“So, you just go to some stranger’s house, with some other strangers, and one of the strangers cooks you food?” This is the response that was received from the majority of friends and family after informing them I was attending The Drunken Butcher’s Supper Club, Cluckin’ Hell.
For those that are unaware, supper clubs are basically pop-up restaurants that are usually held in a secret location or someone’s house. Think ‘Come Dine With Me’, without the unrelenting scoring cards.
I have been looking to go to a supper club for a while, and I’d heard (and seen) great things about Iain’s events under his horror-film like alias, The Drunken Butcher. Fortunately for me, my better half, Bryony loves her food just as much as I do and after showing her a blog from Iain’s past event, Around the World in 8ish Steaks, she didn’t need much convincing.
We arrived at Iain’s house in Sale, hungry, excited and suddenly slightly apprehensive. That apprehension was immediately relieved once we entered and the house and was hit with some incredible smells coming from the kitchen. We were welcomed by Iain’s lovely host, Cheryl, who handed us a cocktail and were shown to our seats. In my opinion, a night like this is all about the company and depending who you sit next to, you could be eyeing up the door itching to leave. Fortunately for us, we were sat next to a lovely couple who made our first supper club experience all the more worthwhile.
On to the food. As the cleverly named evening suggests, Cluckin’ Hell was an evening of chicken which was to see each dish involve a different section of the bird. Prior to serving the first course Iain had explained that we were about to devour a number of HerbFed chickens which are reared in a free range environment and, you guessed it, feed on herbs.
First up was the chicken liver pate with melba toast. The pate was incredibly light and rich with whipped-like texture. I’m a big fan of pate in general so I really enjoyed this course.
Next on the menu were the salt and chilli chicken wings. Now, these are proper wings and you could really taste the difference in the chicken. They were poached in ginger beer, had a nice kick and were near impossible not finish the whole bowl.
The third course was the lemon and chicken risotto. The risotto, made with a delicious stock, cooked to perfection and was accompanied by a chicken leg.
Next up was chicken thigh with triple cooked chips and homemade tomato ketchup. A piece of advice, chuck your Heinz in the bin. The triple cooked chips were amazing and probably better than any chips I have had before.
By this point I was getting slightly worried, and quite concerned that my pants were somehow getting tighter. However, once the main course was put in front of me, all of them concerns vanished. The main course was chicken sauté with a chardonnay sauce, and by far, my favourite course of the evening. So much so, that not only did I finish my plate but being a true gent, I also gave Bryony a helping hand when she couldn’t finish hers.
I was stuffed, and more than likely just consumed more than half a chicken. I just about managed to fit in dessert which was a white chocolate mousse; however, by this point the evening was getting a little hazy. Supper Clubs are take your own booze events and I found I was going through each glass a lot quicker than I normally would in a restaurant. It also didn’t help that Iain then topped up my glass with an impressive red and also handed me a whiskey shot.
Our first supper club experience had been a success. We had eaten some of the most delicious food and enjoyed great company. It is fantastic to listen to Iain talk about food which he is obviously incredibly passionate about and it has given me some motivation to be more experimental in the kitchen. We were the final guests to leave and if it is wasn’t for the final tram being imminent and the bearing of a busy day on the Saturday, Iain’s persuading of more wine possibly may have worked.
If you love your food, or just someone who enjoys doing something different then I would highly recommend attending a supper club. It is a great way to meet new people whilst enjoying great food and you will not be disappointed with a night at The Drunken Butcher’s.
We thank Iain, his wife Heli, Cheryl and the other guests, for making us feel very welcome, and of course the food. We will surely be back again.
Follow Iain on Twitter for links to his various supper club events and cooking masterclasses: @drunkenbutcher
(Tickets were £16pp plus a £10pp optional tip)