Sometimes we miss things even though retrospectively, they aren’t that great. Like hangovers, bar nuts, and yes, the tube. Over lockdown, I found myself yearning for that pasty recycled air, the peeled off adverts trying too hard to be funny as well as the seats that are somehow always warm. Now though, taking the tube is a risk to your own health as it is others, and one can’t just ride the Piccadilly line up and down for the fun of it.
So for those who miss taking the London Underground, and also want some beautifully cooked food, I introduce you to Supperclub Tube. The Supperclub Tube is exactly what it sounds like, a supper club (an umbrella term for an informal dining experience) served on a tube carriage. Specifically, the meal takes place on board a decommissioned 1960’s Victoria line tube carriage, located in the Walthamstow Pump-House Museum, about a 15-minute drive from Stratford.
Running for almost seven years, the Supperclub Tube was given a new lease on life when taken over by Head Chef Beatriz Maldonado Carreño (Bea) last year. Hailing from Bogotá Colombia, Chef Bea has been working in the food industry in both Colombia and London for over 15 years. As for the food, it draws distinctly on South American flavours. Chef Bea’s Colombian background is evident in her food, but she has also spent time working in Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Upon arrival, you walk past a large steel gate, as you turn the corner though, you begin to see the familiar white carriage, adorned with spots of red and blue. After you are sat down into the familiar flat cushiony seat of the London underground, you are offered a glass of Prosecco or a Negroni. The restaurant serves up to 35 people, however, due to Covid-19 restrictions, I believe this has been reduced as there were only about 12-15 people dining that evening. You can choose to be on a sort of communal long table or for about an extra £6 (£49 and £55 respectively) you can have your own booth.
(If rush hour was like this, I’d be a happy man)
The food is a six-course tasting menu, which changes every few months, so whilst my experience was fantastic, it may differ slightly from the next person’s. Additionally, the Supperclub Tube is happy to accommodate any allergies or dietary requirements. That being said, in a bid to keep an element of mystery to the evening, I will be talking about only three of the six dishes I had when visiting the supper club.
The first dish I will be talking about (and second in the order of the tasting menu) was the ‘Caldo de tomate’; a tomato and chipotle broth served with cassava gnocchi. This had the sort of sweetness and familiarity that one would associate with rainy-day canned tomato soup except for the heat that came with the chipotle broth. The gnocchi was delectable, and the starch of the cassava added to the bulk of the dish.
('Caldo de tomate')
The second dish (4th on the menu) was ‘Carnitas y Lomo’. This was a pork tenderloin with citrus glaze, served alongside pulled pork rice croquettes, tomatillo salsa, and finely chopped red cabbage. The pork was so soft it could have been eaten with a spoon, or torn apart with bear hands, and the citrus glaze was sharp enough to cut through all of the fat that had been rendered out over the 12-hour process of cooking. The croquette was the stuff of dreams, the dish that one would gargle like Homer Simpson for. The idea to deep fry beautifully tender pulled pork into a rice croquette is one that could win a Nobel prize, or at least make a bunch of inebriated guests very excited. The tomatillo salsa and red cabbage topped the dish off perfectly, adding colour and contrast to the plate. The dish is by far one of the best things I’ve eaten in a good year or two and made me rethink how British people should treat cuts of meat like this.
('Carnitas y Lomo')
The third and final dish was the last course of the evening, entitled ‘My favourite Things.’ This was a chocolate cake, served with a Colombian coffee and chocolate mousse, dulce de lace wontons, and an uchuva and orange compote. I was very lucky when going to this restaurant as it was a complete surprise from my girlfriend, so every dish was magical, but seriously, dulce de lace wontons! Who comes up with that? The desert was presented in the most fastidious manner yet I devoured it like a child who had been deprived of sugar whilst staying at a hippie relative’s house. Every element of this dessert encompassed the sweet flavours traditionally found in South America and yet Chef Bea was able to amalgamate them all into one perfect dish.
(‘My favourite things’)
Alongside the meal, we had a good amount of wine as well. Supperclub Tube had a great and surprisingly reasonable wine list. We had an Olivier Dubois Cuvée Prestige Pinot Noir, which was remarkable, not only in flavour but also as it cost £19. They also have Estrella if you’d rather stick to beer.
Overall, this supper club is a great reminder as to why London will always be important in the food world. With more and more up-market restaurants in the city choosing to simply expand their locations, it’s great to know you can always find a place like this that continues to create original dishes. It helps that they sell out almost every week too.
So be sure to book in advance and no need to mind the closing doors.
Prices start from £49 per person (table for 2-5 people) and £55 per person (booth for 2-3 people)
For more information, check out the Supperclub Tube here
Photo credits: Carl Escoffier