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The problem with living in London is that no matter how many things you tick off, the bucket list of things to do here only seems to get bigger. Since I moved here in 2014, I’ve been trying to get out and experience as much of what this city has to offer as possible, but one of the things that’s always stayed on that list is going to a supper club.
If you’ve never heard of a supper club before, the name may not make it sound too exciting. But there’s a whole heap of supper clubs to be discovered in London and they’re anything but boring.
If you fancy spending an evening with a group of strangers and bonding over a unique food experience, supper clubs are 100% where it’s at. From secret underground venues to themed evenings, you can find something to delight every culinary taste on websites such as Tabl.
It was through Tabl that I finally got to live out my supper club dream and came to find myself at the Matango supper club a couple of weeks ago. Heading there alone on the Victoria line, I knew it wouldn’t be a normal Saturday night. And I knew this wouldn’t be a dinner like any I’d had before. Because I was going to be eating it in the dark.
Aside from the obvious concern that I’d be covered in food when I hopped back on the tube later that night, I was both excited and a little nervous about eating my dinner blindfolded with a group of strangers. Excited more than anything, though.Luckily, I needn’t have worried at all. It turns out that being blindfolded for
Luckily, I needn’t have worried at all. It turns out that being blindfolded for a few hours is the best way to really get to know a group of new faces. When all you have is your ears for entertainment, you quickly lose your inhibitions and end up playing games such as two truths and one lie – the kind of games you probably wouldn’t suggest until at least the third meeting or the fourth drink usually.
Other than how completely exhausted I was because of the busy week I’d had, it was without doubt one of the best experiences I’ve had since moving to London and I’ve been telling absolutely everyone who will listen to go try it out. Losing your sight leaves you with only your mind to entertain you, and that in itself was a learning experience for me. Here are a few things it taught me.
I’m probably more observant than I realised.
I say observant but what I really mean is nosy. I know I’m constantly finding myself in unusual streams of thought triggered by my surroundings, but I didn’t really realise the extent to which that is true. Having my sight taken away for a few hours was a surprisingly uncomfortable experience in that it made me realise how affected I usually am by what’s going on around me.
I eat with my eyes.
Carine, our incredibly lovely and equally talented host, served us 9 courses throughout the evening and asked us after each one to guess what we’d just eaten. Between the 10 of us, we barely guessed a thing! We mistook fish egg for crayfish, radish for broccoli and red pepper for tomato.
I don’t really know what I like.
The first course was grapefruit and another course was raw radish, both of which I can’t stand normally. Yet when I didn’t know what I was eating, the grapefruit lost the bitterness I normally don’t like and instead was refreshing and the radish tasted like a vegetable I’d like to eat again. How is that even possible?!
Dessert ALWAYS tastes great.
Dessert will always be my favourite part of any meal and Carine served us the most incredible dessert ever: burnt soft meringue, lemon and blueberry curd, apple puff disc and dark chocolate drizzle. I’m drooling just thinking about it. It (somehow) tasted like a giant jaffa cake and, despite being super hard to eat, was the perfect ending to the evening.
There’s a whole world of food out there.
We were so lucky to be treated to a taste of a white pepper that comes from a village in Cameroon, where Carine is from – and nowhere else. Even though I didn’t get to see it, I feel so lucky to have been able to taste something so hard to come by. It’s made me want to research and track down specialities from as many parts of the globe as possible.
It’s good to lose your inhibitions.
Being blindfolded did what alcohol would normally do but in half the time. The evening really took me out of my comfort zone, something I try to experience as often as possible as I think it’s so important for confidence-building.
Food is better when you consciously enjoy it.
There’s a lot of talk about mindful eating floating around in the healthier pages of the Internet. And even though I’ve read about its benefits enough times to write a (not very good) book on it, it’s one of those tips I’ve always dismissed as “something other people do” or “something I might reconsider in the future”.
But once you’ve had your sight taken away and been forced to really focus on the food you’re eating, it’s hard to not pay more attention. To not be more in the moment. Because the biggest thing I learnt from my evening with Carine, is how important and pleasurable it can be to focus entirely on what you’re doing with zero distractions.
Have you ever been to a supper club before? Is it something you’d like to try?
I was kindly invited to Dine in the Dark by Tabl. They have so many amazing sounding events and something for every culiniary taste, so do check them out.