Supper clubs are basically relatively inexpensive pop-up restaurants offering multi-course fine dining or good quality home cooked food, often in an alternative venue like a café, someone’s house or a community centre. The supper club has a cared for, loved, yet spontaneous edge and creates the kind of atmosphere often lacking in some restaurants.
Love is not a cliché at Taste the Love. It came through in everything Sarah cooked for us.
Over the past few years I have been to a few pop-ups in the city and have been wowed by some culinary creativity. I’d heard good things about Taste the Love and I was really looking forward to sampling their food.
Taste The Love is Sarah Holder, a one woman rocket of love, life and energy on a mission to bring tasty, delicious, fabulous food into people’s lives.
Her passion for food, the colour, the taste, and yes, the love, really vibrates throughout the evening, from the share-y starter, to the vibrant red dessert soup, compounded by a lovely ambience only a talented chef with a penchant for bringing people together in an orgy of food-loving can create.
The setting was Proper Tea, a lovely, light and airy café bar opposite Manchester Cathedral. Things kicked off with a little gift from the chef – some honey glazed nuts and seeds displayed in a matchbox – a really cute touch that kept the hunger at bay whilst a few people rocked in a bit late.
I quite like single-sitting, set menu meals, with all the diners on the same feasting journey together. You get to share the odd moment with someone you don’t know from across the room. No words, just a simple flicker of shared satisfaction.
After everyone had drooled over the menu and the insanely wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen, the share platter arrived – a beautiful display of vibrant pickled baby veg, carrots, cauliflower and radishes on a bed of goats cheese, with some home made black pepper and butter crackers, which were to die for!
Then it was onto the soup course, a fabulous chicken and green veg broth containing ‘hippo tops’ which had been the subject of much speculation on the way there. My money was on a type of mushroom but it turned out to be a delightfully spicy type of watercress. This was a really nourishing, fresh and light soup and it wasn’t stingy on the chicken for a broth.
The soup allowed you to kid yourself that you were being healthy enough to warrant overdosing on the sweet potato and bacon bread which was all kinds of awesome. Crisp yet soft, the bacon had caramelised with the spring onions and it was just amazing. As good as the soup and the appetiser were, they were dead to me now. There was literally about 15 minutes when all you could hear from around the room were the words ‘bacon’, ‘bread’, ‘more butter’ and ‘oh my, that’s good’ followed by various happy bacon-bread related noises.
After eating the bread like we we’d been told there were six more weeks of winter, the relatively small main course was extremely welcome – a beautifully braised piece of lamb with a satisfying splodge of wild garlic and butter bean pesto – which was so garlicky it knocked your socks off whilst working really well, balancing out the full flavour of the lamb.
To finish, Sarah adorned bowls with a beautiful sticky lemon bread and beside it a visually stunning, vivid, cold cherry soup, sprinkled with toasted nuts, jasmine blossoms and a dollop of crème fraiche. After such an unctuous meal, this refreshing, zingy and lovingly light sponge finished the evening off perfectly.
It’s no mean feat cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, yet still managing to deliver insanely good food that could rival any leading restaurant. The food produced by Taste The Love has a certain style that transcends the courses – clear and strong flavours, with not too many items on the plate, made to taste bold and simple but with such an intense depth of flavour that the art is in the seeming simplicity.
It’s a designed and well thought out feast for the eyes as well as the stomach but it’s in the next continent to pretentious. Love is not a cliché at Taste the Love. It came through in everything Sarah cooked for us.
If you want to Taste the Love why not pop along to Sarah’s next event? It’s at The Wonder Inn on Thursday 16th June. Small plates, Italian themed, and live music. And you don’t have to buy a ticket. Just drop by.
Visit tastethelove.co.uk for more information and to buy tickets.
Try Sarah’s recipe for her amazing bread at tastethelove.co.uk/sweet-potato-and-bacon-bread