Review – Disappearing Dining Club – Dinner Dance [Shoreditch]

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In a nutshell: 

A well populated and lively mingling experience for clubbers who want to a sample a series of many courses (which make up a pretty substantial meal) before they get to the dancing.

Reappearing Dancing Club

The Disappearing Dining Club’s Dinner Dance is a combination of dinner party and I suppose a traditional disco. For this one, we headed to White Rabbit Studios, located in a slightly clandestine spot under a bridge off of Shoreditch High Street. By day White Rabbit is a slightly cavernous photography studio, and so the light and atmosphere make the perfect set up for a smoke machine, disco ball and large tables lit by candlelight. As always, the DDC choose their spots well, as much for variety as function.

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And, as with all DDC events, you end up sitting at a rather large table with people you haven’t met before. This is either really good or really bad, depending on what sort of person you are. As I like meeting new people, it works for me. The social dynamics of the place usually mean that the large tables are divided into a few groups of people who are already familiar with each other. And once the booze has been flowing and the night goes on, you get some conversation across the table, eventually watching the original groups break apart as the night goes on, some people going on to enjoy the music and dancing, others to linger with the desserts, wines and cheeses.

The playlist wasn’t all that familiar to me, though they did play an uptempo remix of that Paul Simon song about Africa at some point. Since I didn’t come to dance, that’s OK. I came for the food and drink and that’s what I’ll be talking about from now on…

As is The DDC’s custom, we were offered a Grey Goose Le Fizz upon entry. It was sweet and nice unfortunately the fizz got in the way of the Grey Goose. I’ve said it before, but I’m a simple creature and I likes my booze unadulterated…

For this one, the drink was not included as part of the booking fee, and so opting to keep costs down (and with me also ‘cutting back’ after one of ‘those weeks’) me and the +1 didn’t get any wine with our meal. Personally I’m not bothered, as I can happily do without alcohol, but I would make a point of mentioning it, so that attendees know that the cost only covers the food and complimentary glass of Grey Goose Le Fizz.

Starters

The starters here were actually served in the form of hors d’oeuvres in the mingling period before we sat down for the main meal. Here I must be candidly honest and say that nibbling supertiny pieces of meat/fish on rye bread just isn’t my thing. In fact it’s the opposite of my thing. I prefer larger portions of meat, sans bread. Sometimes I try to assemble a larger meal out of a hors d’oeuvres ‘compliation’, but this isn’t quite as easy as it should be and even harder when you have people throwing shapes all around you.

Still, I took advantage of what I was offered, trying the mackerel tartare on ale & rye bread and the potted duck on sourdough. The mackerel (normally one of my favourite things in the universe – enjoyed to an almost fetish-like level) was kinda underwhelming – I can’t really say much other than it didn’t have the big taste that I love so much and that it should have had. The duck however was pretty excellent. I can only describe it’s taste as ‘powerful.’ – even the tiniest piece made itself known in your mouth. So I had a few of those.

There was also little ‘shots’ of pea and mint soup, served in tiny shot glasses. These were really, warm rich and hearty – and like the duck, even the smallest portion really woke up your mouth. Powerful peas. I thought they contrasted deliciously with the cold drinks, though my +1 didn’t like the difference.

As always, the staff at DDC were charming and helpful as ever, though perhaps a little overwhelmed? I’ve never been to one of their events with so many attendees before. There must have been well over a hundred people there. Compare this with the last event I saw where there can’t have been more than twenty. So Dinner Dance isn’t not so much ‘intimate dining’ as their regular offerings. And it works either way.

So onto the food…

Mains

Earl Grey Poached Chicken Breast & Sautéed Chicken Hearts with Celeriac Remoulade – I really, really enjoyed this but thought that there wasn’t nearly enough. In fact, I felt a small twinge of loss when finishing it. So little celeriac, so much time until the next couese. On another note I used to think that I hated the taste of celeriac, but this was incredible! It was served as a base beneath the chicken and hearts had with just right amount of mustard. I’ve never had anything quite like it.

Neither do I really take myself for an ‘offal guy’ (i’ll refrain from the awful puns), but when served it am often surpassed how much I enjoy it. The hearts were pretty tiny but with a dense, gamey taste, that tasted bigger than they were in size. They go down quite easily.

At this point I’ve gotta say that they took bloody ages between the first course and the second, and this marvellous chicken celeriac combo had basically just whet the appetite. I was primed to pretty much try and destroy whatever showed up next, and I did…

Brick Lane Smoked Salmon & Grilled English Asparagus – I enjoyed all of this immensely, though was disappointed by how little I managed to get on my plate. They quite underestimated us I think. The salmon had a huge, rich flavour – being some of the best I’ve had. The asparagus was cooked to the perfect level of tenderness. And it tasted like salmon.

Consequentially I was, to be frank, pretty saddened by a woman near me took a massive chunk of salmon and ate pretty much none of it. Finish what you start. Or even start what you start.  (Or I’ll do it for you…  >:3 )

I thought that the Prawn And Lemon Mussolini was pretty good as well, but mainly because it had prawns in it….

Dessert

Came in the form of Elderflower Eton Mess. Not a huge dessert fan so nothing really to say here, since I skipped it. Cheese, crackers and grapes were also served up (as the Big Cheese Buffet). I’m not keen on cheese after trying to eat my weight in salmon, so I passed, but there was a pretty extensive selection, from hard cheeses, to blue cheeses and some softer, curd cheeses. On a side note, watching cheese and crackers being carefully prepared adjacent to a fully lit up dancefloor was strangely surreal and also hilarious.

After eating we stuck around a bit and enjoyed some conversation with some of our ‘co eaters’ – one worked in Croydon, where I live, and so she got to endure me talking about my home town for quite some time. Another was one of those super nice, super chill people that you just want to bask in the company of (we did). So we did pretty well in who we ended up seated by.

Verdict

In food terms, whether you like the DDC style depends on the kind of eater you are. If you are the kind of person who enjoys a single, large ‘square meal’ – you may find yourself annoyed by the lack of consistency and the sheer volume of smaller dishes . However if you are someone and who enjoys to eat more in the continental style of multiple small dishes, you’ll probably find that the DDC’s approach to many small meals is perfect for you.

And, perhaps if my musical taste wasn’t so horrifically mismatched with what they normally play in these places, I might have stuck around to see how the dance developed. But it was a good time had (because anything involving salmon constitutes a good time) and I met some interesting new people too. Great success!

Details

Tel: 07958 711 535

Twitter: @diningclub

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That guy with the owls and the unfashionable hair.

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