Friday, September 20, 2013

Supper Club

After months of decrying the lack of dining choices in Saltburn, I recently got a seat at the hottest table in town: the Saltburn Supper Club. Like all good Supper Clubs, it's a little bit secret and feels somewhat exclusive. Tickets sell out quickly and the address isn't unveiled until you book, giving the whole affair a rather clandestine appeal. Not quite as much so as the swingers club that apparently takes place on the Longbeck Trading Estate, but enough of a frisson to suit me.

I've actually eaten at a couple of Supper Clubs before. The first was the well-known Ms Marmite Lover's Underground Restaurant. She nailed the whole cloak and dagger vibe, I must say. We had to say a password - brilliantly, it was 'Hasta la victoire siempre' that night - in order to gain access. We bought raffle tickets for a wine bottle raffle: every ticket was a winner. A nice dodge of licensing laws and provided that 'just the wrong side of the law' thrill. The food was fantastic, home cooking elevated almost to restaurant standards. And the enforced socialising - sharing a table with strangers - made for a fun night.

In Los Angeles we ate at the lovely Pace Webb's Supper Club. Pace is a fantastic chef, using local ingredients from the incredible larder that is SoCal, and she uses her Supper Club to test out new recipes. We were very happy guinea pigs, I must say - I ate some of the best food I enjoyed in LA at Pace's Supper Club, and in some lovely LA homes too. 

So I went into the Saltburn Supper Club with a knowing look and some high standards.

Readers, I was not disappointed. In fact, the Saltburn Supper Club exceeded my expectations. It is now officially my favourite Supper Club in the world. The food was great. Maybe not Chef Pace Webb standard but pretty darn close. The hosts are a transatlantic couple, so I warmed to them immediately, and they used to run a food truck, so know their onions, literally. The atmosphere was suitably low-lit and hush hush. Best of all we (my sister and schoolfriend and I) were seated with two of the most unlikely characters - probation officers/crime writers with an obsession with Tibetan terriers and a strong aversion to flying - you could imagine. We had a very good evening, and the randomness quotient was off the scale.

I think the reason it was my favourite Supper Club is because it's in Saltburn. Because that feature of Supper Clubs, which is the enforced chit chat with strangers, is just so much more fun in a small town. Never mind small talk - you can get straight into a detailed debate about the best bacon sandwich in town and the scandal that is the closure of Hazel Grove after every storm.

So, I have a new favourite restaurant, and its super local. The sad news is it's only open twice a month. But we're getting used to those kind of opening hours. I can't wait to return with TLOML. 

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