The Chambers of Flavour- TOAST talks taste adventures with immersive dining pioneers Gingerline -

TOAST talks taste adventures with immersive dining pioneers Gingerline

Immersive events have gathered momentum over recent years and show no sign of stopping. In fact, they are becoming more immersive than ever. TOAST talks to Suz Mountfort, co-founder of London’s leading creators of immersive dining experiences Gingerline, to hear how they magically merge art, eating and performance, and to discover more about their new strand of ‘multi dimensional’ dining…



Over the past five years, Gingerline’s out-of-this-world (but strictly top secret) experiences have been increasingly described as the ‘hottest tickets in town’, and having spent hours on the Internet trying to bag tickets to their new event Chambers of Flavour V2, I should know.

“There is a huge desire for adventure, risk, and spontaneity, and that is what is driving the demand for immersive experiences generally,” explains Suz Mountfort, co-founder of Gingerline“Whether that’s cinema experiences, artistic technologies, creative dining, or theatric; people want that sense of freedom and play we enjoy so often as children, but with fabulous grown-up things like fabulous food and booze!”

You can say that again.

Gingerline, essentially, are a self-confessed ‘bunch of food and drink enthusiasts’ whose goal is simply to create ‘the ultimate dining experience’ by merging imaginative art, mind-boggling performance and immersive design with, as Suz mentioned, some truly fabulous food and lashings of brilliant booze.

“My partner Kerry and I started Gingerline as an arts project really, and a way for both of us to do something creative together. We started by running short-term nomadic supper clubs…” she explains.

And by nomadic, she means travelling, as Gingerline’s original supper clubs were never fixed to just one location, oh no. That would be far too straightforward and - God forbid - normal. Instead, their wildly imaginative events would pop up in various top-secret locations along the East London Line - which looks distinctly ‘ginger’ on most Tube Maps, hence the name.

From a Siberian circus in New Cross Gate to a submarine mess hall in Shoreditch, Gingerline’s original series of theatrical supper clubs were described as an immersive dining adventure in changing locations, and if this wasn’t intriguing enough – there also was intense emphasis on the exact location and all other details of the night remaining top secret… 

“We want to build a real bond with our guests, because there is a trust element to what we do.” Explains Suz. “Our guests trust us to give them a fabulous night beyond any expectations they have, we trust them to keep the details of those nights secret, so future guests can enjoy it much as they did.”

Classic Gingerline Performers

Classic Gingerline Actors

2Rah Petherbridge Photography Gingerline 5 Copy

After cartwheeling and cavorting across East London, this team of passionate and creative foodies finally put down roots and launched Gingerline HQ; their first semi-permanent project where guests were treated to a series of trailblazing and mind-boggling gastronomic events.

Once Upon a Gingerline led diners through mysterious mushroom caves and into a hidden magical wood, where they entered their own secret culinary fairytale; watched over by a whispering animated moon projection, they devoured course after course of a succulent forest feast; dishes, which had to be foraged for, including home-cured trout and wild salad with poppy seed and chamomile dressing, and bergamot sorbet served with Sipsmith vodka. With taste buds tingling and senses afire, guests then drank ‘potions of plenty’ and explored the secrets of the ‘cabinets of curiosity’, before trading secrets with Rumpelstiltskin, of course.

“We gather inspiration from all areas,” explains Suz.“The buildings that we create the events in play a big part, plus whatever we’re reading, researching or watching at the time all feeds in.”

2Gingerline Jubilee By Emli Bendixen 030315 0699

Gingerline Royale Casino By Emli Bendixen

Rah Petherbridge Photography Gingerline Secret Island 2014

Gingerline Images By Alice Pennefather

After 8 sold out months and feeding over 10,000 hungry mouths, Gingerline went quiet whilst they prepared for their next wondrous event and in November 2013 they returned with The Hideout; an intergalactic, anthropological happening on a mysterious starship called ‘The Gingernaught’ complete with dancing aliens, space-inspired cocktails and ‘Pre Flight-Protein Packs’ (dehydrated vegetable salad with mango and goats cheese lollipops). This was followed by a Jubilee gala dinner in The Lost Gardens of Gingerline in 2014; a uniquely British night of eccentric, sensory delight which included a picnic basket of savoury surprises, such as salmon and mustard ice-creams with pickled dill, and ‘Boating Pond Soup’ soup (iron back veloute, smoked haddock, parmesan and curry caramel oil), all served in a enchanting, botanical realm.

“Each experience becomes more intricate and adventurous than the last!” explains Suz.“But one of my favourites has to be our hidden, golden casino deep in the heart of Honor Oak Park; we covered every wall in gold foil and guests entered the space via a tunnel and a huge working casino wheel!”

After the (ongoing) success of their ‘Classic Gingerline’ dining adventures, Suz, Kerry and the team decided to grow their ideas even further. Having put Classic Gingerline to bed, temporarily, they focused their efforts on their newest and current project – ‘The Chambers of Flavour’.

The Chambers of Flavour is a multi-dimensional dining phenomenon, where intrepid diners are propelled through five contrasting parallel realities, enjoying a fantastical course in each…” explains Suz.

Yet, I am still none the wiser.

The Chambers of Flavour launched in September 2015 and was quickly voted number 11 in The Times 20 Hottest Restaurants, whilst Vogue described it as one of 'London's hottest tickets'. After 9 months of sold out escapades, Version 1 closed at the start of last year and the team spent the summer ‘rebooting, rewiring and recalibrating’ a longer, more fantastical and even more mind-blowing multi-dimensional dining adventure. The Chambers of Flavour v2.0 opened it’s mysterious in September 2016 and has been transporting countless travellers through five brand new parallel dining realities ever since.

I am afraid we’re not able to share the secrets that lie within the current machine, but people should just expect the unexpected, and come with an open mind and an empty belly!”

For a hint of what wonders you can expect to see (and taste…) you can find some highlights from The Chambers of Flavour V1 here

Chambers of Flavour from Richard on Vimeo.

Emma Nathan Chambers Of Flavour V1

Emma Nathan Chambers Of Flavour V2 Bar 2

Emma Nathan Chamber Of Flavours V1

Looks pretty amazing, doesn’t it? But as wonderfully imaginative, and beautifully executed as some immersive dining experiences are, many can sadly, ultimately be let down by the quality of the food. Gingerline’s events, however, are renowned for tasting just as good as they look, and for delivering plenty of immersive style along with buckets of substance.

It isn’t easy!” explains Suz. “There is cavernous difference between the facilities and logistics possibilities available in an immersive dining experience when compared to an experiential fine dining restaurant, a la Fat Duck, for example. I think people can sometimes confuse these phenomena,” she adds

“Our food, however, is exceptionally creative and fun. When designing an experience the menu forms the final piece of the puzzle, the final prop in the scene if you like. We work with a great team of flavourologists who are passionate about each of our projects and making sure the food is of a high standard, and we continually refine and remedy along the way so that by the time dinner is served to our intrepid explorers; it is (we hope!) the finest and most delightful flavour combination guests could wish for!”

Lost Gardens Of The Gingerline

Planet Gingerline8

Once Upon A Gingerline… Alice Pennefather DSC 6188

And speaking of flavourologists – that brings us nicely on to Gingerline’s newest expansion; ‘The Institute of Flavourology’. Excitingly, this is their private events arm, meaning that anyone can now experience the magic of Gingerline’s immersive brilliance at their own event, providing you and your guests with a seriously memorable one-off food experience that is completely out of the ordinary. Their dedicated culinary researchers have created a collection of highly creative menus based around exciting dining concepts, which can flex to fit a variety of formats such as canapés, buffets, sit-down experiences, matched wine and interactive cocktails.

“Imagine - interactive menus, theatrical performances, art installations, creative cocktails and dining concepts, bringing a little something different to your next private dining or corporate event!” explains Suz.

Yes please.


For more information on The Institute of Flavourology you can visit Gingerline’s profile page in TOAST’s Little Black Book.

Tickets for The Chambers of Flavour V2 are now sold out until 10th June 2017. They will be releasing a brand new shiny batch of tickets on 28th February 2017 at midday.

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 02 March 2017

  culinary experiences, immersive dining

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