A Bit Smarter Eating Out London

Scratch Secret Supper Club, Marylebone

October 7, 2015

When a certain someone and I moved to London we agreed to do four things every month to help ensure we were making the most of our time here; it’s all too easy to slip into a comfortable routine, take this city for granted then next thing you know, you’re on a plane back to NZ and you haven’t even had an exorbitantly priced cocktail up the Shard?! It’s still on the list. So anyway, every month, alongside trying an ‘out of the ordinary’ restaurant (smugly overachieving), travelling somewhere (top marks for effort with a special commendation for some random locations), and getting a dose of culture in the form of a show or exhibition (failing miserably), we also aim to throw a dinner party…

For someone whose parents constantly had people over for meals, both planned and impromptu, the idea of having friends over for dinner is one that excites rather than daunts… to the point where I’ve been known to get a little carried away, neglect to count how many people I’ve invited (ten), decide to throw a slider party (four types with roughly two per person which equals a lot of teeny tiny burgers) which then results in a certain someone putting his foot down and saying never again! Of course he was only joking and there have since been more dinner parties; the compromise is a cap on the number of guests and a ban on having mini burgers on the menu! I’m ok with both these caveats.

As much as I love to feed people, when the number of people we’re feeding moves into double digits, things get a little tricky in the kitchen, particularly as I like to throw a three course menu kind of dinner party, and suddenly it’s a little more stressful and a lot less fun. Which is why I think people who host supperclubs are stark raving mad suckers for punishment. Who generally also happen to be incredibly talented cooks. Perhaps this is where I’ve gone wrong?!

One of these talented people is Michelle, an ex-chef and restauranteur who runs London from Scratch, taking people on food tours of Soho and Marylebone as well as hosting her Scratch Secret Supper Clubs. I’ve met Michelle at a couple of events, found her to be absolutely wonderful company so I thought it was only right to find out if she was also as wonderful at her day job.

ScratchLondon_cocktail_crostini

We arrived at the Marylebone location to find a welcoming, mood lighting enhanced dining room and started introductions over a vodka cocktail and crostini of feta and almond before taking our seats at one of the two communal tables. Who your dining companions will be is completely luck of the draw and part of the fun, so put your most affable self forward and prepare to engage in all that small talk to get the evening rolling. We covered everything from favourite travel destinations to occupations to countries of origin… All standard fare in multicultural London I suppose!

This evening’s menu was labelled ‘Australian fusion’, which means what exactly, you ask?! Far from cliched kangaroo steaks or ostrich patties, I thought the dishes celebrated how contemporary Australian cuisine has evolved with diverse Asian, Middle Eastern and Greek influences. We started with a creamy coconut and saffron soupette which I gulped down all too quickly, served with a crunchy cigar filled with sweet potato. This was followed by a tantalising pork and prawn noodle salad; sometimes these can run the risk of being poorly dressed and bland but this version was fresh and fragrant.

ScratchLondon_soupette_noodlesalad

The main paid tribute to the richness of the middle eastern flavours; a thrice cooked duck leg with herby couscous, grilled nectarine and sweet potato was such a creative and well conceived combination of flavours and textures. I loved the deep sweetness of the molasses on the duck which can ably handle such boldness, as well as the tenderness of the meat. I would also be happy to get some tips on making couscous taste this good, mine’s always a little sad and dry but this was quite the opposite.

ScratchLondon_duckleg

To my delight a series of sweet treats were up next: a chocolate square with raspberry, a deconstructed cheesecake and finally a piece of brittle to end. The chocolate square was decadent and delicious, but the cheesecake was even more impressive. The use of the kataifi pastry as the base was a lovely nod to Greek influences as well as adding great crunch, the salted caramel was punchy, and I was so pleased to see figs on top… I’ve been surprising myself with how much I like figs lately!

We ended our tour of Australian fusion with a cup of tea (mint for others, black for me as I hate mint tea) and a nice bit brittle, then said our goodbyes to other guests, our gracious host and her sidekick, and headed home extremely full and happy!

ScratchLondon_dessert

Supperclubs are all the rage right now; with so many cuisines and styles to choose from I can see how the uninitiated diner could find it a little overwhelming to choose where to begin. Then on top of that, the thought of eating in a stranger’s house with other strangers might push comfort levels but I really urge you book one in – they’re really fun, you meet some interesting people who you may or may not want to dine with again, and the food is fantastic – particularly this one!


Scratch Secret Supper Clubs usually run every month and can be booked through their website, or you can also check out their Food Tours!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

  • What a treat – I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever had exclusively Australian food! I love a good supperclub so definitely one for the list!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

    • We’ve done lots of popups but this was the first proper supper club we’ve been to, and it was fantastic! We had some hilarious company and of course the food was sensational!

  • OMG Michelle is so talented. I mean, I knew this already, but OMG. x

    • Isn’t she just?! And she’s so darn nice… can’t even hate her for being so talented. Ugh.

      • Trying to hate her for being Australian… nah, I got nothing.

  • I’m really getting into these supperclubs myself. This one looks wonderful!

    • I remember reading about your visit to Viv’s Malaysian supper club – that’s one I’ve bookmarked as I have been craving food Malaysian food! I recommend Scratch – some interesting combos and delicious food!

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I met Michelle recently at the Piccadilly and Petit Fours tour and she’s just lovely! I must say, every single one of those courses and dishes sound soo in keeping with my tastes. I don’t often end up saying that when I look at supper club menus so perhaps this is the one I should have been looking at all along!

    • Honestly, I can’t even hate her for be an Aussie, she’s just too nice! Every item on the menu (bar the mint tea) was a complete winner!

  • I’ve also had the pleasure to meet Michelle a few times and it sounds like her supper club lives up to her lovely personality!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • It definitely does – she takes so much care with her food, it was a pleasure to be there!

  • Firstly, aren’t supper clubs just raucous – I can imagine that Michelle ‘s are simply another level. Secondly I love that you make it a priority to explore London properly – so many expats just don’t. Thirdly, we need to arrange a drink Miss Kiwi!

    • The people you end up sitting next to really are the cherry on top! We’re really trying to explore and not take this place for granted because we never know how long we’ll stay for. Yes, we definitely need to catch up soon – I’ll drop you a line!

  • Oh thanks so much lovely girlies! I’ve only just read all these gorgeous comments – so fab of you all. Feeling the love. Merci x

    ps Connie you did the most amazing job of those photos, considering the very challenging lighting conditions…

    • We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – particularly loved the duck and the cheesecake!

  • Pingback: London Winter Cool List - Two Feet, One World()

  • I love Michelle. She has such a warming personality! Did u know she was a chef before in Australia? I really have to go to hers one day.

    • She’s absolutely fantastic! Yes, I did know that little tidbit, probably what convinced me to try her supper club… will have to try yours soon!

%d bloggers like this: