26 February 2014

Dinner on the Tube. Well, gourmet dining on an Underground train.

As a bit of a closest tube fan, when I saw that there was a tube Supperclub, I was rather upset to find out that the first one had sold out in a matter of hours. A few months later, some intensive Google searching, and a panicked text message later (to my mischief-in-arms friend on holiday in Spain) we were booked onto a Foodie journey I won't forget in a hurry. Fast forward to one Friday evening fairly recently, and we found ourselves wrapped in thoughtfully provided blankets, wine in hand, ensconced on a London Underground carriage somewhere in North London, knife and fork poised for business. As you do.
 
 
Forget late night egg & cress sarnies quietly snaffled in a corner seat, drunken pasties clutched in a tipsy hand (which only minutes earlier was clasping that last, ill-advised glass of wine) or even the worst of the worst - a kebab with a side of chips and curry sauce (only eaten because you know that all the alcohol sloshing inside your belly could kill off diphtheria). This is most certainly none of the above.
 
 
The whole Supperclub 'movement' seeks to take diners out of stuffy coporate environments, and provide a way for entrepreneurial chefs to showcase themselves - and hopefully earn a few pingas without staggering overheads. Essentially they are part-time restaurants  where you go to eat delicious dinners for much less than you'd pay in a big name establishment. They are usually hosted in the home of the chef (or roped in accomplice) where you are sat with other selected diners and served a menu of home cooked delicacies. It's a well established Foodie craze, with roots in Prohibition speakeasies and Cuban paladares.  



We simply didn't know what to expect, excitedly shivering and walking to our quaint restaurant. What I didn't expect? The industrial location, the welcoming serving staff, the evident passion in the chefs and the meticulous detailing throughout the meal.
 
 
Warmed gluten free bread for me, handmade proper bread for the normal people served with herbed butter.
 

The hardest decision on the night was actually where to sit. Make friends with the long table, or be frightfully frightful on a table for 3. We went for frightfully frightful, but happened to be sat with the loveliest Australian journo (her mate wasn't quite so lucky - but it certainly made for an unforgettable evening!)



I loved the delicacy of botanical flavour pairings; the rhubarb, scallops and pork starter;
 

Parsnip, julienned apple, a counter touch of delectable peanut butter, peppery St John's Wort and I-want-to-say-Pork-but-it-may-not-have-been. (Bad blogger, I know, but I was too busy eating to take notes - not that it doesn't really matter as the chefs change the menu monthly according to seasonality and whim.) Regardless, it was a delight.
 

Tender Lamb neck (something new to me) with a surprisingly aniseedy/liquorice rub, faggot and perfect, creamy vegetable mash. Tasty, and new.

As ever with the gourmet, comes delicate serving sizes.
 

My dinner date doesn't like waffles (why, I don't understand - what is there to dislike?) but I can certainly confirm that the caramel/honeycomb was divine. And yes, those are rain drops - the poor chefs and serving staff not only battled the smallest kitchen I've ever to seen feed nearly 30 people, but the unwilling elements to boot.

 
My gluten-free option was a baked apple with caramel & berry compote, and on a cold Winter's evening, there was absolutely nothing better.

 
The whole meal was topped with a divine dark chocolate salted biscuit and piping hot coffee to warm the cockles of your heart.

 
Of course we couldn't leave without pretending to drive the train - but those photos will go with me to the grave.
 
Here, have some forks.
 

Possibly my best advice is to catch a cab from the nearest station, and either go in summer or with your thermals. We certainly earnt our dinner that night, wandering in the cold trying to search for the venue, and overshooting it by a long way. And just so so you know, the train (sadly) isn't a moving one, fixed in place, but no less quirky because of the variety of it's neighbours. I can't tell you what or who they are, you'll have to go visit.
 

I was a restaurant, picnic or campside BBQ girl. Oh no, not any more. 
 
I recommend the @ThePickledFork's #tubedining collaboration with the @BasementGalley team - it's certainly an Underground (pun intended) Supperclub with a difference. Just be warned the price is without wine but I still think it's worth it for the experience. And the astonished looks on people's faces afterwards.
 

20 comments :

  1. "Here, have a fork" - I love these quirky kinds of dinners - so unique you bond with people around you (something I'd rarely do in an actual restaurant) If you love waffles and feel like travelling, you should try the "Tram Experience" sometime in Brussels. Same concept but above ground and you move! I hear it is fabulous: http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/BE_en/minisite_tramexperience.do

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    1. I simply couldn't resist :D
      It really was so random & fun! Ooooh, that looks awesome!

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  2. I was so looking forward to this post! This looks so fun. Usually I hate sitting on a tube, but if there is delicious food involved I am sold!

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    1. I know, that's the premise I was sold on too!
      I love the architectural & historical quirks of the tube (not commuting) - all those random little things that if don't know they are there, you miss.

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  3. I love everything about this post- the food, the quirky ideas, the being wrapped in blankets! x

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    1. Those blankets were lifesavers - it was such fun!

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  4. Usually, the thought of eating food on the tube would make me gag, but this...this looks nice. What a unique experience!

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    1. I'm not a keener either - have you seen all the 'Respect your commuting neighbours by not eating'... this throws it all out of the window!

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  5. This sounds so great, I was looking forward to the post as well! I think I'd be a big wimp and go in the summer though, poor chefs having to be in the rain!

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    1. We loved how they abashedly apologised for the rain - we all just laughed & tucked in!

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  6. This looks like a lot of fun and some good food!!

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  7. This sounds like so much fun. Can we do something like this the next time I'm in London?!!! (you know, like in a year or two...)

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    1. Most definitely! And a Who talking tour :D

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  8. This sounds like so much fun! And that food, yummy! They have a food train in Napa Valley that is on my bucket list.

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  9. This is just brilliant. What a treat!

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  10. I've heard of food trains before but certainly not of food tubes! Such a cool idea!

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