9 months ago

We went to a Social Pantry Supper Club and had an obscenely good time

TBH you don’t really need to read on, the title of this article makes it clear enough. Social Pantry throw a really, really great evening.

Credit: @alexhead_sp

As a first foray into the supper club world, we were a little nervous. What to expect? We’d got the general gist- long tables where you’re sat next to strangers, sharing style plates and a set menu. Ok. We like to think of ourselves as good ‘n proper Londoners (read: eyes-down, straight-faced, absolutely-no-small-talk-please) so the idea of a supper club where eye contact and small talk is practically mandatory was a little… frightening. But! There’s no growth in your comfort zone! You’ll never know unless you try! Etc, etc. So we sucked it up and tentatively stepped our toe into the Social Pantry cafe on an early autumnal evening.

As soon as we stepped over the threshold we quickly realised how silly we’d been in our worries. The atmosphere was jovial, buzzy and- well- exactly what you’d expect when walking into a friend’s home for supper. When you think about it, of course the atmosphere was going to be good! There’s the promise of good food to come, there’s a welcome cocktail waiting for you and you don’t need to worry about the washing up or your favourite glass getting smashed. Everyone was relaxed and ready to have a really nice evening.

We sat down on the aforementioned long table with a lovely gin-ey, cucumber-y, spritzy little number in our hands. Whether it was fluke or supper club etiquette, everyone had seated themselves opposite their +1, so the table was made up of lots of small parties plus a few larger friendship groups. The nice thing was that no party was too large that they dominated the whole table, and looking around it was clear that there was a lot of cross-party chatting. We happened to sit next to a really lovely couple and, as we all said by the end of the night, it felt like a bit of a holiday friendship- you become intimate with them for the evening and then, who knows! Maybe your paths will never cross again. But for those few hours they were our new BBFs.

Credit: @alexhead_sp

A welcome cocktail down, we were then served a lovely selection of canapés to kick things off- too many to list down but they were each presented beautifully and tasted as delightful as they looked… We’ve not stopped thinking about the teeny tiny crumpets. There were a few rounds of these little bites and it was near enough impossible to say no despite knowing there was a full meal ahead. When the starters came out it was a really nice spread; sharing boards designed to be picked at between around 4 diners meant that the ice well and truly had to be broken between neighbours and there can’t be much of a better way of doing that than with an offering of warm sourdough or passing over a bowl of mackerel rillets. As well as that there was a colourful plate of crudités with a whipped ricotta, some creamy carrot hummus with a punchy zero waste pesto garnish and ‘Sarah’s signature burnt butter’ which could have had a course of it’s own it was so moorish.

Credit: @alexhead_sp

Mains came out next and our plates were filled with a whopper of a schnitzel (either a chicken or aubergine) topped with tasty dollops of remoulade. These were as crunchy as you’d hope for and, despite the humble connotations of a schnitzel, looked elegant. We were then served some thinly cut chips, and big bowls of salads were plonked down to be shared amongst us- a grilled leek, a rocket and parmesan and a winter tomato one that was a particular highlight. The course was an ode to unfussy eating- everything was simple enough, sure, but the flavours were perfect and comforting and why have we never thought to serve food like that at our dinner party? Again, the passing around of dishes just added to the general jovial feel of the evening. Finishing up was a dinky Kilner jar of pannacotta. Though we were full to the brim at this point- and a few bottles of wine down- it was so creamy and so zingy thanks to a dollop of damson jam that it was also very hard to not swallow in a few bites… Especially when we used the fennel shortbread as a little vessel for the cream. Just gorgeous.

Credit: @alexhead_sp

The whole evening was a pure delight and we scalded the good ‘n proper Londoner in us for holding us back from supper clubs. We made friends, we ate some of the best food we’d had in ages and we drank far too much wine for a Thursday night. We also came away inspired to try some of the relaxed approach to hosting as our hosts, Alex and Sarah, showed us that evening. And if that no stress way of doing it gives us just a tenth of the results as the evening at Social Pantry? Well that’s a win for us.

Convinced you? ‘Course we have. Join the next Seasonal Supper Club at the Social Pantry: 18th October or 7th December.

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