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By JON DEAN
Thursday, September 6, 2012
»In these belt-tightened times, it’s not surprising that supper clubs and pop-up restaurants are in vogue – representing as they do significantly better value for money than most restaurants.
But more than that, supper clubs are an exciting and very social way of dining for those who fancy a change from eating as a couple, say.
They apparently originated as a way of having restaurants in communist Cuba, and there was something rather thrilling about Clandestinos’ cloak and dagger approach: we were emailed a password the day before, which would unlock the address on the website, although this is clearly not a foolproof method as one of the guests couldn’t find the place and didn’t turn up until the second course.
The venue – our hosts flat – was delightful. Enough tables and chairs for the 15 guests, along with a little bar, made the front room cosy without being cramped. There was a lovely outdoor area complete with gazebo and another bar, while the logistics of catering for that many diners in a normal sized kitchen made my eyes water.
But everything went without a hitch – the barman made us all an invigorating, alcohol free, chilli and rosemary cocktail on arrival and we all sat round chatting waiting for the first course.
Clandestinos Secret Supper Club
A secret location in somewhere in Finsbury Park
Mains: from £20 for a 3 course meal
Children welcome: No
Disabled access: No
Clandestinos is available for private bookings of 6-15 people
Of the 15 guests, almost all of them were female, some had come on their own and quite a few were from overseas, which made for some enthralling dinner conversations.
Most impressive of all were two Chinese ladies who were on holiday and had found the club on the internet.
All the food is made from scratch using ingredients from farmers’ markets and the like and the menu is kept a secret right up to the last minute.
Our first course was a tasty tomato and pepper soup, a hearty broth that got the taste buds going while I met the people I had been sat next too.
Next up was a delicious chicken casserole, with white wine and garlic. Not only was it well flavoured, it had a comforting, home cooked quality, especially when I realised I could ask for seconds – perfect for someone as greedy as myself.
The most impressive dish was the pudding – dark seductive chocolate mousse flavoured with sea salt and rosemary (continuing the theme of the cocktails) –which was an ambitious combination that worked excellently.
The food was very good, but the most memorable part of Clandestinos was the social aspect. From our genial host to the diverse and interesting guests, it was an evening of meeting new people and an experience I would definitely recommend. Get in there quick though, because the place is getting booked up fast.