Once upon a time, eating out was a simple pleasure.
There were restaurants, diners, pubs,
fast food chains and cafés.
Then there were those suppers with friends around a table in a cosy house, where we’d bring a bottle of wine and we’d talk of this and that with friends and newly acquired acquaintances.
The two things went hand in hand, on separate tracks, and we thought they could never meet but, in recent times in London, Supper Clubs are increasingly popular and they well combine these two styles.
Supper Clubs are both things simultaneously.
The mechanism is simple: by word of mouth you get to visit a private home which has been transformed into a “clandestine” restaurant for the night.
The homely restaurant is sometimes advertised online, with a certain taste for secrecy and a password is always required for entry.
Sometimes Supper Club owners publicize their dining events on bulletin boards or through leaflets.
There are Supper Clubs for everyone and for all needs: for people who suffer from celiac disease, vegetarians, vegans as well as meat lovers and, while some Supper Clubs only serve brunch, others offer 5-course meals, suitable for formal suppers or business meetings.
Experiencing a Supper Club can become a unique experience because it combines the sense of discovering a one-of-a-kind restaurant with the joy of a casual supper with friends.
It can also be a good opportunity to spend an alternative evening and meet new people because the Supper Clubs, although they can be reserved for private groups, are a social event.
Finding a Supper Club is simply done by word of mouth, via social networks or on blogs (such as this one!).
Surfing the web you may also encounter numerous hints to find a Supper Club suitable for you.
London food bloggers have indeed listed “clandestine restaurants” where you can eat well and experience something truly unique.
Lunches at Supper Clubs are always B.Y.O (= Bring Your Own bottle) which means you are free to bring a bottle of wine of your choice and contrarily to restaurants - which often make you pay a cork fee to open the bottle - Supper Clubs offer this service free of charge. Notting Hill is an ideal neighbourhood for Sunday lunches and there are several Supper Clubs offered in the area where guests can try homemade roasts and classic British dishes served with tea, scones and pastries.
Supper Clubs also offer something unique that restaurants never offer…the chance to cook your own food! Some Supper Clubs owners open their kitchen to their customers by organizing culinary workshops and cooking classes.
They are fun and they have become a popular gift idea in London.
And after such a ‘classified supper’ are you perhaps in the mood for a film but you are not in for a classic ‘old-style’ cinema??
Don’t you worry!
In London you can visit a secret cinema, the city’s newest trend for film lovers.
A secret cinema is not really a place, or rather, it is a physical place but the location of it changes each time. The showings are held once a month and Londoners (or whoever would like to) who register to this service, receive a text message shortly before the day of the show.
Before this date you won’t know the location of the event and you won’t know the film you will go watch before the opening credits.
Therefore, if you decide to take part in the event, bear in mind that you may find yourself in a meadow somewhere in London watching a classic black and white film surrounded by lovers of this genre or perhaps you may end up watching a scary film.
Little planning, loads of mystery and fun.
Bringing the cinema “outside the cinema” is an increasingly popular practice and I believe that this is a great opportunity to visit places that are often unknown or inaccessible.
The element of secrecy, almost “rave style,” given by the unveiling of the details at the last moment, attracts youngsters who had been overlooking traditional cinemas in recent years. I personally think that this event brings people together making going to the cinema a more social and active opportunity to gather.
I have watched a Secret Cinema film before and I truly enjoyed it because I brought a picnic basket with wine and I enjoyed the film so much more than sitting in a stuffy cinema room.
How to participate? Just visit the Secret Cinema website and be ready for anything: the secret is absolute and you won’t be able to find any hint that can help you figure out where the next event will be at.
The beauty of it is just that!
What if you don’t like films and you’d rather prefer attending a poetry reading?
Or what if (alas!) it’s raining in London?
You can attend a…secret (you guessed!) poetry reading.
The days of tedious and pretentious poetry readings in empty cafés are long gone.
The modern spoken word scene is dynamic, interactive and far from boring.
This, at times provoking but always charming, form of expression, has been often classified as a “spectator sport.”
The innovative secret poetry readings want you to get up on the stage and steal the scene to express yourself, whether the topic of your poem is the ex-lover who broke your heart or contemporary politics. Secret poetry nights are dedicated open mic nights featured before or after main local musical or poetry events and they are workshops to sharpen your communication or performing skills.
Such nights are open to everyone who has an artistic streak so get out and play…no excuses!