On Saturday night I attended the L.U.S.T. Supper Club. No — it wasn’t a combo orgy-gourmet dinner party, though given the name, I suppose that wouldn’t be a terrible guess. The acronym actually stands for “Luke’s Underground Supper Table,” and it was named one of the top 15 secret supper clubs in the world by The Food Network last year. Obviously I had to see what this was all about.
The culinary theme changes for every L.U.S.T. dinner, and each month the options are circulated via email. I signed up for the ’60s themed dinner for a couple of reasons: I had no idea what ’60s themed food was/could be AND it seemed like a great opportunity to dress up in costume (I like to get creative at costume parties).
On Thursday night I received an email with the event location along with general wine recommendations, and on Saturday night, I arrived at the address with a bottle of bubbly, not sure what to expect of the evening.
My fellow diners at L.U.S.T. were unsurprisingly, lovely. Toronto is such a diverse and fantastic city, and something like a secret supper club with a mystery menu would be likely to attract open-minded, interesting people. The crowd’s age was mixed (skewing towards the late 30s and mid-40s) and was mainly comprised of couples, but they were very inclusive of the single gal (me). I attended the dinner party alone, as I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and explore more of my own city. I’ve found that trying new things and embracing solo adventures is a great way to have fun, meet new people, hear their stories and gain a different perspective on the world (case in point: my trip to Australia). The crowd had a number of returning guests (a good sign) plus a few first-timers too, like me.
With a combination of ’60s music (and more recent tunes) on the stereo, the wine began to flow, we chatted away, and Chef Luke and his front-of-the-house support (his mother), started bringing out the evening’s meal, in what would be a five-course tasting menu.
First course: An ode to Taco Bell. Did you know that Taco Bell was founded in 1962? I learned this on Saturday night. This course consisted of a delicious salsa and seared tilapia for me (Chef Luke was very accommodating of my pescetarian diet; the others had meat), with a few tortilla chips to scoop up any extra salsa.
Second course: A play on Chicken Kiev. My ‘chicken’ was pressed tofu, which had a very dense and meaty texture. The accompanying pastry was divine and actually exploded with creamy garlic sauce in my mouth when I bit into it. I’ve just read this over and it sounds slightly sexual.
Third course: A play on Beef Bourguignon, which for me, was another piece of tilapia on a reduced red wine sauce (beef for the other diners). There were also a couple of Chinese steamed buns…just to soak up some of the red wine sauce, and offering another way to eat the dish (as a little sandwich).
Fourth course: Dessert! A Tang ice cream and Lucky Charms cookie sandwich.
Fifth course: A play on the Grasshopper cocktail, a mint-flavoured after-dinner drink. This dish consisted of a dark chocolate wafer and mint mousse.
It was certainly an unexpected array of dishes, and Chef Luke explained the connection to the ’60s as he presented each course (though I only recall the first explanation. I blame the wine). My favourite was easily the second course — the tofu was very flavourful and the pastry was really tasty.
Would I attend L.U.S.T. again? Perhaps, though I’d be more inclined to try a new restaurant for the price. We were actually in Luke’s home for this event, and the eclectic mix of furniture, lighting, seating and decor made for a mellow vibe. This wasn’t a fancy affair, but the chef was clearly passionate about the food and was trying to create a warm, welcoming and unique experience for guests. My only gripe: I would have preferred real cutlery and dishes to the throwaway plastic stuff we dined with.
My favourite part of the night (other than the Kiev) was meeting new people and making new friends. I really appreciated that the focus of the night (and I’m sure every night at L.U.S.T.) was on the food and the company; I believe this is the mark of a good dinner party.
COST: $55 & BYOB