Spotlight: Cub's Secret Garden Supper Club
5th August 2018
It doesn’t take much to persuade Londoners to spend time outside during the summer months. This rare opportunity for outdoor enjoyment amongst an otherwise often disgruntled crowd of commuters was a chance that the masterminds behind Cub’s Secret Garden Supper Clubs simply couldn’t miss. And an opportunity for APLO to discover the lesser known gastronomic side to London’s community gardens.
Cub, the drinks-focused dining experience by award-wining bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (popularly known as Mr. Lyan), and zero-waste ambassador Douglas McMaster, has won over legions of fans with the promise of epic meals using only the most seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Their Hoxton restaurant goes a step further with its Eco-friendly architecture, featuring clay walls acting as natural air filters, and recycled yoghurt pot table-tops. The duo has now taken their sustainable dining concept outdoors and closer to nature, by setting up pop-up feasts in community gardens all across the capital - what a brilliant idea.
Wary of the amount of waste that the food industry produces each year, Cub makes use of unpopular ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away by other restaurants, and turns them into tasty culinary works of art. By utilising only what’s fresh and available, they hope to minimise supermarkets’ need to pressure producers to provide seasonal produce all year-round. Their movement pushes people to open their minds (and stomachs) to different and often unusual flavour pairings, in order to foster a culture of change and a move towards a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle.
For Cub’s summer series, they have partnered with garden organisations that have committed to giving back and supporting their local communities. Through this collaboration, Cub is able to utilise existing public spaces in order to help bring awareness and a renewed sense of community into the urban jungle that is London. In line with their commitment towards zero waste and sustainability, the Secret Garden Supper Club meals are prepared using ingredients grown from the actual gardens themselves. Guests are then able to enjoy super fresh dishes and creative cocktails, knowing that everything they consume has been grown no more than ten feet away from where they dine.
"Wary of the amount of waste that the food industry produces each year, Cub makes use of unpopular ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away by other restaurants, and turns them into tasty culinary works of art."
In keeping with the ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ ethos that surrounds all good pop-up experiences, diners only find out the venue’s exact location the day before the event. A postcode is shared upon booking to ensure you don’t find yourself trudging half-way across the city, but other than that, you’ll have to leave your trust in the hands of the culinary gods of Cub.
The first instalment in the series took place at St. Mary’s Secret Garden—a horticultural project right smack in the middle of bustling East London. The garden acts as a resource for local residents where they hold regular horticultural lessons, group therapy sessions, an annual flower show, and volunteer opportunities. The space is made up of several inter-connected areas featuring a natural woodland, a sensory herb garden, and a reserved pocket for freshly grown fruits and vegetables.
On the table at the Secret Garden Supper Club was a spread which included standout dishes like the BBQ aubergine with yogurt and redcurrants, American crayfish with Pandora cucumber, and Belvedere cocktails made with Absinthe sourced directly from St. Mary’s garden.
Remaining dates for The Secret Garden Supper Club are August 27, 2018. Tickets are £60 each and can be purchased at lyancub.com
Words by Ina Yulo