A Midsummers Night at Supper Club

by Jo Kenny

Disclosure: my meal was complimentary. As always all thoughts and words are my own.

Two bloggers walk into a pub…

I could start this post with a romanticised description of what a wonderful hot and balmy evening it was as I headed to The Anchor for dinner, but the novelty has run it’s course now hasn’t it? Every evening it hot and balmy.

I know The Anchor well, they’re a part of the Unique Hospitality family who I’m very fond of. But this visit was a little different and I was escorted past the main restaurant and up the old and narrow staircase to their beautiful private dining room. I was there to experience a Mediterranean themed supper club created by new Head Chef (and recent winner of Milton Keynes’ chef of the year award) Shane Clarke.

The room was beautifully decorated and looked like a Summer wonderland.

And speaking of two bloggers, Sophie Etc was dining as well!

We both poured ourselves glasses of water and looked longingly at the delicious pitchers of Sangria nestled between cuttings of herbs. *Sigh* that driver life…

Do you remember the Summer Supper Club I attended at 185 Watling Street not too long ago? This evening was along the same theme: one off, intimate evenings in a private dining space with a menu specially created for attendees of the club to enjoy. Shane, fully embracing that hot and balmy weather, presented us with a Mediterranean themed evening.

To begin we enjoyed a trio of tapas style starters:

  • Serrano ham croquettes, with Romesco sauce and fried almonds
  • Barbecued garlic and lemon Gambas
  • Morcilla sausage meatballs, with Piquillo peppers and parsley

Each dish was suitably different from the other. The meatballs had a real kick with the Piquillo peppers and the sauce was fruity and tart almost like a sweet and sour sauce. The prawns were rustic and subtle in flavour (I would perhaps have enjoy a bit more garlic but at the same time Sophie and I had to talk to each other for the rest of the evening) and the croquettes (oh the croquettes!) were super rich and oozy and indulgent with a fantastic crispy shell. More of those please!

It was around this time that other guests at the table noticed the large cameras that accompanied Sophie and I. I sheepishly explained that we were bloggers, and not wishing to stereotype but I did so because the other guests were a generation or two above us and I pensively awaited the wave of questions… which did indeed follow. We explained what a blogger was, what a blog is, what we write about, why we do it, who reads our posts… and why anyone would read our posts (yes they didn’t hold back on the questions!) and how it differs from a magazine or a journalist or a critic.

At first I felt under the microscope and the introvert in me wanted very much to not be the centre of attention. But, as the questions and answers went on the other diners began to understand what we did, and it wasn’t long before we were asked for tips on Instagram and how to use it. As the main course arrived other guests were getting involved and picking up their phones to take photos themselves!

And ultimately, I think this is the exact spirit of these Supper clubs: you sit around a table with strangers and over the course of the evening you get to know new people, learn new things and enjoy a different social experience than you otherwise would in your standard Restaurant setting on your own, isolated table.

Our main courses were a duo served in little bowls on wooden boards:

  • Baked eggs in chilli sauce with crispy tortilla, black bean salsa and guacamole
  • Squid, octopus and cuttlefish Paella topped with chorizo Aioli and Saffron yogurt.

It took a lot of restraint not to sneak that pretty little white bowl into my handbag. Although we did all agree it would have been spectacular to bring the Paella to the table a giant pan as you would in Spain! I really like the idea of family style for Supper club.

It also took a lot of restraint not to guzzle back the entire jug of chocolate sauce that accompanied dessert…

A giant cinnamon churro and blood orange creme catalana arrived to round off our meal. Everyone at the table went crazy for the churro which was warm and fluffy inside with a thick crust of sugar. Absolutely delicious, this and the croquettes were my favourite elements of the evening by far.

The portions were seemingly considered for a hot Summers eve, and yet I still came away incredibly full. I (of all people!) am not used to having a small appetite but the heat was intense. I walked back to my car smiling, as what began as polite hellos to fellow diners at the beginning of the meal ended with big waves goodbye and choruses of “See you on Instagram!” 

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