The chefs popping up in unusual places across Greater Manchester
Supper clubs are a great opportunity for chefs to experiment and diners to try new things. Usually held in casual dining or unusual settings, they're notably different from a standard restaurant service. Some are themed, some are not. Some lead to fully fledged restaurants or morph into streetfood ventures, whilst others tick away in the background.
By nature, supper clubs come and go and it can be hard to keep track of who's where and when. Some happen regularly across the year while others pop up sporadically - and quickly sell out. All are intimate opportunities to try different cuisines and dishes in the company of like-minded people - often with a creative theme underpinning the meal. What’s not to love about that?
Here’s our pick of the Manchester supper clubs you can go to in 2022.
Confidentials supper clubs
We know this is blowing our own trumpet but it’s a bloody good trumpet, alright? Confidentials supper clubs take the expertise of our team and pair it with chefs and restaurateurs from our little black books. This makes for intimate, unique events for real foodies. Take our Robert Owen Brown supper club at The Eagle in Salford earlier this year or most recently an eccentric, European-inspired five-course supper at the The Embassy in Hale. The latter was one of our highest-rated restaurant reviews of last year, don't you know.
We also joined forces with The Black Friar to celebrate the Salford gastropub's first birthday with an exclusive five-course tasting menu. Next up is a Thai BBQ-fired party at Neon Tiger, the new Cocktail kid on the Bridge Street block. Taking place on Tuesday 13 September at 7pm, courses include handmade Chang Mai sausage, red curry fishcakes and and the obligatory grilled tiger prawns serverd with peanut red curry, rice noodles and chilli jam. Vegetarian and vegan options too. Six courses and a welcome shot of Soju for the cracking price of £35pp. Limited tickets are still available exclusively via the Confidentials app - download it if you haven't already. If you miss out, keep your eyes peeled for the next one as these are going to be a regular thing for 2022 and beyond.
Claire Woodier’s caf was previously one of the main attractions at New Smithfield Market in Openshaw. With a 13-year-long stint under her belt serving proper bacon sarnies from 2am Monday-Saturday, her supper club life is one of luxury and roasted lemons.
Although the market caf closed back in 2019, Claire is now a freelance chef and caters for private dining events and supper clubs aplenty. Most recently, a Sgroppino & Seafood Spectacular is set to take place on Saturday 13 August with a seasonal Italian seafood menu in collaboration with Sian from Moregeous Designs (who has also hosted fellow supper clubbers Ness Cohen and The Sri Lankan Experience among others). The August menu includes some pretty special seasonal additions like a peach and Viognier granita and summer leaves ravioli, and tickets are on sale now. There’s also a Pie and "Liquor" Night in Claire’s pipeline (get you a girl that can do both) for Tuesday 16 August at The Beer Shed Brewery in New Mills. You should follow Claire on socials to keep up with her supper-time antics and sign up for a night that tickles your fancy.
Ness Cohen has cooked all over the world from the Canadian Rockies to the Swiss Alps. Her background as a private chef and teacher has stood her in good stead for supper club duties. In recent years, she has set up a pop-up kitchen in Bristol serving an innovative tapas roast, run a thriving Middle Eastern takeaway from her flat in Ramsbottom and masterminded a host of supper clubs across the North West. Chef in residence at Grape to Grain in both Ramsbottom and Prestwich, as well as other spots around town including the aforementioned Make it Moregeous manor, current menus explore food of Ness's Israeli heritage with a touch of the med.
The supper clubs at Monton’s Farm & Fish, a joint venture between The Wandering Palate over the road and The Butcher’s Quarter, are a celebration of great produce and wine. Based on giving chefs the pick of the meat, fish, cheese and vegetables from the produce counter, set menus are paired with sommelier-chosen wines. Manchester chef Jimmy Carr (not that one) kicked off the inaugural offering with a fish-themed feast (he's back in September) with The Little Sri Lankan another notable headliner.
The thought of an ISCA supper club brings joy to our little hearts. A magnet for excellent in-store winery cameos and associated tastings (German Riesling heroes Brand bros a recent highlight), ISCA have form when it comes to regular, limited-number dining events. Their supper club calendar packs regional European cuisine celebrations and regular pasta parties, with an emphasis on organic produce and heritage grains. There's also a monthly pizza party with Rise (that parmesan crust though, am I right?).
We’ve waxed lyrical about Playfoots in the past and it’s no surprise that the Monton café bar also does a splendid supper club. Lemon Disco Club chef Nik Prescott dishes up Middle Eastern-inspired menus at spots across Manchester and Lancashire including Playfoots and Plau in Preston. Think dishes like Egyptian-style fava beans with wild garlic and pickles, Macarona bil laben, and creamy sheep's cheese pasta with Swaledale lamb but the fun of supper clubs is the menu is never the same twice.
If you’re after a bit of quaint, intimate shipping container supper club action, look no further than Le Social. A tiny natural wine bar in a shipping container in Pollard Yard, New Islington, Le Social's owner Jerome Boullier is a French wine obsessive who knows petit peu about food too. Hosting regular monthly events and collaborative suppers with the likes of bagel-botherers Breadflower (for example a Loire Valley-inspired one with oysters paired with Muscadet, gateau with Bonnezeau) and The Little Pasta company, owner Jerome is always on hand for the perfect wine pairing. Le Social by name, Le Social by nature an ethos of coming together and learning is central to the experience.
Set up as a way to showcase the food of her Sri Lankan heritage, owner Melanie and partner Mike have since taken The Little Sri Lankan to pop-up locations and supper clubs across Manchester. Dishes might include mutton pancake rolls or Auntie Joyce’s cashew ball, a fritter-style mixture of cashew, bacon, potato, green chilli and mint. Regularly on the move, upcoming spots include Didsbury’s A Taste of Honey, Laithwaite’s in Alderley Edge and Sykes Bistro in Reddish.
What better way to drop down in a city than a mysterious orange wine and fried chicken supper club in an atmospherically lit cavern in central Manchester? That’s exactly how Lucky Foot made its supper club debut earlier this year. Whilst the initial outing married a love of orange wine and fried chicken, future outings are set to explore passions for fried chicken and natural wine further. In true guerrilla dining fashion, details are set to be announced a day before each event with locations kept secret until being released a few hours before.
A joint venture between ceramicist Frida Cooper and chef Holly Sumner, Makers Supper is a collaborative supper club series with creativity and craft at its heart. Bringing together locally-produced food as well as great company, what sets the dining experience apart is the inclusion of three artists who’re invited to collaborate on each meal. Be it dressing the table, producing candles or creating the plates. Different creatives are invited each time and the meal is a great opportunity to share stories and feel inspired whilst tucking into beautiful food.
A product of lockdown, Manchester Pasta Co began as a pasta-making operation in Didsbury. With experience working in Michelin-starred kitchens in London, chef Laurie returned to his hometown of Manchester to pursue a career as a private chef before the pandemic put a dampener on proceedings. Laurie Curtis began making fresh, homemade pasta and what originally began as artisan meal kits has since morphed into a popular monthly supper club at Use Space near Piccadilly. The set menus range between four and six courses with options for cocktails and fizz and there's always a homemade pasta main course. Think truffled egg yolk tortellini coated in pancetta butter with freshly grated Tuscan truffles and Parmigiano.
In-keeping with the People’s History Museum café’s sustainable food waste and local sourcing ethos, Open Kitchen’s meet the producer supper club explores different aspects of sustainability in “the most delicious way possible.” Kicking off the supper club will be a seven course taster menu with matching organic, natural and low intervention wines. The meal will be created with local, organic, seasonable and sustainably produced fruits and veg from Stockport’s Kindling’s Woodbank Farm. The programme will continue throughout Autumn and Winter with foodie events covering sustainable wines, locally produced cheese, nose-to-tail butchering and more.
Founded by former Erst colleagues, chef Anna Søgaard and sommelier Kim McBride, Supp-her is an inclusive supper club powered by women. The project was founded to create a space for women working in hospitality to get to know each other whilst also raising money for charities supporting women. Suppher clubs have featured some of Manchester's top chefs from the likes of Erst, The Creameries, Flawd, Where The Light Gets In, Bread Flower and Mana with profits going to a range of charities local and global.
A tantalising amuse bouche of sorts in the run-up to the opening of grocers come kitchen Tawny Stores in Marple (pencilled in for the end of the year or early 2023). Tawny Suppers is a supper club popping up at locations across Manchester, with a focus on super seasonal produce sourced from Cinderwood and Platt Fields market gardens. Headed up by chef Beth Hammond, currently plying her trade at Flawd, the supper club opts for family-style dining around a long table encouraging everyone to get involved, whilst food is cooked over an open fire. The supper club’s first edition at Platt Fields Market Garden was a resounding success, with a menu including cod cheek and bay leaf, lamb skewers and Isot chilli and ember beetroot, tropea onions with chili. Future events are planned for Platt Fields, ISCA and Bernie’s Grocery, with a special charity supper for Eatwell as part of Manchester Food & Drink Festival.
Main image: a supper club at Make It Moregeous
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