For dinner with a twist and a gangster element, a friend and I went to check out Too Much Is Never Enough at 123 Bethnal Green Road last week. The twist being that dinner is served in a Grade II listed shop, and each course takes place on a different floor. The gangster element is that this building used to be the secret hub of an illegal gun operation hidden behind the shop front 'Moderne Buckles'. The owner, Guner Salih and his partner in crime, Andrew Meekey, were jailed in 2006 for supplying firearms to the underground criminal fraternity. Cripes!
The Disappearing Dining Club come up with all sorts of fun and intriguing dinner party ideas, including Dinner & Dancing on the first Saturday of every month. 123 Bethnal Green Road is now a four floor fashion and gift emporium specialising in kitsch, curious and creative wares, all made by young, up and coming British artists and designers.
'Too Much Is Never Enough' is the perfect collaboration of both.
On arrival in the main shop, we were greeted with a Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktail, then taken up the winding staircase (complete with an upside down Christmas tree adorned with guns as a nod to the previous owners) to Menswear on the second floor. It was dimly lit and felt like a proper old men's club, filled with random memorabilia including old photographs and signage from 'Moderne Buckles'.
We drank spiced rum punch from bone china teacups and helped ourselves to potted meats, pates, terrines and pickles on toasted sourdough, and soaked up the ambience. The dinner is staggered to allow all guests to arrive gradually throughout the evening, so as to avoid it getting too crowded, which worked really well as it didn't feel at all cramped and you could enjoy the evening at your own pace.
Once we had finished our starters in Menswear, it was time to amble down to Ladieswear which was decorated like a boudoir full of vintage erotica, antique nudes and elegant clothes. A candlelit table dominated the centre of the room where diners helped themselves to delicious hearty stews, winter salads and rustic bread, all washed down with some very fine wine.
Our final course took place in the Bunker Cafe in the basement which was a brilliant room complete with a cocktail bar. This cafe is a permanent feature of the shop and somewhere I will certainly return to once Too Much Is Never Enough has served it's final splendid meal. We enjoyed warm mince pies with a tot of rum, hot doughnuts, rum truffles and British cheeses. And a smashing last cocktail for the road!
After dinner, diners are welcome to stay until midnight for more drinks from the bar and dance to music by the resident DJ. And not forgetting that as you're dining in a shop, everything is for sale, so shopping whilst you dine, although no obligation, is very tempting indeed, especially as diners are entitled to 10% off all purchases on the night.
I thoroughly enjoyed Too Much Is Never Enough and if you can get tickets before it finishes on 22nd December, then I highly recommend it. Perfect, unusual dining fun for a chilly, winter's evening! Meanwhile, do check out The Disappearing Dining Club for news on their other unusual dinners. And get down to 123 Bethnal Green Road for all your quirky Christmas shopping needs.
Too Much Is Never Enough
123 Bethnal Green Road
@Dining Club @123BGR The Disappearing Dining Club
Until 22nd Dec £50 for 3 course dinner & 4 lovely drinks
For bookings call: 07432833039