Letting out the secret about SecretEATS

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 7 November 2013

In a world where we seen to know everything about everything (and everyone) thanks to social media and Google, there is something rather special about finding something that has a bit of intrigue. You sort of know something about it, but not everything and despite trying, you simply have to wait to find out more. Welcome to the intriguing world of SecretEATS, where the build-up to the event is as important as building up your appetite for the multi-course dinner.

To be in on the secret you need to sign up for invitations to the dinner events on the SecretEATS website. Sign up is free and you don’t have to accept the invitations when they arrive in your inbox – although I can guarantee that the intrigue will get to you and you will want to attend them all. I have been invited to dinners where a “ New York inspired menu is sure to bring you the biggest, baddest, juiciest dinner you can handle”, a “Wall Street party where you will dine like you’re a multi-millionaire for the last time” and a “night so fun and so glamourous, you may just leave with a criminal record”. How could one not want to go to dinner parties like that?

If the dinner invite is appealing and intriguing enough for you to want to attend (and your diary is free that evening), you click on a link in the invite and accept the invitation. You can go alone or take along a partner and a friend or two. Once you have paid for your ticket(s) you will receive a confirmation and then you sit back and wait for further instructions. Patience is needed as this is not something you can Google or even ask someone who’s been before (like me) as each dinner event has a different theme and is held at a different venue.

The day before the event you’ll receive a mail asking you to answer a few questions about yourself (these are kept confidential) as well as any dietary preferences you may have. There’s a reason for this, but I am not going to tell you everything! On the morning of your dinner date you’ll receive an sms, followed by an email, disclosing the address for dinner. Then all that remains is be at the right place at the right time and with the correct password to get through the door – because all secret meetings have passwords!

You will be met by your charming hosts, Gregory Zeleny and Nick Corbett who will hand you a welcome cocktail and take you to meet the other guests, including the owner of the venue and your chef for the evening (who is likely to be award-winning and famous). What follows is multi-course extravaganza paired with the country’s top wines in a beautiful home and in good company. You can leave whenever you are ready (no restaurant closing times here) and if you’ve over-indulged on the wine, there is a cab service ready and waiting to whisk you home safely. So there’s really no excuse not to sign up for the next underground dining experience, which incidentally is on 15 November. Go on, I dare you…

Spend the evening in good company at SecretEATS.

My SecretEATS experience

After declining many an invite for various reasons, I finally got to my first SecretEATS experience. And what an experience it was! The event was hosted at Pieter Botha’s home in Tamboerskloof which boasted the most magnificent view of Table Mountain and the twinkling city below. Greg and Nick are so good at this that they even ordered a rainbow on cue!

Besides the view, before me on a table lay the biggest cuts of salmon and veal I had ever seen. These were prepared over a fire by our talented and charming chef for the evening, Rozanne Scholtz (yes she is famous and award-winning and has even cooked for the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Premier Helen Zille), and turned into beautifully presented dishes that looked as good as they tasted. This is what we feasted on that evening:

  • Chilled celery soup with watercress & pink peppercorn, dill and almond crust.
  • South African-style salmon on the braai with sweet corn, fresh peas, wilted lettuce & homemade ponzu sauce.
  • Veal loin with gratinated white asparagus & chargrilled zucchini, drizzled with sauce chasseur.
  • Festive trifle with vanilla pod custard, raspberry jelly and a rose-soaked chiffon sponge.

The meal was paired with Neill Ellis Sincerely Chardonnay 2012 and Devon Rocks 2005 Pinotage (Gold Medal Michaelangelo Award winner).

We all sat at a long table swathed in candlelight under a night sky and got to know one another over many glasses of wine. The whole evening was sublime with a hint of decadence and sprinkling of serenity. On the way home I smiled to myself smugly – I was now in on a delicious secret that was too good not to share. As it often is with secrets…

SecretEATS host multi-course dinners prepared by award-winning chefs.

Get in on the secret

A ticket for a SecretEATS dinner costs R550 and includes welcome cocktails and a multi-course dinner paired with specially selected wines. SecretEATS dinners are held once a month in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. To sign up for invites go to www.thesecreteats.com.

A Single Taste

During the course of the evening I found out another secret. SecretEATS also host one dinner a month in Cape Town and in Johannesburg for singletons – called A Single Taste. They choose venues that have multiple floors and rooms and move guests around with every course so that things stay fun and exciting. I think I may have to give this go – at least I know I will definitely meet my match in food!

To sign up for invites, go to www.asingletaste.com.

The view was spectactular and the food prepared with fresh ingredients.

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