Until recently, the only club I was interested in was the sort that puts a lot of chocolate on your biscuit. Now, however, I've finally found my club niche – one to which I have deep connection, a truly natural affinity: the supper club. Don't ask me the difference between a supper club and a pop-up - I'm still not entirely clear - but their like are fast becoming the best way to eat in London.
The latest supper club venture to join the London rota is Donatina's Kitchen, a Neapolitan dining experience run by friends Ana and Jen, who turn out incredible, rustic, southern Italian fare, with style. Their tagline, ‘to eat well isn't a luxury, it's a right', might just become my new personal mantra.
The last of their supper clubs that I visited was in a purpose-built pop-up space, but the incredible morsels we were served – from crunchy taralli snacks and slithers of mortadella, to the irresistible melanzane Parmigiana starter – transported us straight to the bona fide kitchen of Ana's nonna.
Likewise, the main course was an education into gutsy Italian style, with pizza chi cicole (pork belly woven into a doughy bread with divine herbs and seasoning – a speciality of the tiny villages around Benevento) proving a seriously moreish hit. Even the broccoli, fried with chilli and garlic, was a triumph, and my companion, who rarely eats dessert, found herself scraping the last of the baked figs and creamy Strega ice cream from her bowl with gusto.
The key with supper clubs, though, is as much to do with the company – the strangers you meet awkwardly at the beginning of the night who are the friends you leave with by the end – as it is the fabulous food. Foodie story swapping - invariably those attending supper clubs are equally passionate about flavours - provides the backdrop for the evening, and sharing tips, reliving meals and imparting restaurant must-visits is almost (but not quite) as fun as the food itself. So, if you haven't partaken already, give a London supper club a try – the only London dining experience you'll find more immersive is a bathtub full of baked beans.
11 of the best supper clubs in London
1) Donatina's Kitchen: Ballsy southern Italian fare that packs a serious flavour punch.
2) Art of Dining: Creative wizardry (a tie-up with the National Trust means seriously cool settings) and food to match.
3) Gingerline: Themed dinners located in mystery settings somewhere on the East London line.
4) Disappearing Dining Club: Dinner and dancing, with quirky food and compelling company guaranteed.
5) The Wandering Chef - for their latest pop-up concept, Opium Nights, outrageous experiential dining sensation The Wandering Chef recently encouraged guests to participate in a “seriously sexy dessert" where profiteroles were served up on the naked bodies of burlesque beauties (pictured above).
6) The Camberwell Kitchen Supper Club: Run by a boyfriend and girlfriend duo, this gluten-free supper club is hosted in their own flat.
7) Annie's Supper Club: Annie's gluten-free menus and just-outside London location has been proving a winning combination for several years.
8) The Secret Larder: This popular weekly supper club and is housed in Vagabond, a coffee shop in Highbury.
9) Secret Sunday Lunch Club: Billing themselves as ‘dishing up a proper, big, fat, roast Sunday lunch', head to Notting Hill for a serious dose of roast perfection.
10) Clandestinos: An intimate supper club for just 12 diners, tucked within a pretty cottage in Finsbury Park.
11) Flaming Flamingo: private chef Kali serves up four or five courses to guests in her own home. You can even hire her for a private supper club.
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