July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Dinner with a bunch of strangers at the home of an amateur cook – the makers of TV’s Come Dine With Me have hit upon the perfect recipe for Sunday night entertainment.
Mains: suggested donation of £25
Children welcome: No
Disabled access: No
But it’s also the idea behind the supper club craze sweeping the capital over the past few years, bridging the gap between restaurants and dinner parties.
Joginder’s Supperclub, run by mother and daughter duo Rani and Saira, is one of the more established.
The pair serve Punjab recipes handed down through the generations and offer five courses for a suggested donation of £25, while there’s a bring your own drinks policy.
On our visit to the family home, in a quiet Tufnell Park terrace, most of the dozen guests were repeat customers.
I’ve always been a little daunted by the supper club concept.
For a start, you don’t know who you’ll be next to, but there’s the promise of good grub in an informal and sociable setting.
That’s exactly what we found at Joginder’s. Head chef Rani, a retired science teacher, laid on a feast of home-cooked and, as Saira informed us, healthy Indian fare, without the lashings of salt or gallons of ghee you’ll find in every curry house.
My aubergine masala starter and courgette sabji main were high points, backed by special aloo mutter and tarka daal.
It’s not just about the food though. Being welcomed into their home was a mini adventure.
The 1970s wood-heavy decor, mismatched crockery and walls packed full of family photos and cricket memorabilia, all added to the charm.
In a restaurant it would be unlikely for the chef to join you for drinks afterwards. At Joginder’s we stayed until the early hours polishing off the wine and chatting away, while flouting house rules of no politics or football.
It was great fun – and we didn’t need contrived chalk-and-cheese personality clashes or a sarcastic voiceover for entertainment.