Last Easter I attended my first pop-up restaurant, organised by two friends and colleagues, Joseph Trivelli and Stevie Parle, chefs from the River Café where I am a sommelier. In a boat club in Hammersmith, west London, they cooked an Easter lunch of roast kid for 50 people on long trestle tables.
I sat next to a photographer from Chelsea and a butcher from Battersea. Opposite me sat Kerstin Rodgers, or Ms Marmite Lover, a pioneer of the supper club movement. Rodgers has been serving dinners to paying guests in her home in Kilburn, north-west London, since January 2009.
Six months later I served wine at a pop-up restaurant, open for only eight weeks on the top floor of Selfridges. It was fine dining in the most glamorous of settings; a designated lift took customers into a world of white lights, white carpets and panoramic views. Secret, special and fully booked from the start, it marked the return of a legendary chef, Pierre Koffman, one of the few to achieve three Michelin stars at a London restaurant (La Tante Claire), and pig’s trotters, the dish that every foodie wanted to taste. (His new restaurant, Koffman’s, opened a few months ago at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge.)
You never know what to expect at pop-up restaurants. They are intimate and, usually, informal. You eat only what the chef loves to cook, and you sit wherever there is space on the tables.