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Menu-less supper club from SO41 Catering in New Milton offers a new way of eating out

A RECENTLY relaunched supper club is bringing menu-less dining to the New Forest with the aim of maximising creativity and inspiring conversation around the table.

New Milton-based SO41 Catering, run by Matt and Lisa Doe, started as a street food business operating out of a truck and covering various events.

But it has now grown to incorporate a popular bakery supplying pubs and farm shops across the area, a mobile horse-box bar known as the Fizz Tin, a takeaway service and underground restaurant. The couple have also teamed up with Lymington Seafood Festival organiser Richard Nowell to run the event’s Bream on the Green pop-up restaurant next weekend, with seafood tapas.

SO41 Catering's Matt and Lisa Doe
SO41 Catering's Matt and Lisa Doe

Held monthly at SO41’s base in William’s Industrial Park on Gore Road, the evening pop-up supper clubs offer three-course meals and canapés for up to 30 guests at a cost of £30 per head.

“Diners are not told beforehand what they will be eating,” revealed Matt, who lives in Lymington. “They are, however, told the key flavours of each dish.

“What we decide to cook will depend on what I can get hold of locally and what is in season. We have a basic idea before we start cooking but it’s a very creative process.

“Our customers not knowing what to expect is good for us and them – we can play around with the dishes and they don’t have a preconceived idea in their heads of what their food should look and taste like. Also, the not-knowing is a real conversation starter.”

SO41 was set up in 2019 and until the pandemic hit last year was ticking along nicely, working alongside Vibrant Forest Brewery’s Taproom in Hardley, covering events for Salterns Sailing Club and providing catering to New Milton Rugby Club.

Work inevitably began to dry up but, as luck would have it, Matt’s former manager at JP Morgan’s Bournemouth office, where he had previously worked as a chef, contacted him and offered a job working from a food truck outside an office in Basingstoke where staff were temporarily based.

“I did that for 13 months,” said Matt, who has two young sons with Lisa. “During that time we took on the unit in New Milton, and a month later started the bakehouse, Doe & Sons, and a takeaway service delivering burgers, sourdough pizzas and pulled meats, which was very well received. We make all our marinades and sauces from scratch – my ethos is we do things simply, but properly.

The Fizz Tin
The Fizz Tin

“A few months later we launched a frozen ready meals range which sells in Shallowmead Farm Shop in Boldre.”

The bakehouse is run by former pastry chef Scott Barton and specialises in artisan sourdough bread alongside brioche buns, focaccia, ciabattas, farmhouse loaves, sausage rolls, cookies and cakes.

Scott was awarded three AA Rosettes while working for restaurants including Carey’s Manor in Brockenhurst and The Hambrough on the Isle of Wight.

Doe & Sons supplies New Forest businesses including The Coastal Bakery in Milford, St Barbe Museum in Lymington, The Forage in Lyndhurst, Setley Ridge Farm Shop ,and The Forest Foodie. Demand has become so high that Matt and Lisa have just ordered a new oven.

The recent launch of the Fizz Tin means SO41 can now offer guests at the weddings, parties and corporate events it caters for the complete package. It stocks a full range of wine, beer, cider and spirits, using Lymington-based Beachcomber Gin, The Solent Cellar and Ringwood Brewery.

Matt has been a chef for more than 20 years, working in hotels, restaurants, private members’ clubs and event catering, covering Wimbledon, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Ryder Cup and Goodwood.

“It was my love of street food with its bold flavours and simple approach that led to the creation of SO41 Catering,” he said. “The Supper Club allows me to keep the creativity alive and experiment with different flavours and techniques.”

The next supper club will be held on Wednesday 21st July at 7pm.

Visit www.so41catering.co.uk

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