It's not every Friday night that you have dinner on the exact same spot where you can often be found on Saturday morning sweating along to zumba class. Or dine in a room with a mixture of complete strangers, the odd friend picked up from book club and evening classes, and quite a lot of food bloggers and tweeters. Or swipe a wine recommendation using a little light Twitter stalking of one of the other guests. And, unfortunately, it's not every Friday night that you get fed a five course Middle Eastern feast by Jo and Ivana.
But this is what happened to me last Friday night, at the second ever Plate Lickers Supper Club.The top secret location was St Paul's Church on Hills Road, complete with pews and stained glass windows, which added extra atmosphere as night fell. There were three large tables, decorated with jam jars and flowers, and with our names written on the tablecloths. (Actually, I really liked the assigned seats - it removed any potential
awkwardness of finding somewhere to sit, especially if you're on your
own.) There was something of a wedding atmosphere - lots of people thrown together, a mix of friends and strangers, plenty of food and a slightly celebratory atmosphere. Conversation on my table ranged from naming famous Julians to THAT viral relationship breakdown, from the commercialism of the Olympics to a lengthy discussion of restaurant recommendations in Cambridge. (Conclusion of the latter: I really need to go Hakka.)
But it was really the food we were there there for. And, from the pomegranate and vodka cocktail at the start, to the stuffed peaches and almond and polenta cake for pud, there was not a duff course among them. The aubergine dip was fabulously smokey and moreish (and I'm started to consider myself quite the connaisseur (obsessive?) of aubergine dishes these days). The gooseberry relish was also particularly good, and worked wonders at cutting through the fatty richness of the pork belly. For a five course meal, it was surprisingly light - a green gazpacho and mint tea sorbet provided fresh, vibrant mouthfuls at just the right moments. So I went away perfectly full and very happy. And quite proud of myself for not drinking my entire bottle of Austrian white - one of the disadvantages of going solo is that you have to be very disciplined about your alcohol consumption!
I'd really recommend seeking out the next Plate Lickers Supper Club. (Keep an eye on Jo and Ivana's blogs.) It was a really sociable evening in an interesting location and the food was just fantastic.What more can you ask for on a Friday night?
PS There were so many food bloggers there I didn't even get to meet all of them. So there should be plenty of write-ups. Here are some links:
Oh! Not Another Food Blog
The Moving Foodie Blog