About a month ago I met with Charlotte and Martin Major, the team behind the Gather E17 supper club, to interview them for the E List magazine. They have taken over the reigns of the pop up known as Denim & Dine at the Blackhorse Lane Ataliers craft jeans factory. When I met with them I was struck by their passion, enthusiasm, and determination to do things a bit differently. The only thing missing from my first meeting with them was the glorious food they were telling me about. So, last Friday as a pre-birthday treat, we went to Gather E17 for the first time.
The food is served at a space at the back of the factory, so on arrival you are met at the front door and escorted up the lantern lit corridor, past the sewing machines and over lockers to the communal dining table that lies beyond. Being in an industrial unit after hours feels sort of naughty and exciting, like you shouldn’t really be there, which all adds to the amazing atmosphere at the Ataliers. The dining area is intimate, and importantly, there is only one table which everyone shares. Martin and Charlotte want to bring people together over food, and sharing a table does that. Pretty much as soon as we sat down we started chatting with our fellow guests.
Diner is served over several courses, which on the May menu started with an amuse bouche, followed by heritage carrots and cerney cheese, then scallop ceviche, great garnets pork, a pre dessert, and then English Raspberry with lemon verbena and caramelised white chocolate to finish. As each dish was served, Martin, the chef at Gather E17, came out of the kitchen with Charlotte and introduced the food. They told us the story behind the ingredients, explained why they had been paired together, and talked about how the dishes were prepared. Just like the first time I met this husband and wife team, I was struck by their enthusiasm and passion. There is a palpable sense of excitement that emanates from these two every time they talk.
As for the food, well, it was beautifully presented and tasted magnificent. For me the heritage carrots in with cerney cheese really stood out. The carrots were delicately presented, and the flavour was incredible. This was the humble carrot taken to an entirely new level. Having said that it is difficult to single out any aspect of the meal as all of the courses were fantastic. The scallops melted in my mouth, the pork was tender and full of flavour, and the dessert was so tasty we all let out a communal contented sigh as we dug in.
Fine dining restaurants can sometimes feel a bit stuffy and pretentious, but not Gather E17. The combination of unusual venue, a shared table, and the friendly and passionate team, made for a very relaxed and enjoyable evening. Tickets cost £50 per head, and it’s worth every penny. For more info on Gather E17, including forthcoming supper club dates, click here.