Back in February, Mr Fletche and I were contacted to help support fundraising for Parkinson’s Disease research in Birmingham and the Black Country. My mother-in-law recently passed away due to Lewy Body Dementia, a disease which shares many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and she had previously been misdiagnosed and treated for Parkinson’s. So it’s an issue very close to our hearts. And when we attended the Secret Supper launch night at Pasta di Piazza, we knew we wanted to be involved. So much so that we’d booked our tickets within 15 minutes of getting back home.
The Secret Supper idea was spawned from a similar venture in Norwich, where guests purchase tickets for a three course meal, with each course hosted in a different restaurant. Which is why St Paul’s Square was the perfect location to host Birmingham’s inaugural event. And, of course, it’s right on our doorstep, meaning we wouldn’t have far to stagger home. We didn’t have a clue before the event which of the six venues we’d be dining at. Even if we did try and press regional fundraiser Gayle Kelly beforehand for advance info.
We turn up at the Jam House on Tuesday night to find the welcome drinks already in full swing. We come away from the registration table clutching a little red sticker and an envelope divulging where we will be eating. The secret is out; tonight we will having our starter at the Jam House, a main course at Anderson’s Bar and Grill and dessert at Pasta Di Piazza. This means there must be a tiramisu with my name written all over it.
There’s an immense list of raffle prizes generously donated by businesses in the Jewellery Quarter and beyond. We’re not winners this time, but the person who won two CPF Photography prints looked happy. Soon we’re polishing off our glasses of wine and the red group are called together and dispersed all the way upstairs for our first course. There are four options available; Mr Fletche chooses the smoked salmon, whilst I opt for the curried chicken terrine. My terrine is tasty but I do have food envy after tasting a bit of the salmon and would definitely pick this if we ever return to dine here.
It’s a communal seating kind of affair, which means socialising with strangers, something which doesn’t come particularly easy to me. By course three however I am brandishing A Brummie Home and Abroad business cards left, right and centre. We’re encouraged to mingle and we manage (mostly) to find different seat mates at each restaurant.
Like an unruly school outing, we leave the Jam House behind and head a short way down the road to Anderson’s. I must admit to keeping my fingers crossed that we’d get our main meal here, having never eaten here previously. Predominantly a steak house, there is of course a steak option on our menu, which this carnivore opts for. Mr Fletche continues his fishy theme with the sea bream. Both dishes are cooked to perfection, and the sharing dishes of crushed potatoes, chunky chips and green beans are a welcome addition. We leave wanting more – but in a good way. We’ll definitely be booking Anderson’s for our next special occasion meal.
As JQ residents we are entrusted with leading the group across St Paul’s Square to our final stop of the evening. We have a love-hate relationship with Pasta di Piazza, having once eaten an amazing meal there but with the worst customer service. I’m willing to give them another opportunity to impress me. There is indeed tiramisu on the menu. By now I’ve talked about it so much that complete strangers are making sure that I’ve spotted it. We fear our customer service curse strikes again when everyone is served their dessert apart from those who have ordered the tiramisu. But it’s definitely worth the wait as I finally receive a moist slab of booze-soaked cake. Even I have to concede and leave a spoonful or two on the plate that I just can’t shovel in. It’s a school night so as much as I’d love a fourth G&T we reluctantly head home.
165 guests attended the Secret Supper, and a fabulous £6778 was raised. Gayle Kelly, Regional Fundraiser for Birmingham and the Black Country at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Our first Secret Supper event was such a huge success and seeing St Paul’s Square come alive with so many people walking to the different restaurants, chatting to new friends and having fun was wonderful. It was great to be able to raise awareness of Parkinson’s to a new audience and the amount raised is simply fantastic. Thank you to everyone who supported us and here’s to the next one!”
Couldn’t agree more Gayle.
Every hour two people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the UK. It’s a progressive neurological condition for which there is currently no cure. Parkinson’s affects an estimated 12,300 people here in the West Midlands, and 145,000 people UK-wide. Money raised from the Secret Supper and from other upcoming events will fund Parkinson’s UK’s pioneering research to find better treatments and a cure for the condition as well as helping its vital support services.
To find out more about about how you can get involved, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk. And for more information about Birmingham fundraising events, please follow ParkinsonsBirminghamFundraiser on Facebook.