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Midnight Steak Out: Good Pun, Good Fun.

2 Nov

Supper clubs and pop ups are a phenomenon that have been bubbling along quietly for the last couple of years, until recently exploding. 2011 is the year of the popup, and not a day goes by without some new pop up appearing on the scene like an unwelcome party guest. Companies have latched onto this ‘hot new thing’ like an old man pawing up a waitress, Similarly, more and more supper clubs are becoming dangerously professional, losing sight of what made them special in the first place.

For at the heart of the supper club is a sense of conviviality born of meeting of unknown people, and entering somebody’s house for them to feed you. The focus should be on good food and new friends. Thankfully this was very much in evidence at the Midnight Steak out, the brainchild of one Amanda Grace Johnson.

A statuesque American lady with a eye for a fine steak and a good nose for wine, the origins of her steak out are simple. It sprung from a BBQ with friends, and has burgeoned into something bigger. Having moved locations numerous times, the venue for my particular encounter was an ex illegal fighting venue in east London.

As I arrived in the pub above said arena of pugilism, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yet free Hendrick’s gin and tonic in hand, I soon began to relax. Funny how a drink will do that to you.

Amanda, being a consummate host, introduced me to some of the other guests. We managed to get on exceedingly well, and within five minutes I forgot that I didn’t actually know any of them that well. We were then lead by a team of girl’s hockey players down into a basement.

We opened with a salad of chicory, pear and blue cheese, and walnuts which was a hit with the addition of pear sprucing up what is an otherwise classic combination. Accompanied with some fine wine, the conversation flowed freely.

The steak was sourced from the Ginger Pig, which I saw bizarrely disparaged as the ‘hipster butcher’ recently. Can you have a hipster butcher? Given that it’s run by charming people from Yorkshire, it seems odd. Admittedly it has become the go to name to drop, but only because the meat is of such a high quality. It seems ridiculous that a butcher can become disparaged for doing something too well.

The steak had been bbqed outside on a smoke beast of a thing providing an excellent smoky char. The accompanying celeriac mash was silky and a ideal partner to the watercress and steak. Pudding was a delectable tart topped with a persimmon, a fruit that is always familiar but impossible to name. This was accompanied with some spirits, which helped it slip down nicely.

Suitably lubricated, we all rolled upstairs deep in conversation like long lost friends. Not content with providing food, the evening finished with some music form Amanda’s band, the Silver Jays. Whilst I had to dash off before I would have liked, it was an enjoyable performance rather than simply the result of vanity.

The quality of both the food and the vibe was evident in spades. Whilst the £50 price seems on the edge of steep, this did include three courses and 4 drinks. The next Steak Out is planned for the 2nd of December, and is keeping things fresh with oysters and a roast. Yum.

midnightsteakout.com

I dined as a guest of Amanda’s.

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