Menage a Trois Supper Club: A review

The idea of supper clubs is a bit of an odd one, really, isn’t it? Going out for dinner is one thing, but heading out to eat in a stranger’s house and sitting around the table with a group of people you’ve never met before is something else entirely – especially if the supper club in question’s called Menage a Trois and takes place in a basement. I was either going to get Fritzled or do a bit of swinging.

As luck would have it, neither of those particular situations arose and I emerged from the club’s secret Altrincham location a few hours after I descended into the basement relatively unscathed. I say ‘relatively’ because man, alive – I was stuffed! The meal that owner of Menage a Trois Lex Smith – also known as Lady Nom – had chosen to serve to her guests (a journalist, an electrician, a doctor and an HR professional among them…certainly an intriguing mix) was a Spanish evening with a difference.

No tapas and sangria here, thank you very much. Instead, a huge array of regional, traditional Pintxos and Basque-style dishes just kept on coming out of the kitchen until I couldn’t lift my fork without a lot of effort. I’ve always been a bit of a fussy eater (many a time was I sent to bed hungry for refusing to eat my greens), so you would be forgiven for thinking that supper clubs, where I have no choice over the food that reaches my plate, would be a bad choice for me but I think this is certainly part of the charm.

I loved the fact that Lex kept surprising me with dishes like salt cod (amazingly salty and just as moreish), squid in its own ink, oysters with paprika mayonnaise, cod cheeks, oxtail, hake with cider, quail and sherry-marinated figs – all of which I’d certainly never order if I spied them on the menu in a restaurant. Of course, if they’d been absolutely foul I’d be telling a different story but everything was cooked so very well that I didn’t really have time to remember that I didn’t actually like beans and would usually hide behind the sofa in fear of a cheese and walnut salad.

Tickets for this supper club are £30, which may seem steep (particularly since you have to bring your own booze – but Lex would need a liquor licence to serve alcohol, so you can see why she doesn’t), but the number of dishes and the effort that goes into the cooking, presentation and hosting certainly makes it worth the price tag.

Food aside, my time at the supper club was very well spent and I was surprised to find that I enjoyed eating a meal with a host of strangers. I don’t think I’ve made any lifelong friends over the dinner table as yet, but I’ll certainly be returning for another Menage a Trois.

I’ll be at Lex’s Flavours of the Deep South supper club in Altrincham on August 11th. Come and say hi!

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