Tue 25 Jan 2011
Secret Supper Clubs have been all the rage in Los Angeles for the last few years, so when I heard about one being done in Dublin I jumped at the chance to enjoy a multi-course meal cooked and served in the comfort of a private home with complete strangers.
But unlike the one Supper Club experience I’d had in LA (which was a fun experience but food-wise was lackluster), this wasn’t about secret passwords and going to great lengths to secure a precious invite. The Loaves & Fishes Supper Club, organized and hosted by foodie and baker Lilly Higgins and her sisters, is all about delicious, homemade food created by people who truly love to cook for others.
The venue was a beautiful private home in the Kilmainham district of Dublin and the minute Mountaineering Man and I walked in we were greeted with a warm hello and an offer to take our coats. The main sitting room area featured several communal tables adorned with candles and a view of the open kitchen, an incredibly brave set-up as we could see all the cooking front and center. Lilly and her sisters were working away but looked quite calm and very organized; a good thing considering they were feeding a good 30+ people that night.
The dinner started off with a gorgeous and silky potato and leek soup, served in an array of colorful bowls. I loved the variety of flatware, wine glasses, plates and cups on the table; while they all kept in the shabby chic/country theme, they were not matchy-matchy which added to the comfortable, homey atmosphere. Next up was a lovely salad and toasts topped with tangy goat’s cheese, which had been put under a broiler and given the melty treatment (YUM!). In between courses the sisters, including Maeve (who along with Lilly used to have the hilarious RTE show, Fancy Vittles), kindly cleared the plates and asked if we’d enjoyed everything so far. Fellow food blogger and tablemate Deirdre and I exchanged many “NOM!” looks all night and expressed our excitement over the courses to come.
For our main course the sisters served up a light and lovely root mash, which I believe consisted of butternut squash, sweet potato and lentils. As it was slightly sweet and earthy, it was the perfect accompaniment to the hearty beef and chorizo stew. MM isn’t usually a fan of beef but even he scoffed up the stew, nodding with approval as he ate. I had to struggle to leave some mash on my plate, as I knew what was coming up for dessert and my stomach raised the white flag half-way through my main begging me to save room for what was to come next.
To say I’m a fan of sticky toffee pudding would be an understatement. If given the choice between an evening with Ryan Reynolds and one with a plate of this classic pud, I would probably pick the latter (of course ScarJo’s ex feeding me sticky toffee pudding would be the ULTIMATE! [editor’s note: MM’s fantasy would involve ScarJo so it would be very convenient for both of us and relatively guilt-free!]). Needless to say, I’ve had a good few in my lifetime and I can say hand over heart that Lilly’s is the best I’ve ever had. It was rich and warm and sweet but not overly so; the toffee sauce was buttery and glossy and I’d be very happy to bathe in the stuff.
To end the already-extravagant evening we were served plates of peanut butter and sesame biscuits (Lilly, I want the recipe!), little fruit-studded chocolates and tea and coffee. Lilly, Maeve and the sisters walked from table to table, taking a well-deserved break and chatted warmly with their guests. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we left with full bellies and big grins on our faces. Thanks to Lilly and all the Higgins’ sisters for a truly wonderful night!