Thatcher's propped on the table, your hair has seen more of a crimp than a packet of McCain chips and you've still got five incredible, themed courses to come. Leading the London charge when it comes to artsy and unique dinners, we got to know Alice Hodge and Ellen Parr, the creative team behind Art of Dining and events the likes of 'Forest Feast' and 'Gone Camping':
- Tell us a little bit more about the story of Art of Dining and where it all came from.
Ellen and I met at University in Glasgow. She is the chef and I am the designer. We started out doing dinners for our mates and then thought lets try a pop up to the public for 3 nights as our friend had heard of a space you could hire with a good kitchen and from there it snow balled. We broke the next venue and it just kept going. … we are now 5 years on and it's a (more than) full time job!
- The Art of Dining could be considered one of the most immersive dining experiences in London, what do you think makes your events so different and why?
We combine fine dining, theatre, design, music and drink together and our intention is to not make any one element any stronger than another. Everything works together to deliver a whole immersive package. We have been very fortunate to collaborate with the National Trust who gave us access to some of the most beautiful and interesting venues in London and finding interesting venues is always on our mission.
Ellen and Alice give Londoners the opportunity to dine like never before thanks to unique themes and carefully created plates.
- This time round you’ve thrown down the 80s office gauntlet with big hair and even bigger theming, what can guests expect on the night?
You start the evening with a complementary drink from the water cooler in the reception area/bar, then seated in the large office at communal desks. The evening is hosted by Amanda the office boss who has invited all the diners/employees to the companies 10th birthday celebration. 5 (office inspired) courses are served with interactive elements performed by the boss between each course.
- Ellen Parr will be providing the plates at your upcoming event, how do the dishes reflect your 80s theme?
The food takes inspiration from the office day.. We are still developing the menu but at the moment its looking at bit like this …
Rosemary and wild mushroom broth served with goat’s cheese biscuit
Smoked haddock and caper sausage roll with tarragon mustard bean salad
Pickled cucumber and braised pork bao with crispy apple and coriander salad
Tea brined duck, pomegranate salsa, cinnamon pilaf and spiced yogurt
Salted caramel chocolate bourbons with malted milk ice cream
80s Office Party promises a night of garish retro antics, themed plates and oodles of shoulder pads.
- Why the 80s? And why an office in the 80s at that?
We had great success with a 70's themed pop up last year .. so we thought this year we'd move on a decade. We like to vary our themes as much as possible and an office environment felt like something completely new and challenging for us.
- Your previous events have included themes such as camping, forest feasting and a servants inspired supper. What has been your favourite theme so far and why?
They are all so different it is honestly hard to choose a favourite. I loved designing Abigail’s Party set in the 70s, the Forest Feast gave me the opportunity to work with florists and foliage which I really enjoyed, working in National Trust properties was amazing and The London Museum of Water and Steam was a real favourite as well with all the machines working in the room we dined in.
- Can you spill the supper club beans on what some of the next Art of Dining events may have in store?
We have found an amazing venue that looks a bit like a space centre .. so working on some cosmic ideas at the moment .. fingers crossed it all falls into place.
Buy tickets to the upcoming 80s Office Party supperclub from the team behind Art of Dining right here. Tickets come in at £55 per person.