Supper clubs How unpredictable dinner parties are rivalling restaurants

It’s Friday night. The weekend is finally here. You’re getting hungry but you don’t want to cook, so going to a restaurant seems to be the perfect solution. Or is it? While someone else will take care of the washing up, your night out is likely to come with a mediocre wine list, hefty price tag and a long wait.

This isn’t the way you want to start your weekend and it doesn’t have to be: supper clubs could be the perfect alternative.

What’s a supper club?

Essentially, it’s a dinner party where you pay to attend. The number of diners is usually restricted and the setting is infor- mal. It can range from anywhere between eight people in the host’s home, to 40 people in an art gallery. The hosts are often professionally trained chefs and the food is exceptional. Better still, you’ll end up paying around half of what you’d pay for similar food in a restaurant. Plus, the drinks policy is almost always “bring your own bottle”, so you could treat yourself to some champagne and still save money.

Each supper club is unique and therefore it’s hard to predict what your experience will be like. Bear this in mind when inviting people to attend a supper club, as it’s not for everyone: it’s a long way from the à la carte at your local eatery. But, as long as you have an open mind, you’re likely to walk away with some food prep secrets, insights on a foreign cuisine and an ex- panded palette. It’s something you’re less likely to discover at a restaurant, unless you go via an airport. The experience

Let me take you through what to ex- pect at a supper club. On arrival the host will share a bit about themselves, their heritage and their experience. You might meet a Michelin-trained chef who lacked the freedom to experiment at an upmarket restaurant, or perhaps food stylists who want to showcase their tal- ent not only through photography but through shared dining experiences, too.

Supper clubs are like dinner parties with an edge. The chef will design a menu, usually of multiple courses, and will share his or her insight about the dish and why it has been chosen for the event. Everyone is expected to arrive at the same time, on time, and will enjoy the same food – unless you have specific dietary requirements. It’s similar to a tasting menu but is usually much better value and more seasonal than what you would experience at a restaurant.

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