Intimate dining in a historical setting with an exclusive, ‘supper club’ feel. Suits talkative, outgoing types who like to talk with strangers, and people who like to eat in rather unusual surroundings.
I’ve never been to a pop-up restaurant before, despite the fact they are becoming more and more popular these days. So when Jack asked me to accompany him to a Disappearing Dining Club dinner I leapt at the chance to experience something new.
We headed down to the Town House in Shoreditch, where DDC hosts dinners every second and fourth Friday of the month and located our venue for the evening in a row of old houses adjacent to the market. Once coats were taken, we were presented straight away with a Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktail – the perfect aperitif!
The venue was like something out of times gone by, as Jack put it, like something our of a BBC programme with frocks and bonnets. In DDC’s typical and friendly style, we were allowed to take in the atmospheric premises, including the outhouse which doubled as a cloakroom, toilet and was full of artwork and jackets. You could also go and say hi to the chef, who was squirrelling away in the basement.
We were given shots of white asparagus soup to begin, which were delicious and I’d have happily had a whole bowl of it.
They were all served up in mismatched miniature goblets, adding to the quirky, home feel of the place. Although it is common practice in fine dining to have soup this way, I feel it often just leaves me wanting more.
Glancing at the menu, unlike Jack, who was a very happy boy, my heart sunk. I am not the most fussy person in the world but the two things I dislike more than anything in the world are salmon and lamb – exactly what our starter and main consisted of. Luckily, the DDC crew were completely understanding and quickly switched me over to being a veggie for the evening, something I was more than happy with as I am a vegetable lover anyway.
Starter for me was pea and mint soup, tasty although nowhere near as good as the white asparagus first serving. Jack was served up beetroot and orange cured salmon, here’s what he had to say: salmon’s always a good idea in my book and this was no exception. As far as salmon goes it was OK. Not a particularly huge taste, though I do remember the hint of orange made for a nice touch, and it’s not a recipe I can recall having before.
On to mains… I was offered up ratatouille, which I know many people are only aware of as a food because of the Disney film, but I very much enjoy and often make myself. It was made with a kind of bbq flavoured sauce, which really nicely matched the flavour of the polenta chunks and asparagus that garnished the dish. The dish was smokey and tasty, although became a little sickly towards the end, may have been better with a little less ratatouille and a little more asparagus?
Jack on mains: I opted for Roast British Lamb Leg with Green Bean & Shallot Salad. The lamb was cooked rarely, but, uncharacteristically for DDC, it was a little plain and dare I say watery (and you may know by now I’m not one to be all that critical). It seems they’d changed the recipe a little from the last time – since I do remember the last lot being pretty astounding.
Also and inevitably the lamb plate always ends up next to some wafer thin, tiny young woman who doesn’t at all comprehend the portions required by a 6’1 guy with a passionate love of red meat, and so I never do get enough anyway…! There was also a side portion of Braised Lamb Boulangere. This was pretty ‘big’ in taste and rather rich (infused with the lamb stock, I think?) which tempered the odd lightness of the lamb quite well. Delicious carbs.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for portion-size, Jack doesn’t eat much in the way of desserts, so it came down to me to sample the White Coffee Brûlée. My alarm bells rang yet again as I am not a coffee fan (I promise I am not fussy, someone just clearly had it in for me on this night), but to my surprise/delight this brûlée was delicious. The coffee was there as a hint but it just amplified the creamy, tasty custard rather than overpowered the dish. The only thing I could fault about the dessert was the portion – it was served in a fairly shallow, not very big dish and was to be split between about 6 of us, I’m glad Jack didn’t want any or it would have been even less.
Finally, the wine … I’m not always the biggest wine fan, although I have been drinking more and more lately. We chose the white wine and I have to say it was fairly tasty and palatable for anyone. If red is your preference then there was plenty of that around too. The drink flowed all evening long and was plenty to send you merrily on your way home.
All in all, this place had a dark, romantic feel to it with the abundance of candles and homely atmosphere. You are however seated on a long table with many other diners, so if you are feeling up to a chat over your food, this may not be the best place to opt for. Much of the food is also on sharing plates, so again it requires a bit of chatting with other diners. A great venue and really different experience if you are looking for something new. A great concept and an enjoyable evening thanks to the great staff from DDC.
For more info:
Tel: 07958 711 535