Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Underground Supper Club

Not three days later after returning from my Icelandic life-changing adventures, Churches and I had a date with a supper club I'd heard about.

It was generally described to me as "The Underground Supper Club: where you can eat in a vintage tube car while chatting up strangers."

Yes, it's true, I was lured into the idea by the hope that maybe I could meet my future someone. It was even advertised on their webpage as a place where several couples had met their mates. Plus I liked the whole concept of this dinner club thing - bringing together strangers to eat several course meals together and strike up interesting conversation. All things I like.

So after work that Friday Churches and I left and sought out this underground supper club. Tickets were about £40 for the several-course meal we were supposed to have.

Unfortunately the instructions on how to get there were anything but clear. They said to follow the google map directions, which we did with uncertainty. We found ourselves in the middle of a business park that held a recycling center and some sort of warehouse storage. A bit creepy. We did eventually find someone working at one of these who directed us in the right direction, while finally getting ahold of the actual people in charge of the club on the phone to get them to confirm where they were.

Of course this would be the day I decided to rebreak my feet back into heels. A terrible choice. We were off course by about a 15 minute walk. Sounds short when you're wearing comfortable shoes but it's slightly torturous experience once you factor in heels.

We did eventually make it there, after meeting two other girls who were clearly lost. We walked in as a foursome, having chatted about what we were doing. It was indeed a vintage underground car, hoisted off the ground and made into a serviceable restaurant.

Surprisingly cute.

We were warned about how cold it would be in the car, since the windows and doors didn't exactly seal shut (just like normal in-service carriages). They nicely provided blankets for every seat though, exactly for this purpose.

And about an hour later, dinner started.

First course was a marinated daikon with a deep fried ball of risotto. I'd have to say the daikon was quite good and tasty; the ball of deep fried risotto surprisingly dry considering what it looked and smelled like. I was eager to get to more courses, having purposefully eaten less at the office that day to account for our several course meal.

The second course was a bean sprout salad, tossed with oil and lots of parsley (flat leaf, not curly), and marinated enoki mushrooms. I enjoyed this but it was again still a bit plain. I was a bit underwhelmed with the food so far, considering its price and the trek we had to make to get out there.

But I was enjoying the company immensely - seems Churches and I were not the only ones thinking we'd meet some foodie friends and hopefully a new future someone. Everyone at the table was female and young (mid 20s to early 30s I'd say) except one older French gentlemen, who then exclaimed to the waiter that he enjoyed the company immensely (hilarious).

Churches and I got about 9 restaurant recommendations from around London from this group. Fantastic to know other foodies who have been here longer and who have a definite opinion on what is the best Chinese or pub in the city. We took down the names of the ones that several people agreed were the best of something. So many new places to try.

The main course was duck on a bed of mashed daikon. It was a bit dry to be honest, but certainly one of the tastier things that had come out so far.

I should say here that the chef is not professionally trained as far as I've understood - he started out doing supper clubs in his basement (hence their original name, Basement Galley) and eventually expanded to include the tube car we were now sitting in (which is part of a museum in the daytime). I love the idea behind it but the homecookedness does show through and the choice of ingredients was still a little lackluster.

And finally, the dessert. A mille foie with blueberry and walnut creams. This looks better than it tasted; it was not very sweet and the flavors were a bit dull. Not to be a drag about it.

Overall the food was underwhelming and Churches and I agreed that though it was nice to meet all of our foodie tablemates, it wasn't worth the price in the end. The hunt for a tasty supper club with eligible males continues.

After dinner the chef came around after a speech to the carriage and asked us how the food was. I imagine this is the time where he normally gets lots of praise and ego-boosting, as he stood there quite a long time trying to suss out compliments from us.

Unfortunately for him, our table was full of true foodies, so no one had much to say about the food, though there was much commentary on the carriage atmosphere itself, which was lovely. I finally volunteered that I enjoyed very much the pickled daikon from the first dish. This was in truth my favorite part of the meal.

A worthwhile experience but one for the history books. Onto more restaurants, based on the wonderful list Churches and I acquired.

Another experience in London, checked. :)

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