Last month, I was kindly invited to a Patak’s Supper Club hosted by Anjali Pathak, next generation of the Pathak family dynasty, with a little help from the lovely Dhruv Baker (Masterchef winner 2010) and Saturday Kitchen’s Susy Atkins.
Interestingly, despite all the dishes including some of the Patak’s pastes and pickles there was not a traditional curry dish in sight. For the meat eaters, there was Indian Scotch Eggs to start, for us veggies a little savoury potato cake, both served with a Patak’s Brinjal Pickle and Yogurt dip which was devine!
The Smoked Aubergine Tart and Roast Sticky Beetroot was fantastic, although left me craving carbs.
Each dish was paired with a wine chosen by wine expert, Susy Atkins. Although a big wine lover, I’m not usually one to pair curry dishes with wine, however, the Alamos Malbec from Mendoza worked really well. The ripe cherry of the Malbec was more than a match for the smokey balti flavours in the tart and complemented the sweet sticky roast beetroot well too.
I have since tried to recreate a couple of the dishes from the night at home. My husband has a secret Scotch Egg addiction, so I treated him to the Indian Scotch Egg dish last weekend. It is bloody fiddly, my patience was severely tested peeling the soft boiled quail eggs, but they did look very impressive and my husband managed to scoff four in quick succession and has requested I repeat them again very soon.
My attempt at the Aubergine Tart was less successful. My culinary skills are clearly not up to Masterchef standards, while I can cook I find baking hard going and will probably not attempt any pastry-based dishes again any time soon!
The purpose of the evening was to reveal findings from Patak’s Supper Club report, which found that our increasingly busy lives are forcing us to live our social lives online with 68% of the nation going several months without seeing a close friend. Pataks say ‘sharing a meal is one of the oldest and most effective ways to benefit from social interaction’ and is encouraging us all to embrace a new era of clubbing, ‘supper clubbing’ as a way to spend more times with friends and loved ones.
I can see how the demands of the modern workplace and social mobility – with friends and family scattered over the country and indeed the world – can limit the number of face-to-face meet ups. I also strongly believe catching up over a meal is one of the best ways to spend time with others. Pretty much all of my social encounters involve food in some way, shape or form.
However, I don’t agree with the sentiment that social media is to blame for us spending less face time together. In the past 12 months, I have found my circle of ‘real life’ friends massively increased as a result of social media interaction.
In the past six months alone, I’ve joined a regular lunch group, #Clerkenwelllunchers after getting in touch with MiMi of Meemalee’s kitchen, one of the orginal members, after reading a blog post of her reviewing a cafe opposite my office (as it happens there are a remarkable number of foodies or food bloggers who live and/or work in Clerkenwell).
After spotting a twitter post about London Cocktail Society #lcs, I’ve met a number of fellow cocktail fiends and found some amazing cocktail bars and been introduced to wonderful artisan spirits like Sipsmith London Dry Gin.
At one of the London Cocktail Society meet ups, I made friends with a great guy called Mike Harris and we’ve since been to Rebel Dining Society and surreal dining experience, CoME fLy wITh uS, together and are in search of our next culinary adventure…
In fact, social media has widened my circle of friends exponentially and I am really enjoying living in London as a result. I’m still working crazy long hours and because of geography I do catch up with family more frequently on the phone or on facebook than I do face-to-face. But while 10 years ago I found London incredibly lonely, I’m increasingly finding it a fun, social place to be and I’m making lots of new friends independent from work or my husband and feel all the better for it!
Click here for the full list of Pataks recipes and wine matches from Dhruv Baker and Susy Atkins.