Supper Club: an elevated experience

Supper Club an elevated experience 05
(Photos: Zeid Odeh, Jordan News)
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about the underground food scenes in Amman that people don’t usually know about, then I thought to myself why I have not come around to talk about such experiences? Possibly because when something is kept private, one would not want to spoil it by talking about it publicly, however; this time I’ve decided to shed some light on this food experience.اضافة اعلان

I’ve heard about the two chefs who are behind Vicarage & Sons supper club experience. With some digging I found out that four siblings – Ben, Andrew, Dom, and Teresa- began Vicarage & Sons as a supper club in London back in 2014, hosting dinners for anywhere between 10-25 people in their friends' homes.

In and out of comfort zones
Of the four siblings, Andrew is behind the experience in Amman, partnering up with the talented local chef Haya Issa.

What was special about this dinner, which is hosted once or twice a month, is that they usually pick out a location in the outskirts of Amman, in a vintage house that reflects the culture of this country. This dinner was located in a home on Airport Road that was built out of old stones and had a small chapel in it.

I decided to go alone since part of the experience is socializing. For those who truly know me, this is way out of my comfort zone, and part of me was already regretting it as soon as I walked in since many people seem to be extroverts who would love to dig into small talk.

Hors d'oeuvre
The experience started out on the balcony where beverages were served as well as small canapes.

The first canape was a refreshing watermelon, Goat cheese topped with a piece of mint. Simple, refreshing, and straight to the point. The second canape was fermented cucumbers, Armenian sausage, and chili oil. A very interesting twist yet one I couldn’t help but have multiple servings of, since I was not doing much of socialization at this point. The third canape was Chicken with preserved lemons and tarragon in a fried shell.

All canapes had an exceptional taste to them, but most importantly is that sustainable produce and locally grown were the main focus of this culinary journey.

Pre-meal mingling
After the canapes and the drinks, we were all invited indoors to start with the 3-course dinner. They had name tags for each person attending and they do the seating arrangement and separated friends from each other in order to encourage mingling with new people.

So, I guess that coming with someone would’ve had the same result since I would still be dining with people I didn’t know. Although much as I complain, two other guests were there on a first date and couldn’t sit together.

The earthy appetizer
The first course was ravioli stuffed with beef cheeks, served in tomato sauce and dashi. Interestingly enough, beef cheeks are making their way more and more into multiple restaurants and dinner events. The idea of beef cheeks might not sound appealing, however, they are very similar in texture to short ribs. They also need a longer cooking time on low heat in order to break connective tissues and tenderize the meat.

The dish itself was very earthy. I loved the simplicity of the tomato sauce. The beef cheeks ravioli with their deep flavor alongside the minimal sauce made for a simple yet complex dish that was deliciously grounded.

The scrumptious main course
The main course was lamb, a well-known protein in Jordan. This variation was served with polenta, pistachios, and fresh artichokes, with a side of a refreshing salad made with watercress and radishes. The sauce served with the lamb (jus) was made from the juices of the lamb that were released during the lengthy stewing process. Even though I am not completely keen on consuming lamb, especially for the gamey flavor that it might have, I enjoyed the flavor of this dish overall.

The next dish was considered a palate cleanser, which was watermelon tea, made from the leftover watermelon used for the canapes at the beginning of the meal. The watermelon was served with a leaf of geranium that you soak in the tea to extract its flavors, giving the watermelon tea an elevated herb-like flavor that was refreshing and cleansed the palate from the meaty main course.

The dessert: Mr. Pav-lova!
For the dessert part of this evening, we were served a summer fruit Povalova. For those unfamiliar with Pavlova, a dessert consisting of a meringue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruit. The consistency of the meringue is dry since it is baked in the oven. It was served with fresh berries, tarragon and mint. A great refreshing end for this gastronomic journey.
I always pay close attention to the ambiance in the room when the dessert is being served, one of my earliest set menu dining experiences was when everyone got quiet while consuming their desserts to savor every moment.

The quieter the people are, the greater the dessert is. This dessert, as simple as it was, filled the taste palates with just the right amount of sweetness, sourness, and elevated herb nodes.

After the food, after-thoughts
Any dining journey should be a journey that includes all of the senses and this experience was an excellently written culinary adventure.

I can still recall all the feelings and emotions that I went through this journey that was not only about food, but the company, ambiance, and a great awareness of purpose that highlights the local produce, combinations of flavors, and the local talent of Jordanian Chefs alongside chefs from abroad.

If getting out of your comfort zone and enjoying an out of the box dining experience is your thing, I highly recommend following their journey and attending one of their events during the upcoming months. I know I will, and I am excited to see what they will be doing with the autumn and winter seasons and their produce. 

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