What kind of crazy bastard would open up his home to 22 members of the public, cook for them, wait on them hand and foot and trust them to pay a donation at the end of several hours of fanny-busting gluttony? James Ramsden (or Rambo) is his name and his supper club, The Secret Larder, is a highly successful evening that he runs along with his lovely girlfriend every 2 weeks at his equally lovely place in North London. I took my large, curious nose and my grey disheveled hair along to see how the whole thing works and to serve the guests some food cooked by michelin-starred chef Shane Osborn. And to wash the dishes of course 🙂
How does it work?
James and his followers decide on a theme which is posted up to his site and those who are interested email him for a place at the Supper Club. It’s as simple as that really! Themes from the past have included pigs, magic and herbs with a Roald Dahl theme planned for later in the year which sounds fun!
On the evening you turn up and get ushered into the ‘restaurant’ and get served the menu course by course. The atmosphere is buzzing and the venue has a quaint, intimate feel to it, with only 3 tables which seat 22 in total. You pay an undisclosed donation at the end of the evening and I heard from James’ lady that some people actually didn’t pay at previous events. Leading swiftly onto the question of the customers themselves…
What’s the food like?
The evening I went along I was lucky enough to be fed by Shane Osborn and James. Shane has michelin stars and James has just released his first cook book, suffice to say the food was great. Watercress soup with quail’s egg, tequila & pomegranate sorbet, roast lamb with rosemary, beans and beetroot puree were just some of the dishes served up and they were all tasty, well cooked and executed. Not the most wonderfully brilliant food I’ve ever tasted but this was a supper club in someone’s house cooking on one cooker for 22 people. With that considered, the food was exceptional.
What are the customers like?
Some of the people at the event seemed like lovely, smiley, middle-aged happy people with nice lives looking for an alternative to the average dining experience. And some were cunts. But I guess that’s no surprise since this is, after all, a supper club.
This comment from a visitor on James’ site amused me:
I have heard so much about your evenings and have a number of friends interested in the experience. I am however a little concerned by your twitter remarks about your guests. Not the best business model if you are looking at this as a profitable venture. Have the experience, pay for dinner and await a slating across the Internet as a source of amusement for the general public. Me thinks not!
I have no idea what the tweet said but based on some of the customers I met last week it was probably something to do with them being self-righteous, upper middle-class minge-monkeys.
Don’t let the clientele put you off though; James and his crew are lovely people and lots of the guests seemed genuinely nice too.
If you want an intimate, entertaining evening with good food at a great price then I can’t recommend this place enough. Places get booked up quickly though so be sure to book well in advance. I for one am looking forward to the Roald Dahl evening where I can hopefully be a guest who is served the food rather than haphazardly trotting around dishing up plates of food to people I’d happily punch in the face.