SECRET supper clubs are apparently all the rage down in London.

The idea is simple: amateur chefs set up shop in their own living room, guests book in for a dinner party, and, after the meal, pay a suggested donation.

But while this intriguing concept has flourished in the capital, it is yet to make an impact “oop” north.

Claiming to be the first underground restaurant in Manchester, The Spice Club launched last September.

Set in the somewhat unglamorous surroundings of suburban Manchester, this indistinctive semi in Whitefield might look the same as every other house on the street, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Such is the secrecy surrounding the club, that I am only texted the location 24 hours before we dine.

But I have my own secret. I arrive with fellow hack Kat Dibbits, and hoping to avoid detection as journalists, we have our cover stories all worked out.

I’m nervous. This must be how Donal MacIntyre feels when he infiltrates underworld drugs gangs.

Saturday, 7.30pm. We arrive, greeted at the door by Monica, the brains behind the operation.

Taught to cook from an early age by her mother, Anita, it is these two who run the show, while brother AJ acts as waiter and Monica’s dad lends a hand in the kitchen.

Sitting round a large, immaculately presented dinner table, we are joined by 12 strangers. It is like Come Dine With Me, but with good food and no annoying guests.

The starter, gol gappa chaat, is traditional Indian street food. They are delicate batter cases filled with red onion and tomato and possibly chickpeas, topped with yoghurt and a tamarind, date and mango chutney.

Monica encourages guests to have a nosy in the kitchen, so I take full advantage and quiz her about the street food.

She tells me gol gappa chaat is normally eaten with water poured into the case at the last minute, but she decided this would prove too messy at the dinner table.

Also, she adds, there is a bar in New York that serves this delicacy as an edible cocktail, with vodka instead of water.

She knows her stuff. I am already developing a bit of a crush on this talented chef.

For mains, four outstanding dishes, served with chappatis and basmati rice. First up, mattar paneer, a dry-ish curry, with potato and homemade paneer cheese.

Then, vegetarian seekh kebabs and Punjabi pakora kadhi, a creamy, mild yoghurt-based curry, with veggie pakoras, rather than chunks of meat.

Finally, bharvan bhindi, which is stuffed okra, with a distinct cardamom flavour.

What separates this from the usual eating out experience, among other things, is you get seconds. You cannot turn round to a waiter at a restaurant with an empty plate and say: “Could I just have a bit more of that steak, please?”

Dessert is phirni — a cold, spiced rice pudding, topped with pistachios — which is excellent.

The food is restaurant quality, and a good restaurant, at that.

For £20, this is a steal, especially as it’s BYOB.

All the guests leave the house like old friends. It really is like a middle-class dinner party.

Merry in drink, we embrace our hosts, and say, “Yes, yes, we must do this again . . . soon.”

Monica says goodbye with a peck on the cheek. I think I’m in love.

For details of the next event, go to