Sunday, March 25, 2012
At the beginning of this month I attended a supper club for the first time: metti una sera e cena ("place one night a dinner".... ???) hosted by two Italian artists, Marco and Chiara, in the Bötzow neighbourhood.
I first heard of a private supper club a couple of years ago but without knowing such a term. In the Swiss town of Neuchâtel some friends were invited by a college colleague who threw a five-courses menu and only asked his guests for an allowance. Hearing about that i felt pity that there wasn't such a thing in my city... only to find out much later that the real underground dinners have been always taking place, simply i had not been invited to any. Now i take comfort in the fact that in order to attend one of these days' supper clubs, you don't need an invite ;). though officially you still do...
The supper clubs we are talking about today are no more secret: you get their addresses in city magazines, nationwide newspapers or social media. And they are so numerous that one can lose track of them.
The attraction is less the underground element (after all, nothing is wrong about restaurant licenses, right? ) but the prospect of an alternative dining experience when passionate private cooks perform for a bigger crowd of guests without seeking commercial intentions at first place.
Our evening at Metti was wonderful!
They host 12 people for each dinner that takes place twice a month in the hosts' studio. The improvised setting contributed to a cozy and charming atmosphere while the menu was exquisite:
1. Warm scallops salad with potatoes, fish coulis and sepia ink bread
2. Homemade ravioli with Gorgonzola and walnuts, shallot sauce
3. Homemade onion and olive oil ice cream, smoked swordfish
4. Cod with almonds gratin, pear and onion cream. Purple potato chips
I loved courses 2, 3, and 5: sure, you can never go wrong with handmade ravioli and good cheese but at least I can never get tired of that stuff... besides, it was the first savory ice cream I ever had (being totally behind food fashion) which was exciting. Finally the Tiramisu had nothing in common with the dessert that you know - just look at the saffron threads!
Courses 1 and 4 tasted a tad too neutral but still they made up well balanced, lovely composed dishes.
Each plate was picturesque and despite of the modern interpretation of the dishes it all tasted authentic Italian.
See some pictures here as mine all failed.
When the hosts finally joined us for a chat after the last course at around 1 a.m. (after having rushed five hours in the kitchen), that was even a touching moment.
These cheerful couple put so much efforts into a dinner to make a memorable evening for their unknown guests. One can only guess: from designing a menu, to starting with preparations days before, procuring the ingredients, cooking a whole day and cleaning up the day after.
Do we ever put so much efforts when inviting friends in real life? Not really. In so far that was a heart-warming, revealing experience. You don't have to cook elaborate dishes for a happy gathering but for sure, the more love and efforts you put into an invite, the happier you will make your guests. It is simple as that.
Thank you Chiara and Marco for the dinner - wish you much joy and happy encounters in the future!
Metti Una Sera a Cena, Italian supper club in Prenzlauer Berg.
Book the next dinners via their blog.
The suggested donation depends on the menu: around 55 euro per person, including aperitif, wine pairings and coffee.