Let’s face it; pop-up dining in London is at an all-time high. There are secluded supper clubs, immersive experiences and gastronomical wonderlands cropping up here, there and everywhere, across the entire city. So with that in mind, it takes something pretty special to stand out from the crowd. Aiming to do just that, creative-cuisine chef Pedro Passinhas introduces his new event series Denim ‘n’ Dine to London.
Denim ‘n’ Dine is a multi-sensory, intimate supper club hosted from a functioning denim atelier in Blackhorse Lane (a lot closer than I thought by the way – just four stops from Highbury and Islington on the Victoria Line). Its creator – Pedro Passinhas – is a Le Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome Graduate and Michelin-trained chef, with a passion for local produce, innovative flavour combinations, and exploratory cuisine.
The evening is hosted from a working denim atelier in Blackhorse Lane, which is also home to a number of other creative disciplines, including leather workers, weavers and indigo dye makers. You scale the denim working area on the way to the Chef’s Table, so you can get a real feel for the authenticity, but also the multi-facing personality of the space. At the back of the room, you’ll find the gently-lit seating area. A long, communal style table with low hanging industrial lighting, the dining area is romantically-intimate; which is strange considering you’re plonked right in the middle of a working warehouse. The idea of the event is to bring people together around the table to share stories and their thoughts on the food, and we did just that. It’s certainly an interactive evening, but not in a forced way at all. I ended up chatting with every person around the table, and there were a lot of group conversations going on too. Pedro is also dipping in and out of the kitchen to answer questions, introduce the dishes, and generally just to hear what his guests are thinking about the food. All in all, it’s a really chilled, dinner party ambience – which was unexpected given the level of sophistication of the dishes served.
I got talking to Pedro before the dinner kicked off, and it’s clear his passion for local produce and top quality ingredients is fervent. Many of the vegetables and herbs used are grown locally (even impressively, the ones originating from Japan), and he’s also working with the council and community to re-work some local land, which he’ll be using to grow even more interesting ingredients, fresh from Blackhorse Lane. His passion is translated into the dishes; the menu is updated with the season, and in its current form you can expect a complete mish-mash of experimental flavours and beautiful aesthetics. I won’t go into detail on every element of each six courses – you can find their most up to date menu here for a full run-down – but the standouts for me were the egg yolk (separated and lightly fried with a deep flavoured prawn powder), the ‘charcoal’ (not in fact actual charcoal as you’d expect from its name and look – but a root vegetable with beautiful flavour), and the sweet and savoury aubergine, yoghurt and honey course, which just as it sounds, was delicious. Every plate of food was as unique as the last, and you can feel the thought and intensity Pedro and his team put into every flavour, every style, and every speck of the dish. Though the event is ‘bring your own’ on the booze front, you are served with a welcome cocktail on arrival, which in true-to-form style promises a punchy, delicious and well though-out flavour combo.
A big pull of the event is the price. Now of course, I’m not here to tell you £50 per person is a cheap meal out. Trust me, writing doesn’t pay that well; but when you take into consideration the event is BYOB, and you’re getting six courses of top grade dishes in a completely unique setting – Denim 'n' Dine really does stand up well next to similar foodie events or higher grade restaurants of this ilk. To me it's clear that the price, combined with Pedro’s unquenchable thirst for unique ingredients and thoughtful dishes, result in a daringly-brilliant dining experience, well worth discovering for yourself.