Date and Time: Friday 30th September 2011, 19:30
Name of Event: Bishopston Supper Club*
Location: The Bishopston-based home of local chef, Danielle Coombs (A.K.A The Resting Chef)
Reason for Visit: An evening of highly-acclaimed cuisine outside of a restaurant setting
Initially, I wasn't going to review my visit to the Bishopston Supper Club, be it, in my opinion, an under-ground dining occasion whereby a blow-by-blow account of the proceedings would surely thwart the build-up of intrigue and excitement that one should be left to experience for themselves. On the other hand, I simply couldn't let such a top-notch evening remain entirely undocumented and after all, I would hate for you to miss out on a truly unique way of satisfying your inner 'foodie' whilst meeting like-minded souls over exceptional, seasonally-inspired and locally-sourced cuisine. Beforehand, I suppose you could say that I was anticipating a less amateurish version of Come Dine With Me; without the narration and rummaging for scandal of course! In fact it became clear that this comparison was a little unjust as the evening unfolded; I mean, you are thrown together with a group of unfamiliar faces in the host's own pad and yet, as the host herself is an established chef and in her own words, has lost count of how many Supper Club evenings she has fronted, it really is like stepping into a very intimate bistro or even, arriving at a friend's dinner party, (albeit in this case, sitting elbow-to-elbow with those whom will become your 'gastro-fam' for the evening!)
Arriving at the address we were given just a week previously and powered somewhat by Google-Maps, the Best Foodie Friend (BFF) and I received a warm-welcome and were shown to the dining room which had been thoughtfully (and comfortably) arranged in two tables of eight. As the evening progressed, the conversation flowed (as did the drinks courtesy of the B.Y.O alcohol policy!) and although the BFF and I were actually reunited with a past acquaintance, we were also pleased be in the company of a table full of friendly fellow foodies. Danielle has worked hard to create a laid back space for her guests and facilitated by the obvious attention to detail from the 'mood' lighting to an ever-present soundtrack of old-school nostalgia, it certainly constitutes the desired effect
As for the food itself, I will not go into too much detail but I will tell you this; although the menu's four-courses are posted on the Supper Club's website about a week before the evening in question, it's all about their presentation, poise and overall, their deliciousness! There are also a couple of additional surprises that really add the wow factor – on this occasion, these included an amuse-bouche of freshly prepared scotch eggs and later in the evening, a palate cleansing, and particularly pungent, home-made elderberry vodka that left us all a little red in the face! Consequently, it may prove a little strange to commit to paying for a meal whereby you have no control over the courses, (unless, of course, you predetermine a specific dietary requirement or express a particular disliking of something) and yet, if, like me, you put a little faith in your stomach and like surprises, you certainly wont be disappointed by the imagination and fundamentally, the quality behind the Bishopston Supper Club's bespoke menus.
That said, if you are a proper fuss-pot when it comes to food, I would probably venture that this concept is not for you and yet, if this is the case you may be better placed at Danielle's new-found Sunday lunch club which, offering the classically cosy roast dinner with all the trimmings, will be held once a Month from the 16th October. There are also special Supper Club dinners whereby each course is offered alongside a complimentary vino (selected by the lovely folk at Gloucester Road's Grape and Grind*) or in addition to a specific variety of cider (brought to you from the brains behind Bristol Cider Shop*) – check our the website for details! And so whatever your dining preference; whether you're a traditionalist, a little avant-garde or, in fact, anything else in between, there is something here for everyone...and what's more, delivered in a far more novel setting than your run-of-the-mill High-Street eatery. For me, it's all about new and exciting places in which to sample the best of Bristol's cuisine and this experience, although I'll admit that at first I wasn't sure what to expect, was a real treat.