Supper Club: Recipes and notes from the underground restaurant Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011
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‘This could be the book that makes me throw Nigella’s How to Eat out of my desert island haversack…a pure joy to read as well as being a thing of beauty’ – Marie-Claire Digby, The Irish Times
‘Here’s that rare and beautiful thing, a cookery book that you might conceivably want to read…enormously enjoyable, full of joy and life and passion for food and the sort of can-do attitude that makes you wonder whether you could do something like this yourself’ – The Daily Mail
‘Supper Club is oozing with Rodgers’ dishes, advice on setting up your own nights and tales of running the Underground Restaurant at her home in north-west London’ – Metro
“One of the prime movers behind the rise of the British supper club (a restaurant held in the cook’s own home), Kerstin Rodgers has an instinctive knack for making food that people really want to eat.” – Tesco Real Food
‘Supper Club by Kerstin Rodgers sheds light onto the world of underground restaurants and includes recipes from her dining clubs’ – Food & Travel
‘Author and owner of London’s famous Underground Restaurant, Kerstin Rodgers is well-known in the capital for her extraordinary dining events and creative food. Now you can recreate it for yourself with Kerstin’s down-to-earth advice and show-stopping recipes’ – Flavour
‘(Kerstin Rodgers’) book includes recipes, tips on how to run your own supper club, plus details of supper clubs around the world’ – Eat In
‘Kerstin’s recipes are an eclectic mix, taking in the homely…the quirky…and the exotic’ – Fork
About the Author
Kerstin started cooking professionally five years ago for anarchist cafés, music festivals and anti-G8 camps. In 2008 she hosted her first night at her home calling it The Underground Restaurant which is now a thriving business and cult-affair.
She is well known in the foodie world both above and below the line. As her alter-ego, MsMarmitelover she has featured in the national press and media and writes two blogs.
The English Can Cook: http://marmitelover.blogspot.com
The English Can Eat: http://theenglishcaneat.blogspot.com
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Top customer reviews
They can go by different names: supper club, secret restaurant, underground restaurant, pop-up restaurant and so on. You won't usually find them in normal restaurant guides nor read reviews of them in glossy magazines, yet they can be the place to be if only you get to be in the "inner circle" and know of one, or more.
This book is an explosion of knowledge, insight, culture and feeling. Even without an invite into the inner circle, with this book you are able to make some of the dishes that appeared on what was London's premier and best-known secret supper club.
The author "opened" her first supper club at home in 2008, calling it "The Underground Restaurant". Despite its existence being spread by word-of-mouth, the author still was inviting strangers into her home to eat. Naturally such restaurants don't have the same rules, regulations and expectations that come with a normal restaurant. You can't just phone up and book a table for a particular time on a particular date and know you will get the chef's signature dish upon command. The uncertainty, spontaneity of it all adds an extra frisson of excitement and expectation.
The concept is still relatively new in England, despite it being relatively common in places as diverse as Cuba.
For the guest as well, it can be a challenge. The author, for example, does not cook meat at her restaurant (there are borrowed meat recipes in this book) due to her beliefs yet she states she is not a "proselytising vegetarian". In essence you get whatever she feels like cooking. Inspiration can come from themes, something she overhead in the street, essentially anywhere. You get what you are given. You can take your own alcohol. Yet people are mesmerised by the experience and it has spread through a grassroots movement.
This is more than just a recipe book. It is a sort-of history book, experience book, recipe book and cultural review all rolled into one. Richly illustrated, stylish, beautifully laid out, not too formal but not too anarchic this is a pleasure to read. It appeals on so many levels. If you just want to learn about the culture, you've got it. Want to learn about some of the recipes and inspiration? Ditto. Want to start your own? Need one go on...?
Nothing is too mainstream or so common albeit with a small twist that would be found in 101 "top restaurant/chef" books. Yet common items can appear with the esoteric and innovative. A true mismatch. This book overruns with excitement. The information just flows out of the page and overloads the senses. Even things like how to start your own restaurant, which does not appear on this reviewer's horizon, is interesting and engaging.
Featured recipes feature both familiar and unfamiliar items. Marmite on toast with crispy seaweed? Sorrel Soup? Crème fraîche ice cream? Will you try it? There are more "mainstream" recipes as well, but nothing should be taken for granted.
If this book attracts you at the first glance you will want to read it cover-to-cover and return to it time and time again. Just remember it is not just a recipe book. It is not a style book. It is just something totally different.
The content of the book is excellent. The first 75 pages are devoted to the history of the pop up restaurant and, my favourite subject, tips for hosts. Although the tips are for pop up restaurant hosts, they also apply to hosts of secret dinner parties, for example, plan your meal around your oven/cooker/fridge capacity. The only difference really is that pop up restaurants are generally for larger numbers of people (12-35) whereas secret dinner parties are more likely to be for 4-8 guests (the most we've had is 10, but we do have a large dining table).
The next 200 pages are recipes taken from Kirstin's supper clubbing experience and a few recipes from other pop up restaurants. One of the contributors are friends of Secret Dinner Party, Rambling Restaurant with their pork belly and black pudding, thyme and honey parsnips and cider gravy (you can see what Abi thought of one of our dinner parties by reading her review on [...]). MsMarmiteLover's recipes are varied and interesting, with plenty of vegetarian options and even cocktails. The thing I like the most are the imaginative themed menus towards the end of the book, like the Black Menu, where all the food is black (who knew you could buy black carrots from Fortnum & Mason's?), or the Flower Menu, which all the food is made from different types of flowers (like marigold bread and courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese) and the Elvis Menu, made from all his favourite fried food.
The last few pages is a list of supper clubs ordered by city. The list is on her excellently maintained Supper Club Fan Group social network, which she runs with Lynn Hill from Leeds' Secret Tea Room. It's become a go-to resource for everything to do with supper clubs, and if you're at all interested in the scene then I recommend you sign up and say something about yourself. And don't forget to sign up to [....] if you haven't already.
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