I was a little slow on the uptake with SecretEATS. I heard about it pretty early, but couldn’t make any of the dinners for about 3 months because of the craziness that my life was.
SecretEATS is a pop up dining experience which is very cleverly marketed. It’s invite only (but anyone can request an invitation), and seats are “limited”. After signing up to their mailing list, you’ll get an email saying that “you and 3 friends have been invited to an exclusive secret dinner”. Sounds intriguing right? Until you click on the link and realize that “invited” = pay R650 a ticket. R650! A meal has to be pretty amazing to justify that cost. But I kept an open mind, and waited until I experienced a dinner for myself before I judged it.
I had heard of pretty spectacular dinners at venues like Market on Main- I love the idea of an underground dinner in the inner city, so I was really excited when finally the dates worked out and I managed to RSVP to a dinner. I invited one of my BFFs to join me (also known as backup photographer when Rishav isn’t around).
The venue remains a surprise, until the morning of the event, when we got an sms saying it would be held at the OCD venue in Sunninghill. Sunninghill?!?! I wouldn’t voluntarily hang out in a mall in Sunninghill on a Saturday night, so I was a bit bummed about this choice of location.
When we arrived at the venue, we were given welcome drinks, and ambled around, before finding a seat (we could sit anywhere). I didn’t really like the florescent look of the venue, it felt like we were at a corporate year end event.
Very soon, everyone was seated, and we quickly started chatting to the people around us. The beauty of these dinners is by virtue of the fact that everyone there was prepared to pay R650 a ticket, you’re guaranteed to meet some fellow foodies. I love sharing restaurant tips, so it was cool to meet some like minded peeps.
Our tickets included a specific brand of wine on tap, which was nice. However, we waited AGES between courses (which were all mediocre), and ended up only finishing the dinner at around 11pm, after which we had waited an hour for dessert. At this time, people were looking at their phones in boredom,while others skipped dessert and just left.
|This veggie main goes down as one of my all time worst meals ever|
Ok, so this was my experience of the event, BUT, I have to let you know that the organizer has assured me that this was the only dinner he wasn’t personally involved in, and he’s now making sure to oversee each event again. It’s unfortunate that I ended up reviewing this particular dinner, but it’s my policy not to do repeat reviews so I declined the owner’s offer (it’s not fair to other restaurants who get one shot only, and what about all the people who paid to be there on that night). From what he’s told me, I’m sure that future events will be much, much better.
Look, I think the concept is cool, especially if more effort is put into the evening itself to make it special- at R650 I would’ve expected some entertainment, at least- but I say go to one just to check it out for yourself. It’s a novel concept and one I think is worth experiencing.
Visit www.thesecreteats.com for more.