I wasn’t entirely sure what a Gumbo Ya Ya was before I was kindly invited to one by the co-founder of this monthly pop up, Tristan Pringle, but according to website Grub Club, which is handy guide to all things pop up and supper club throughout the UK, it’s ‘a burning hot selection of live music, DJs with flavour and three courses of our lip smackin’, hearty home cooked Louisiana dinner every first Friday of the month. This is a supper club with a difference, satisfy your taste buds then put your feet to work on the dance floor…’

On Friday night it was held at Stage 3 at the Hackney Empire, a largeish space with a bar, a raised area for the band, and lots of sharing tables. D and I hustled straight over to the bar, which had a specially themed cocktail list for the evening (tickets to the Ya Ya are around £30, but drinks cost extra). They all sounded amazing (and I feel that we worked our way through pretty much all of them by the end of the night). I started with a King Creole, a frothy and delicious Caribbean-style concoction of rum, pineapple and coconut, sprinkled with tiny chocolate crocodiles, while D went for the Missy Sippy, which was a mojito-like mix of vodka, ginseng spirit, lemon, mint and sweet potato syrup. Other highlights included the Bayou Bellini, which blended prosecco and Aperol with persimmon and fig juice, and a smokey, bourbon-soaked number called the Voodoo Sazerac.

So far so good, but what about the food? Unsurprisingly, the meal hinged around gumbo, but the night got off to a start with a reviving tot of what tasted like cinnamon spiced whisky, billed on the menu as a ‘shot of fyah to get things movin”. By now the restaurant was full – mainly with a massive group celebrating a birthday – and along with the upbeat soundtrack, things – including my head – were buzzing.

I was looking forward to the meal as I’d never tried New Orleans cuisine before; an American girl on our table had, and agreed to testify to the dishes’ authenticity. The starter was described as a ‘soulful salad’ and was an all round hit; on a bed of shredded white and red cabbage were deep fried, breaded okra, candied bacon, and walnuts. Delicious; not too heavy and with a nice spice to it, akin to cumin.

Then came a big bowl of the main event, topped with coriander, parsley, and garlic bread (though I’m not sure if that’s usual; it certainly helped mop up the stew). It contained more okra, onion, celery, chunks of hearty sausage, quite a thin, long grain rice, and some other meat, which I think was beef. There was, sadly, no seafood (well at least not in mine or D’s portions) and while it was certainly hearty, for me it was lacking a bit of oomph – I was expecting it to be spicy and punchy but it didn’t seem like it had that kind of seasoning, something about which my American table companion agreed.

Dessert was a very sweet and limey Key Lime Pie, punctuated by energetic performances from the live bayou-style band, and some great singing from one of the girls who worked with the team that puts the night together. There is certainly a fun and lively vibe, and apparently afterwards there is a lot of dancing – by this point D and I were feeling massively full, as well as feeling the effects of the excellent cocktails. So we left the party people to it, and went home to lie down in a darkened room. I imagine you’ve probably got more stamina than I do, however….