Sunday, 31 July 2016

Unusual Fun: Supper Clubs - Would You Dine With Strangers?


Does the idea of dining with complete strangers in someone's home send you running for the hills or make you excited to take your seat at the table? Here's what happened when I experienced a supper club for myself.. 

Supper Clubbin'  - My First Experience


I'd heard of the term 'supper club' floating around before, but it wasn't until I was planning a trip to Budapest back in December that I properly looked into this unusual concept. Whilst looking online for things to do in the city I spotted "Eat & Meet Hungary" - which promised a fine 3 course meal at the family home of Suzie and her parents, with you and up to 12 strangers. 

I'm all for trying new/strange things.. so decided why the hell not, and booked our tickets! 

When we turned up I had slight moments of regret... We were the first to arrive and found ourselves seated awkwardly in a cosy hungarian living room whilst Suzie and her parents cooked away in the kitchen. It felt pretty bizarre - my BF at the time threw me some serious eye daggers and whispered 'what had I got us into'...Had we just embarked on the most awkward meal known to man?! ... 

Soon, the doorbell went and the other strangers started to fill the room, relieving some of the awkwardness! We all had a shot of Budapest's signature drink - the lethal "Palinka" and the conversations started to flow.. 


It is in a way pretty risky business.. you could end up being seated in a room with absolute weirdos! But thankfully, we ended up meeting some really cool people! 

There was the american couple from New York, who pretty much straight away apologised for the existence of Donald Trump. There was a lovely french couple who were from a tiny island near New Zealand - the wife was a white whale research scientist! There was the polish couple who were.. a lot more happier than they look in the picture. 

There was alao a man and a woman from Tokyo who were in Budapest on a business trip - the man excitedly asked me "LOOK AT MY FACE? HOW OLD DO YOU THINK I AM?" I said about 40? and he was actually like 55. I instantly tried to find out what moisturiser he used but he couldn't tell me...  

You're probably wondering about the food? Well I'm happy to say that all the courses were absolutely delicious!

Suzie and her parents prepared some traditional hungarian dishes that were hearty and full of flavour, plus Suzie's dad made sure my wine glass never became empty. It was an unusually fun night! Where else do you get to eat proper homemade traditional food abroad whilst sat in the company of lots of different nationalities?


A Leeds Supper Club - Dinner At The Manor


After returning from the trip I started to look for a similar experience here in Leeds, and that's when I came across Dinner At The Manor. I found their blog full of interesting looking past courses they'd served and excitedly tried to book tickets.. Sadly though, all their current dinner party dates were all booked up! Disappointed, I bookmarked the page and signed up to the newsletter, hoping that we'd get to eat there one day..

Fast forward a few months and I somehow managed to bag the last 2 tickets for their Leeds Indie Food supper club (due to some sort of error with the booking system - thank you technology, for once your failure helped me!). 

When we got the menu through a week before I was already drooling.. everything sounded incredible and they really had gone to town on the theme of filthy food!


This time it was a BYOB (although they did provide some cans of Northern Monk to pair with some of the courses) so we arrived with booze in hand one evening and once again knocked on the door of a strangers home, ready to be fed!

After receiving a warm welcome from hosts Susie and Dan, we were taken to a very beautifully decorated traditional style living room, and shown to our seats. 

Again, it was the same concept as before - strangers slave away in the kitchen for you whilst you dine with other strangers .. and soon enough the drinks were flowing and the courses started rolling out: 




I think there was about 10 of us around the table this time. We got chatting to a lovely couple who ended up living only round the corner from us, a pair of GP's who had a wicked sense of humour and a large group of friends who were friendly, but mostly kept to themselves.

I'd say in terms of people it was probably more interesting in Budapest when no one knew each other (and came from all different countries!) - but I think the pure quality of the food made up for this and we did have a great time with the couples we did speak to. 







My favourite main dish was a toss up between the Korean friend chicken and that dreamy truffle mac and cheese ball... wishing it was an option to get them ordered on deliveroo right now!

The salted caramel & chocolate brownie dessert was equally delicious too and was followed shortly after by an amazing crunchy dessert bar, which left me feeling like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (massive, not blue). 


So my verdict on supper clubs? 


Hunt them out! You'll get talking to strangers from all walks of life plus you're pretty much guaranteed excellent food since you have to be pretty passionate about cooking to put one of these evenings on! It really is an unusual, but very fun experience and I can't wait to try out more in the future.  What are your thoughts?

Keep up to date with Eat & Meet Hungary on Instagram here
Dinner At The Manor on Twitter here.

Gabby xo

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5 comments

  1. I've wanted to try a supper club for ages - I love that random encounters with strangers can turn out to be some of the most interesting and enlightening conversations you've ever had. I've seen Dinner at the Manor around social media but their events are usually a bit out of my price range :-( Might have to splurge one day!
    ~ Kate xx
    https://alifeofmoxie.com

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    Replies
    1. Hey Kate :) So true - it's good to mix with people you might not get the chance to normally! Never know what you might learn :) Ah you should if you ever get chance - I'm on the look out for more supper clubs in Leeds now :) xo

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  2. omg, food looks amazing

    http://www.queenhorsfall.com/

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    Replies
    1. It was really good - would deffo recommend trying a supper club :) xo

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  3. That is such an awesome idea, I must try it! So cool!

    Love, Karina
    Peep my latest post!
    The Lovely Look

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