an event in January, which fitted with our other engagements. You can find out about them here http://spiceclubmanchester.com/ I found The Spice Club, through this website, which is a brilliant site for finding out more about the supper club movement in the UK http://supperclubfangroup.ning.com/

If you want to read more about supper clubs, here’s a guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/29/best-london-supper-clubs

In order to get around some of the legal issues, instead of getting a bill at the end, you give a donation, and at this supper club, they suggested a minimum of £25, which we were happy to pay – it was money very well donated! 10% of the donations are given to charity as well – there’s more about that on their website. The other thing you do is you take your own drinks – so they don’t have to worry about alcohol licenses.

We had a great time. The food was fantastic, the hosts were welcoming and friendly and had a lovely home. Our fellow guests were really lovely and the conversation hardly stopped all night! There were about 24 of us, on three tables in the host’s dining room. It was great to meet new, like minded people and have a more relaxed dining experience. If you went to a restaurant you only really talk to the people you go with – here you get to talk to complete strangers but it doesn’t feel strange at all. Whilst eating, fantastic home cooked food.

We had a five course Indian supper. And it was just beautiful. We started with Chaat, which I absolutely love! Never eaten them as a starter though, I’v always had them as a snack. They were so fresh and light and the spiced marsala veges were great too. Then we had lots of sharing dishes including Afghani chicken, a delicious chaana dhal, koftas, spiced potatoes served with raita, chapattis and rice. Every time the dishes started getting low, they’d be topped up with more, til we were so stuffed we could hardly eat any more!

And then came dessert of kulfi with jalebi (which I didn’t know that was what it was called but I used to eat it all the time in Nepal and India – love it so much!) and chai, which I adore (and has to be drunk with sugar in it – it’s the law). In fact, I am quite inspired to try and make my own chai from scratch….I shall research and experiment and come back on here and tell you all about it. I literally had to be rolled home. When I woke up the next morning I was still stuffed and didn’t eat at all until the evening (when I was starving again and we had chippy, but that’s another story!).

If you get the opportunity to go to a supper club, I highly recommend it. It’s a very different experience and a lo

t of fun. Even Mr. J enjoyed himself, and he’s not one for new social situations…he

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takes his time getting to know people first but he was happily chatting away like everyone else.

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