I have 3 passions in my life. Family, Fashion and Food in that order. (Travel is a forth but it’s not relevant here so we will come back to that another time) So when the invitation came through to attend a pop up restaurant with a six-course meal by Michelin trained head chief Chavdor Todorov, titled ‘An Evening Of Meat’ I must admit I was a little excited and built a list of preconceptions about what the night would have in store. Slabs of rare meat, gallons of red wine and a candle lit setting with something Jazz-y playing in the background I assumed. I could not have been more wrong. (FYI veggie options are available)
Life is indeed full of surprises, and I don’t mind those at all, especially if they are pleasant ones. Had I had recieved a press release prior to arriving my thoughts would have been quite different, but looking back perhaps this was part of what made the evening so unique, the unexpected. Had I had known more about the creator of the evening, performance Artist Kate March, or her troupe I Am, then I guess the surprise would have been far less. More of which later….
As we arrived at our venue at The Vaults in Waterloo for the press preview I thought all good thoughts, lots of dark interiors, some rather trendy upcycled furniture such as a 6ft chair and a good glass of Prosecco while we awaited the meal to begin and some gorgeous wire sculptures by artist Rachel Ducker. There was a buzz of excitement in the air and as we chatted to Tatler’s food critic and his friend, a luxury expert, I knew we were in for a treat. We chatted about the best places to eat in London and discussed the controversy surrounding the concept of an evening dedicated to meat in today’s health driven and growing vegancentric society.
All now hungry and full of anticipation we were called from the reception room into the dining room, and this is where it all starts to get interesting. Walking down the narrow corridor with chiefs busily readying our meal on one side of the clear pvc curtain (such as that you would find in a horror movie, I’m thinking Saw) separating us, I started to suspect there was a theme building. Upon entering the dining room, long banqueting style tables I noticed some rather, let’s say unusual, centre pieces. Women. Seductivly clad and on all fours. It seemed the subject of meat wasn’t just going to be represented on the menu. This was to be a performance piece dinner. I’ll admit I was a bit torn. In a world of #metoo walking into dinner with women presented in their lingerie for our entertainment felt a bit uneasy but who am I to make that decision and the women seemed very happy, exuding confidance and obviously in ‘character’.
There were six courses ahead of us and the wine was flowing freely, always a good sign. As we settled into place, our first course, chicken liver in miniature ice cream cones was served, and very tasty too. Next up came Salt baked potatoes with crisp pancetta, followed by Seared Capaccio of dry-aged tender beef. So far so meaty. I devoured each dish in full and happily too. Luckily each was a small ‘taster’ dish so even the smallest of appetites would be able to enjoy each course.
The next two dishes were much more ‘hearty’ and filling. Firstly, Braised Mutton shoulder followed by Rare breed pig cheek oyster, lentils and spiced red Dahl, the most filling, and in my opinion, satisfying of all the dishes.
Desert was delicious. If you could get over the fact it was served in a glass ashtray, complete with ‘Ash’ on top. 70% Guanajuato Chocolate & Olive Oil Ganache, the ‘ASH’ was created from Seasame and coconut bacon flakes. A little too conceptual for me tbh as it reminded me of the big heavy ashtrays my Nan used to make me get her as a kid. But the taste was divine once I got over the shock of the presentation and I happily scoffed the remains of my partners.
An innovative and experimental menu for an innovative and experimental evening, designed to “tempt & tantilise the senses” as creator Kate March puts it. March, who has built a world wide following with her performances that combine choreography, performance art and food decided to use the table as a stage, while exploring the theme of ‘all fours’ studying for her MA. As such she found ideas such as vulnerability, sensuality, strength, domestication, stability and unbridled wildness came into play when creating the conceptual dining experience. Having studied BA Contemporary Dance myself I can see where she’s going with it. She has also worked with costume designer Lisa Von Tang and created an original soundtrack with composer Patrick Rivera. My only criticism was that the performance took over the dining experience. Perhaps it was first night excitement, as the girls seemed to be very much in character but it was a little frustrating to have to keep moving our wine glasses and stop eating to allow the performance to take place, sometimes resulting in the food being cold when you did get to eat it. Personally I’d have preferred it if this took place in between courses rather then during but hey, maybe I’m just being a bore?!
The verdict? If you’ve reached that point in your relationship where you sit opposite each other at Pizza Express in silence wondering where it all went wrong then THIS is the place to go, book now! I guarantee you a night of fabulous conversation afterwards! Likewise if you fancy trying something a bit different. I would suggest large parties such as for birthdays would be great also as afterwards there’s room to dance, relax and unwind into the evening.
This is not a sponsored post, however kind thanks to our hosts for inviting us to preview the evening.