At the end of April 2010 we hosted our first Secret Foodies. I invited 10 friends with strict instructions to bring one guest I’d never met before to dinner. Two hours before dinner everyone would receive a secretinfo text message with instructions on where to meet.
That first Secret Foodies saw 20 like-minded people brought together by one common love- food. We had a great night and those 20 people told another 20 people who told their friends. Before you knew it whispers of a secret pop-up dinner club were sweeping across Sydney.
We’ve never done any advertising or marketing but the Crave International Food Festival was something we’d talked about at Secret Foodies HQ. 18-months after inception we thought now would be the time to open our doors and share our secret with new friends.
I discovered the warehouse space one day with a friend walking the back streets of Darlinghurst. When you run pop-up dining events you start to get very nosey. It’s only through popping your head into places, asking questions and being inquisitive that you discover new hidden gems. To some it looked like an empty warehouse with stark white walls, 1 toilet, no kitchen and some hanging light bulbs. To me, it was going to be a one night only restaurant and night to remember.
It seems Sydney-siders liked the idea of eating in a warehouse too because the “one-night-only” turned into “two-nights-only” with over 100 seats selling out within 3 days of tickets going on sale.
I’ve wanted to work with chef Miguel Maestre for a while and who doesn’t love Spanish food? Miguel has stolen the hearts of food lovers across the country with his delicious, authentic cooking and cheeky personality. Co-owner of Aperitif in Kings Cross with Manu Feildel regular on the Lifestyle Food channel with his show Boy’s Weekend Miguel’s enthusiasm for Spanish cuisine is contagious.
We set Miguel the challenge of creating a menu that could be created in a temporary kitchen, something people could interact with and share with friends. Our catering partner Sarah French is always on hand to help run the kitchen.
Everyone loves sangria so we had glasses waiting for guests on arrival and bottles of Tio Pepe Fino Sherry for those who prefer a real kick to start their meal. We started with Ajoblanco a Spanish style cold soup with Chorizo A La Sidra, chorizo cider style to follow. I ate a lot of tortilla de patatas, Spanish omlette last time I was in Spain so was happy to have that on the menu.
Chilled Martin Codax Albarino wine was light, crisp and matched the Tigres, stuffed mussels and the rest of the tapas. It was the Cuatro Pasos Rose patched with Miguels Paella a la Maestre with chorizo and seafood that got my vote for best wine.
No Spanish dinner would be complete without the chocolatey goodness of Churros con chocolate to finish the meal and a glass of Nextar PX sherry. The wines and sherry were selected by Jose Fernansez the el padrino (Godfather) of the Spanish wine scene in Australia and Dean Simmonds from Broadway Liquor. Together they import wines, beers and spirits from 26 different companies in Spain, Argentina and England.
104 guests joined us for dinner and despite lacking the conventional luxuries of a restaurant the pop-up was a lot of fun. One night down, one to go…check out what we did on the Friday night.
Photo’s thanks to our friend Ernesto Delfino
Visit Miguel Maestre’s restaurant Aperitif
If you loved the wine visit Jose and Dean at Broadway Liquor
If you loved the space we can spill the secret…check out District 01