London Grilling with Dead Dolls Club
Having sampled their culinary genius ourselves, London Living know very well that we’ve got one of the best of London’s many crazy popups, and they’re here to answer everything we throw at them.
Dead Dolls Club co-founder Adam, chats to us about the evolution of the supper club, the perfect recipe and what it takes to cut it at the highest level…
We’re dying to know: why the name ‘Dead Dolls Club’?
It’s a common question, especially when I’m on the phone to someone and they ask for my email, I get a lot of “What? Excuse me? Say that again?”
When I sold my bar and restaurant management company to concentrate on design, my first point of call was to make some bits and bobs to figure out what I could do. After building our studio/tea shop from a derelict building, I made a candle for the tables from an old dolls head someone gave me. I followed the YouTube video showing silicone moulding and it came out perfectly; the only thing is it was slightly off balance and when I lit it, the head started crying wax tears. A year or so later when we set up our second place, we were bashing around names and it came up and stuck.
Supper clubs are fast becoming a symbol of East London culture; how did you guys discover the ingredients for success and make yourselves different from the rest?
We did a few small supper clubs under a different name and had a play around with what worked. My background allowed me to understand the back end and we figured out what could and couldn’t be done. After a year, Katy left her job as a fashion designer and we teamed up to make The Stew House. I make sure people eat and drink and she makes the place look and feel special, giving people an evening to remember. Our simple but great-quality menu allows us to keep our price down and still give people something special.
The Stew House manages to consistently wow Londoners with your original and innovative take on the supper club experience. Who’s responsible for coming up with all the ideas?
We are both heavily involved in all aspects, as we build the sets in our studio and play around with the menu at home before rolling it out. A lot of our cooking is based on old recipes from our mums. Katy has more input on the look and feel of the place while I spend more time on the food and drink aspects. Luckily, our styles are similar but different and allow us to both look objectively at each other’s work. We find it makes working this way fun and never tedious.
As cuisine specialists, how does London fare on the global food radar? Is East London the best place to sample the city’s finest foods?
London has a massive range of cultural differences making for good eating. There are great restaurants both new and old serving up top quality food across the city. East seems to be the hub of the pop-up, but recently we have seen a shift south. I think this has to do with the new Overground opening and the ability to get better spaces at cheaper rates, as the Olympics has sucked up all the empty spaces for the time being.
Some of the pop-ups we have been to are great and some are not so great. This is the same with established bars and restaurants, but with everybody from BA to Topshop getting on the pop-up idea, we now have to look at offering a new and exciting experience rather than just good food.
Where’s your favourite London…
- Pub or bar? Dalston Superstore in Dalston for dancing and The Spurstow Arms in Hackney for drinking.
- Restaurant? Huong Viet on Englefield Road in Dalston: looks dodgy but serves up the best Chilli Squid around.
- Breakfast joint? Karen’s Cafe on Well Street – they use meat from W .Wells Butchers (who supply all our meat) so it is great quality.
It’s probably fair to assume most Londoners don’t have adequate time to dish up delicious homemade food every night of the week; any tips for a quick and tasty supper option after a late evening at the office?
I find good fishcakes, spinach and a poached egg are a quick and easy meal, and you can add a little hollandaise sauce if you have time to make it up. Otherwise pasta, roasted good tomatoes (Isle of Wight if you can get them), basil and loads of pepper with prawns is so quick – and healthy for you.
What food blogs or website do you recommend for the avid foodie?
Londonpopups.com is a great blog as Dan goes to all the events he talks about.