Review: The Gut Stuff Supper Club Pop-Up
By Jodi Bartle
There’s a former furniture factory warehouse in Brixton that has an enormous inflatable pink nest of intestines hanging from the ceiling like a macabre chandelier.
It looks quite pretty; certainly through the kombucha-and-gin-tinted glances I kept giving it all night. It wasn’t just there for instagramming purposes though - it was a centrepiece for The Gut Stuff Supper Club Series, January pop-ups led by DJs and presenter twin sisters The Mac Twins.
Think food, health, cocktails, science, live music, fermentation, and lab coats aplenty.
The Gut Stuff’s founders are London-based twins Lisa and Alana MacFarlane who became involved with TwinsUK Research at King’s College. Twins are perfect scientific studies; these two were tested because their bodies began to behave very differently from each other in their 20’s, despite having a 100% DNA match.
It turns out the difference came down to their gut microbiota which only matched a measly 40% - and this is important because the difference in their gut health meant drastic variations in their weight.
And beyond the scales, science is showing that gut health has far-reaching consequences impacting the immune system, mental health, and on cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. So it’s A Thing, and The Gut Stuff Supper Club (working with Scottish pop-up restaurant purveyors Dram and Smoke) seeks to inform everyone about it, in a fun, interactive, foodie-way.
We arrived to a big crowd of mostly women, a DJ on deck and complimentary enamelled mug of kombucha and gin. It was a loud party atmosphere, fuelled through a second cocktail round of rhubarb and gin and the aforementioned enormous intestinal decor. Alongside the bangin’ bar, there was a very knowledgeable guy from the Organic Wine Club providing samples of low sulphate, organic and bio-dynamic red, white and prosecco wines which are apparently pretty great at not giving you a hangover.
There was also a sample table of Real Kombucha, which tastes a little like cider. It is made from fermented tea, and is pretty good as a mixer as well as a non-alcoholic alternative for those who are still staying dry this January. Which might be one of you.
We were taken downstairs to communal tables, prettily decorated with acid reflux test tubes, more inflatables and a menu which was a quirky gut-friendly feast. The food was good, though perhaps a tiny bit ‘worthy’ - the requested ‘chew your charcoal and artichoke lasagne 20 times’ was a bit onerous a task. You certainly talk less, though.
Highlights were the bone broth and roasted romanesco cauliflower, all big and meaty and heroic. Kale, the ever-present kale, made its expected appearance in a few dishes, crispy and frittered alongside a Scottish fried oat thing called ‘skirlie’. Curious, but good in a hungover comfort food kind of way.
As for an actual hangover, I confess I did drink a good part of a biodynamic Spanish bottle of red and while I don’t have a headache, there is a sluggish, slightly fragile aura around me today. That could, of course, be something to do with my wonky microbiota, which might be on the mend now that I am armed with a bit more knowledge about what is going on deep in the recesses of my gut. It could also have something to do with the preloading of cocktails.
We finished up and left the young ‘uns to dance until 1 am with house jazz band The Microbes and The Mac Twins on deck, clutching a prebiotic shot for the morning and a test tube giving me instructions on a burp test.
It was all quite fun, a little odd, but informative and pretty tasty. My gut and I heartily recommend.
Learn about your gut health and get details on the next dinner pop-up at thegutstuff.com.
*We dined as guests of The Gut Stuff*