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Introducing the Neighbourhood Supper Club

At my birthday barbecue in August, I was chatting to my old school friend Louise and her partner Tom about my new local Italian - Trattoria Raffaele. (New as in I am a relatively new local, Trattoria Raffaele has been around since 2008.)  It is just a teeny tiny 30-40 seater, mains £8-£15 Italian, but for a couple of weeks in 2016 it was Trip Advisor's number 1 restaurant out of all the 18,000 restaurants in London. (At the time of writing this, it is number 110, which still puts it in almost the top 0.5% of London restaurants).

Now I am not saying I would necessarily head there if I had the choice between dining in there and one of London's Michelin star, champagne soaked spots, but sometimes (especially if I just wanted to wear jeans and a jumper) I might, and it is certainly the perfect cosy Friday night dinner. If you're ever in South East London, it is definitely worth booking a table and heading down Sydenham Hill for. Order something from the specials, and smile at the waiters, who if you are lucky will feed you wine whilst you wait for your table to be set.

Tom and Louise were keen to check Trattoria Raffaele out, and spoke highly of a Turkish around the corner from them in Stoke Newington, and so, the Neighbourhood Supper Club was conceived! With all of us living across London, we thought it would be a sweet idea to visit each other's local favourites. There are 11 of us in my school friendship group still living in the London area, plus our partners, so we have plenty of locals to get through, before we are even on the second round. (I think I already have Joanna's in Crystal Palace eyed up for the next time everyone heads south of the river).

The gestation period for Neighbourhood Supper Clubs was a little longer than expected, with the idea being batted around at the end of August and finally happening when 10 of us visited Trattoria Raffaele in January, but we've already got the next one booked (another little neighbourhood Italian, as aren't they the best, in Upper Holloway). We head before of after the restaurant (or sometimes both) to the local pub for drinks at least 20% less than we'd pay in a more touristy part of town.

I love the idea of getting to know areas of London I wouldn't normally explore, seeing my friends in their local habitat, going to eat places I know will definitely be good without having to yelp and trip advisor and review everything first, and, most importantly having a rolling date with my pals. So all the smiley face heart eyed emoticons (plus the cheese, wine, pasta ones) for the first neighbourhood supper club, and hey - you might have reviews of some hidden North London gems coming your way soon!

PS. The 19 things I look for in a restaurant, and the 2 that my boyfriend does.
PPS. Photo from pinterest - Photo is not of Trattoria Raffaele and my pals, who do not serve as much broccoli (or at least not as much not covered in cheese and pasta).

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