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Secret supper club review: Savour to Taste

Secret supper club review: Savour to Taste


Join Chef Scott on a journey through the taste-space continuum…

Prior to my living in Dubai, the idea of a supper club didn’t really appeal to me. It was an image problem. Bad PR maybe. I just imagined long, staid, starched-linen dining tables populated by guffawing Old Etonians chugging port and holding court on cravat portfolios. But the Dubai scene has completely dismantled all of those assumptions.

These supper clubs represent a community of chefs who are putting their money where your mouth is. Without a restaurant group or hedge fund behind them to bankroll a new competitive eatery, these industrious souls tarmac their own road to market, often as a side hustle to another full-time job. The culinary start-ups are an outlet of creativity, incubators of passion, which can and do eventually lead to permanent bricks and mortar stores. As was the case for the brilliant Fusion Ceviche, Hawkerboi, and Kinoya to name just a few.

That’s the Dubai dream in a flamboyantly presented, tuille-on-top nutshell though right? The road to success is accessible – built on hard work, talent and, sure, a bit of luck.

The benefit to you as supper club supporter is the possibility of discovering a future phenomenon at grassroots level. The chance of sampling genuine gastronomic genius, at reasonable prices, before the rest of the world finds out about it. And Savour to Taste, might just be one of those experiences.

Chef Scott Henry, hosts his theatre of foodie themes in a converted residential space in JVT. “I hope you’re hungry” he says, smiling warmly “I’ve been in the kitchen for days”. It’s no exaggeration either, the preparation required for this evening is staggering. Chef Scott’s career as a private chef to the rich, famous and upwardly yacht-mobile has taken him across the globe, acquiring secret culinary skills and experimenting in the molecular gastronomy realm.

There are 600 individual ingredients in tonight’s five-course menu, I’d struggle to even think of half that number of edible items. And there’s next to zero waste, everything, as much as possible at least, gets put to good use.

Servings start with an amuse-bouche that looks suspiciously like a dessert, an unconventional gambit, but this is part of the drama, rarely is anything as it originally seems. We’re given carrot macron and virgin bloody mary sorbet, there are set gels and layers, the manifesto of a mad professor, but the temperatures, textures and flavours resound.

The next course is an ode to cauliflower cheese, a dish usually limited to a bit-part in roast dinner trimming line-ups. At Savour to Taste, it’s aggrandised, elongated, caught in a parmesan rind tuille, stratified, and given a starring role in the production.

An avocado, passionfruit and prawn cocktail is prepared, and then a cucumber, feta, and dried olive salad – these too are dinner party classics but, again, not as we know them. The cocktail is a mousse, with a shortbread-esque base and the salad is largely a sorbet.

Chef Scott is playing four-dimensional chess with these plates. He’s creating art that tastes great; it’s happening right in front of you, the prep station is just a caviar tin’s throw away; it’s food that rattles your preconception; that’s meticulously efficient; with layers of guiding texture; there are stories within stories – each course is telling its own individual tale as well as being a nested chapter of the larger whole; and there’s a cleverly compiled companion playlist for your soirèe serenade. An exasperatingly complicated, compelling sort of theatre, and the intimately-appointed audience is captivated.

The trade off, for some of the dishes that rise and fall either side of Chef Scott’s explanatory introductions, is that the enjoyment within is not always facilely accessible. As with arthouse cinema, Michelin-Starred menus, extreme sodoku and the music of Radiohead – the complexity is deliberate and beautiful, but full appreciation may require a circuitous route uphill. The good news is, it’s worth every step of the climb. If you want low-hanging yums, lay under the nugget tree.

One round that didn’t follow this graft-for-your-dinner formula was the final savoury presentation, ‘chicken or the egg?’. A no-waste dish with poultry done at least five different ways – and a substantial, direct service of big resonating umami waves.

The final course is another hip-shooter, a “decadent chocolate sensation”, with literally zero false advertising in its name. A choir of chocolate flavour, form, and structure and a fiendishly decadent way to close out both your savouring and tasting.

Note that Savour to Taste menus are routinely switched up to keep the experience fresh.

Verdict: A secret dining experience that feels destined for the stars. There are few places you can go in Dubai, that offer such proximity to originality, passion and culinary wonder.

A secret location in JVT. Dhs450. Book @savourtotaste

Images: Provided


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