Summer 2018 / Retrospective ‘What a Blinder!’

As we embarked on our six week autumn holiday, we have to say we were all feeling pretty pleased with ourselves down at the Club. Closing our doors at the end of September, the staff spent a great evening together tucking into a spread fit for kings, sampling new cocktails and watching our fave Withnail & I. At the end of an impossibly sunny, bustling, outdoorsy summer, we’d earned a rest – but first, a big cheers to you lot, the guests who’ve made the Club such a fab place to be in Summer 2018.

You helped us test run new menu items, lorded it up on the brand new awning table, packed out our lovely terrace garden late into balmy nights, brought your four-legged friends along to be showered with meaty treats, donned hats and wigs and the giant sunglasses and generally made for some really special moments over this summer. Additionally as we perfected some events we hadn’t attempted before, you helped to make our brand new StrEAT evenings a great success. Can’t wait for StrEAT 2019!!!

Our StrEAT street food sessions were the germination of our kitchen team’s many years of travel and food adventures. Chefs Simon and Melvin wanted to bring the spices, flavours and relaxed ambience of their favourite destinations to a less exotic but no less beautiful location – the Club! They did an amazing job coming up with some truly inspired street food dishes like Greek gyros lamb and Forodhani seafood wraps – all bundled up in a deliciously portable flatbread wrap.

A lot of research goes into planning and executing these dishes, and as usual we’re keen to work with local suppliers wherever we can. That meant striking up a wonderful partnership with Jack Norris over in Eyam, who at Highcliffe Hebrideans raises the tender lamb that would eventually become succulent, spiced gyros (find out more about Jack here). We ended up on intimate terms with the lovely chaps at Al-Barakah on London Road, who crank out the softest, lightest, most deliciously chewy flatbreads going. Thanks chaps!

The StrEAT evenings called for a more informal approach, and you lovely lot were only too happy to take your time over fizz and cold beers in the balmy evening sun. Our limited cocktail menu on these evenings worked really well, because who doesn’t love a refreshingly cucumber-y Club G&T? Just the thing to work up an appetite.

The atmosphere was always lively, noisy and convivial, with romantic couples, summer work parties and family groups alike enjoying the unbeatable feeling of alfresco dining. We turned up the tunes, lit (what felt like) hundreds of tealights, fired up the grills and delivered carton after steaming cardboard carton of fragrant wraps and amazing accompaniments to the garden tables. Candlelit festivities continued after darkness fell, with guests tucking into our now-famous Thessaloniki meringue and Melvin’s mouth-watering mango tart.

Like most brand new ventures, there were a few niggles to iron out once we got going – StrEAT far exceeded our expectations, and the queues assembled at the gates well before seven each evening. Of course this is absolutely great, but it did unfortunately mean we had to (extremely reluctantly) turn a few of you away due to sheer availability of food! If this was you, we’re sorry, and we hope you’ll give us another go next year. It turns out that street food with no vans or queueing is actually pretty popular…

Let’s finish on a little beg: we’d love to see your summertime Club snaps. If you came along to a StrEAT evenings or just joined us for some brunching or lunching action, we’d love to see your photos. Tag us on Instagram, share the pics with us on Facebookor email them over directly. We’re always keen to see what the view looks like from the party end, rather than business!