I've been tweeting for half the week about "Sooper-sekrit Saturday". This event was secret because it wasn't strictly legal.
I was only sent the location 4 hours ahead of time.
Why the hush-hush? What den of iniquity did I step into? Should I be locked up as a danger to myself & others?
We're talking underground dining here. Underground dining is like a gourmet dinner party at someone's home. The food is cooked for you by strangers, you may also be dining with strangers, but it's not a restaurant. The reason it's not strictly legal is that it violates city by-laws regarding restaurant permits and health codes.
I went with a group of 6 friends. We were joined by a jazz singer and an artist, so the conversation was really interesting.
Here's the menu:
Thai beef salad
Scallop with picked fennel & spicy aioli, scallop ceviche, scallop with miso dressing, leek & apple
Slow cooked fennel pork belly, endive with vinaigrette, mashed potatos
Pink grapefruit sorbet with sliced candied ginger & Campari
Sake sablefish with pickled vegetable & coconut yam cake
Dark chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis
Bring your own wine
It was a really interesting experience. I think I freaked chef Steve out a bit by showing up 10 minutes early - I badly misjudged my taxi (on a positive note, Vancouver waiting time for cabs is down from 20 minutes to 5 minutes). So he put me to work lighting candles. The rest of the guests arrived, so did a sous-chef/helper, and the meal was on. The advantages to this arrangement are great food and a private space where you can actually hear the conversation around you. Plus no markup on the wine. The cons are that if you're really enjoying yourself, the building's noise rules mean no more partying after 11 PM, so sayonara everyone.
Overall, a positive experience.
[Update: 4 PM] Pictures, upon request.
Sounds like a great evening. How did you find out about it? Any photos? :)
I do have some photos but the lighting conditions weren't conducive to iPhone photography, so they are somewhat dark and grainy.
The evening was organized by friends. I'm not sure how they heard about it but there have been a couple of news articles in the local papers on the phenomenon of underground dining.
I'll add the grainy pics.