Monday, September 21, 2009

Underground Dinner

I have only recently heard about "Underground Dinners" and when I did some research about it, it sounded so mysterious, exciting and fun - I had to get myself to one. If you haven't heard about it before, click here. In short, it's a novice or amateur chef hosting a dinner party in their own home for complete strangers. For the particular one I went to, I had to contact the host (Thang), put my name down on the list and wait for his reply. Lucky for me I had friends of friends who knew him (hehe thanks Che!) and was able to get myself and a few friends to join the next one he was holding. Normally, you put your name on the list and on the day of the dinner, you will get an sms inviting you over with the details (where and when that evening).

Right, on to the was $60 for 6 courses - 4 mains and 2 desserts. Just wait till you see the photos below......

It's BYO wine and since there was no toddler in tow tonight, the wine bottles were safely strapped into the child seat. Priorities, priorities LOL!!!

When we arrived we could see Thang and his wonderful helpers busy preparing the dinner
Scampi being marinated

Ocean trout being marinated

Lamb cutlets being marinated

First dish being plated

And he even went out of his way to make a pretty menu for each of us

1st course - Avocado and crabmeat stack
Seriously, avo and can't go wrong. This was so very good. Loved the fish roe with the salty "pop" in the mouth with each bite

2nd course - Scampi squid ink pasta with scampi oil
First time I've tried scampi and I really enjoyed it. This was definitely my favourite dish of the night (and for most of the guests too). Thang told us that it takes him 2 hours to make the scampi can tell though because it really has a wonderful strong flavour
3rd course - Seared ocean trout with soy and kaffir lime leaves sauce
Seared to perfection. My skin was extra crispy and the whole dish was just lovely
Palate cleanser - Blood orange granita
Another first for me. I could have had the whole container it was that good
4th course - Lemongrass lamb cutlets with mash and mushroom
really loved this dish. The lamb was so juicy and the flavour was beautiful
And here is the amazing Thang hard at work plating our next dish
I think I need to get myself some of those moulds, this is the coolest dessert I have ever seen!!!
5th course - Coconut vanilla pana cotta with fresh berries
There are other names for this dessert, but I'll leave it up to your imagination ; )
This was such a fun dessert and it was really tasty too

Action shots - wobble to the left....

and wobble to the right
6th course - Passionfruit souffle with passionfruit ice cream
YUM! There are just no other words....
So there you have it, my first underground dinner. I was so nervous at first wondering who else would turn up? What would this host be like? Would I actually enjoy the food? But anticipation soon turned into excitment and once we sat down and started eating and chatting, I was well and truly enjoying myself.

I am in awe of what Thang does. You'd have to be so organised and really passionate about food to attempt something like this. I don't know if I'd ever go as far as hosting my own underground dinner, but I sure do love the idea of it.

Thank you to Thang for a really gorgeous dinner. Thank you for inviting us strangers into your home. Thank you for giving me this special experience and well....thank you!


  1. Ahh I've always wanted to go to one of these or hold one! And that pannacotta is so clever, it reminds me of the Jonah's pannacotta :)

  2. wow that food looks so tasty! i love lamb cutlets :-)

  3. Wow those desserts look awesome! Love the wobbly pannacotta, and the passionfruit souffle.. oh my!! I've always been intrigued by these secret dinners... very cool!

  4. bwahahaha the wine looks so cute in the toddlers seat!

  5. I have never even heard of underground dinners - but they are truly wonderful inventions!! All of this gorgeous food! My fave has to be the passionfruit souffle with passionfruit icecream (I am a dessert girl, after all!). What a fab idea.

  6. Hi NQN - Oooo you should hold make lovely dishes I'm sure it would be a big hit!

    Hi Simon - Yeah those lamb cutlets were so good

    Hey Betty - Passionfruit is my favourite flavour for dessert and this one certainly didn't disappoint

    Hi Suze - hehehe it was the ONLY place for the wine ; )

    Hey Cakelaw - Ahhhh now you know....and maybe you can attend one too. It's so much fun!