What: Dinner Time Story is a quirky dining concept where a humorous, animated chef, brought to life by several projectors, takes guests on a multi-sensorial food experience called Le Petit Chef – In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo.
New? Dinner Time Story had a hugely successful launch in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates before making it to London in October where it will run until the end of February, it is also in Berlin and Belgium, with expansion plans for China and Scandinavia.
Where? From street view TT Liquor looks like a liquor store…and once inside this thinking does not change. I looked around, bemused as if I’d stupidly stumbled into the wrong place but it turns out that not only does TT Liquor have a bar, it has a whole event space upstairs which is where Le Petit Chef takes place. 17B Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA www.dinnertimestory.com
On the menu: There are 6 surprise courses with vegetarian and vegan options available, for each course you receive a travel journal to write notes (and read your predecessors notes) as well as an individual menu to explain what you’re eating. Dishes come from all regions like India and the Middle East and include red mullet with a white polenta tomato fondue and a lemon and fennel puree, cauliflower pannacotta with a gobi aloo tartar, and miso cod and prawn with fried rice.
The Look: In typical Shoreditch fashion the space has a done-up warehouse feel to it but all eyes are on the long, communal dining tables with a row of projectors illuminating the table. You sit across from your guest with a projector-friendly, blank menu where a plate should be. It’s fairly dark inside so that you can see the animations clearly with no distraction from outside light which really helps with the immersive element.
What We Ate: The truffle goat’s cheese and slow roasted tomato on a gruyere sesame seed biscuit with sweet tomato chutney was divine, the goat’s cheese was thick and firm and I didn’t want it to end. The smoked aubergine caviar in a filo cup with baby ratatouille garnish had no actual similarity to caviar but had great textures with the light crispy pastry and smooth creamy inside. The cauliflower pannacotta with a gobi aloo tartar again had no similarity to a pannacotta but was still delicious. The pink grapefruit and lychee sorbet served as not only a palate cleanser but an impressive Instagram piece as it comes on a throne of dry ice that you get to pour warm water on creating spooky mist. Tofu done well is great and the Szechuhan tofu with fried rice was no exception, it came with a delicious coconut, lemongrass and ginger sauce which had more Thai elements than Chinese but still worked.the final course was the caramelised Saffron and cardamom rice pudding which I don’t consider a real pudding but it had a nice caramelised crust so maybe I’ll let it off.
What We Drank: With each course, you also get a fresh drink made by in-house mixologists to accompany it, mocktails are available too. My favourite drink due to its fruity, sweet flavours came from the Indian course, called a pineapple and mango cobbler which is made with Vermouth Bianco, Kaffir lime, lemon, pineapple and mango; a close second would be Le Chat Noir made up of gin, Lillet Blanc, lime, pastis and tarragon.
Go With: Seeing as you sit across from your guest it makes sense to go in pairs or equal numbers at least. As someone wrote in the travel diary “it’s great to go with a date because all you do is go ‘wow’ at the food which is perfect if they’re really boring” – and we agree although our plus one was lovely and entirely riveting.
Final Word: It’s a really fun experience, the chef is cheeky and a tad grumpy as he makes his ways across the world facing various dangers like dragons and angry humans. Each course feels like landing in a new country with relevant ethnic food, a change of projector visuals and table accessories. If it all seems a bit gimmicky don’t be alarmed as the food itself is of a good standard, but don’t go starving as although there are 6 courses most of them are bitesize – what else would you expect from such a small chef though?
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Le Petit Chef: 17B Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA www.dinnertimestory.com