It is all about the food. The reason why anyone signs up to go to a kitchen take-over, supper-club style event is for the food. It is the whole point. But a supper club is about so much more.

The interesting new people you meet, randomly sat next to you on the communal tables. The new cocktail you might try, the wine you wouldn’t have known to choose yourself. And the venue you might not have known about. There is also something special about a one-off event like a kitchen take-over. It is exclusive, selective, you are there as you are in the know and were fast enough to get a ticket.

One further added bonus is the relief from not having to peruse a menu and make decisions. You just sit there, sipping and chatting and have amazing dishes of food put in front of you.

And so to the main event. The food.

The recent New Orleans Feast we held at the Varsity Club with Smoke & Thyme was I think it is fair to say a great success.

Local Marston Chef Jack Greenall (literally fresh off the plane from New Orleans) knocked it out the ballpark (as I would say if I was from New Orleans). The NOLA soundtrack was playing and the room was bedecked with carnival beads.

The first dish of Crawfish Etoufee Tortellini was light and delicate and matched perfectly with the Western Cape Old Vine Chenin Blanc (the stand out wine of the evening I would say).

Jack took the time to introduce each course (and regale us with stories of the Big Easy) and he next described and explained the Boucherie Gumbo Ya-Ya which had such depth of flavour it is hard to find words. It was heightened by the Louis Latour Pinot Noir.

I had my doubts about the next dish of grits (described as having a porridge-like texture) but served as this was with large shrimp and a sweet pepper sauce it was excellent. It was quite an extravagant dish yet surprisingly light.

And the final pièce de résistance (as I’m sure I would say if I was from New Orleans) was the dessert of Sweet Potato Bread Pudding. As the lovely Justine, sat to my right, said, she doesn’t even like desserts (as she finished every last morsel). It was like a Willie Wonka concoction as the sweetness was followed by the warmth of the cayenne. A triumph. And wonderfully complemented by the Late Harvest Royal Tokaji dessert wine.

As they most definitely say in the Crescent City, let the good times roll.

Here are a few other kitchen take-over events held at The Varsity Club: