West London

Published on April 8th, 2016 | by Ben Southwood

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Spice Deli Supperclub, Maida Vale

Reviewing a supper club is not quite like reviewing a restaurant. You’ve gone right into someone’s house and eaten their food. They’re not a professional chef; they haven’t enjoyed a swathe of positive reviews that will inure them to any negative criticism. On the other hand, they haven’t put hundreds of thousands of pounds into a risky restaurant venture. The food is typically cheaper and you can bring your own cheap booze instead of paying the restaurant mark-up, but you don’t get fancy service and you sit round a table with a bunch of people you don’t know.

Spice Deli is promising, but I went to their first night and there were many mis-steps, presumably driven by the early stages they are currently at. The first problem was food choice: if you can guarantee your attendees are culinary adventurers, then quail is a pretty rock solid choice. But it’s a gamble.

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And it’s doubly a gamble when you serve the quail rare. Now don’t get me wrong: I like my game pink, and this one went down nicely. But about half the people around the table made only a cursory attack at theirs, put off both by the finicky small-boned bird and its level of cookedness.

Everything else went down almost universally, and it was quite good. Thick, textured lentil soup which packed a savoury punch; interestingly fragrant and breezy ice cream; pleasant tuber-based side salads for the main. But I wonder why they marked it down as six courses—it was three. Three tasty, generous courses is no bad deal for £25, but I felt slightly hard done by when I was promised six.

Lentil Soup Spice deli

And it would not have done to simply space out the delivery of the constituent ingredients of the courses we did get: few of them would have constituted a course on their own. The quails alone, for example, did not have enough range, they were just tasty rare quails.

I am not running the supper club down. It’s a lovely flat, those serving us food and drink were friendly, helpful and made us comfortable, despite a palpable edge of nervousness from it being the first one. It showed edges of promise and ambition. But it definitely sums up one range of the supper club experience, part of why it’s fun. I hope Kim and her team can pick it up and really come into their stride in future nights.

You can book Spice Deli via Tabl on the following link: https://www.tabl.com/groups/33763

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