Try as you might, it’s unlikely you’ll have been able to escape the petty public arguments and metaphorical willy-waving between our political elites over the last few months. But embarrassing squabbling aside, for perhaps the first time in my adult life; I’m listening to it all. This election, I’ve taken it upon my once politically-disengaged self to get properly informed on my options come May 7th. And helpfully, I found Eat Drink Think; a ‘dining-with-a-difference’ series invigorating discussion on today’s hot topics. Their most recent theme: Politics.
Though a brewery might initially seem like an odd choice for an event like this, once you factor in London Fields Brewery’s impressive venue-offering and already diverse events calendar, it starts to make a lot more sense. Hosted from ‘The Brewhouse’ – a large container hall, situated directly under the railway arches, featuring its own bar and outdoor space - the room was laid out with horizontally-aligned trellis tables, all facing toward the large projector screen. Plenty enough room for the 24 diners and extra non-eating seats, the space could have accommodated a few more tables if needed, but it definitely didn’t feel sparse or empty. There’s a strong grassroots, local feel to the Brewery, which I think worked especially well for this event.
I attended the “Politics: In Shorts” bash; a collaboration between Eat Drink Think and short film connoisseurs, Conclave. The night featured six separate short films; screening two between each course. Lazily, I hadn’t fully read up on what to expect before arriving, and assumed the films would be predominantly tackling the big hitting issues of the upcoming election. Instead, the six themes surrounded more general dialogue, covering race, immigration, ethics, war, gender and the environment. Though I can’t say any of the ideology particularly challenged my way of thinking – as in the main I agreed with most of what was presented – each film encouraged plenty of food for thought and conversation at the table. Favourites on the night went to Ngendo Mukii’s ‘Yellow Fever’ and Anna Cady’s ‘30%’, which centred around the unfairness on women in Sierra Leone’s political system.
The Food & Drink
Though the films were engaging, I’m really glad we opted for dinner to accompany them. There was an option for non-dinner regular seating to just watch the shorts, but the extra money is definitely worth it. Each dish was served between two films, so you have a chance to eat and chat about what you’ve just seen on-screen. The three course set menu featured Spring Asparagus Risotto to start, Wild Sea Trout for our main, and culminated with a beautifully presented Rhubarb and Frangipane Tart for dessert. The food was delicious, and though perhaps understated on the actual night (my table’s discussion was pretty heavily focussed on the films), you wouldn’t feel hard done by if you’d paid the ticket price for the food alone, sans the shorts.
An event centred around politics has the potential to be heavy, contrived and stuffy. Eat Drink Think was none of those things, genuinely. The food was delicious, the films were thought-provoking and the ambience was chilled. Did it help me make a decision on who to vote for come the election? Perhaps not. Would I attend another of their events? Most definitely.