Sunday, March 7, 2010
The Secret's Out
Underground dining has taken off all around the world, and I jumped at a chance to experience it for myself when Teresa of Senses and Style asked me to go. Secret dining clubs allegedly started in San Francisco, and they're now commonplace in cities such as Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Barcelona.
The premise is that a local chef caters a private dinner party, typically 8-12 guests, at a top secret location not to be revealed until 24 hour prior to the event. You really are at the mercy of the chef - there's no guessing what the menu nor the company will be.
Above: 1st course of Thai Seared Beef salad, piled on top of a corn fritter and garnished with mint and cilantro
Below: Trio of scallops - with watercress, as a ceviche, and with miso.
When hubby and I arrived at the address, I must say I was a bit anxious. In an age where technology often trumps mystery, it was very refreshing to go in blindfolds. Too often we check out Urban Spoon before we hit up a new restaurant. And hasn't Google streetview to an extent killed the beauty of a surprise? The idea of not knowing, and ultimately giving up control, added to the allure of secret dining.
Below: Slow cooked lamb shanks with lentil pilaf and honeyed carrots.
Overall, I enjoyed the food and the intimate atmosphere (you are after all, at the chef's home). I would say the food was well prepared; it was quite tasty.
Below: Seared duck breast with bok choi
Below: Port soaked berry bread pudding - most heavenly!
I would say if one was traveling to a great culinary capital, oh say, like Paris, it would be very worthwhile to source out a secret spot. It's a great way to eat like a local, and well, eat amongst them too.
If you're interested in underground dining, there's a very comprehensive list of clubs for cities around the world at Salt Shaker.