When I saw that Simon and Paula who are the chefs behind Raw Dining Club was looking for someone to attend their event and share their experience I jumped on board. Can’t say no to trying new things! It was held in Saint Paul’s Church in central London which offered a lovely ambience for the chatty bunch at my table and the other guests too I’m sure. The whole meal was raw, vegan and gluten free – right up my street.

I was twenty minutes early, I never seem to be on time whether that means I’m early or late, but I felt very welcome and at ease even though I probably caused some stress. I think the hosts did a great job at greeting people as they arrived and guiding them through the meal. On arrival we were all welcomed with a drink made from red grapes and pineapple which set the night off to a good start. The drink was alcohol free and the rest of the evening was accompanied by whatever drink people brought themselves, that way everyone could have their personal favourites. Everyone at my table was having wine, except me and one other guest, which was apparently quite unusual at the event I was told by the chefs but everyone was encouraged to do their thing which was nice.

I went to the event on my own but as soon as we sat down everyone started chatting with each other and it was a great sense of community at the table. There were a group of expats from the USA to my left who had never tried raw food before but from their smiles and excited exclamations I could tell that they were happily surprised. They had been worried that they wouldn’t be full at the end of the evening but when the dessert was served we all had trouble finishing. To my right were a mixture of people both having tried raw food and not and overall it was a mix of ages and occupations. Opposite me was another solo novice who welcomed a new experience and was very curious about the sauces and pastes wondering what was in them, which I myself was not always certain of, but the important thing was that they were all tasty which we agreed on. I can honestly recommend the Raw Dining Club to anyone after my experience.

The menu offered a whole bunch of dishes which is great as we all came wanting to try something new and as many people had not tried raw food before this was a great way to taste a range of foods. My favourite was probably the beetroot ravioli filled with a creamy nut paste which was served with a yellow pepper sauce. A very clever idea I thought. The pecan nut and ‘bacon’ salad was also delicious with pear and spinach. The ‘bacon’ was very well executed dehydrated aubergine, it was thin and very crisp. As I’m a sucker for kale chips they were of course one of my favourite too, they were smokey and had a ‘cheesy’ flavour to them. I had half the bowl I think, luckily (for me) one of my table mates were not so keen on that particular appetizer. The biggest dish was the Mexican chilli plate with dehydrated cracker nachos, ‘sour cream’, guacamole and a pineapple salsa. This was very much appreciated at my table and I was impressed with the raw chilli and wished that I could take a bag of the crackers home.

Dessert was a raw chocolate brownie which was more crunchy than gooey which was accompanied by pineapple in three variations; sorbet, dehydrated and fresh. A great combination as the sweet and sour flavour of the pineapple did a good job at cutting through the richness of the rich chocolate. After dessert we all chatted and enjoyed some good tunes delivered to us by the ‘in house’ dj. My experience at the Raw Dining Club was lovely and I was happily full and cheerful when I left. Thanks to Simon and Paula, and my table mates, for a lovely evening!

This is a regular event happening the last Friday of each month, find more info at Raw Dining Club.