Trip and fun
Matthew Pearson

Immersive Dining Experiences in London: Sept 2019

No, not sitting in a tub of baked beans. We’re talking about the kind of immersion you get when the whole of the restaurant suits your food. When you’re sucked into a storyline as you dine. Where the decor is immaculately curated and the plates fit a theme. Maybe a play goes on around you as you eat. Immersive dining experiences in London are going from strength to strength. They’re becoming more professional, more delicious and more immersive. Here are some to check out this month... Coming up:

  • The Jewel of The Empire
  • Gastronomic
  • Back to the Future Dining Experience
  • The Big London Bake
  • Gingerline Presents...Chambers

The Jewel of the Empire

Created by Funicular Productions, who came up with the hugely successful and well-reviewed Murder Express, The Jewel of the Empire is wonderfully silly. You board a pretend train at the fictional Pedley Street Station and a murder mystery play unfurls around you as you dine and sip cocktails. The 1930s decor and costumes are thoughtfully designed, while the staging and direction cleverly ensure that no part of the performance is obscured. Well, apart from the central mysteries at the heart of this ode to classic detective stories. The four course dining menu comes courtesy of 2018 MasterChef: The Professionals winner Laurence Henry. The vibrantly coloured dishes provide an entertaining accompaniment to the evening’s main entertainment. As each course is brought out, the feeling that you’re sitting in the buffet carriage of a period train is enhanced. The food deepens rather than breaks the spell of the evening, which isn’t always the case with immersive dining experiences in London. Veggie and vegan options are available. The Jewel of the Empire has been enthralling audiences all summer long. It’s got to come to an end on September 22nd so the team can put on a whole new train-based show, so book tickets as soon as you can. [caption id="attachment_3478" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]


From trains to planes, Gastronomic’s imaginative and theatrical take on plane food is something we’re really looking forward to experiencing this September. Guests board an Airbus A380, taking off from Shoreditch Town Hall. As you take to the skies, dishes are made in front of you as a plot develops in the plane kitchen. With a mixing of ingredients, cultures and culinary backgrounds in the action on stage, and on the plate in front of you, the piece explores identity, migration and the importance of breaking bread with one another. The use of Augmented Reality is an envelope-pushing addition to the immersive dining experience, and helps you dig deeper into the story and dishes being served up. The five-course tasting menu has been devised by chefs from some of the UK’s leading restaurants: Richard Bainbridge from Benedicts, Shunsuke Tomii from Shiki and Dalsukh Jetani of Namaste Village. Adding a local, progressive flavour, trainee chefs from East London charity Shoreditch Trust’s Blue Marble Training Project assist the three main professional chefs. The piece runs at Shoreditch Town Hall from 23rd September to 12th October 2019. The menu is pescatarian. Contact their marketing team before booking to speak about any dietary requirements. [caption id="attachment_3476" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

Back to the Future Dining Experience

Animals for food? Where we’re going, we don’t need animals for food. This new Back to the Future Dining Experience takes off on 27th September. Created by the team before vegetarian and vegan restaurant Vanilla Black and theatrical supper club For Starters, the events takes you on a nostalgic culinary tour through the 70s, 80s and 90s. The narrative-led evening sees you and the team traveling back in time to pick up classic vegetarian and vegan dishes. You bring them back to the present day, where the chefs turn them into 21st century veggie and vegan masterpieces. It’s a multi-sensory journey and you're encouraged to dress the part in outfits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The evening kicks off at 7pm at the The Owl & Hitchhiker (which fittingly kind of sounds like kids storybook renderings of the two main characters from Back to the Future) in Holloway.

The Big London Bake

When it comes to immersive dining experiences in London, The Big London Bake is up there with the most involving. There’s no storyline, but there’s nothing passive about this experience. In a marquee that’s reminiscent of - but in no way affiliated with - the setting for a popular televised baking program, you’ve got 90 minutes to bake your way to the top of the class. You pair up (with a friend or a stranger baker) to compete against nine other pairs, all attempting to create that month’s chosen bake. This month it’s a Creme Choux Crisp. There’s a professional baker on hand to help you too. You don’t need to bring any ingredients or do the boring prep’s all done for you in advance. At the end of 90 minutes, take your bake up to the front for judgement. Who’ll be the top baker? Maybe you. But who’ll be going home this week? Everyone. [caption id="attachment_3477" align="alignnone" width="961"][/caption]

Gingerline Presents...Chambers

Billed as a ‘Multi-Dimensional Dining Adventure’ this new theatrical food experience from Gingerline promises to be extremely oddball, confusing, well-executed, mysterious, OTT, delicious and satisfying. Gingerline are pioneers of immersive dining experiences in London. And they’ve built a reputation for putting on some of the most professional, absorbing and nutty dinnerdramaramas in town. And even they admit this one is a little strange. Look, details are sketchy. Enticingly so for the uninitiated. But there’ll be five courses of bold, out there food...and maybe as many dimensions. Characters will come from nowhere to surprise and entertain you...some will be up to no good, some will be outright sinister. Get on their site ASAP for tickets for their September dates. There are some in October too. Once you book you’ll get details of the secret Hoxton venue where your mind will get blown. Looking for a drinking experience to get you in the mood for dinner? Regard!

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