Geordie Garden Supper Club
I’d been wanting to run a little pop up restaurant night for a long time and after a chance visit to the Whickham Hermitage Garden I knew i’d found the perfect venue – a hidden walled garden with a brilliant little cafe building and right on the doorstep too. So after booking the date, planning the menu, considering the restrictions of limited kitchen space and equipment, the theme and whether or not anybody would actually like to come, I kicked my own arse in to action by emailing anyone I thought might be interested and committing to a date at the end of June. Who knew that once friends, friends of friends, and local hungry folk got wind of my plans I’d need to put on 3 nights as well as rope my Wife and Brother in to help to be able to accommodate as many as I could!
It was called the ‘Geordie Garden Supper Club’ and the menu was based on local products, traditional Geordie dishes with a modern approach and a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
As people arrived and pottered about the magnificent surroundings, they then filed in to the dining room, faces dressed with a mixture of intrigue and expectation, there was a bit of polite chatter which quickly escalated to buzzing conversations once welcome drinks and nibbles were taken care of - A choice of Jack Cains Gin and Tonic or Alnwick Rum and Ginger with refreshing cucumber ice cubes alongside salty pork scratchings and mini cheese scones. My cynical ploy being to serve salty morsels before the starter so that thirsty diners then quaff their wine or ‘bottles of broon’ early doors, instantly making for kinder critics! Food blogger Fay Nyberg was wise to my treachery though and shunned hop and grape to later give a nice write up here.
With my nerves and trepidation clearly lasting longing than my guests’, sharing board starters were sent out – Game Pie, Newcastle Eggs, Northumbrian Nettle Cheese, Pickled Celery and ‘Gentleman’s Chutney’ were well received before a visit from the local ‘fishmonger’ – a young chap who bears a resemblance to my brother. From his basket he served up a surprise course of Craster Kipper and Smoked Mackerel Pate with oatcakes before disappearing off to do his rounds in the local clerbs
More entertainment followed in the shape of singer-songwriter John Baird – the concern that followed his announcement that he wasn’t to sing any cover versions quickly vanished as soon as he performed instant earworms such as ‘Night to Remember’ while palates were cleansed with a sweet and bitter beer sorbet made with ‘Workie Ticket’ from Mordue Brewery.
A superb night was had by all who attended and whilst I was exhausted after the 3 days – I can’t wait to do it again!