London is overflowing with unique dining experiences, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. So when you’re a foodie seeking an unorthodox outing for the history books, the choice can be overwhelming – but if you have a soft spot for all-things patriotic and can’t say no to an international tasting menu, there really is just one option. For something to be quirky and quintessentially British at the same time is no mean feat, but the folks behind Supperclub.tube have pulled it off in the form of the UK’s only dine-in tube carriage.
Before its arrival in 2018, you’d never expect ‘a six-course Latin American dinner on a disused Victoria line train carriage outside a Grade ll listed pumping house in the depths of Walthastow’ (gasps for breath), to feature in the description of your weekend plans. If you’d heard nothing of London's Supperclub.tube besides this summary, you may expect a gimmick – though the actual underground dining experience is nothing of the sort.
The 35-cover time capsule makes for an intimate and cosy dining space, with a choice between communal seats or two-seater nooks nestled in the standing areas of the carriage. Aside from the addition of white cloth-laden tables, mini heaters and soft jazz, as well as the absence of harsh lighting and strewn newspapers, the setting stays true to its original state – from overhead maps and bright red poles to that vintage moquette upholstery. It's because of the untouched interiors that the nostalgic charm is kept well and truly intact. They don’t play up to the theme by adding extra nods to TFL through tannoy announcements or waiters donning orange hi-vis vests, but instead, let it blend elegantly into the background. This is so diners see the space as a restaurant above all else, keeping the food the star of the show.
It isn't easy for a six-course menu (£67 per person) to steal the limelight from such unique surroundings, but this one did the job. Head chef Beatriz Maldonado Carreno took us on a journey to her homeland of Colombia through a series of authentic South American dishes, while incorporating British cooking methods and produce. She provided a little prologue before the first course came out, sharing the thought behind the food and revealing the hero ingredient: corn. It was a nice touch; this breaking of the fourth wall adds to the concept’s mission of promoting human interaction in public places – which I can only assume (and hope) was a catalyst for some chit-chat among strangers at the communal tables. Everyone’s drink order was attended to before the food arrived. The options ranged from regional wines to a small selection of pre-dinner cocktails (£8.50 each) – a simple offering that again alludes to the meal being the main event.
We started off strong with a tomato and chipotle soup, which was dense in flavour and made hearty with the addition of yellow corn and chicken. Coriander and sour cream brought a welcomed freshness, shards of blue corn tortilla chips diversified the texture. Up next was a white corn croquette that left a gooey puddle of melted mozzarella and cheddar as soon as it was cut into. The cheeses married together well, balancing out the sharpness of one and heaviness of the other. Yellow chilli sauce also sliced through the rich filling to great effect. The third dish was the only time we will ever be grateful that eating fish on the tube isn’t against the law: lime-cured cod with toasted chulpi corn and coriander mixed in a chilli marinade. The cod was soft and delicately flavoured; not too salty or fishy, which to me is always the sign of a good ceviche.
Plate number four was the most substantial of them all, consisting of Cuban-style shredded brisket, roasted vegetables and rice with sweetcorn. When combining all the components in one forkful, the taste and texture were spot on – however, the meat on its own was a tad dry. Round five was pre-dessert in the form of a sorbet dome made from lulo fruit. This was tart and refreshing, with a sweet kick delivered by the chocolate outer shell. Topping off the night? A dessert medley of corn and passionfruit cake, passionfruit pannacotta and coconut lime ice cream served with an orange compote. Incorporating those hints of citrus with the more savoury flavours and creamy textures really brought this dish to life.
The DesignMyNight Digest
This experience should be prescribed to everyone who's lost their love for the capital. In a city that’s known for being relentlessly fast-paced, formidable to some and a little lonely at times, Supperclub.tube provides a public service. Its suburban location forces us to step away from the chaos, and the immersive setting gives us the chance to see London in a new light. Despite the juxtaposition of the Latin American menu and industrial interiors, every element works in harmony. It creates a tasteful, stunt-free spin on fine dining, while also making us challenge the invisible barriers present on public transport. I’m not quite saying you should strike up a conversation with the first unassuming civilian you see on the train ride home. But still, I think there’s an important lesson to be learned about having compassion and openness towards our fellow Londoners, with this restaurant bringing to light the common (under)ground we all share.
💰 The damage: £67 per person, with drinks on top.
📍 The location: 10 South Access Rd, London E17 8AX.
👌 Perfect for: An experience to make a special occasion even more memorable.
⭐ Need to know: The menu changes seasonally and can be tailored to veggies or vegans.