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Sunday 26 January 2014

Good Gobble Blog's Inaugural Colombian Supper Club: Rum, Shorts and Ceviche Bring Sunshine to Rainy Manchester

Unsurprisingly, I'm a pretty keen supporter of the supper club, at pretty much any time of year. The concept is simple: someone who likes cooking and has a house with a decent dining space devises and prices up a menu, sells places to guests - friends or otherwise - online in exchange for a deposit, cooks aforementioned menu for said guests, passes round envelopes for remaining balance, shoos guests from property, collapses on sofa - although I'm assuming the last bit, as I have always been shooed from the property by that point of the evening. It's frankly a perfect arrangement - you get to eat lovely food with interesting, like-minded people whilst drinking your own booze in the comfort of someone else's (always very tidy) house, and then swan off without doing the washing up.

And let's face it - this kind of arrangement has even more appeal on a filthy wet and cold Manchester night, combining all the advantages of going out with all the benefits of staying in (it's surely only a matter of time before people are permitted to take their pyjamas along to such events). Last night saw the trial run for a new supper club by the nice folks at Good Gobble Blog, whom you may have encountered trading as Arepa!Arepa!Arepa! at Levenshulme Market, selling their fiendishly tasty Columbian flatbreads to an easily-addicted populace. As Jules and Bailey are 25% Columbian and have spent a great deal of time there, it's no surprise that they have chosen to cook this kind of food for their new supper club, which will offer various dates in February to make up for Levy Market selfishly taking its winter break. So, I donned my denim hotpants (yes, really - I did have tights on though) and joined some charming fellow bloggers in snarfing the following at Jules and Bailey's Levenshulme home - apologies for the quality of photographs, which perfectly capture the intimate, candle-lit atmosphere at the minor expense of you actually being able to see what we ate.

¡Guayaba!¡Guayaba!¡Guayaba!: a cool guava cooler pepped up with ginger, rum and lime. No picture of this as girls wearing hot pants in January need to apply a layer of warming alcohol pretty quickly.

Coctel De Camarones: shrimp ceviche served on saltine crackers with a zinging hot sauce.

Tamales De Pescado: steamed sea bass on a bed of spiced masa mix topped with an achiote chilli butter, all wrapped in a banana leaf and accompanied by a side of fresh lime and corn salsa. You see it here as a before and after - any imperfections in the latter are entirely due to my feverish excitement in extracting the fish from its wrapping, Christmas Day style.

Bandeja Paisa: Colombia’s national dish - pan fried spiced belly pork, slow cooked pinto beans with ham hock, chorizo, ground beef, baked ripe plantain, fresh avocado, stewed tomato and onion sauce ‘hogao’ served with rice and topped with a fried egg, with a mini arepa on the side.

Torta Negra Colombiana: a traditional Colombian celebration cake made with molasses and boozey fruit, served with a cherimoya ice cream.

Colombian coffee & panelita: aka Colombian fudge.

Yep - I ate the lot, and had seconds wherever possible. Everything you see here was even nicer than it sounds, and the slickness of service made it hard to believe that this was simply a trial run. There might be a few tweaks when the menu is announced for real, but essentially these are high quality ingredients lovingly cooked by people who know what they're doing and are also excellent hosts. I can't recommend highly enough that you keep an eye on their Twitter feeds (@goodgobbleblog and @ArepaArepaArepa) for forthcoming announcements, as I've a feeling these will sell out pretty quickly...

- As this was a dry run, Jules and Bailey invited us to make whatever contribution we felt appropriate, which they plan to donate to charity. I was briefly tempted to write them a bad review for not letting me keep the glass with the cat on it, but my better nature has prevailed.

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