Pop-up restaurants can be great fun, serve excellent food and take place in a huge variety of locations – from rooftops to disused tube carriages, they really do spring up everywhere. But once upon a time, they started off in people’s homes and that’s where they continue to be at their best. Here’s why.
Eat in a Michelin-trained chef’s house and pay a fraction of the price it would cost to eat in a Michelin restaurant? Yup. You can do that if you eat at a pop-up in someone’s home. Michelin-trained chefs who do pop-ups include Pratap Chapal, who's worked at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, Chez Bruce, Cinnamon Club and Galvin Bistrot; and the Cuisson chefs, who've worked at Le Cinq, Galvin at Windows, La Gavroche,The Square and Le Trianon.
Often, pop-ups are BYOB – none of this paying three or four times the retail price for a shoddy bottle of wine. You can bring your own, so not only can you choose a wine that goes really well with the menu, you can pay, say, £15 for a really nice bottle, that would’ve cost £60 if you bought it in a restaurant. And if you prefer a locally brewed craft beer, or a fancy cocktail, then just take it with you and enjoy it with your meal.
You can snoop
Think 'Through the Keyhole' but without the annoying Lloyd Grossman. You get to have a little snoop around other people's homes – play music on their jukebox, take inspiration from their interior design, or pick up ideas for how to pimp your own home kitchen. One of the most beautiful homes we've seen is that of the London Foodie Supper Club, where the organiser hosts pop-ups several times a month.
Taste food from the chef's own kitchen
Where better to try someone's food than in their own home? Home cooking is surely the most comforting, and as you're eating in a home not a restaurant, the food always exceeds expectations. The chefs cook their best food in their own kitchen, so you get the chance to eat it where it's created. The food hasn't had to travel, with ingredients delivered straight to their house and everything cooked right there.
Meet new people
If you go to a pop-up in a venue, you'll either be seated on individual tables, or sharing tables. Go to one in someone's home and 99 percent of the time you'll be on a shared table, touching elbows with strangers. It might sound uncomfortable, but you probably both love food so there's a great starting point for any conversation. You can celebrate the food together, maybe sing happy birthday to a new pal and definitely end up with a few more social media followers.
To find your nearest pop-up in someone's home, head to:
Still hungry? Here's some more cool supper clubs to try out.