I’ve had some experiences in my time, but never one as indulgent - and mildly unnerving - than my experience of SupperClub. It’s the flashy franchise which started in Amsterdam 20 years ago, and combines risque entertainment, DJ sets and late night dining like a glorious cocktail you blindly knock back without quite knowing the rest of the ingredients. Once inside, I meet a red bar area, dotted with colourful-looking characters who waltz around like the cast of Narnia. A red-bearded fella smiles at me like we’ve met before, and later turns out to be the evening’s compere, and one of the club’s super-friendly and attentive staff members. Dramatically, two massive doors slide open to reveal the club itself; pristine-white and massive, with a mezzanine level and beds (yes, beds!) along the sides, as an optional spot to dine. It’s recently been refurbished and there’s space in the centre which you presume will be turned into a dancefloor post supper (which, by the way, comes from a secret menu; but these folks aren’t so crazy as to not do a respectful allergy/vegan/vegetarian check, as fascinating an allergic reaction might be to watch).
The first two stylish courses are kinda “ooh la la” - and not just because the lady who serves us looks like Lady Gaga, either. There’s a creamy risotto for starters, followed by a tender loin of beef served with a potato cake, and a decoration of mushy peas and greens. In between courses, we’re given performances from the legendary Crazy Horse Paris dancers – and if you look beyond the frequent of display of T&A, these women are remarkable. The avant-garde collective have celebrity fans in Kanye West, Beyonce and Sting, and such is their appeal, the 3rd course - an okay-ish frozen-cream something - is practically ignored by everyone in the house. The contortionist is something else (wow); the upside-down leg display, clever. And although my inner-conservative wants to start hissing at the excited men who’ve suddenly crowded my perfect-view table once things border on erotic, it’s hard to deny this is creative cabaret - and they’ll be at the Club until June 26th. Otherwise, expect a wild array of events and fine dining, determined to whip you out of your comfort zone (!) (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
Dinner is usually £45, but £69.50 for a three-course meal and The Crazy Horse cabaret. For more info visit www.supperclub.com.
I love a good toilet. Always have. So imagine my delight when I visited Sketch for the first time back in 2005 and spent a penny. I was blown away – they are up there with the best I have ever seen. To reach them, you ascend a clinically white, curved staircase and are greeted by multiple ominous dinosaur egg structures – pods would probably be the best word. Each pod is filled with its very own soundscape – personal favourites being the round of applause and airport lounge announcements (I actually thought I could emerge in another place).
They actually do food here too - and ever since restauranteur Mourad Mazouz opened Sketches doors to the London glitterati 9 years ago, it’s been catering for us vegetarians and meat eaters alike with creative and occasionally palate challenging cuisine. I opted for the Spring starter that consisted of asparagus, fresh peas, and an unusually icey poached egg in the centre – accompanied with a side of sorrel sorbet (bonkers- but good). Next up was Udon and Tofu in a Miso broth, a classy complex dish which sounded a bit dull on paper but the liquer was quite something, hitting perfect notes of citrus and spice.
My fellow diner went for Lobster Bisque and halibut main (cooked to perfection). The dessert consisted of chocolate gateaux and sketch lemon. A little disappointing, particularly since the head chef is Pierre Gagnaire, (and we know the French are usually so good at puds). It’s not cheap, coming in at approximately £120 for two (3 courses and a bottle of wine). But you’re paying for more than the top end brasserie food. The atmosphere and surroundings are relaxed and quite friendly, there’s electronic music pumping in the background and a 360 degree video art installation playing around the dizzy heights of the dining room. There is also hand painted chairs by Julie Verhoeven. And lets not forget, those toilets as well. This is experience dining and the experience, as it happens, is quite good. (Words: Laura Thornley)
For more information, visit www.sketch.uk.com
Real foodies know that while certain dining hotspots might be more inclined to pull in the custom through tiresome gimmickry (celebrity chefs, bougie clientele, you name it…), sometimes it’s the more off-centre places that usually succeed in ticking the boxes of great food, ambience and customer service. Saying that, the decor of Bob Bob Ricard shouts proudly of trendy designer touches – not to mention the pink-suited waiters - but it’s eclecticism is merely a compliment to its tasty British cuisine, with a mild Russian inspiration. Lunch consisted of delicious potted shrimp (£10.75) and russian salad with shaved black truffle (£4.50), followed by the old bay crispy chicken with coleslaw (£17.50) – wholesome and delish – and a homemade sorbet, featuring a quirky combination of a blackcurrant, strawberry and surprisingly pleasing basil (£5.50). I shouldn’t forget to mention that I prepped my palate the Russian way, taking a shot of the most subtle vodka (chilled at -18c, £4.75-£11.50) – and feeling that once this dining experiences was over, I’d be only too eager to repeat it again. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
For more information, visit www.bobbobricard.com