“The Doctor will see you now.”
Last weekend I went to a one-off special billed as a “an exciting walk-through dining experience and multi-course meal charting key revolutionary periods in food history.”. It was put together by Bompass and Parr, the pre-eminent purveyors of wobbly things, along with the help of certain talented peeps from food as well as from the creative fields including Alexis Gauthier, Saf restaurant (well…), Bistrotheque, Lounge Bohemia as well as Courvoisier’s ever present spirits, and their obvious bags of riches.
So the idea was to take people across the history of food, through four or five beautifully decorated, themed rooms in a five storey Georgian building in Belgravia, from the Medieval times to the Fifties to eating off the back of a very large Iguana (a prop, not a real one).
It was a little contrived, at times it was verging on the feeling as though I have just paid to experience an elaborate walk-through marketing campaign. There was Courvoisier on everything. The event culminated with a Courvoisier bar, that served Courvoisier cocktails with a 3DTV that showed looping Courvoisier adverts. Talk about brain washing eh.
Cognac aside, for the most part, the event was entertaining. However, I was expecting it to be more of an exhibition, with food trivia presented in crazily non-obvious ways, but alas, apart from the good Doctor opening promisingly by spinning about the archaic ‘science’ that humans were believed to be made from four types of liquids (blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm), the theatre ended just as it begun really, style suffocating all manner of substance.
For £25 it was OK (plus £5 booking fee, yikes!), though not exactly a steal. Food was decidedly a limiting factor, it was more like half a course and three snacks as opposed to four courses. The various cocktails we had on the other hand, all made with Couvoisier, were all pretty good. I came out feeling indifferent, it wasn’t exactly a satisfying meal (which I would have preferred) nor was it an all out exhibition through the times of food, instead it fell in the chasm of being a little hollow in the centre. I didn’t learn about the origin or evolution of any kind of food in particular. Instead, I came away with new found knowledge of what Courvoirsier tastes like when paired with various fruits.
Can’t knock the event for looking the part, staff were welcoming people to snap away at the meticulously created artwork, elaborate sets and creations, and all of which were mightily impressive. At the end of the day, it was fun. By the time you read this, the event would have finished, but for what it’s worth, I thought you might enjoy the snapshots…
The Doctor ‘prescribing’ a concoction to re-balance our bodily fluids (or something to that effect).
Waiting to go into the Medieval Ship.
Crossing the wobbly gang plant, to the ship. It looks like the murky waters were actually wet.
The Medieval ship, operated by Saf, a vegan restaurant, and also where we took our ‘prescription’.
I said to the good Doctor that I felt ‘laid-back’, so he me a yellow sticker which allowed me to exchange for a white wine cocktail, plus a an artichoke canape.
Next we ‘travel through time’ via a service lift to the roof top to try Alexis Gauthier’s gorgeous contribution: foie gras, a port reduction, almonds and gold leaf, shaped like a certain very recognisable chocolate.
The genius mixologists from Lounge Bohemia.
This was lush – a ‘flat’ champagne cocktail, with the fizz bursting out from the grapes! I really enjoyed this one.
On to the Fifties now, and we are having a scratch and sniff TV dinner. Nothing edible here, just olfactory tickling at work. Minty chips…
I liked this room, surely good enough to merit its own exhibition in an art gallery of some kind. It was explained to us that fifty years ago, everybody sat in front of the tv during dinner time.
And then, into the belly of a bouncy beast! Created by Andy Best & Merja Puustinen. Boing Boing.
And finally dinner time, an Iguanodon dinner in a giant Iguana, like the one constructed by Waterhouse Hawkins in 1853
Eating duck confit, puy lentils, beetroot and black champagne sauce by Bistrotheque and drinking ‘Josephine’s Tea Garden’ punch with Courvoisier, green tea, apple juice and elderflower cordial by Ben Leggett.
Finally, Bompass and Parr jelly, candied orange, iris jellies and ambergris posset. Ambergris being whale regurgitations that tasted very much like condensed milk… usually found in perfume so I’ve read, and also an aphrodisiac.
More photographs on my flickr.
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