Good Food Blog
Pop-up restaurantsPosted at 5:00PM, 04 February 2010 by Mary Cadogan - Food writer
I'm sure by now you will have heard about pop-up restaurants, the latest foodie craze to sweep the country. Bistros are popping up in livings rooms everywhere as food lovers open their homes for clandestine dining. Sofas are relegated to bedrooms and replaced with tables and chairs, or more likely, garden furniture, stools or trestles covered with sheets.
Maybe it's the slightly underground nature of these one-off restaurants that is so appealing, or the chance to eat really good food in relaxed surroundings at recession-busting prices; diners are often asked to pay what they think is a fair price, or charged about £25 plus wine - an amazing bargain if the food is good. And as the atmosphere is usually relaxed and friendly, with everyone sharing tables, it's a perfect chance to meet new people.
So for all these reasons I've decided to have a go myself. We have a big salon which I reckon will seat 20 people in comfort, and all the props for food shoots that I have been collecting over the last few years will be pressed into service. I have enough tables, chairs, cutlery, plates and glasses for everyone, and all the vintage linen sheets I've been collecting will make gorgeous tablecloths. My good friend Dawn will be front of house while I do the cooking and husband Mick looks after the wine.
Have I got enough coffee cups? Will the sofa be OK overnight in the garden?
I sent out invites and menus to those who had attended my day courses, plus every friend I could think of who lives within a 50km radius, and within 24 hours I was fully booked. Since then my head has been buzzing day and night. Have I chosen the right menu? Will I be able to get it all cooked on time and to perfection? Have I got enough coffee cups? Will the sofa be OK overnight in the garden under a tarpaulin?
It's one thing to invite friends for supper, and quite another when you are charging them for the pleasure. Everything must be absolutely right or I'll know about it, I'm sure. I must confess I have never had ambitions to open a restaurant on a permanent basis, but have always wondered what it would be like. I know it's going to be very hard work but will it be worth it? I'll have to wait and see, but I promise I'll let you know.