Sunday, 22 February 2015

A hidden dinner in Milan

We'd never done anything like this before.  After buzzing the intercom we entered the old wooden doors wondering what might lie ahead.
We had arrived punctually for dinner at a stranger's house with eight unknown dining companions, most of whom we discovered were young Milanese lawyers.
This hidden supper club was hosted by a Milanese hipster couple, Melissa and Lele in their spacious warehouse apartment.
Melissa and Lele are world travellers who decided to channel their adventurous spirits, and love of food, into hosting an 'underground' restaurant in their home.  It has been such a success that they now have 3,000 people on their database.  Bookings to attend one of their dinners, which are offered four or five nights a week, almost always book out within hours.
Were we out of our comfort zone?

Yes. Absolutely.  But we loved it!

From the moment we stepped through that old wooden front door we felt welcome.  After a glass of prosecco, introductions and a short explanation of the night's proceedings from Melissa, we sat down at the table, and what a beautifully set table it was.

Melissa works closely with Chef Andrea Sposini to plan menus which utilise seasonal ingredients.  We were amazed to learn that they host dinners, cooking classes, and cultural events like small concerts or performances, four nights a week in their home, while still working full-time.  However, that is about to change as their little business has expanded rapidly over the past three years. This spring they hope to devote themselves full-time to their Supper Club.
If Melissa and Lele felt frazzled and worn out by their workload, it didn't show.  They appeared completely relaxed assisting Andrea with kitchen duties, while mingling with their guests.  As each of the four courses was served, Lele or Melissa gave a brief explanation of the dish.  And as we were at home, they always returned to offer seconds for those who wanted just a little more.

So what was on the menu at Ma's Hidden Kitchen Supper Club?
Four courses of wonderful Italian food.  We started with an antipasto, a slice of ricotta and borrage tart which was crisp, light and so delicious that Stefano put his hand up for a second sliver.  Il primo piatto was minestrone soup with pesto pasta.  This was a fresh green vegetable soup with a dollop of pasta coated in a tasty home-made pesto sauce - a new trick that I'm taking home to try at the next bookclub dinner.  
Then we paused for a short break.  We were free to wander through the house, admire the wall of Lele's travel snaps, venture downstairs to their little 'shop' of collectables, or flick through one of their library of Lonely Planet travel books.  We returned to the table to enjoy il secondo piatto, a casserole of rabbit with olives and pinenuts, served with a side of erbette.  I often order rabbit when we go out, so I feel well qualified to offer an opinion about the quality of this dish.  In all honesty it was the best rabbit I've eaten.  Moist, juicy, flavoursome, just perfect.  I would return to Ma's Kitchen just for this dish alone.

And then we had dessert.  Latte Fritto.  We'd never heard of it but apparently this dessert is traditionally served in Liguria.  It is a milk custard, like a pana cotta, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep fried.  Our dining companions were very excited when this dessert was served and now we know why.  It was incredible.  A warm, crunchy crust which gave way to a delicious, but not overly sweet, creamy custard.  Sensational.
We first heard about Ma's Hidden Kitchen Supper Club from our friend Emily who went to a cooking class with Melissa and Lele, more than a year ago.  Emily recommended the whole evening as a "must do before you leave Milan".  It sounded intriguing.  When I discovered that we could just turn up for dinner, and not have to cook it ourselves, I persuaded Stefano that this was one of those Milan bucket-list things that we had to do.
I'm so glad we did.
It was a uniquely Milanese night of warm hospitality, lively Italian conversation and memorably delicious food.

Emily, grazie mille per la idea.  Melissa, Lele e Andrea, grazie per un pasto favoloso!
Melissa and Lele the hosts of Ma' Hidden Kitchen Supper club.

How to book:
Ma's Hidden Kitchen Supper Club CLICK HERE
It is a bit of a process to discover this Hidden Supper Club.  
First you need to subscribe to the email newsletter and then wait for an invitation.  
Once you receive an email listing the dinners and events for the month, you must respond, really, really quickly.  It took me several attempts before we finally got the happy email saying that we were successful.  
Then, after you have been accepted you need to join their Online Club.  On the night there is a 10E membership charge for the year.  
Dinner was 40E per head which was excellent value.  BYO wine.


  1. Sounds like a great thing for you two foodies to do before you said arrivederci Milano!

    1. Somehow I missed your comment Therese. Yes, it was a memorable night. So glad we made it there before our journey home began.

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  3. After being here for decades, I discovered yet another side of this city through you! Thanks

    1. It was a fun night. Perhaps a summer dinner date?