The Wandering Fork, Gateshead
I’m always in the look-out for new dining experiences. I’ve never been one for dinner parties, mainly because of the pressure I’d be under to cook something perfectly, which I definitely couldn’t do. My culinary expertise is for the Canny Food family only, and I’m sure the world will breathe a sigh of relief at that.
Re-f-use was the first time I’d tried out what may be classed as communal dining. We were sitting at a table and, because space was limited, were joined by a trio of people we’d never met before. We chatted to them about work and politics, and had such a lovely evening with these perfect strangers.
I heard about The Wandering Fork through the fabulous #gatesheadhour on Twitter, which promotes businesses and events in – you guessed it- Gateshead. The premise is you pay £25 per head, take your own bottle of plonk along, and are fed a 3 course meal in Michele and Jo’s home. These are held monthly in the Low Fell area and, when I saw photos of the food that was being served, contacted the host to see if there was still availability for their July event.
Michele was so accommodating in the run-up to the Supper Club. I told her about a medical condition which means I have to avoid certain foods, and although it is a fixed menu she agreed to create slightly different dishes just for me. We chose in advance what our main course would be on the evening, and were told we’d be served a welcome drink on arrival. As I’m also teetotal Michele said they’d serve me a non-alcoholic beverage.
The event started at 8 o’clock, and I was quite nervous turning up at the home of someone I’d never met before. Mr. Canny is a lot more gregarious than me to start with, although I tend to ‘warm up’ as the evening progresses. Usually that’s because of wine, but I didn’t have any social lubricant to fall back on this time. A taxi dropped off another couple at the same time as we arrived, and we did introductions on the doorstep. My fears were allayed once everyone piled into the dining room though as conversations easily flowed. The other couples were from the Low Fell area and all knew each other, so myself and the Mr. were the ‘wild cards’!
There was a delicious starter platter of olives, manchego, ham and other appetizers, which we tucked into while drinking our Sangria. The conversation flowed, while Michele and Jo prepared the food behind a screen in their kitchen.
Starters arrived, which came in the form of sharing boards. I had a one to my myself as I couldn’t eat the Prawn and Crab Ceviche everyone else was having, nor the peanut sauce that was served with the Chicken Satay. I was served delicious Lamb Kofta and some bits instead. Apparently the Coconut Prawn were delicious, and we all enjoyed the Chinese Slaw (dressed red cabbage, carrots and sultanas) that was served in bowls for us to share.
The main course was something I was looking forward to as, although I’m not a fan of Lamb, I was hoping that I would be converted by their version. The rack of Lamb was served on a delicious sweet potato mash, and I could have eaten more. Michele said they don’t serve huge portions at the Supper Club because they believe people shouldn’t leave feeling stuffed, and I’d agree with that. I also know that the ladies are also advocates of less food waste. Our hosts weren’t completely absent over the course of the meal, and took the time to explain each course and chat with us before returning to assemble the next plates.
Raf chose Cod for his main, which was served with a coconut broth. He said that although the fish was relatively plain in taste, the sauce more than made up for it.
Dessert was the star of the show for the majority of us at the table, and it was commented that the standard was on a level with the likes of Peace & Loaf. It was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time, and that is high praise from someone who normally avoids Panna Cotta. The raspberry sorbet and jelly, alongside the meringue and white chocolate pieces on the top, all worked well together. We were all quiet during the pud, apart from the odd appreciative murmur, which was a sign it was a winner.
The meal was finished around 11, and Michele apologised for the later start than usual due to work commitments on her part. Time had whizzed by though, and we had a very enjoyable evening. The food was of restaurant quality, and it was great chatting to new and interesting people. I’ve even discovered a local gin producer – The Northumberland Gin Company – although disappointingly I’ll have a wait until I’m able to sample some of their wares. We’d recommend seeking out a local Supper Club if Gateshead isn’t your neck of the woods. It’s not as cheesy as it sounds!
Thanks for reading,
Read more about Canny Food on our Twitter page here.