After a VERY busy week at work I was very pleased to have a dinner date in the diary with the lovely Jenny from my old work. We had booked to head on over to Westbourne Park for our other old work mate, Lulu, and her husband’s pop up dining experience.
Kitchen Theory is the company behind the evening and it was founded by Jozef and Lulu Youssef to showcase their gastronomy research in the form of experimental dinners. Jozef has worked previously at the Fat Duck and Connaught Hotel so has tonnes of experience which he brings to the menus on show. Lulu is the hostess with the mostess and does a great job of making you feel at home throughout the evening. You may remember I previously wrote about one of their other dinners at House of Wolf which was equally fabulous.
For this evening the theme was Synaesthesia, which the technical term is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. A slightly simpler example is people may match names with colours, e.g. Laura maybe a blue colour and this provides them with a way of remembering dates, names etc. The evening is set up with a few short videos from a professor to explain the term and then the meal is underway.
With bread to nibble on accompanied by a worm butter, very interesting and just tasted nicely salted!
Lulu recommends you don’t look at the menu until after the second course so it stays nicely tucked away in it’s envelope. For our first course you are provided with 4 spoons and told to rearrange in order of bitter, sweet, salty and sour just from sight before you dive in and taste them. Very interesting to see how everyone ordered them.
Each bite gave you a burst of liquidy flavours which showed off the chef’s expertise and I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what was in each of them.
Next up was ‘Bouba & kiki’, one side were lovely little roasted sweet potato, pomegranate molasses, sweet potato gnocchi with cinnamon.
The second part, Kiki, was marinated sea bass, rhubarb, green apple and vanilla dressing which was simply gorgeous but it was definitely the presentation that took centre stage.
Onto ‘The sight and sound of flavour’ and we were presented with a beautiful plate with one large langoustine.
Then the added flavours were brought round in the form of a teapot filled with a gorgeous white miso veloute.
There was an added touch of being provided with a mini perfume spray filled with saffron which lead to a difference in the taste when you smelt it in the air.
The next one was a very pretty sight and smelled incredible, sesame and coffee marinated paneer cubes, pickled enoki mushrooms, mushroom crisps, bulgur wheat and crispy bacon. The combinations complimented each other wonderfully and this time Lulu walked through the room at 3 different intervals and sprayed various scents. The most intriguing was when what seemed to be bacon was sprayed in the air enhancing the dish further.
‘Born in Papua New Guinea’ was perhaps the most theatrical and a great spectacle as the various plates arrived surrounded in a smoked plastic bag to enhance the flavour.
Once ripped open the mouth watering dish was guinea fowl, sweet corn risotto and miso cured yolk.
Jozef even popped out to add the finishing flourishes and you can see Jenny in awe of his abilities!
It was time to move onto the two sweet dishes of the evening, first being a tower of ‘Give weight to it’.
First tier was candy floss with lavender and lychee flavours, complete with pipette to soak it further. Second tier was a lovely cranberry soaked baba. The best of the three levels was the chocolate brownie and cherry tapioca, scrumptious.
It was now time for the final course of the evening, an amazing dish of chocolate, passion fruit and toffee complete with popping candy. The music was cranked up as well to go with the popping sounds in your head. As good as any michelin star restaurant dessert.
It was a wonderful night with great company and they’ve sold out until April although more dates are being added up to June. I would highly recommend you jump onto the website and book for the future months. The venue is Maida Hill Place and has the intimate feeling of being in someone’s front room, hence there are only about 16 covers.
Their next event from September is Mexican themed – looking forward to experiencing that. Well done Lulu and Jozef, congrats on another successful evening.