Last week, I hosted my first Sophie’s Supper Club event at Olé Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Wolverton. I have been dreaming of hosting an event like this all year, and a few months ago I finally started to put the wheels in motion. I receive so many lovely comments every day telling me how you find my blog and an invaluable resource for finding places to eat in Milton Keynes so I really wanted to bring that to life.
I am so proud to say that I managed to pull it off and actually fill a restaurant with over 40 food-loving people! In this blog post, I’m going to share the story behind Sophie’s Supper Club along with a recap of the night. If you came along, you can find a full album of photos over on my Facebook page.
Why Sophie’s Supper Club?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know how passionate I am about supporting independent restaurants in Milton Keynes. I think it’s so important to support businesses that ultimately give places their personality. Contrary to belief, we do have a thriving food scene here in MK. The growth of street food has been huge in the past few years and there have been several new independent restaurants open, despite struggles on the high street. I wanted to physically bring people to restaurants, as opposed to just showing them there to go on social media. After all, you’re more likely to go back somewhere if you know about it!
My idea became more fully-fledged after I went to a social supper club with Cameron & Co. at Fourth & Fifth. I loved it: big tables full of people who’d never met, sharing big platters of food. I decided I wanted to emulate something similar but collaborate with some of my favourite local independent restaurants (and food vendors!) across MK. My social life revolves around food. I like to go out and socialise with people over a nice meal and wine, so I felt like a social supper club was something Milton Keynes really needed.
Olé Tapas Bar & Restaurant
When it came to deciding the first restaurant to collaborate with, Olé Tapas Bar & Restaurant was a no brainer. I’ve been a huge fan of Olé Tapas Bar in Wolverton since discovering it last year. Since opening, Olé has gone from strength to strength thanks to the passion and dedication of its owners, chef Juan Carlos Vega Herbella and his wife, Beatriz, who runs the front of house. Juan and Beatriz have truly transformed this hidden unit into a little slice of Spain, bringing recipes all the way from San Sebastian to Wolverton.
The food at Olé Tapas Bar is excellent and I felt that tapas really lent themselves to a supper club event, as people would be sitting in big groups sharing plates of food. It was the perfect location and Juan was more than happy to host this event. He’s been a huge supporter of what I do over the past year and I will be forever grateful for that!
Juan managed to get a fantastic band to play during the evening. They were called Bossaboyz and are regular customers at Olé Tapas Bar. They were absolutely AMAZING and the singer had the most beautiful voice. They played smooth jazz throughout the night and I found out afterwards that it was their first gig! Everyone loved them and I think they really added to the atmosphere.
The food was, of course, a hugely important part of the evening and I just knew that Olé Tapas Bar would deliver. Juan put together a menu which featured some of Olé’s signature dishes; gambas, bravas, chorizo lollipops. All the good stuff and a true taste of Spain. And it went down a treat. In fact, as soon as I shared the menu for the event online, the ticket sales soared!
Everyone got a welcome drink on arrival – either Sangria, San Miguel or a soft drink. And the Sangria was really flowing all evening, with Beatriz having to refill the container three times! The guests started arriving from 6:30pm and bread, olives and aioli were served to keep the hunger at bay before the main event.
Juan designed two menus to accommodate meat eaters and vegetarian. Surprisingly, we didn’t actually have that many people go for the vegetarian option (only Saf who was my date for the night!) so perhaps I need to advertise that more for next time. Both menus started off with a platter. The meat platter featured serrano ham croquettes, crispy chicken strips, chorizo lollipops and chorizo mayo.
The chorizo lollipops are literally my favourite thing on the platter and they went down really well. The chorizo is really tender and with the crispy batter, it’s just a bite of perfection!
The vegetarian platter was equally delicious, featuring deliciously deep-fried vegetables, white asparagus, crunchy cheese bites (my favourite!) and mushroom croquettes.
Next, everyone was served bravas, calamari and Gambas Al ajilio. You can’t go wrong with patatas bravas! Olé serves triple cooked potatoes with spicy tomato sauce which has a real kick to it. The calamari is also a great choice and I love the green aioli it is served with.
Gambas is always a highlight for me and I don’t think I’ve ever had garlic prawns so good outside of mainland Europe! They are cooked in garlic and sit atop a potato pureé and are topped with crispy garlic and hot smoked paprika. The pureé contrasts so beautifully with the crispy garlic.
Another food highlight from the evening was the chorizo al vinto tinto. This mini fresh chorizo is slow-cooked in red Rioja wine and wow, I will definitely be ordering this next time I go to Olé! It was so succulent and tender, almost melting in the mouth. So delicious.
The final savoury course was chicken and chorizo saffron rice – doesn’t it look beautiful? This was a great way to round off the tapas and it tasted so fresh!
Dessert was of course, churros. The churros were coated in cinnamon sugar and served with an orange-infused chocolate dip. They are probably the nicest churros I’ve had – nice and crispy on the outside and soft in the centre.
The dishes were designed to be shared between four people, so there was plenty of food to go around. It all came out at a steady pace as well, meaning people could enjoy their drinks, food and chat to new people at a leisurely pace.
Considering it was my first event, I don’t think it could have gone better – every ticket sold out, we had no dropouts and everyone had a really lovely evening. It was so lovely to look around and see everyone chatting and enjoying themselves. it just reinforced exactly what I was trying to achieve with these events.
Check out the video of the event by the brilliant Oomph Creative.
So when’s the next one!?
I feel incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can organise events like this. It made me realise how much people value my blog and my content. Half of the guests hadn’t actually been to Olé Tapas Bar before, and everyone said they would definitely come back, and that to me, means the world because I can help support an independent business.
So yes – when is the next one! Well, I am planning a Christmas special, so watch this space and make sure you sign up to my newsletter and keep an eye on the Supper Club page for more details. I hope to be able to do these events every other month at different restaurants in Milton Keynes and celebrate the independent food scene in style.
If you came along to my first event – thank you SO much! And if you didn’t make it this time around – see you at the next one!
All images © Oomph Creative 2019
A huge thank you to the fabulous Emily at Oomph Creative for capturing the photos and videos of the evening. If you’re a local business or blogger and need some content – hit her up!
Don’t miss the next supper club!
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This was a collaboration that I organised between myself and Olé Tapas Bar. For full transparency, I received a portion of the ticket cost.