I love me a bit of vintage.
The 1950’s are my particular favourite era.
I’ve often wondered how cool it would have been to be alive then. To live in the days of swing skirts and leather jackets and funky cars and fabulously swishy hair…
(Yeah, I watched Grease the other night. Can you tell?)
So when the Marie Curie charity invited Charlie (and then Charlie invited Erica and I)(yay blogpals!) down to experience a retro-inspired Dinner Down Memory Lane, I knew it wasn’t something I could miss!
So, first things first, I got lost.
Because I’m me, and me isn’t very good at directions.
I got to Shoreditch. I found the right street. I found the right number.
And then I got confused.
Because LOL YOU GUYS, turns out that the “restaurant” was actually hidden inside a clothes shop.
You walk through the shop, go behind a black curtain, and… TA-DA! You’re there.
Back in 5 Minutes is a teeny-tiny event space, decorated à la 70s. It sits 30 people, and has a record player and an amazing collection of books displayed that almost made me hyper-ventilate.
IT IS COOL. So very, very Shoreditch-hipster cool.
And I bloody loved it.
Once inside, we immediately jumped on the Dirty Shirley cocktails (vodka, cava, orange and a maraschino cherry because RETRO), before sitting down to a quick chat from the lovely team at Marie Curie, who explained a bit more about why we were there.
In case you’ve not heard of it before, Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people living with terminal illness. Not just cancer (which is what I always thought!) but ANY terminal illness.
The charity helps these people and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. They have hundreds of nurses that work day and night, caring for the patients in their own homes and in hospices across the country.
The Dinner Down Memory Lane campaign is a pretty simple concept: invite friends to make a donation to Marie Curie this November, and in return you provide them with a retro-inspired dinner party filled with nostalgic food and fun!
It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, and they even provide menu and recipe ideas on their website, just to make it easier for you.
Need some more inspiration?
OH OKAY. Well here’s what we ate.
*Warning: food porn incoming*
We started with a delicious Vietnamese-Style Prawn Cocktail. Fresh, crisp and very light.
The chef paired it with a sparkly rose wine and we all did a very enthusiastic cheers.
Photo evidence above.
Next we had French Onion Soup: a super rich and savoury onion broth, topped with crispy croutons and plenty of gooey melted cheese.
It came served with bread, butter, a yummy charcuterie platter and a huge glass of really, really nice Reisling.
I’m incredibly picky about my white wines, but this one was honestly lovely. Really crisp and dry.
Then came the Waldorf Salad. But this was like no Waldorf salad I’ve ever tried before!
A hunk of crispy-skinned pork belly, topped with wafer-thin slices of apple, celery shavings, crumbled blue cheese and whole, peeled walnuts.
The textures were incredible, and the pork belly was an absolute DREAM.
Massive, massive props to the team at Disappearing Dining Club for coming up with such an original take on a classic dish. It was still recognisable as a Waldorf, but improved by about 100000000 percent.
For our main course we had Duck à l’Orange. (BECAUSE RETRO. Obviously.)
Crispy baked duck leg served with a chicory and fresh orange salad.
Light, fresh and still super, super delicious. The duck was cooked perfectly, and there was no sign of the sickly sweet sauce we were all kind of expecting.
The chef paired it with a really deep Pinot Noir wine and OH LORD IT WAS GOOD.
I love red wine. Any red wine. But this one was REALLY GOOD.
(We may or may not have loved the red wine a leeettle bit too much…)
(We may or may not have also forgotten that it was Monday and that we had to go to work the next day.)
(We may or may not have missed the last tube and had to get taxis home.)
(Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?)
For dessert we had possibly the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life.
It was flavoured with white chocolate and lime, which you might think sounds gross and shouldn’t work, but it TOTALLY DID.
It was amazing. Served with caramelised pineapple on the side, it was creamy and fruity and delicious.
We finished the evening on an absolute high: more alcohol (a classic rum-based Mai Tai), more giggles, and a very enthusiastic high-five.
It was such a fun night!
The food, company and venue were all amazing, and the fact that it was for such an amazing cause was the maraschino-cherry on top of the cake.
THANK YOU MARIE CURIE AND DISAPPEARING DINING CLUB.
Now it’s your turn guys!
Go sign up for your free fundraising pack on the Marie Curie website, and get planning your epic retro dinner party immediately.
*Photos are a mix of mine and ace low-light photographer, Trevor Smeaton’s.
The nicer pics are all his. Obviously.