When they opened up their picture-pretty home to us for the first dinner of their Two Aprons supper club, they plated up an elaborate Cantonese-themed meal – the menu was inspired by their recent trip to Hong Kong. We heard about the cool new concept kitchen via Instagram, and signed up via email pretty much instantly! And within a week, we found ourselves sat at a very Instagram-worthy table, surrounded by other friendly strangers, up for a good chat and practically any surprises the evening had in store.
The excitement of the co-founders is infectious and their jitters (it was, after all, their first community dinner) endearing. It helps that the two share an insatiable curiosity for food, and plan their entire holiday around dishes and restaurants they’d like to try. “We covered some 23 restaurants over five days,” Gupta says. “It was exciting because it’s a modern food city, full of new age restaurants, which combine Sichuan and Cantonese influences with new cuisines,” Mehta adds.
Not only did they come back with buckets of inspiration, they also returned armed with ingredients they could employ in their kitchen, like pungent Sichuan peppers and herbed teas. These also came in handy when they sat down to plan their menu, featuring (our favourite) pork wonton, with Sichuan-style red oil, black vinegar, soy sauce and sesame. Plus, the wholly comforting dan dan with pork, noodle broth and Sichuan oil.
Given their manic schedules (and well, day jobs!) the community dinners are hosted once or twice a month. Follow their Instagram (@TheTwoAprons) for leads. And they plan to experiment with more themes that borrow from their travels. The settings get more exciting with each new event added to their roster – the second edition, for instance, was aptly called ‘The Cantonese Garden’ and took place in a private garden, where dinner was served under a star-lit sky. “We might play with new formats, like floating buffets or picnic style dinners,” Mehta promises.
Most of all, they’re excited about finally having a platform with no rigid boundaries. Quite unlike Mehta’s catering business, where she meets exacting standards and expectations. Or even Gupta’s restaurant, where diners have come to expect a certain style of meal or service. “This gives us a kind of freedom we don’t generally get. And after a while, any dining experience can get monotonous,” adds Gupta.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for the next surprise!