When I first started blogging almost a decade ago, I made it my mission to root out all the lesser known eateries, street food vendors and pop-ups.
Back then they were few and far between, London would have a noteworthy pop-up maybe once a month and tickets would be sold because of whispers and little blogs (like mine!). Nowhere was too far for me to go, I would hop on over to the depths of East London’s hippest hoods in search of the very best hotdog, queue for hours for a lobster roll served from a laundrette and attend each and every one of Bombas & Parr’s wacky exhibitions.
Now? Well now there’s a noteworthy pop-up every night in London. There are too many restaurant openings to possibly keep track of, people would rather queue to eat a croissant beside a flower wall than try avant garde nibbles from a little known chef in an old pie’n’eel shop.
Somewhere along the way I started seeking out more accessible spots, places that you could visit next month rather than just for the next couple of days. Places for dates or quiet nights with friends, rather than boozy culinary adventures into the unknown. I suppose you could say that the blog grew up as I did.
But when I heard that Bombas & Parr had a new foodie exhibition, well I just couldn’t resist slipping back into my old ways with a trip down memory lane. (Beneath a train-track in East London, no less.)
“Devour” is the exhibition you can eat, created in partnership with Tesco Finest*.
*Meaning that even the nibbles when you arrive are on point!
You’re led through a dizzying array of weird and wonderful rooms, a veritable maze of deliciousness.
I (sadly) skipped the first, a glittering room filled with edible champagne bubbles, and headed right for the Himalayan Salt Mines.
A crystal mirror maze, lit by glowing pink salt lamps.
You have to find your way to the centre, where perfectly seasoned canapés await.
Seared steak and glistening padron peppers, all dusted with a fine layer of pink Himalayan salt.
Stepping through the next archway you emerge into a dark forest, ready to forage for wild mushrooms.
Surrounded by mushrooms, a guide will emerge to explain the incredible way in which mushrooms actually communicate with each other in the wild. (He’s very knowledgeable and all in all a really fun-gi.)
You can then recreate this phenomenon and play a ‘mushroom symphony’ with the beautiful, hand carved instrument spreading throughout the enchanted forest.
Before tucking into hot buttered toast topped with grilled mushrooms.
All of the food you eat throughout the exhibit is from the Tesco Finest range, to celebrate its 20 year anniversary.
Each dish is expertly created to make the very most of your multi-sensory experience.
I certainly had no idea that their mushrooms were hand-foraged from the wild and was blown away by both the quality and complexity of flavours.
After the forest we found ourselves in the heady depths of Bangkok.
The chattering birds and wind in the trees replaced by a symphony of car horns and chattering stall holders.
Surrounded by a sea of flashing neon lights, we each took our places at a coloured podium.
Out of the darkness came steaming bowls of Thai Green Curry.
We placed our hands on our podium sensors and watched as the corresponding coloured lights took on the rhythm of our heartbeats. Once a steady beat had gotten going we took a bite of our curry and watched as they skipped and sped up, thanks to the intense flavours and gentle chilli kick.
Meanwhile your EEG headset monitors your brainwaves to track your enjoyment as it spikes and dips between mouthfuls.
How to top all of that excitement?
Trust Bompas & Parr to manage it.
What waits beyond the rainbow?
Not just any cheesecake, beautifully creamy, New York style baked cheesecake topped with an intoxicating mix of passionfruit coulis and hand dotted raspberries.
Best enjoyed beneath a rainbow that wafts a cloud of edible, rainbow flavoured steam around the room!
In short, Devour is some of Bompas & Parr’s most exciting work in years. It’s so impressive that Tesco Finest have chosen to support them as artists and create something so incredible for their customers.
The perfect way to celebrate 20 years of excellence. You can find more about the exhibition online here, each and every one of the Finest foodie offerings in Tesco stores or online (I heartily recommend starting your sensory feast with the cheesecake!)
I’m incredibly grateful to Tesco Finest for sponsoring this post and taking me back to my blogging roots! It happily reminded me of one of my favourite quotes…
Never grow up, it’s a trap!