For one reason or another, numbers have since dwindled, with many moving on to private dining and bespoke events.
One of the original supper clubbers, Aoife Behan, has gone from strength to strength with My Home Supperclub morphing to Jelly & Gin (via a little stop as Create:Eat). Their recent Creative Edinburgh award was due recognition of their excellence.
Russell Smith has been tearing up trees wherever he goes with supper clubs, bespoke events and private dining, often in association with Innis & Gunn. Many of you will have seen his demonstrations at the recent Bite Magazine event at the Counting House.
There seems to be a bit of a supper club renaissance in the offing, but it’s more of the “bespoke dining experience” idea that’s gaining currency.In part, this builds upon the menu approach of two highly regarded Edinburgh restaurants – Gardener’s Cottage and Aizle – with their multi-course set menus of local and seasonal ingredients. To this number, we’re about to welcome Ben Reade’s takeover at Iglu for the Scratch Series, working with David Crabtree-Logan.
The dining experience that these places offer has clearly struck a chord with people. I’ve been a bit of a latecomer to the party, for one reason or another.We have been lucky enough to have Louise Ross and Sarah-Jane Large, the people behind the Fireside Collective, as regular attendees at Scran Salon. Over the past year, they’ve run events at Freeman’s, The Pantry and Summerhall, amongst other places. I hadn’t made it along to one, but rectified that at their recent Historical Feast at the Previously history festival, which the multi-talented Louise has a major hand in organising.
Held in Old Town gem Riddle’s Court, we were welcomed into the confines of the dining room to the strains of era-appropriate sackbut and serpent music for this re-creation of a banquet that was originally held in the same venue in the 1590s.
First up on the menu was a jellied shot of mead. It certainly packed a punch.We were then treated to a three bird pie served with an outstanding bramble sauce. There was much speculation as to what the three birds might have been. Pheasant was a popular suggestion, as was pigeon, but the third sparked ideas as far-ranging as plover. Perhaps we’ll never know. What’s certain was that it was delicious.
Sarah-Jane then wheeled in the main beast of the evening, a pig, with the head and shoulder the focus. Served with roasted veg and profuse buttered greens, the pork was completely outstanding. The crackling was superb, too.
We then had a little violin interlude from one of our near-neighbour diners. It was really quite transportative.
The dessert of frangipani pear in light pastry served in a salted caramel sauce was accomplished work. A nice selection of cheese, oatcakes and port rounded out the excellent menu. It had been a sumptuous feast of historic proportions and the atmosphere, venue and wonderful company made for a highly enjoyable evening.
I was delighted to spend some of the time chatting to Anna Hamilton, whose Alright Treacle supper clubs and bespoke events have been a great addition to the Edinburgh dining scene in the last few months. Not only will you be able to hear from Anna at the next Scran Salon event on 1 December, we’ll be beating a path to her door early in the new year to give her food a try.
It’s fair to say that the Fireside Collective’s work has set the bar very high, but more importantly has piqued my interest in exploring this style of event much more. They have upcoming Festive Suppers in December, so I’d recommend a visit to one of them. I may also finally be prompted to make review visits to Gardener’s Cottage and Aizle…