Supper clubs have been around for donkeys’ years, so anyone who wants theirs to make a mark on Londoners’ consciousness these days has to have a pretty awesome USP. Luckily, the capital continues to provide a wild night out in supper club form. Here’s our pick of London’s envelope-pushing supper clubs, all offering deliciously different dishes and cut-above cocktails.
London's coolest supper clubs
The Art of Dining, Haggerston
Blast off to another foodie dimension
Fancy travelling a few decades for your dinner? For their latest interactive foodie pop-up, this creative lot are taking diners to another time-space dimension. It’s 1965 again, but the countries participating in the space race – Britain among them – have their sights set on Mars. Your five-course feast, cooked by a former Moro chef, represents each country in the race. During the evening, one ‘gastronaut’ will be chosen to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before…
Operation Red Rocket runs April 26-May 13. £55 including food and welcome drink. Visit www.theartofdining.co.uk/buy-tickets/ for further details.
The top chef testing ground
This permanent restaurant was conceived as a vessel for pop-ups: instead of a resident kitchen team, there’s a revolving line-up of guest chefs. Some, like Oklava’s Selin Kiazim, or Elizabeth Allen (ex-Pidgin), are testing the waters ahead of their restaurant debut; some are supper clubbers looking for a new stage; others are big-name chefs elsewhere, keen to show Londoners what we’re missing. The only guarantees are a good time, envelope-pushing food and a completely different experience on each visit.
Visit Carousel's website to see upcoming residencies.
Gingerline, various locations
The masters of immersive dining
Although Gingerline has created some amazing clandestine culinary adventures since its 2010 debut, its Chambers of Flavour series remains its masterpiece. Last year, The Chambers of Flavour v2.0 – rebooted with five brand-new parallel dining realities, each featuring one tongue-tantalising course – launched and immediately sold out. The good news is that the next batch of tickets (for June 2017 onwards) go on sale on February 28. Tickets (£55–£70) sell out faster than Glasto, so sign up to Gingerline’s mailing list to get ahead of the pack.
Find out more about Gingerline events.
Gramounce, various locations
Meals with an artistic message
We’re always hearing about the lack of funding directed to the Arts; for the last few years, the artists behind this supper club have taken matters into their own hands, staging multi-course meals dreamed up by a specific artist around a certain theme – from superstition to obsessive love. The idea is that the dining experience makes diners feel comfortable enough to properly engage with the artist’s work – and because proceeds are shared equally among the collaborators, everybody goes home happy.
The next Gramounce event takes place at the end of April, featuring artist Phoebe Baines. Visit Gramounce’s website for further details.
Film and fine-dining: no popcorn required
Another dine-and-do hybrid, each month KinoVino offers arthouse films followed by a feast inspired by the events on screen. The founder enlists top chefs and professional set designers to conjure up the right setting and ambience for each event; she also brings her cinematic knowledge to bear on the fine choices of flick. In March, KinoVino will support Kinoteka’s Polish Film Festival with a Polish-themed event; in April, chef Yasmin Khan will cook dishes that speak to the themes in Iranian arthouse film, ‘Women Without Men’.
Find out more about KinoVino events.
London in the Sky, Chelsea
Dinner with a view
If heights get your stomach churning, then this bucket-list dining experience, which combines altitude with adrenaline (and gourmet dishes from a series of Michelin-starred chefs) is definitely not for you. Diners are fastened into their seats, ‘Nemesis’ style, whereupon the 22-seater table, complete with a central kitchen, is lifted 100 feet into the air. You’ll feast on an exhilarating breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner with unparalleled views of London and envy-inducing Instagram opportunities – just don’t drop your phone, yo.
Tickets for London in the Sky 2017 (from £50) go on sale on February 27, for sittings July 19–30. Visit the website for more information.
Residencies on rotation at this ‘permanent pop-up’
Inspired by the likes of Carousel, Lordship Lane’s Platform 1 welcomes all manner of supper-club start-ups, each of which takes to the stoves for four months. It’s a cool, genuinely supportive set-up – chefs can use herbs and vegetables from the venue’s garden, and even the wines change with each new intake. Smoke & Salt – a high-end supper club focused on smoked, cured ingredients – is currently in residence; their five-course set menu (£35) features unexpected versions of familiar dishes, from truffled chicken wings to miso-laced cauliflower cheese.
Slap Ya Papa, various locations
With typical Deep South generosity, these supper-club supremos don’t just feed you – they throw a party in your honour. 2015’s sell-out event was a Bayou banquet featuring a multi-course feast, quality cocktails and live blues; last year they pulled off a Thanksgiving happening that segued into a Christmas knees up. This year’s theme is still as hazy as the Bayou swamps upon which it’s themed, but there will be barbecued seafood, jazz and performance art. We just hope the British weather measures up to New Orleans’ sub-tropical standards.
Find out more on Slap Ya Papa’s website.
Supper in a Pear Tree, Battersea
Art on and off the plate
What meal doesn’t taste better after spending an hour or two staring at a naked stranger? Each month, Supper in a Pear Tree combines a life-drawing class with a gourmet meal, and they sell out pronto. Artist Charlotte Partridge leads the class; chef Annabel Partridge, who trained under Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries Café, then brings out a series of dishes that could pass as artworks themselves – from lobster with ‘green goddess’ dressing, tomatoes and samphire, to cumin-seasoned pork belly with salsa verde.
The next available Supper in a Pear Tree event takes place on Wednesday March 29. See the website for upcoming available dates.
That Hungry Chef, Archway
Fantastical themes in the hands of an experienced chef
Pratap Chahal, a chef whose CV includes Claridge’s and Cinnamon Club, knows a thing or two about fine dining – but it’s in his own home that he can really let his imagination run wild. His quick-selling supper clubs are based around all sorts of ambitious ruses, from edible scents to his current project: a gastronomic interpretation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The seven-course menu includes dishes entitled ‘Mock Turtle Soup’, ‘Jabberwocky’ and, of course, ‘Eat Me’. Prepare to be dazzled.
‘Alice in Wonderland: Multi-Sensory Dining’ (£60) is sold out until March 17. Check out That Hungry Chef’s website for more details.
Now discover London's best secret bars
Enjoy a night out somewhere different this weekend and discover the capital's best hidden bars and nightlife. Sink a drink in one of London's secret drinking dens or spend an evening at an underground event. Check out our guide to hidden bars and nights out in London.
Bad feng shui, misbehaving ley lines – call it what you like, some restaurant and bar sites seem doomed to fail. No perfectly central location or huge budget can save an address that has seen owner after owner pour fortunes into a project only to have it go belly-up. Number 4a Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, has long been one of those blighted sites, going back to when Samuel Pepys popped in for a stewed coffee and a stale bacon butty after clubbing in Leicester Square. If anyone can make a bad site work, it must be chef-restaurateur Marcus Wareing. He’s one of the golden boys of London gastronomy, picking up Michelin stars the way most of us collect Nectar points. Now he’s aimed his sights on Covent Garden’s tourists. Part of the problem with number 4a is that it’s a huge concrete box, partitioned by a mezzanine floor. As a result, the noise levels are like a carnival sound system. Every hoot and holler is amplified up along the front of the building and into the upper floor. Even at lunchtime the noise levels were offputting. But we liked our dishes. Slim aubergines had been glazed with harissa and grilled, served with dollops of yoghurt and ground peanuts, coriander and chilli – appealing to both eye and palate. Toast slivers were served with a chorizo spread, simple and very tasty. A disc of olive oil cake was topped with blackberry jam and a pipe of pâtissier’s custard – a novel combination, but it worked. The above dishes remain on the menu. Others we t
Venue says: “Experience our summer lunch menu. Seasonal ingredients and creative dishes. Two courses for £22 or three courses for £26.”