Supper’s Up! Exposed joins the club at the Mowbray
When it comes to atmospheric evening dining, The Mowbray’s popular supper clubs are one of the city’s finest and most immersive foodie experiences in the city. Here’s all you need to know...
It’s Friday evening in Kelham Island, and on Mowbray Street, set back a few hundred yards from the area’s bustling watering holes, a steady stream of people can be seen tottering down towards the chapel-like silhouette of The Mowbray.
Despite its appearance, this historic red-brick structure was originally an iron and steel merchants built in 1889. After being purchased by the team behind nearby events space Chimney House, a three-year refurbishment effort has seen transformed into a stunning venue hosting everything from weddings to exhibitions to fine-dining events.
Tonight sees the return of their themed Supper Club evenings, this one an opulent French Ciné special, and inside the main room four grand dining tables illuminated by dancing candelight are lined up as guests nibble at freshly baked baguettes lathered in lescure butter and crème de Reblochon. The sounds of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc add to this chic, inviting setting, while segments of classic French cinema are projected onto the walls.
It’s an enjoyably social affair with an atmosphere you’ll struggle to replicate in even the priciest restaurant in town: an elegant banquet where people are united in affection for quality cuisine and an indulgent evening out. We helped ourselves to hearty servings of sweet French onion tart, incredibly succulent Beef Bourguignon and the most decadent of Mille-feuilles. Time seemed to fly by (the age-old sign of an enjoyable evening) as three hours quickly passed before a number of contentedly full diners began leaving their seats to make the nearby pubs ahead of closing time. Une bonne soiree, indeed, and one highly recommended for those seeking a special communal dining experience.
Afterwards Sally Clark, owner at The Mowbray, spoke to us about the inspiration behind the Supper Club concept.
How long have the Supper Clubs been going for now?
We started running Supper Clubs 10 years ago at The Chimney House! Back then it was all about small gatherings of guests; they knew nothing about the menu, they didn’t know who they would be seated next to or what was going to happen! Guests came with open hearts and a willingness to embrace the evening – and it was pure magic! We’ve taken this magic and have been hosting Supper Clubs at The Mowbray for the past 12 months.
What was the main concept behind them?
Inspired by folk tales of old Norse-style feasting and togetherness, we’ve focussed on grand dining seating up to 160 guests. For us it’s about perfecting the art of feasting – an abundant table of food from The Mowbray Kitchen created and curated by Emma and Matt Tophill-Reed. Seasonal simplicity allows us the luxury to let ingredients lead. We make our own breads, bake our own cakes, pickle, cure, smoke and preserve our way through the year giving our guests the freshest, choicest picks from land and sea.
How often do they take place?
Our Supper Clubs happen sporadically – when we can. We keep our ticket price great value, the experience and our food and ingredients top-notch and never tire of seeing groups of strangers arriving before leaving as friends. It sounds a little cliché that it happens that way, but it really does! Nearly all of our regular guests now frequent The Mowbray with groups that they’ve met on previous Supper Club. Numbers vary each time. Sometimes we decide to welcome a full house, other times we prefer to keep things small and select; but each time we champion grand dining – the art of feasting. Feasting is what we’ve become famous for and we serve food up in plentitude, with the advice to pass, share, chat, eat, kick back and let it all come to you!
What can you tell us about the history of the Mowbray building and how you came to be involved?
Originally a steel and iron merchants built in 1889 by Robert Huntley we’ve made sure The Mowbray is a true Sheffield story. Everything in The Mowbray and the building itself has been designed in the 93ft studio above The Mowbray and made within a mile radius of the building in our workshops on Kelham Island.
It was a restoration project that spanned over 3 years; The Mowbray is a culmination of hard work, endeavour and spirit to transform two derelict buildings into one that champions our Sheffield heritage through bricks and mortar, feeling and soul. The building has had a dramatic transformation into a state-of-the-art 250 guest capacity events space with an eight metre bar and commercial kitchen over the ground floor with a herbarium, roof garden and workspace on the first and second floors.
Is there anything exciting coming up you’d like to mention?
On Friday 1st November we’re hosting the ultimate Autumn Supper Club – The Feast of All Hallows, marking the end of an abundant summer and a plentiful yield of fruit and fat of the land. These rituals have inspired a magnificent All Hallows Feast, filled with ancient techniques of pickling, fermenting and smoking – used to preserve supplies for the cold winter months ahead. Heads of The Mowbray Kitchen, Matt and Emma, have been working on a fabulous menu using the very best local ingredients for the ultimate celebration of autumnal feasting. We’re channelling Skandi and Norsk vibes, Sheffield soul and the best local ingredients.
Upcoming Supper Clubs:
1 November // The Feast of All Hallows // £34pp
22 November // The Italian Canteen – Winter
Edition // £28pp
Tickets and more info available at themowbray.co.uk