These speakeasies, pop-up restaurants or guerilla diners offer a more personal dining experience to conventional eateries. Often held in a smaller, more intimate setting, they can be a great way to fraternise with like minded foodies and discover new cuisines.
Eating out can be expensive and for something swanky, you can sometimes expect to pay as much, if not more than £50 a head. So for frugal folks, or those of us on a budget, a supper club can offer a luxurious dining experience, that often comes at half the price.
Here are some UK based supper clubs who are offering up something a little different when it comes to a sit down dinner...
Warrior women events
Cardiff comradery, female empowerment and knockout vegetarian food.
What to expect
Run by Amy Holland, an ardent supporter for women’s wellness and all things girl power, female wellbeing runs through the core of Warrior Women Events. Based in Cardiff, the supper club centres on one section of the wellness wheel each time. Alongside some scrumptious Indian food from the vegetarian food studio, Amy serves up a menu of stimulating talks, goodie bags and self care activities.
Realising there was a gap in the market, Amy and former team member Stacey set up Warrior Women events. Stacey says “There’s a shift happening in the universe at the moment with women, equality and feminism and we felt like Cardiff really lacked that platform. We wanted to focus on building up the women of cardiff.”
Warrior Women Events run a series of other motivational evenings alongside their supper clubs. Amy says “Part of the wellness wheel is ‘occupational wellbeing’ so we thought we’d do a career club about helping women to develop their career.”
Food served up at the events is a significant part of the evening. Stacey explains: “The very nature of eating and gathering with one another allows people to open up more. It really brings a sense of community, so it was really important for us to embark on a supper club amongst everything else.”
Apart from leaving a great taste in your mouth, Warrior Women will leave you feeling supported, strengthened and part of the tribe. Stacey says “We want guests to feel like they’ve taken away something from the evening, encouraging them to pursue ventures, inspiring and empowering guests.” Find upcoming events on their facebook page or on eventbrite.
Don’t feel nervous about attending this event on your own, you can expect an inclusive and amiable atmosphere when you step through the door. Amy says: “Lots of people come on their own and there’s loads of opportunities to network with people. Because of the things being talked about during the evening, it really encourages open discussion with the person next to you.”
Kara’s vegan supper club
Boho banquet, feel-good plant-based eats in generous portions and a warm welcome.
What to expect
Set in the snug venue of Boscanova, this down to earth cafe is the bohemian backdrop for Kara’s Vegan Supper Club. Near to the vibrant South West seaside town of Bournemouth, this plant-based pop-up proves that great vegan food needn’t be London centric. Kara’s menu is full of fanciful rainbow colours, offering wholesome, meat and dairy free food that has finesse and creative flare in equal measure.
Kara’s passion for creating full-flavoured vegan food is clear, letting big flavours do the talking and setting aside the stigma that plant-based plates can be preachy. Kara says “I love new flavours, coming up with new recipes and using seasonal, local produce. Every supper club I make something which I’ve never cooked before, so it’s all new to me as well.”
Rustic and real, this supper club is about proper soul food, where you can expect generous portions for a reasonable price. Kara isn’t shadey when it comes to sharing her recipes, encouraging everyone to come along, vegan or not: “I want to share knowledge and recipes with people. I also run cookery classes and I want everyone to enjoy my food and the experience.”
Kara’s Vegan Supper Club runs on the last Friday of every month, but you can find out when her next event is here.
Laid back Kara believes that the key to a memorable supper club is the atmosphere: “As long as everyone is happy and chilled then that’s what it’s all about. A family feel, where you can just help yourself. It’s not pretentious, it’s just really relaxed.”
Foraging and feasting
Follow your food from forage to frying pan with a guided foraging course followed by dinner alfresco.
What to expect
Run by the passionate outdoors twosome Jade and Dan, Fore, is a company that encourages people to grow, eat and gather in a bid to reconnect people with their food. Set along the breathtaking Dorset coastline, you are invited to take a walk on the wild side and learn about fresh, native plants and ingredients that are on your doorstep.
You don’t have to be an adventurer to attend this open-air event, Jade says “Not everyone wants to kayak or paddle board, some people just want to be outdoors in a much gentler way.”
Guests spend 3 - 4 hours foraging and banqueting on a smorgasbord of sublime seasonal food and drinks and are given a chance to learn about the preparation of wild ingredients, making foraging accessible to all. Jade says “It’s nice to have different walks of life and different ages interacting, because normally they probably wouldn’t be sat around the table together.”
Meals are prepared and cooked outdoors as much as possible, on fires and BBQ’s, something which Jade feels is part of the charm of these events: “There’s a real sense of camp comradery when eating outside. We eat together under the stars and it’s just a much more intimate environment.”
Being involved in the foraging process, witnessing and learning about preparation of wild ingredients links guests’ “palettes to their plates” but above all Foraging & Feasting is about giving people back an affiliation with their food.
Jade says “We’ve become quite disconnected from food. We work with school children a lot and we ask them where a potato comes from and they’ll say the supermarket. Because they don’t always understand the whole story behind food, they don’t appreciate it in the same way or have the same sense of responsibility for the environment that they may have if they understood how much effort went into growing things.”
Jade and Dan don’t take ingredients from sensitive locations, only taking what they need and obtaining landowner’s permission in order to forage sustainably. You can find the dates of their events on their website. If you have any dietary requirements, then simply let them know beforehand so that they can plan their menu accordingly.
Jade’s top tips on being are great forager? “You have to have the patience to learn and the time to get out and about. But you also have to be willing to get wet!”
Contemporary art brought to a wider audience through the medium of imaginative food.
What to expect
Anchored in London, expect the unexpected at these unconventional supper clubs come art exhibitions. Each dinner plate is a canvas which complements a guest artist’s work for the evening.
Co founder of The Gramounce Nora explains the inspiration behind starting the supper club and how it’s about more than just pretty plates “It all started because we have an arts collective and we wanted to fundraise for our projects. Since we already have a link to the art world, we thought it would be a great idea to include art in the dinner to make it more interesting. It’s not just about feeding people, it’s also about the experience that you get and the ideas that are exposed throughout the dinner.”
After each event, profits are split evenly between the exhibition curator, artist and chef, helping to provide support to artists in a transparent way. Nora explains: “We aim to set an example. Usually when you are an artist you are not usually paid to produce work unless you sell it. It’s also a challenge for artists, because not only do they have to produce an exhibition, they also have to confront an audience and explain it. I think that it’s a good exercise for artists, as they are encouraged to reflect on what they’ve made.”
The Gramounce helps to make art accessible to everyone. Nora says “The crowd that goes out for supper clubs is much more diverse than the crowd that goes to contemporary art galleries. During the dinner we introduce every plate of food with the work the plate is based on and the guest is walked through the exhibition.”
The team are in the process of re-launching their supper clubs, but will be back up and running soon. Keep an eye on their website for their next events and to view examples of previous menus.
Nora believes the key to a great supper club is exquisite food: “Sometimes there’s so much effort put into the concept behind the dinner that the food is an afterthought, but I really think that the food needs to be outstanding.”
Whether you’re feeling motivated to start your own supper club or attend one of these feel-good feasts, why not try something out of the ordinary and shake up your usual dining experience?