London is an ever-evolving beast of a city. It moves at 100mph and if you don’t keep up with it, you can easily miss all the new openings around the city. Every week, my inbox is flooded with newsletters filled with news of a new restaurant concept, a must-see pop-up, an exciting new collaboration, bars, drinks…it can be quite overwhelming at times.
Often, many great places slip though the net as I can’t physically get to (or afford) every new venture, and inevitably even more places launch and the list gets longer and longer.
One such place is The Little Yellow Door, one of London’s longest standing pop-up bars, based around the story that five friendly ‘flatmates’ welcome you into their cosy West London home, bookable through WhatsApp. Situated just a stone’s throw from Notting Hill Gate tube station, they opened their Little Yellow Door in October 2014 and it quickly became a destination pop-up, with queues regularly snaking down Notting Hill Gate. I’m not a fan of queuing so at the time I thought I’d wait for the hype to die down a bit and then I’d go. But of course, so many other places opened over that time and it went out of my head.
Then a couple of weeks ago I was invited to a housewarming party to welcome in their newest American housemate, Hank, and celebrate the extension of their lease. In true American style, they put on a supperclub serving up dishes such as pulled beef shin, New England Clam chowder, truffled mac ’n’ cheese and Bourbon milkshake shots. How could I refuse?
So on a very wet and windy Wednesday night, my friend Naomi and I headed to West London. Luckily, we weren’t in the rain for long as the Little Yellow Door is just seconds from the tube station. We made our way up the narrow, steep staircase and into the warm, cosy bar/living room, decked out with American flag and an eclectic mix of prints and beautiful mirrors on the walls. Its exactly how you’d expect a flatshare living room to look, although with added tables and chairs to accommodate a supperclub.
(Just one thing to note, since its opening, quite a few ‘guests’ have departed with random items that did not necessarily belong to them so the housemates are holding an amnesty for any looted items, offering a cocktail on the house in return for your honesty!)
As Naomi and I grabbed a couple of cocktails, we relaxed into our surroundings…very easily done here, as it really does feel like you’re round at your friends house. We were then encouraged to find seats as dinner was about to be served. We sat down, introduced ourselves to the rest of the guests around the table ‘wedding style’, poured the wine which was left out on the table for us, and were soon served up our first course.
Two wooden boards turned up to our table, topped with Wedge Salad with Burnt Ends, Grated Egg, Ranch and Tobacco Onions, alongside thick cut bacon with Red Eye Mayo, Chilli Apple and Pickled Watermelon.
There are times when I like a plate of food placed in front of me, and times when I really love having a platter I can pick from, and I think The Little Yellow Door lends itself to the latter. Its very informal, chilled and relaxed. You can chat away to your friends while you pick what you want. I especially loved the cold crispy iceberg lettuce wedges slathered in creamy, rich sauce and topped with crispy onions.
Next up was the star dish, New England Clam chowder with Shrimp and Corn. It was thick and creamy and packed full of shellfish. It was the perfect comfort food on such a cold and wet February night, like being hugged from the inside!
Next to be delivered to our table were two huge boards of Bourbon Glazed Ribs, Pulled Beef Shin, Buffalo Wings, Smoked Sausage, Burnt Ends, Served with Pickled Chilli and Kraut Slaw, Potato and Bacon Salad, Mac ’n ’Cheese, Watercress and Pickles & Burnt Onion Ketchup.
As is standard practice when a bunch of food bloggers/writers are at a table, everything stops as soon as the food turns up and the phones and cameras come out. Talk ceases and torches are held high as everyone tries to get that perfect photo. I was willing everyone to be quick as the smoked smells coming from the board were making my mouth water. This was good solid American fare…tasty, messy, sticky and utterly perfect sharing food for a supperclub. The truffle mac n cheese was divine and by the end of it, everyone sat back in their chairs, rubbing their tummies with huge satisfied grins on their faces.
At this stage in the evening, everyone was encouraged to make their way towards the bar where they were serving Malt Cream Brownies with Raspberry and amazing milkshake shots. But these are grown up milkshakes….with Jack Daniels and Oreo cookies. And they were divine!
Whilst we were enjoying our brownies and shots, the tables and chairs were being moved out of the room and replaced with comfy chairs, poufs and coffee tables, turning it from a dining room to a living room, ready for a full blown house party.
As they themselves say, “Visiting The Little Yellow Door, you may arrive with three friends and leave with ten…” and this was certainly the case for us. We were there right until the end but could probably have stayed even longer. You forget you’re technically in a bar and you will eventually have to leave. You are almost lured into a false pretence that its a Friday night round at your friends and you can stay as long as you want. In a way its great that you can feel so relaxed there, but its annoying when you realise its actually a Wednesday night and you have to get up early for work the next morning. Oh, and you’re not at your friends, you have to pay the bill! But I would absolutely come back. I miss house parties, and most of my friends are too grown up to have them now, so I think I’ll make TLYD my new go-to place to hang out.
Bear in mind that the supperclubs are just on Friday evenings. On the other evenings they have different formats, and lots of fun house parties. They also do cocktail masterclasses, wine nights and retro games nights.
Friday supperclubs cost £35 and kick off at 7.30pm until 9.30pm, when doors will open to the public. They have sold out for 16 months straight now, so book now through Design My Night here.
TLYD have very kindly offered my readers a special code, so if you would like to try out their supperclub, use the code ‘BLOG1’ and get £5 off your ticket price.
The Little Yellow Door, 68 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3HT
(seconds from Notting Hill Gate tube station)
WhatsApp: 0780 126 7854