Secret Suppers & Putting A Donk On It: Sunshine Bakery, Saison Dupont & Corsendonk Agnus
I don’t want to turn this into a food and beer blog, but I thought this was worth mentioning. The very special Sunshine Bakery in Chapel Allerton have “Supper Club” evenings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It’s kind of like a tiny pop-up restaurant in the bakery (just four tables with ten or so covers when I was in), with a small choice of courses for very reasonable prices.
What they don’t have is a licence, so you can take your own alcohol. Instead of taking wine, we decided to take a couple of large bottles of beer. This was a great opportunity to have some food in a restaurant with a couple of beers that either (a) you would be very lucky indeed to find in an English restaurant; or (b) you would normally have to pay corkage for if you brought them in yourself.
We didn’t know what the menu would be, but after a chat with Ghostie in Beer Ritz the day before we decided to go for a Saison Dupont (great value for around a fiver) and an impressive looking paper-wrapped Corsendonk Agnus.
Ghostie, as always, was right. The corks popped in a satisfying manner and they were more than suited for the wine glasses on the table. Both beers went very well with the great French-style bistro food at the Supper Club. The light and hoppy Saison was a perfect match in very many ways for my farmhouse pate starter, which came with a fresh tasting piccalilli. The Agnus, a slightly heavier tripel, held up quite well against a rich boeuf bourguignon.
The pale, bitter beers were probably an even better match with Kate’s choices: a mackerel nicoise salad followed by a smoked haddock chowder with saute potatoes. We then finished off with a pot of tea and some very special cakes: an Eton Mess cupcake for Kate and a Turkish Delight brownie for me.
Normally there’s quite a mark-up in restaurants on alcohol and wine in particular. I often find that a good beer, where available, can knock about £20 off the bill, although this tends not to thrill the waiter. But here, because we got to pay off-licence prices for the beer and very reasonable prices for the food, it cost us only around £45 all-in for the beer and three great courses each.
Basically I don’t think I should be telling you about this at all, because it’s hard enough to get a booking as it is. In fact, forget I said anything.