It’s impossible to talk about London, or its Design Festival which takes over the capital in September, without mentioning the pop-ups and initiatives that make up Food Design. We take a brief overview of these unusual initiatives…
Text: Marie Le Fort
Capital: of England
and United Kingdom Land area: 1 572 km2 Population : 7 825 000 inhabitants Language: english Mayor: Boris Johnson
SCRAP LAB The Australian food designer Linda Monique is proving her committed character with a series of ‘Scrap Lab’ dinners she is hosting at Andaz Liverpool Street. And with good reason, the purpose of these dinners, as the name suggests, is to highlight the less precious produce, peels and off-cuts generally that are neglected in the kitchen, like wolf cheeks. Inventive and iconoclastic, this young, 25 year-old woman has succeeded in creating gastronomic evenings, using only simple scraps, such as with this entrée prepared from fish cheeks. A resolutely unique initiative.
Housed in a former service station – the aptly named Kings Cross Filling Station – Shrimpy’s was created as a South American culinary travel book – ceviche, corn, avocado, lime, shrimp, the freshness is in the rendez-vous. Led by the former owners of Bistrotheque, the restaurant has a modern Californian style: refurbished by the Carmody Groarke agency as a restored 1950s space, with creations by Donald Urquhart and Jonathan Trayte taking pride of place in its playful interior.
PRET A DINER On the first floor of the Royal Academy of Arts, the pop-up Pret A Diner is defined not as a restaurant but as a ‘Dining Experience’.
Planted amidst a tangle of scaffolding, this club for foodies (available to registered members) is defined as a platform where the best culinary chefs and mixologists can compete on select evenings.
One can find, for example, Marian Beke and Stephan Hinz taking cocktail orders and serving up delicious appetizers, such as this tofu panna cotta, sea bream sashimi and soy foam or beef cheeks in teriyaki sauce served with oranges, fresh herbs and parsnips.
LIMA Peruvian cuisine – known as South America’s finest – was on everyone’s lips at the recent opening of Lima (after Ceviche and before the opening of Coya at the end of October), led by the talented and award-winning chef Virgilio Martinez. His creativity is evident in all his dishes – for example the crab, which comes with a reduction of purple corn, mashed potatoes made with spuds that were grown at 4000m altitude and seasoned with a red Andean spice called kiwicha – and the decor is also fabulous, with colourful murals and tilted mirrors that maximise the space.
Take three entrepreneurs who succeed at everything they do – Arjun Waney, co-founder of Zuma and Roka; Peter Wayney, who is behind The Arts Club and La Petite Maison; and Italian businessman Giuliano Lotto – combine their talents and put chef Marzio Zacchi in the kitchen, and you get Banca, a (Northern) Italian restaurant, found on the site of the former NatWest bank in the heart of Mayfair. Designed by the agency TP Bennett, the interior styles plays on the idea of opulent classics: flooring in black and white marble, huge contemporary crystal chandeliers, beige upholstered leather banquettes and gilded ceiling made from reflective bronze, and behold Banca has become the new glamorous rendez-vous spot. Timeless and elegant.
The London extension of a Swedish group, Aveqia combines, in a single place, the playful and experimental side of cooking classes – lead by chefs – with the sophistication of a restaurant. Able to accommodate up to 80 people between its bar, lounge and 5 kitchen spaces that double up as dining rooms. Designed by the designer and architect Jenny Andersson, the Gaggeneau equipment sits alongside Scandinavian chairs in shades of blue and heavy Toile de Jouy inspired curtains. A unique concept, where one feels ‘at ease’, as though you were cooking at home.
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