Jimmy Garcia says that hosting a pop-up restaurant is “just a little bit different” to his former job in the City, which the broker-turned-chef quit in January. Before then, cooking was something that had been on the back burner since, aged 16, he worked part-time as a starter and dessert chef at the Waterton Park Hotel in Yorkshire.
He went on to study business and economics, but spent his summers as a chef on a superyacht for Arabic royalty. And then, last year, he entered the pop-up fray as a “hobby”, with the Southwest Supper Club, hosted once a month from his home in south London. “I put 100 scrolls through neighbours’ doors with the menus on, and invited them to come. I borrowed tables and chairs from the local church, and it’s just grown since then.”
Several high-end supper clubs in Courchevel and Hackney’s sell-out four-day-only Wild Food Kitchen later, and Garcia is making a name for himself. No wonder, then, that he’s putting that name to his latest venture: Jimmy’s Supper Club, which kicks off on July 20.
Following in the successful steps of the Hackney event, which focused on wild and foraged food (wild nettle gazpacho followed by wild venison Bourguignon, for example), Jimmy’s is being built on a premise of “best of British produce”. Hence the five-course evening menus will turn up dishes such as smoked duck breast with British cherry three ways (including the curious “cherry coke reduction”), wild British mushroom brioche bread and butter pudding with whisky jus and sautéed cabbage, and a “deconstructed trifle”.
Oh, and it’s popping up in Stratford, in a new arts warehouse space called Annex East, with live music in the mix. And since it’s all going on at the same time as a certain big sporting event, Jimmy’s is duly hosting a range of “bespoke Olympic entertainment”: five-course-menu-accompanied film screenings of such sports-related classics as Cool Runnings and Chariots of Fire, and special themed meals, including Sunday Brunch Club Sports Day, with egg-and-spoon and sack races to help you work up an appetite. While on Sundays July 29 and August 5 things get a little Greek, with a 776BC Olympics version of brunch served up as an Athenian-style mezze menu. Togas optional.