A supper club on a decommissioned 1967 Victoria tube carriage. Can you get any more underground than that? Hosted by the wonderful Basement Gallery the pop-up event takes place off-track at the Walthamstow Pumphouse Transport Museum, E17 in London. I first read about the concept via the Grub Club, the ticket partner of Basement Galley who send out regular newsletters promoting such events. According to one of their bulletins the first Underground Supper Club sold out in 17 minutes, so when I saw tickets had been released for the second event I knew I had to act fast. Quickly texting a friend, I secured a partner and booked two £45 tickets.
£45 I hear you say! Yes, its expensive. But its not your ordinary supper on a tube carriage. It’s a 7 course tasting meal on a tube carriage. As part of this cost you’re also entitled to a free alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink each. We managed to get a bottle of wine between the two of us.
The booking confirmation asks you not to be late as that can affect every bodies dining experience. As we weren’t sure how long the journey to Walthamstow would take we arrived a little early before the half 6 start time. Wondering around the pumphouse museum we spoke to the site owner and asked for a quick history of the machinery they had on site.
By 7pm most of the guests had arrived, we mingled with drinks, speaking to the strangers we were soon to be dining with. The atmosphere was warm, everybody was excited and buzzing about the mystery that the evening held. The most popular conversation starter was “so what made you decide to come this evening?”
One of the co-founders of Basement Galley introduced himself and the Underground Supper Club by standing on the roof of his classic mini cooper car. It got our attention that’s for sure. He told us where we would be sitting in the tube, as instructed you had to be comfortable sitting next to strangers! We were in the front of the tube wedged into the seating behind the dining tables. My friend and I were sat opposite each other in the middle of the row. We were either side of two couples which was a great social experience as we began to chat and find out more about the people we were sharing our evening with.
On the menu each course represented a different line on the tube, great attention to detail and creativity! A few of dishes required googling (thank god for smart phones) as many of us didn’t know what we were about to eat. Jumping on the metropolitan line our meal began with an amuse bouche of Kohlrabi Veloute. Yeah I had no idea what Kohlrabi Veloute was either, but apparently it’s a type of cabbage soup.
It was great fun passing the cups of soup down the table, unsurprisingly we weren’t all served at once – by the time the person at the end of the carriage had finished the person at the front had only just started. The soup tasted a lot like leek and potato but it was nice nonetheless.
Having whetted my appetite I was looking forward to the starter arriving. I’m a big fan of food that combines sweet and savoury so the sound of Shropshire Blue Figs, Ruby Chard & Celery Salad with Balsamic Glaze was right up my street. This was probably one of my favourite dishes of the evening, it was served cold, although I’m sure the fig and cheese had originally be warmed up. It was delicious!
Following our starter was a palate cleaner of Fior d’Arancio Sorbet (told you some Googling was required)! Apparently this is a type of Muscat wine sorbet, but don’t take my word on that. Either way it was nice and hit the spot.
A tactical break took place just before the main course, allowing you to take a toilet trip, top up your wine, stretch your legs, or… go and sit in the drivers seat of the tube train!!
Back in our seats and ready for the main course. Everyone was at least half a bottle of wine down by now and we were all getting very chatty and giggly. It was great fun, making friends with strangers. As with the other courses the main arrived in stages, it was making me even more hungry passing the plates of Pulled Slow Braised Pork, Creamy Basil Mash, Warm Beetroot and Tomato Salsa down the table.
The dish wasn’t piping hot, but at least it was warm. The basil mash was my favourite part, I’ve never had it before, I’m sure it’s something you could easily make at home. It was yum! The different elements of the meal complimented one another, it was tasty but the pulled pork was a little bit on the disappointing side. Just a bit cold and dry.
Switching onto the Northern line brought us to the entremet course! Fizzy G&T Jelly. Now this was cool. Cubes of gin and tonic jelly which we were told to dip in sherbet. I loved it but some of the diners in the carriage didn’t enjoy the fizziness of the sherbet and texture of the jelly together.
Course number 6 brought us to Dessert. A deliciously delicate Lemon Cheesecake with Lime Shortbread and Fruits of the Forest Compote.
The seventh and final course of the evening was brought to us by Dolcezza, a scrummy selection of homemade biscuits. Guests were given a pack between two to share. Teas and coffees were also available but you had to go and help yourself.
Overall we had such a fun evening. I’d give the food a 6 out of 10 but the experience was a definite 10 out of 10. I highly recommend the Underground Supper Club for anybody that wants to make friends with strangers, enjoy some of London’s transport heritage and eat a slap up 7 course meal.
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