Busy bees

Preparations are well underway to get our new Leeds Supperclub up and running for our opening night in October!

Over the weekend I set up the Manor’s dining room to include a second table. It was a relief for me as all along we’ve been saying that we can seat 14 guests but without really checking. You’ll be pleased to know that 14 can fit in very comfortably!

As someone who has never really enjoyed shopping that much before (I get very frustrated if I can’t find what I need immediately) I’ve been getting rather excited by purchasing new crockery! I do have to get over my obsession with everything matching – to be honest it will probably look better if things don’t match. Anyway, it’s been an eye opener just how much space 14 plates, 14 wine glasses, 14 bowls (etc etc) take up. Luckily we have ample storage at the Manor – the Victorians were quite good at building in storage in houses in Leeds.

The food is probably the aspect I’m most excited about. As you will know our theme for each supperclub is to cook recipes from our favourite cookbooks. It’s been lovely to re-familiarise ourselves with our much loved cookery writers. We’ve painstakingly selected recipes that will challenge our cooking abilities and that will hopefully give our guests new taste sensations. We’ve also been doing our research into where we can get decent local food. This has involved trips to the Leeds Loves Food Festival – a very hard day that involved tasting lost of free samples! We’ve also been going out and about researching supper clubs and secret tea rooms in Huddersfield, Edinburgh and Leeds. It’s been great to see how others run theirs, but I guess we won’t know what will work best for us until we start doing it.

Anyway we’ve set the menu now for our first meal in October. This will be sent out to our guests and published on our website early next month. Sticky Pinny, who takes control of our communications, has done a grand job of designing them, they look great!

It’s been hard to know how to best promote Dinner at the Manor. So far social networking, like Twitter, Facebook and the Find a Supperclub fan group have been invaluable for raising our profile and getting people booked on to our events. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received so far – our first event was fully booked in a matter of hours! It’s obvious that there is an appetite for unique eating experiences in Leeds. At this stage we don’t want to promote more widely as we don’t have spaces for lots of new guests yet! Come 2012, if we are still enjoying running our events, then we’ll start to think about raising our profile a bit more.

One thing that is coming up later this month, and which doubles up as a bit of a thank you to some of our friends, is a test night for the restaurant. We’ve taken the day off work and are going to use the time to practise the meat course and the canapés for our Nigella them evening. It’ll also be a chance to see what 12 people look like all in the same room – logistical things like that!

Finally, I’ve just been filling in our form for a temporary alcohol licence. This means we can (legally) pair wines to our courses. It’s actually been far easier getting the licence than I expected. If you are thinking of serving alcohol at one of your own events then I do recommend getting one. It’s worth it to be on the safe side!

Anyway, we’ll let you know how our test night goes – we’ll get one of the guests to be a guest reviewer for us! And if you fancy booking on, check our availability page for up to date news on which events have spaces.

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