A large part of the appeal of Gingerline’s immersive dining experiences is secrecy. Not knowing what you’re getting and where you’re going is half the fun.
I can tell you that the company’s latest venture, The Grand Expedition, involves a trip to an unpromising-looking warehouse in north London. Step inside, however, and you’re transported to a Jules Verne fantasy world, wrapped up in gorgeous storybook projections.
Over the course of the evening, guests are served five courses from different parts of the world. The food is excellent – flavourful, surprising – and real care has been taken over dietary requirements. Vegetarians enjoy just as thrilling a gastronomic adventure as their omnivorous dining companions. There’s an appealing playfulness to the presentation too, and the coordination and choreography of the whole experience is impressive, particularly as the performers don’t ever actually speak.
There’s not much of a storyline to speak of and the interactive elements mainly encompass dancing and game-playing, though these get increasingly more energetic and participatory as the booze flows. The primary focus is always what’s on your plate (and in your glass – the vodka is a particular highlight).
The Gingerline team has cooked up a genuinely enjoyable experience, as it should be, given tickets are between £60-£75. The attention to detail is particularly strong (it even extends to the loos). How much you get out of it might depend on your tablemates – it would work particularly well for groups.
The way the cast dances about in various national costumes and employs cultural stereotypes for our entertainment strikes an awkward note, however – a somewhat unwelcome side dish to what is a pleasurable and memorable evening.