Welcome to Tales From The Green Room! A new insight into the Supper club from a different perspective…..
~ 2013 ~
Saturday 29th June
Tales from the Green Room
More by accident than design, our June SupperClub turned out to be almost a family affair with Dennis and Jane celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary and son Daniel and partner Carol completing a family quartet. Daniel and Carol invited their friend Stuart the Shrimper and the table was complete with newcomers Toby and Isobel and Melissa, still smarting from her petite bourgeois description (an entirely predictable reaction from a true petite bourgeois)
The early chit chat in the Green Room followed fairly conventional lines until Stuart revealed he worked in a well-known bookshop in the West end. The conversation turned naturally to recent books read with Daniel who had just finished the Falklands War, Carol a biography of Sylvia Path and Dennis who was working through Freakonomics. In addition Dennis was working on his first manual “One hundred things you can do with a stick of rhubarb”.
Melissa was not impressed with the rhubarb concept but declared her passion for Jerusalem Artichokes. Dennis was unsure whether the soil would be suitable for such a sensitive flower but promised to do his best.
As we sat down to dinner it was clear that Toby and Isobel were well prepared with an almost inexhaustible supply of lager and wine. Daniel decided to raise the tone of the conversation by delivering a critical analysis of the London Underground System. Dennis saw the danger and introduced a game of bottle tops to divert attention. Stuart showed good perception by comparing Daniel to his lookalike, David Cameron. Daniel was not sure whether this was a compliment or a barb so decided to play his trump card. He revealed to the table that he is a forensic psychiatrist and specialised in diagnosing personality disorders.
Isobel was immediately attracted to this subject as a medical writer and encouraged Daniel to elaborate on the subject of schizophrenia. Most of the table were in two minds on the wisdom of this direction but fortunately dessert arrived to bring the conversation down to the subject of food and the importance of rhubarb to the East Tilbury economy.
The evening was concluded with a glass of champagne to celebrate Dennis and Jane’s anniversary and compliments to the chef, Rani, Saira our hostess and many thanks to all of our guests for their appreciative comments and generosity to our nominated charity, The Stroke Association.
Tales from the Green room ~ Saturday 18th May 2013
It was a fairly mixed group for the first Supper Club of the Summer season so it was appropriate to start with Pimms and lemonade. The Cantab trio were led by the indefatigable John with his elegant minders Fay and Carlotta (I hope the spelling is right). The Hugo Road quartet were Peter and Amber with Amber’s parents Laurie and Estelle. Toby and Charlotte had come down from Highgate (or was it lower East Finchley).
Hugo Road is best described in estate agents parlance as a much sought after road and is one of the most attractive side roads in the increasingly gentrified Tufnell Park. Well preserved Victorian houses with plenty of trees (thanks to an enterprising Labour councillor) contrasts with Celia Road where there are more weeds than trees (local councillors please note).
The early chat followed conventional lines; have you been to a Supper Club before?…. Have you come far? And soon turned to a lack of blue plaques in Tufnell Park. Ford Maddox Brown, the father of the Pre-Raphaelites, once lived in Kentish Town and Estelle was keen to discuss this further. However, John was keen to promote a discussion on his own hero, John Maynard Keynes. Forewarned is forearmed so when the guests came down to dinner economics was kept well off the agenda. John was undeterred and outlined his plans to cycle from London to Milan on the back of a tandem. The lead cyclist is advised to wear earplugs.
Laurie was a little apprehensive due to the Arsenal and Spurs showdown on Sunday. As an avid Gooner he was accustomed to Champions League football and can now look forward to next season following the results on Sunday. Peter is more a fair weather Spurs fan and is probably used to finishing second to Arsenal.
Toby and Charlotte were very keen on their wines and reported favourably on the wines from Mendoza following their holiday in Argentina. John volunteered to try a white wine test but failed to identify a New Zealand chardonnay.
The evening continued with the well tried combination of good food and interesting conversation before John was finally taken away by his minders to return to his spiritual home in Bloomsbury.
Once again it was compliments to the chef, Rani, Saira our hostess and many thanks to all of our guests for their appreciative comments.
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 27th April 2013
There was another full house of ten for our April Supper Club with a welcome return to Kay (still recovering from the 20th Premier League title celebrations – the champagne had been kept on ice from last season ! ) and Joaquim and Christian ( FOSS Fellow members of Secret Supper Clubs )
Melissa was much happier this time having been offered a small part in the new Downton Abbey series as the proprietor of the village hardware store (sharpening of knives a speciality). Her petite bourgeois manner was considered ideal for the part. Kay’s friend Evelyn looked as she had just walked off the set of The Great Gatsby and was perfect for the part of the brash American blonde from Brooklyn who soon upset the village by claiming the entire village could fit into her backyard back home. The servants were not impressed by her demands for ketchup at breakfast.
Simon could easily be cast as the chauffeur with social aspirations beyond his status whilst his companion, Sarah would be happy as the downstairs pastry chef with occasional silver polishing duties. Silja (pronounced Celia) could be found teaching Yoga down in the Village Hall and her friend Jess (pronounced Jess) was cast as a personal tutor for the sons of gentlemen.
It was not possible to cast Joaquim and Christian in the UKIP village as any foreign accent was treated with suspicion but there was a rumour that a Portuguese gardener was being considered for the vegetable plot at the Abbey.
The Cava and early conversation flowed easily and soon everyone was downstairs in anticipation of the succulent dinner ahead. Politics was briefly discussed and everybody agreed Mrs Thatcher was a remarkable woman and would probably have had George Bush Junior on toast if they had been around at the same time. Jess admitted to hanging an effigy of the Iron Lady on her Christmas tree at home.
Simon decided it was time to lower the tone of the conversation by describing his experience of water massage in Budapest but whilst the ladies were naturally interested in anything salacious they felt it was safer to stick to Yoga.
The varied menu was well received by all of our guests with a special vote for the fish masala and saffron sauce. Our thanks to all of our guests for their appreciative comments and for contributing to a pleasant and memorable evening.
Saturday 23rd February 2013
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 23rd February 2013
We had another full house for the second Supper Club of 2013 with Natalie, Jules, Giles and Emma from trendy Camden, Rachel and Enrique from the equally as trendy Tufnell Park and Simon and Nikki from Muswell Hill. Myself and the enigmatic Melissa made up the table capacity of ten.
As it was pre Oscars night much of the early chat was about predictions either based on actually seeing the films, reading about the films, or just having an opinion. The general consensus was that it was between Argo or Lincoln but everybody agreed that Daniel Day Lewis would win best male actor and Anne Hathaway would take best supporting actress for Les Mis.
Simon was a little concerned that footie chat was not encouraged but events post the SupperClub must have made him a very happy Spurs supporter. Nikki ( I guessed at the spelling ) was less happy as she was asked to replace her faded David Ginola poster with a fresh faced Gareth Bale.
The customary Cava was going down well and soon it was time to go downstairs for the much anticipated Punjabi cuisine. Enrique was most impressed with the tapas style starters and was pleased that football was off the agenda ( he must be the first Spanish visitor who was not interested in the noble game ). However he was keen to become a UK citizen but was worried about the citizen test. Somebody had told him the first question was to explain the lbw rule at cricket.
The discussion soon turned to music as Giles and Jules had been members of a Super Group at St Andrews ( pre Kate ) but had failed to achieve global stardom despite considerable self-professed talent. Giles had prepared for the Supper Club by means of an extended liquid lunch so conversation ebbed and flowed easily around the table.
Natalie introduced the subject of Cajun cooking and described her plans to expand into the catering business. As she hailed from New Orleans ( pronounced New Orlans ) she should do well and we look forward to sampling some dishes.
As usual the varied and succulent food was enjoyed by all our guests and total strangers merged seamlessly into a witty and harmonious table. Our thanks to all our guests for all their appreciative comments and we look forward to meeting again in the future.
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 19th January 2013
It was the first SupperClub of 2013, the snow and ice had arrived but we still had a full house including myself and our resident aristocrat, Melissa.
Jacky and her chums from Camden braved the fifty yards over the border to Islington whilst Christina and Mark had come all the way from chic Chiswick. Jade and Jonathan completed the ten from nefarious Neasden.
As the Green Room was being used as a temporary crèche, drinks were served downstairs where the meeting and greeting followed by polite early conversation boded well for the evening ahead. As usual Saira gave our guests a preview of the dishes to be served. There are no strict rules regarding conversation topics although sport and politics are best avoided.
It transpired that both Mark and Jade were in the car business so the selling of cars was a natural subject. In a good month Mark declared around ten cars would be a good total but Jade was able to beat this total with ease. We sell ten cars every hour but admitted that does not include too many Maseratis or Ferraris.
Steve was into the merits of online shopping and claimed to buy most of his goods without leaving his house. Jade proved to be a good supporter and preferred to buy a range of clothes and send the unwanted articles back (at least that was her claim).
Jonathan had been fairly quiet so far but as soon as he began to describe his work all of the ladies were listening with rapt attention. Any job in the recording industry has instant glamour particularly when delivered with an attractive French accent. Jonathan was also well informed on his wines and a discussion followed on matching wines with Indian cuisine. Not surprisingly, there was no consensus on this subject.
Jacky was in the catering trade and as we have enjoyed her food and wine over many years it was a pleasure to entertain Steve, Cathy and Richard to our modest SupperClub. It proved to be a pleasant convivial evening based on good food, good wine, and good company and many thanks for your kind comments in our visitors book.
~ 2012 ~
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 21st July 2012
Joginders Supper Club is a secret supper club in North London, specialising in North Indian style cuisine based on recipes handed down to Ma Rani and her daughter Saira.
The format is based on ten diners who have booked in advance and usually involve meeting total strangers for hopefully an enjoyable evening. Guests are asked to arrive for 7.30 drinks and sit down for supper around 8pm. Drinks are served in ‘ The Green Room ‘, hence the title before going downstairs for the multi- course supper.
Most people are prompt in arriving with the notable exception of Melissa, a theatrical director and bon vivant, who is allowed to come late as a member of the upper middle class society.
The rest of the guests are mixture of ages and backgrounds so early pre-supper conversation is naturally cautious after general introductions. “Have you come far ?” is a safe bet and usually people are quite local . Tom and Nikki lived about three minutes away whilst a couple came all the way from Putney.
“What do you do for a living?” is a potentially awkward question as” I’m a chartered accountant “ may discourage others from the adjacent seats. Conversely, “I’m an exotic dancer” may create a scramble for adjacent seats. Politics and religion are best avoided although in practice, there are no taboo subjects.
If Ma Rani had known there were three lawyers present our food hygiene certificate would probably have suddenly appeared as a centre table decoration!
On Saturday, pre-supper drinks suggested a convivial dinner in prospect and the general conclusion at the end of the dinner was good food, good conversation, and welcome feedback from many of our guests.
The next supper club will held on Saturday, September 1st and we have one place left!
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 1st September 2012
We had a full house of ten on Saturday including our regular minor celebrity, Melissa and myself as husband with meet the guests duties. First impressions were that our guests were a well educated crowd and the complimentary Cava and conversation flowed smoothly.
It was a pleasure to welcome our first German guests from Southfields via Cologne who were able to observe English middle class ‘small talk’ in action. “Have you come far?“ and “Is it your first Supper Club?“ are safe bets but personal or potentially embarrassing questions such as “Are you married?” are best avoided.
“What do you do for a living” is generally low risk and revealed Penny as a wedding planner, Lindsay as an antique dealer, and Tom who had a lifetime passion for insurance broking. We adjourned downstairs safe in the knowledge that insurance broking would not be a hot topic.
Everybody felt the Olympics was a great success although some sports were easier to follow than others. It was agreed that Dressage was probably only understood by some riders and a few horses. Judo appears to be a desire to rip your opponent’s pyjamas off using exotic Japanese expressions so it is probably inevitable that the one hundred metres is both the most simple and most popular event.
The ladies were particularly interested in experiences in wedding planning and Penny was able to describe how she removed a drunken guest discreetly whilst protecting his assets ( he had decided to strip naked in a vain attempt to distract the bride )
Silke and Chris were fans of Jurgen Kinsmann and Boris Becker (despite his indiscretion in the broom cupboard) but had recently transferred their affections to Lukas Podolski following his recent transfer from FC Cologne to Arsenal. He scored his first goal on Sunday!
With so much cricket in evidence downstairs, Rachel mentioned in passing that her brother was a county cricketer (he could be a future guest during the close season as Rani is a big cricket fan).
Our guests are invited to add their comments to the visitor’s book and many thanks for all your kind compliments to the head chef, Ma Rani and hostess, Saira. My prize for the best handwriting goes to Harriet and thanks to all our guests who made it such a pleasurable evening.
The next supper club will be held on Saturday, September 22nd and is already fully booked
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 22nd September 2012
We had another full house of ten on Saturday, including Melissa who actually arrived early having mastered the unpredictability of the 274 bus to Camden. Melissa was a little subdued at first having failed her audition for a part in Downton Abbey. “Too aristocratic and excessive use of the term neanderthal “was the verdict but there could be a part if the Dowager Duchess needed a maid.
Introductions were a little complicated as three of the guests were all called Kay. There was birthday Kay, special K and just Kay. It was close to a ladies night with the welcome exception of Steve who came with Harriet.
Special K tuned out to be a footy fan of Man Utd so it was just as well that I had put my picture of Sergio Aguero on the top landing so as not to cause offence. Like most United fans special K lived over two hundred miles from Old Trafford and was still dreaming of the return of Ronaldo.
Katherine had just flown in from Vancouver and was hoping to avoid jet lag during dinner. Saira kept a close watch in case she suddenly nodded off into the chicken curry. In the event Katherine proved to be strong in the tradition of the Canadian Mountie but did not include pressing wild flowers as a hobby.
The evening proved to be up to the usual standards of the Joginder’s Supper Club with good food, easy conversation and a special birthday cake for Kay to complete the evening.
The next supper club will be held on Saturday, 17th November and is filling up fast.
Tales from the Green Room ~ Saturday 17th November 2012
We had another full house of ten including Helen who was one of our first guests in the early days of our SupperClub in 2009. Helen came with her partner Yossi and friends Anhar and Razia. Angelina was also making a welcome return with Katie and Johnny plus John as first timers.
In the absence of Melissa, Katie won the unofficial best jewellery award with an arm full of exotic bracelets. Johnny reluctantly admitted to working in a bank thus ensuring a rapid change of conversation. Everybody seemed totally at ease and looked forward to the gastronomic delights downstairs.
It was agreed that football and politics should be avoided with Johnny particularly relieved having watched his team, Tottenham suffering a ritual humiliation at the Arsenal. Yossi was up for a discussion on Gaza but was firmly discouraged by the rest of the table. He elected to describe his novel solution to dropping the soap in the shower by persuading his pet dog to act as a retriever.
Anhar and Razia provided a timely change of subject by describing their recent wedding with all the cultural differences from the traditional English wedding. English weddings are generally based on a limited number of guests (about one hundred), much champagne (or cheap Australian sparkling), a few hopefully amusing speeches followed by dancing and a good chance of a family row or improper behaviour.
Razia and Anhar had over seven hundred guests but without the risks of drinking and dancing it was both an enjoyable and memorable day. No box gifts ensured a welcome cash injection which could catch on for English weddings and hasten the demise of the legendary John Lewis wedding list.
The food was going down well and everybody managed to get to the dessert before finally giving up on the customary challenge to our diners appetites. Our advice is to always come hungry to Joginder’s SupperClub and leave totally full.
Many thanks for all your appreciative comments in the visitors’ book and we look forward to meeting again.
The last SupperClub of 2012 will be held on Saturday, November 24th starting at 7.30 for pre dinner drinks.