My first supper club has come and gone, hopefully leaving all the guests feeling like they couldn’t eat another bite, but leaving me hungry for another and another and another wonderful event where I can cook great food for people and watch them mingling and enjoying the company of their fellow diners. The next opportunity is already booked into the calendar and the preparation is well underway.
October 7th was my first supper club event in Folkestone and, with an intimate crowd of 9 diners, it was a bit like having a great dinner party, bringing together friends who had never met each other but who each had an interesting story to tell. The wine and conversation flowed incredibly well and I couldn’t have hoped for a better crowd of people to help me christen what I hope will become a Folkestone eating institution.
The last few years have seen innumerable pop up and underground restaurants emerge as the new, hip way to eat out. But among the pop ups and underground restaurants run by famous and talented chefs, there has been another phenomenon rising up in homes around the country: supper clubs.
There is some serious burgermania going around the UK. BBQ and American-style burgers have taken the nation by storm and pop ups and food trucks are cropping up all over the place, even outside of the capital. Here in Folkestone, Googies led, and still leads, the way where American food is concerned and burgers have been their bread and butter since day one. There are a few new kids in town now, but it seems like there is definitely enough burger love to go around.
My mind is reeling. I’ve just got back from lunch at the Saltwood on the Green, a new restaurant offering Kent a rare taste of simple food, done exquisitely. Set in the picturesque village of Saltwood, just outside Hythe, it is exactly what I would hope for in a neighborhood restaurant: intimate and welcoming, but classy enough that it still feels a bit special.
So this salad is just, like, incredible. Believe me, I needed convincing too because melon is at the top of my ‘don’t like’ list. Melon and cucumber are the two foods that I have not grown to like as I’ve reached adulthood. But somehow, in some magical, mysterious way, the honey dew in this recipe works. Maybe it’s the punchy cilantro or the fiery kick of jalapeño drawing the attention away from the paltry, watery sweetness of the melon. Or maybe it’s the tartness of the unripe green tomatoes that just seems to create such a harmonious bowl of food.
Tomorrow our little Googies turns five. Over the past five years we have seen it evolve from a little café, to a café and craft beer destination, to a café, craft beer destination, music venue, ultimate coffee house and restaurant in its own right. To celebrate its birthday, owners Keith and Steve are raising the bar even higher.
If you’re like me, you look at every opportunity to cook for other people as an opportunity to create, experiment and just generally flex your culinary muscles. Not necessarily to show off, although I will admit to the odd twinge of pride when things work out how I hoped, but just because the thrill of creating – and then devouring – something new is almost as exciting as getting to share it with people you love. Knowing me as he does, my husband usually prefaces announcements of expected guests with, ‘Just keep it casual. Make something simple. Don’t go overboard.’. But sometimes keeping it simple is exactly what you need to do to create a masterpiece.
Nearly a year ago, the Old High Street in Folkestone welcomed a new addition to its restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. A small, unimposing coffee shop where people could go to get a cup o’ Joe with a difference. And ever since, that little shop has been cranking out delicious coffees and teas as well as experimenting with the brewing process and innovating new coffee based drinks the likes of which Folkestone has never seen before. Our recent heatwave has given Tom at Manifest Coffee yet another brilliant idea.