Earlier in the month I found myself travelling around the world in one evening. I didn’t leave London but made my way to Hong Kong, Dover, India, Japan, and New York. This was made possible by The Literary Hour’s latest supper club, where we all joined Phileas Fogg as he travelled Around the World in 80 Days.
I only heard about The Literary Hour and their supper clubs when I saw them mentioned in Time Out for their Wind in the Willows supper club. As this book isn’t a particular favourite of mine or one which I have particularly fond memories of I didn’t get any tickets for it. However I signed up to the mailing list and when this one was announced I bought tickets as quickly as possible.
My guest was going to be my sister and while The Literary Hour caters for vegetarian diets, they don’t cater for my annoying brand of vegetarianism. Recently I discovered that I have an intolerance to aubergines. Aubergines are usually used as a meat substitute so I let Helen (one of the founders) know and she worked so hard to cater for my needs. There were two aubergine dishes: one I decided to have and as the other was also made with cauliflower I asked for more cauliflower. In comparison, my sister eats everything except for beef and that was fine with the menu as it was.
When the two of us arrived at the secret location somewhere in Zone 2, we were welcomed into The Reform Club, a private members club where Phileas Fogg first made the bet that he could travel the world in such a short space of time. Fogg himself gave us our tickets to Hong Kong as well as a gin cocktail and vegetable (or meaty) crisps.
Our tickets had a time on them and as there were so many of us (around 50 probably?) we all boarded the ship and landed in Hong Kong in stages. Here our food odyssey began.
I had no idea what to expect with this foodie adventure but I certainly didn’t expect what we were given. Each of the five courses were so different and distinct to the other: it was more a trip around the world than I had even hoped.
Here are the five courses:
- 1st course – HONG KONG: Steamed bao with Cantonese aubergine stew (For meat-eaters: steamed bao with Cantonese pork stew). This was the aubergine course I ate.
- 2nd course – INDIA: Beet cheera with coconut sambal, bhel puri and paratha
- 3rd course – DOVER: Smoked aubergine with roast cauliflower and pickled mushrooms (Meat option: Venison tartare with quail’s egg, tarragon mayo and cherry reduction). The was the course where I had more cauliflower and no aubergine.
- 4th course – JAPAN: Miso-pulled jack fruit with rice, kale and pickles (Meat option: Miso baby back ribs with rice, kale and pickles)
- 5th course – NEW YORK: New York cherry cheesecake and peanut butter ice cream
Did I have a favourite course? It’s hard to choose but the steamed bao buns from Hong Kong just win. They were so warm and moist and ridiculously delicious. However I loved the miso-pulled jack fruit too since I have never had jack fruit in this way before. I think the New York cheesecake was made for my sister as it is the dessert of her dreams! It was an amazing end to the meal.
All in all the entire event took about 3 hours. The only downside was that both me and Sister had had extremely busy days – she’d just come off night shifts – and both of us were seriously flagging by the end of the evening. It also didn’t help that pairs were seated opposite each other rather than next to each other. It must be a sibling thing because the two of us communicate a lot non-verbally and that was much harder when we were so far apart from each other.
The last dinner took place on the 4th of March, however if you liked the sound of this then keep your eyes peeled; they will be back later on this year. This was one of the loveliest evenings I have ever spent in London, with some of the most delicious food around. I can’t wait to see which book The Literary Hour decide to create a menu from next. I am hoping, HOPING, it’s Howl’s Moving Castle but with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy celebrations happening this year maybe it will be that one? Or what about Little Women? Or Dracula? The possibilities are endless!