Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Harry Notter Nights at The Underground Restaurant

Well I'm sorry Warner Bros., but some of my guests insisted on coming dressed up as Harry Potter characters for my Generic Wizard night at The Underground Restaurant. We had a Golden Snitch, a Dementor, Professor Quirrel, and three girls with signs around their necks: 'Generic Owl', 'Generic Bertie Botts Every Flavour Jelly Beans' and 'Generic Wizard'. We even had Harry Potter himself.
The Menu was adjusted slightly; I dispensed with Cauldron cakes and made Treacle Tart, an old English recipe which features heavily in the books. Here is the final menu:
Sherbet Lemons and Mint Humbugs
Pumpkin pasties
Pumpkin soup served in pumpkins
Fish pie
Roast Potatoes
Minted Peas
Treacle Tart with cream
Miraculin powder with lime and lemon sorbet
Chocolate fizz pop frogs

Recipe for Butterbeer:
500ml Bottle of Hobgoblin ale
Swig of butterscotch Schnapps
an egg yolk
A couple of cloves
5 All Spice
60 g brown sugar
50g of unsalted butter
Heat up.

Courtesy of @m2comms on Twitter I made the Butterscotch Schnapps in the dishwasher. Break up Daim/Dime bars in a bottle of vodka, give it two cycles.

Pumpkins were everywhere...I ordered 65 small ones to eat the soup in and 5 large ones to carve up for the soup. My hand was about to fall off from the pain and I went to sleep still dreaming of cutting up pumpkins.

I scattered a certain eminent wizard's favourite sweets over the tables...

I prepared the 'perpendicular passage' with the help of my friend Bellaphon.

Guests had pumpkin pasties and drank hot butterbeer from a kettle steaming with dry ice.

Larger ladies at the door required a password...

Plating up the soup, garnishing with yoghurt and roasted pumpkin seeds. The sight of 30 pumpkins on tables in the room gave it a cartoon fairy tale feel.

Draco Malfoy

Then they ate the gorgeous fish pie cooked by food writer Catherine Phipps, my little inspiration was to add green pickled peppercorns...

Treacle tarts and cream for afters...

A spontaneous pumpkin carving competition broke out, prize for the best was a Hobgoblin Ale T-shirt.

The amazing @bluedoorbakery cooked these cupcakes for everyone on the first night...a smiley Sorting Hat, Gryffindor cakes and Bertie's Jellybean cakes...

A gorgeous Halloween print on a guest's skirt.

The piece de resistance...a spoonful of Miraculin powder from the Miracle Berry which transforms sour foods into sweet and an unsweetened lime and lemon granita...
Some of the ladies swallowed rather than savoured the Miraculin powder. It works better if you wait a couple of minutes. I asked people to taste the sourness of the granita, melt the Miraculin in their mouth, then taste it again. People were amazed by the transformation. One girl said to me that her wine tasted like sherry.

Bethea Jenner, some say she looks rather like Professor Trelawney from the books (but rather more efficient we hope) was the psychic in the shed.

My mum and dad who helped out on the first night...

Thanks to everyone who helped out especially my parents, my sister, my daughter, Catherine Phipps, Alyssia (for, amongst other things, making my bed on Saturday, probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me), Bellaphon, Blue Door Bakery, Hobgoblin beer, John Houghton at New Covent Garden, Miracle UK, Tony Carey, Angie Ma (for talking me off the ledge on Thursday), Bethea Jenner, Mary Bowman, Caroline Simpson and all my wonderful fun guests...


  1. Looks like a great night! Fantastic food. But which one was the Warner Bros spy?


  2. Thanks for a fabulous generic wizard night. Long may the theme nights continue! It was brilliant, original, great food and great fun.

  3. Aw aren't your parents sweet!

    I'd have come as Moaning Myrtle.
    Love that Halloween print on the skirt.

  4. Fabulous post! I love the kettle steaming on dry ice. I think I'd like one of those in my house. Bluedoor Bakery cupcakes are wonderful. Looks like everyone had a "wizard" time!

  5. I'm so very pleased the event was a success.

  6. Can't believe you managed to prep so many pumpkins by hand- that's true dedication!
    Looks like a fab night, generic or not.

  7. How amazing. It was the butterscotch snapps though that had me in stiches.

  8. Lovely post, must have been a great evening.

  9. Glad the nights went so well!
    WELL DONE YOU in the face of all that added stress/ last minute changes!

  10. Awesome, so glad it went well.

    Warner Brother's completely wouldn't have a problem with some of your customers dressing up as HP characters (just like they wouldn't have a problem with anyone dressing up as HP characters for halloween in general) its only businesses that isnt aloud to use trademarks they dont own for promotional purposes (so alternatively staff wouldn't be aloud to where trademarked costumes)

    So, it was a win/win all round for small business and for the common sense of trademark/copyright law!


  11. Oh how wonderful everything looks.Your guests look like they're having a magical time and your parents look lovely!

  12. wow it looks fantastic! I am mega jealous - you can see just how much effort you went to with the pumpkin soup, the steaming kettle and the cakes - all looks amazing and I love how everyone rose the occassion and dressed up. I love the pumpkin carving competition too! I hope you feel proud - it looks like a great evening and I think it looks like you really outdid yourself! :) (with help from good friends and family of course!) Congrats! xxx

  13. It looks magical - well done!

  14. We had a great time - thank you :)

    (Also - Harry Potter is extremely pleased with the photo you've got up of him, which is almost unheard of...)

    Must try the schnapps thing - we don't have a dishwasher though... Maybe will go round to parents' house.

  15. I love the larger ladies asking for paswords...

  16. If that homemade butterscotch vodka a-la-dishwasher is not the best thing I've seen all week, then I don't know. :)

  17. What fun! I love reading about your pop-up restaurants, eating vicariously through your posts. Wish we had some pop-up restaurants in Dublin...maybe 2010 will see us getting it together!

  18. Oh and congrats for not letting WBs get to you! I like the idea of Generic Owl and Generic Witch nights, copyright or not.

  19. I've waited with anticipation for this post, and you certainly didn't disappoint. Your evening looks amazing and the food, wonderful. Aren't mums and dads great?!

  20. Wow I read about this in the papers. Sounds like a wonderful night and the food sound amazing.

  21. This looks like one of the best UR nights yet. I wish I had been there! Good work on the pumpkins, carving out one is enough - I can't believe you did that many. I even got given a special 'pumpkin carving kit' once. Still a nightmare.

  22. Not sure if you have any Afrikaans speaking friends to translate Ms Marmite Lover, but this is quite amusing...


  23. Thank you everybody for your comments...I still need to post up the pic of the chocolate frogs which worked very well with the fizz pop filling...carried on crackling.

    My guests were wonderful and made such an effort to dress up.
    The pumpkins...aargh....but the effect was worth it...

    I'm going to try other dishwasher cocktails...how about white chocolate vodka? Reese's peanut butter cups vodka?

    Yes parents are the best!

    Justin: tried watching it...looks funny but the afrikaans is a bit beyond me :)


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