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Thursday, 3 March 2011

The other side of the table...

It's long been our hope that more supper clubs, or at least one, would open here in Edinburgh. We have hoped this selfishly, so we can have a night off and selflessly so that more people embrace and experience the not so new concept. We've been sworn to secrecy until now but, at last, there is another couple who are brave, or mad enough to open their home to diners: chef Mark and his wife Mary Porter.

Their brand new venture Dinner at Kitchen Porter's is coincidentally timed to follow on from our last supper and just one week on, we traded Saturday night in the kitchen for a more restful Saturday as diners at one of their tables. All thanks to a large nod, wink and gracious invitation from Edinburgh Spotlight. Lucky us.

So how did we find it? Well, we were able to experience the curious combination of anticipation, excitement and nerves involved when you arrive at a strange door, in the February darkness and ring the bell, truly having no idea what or who is behind it and yet somehow expecting dinner and trusting that it will be enjoyable!

We joined other guests in the immaculate sitting room for canapes and a welcome drink (hugely reassured that you can have such a tidy room with a toddler - the giveaway stair gate and family photos didn't escape our attention on arrival). We were then very warmly and officially welcomed by Mark and Mary and gradually taken through their shiny, open plan kitchen (so organised, you'd never expect what was about to happen) to a lovely eating place (the transformed family room). Unlike our own cosy arrangement where the kitchen doors tend to remain closed and all diners eat at one Table, there were three groups of diners seated at three separate tables. I'm sure this flexible arrangement will be especially popular with those who are intrigued by the concept of eating out in some one's home but turned off by the idea of eating with strangers.

Given Mark's background as a professional chef and current role as a tutor, it's no surprise that the tables were uniformly set and had a welcoming but distinctly restaurant feel. As for the delicious food, there is only one way to describe it - slick. The presentation and service was very professional and enjoyable and what's more, by the time we headed away, all traces of the cooking and clearing had vanished and Mark and Mary were happily, deservedly reflecting on a successful evening.

We're so grateful for such a pleasant night off, delighted that we're not alone and certain that seats at monthly Kitchen Porter's will be in great demand. Our remaining hope, is that Mark and Mary have as much fun doing it as we've had.

You can find out more about what we ate here and join the mailing list for Kitchen Porter's or sign up to the demos by emailing kitchenports@yahoo.co.uk

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