Just when I think I've exhausted my continuous search for the quirkiest, secret gems in London, I stumble upon somewhere I haven't discovered, and it fills me with the same thrill and excitement that inspired me to start this blog in the first place. It happened last week when those lovely folk at The Disappearing Dining Club invited me to a private dinner to preview their latest venue - The Townhouse in the heart of historical Spitalfields.
By day, The Townhouse is a fantastic antiques shop, art gallery and tea room, which has now expanded its repertoire by collaborating with the Disappearing Dining Club to offer a stunning 18th Century dining room. Situated at 5 Fournier Street (opposite Hawksmoor's beautiful Christ Church), this old weavers building has been home to a manner of all kinds of businesses including a furrier; a doctor's surgery and a coffee store. Since World War II until 2000, it was a market cafe and was then bought by its current owner, Fiona Atkins, an antiques collector, who has restored and renovated it into the magical and tasteful establishment it is today.
Despite it supposedly being spring, it was actually far more fitting to arrive at 5 Fournier Street on a dark, chilly evening. The glow of candlelight through the window was so welcoming as I stepped through the old wooden door into what felt like The Old Curiosity Shop. A gorgeous room, brimming with antiques, ambience, warm log fires and a long dining table beautifully set, ready for its lucky, unsuspecting diners. Welcome drinks were served from an old wooden wagon and introductions made as I met Fiona, the owner of The Townhouse and Stuart, our Host Extraordinaire from the Disappearing Dining Club. After a little tour of this exquisite building, it was soon time to take our places for dinner.
We started with a small glass of creamy artichoke veloute, followed by a delicious crab salad with homemade crostini. Then along came one of the best duck confits I've ever had. The food was absolutely superb. It was a struggle, but we managed to find a little bit of room left to devour the most amazing pudding - chocolate tart served with popcorn parfait and thick salted caramel. Such a fabulous combination of flavours. The Reserve St Vincent Merlot went perfectly with dinner. And what a great bunch of guests too, all sorts of fun and interesting people, all clearly loving this new Disappearing Dining Club venture as much as I was.
And if you feel like stepping back in time and want an unusual place to stay in London for a few days (or even weeks), there is a wonderful antique-laden two double bedroom self-catering apartment to rent in this old Georgian building, complete with a four-poster bedroom; a dining room for hosting your own intimate dinners; a fully-equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a roll-top bath. Even as a London resident, I'm very tempted to find an excuse to stay at this heavenly home-from-home. Check out Stay In Spitalfields for more information.
I can't tell you how glad I am to have been introduced to The Townhouse and think everyone should book a Disappearing Dining Club dinner here. It is without a doubt, the best dining room in London!
Disappearing Dining Club at The Town House
5 Fournier Street
London E1 6QE
Stay In Spitalfields (shortstay home to rent)
5a Fournier Street
020 7247 4745
From £600 for 3 nights (4 guests)