Clandestine cuisine

This week on our Karr on Culture podcast: A look at “pop-up” restaurants, supper clubs, and other unusual ways of dining out in London

The economic slump hit the restaurant business hard: diners cut back, and investors practically stopped putting money into startups. In London, that led to a boom in “pop-up” dining — places where top-notch chefs temporarily took over alternative spaces, from friends’ apartments to greasy spoons to construction sites. This is fine dining’s equivalent to the speakeasy — a hot ticket available only to foodies in the know. We travel to Victoria Park in hip East London, where up-and-coming Scottish chef Isaac McHale has been running Elliot’s in the Park every Friday night in a casual cafe. McHale boosted his reputation by spending a night cooking at Nuno Mendes. He explains the inspiration for his “culinary gallery” in a London loft space. Finally, Niamh Shields, hailed as one of Britain’s top food bloggers, draws parallels between the clandestine dining movement and the revolutions that have rocked the music industry over the past decade.

 

Comments

  • Deborah Frankel

    Super innovative, creative and fun! I think it would be very cool to dine at one of these pop-ups.

  • Johnny Monrose

    This is an amazing idea, the one unfortunate thing is that when people are invited to one’s house to dine “supper-club,” they never want to pay and make excuses to think it is a party.

  • Liz Z

    I’ve eaten at Nuno’s Loft twice. It’s a bit pricey at £100 a head ($153), but it’s all inclusive with wines. I’ve had two lovely taster menus of 10 to 12 courses and discovered a world of foods that I never tried before. Shizo granita? Barley ice cream? I joked with my ex that the menu sounded like they took a fistful of words from those refridgerator poet magnets and randomly mixed them up. I just took it on faith that it would be delightful and enjoyed every bite. Johnny, they make you pay in advance a “membership” equal to the cost of dinner to avoid a loss if a guest doesn’t turn up.

  • Denise

    Lovely, i wish i lived in London to experience the dining!

  • http://www.souldish.com/2010/08/26/steves-weekly-dish-2020/ souldish (( high frequency culture )) » Steve’s Weekly Dish 202.0

    [...] Clandestine cuisine The economic slump hit the restaurant business hard: diners cut back, and investors practically stopped putting money into startups. In London, that led to a boom in “pop-up” dining — places where top-notch chefs temporarily took over alternative spaces, from friends’ apartments to greasy spoons to construction sites. This is fine dining’s equivalent to the speakeasy [...]

  • Nick Hentschel

    They should try this in Austin: right now, we’re having trouble with upscale restaurants trying to move in on affordable entertainment/dining districts, and the tension between the two is causing public scandal, in some cases. Meanwhile, there must be capable cooks who are out of work. This could help with all these people’s problems, all at once!