The Underground Restaurant

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Spring had sprung at The Underground Restaurant when I ate there on Friday night. It was a balmy night that felt almost as if Summer might actually occur this year. The 30 odd guests crammed themselves onto the balcony while sipping on Kir Royale champagne cocktails and soaking up the disarmingly good weather. As we chatted we nibbled on “foccacia shots” which were essentially mini foccacia buns topped with sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Salty and sweet at the same time these were deliciously moreish.

The menu on a mirror
The Underground Restaurant is probably London’s best known supper club thanks to hostess Ms Marmite Lover’s larger than life personality and excellent blog which documents her supper club adventures. Once you book (and pay) for dinner over the internet you are sent an email with the secret location of the supper club which is hosted in Ms Marmite Lover’s apartment. There is something brilliant voyeuristic about getting to poke around someone elses apartment even if it does mean getting a severe case of kitchen envy. Let’s just say Ms Marmite Lover does not have a typically sized London kitchen. She even has room for an Aga in there. Whether you love or hate Agas, there is no denying that they are a pretty impressive (and large) piece of kitchen kit.

Squid ink risotto
 
The look of the supper club is shabby chic with mismatched vintage crockery (which I openly coveted) and old school shallow champagne glasses. The menu for the night is written up on a huge gilt mirror, it is a set menu and wholly vegetarian (actually pescatarian) something some of the other people at our table were not aware of – they kept on waiting for the steak to come out! On our visit it was very much a menu that reflected spring being in the air.
 

Cheese platter
 
What could be more spring than entree of asparagus? A sharing size platter of spears was topped with mimosa, a creamy, grated egg mixture. For me this was the dish of the night, simple and fresh. Squid ink risotto sounded more exciting than it actually was. While there is a visual thrill of eating anything made with squid ink thanks to its inky blackness, the risotto erred towards blandness with little more than a few tufts of wild garlic to liven it up. The risotto was accompanied by a restrained green salad of pea shoots (which seem to be the ingredient du jour at the moment), rocket and mache. Despite the risotto disappointment my spirits were cheered when I realised that there was both a cheese course and a dessert course. Cheese platters were provided to each table to share amongst themselves in true dinner party style. The selection was from Neals Yard Dairy and somewhere else that Ms Marmite Lover referred to as “a little Italian place”. All good stuff.
 
Lemon and bergamot posset
 
To finish things off dessert was a lemon and bergamot posset. The posset was served topped with a sugared sprig of thyme to give it that restaurant quality finish that Ms Marmite Lover does so well from a home kitchen. Bergamot is the flavour found in Earl Grey tea and it is quite a subtle flavour which I think was overwhelmed by the lemon. However that is not to say that the posset was not very tasty. It was both sweet and tart and exactly the sort of dessert you could luxuriate and linger over. Which we did because we were having such a lovely evening and really enjoyed the whole supper club atmosphere. Eventually though we realised we really should leave Ms Marmite Lover to her home and go back to our own homes.
 
Ms Marmite Lover cooks in heels – very glamorous
 
 
Essentials
Details: Secret Location, North West London. Once you book all is revealed.
Damage: Pricey (£35 per person). The Underground Restaurant is BYO and each bottle is charged £5 corkage.
7/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in reading about the original supper club in Paris with Jim Haynes. For other unusual dining experiences in London try Dans Le Noir where you eat in the dark.

9 comments

  1. Thanks for coming GC.
    Sorry you found the risotto a bit bland…we had a plate in the kitchen and we loved it. But doing risotto for 32 simultaneously was quite a task and possibly I could have seasoned it more. Will take on board! Squid ink isn’t vegetarian, but it is a rather subtle taste.
    Lovely to see you
    x

  2. I’m a sucker for vintage crockery too! As for the squid ink risotto – have you tried the one at Cicconi’s in Melbourne? – still the best I’ve had. So many fun supper clubs to try in London these days. I’ve only been to one – the Humble Kitchen – which was incredible quality and so much fun.

  3. I found this review really helpful! I had my first experience of dining in a private home in Vienna at The Dining Room, where I had the best meal of my life. Since then, I’ve wondered what the London supper clubs would be like. I’m quite tempted to try out the Underground Restaurant.

  4. Oh and do you think you can photoshop my ankles a bit so they look slimmer? and damn why weren’t my nails painted…

  5. Looks like a good menu that night, I definitely want to try a supper club soon and it will either be a toss up between Fernandez and Leulu or here. I’m just dying to see MsM’s kitchen after looking at her photos on facebook!

  6. Is squid ink vegetarian?

    It looks like a lovely meal – I particularly love the look of the risotto. And Ms Marmite Lover’s shoes!

  7. I lovelovelove the plate beneath the squid ink risotto. Have always been fascinated by posset – such an English thing to have.

  8. The Underground Restaurant – I imagine making risotto for 30 people would be very hard – you did a sterling job and we had a great night. PS – your shoes and feet look fabulous don’t worry (plus I have no idea how to use photoshop)

    Greedy Diva – I love Cicconis – will have to try the Humble Kitchen

    Skirmish of Wit – wow a supper club in vienna – that sounds cool

    Helen – Ms Marmite Lover has a serious collection of it as well – I was very jealous

    Sarah – It was great fun – I am keen to try out Fernandez and LeuLeu as well

    Foody cat – corrected to pescatarian – what I meant was not what the steak craving people were expecting perhaps! I thought they were great shoes as well.

  9. sounds great, have never been to a supper club but you have fully convinced me to try it out.
    I agree with Foodycat – great shoes!

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