The Literary Hour's new east London location has just the right level of supperclub secrecy going for it. The building's easy to find — the entrance, not so much. We follow our email instructions round four sides of the building, then back again clockwise: not the email's fault, just our failure to spot the small ramp downwards, and the shadowy doorway marked with a sign saying 'Reform Club'.
The door swings open onto our top-hatted, three piece-suited host: Phileas Fogg, recently returned from an 80 day jaunt around the world. He hands out tickets for a luxury cruise liner bound for Hong Kong and directs us to the bar for an opening cocktail, to wait for our boarding time to be called.
The Literary Hour don't do anything by halves — their last supperclub was a riverbank-themed tribute to Wind in the Willows, complete with a badger sett entranceway, rowing boat gently bobbing on a stream, Toad Hall decor and gingham picnic hampers. And, in a sinister twist, fried frogs' legs...
This Jules Verne-themed supperclub's no less elaborate — if anything, it's more so, with the event moving across three rooms, five countries, one treasure hunt, some light fortune-telling and a surprise cameo from Jagermeister (good for seasickness, we're told).
We have to live up to the secrecy of that shadowy entranceway, and not reveal too much of what happens after you board ship and weigh anchor. But we can confirm that The Literary Hour take the food every bit as seriously as the theme, and the five courses range from interesting to downright inspired.
The evening's a long, sprawling one and it's 10.30 pm by the time we come ashore. Surely one of the most efficient ways to hit five countries without ever leaving Hackney. Certainly one of the most enjoyable.
Around the World in 80 Days is the new supperclub from The Literary Hour. It runs till 4 March at an east London location. Tickets start at £45 for a five course dinner with welcome cocktail and entertainment. If you don't snag tickets to this series (they sell out quickly) you can get more supperclub inspiration from Grub Club, curating pop-ups and dining experiences in London.