As part of our research for setting up ‘Dinner at the Manor’ we visited Birkby Lodge Dining Club last night. Set in leafy Huddersfield this dining club is run by Mithu and can seat up to 28 guests. The theme was Greek and we were excited to learn about how somebody else was running a supperclub.
The house itself was gorgeous – a lovely old cottage with exposed wooden beams and low ceilings. It has obviously been renovated to a high standard with good quality wooden flooring throughout and lots of space. It had a great, airy atmosphere with candles flickering everywhere and it was immaculately clean.
What was surprising at first was that the dining room was set up as a restaurant with lots of individual tables. This is something we have never considered for The Manor as part of our ethos is to get groups of strangers talking and interacting around large tables. It’s not very often that one opens up their home to strangers and we’d like to think it’s an experience the whole group would like to share. In the end this suited us as we were a group of four and it was a good chance for a catch up. However, this set up might not be suitable for anyone dining alone. At The Manor we want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome, whatever size of group they come in.
Mithu herself was amazing. She was a warm, enthusiastic and generous host. She obviously loves opening up her home to diners and was regularly popping out of the kitchen to check that we were ok and enjoying the food. We certainly felt very welcome and at home. Food wise, the descriptions on the menu were very simple so we were’t sure what to expect. At The Manor we want to serve food that excites and interests our diners – we want our menus to get people thinking, and talking! Anyway, any concerns about Mithu’s food were completely unfounded as it was all absolutely delicious, full of flavour and faultless. Her basic menus are in danger of underselling how good her food really is. This is a shame as her food is brilliant and it is served at a great, cheap price. Mithu even came round to offer us seconds – something Martini Man was more than happy to force down!
We left with full tummies and a warm feeling from the great hosting we had received. At times it had felt like we were in a real restaurant. This is surely a sign of Mithu’s professionalism, but is not necessarily what we want The Manor to feel like. it’s a new kind of dining experience and we want people to feel like they are in someone’s home. What is surely a testament to Mithu though is that around 60% of her diners come back again, a great retention rate! We will certainly be going back, perhaps for one of her wine tasting evenings. For more information about Birkby Lodge Dining Club go to: http://supperclubfangroup.ning.com/profile/MithuKomarnyckyj