A few weeks ago I found out about the Disappearing Dining Club and I was instantly intrigued by it. DDC is an events company that “brings like-minded people together to enjoy great food, drink and good company in reclaimed or unusual private spaces”. As well as hosting dinners and events in and around London, they have also launched “Back in 5 Minutes”, a permanent restaurant hidden behind a designer clothes shop on Brick Lane.
Every Wednesday they host a Dinner Club, with 30 seats around three tables, for “family style, get-to-know-your-neighbours dining”. I thought it would be fun to try it out with my Blog ‘n’ Bake friends and so that’s where we all had dinner last night.
The doors open at 7pm: you walk in a clothing store and through black curtains to enter a low-lit room with grey walls and vintage furniture. As a group of seven people, we occupied most of the table and kept the conversation to ourselves, but I’d imagine that if you were going as a couple you would end up chatting to strangers and get to know your neighbours.
A welcome Grey Goose Le Fizz drink is served on arrival (a mix of elderflower, fresh lime and Grey Goose vodka with chilled soda) and dinner starts around 7:30/8:00pm. There were two waitresses taking orders for drinks and making sure all dietary requirements were taken care of (we had two vegetarians in our group).
We decided to share a bottle of house red wine and my task was to distribute it evenly between 7 glasses. The pressure was high, but I think I did a good job! ;)
There is one three-course menu for all diners (starter, main course and dessert), which changes weekly and features familiar British dishes such as Braised Lamb Shoulder, Confit Duck or Slow Roasted Pork Neck.
The starter was a tray of Potted Meats & Fish with Homemade Pickles and Sourdough Bread. They didn’t serve a different starter for vegetarians, but luckily my husband and Hannah’s sister can eat fish occasionally, so they could eat the potted salmon.
We all loved the starters – in particular I thought the pork and salmon were both delicious.
The main course was Slow Roast Pork Belly with Roasted New Potatoes and White Beans. I don’t eat pork belly often (I also always remove the skin and fat…) and I am not an expert, but I did enjoy this dish very much. The meat was tasty and the white beans were cooked in a delicious cream.
Two trays of food were served to share between ten diners at our table: a big slice of pork belly each and enough beans and potatoes to share.
I was not impressed by the vegetarian option as it consisted of only roasted potatoes and brown beans cooked in tomato sauce. It wasn’t very imaginative or good value for money compared to the meat course.
There was plenty of Apple & Blackberry Crumble to fill our bellies, served with a lovely Swedish Custard. Both were served cold, unlike traditional crumbles which are served piping hot. I didn’t mind, actually I was happy to be able to tuck into my portion without having to wait for the food to cool down! (I always burn my tongue when eating apple crumble, fact!)
Not all my friends loved the dessert, but I liked it enough to take a second helping with a big dollop of custard on top!
Overall I thought Back in 5 Minutes was a nice place to visit for a dinner out with friends: the room is intimate and cozy and you feel like being in somebody’s living room, rather than in a restaurant.
But I was expecting it to be more like a dining club or a supperclub, perhaps with the DDC team presenting the menu and walking around the tables to chat with the guests. This would have created a more personal and special experience. I realize now that this is not what Back in 5 Minutes is about, so it was simply a case of wrong expectations on my side.
In my personal opinion, Back in 5 Minutes is a great concept, deployed in style in a lovely location and with good food. But it does have a few short-comings: mainly the price (it’s not cheap when you add up £30 for food, £5 for a glass of wine and 12.5% service charge and definitely not good value for vegetarians) and the service, which wasn’t very friendly or accommodating.
I don’t see myself going back, as I think there’s better food to be had in London, but I would recommend it if you are looking for an unusual dining experience in a quirky space.