Forget your average meal, London restaurants are offering extreme food-based experiences now. WGSN Travel Contributor Emily Johnson reports
The word of the year may be an emoji, but ‘immersive’ is the word of the month when it comes to London dining. Apparently us Brits just aren’t content with a ‘two courses and a bottle of wine’ affair anymore. In answer, a fresh wave of dining has arrived, as London’s gastronomic pop-ups take the form of immersive events. From theatre/restaurant hybrids, to an alcoholic cloud, eating out this winter is all about the experience.
1. Alcoholic Architecture
1 Cathedral Street SE1 9DE
Neighbourhood: Bermondsey/London Bridge
End Date: January 30 2016
Bompass and Parr present a boozy journey through Gothic Monastery, complete with authentic drinks – alcohol created by monks. Attention to detail alone makes this an immersive experience, but the real showstopper is an alcoholic weather system. Visitors can walk into an alcohol infused vapour cloud and with every inhale will get you tipsy! This experimental approach to the non-drinkable cocktails market is paving the way for future projects and appealing to customers through sheer ‘newness’.
2. Breaking Mad
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL
Neighbourhood: Hoxton / Shoreditch
End Date: December 11 2015
Breaking Mad is a party experience inspired by cult TV series Breaking Bad. This event takes you on an immersive journey through the meth-peddling underworld – but the only substances being pushed are the cocktails! Details are largely hush-hush, but expect an abundance of actors and alcohol with a distinctly dark ‘n’ dirty feel. Television inspired dining has been adopted by companies such as Secret Cinema, and this concept only works with a cult show like Breaking Bad due to it’s global popularity and obsessive fans.
3. Chambers of Flavour
Secret London Location
End Date: March 26 2016
Pop-up pioneers Gingerline present a multi-dimensional food and drink experience that sends participants through themed worlds. Details are being kept schtum, but their previous event (with a different theme) saw guests whisked through fictional forest canopies before visiting a Singapore back street – all with location appropriate dining. This edition promises to be bigger and better, involving ‘layer upon layer of dining realities’. The real success of Gingerline lies in its secret keeping, enticing customers in via exciting and intentionally vague concepts.
4. Table of Delights
103 Notting Hill Gate W11 3LB
Neighbourhood: Notting Hill
End Date: December 12 2015
This project explores the unusual marriage of food and theatre. Over five acts, viewers are told stories about the journey of ingredients as a meal is simultaneously prepared on stage. This quirky take on open kitchen preparation puts the focus on ingredients, providing diners with complete culinary transparency. While some shows are child-friendly, there are also adult only viewings exploring alcohol as well as food to provide a middle ground between experiential parties and dining.
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