After a decade of running Malaysian supper clubs in London, I keep getting asked the same questions from guests. I meet first time supper clubbers at every event we host. So hopefully this will answer some of those questions.
Other supperclub hosts have also shared their tips that will help both the hosts and guests have a great evening.
If you are about to attend a supper club at someone’s home for the first time, do take a few minutes to read this. It will ensure that there are no surprises and that you will have the most enjoyable time at the event.
1. It’s not a restaurant
You have been invited to someone’s home. It is not a restaurant. Cooking in domestic kitchens is tricky and there not as many hobs and helpers as in a restaurant.
You can expect the chefs to be enthusiastic amateurs and not professional chefs on their days off.
Don’t expect new cutlery for each course and don’t expect the food to arrive in quick succession. (Again, limited by a domestic kitchen).
2. We are really not a restaurant
Don’t expect the same dining experience as in a restaurant. Think of it like a big dinner party at a new friend’s house.
3. Payment and tips
Nowadays, supper clubs are sometimes sold via experience platforms as well as directly from the supper clubs.
As my blogger friend, Burger Anarchy said on his blog on this topic :
“We’re British. Therefore we’re useless at dealing with, and asking for, money. On the off-chance, you didn’t like the food, and even if you’re the sort of person who refuses to pay for things in restaurants, don’t dick the supperclub out of its donation. Tip at least 10-20% over the suggested donation or ticket price. Take plenty of cash with you, because if it’s really exceptional, then it’s still going to have cost you less than going to a restaurant.”
4. Don’t ask for substitutions or be too fussy
Most supper clubs serve a set menu. You might be served some unusual ingredients that you have never tried before. That is the joy of a supperclub, discovering new flavours and ingredients. If you are not adventurous with food, you might not enjoy supper clubs.
As we are not restaurants, we don’t usually have other ingredients on hand to cater for substitutions. Some cuisines, it is impossible to provide vegetarian or vegan options. Not unless you have agreed with the host beforehand.
5. Last minute cancellations
Please try not to cancel as this leaves the hosts inconvenienced and out of pocket. Seating plans and exact portions have already been planned. And usually, all the food has been bought and prepped up to 2 days in advance.
6. Be sociable
You will meet lots of new people on the communal tables that are common at supper clubs. Be nice. You can make some interesting friends.
Don’t forget that this is not a restaurant and expect that the hosts will be interacting with you more than expected. Feel free to ask questions, ask for recipes and do offer lots of compliments and feedback.
7. Bring lots of drinks.
Supperclubs usually last for several hours, getting served multiple courses throughout the night. Don’t plan on getting home too early and book your babysitter for at least an hour longer than you expected. Most people will bring lots of wine and beer and stay on to socialise long after the tables have been cleared. (Dependant on locations and hosts). Out longest night ended at 6 am when the last guests were found sleeping it off in the living room!! This is not the norm.
Here are some suggested drink pairings.