The Arbutus Supper Club

Bringing Dublin foodies together for home dining

Monday, 24 February 2014

Brunch Club Review

I've had a few days to let the dust settle after Saturday's brunch club and am only now getting to process the whole event. It was great to be back hosting again and fabulous to be sharing the experience with Sarah from Wild Oats. The porridge was a huge hit. Sarah did two special varieties on the day, a savoury porridge made from pinhead (steel cut) oats with walnuts and blue cheese and a  turkish delight porridge with lemon, rose and pistachio. Unfortunately due to my overly restrictive diet right now I wasn't able to taste any but judging from the clean bowls and smiling faces they did nicely. I had to take my hat off to Sarah who braved the bitter February air to cook her porridge under the gazebo on the back patio. Needless to say I spent minimal time out there but Sarah, who would appear to be made of stronger stuff than I, barely gave it a second thought. Good traits for a budding marketeer. (Wild Oats will be coming to markets near you in the coming months!)

wild oats doing her thing

Aside from the speciality porridge on offer, there was also a porridge bar where people could add there own toppings to a bowl of plain porridge. The usual fruits and honey were on offer alongside more decadent items such as peanut butter, nutella, seeds, cranberries and chocolate shavings. There was also toasted muesli, yoghurt, date muffins, carrot and orange salad and heavenly bread from the Bretzel Bakery lathered with butter and jam should you so desire. Fresh juice, bloody marys and as much tea and coffee as you could drink washed the whole lot down. 

For my part it was an exceedingly unusual experience preparing food for people when you aren't allowed to sample any of what you're making. As a result I was approaching this a little blind, although I couldn't resist sampling a bit of the bloody mary mix. Hardest of all was the bread. There's nothing like a fresh loaf of bread, crusty on the outside, beautiful and soft inside. And to top it off the torment of the smell of that bread then being toasted. It's too much to bear but bear it I did. 

The informal buffet set up meant that people could eat as and when they wanted and also were free to move around and mingle. This was great for us as hosts as it meant we were free to grab a chair for a minute or two when the opportunity arose and could interact more with our guests than my regular supper clubs usually allow. A definite bonus for this type of hosting. 

the happy brunch clubbers

DIY porridge bar

So now the only question is when is the next one? And where the hell are the keys for my patio doors? Last seen last Saturday evening. Planning of next brunch club key dependent. I will keep you posted.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Brunch Club

I'm delighted to announce that the Arbutus Club is back in action and this coming February 22nd, I'll be teaming up with the wonderful Wild Oats to bring you a sumptuous oat filled brunch. There will be other fare available on the day too but porridge lovers will definitely be winning with the delightful treats Sarah is cooking up. Spaces, as always, are limited so get in touch here or contact us on our facebook page if you'd be interested in coming. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Indian supper club - 28th April

bombay mix


chola tikki


beetroot and beef curry
tarka dahl 
tandoori mushroom, spinach and chickpea salad

pilau rice
coriander chapati


kulfi w mango and pistachio biscuits



Donations of 20 euro payable on arrival
Please let me know of any allergies/dietary needs and I will do my best to accommodate you
We provide a complimentary drink on arrival but after that you're on you own, bring a bottle if so desired!

Monday, 9 April 2012

The latest supper club low-down

I've been very lax on reviewing my last supper club (does it count as a review if you do it yourself, maybe not) but here it is. A few pictures and thoughts on how it went.

the help's dinner - provided by Rory 'the help' Harte

As usual, I couldn't have asked for nicer guests. I really am very lucky with the people who come through my door. Again, there was a mixture of new and old faces, but whether they were new to my home or not everyone seemed to settle in nicely and have plenty to chat about for the evening. It really is inspiring to meet people with such an open mind and a love of new experiences. It puts your faith back in the world. 

The hit of the night for me was possibly the rose fizz or the dukkah. I always love making the little extras that go with the meal.
The bomb of the night was the moroccan bread which tasted delicious but, as usual with my yeast bread efforts, refused to rise. I'm beginning to get a complex.

My battle with yeast bread continues. I've decided it's the yeast's fault not mine

marinated olives and dukkah to go with the rose fizz on arrival 

the starter - empanadillas

the main - lamb muttuma 

chocolate and chestnut cake for desert

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Irish Times article

Delighted to announce there's another little bit of publicity floating about the atmosphere today. I had no idea it was even in the paper until I got a phonecall from a friend, but today's property section in the Irish Times has a lovely article about women running businesses from their homes, and the Arbutus Club was featured. Now, I'm no businesswoman but I'll take the publicity where I can get it thank you very much. And any publicity for the supper club movement has got to be good.

You can check out the article here.

The next two supper clubs are sold out but I'll be announcing more dates here as and when I get organised enough to do so. (See, told you I was no businesswoman!) Or alternatively if you're interested in coming to a supper club in the future you can email me at and I'll put you on the mailing list.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sunday Times article

I've had my first flirtation with the media, and I would appear to have survived. Yesterday's Sunday Times contained a great article about supper clubs in Ireland and the Arbutus Club was one of the clubs that were featured. It's taken quite a while from the time I was approached about the article until it was published and it seems strange to finally see it in print after what felt like a huge build up.  To be honest I'm still slightly reeling from the shock that is seeing your photo in the national papers. While I was waiting for the article to come out I was so distracted by my excitement that I completely forgot how much I hate looking at photographs of myself. Now that I've read it, the paper will be going in the drawer never to be looked at again. Well, maybe I'll take it out the odd time. Even if I do cringe every time I catch a glimpse of it, it's still nice to be in the paper right? 

Despite my embarrassment, I was thrilled with how the article turned out. It was a really nicely written piece giving a good run down of the supper clubs available in Ireland. It was great to get some publicity for my dinners and be mentioned alongside what seem like some really well run outfits. Hopefully the article will help spread the word about supper clubs and encourage those budding hosts/hostesses out there to get involved and start evenings of their own. There's a huge amount of enjoyment to be had both for the hosts and the guests. Whether you're a budding cook or just love good food and meeting new people, I can't urge you enough to get involved.

So with my ten seconds of fame stuck safely in the drawer it's back to planning for the next Arbutus Club which, unfortunately for you but brilliant for me, is sold out. There are however seats left for the April club which is happening on the 28th April. Details of the menu will be appearing here shortly so keep and eye out and don't be shy, book a seat. Go on.

In case you missed it here's an excerpt from the article (with slightly better quality photo)! by Kathy Foley.

‘Every dinner has a different atmosphere and pace’

“It’s about bringing together people to share good food and experiences,” says Sarah Halpin, left, a freelance double bassist who dreams of opening her own cafe.
Having completed a part-time cookery course at Dublin Institute of Technology, Halpin was advised by her sister to start a club at home. She set up Arbutus Supper Club in Dublin, despite having never been to one. “It’s a great way to experience cooking for groups of strangers and learning what needs to come together to create an all-round enjoyable experience,” says Halpin. “I’m very much learning as I go, and each one teaches me something new about what I’m doing.”
Halpin has held four supper-club nights, with eight or nine guests at each. She serves a three-course meal, a drink and appetiser on arrival, and tea, coffee and biscuits. Each diner is asked to give a €20 donation.
“It covers my costs and allows me to explore the different organic markets, butchers and fishmongers that Dublin has to offer — places that I couldn’t always afford to shop at in my daily life.
“I don’t make any money. Anything extra I get from an evening goes towards buying decorations for the next club’s table, a few nice plates and napkins, or a glass of wine for my helpers on the night.”
The club evolves as it goes along, she says. “I’m getting better at planning menus and giving the dinner more of a cohesive flow. Every dinner has a different atmosphere and pace, so it’s good to treat each one as it comes.”
Halpin recommends hosting a club to people who love food and entertaining , but says hosts must be comfortable with having strangers in their home. She is planning more events, which could include singles’ nights and afternoon tea parties.
“For me, supper clubs are about the coming together of open, passionate people to share good food and experiences,” says Halpin. “They are driven by passion, not by profit.”
Arbutus Supper Club is next held on March 30 and April 28.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

supper club menu - 30th March

The meal for the next supper club has been inspired by two cookbooks, Moro and Pizzaro. I've still never managed to go to Moro but I'm utterly inspired by their cookbooks and their style of food. On my last trip to London I happened upon another Spanish gem Pizarro. Again I didn't actually go to the restaurant (it's on my incredibly long list) but instead opted to recreate from their cookbook in my sister's flat (which is only up the road from the restaurant, so it's kind of like I was there). Their recipes are fantastic and well worth a try. Anyway, both of these books have inspired me to put together the menu for this club. As always, if you're interested in attending, send an email to


marinated olives


pork empanadillas


mutumma (slow cooked lamb with beans + coriander)
chopped salad


chocolate, hazelnut and almond cake


donations for the evening are 20 euro payable on arrival
please let me know if there are any allergies and I will try to accommodate you