I'm sure I've told you before how much I love supper clubs. It is a long-standing dream of mine to run my own; we're hoping to buy a house in the next year, and a proper dining room is high on the list of priorities for this very reason. Two of my favourite things are eating delicious food and making friends, which make pop-ups and supper clubs pretty much my dream evening activity. With every one being different from the last, they're a step up from the restaurant dining experience, and some of the best food I've ever eaten have been at events like this.
So when I saw that The Fat Faced Cat Supper Club had some tickets left for their dinner on Saturday, I couldn't resist. I roped in a willing friend and happily paid my £25, before telling everyone I knew exactly how excited I was about the menu. Spicy pig's cheek doughnut? That is the stuff of dreams, right there.
This wasn't my first time dining with the Fat Faced Cat. I was invited a few month's back after meeting the host at another foodie event. My over-riding memory of that evening was just how damn good the Popcorn Cockles were (happily, they made it back on the menu this time around!) and how full I was by the end of the evening. We sat down at around 8 and didn't stop eating until gone midnight; never have I had so much good food. So this time around I prepped myself beforehand by eating almost nothing all day, ready for the feast that awaited.
When you go to a supper club, you have to be ready to make small talk. I always think small talk get a bad name. I LOVE small talk. I am perfectly happy to chat away about people's jobs and how they came to Leeds and what their favourite restaurants are in the city and which other supper clubs they've been to. It's fun. There's always the awkward introduction stage, and then it's like you're all friends catching up over dinner. Being in someone's home only amplifies that feeling, as does the wine. It feels cosy.
Over our initial introductions, we sipped on cocktails (an excellent Old Fashioned) and nibbled on a seemingly never-ending parade of snacks - including the aforementioned popcorn cockles (salty, spicy, deep-fried - so damn more-ish), honey Sriracha popcorn (deliciously sticky with just a hint of heat), zaboca on crab biscotti (which everyone promptly forgot the name of halfway through the first bite - but was roundly declared excellent!) and candied bacon.
We were then seated, more drinks were poured and a steady stream of dishes found their way in front of us. It took hours to get through everything, and by the end we were all unbuttoning trousers and declaring ourselves fuller than we'd ever been. I want to dwell on each dish because each one was absolutely gorgeous - from the crisp, sweet outer and spicy, meaty inner of the pig's cheek doughnut to the fresh flavours of the seabass ceviche. The 'main course' (when you have 12, can any of them be main?) was a gorgeous, tender lamb with super-smooth mash and a fantastic balsamic sauce which cut through the richness perfectly.
The dessert courses may have been concocted with me in mind, so much did they play to my tastes. A fresh gin & tonic granita, served in a gorgeous copper cup, followed by the smoothest white chocolate and kaffir lime mousse (for real, the best I've ever had), and then finishing up with a strawberry and pistachio crumble, served with a basil cream. Basil and strawberry is one of my favourite combinations of flavours of all time, but sadly a few bites in my stomach protested too much - it really had had enough. I just about managed to squeeze in a truffle and a few sips of port, but, as predicted, the feast had defeated me.
If you live in Leeds (or even if you don't) and get a chance to grab some tickets to The Fat Faced Cat Supper Club, then you absolutely must go. I hope this little taster has persuaded you, because it really is one of the best ways to spend an evening. A little tipsy, a lot full of gorgeous food, chatting with lovely people. Not forgetting that absolutely beautiful cat, who makes a few appearances throughout the evening. And maybe watch this space for a supper club all of my own, one day soon...