BWW Review: GINGERLINE CHAMBERS_, Secret London Location
Immersive dining experiences continue to be a huge trend, especially in the capital. One of the forerunners of the genre, Gingerline, proves that it can still innovate and entertain with its new immersive dining experience: Chambers_.
Formerly known as the Chambers of Flavour, the story behind Chambers_ is a adventure where the audience become culinary cartographers using the dining machine developed by fictional flavourologist Sir Lionel Stirling Grey in 1882. Guests follow in his footsteps to journey in the machine to discover new tastes and flavours in an alternative multi-verse.
If this sounds daunting, be reassured that this is a highly entertaining, clever and delicious evening out. Hidden somewhere deep in Hoxton, daring diners receive a text on the day of the experience detailing the exact location. Guests are then presented with a dining experience where creative cooking combines with off-beat storytelling.
Content is a closely guarded secret, but a summary would be that this is a multi-sensory dining experience where active participation from the audience is vigorously encouraged. Each 'course' is experienced within a different environment designed by production design company Stripeland; all of which could not be more contrasting in theme, lighting and character. Costumes and lighting are also well designed and add to the atmosphere and overall experience.
The actors also help to serve the food. Overall they do incredibly well to remain in character and keep the conversation going, where appropriate.
Chambers_is an ideal night out for a corporate outing, or for a group of friends, as there is quite a lot of interaction with fellow diners. This is certainly an immersive dining experience that requires more interaction than most. There is also much more physical movement; diners need to be able to crawl, slide and squeeze through various spaces, so flat shoes are in and skirts are out.
This is great fun, but not for everyone; you will certainly get more out of it if you are happy to throw yourself into the fictional situation and occasional silliness. It is also not the most relaxing dining experience. There is a lot of activity in between courses and there is little chance to sit down, with some food eaten standing up or squashed into tight corners. This will not be comfortable for some people and occasionally distracts from the quality of the food.
The food itself is excellent and certainly the most creative I have tried during this type of production. Produced and designed by sister company Flavourology and Jenny McNeill, diners are served up five courses of fun, creative and very flavoursome food. There are several innovative ingredients used and there has obviously been a huge amount of thought and imagination put into the creation of the dishes. No type of food is avoided because it is easier for the kitchen. Food allergies are all catered for; the clever use of wristbands for this is a great idea.
Gingerline has shown that it has continued to develop interesting experiences with good food that encourage people to interact with each other. Chambers_ is a highly creative and detailed experience; you just need to jump in with both feet.
Photo Credit: Rob Grieg