Prepare your palates for free-range pork belly, dauphinoise potatoes, artichoke risotto with parsley and Kent cobnuts, and pan-seared Falmouth scallop and pancetta. Did we mention that this is just one of five courses? Or that you’re feasting in someone’s private dining room, with the professional chef concocting his creations in the ensuite kitchen? Welcome to the sublime Savoy Truffle Supperclub experience.
We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of London‘s latest culinary pop-up one autumnal evening last week. We arrived eagerly (we’re never late where food is involved), invitation in hand, to be greeted with a pre-dinner mixology lesson. Guests sipped potent gin-based cocktails adorned with fresh blueberries, plums and grapefruit, courtesy of Bombay Sapphire, and admired the mini-army of sous-chefs chopping, tossing and sautéing with military precision. Our party of about 20 sat down at three tables clad in white linen and graced with fragrant bouquets of pink roses. Menus revealing the courses to come lay in front of us, and we scanned them with ‘ooh’s’ and ‘ahh’s’ and murmurs of, ‘mmmmn, I can’t wait to taste that one.’
Our first course arrived: an espresso-cupped cauliflower velouté with a choice of three freshly baked breads to use for dipping. Dapper waiters poured champagne and Australian merlot like water before delivering the next point of business: a salad of pan-roasted woodpigeon breast with plum and pistachio. Dessert arrived in two acts: a gin and tonic-infused sorbet and a warm apple tart with perfectly matched almond ice-cream. Bliss.
The good news is that any gregarious gourmand can partake in this underground event, hosted in association with the London Restaurant Festival. The innovator behind the deliciously quirky enterprise is Gavin Billenness, an entrepreneurial chef who wanted to create a warm, laidback environment akin to dining at a good friend’s home.
As The Beatles put it in Savoy Truffle, the song that inspired Gavin’s Supperclub: ‘You know that what you eat you are.’ Having eaten a feast fit for kings and queens, we certainly felt like royalty. The only thing that would have made the evening better? Trundling back to the nearby Smith hotel, York & Albany, to sleep off the calories…
* The six-night London Restaurant Festival pop-up in association with Bombay Sapphire runs from 12 October–17 October. This event is currently sold out, but more tickets will be released on 4 October. Five seasonal courses, bespoke experimental cocktails from Bombay Sapphire’s top mixologists and wine and drinks are included in the ticket price of £65.
Compiled by Camille de Mondesir