An immersive dining experience was something I had heard so much about but had yet to try and so when an opportunity arose to try Le Petit Chef, by Dinner Time Story, and created by Nadine Beshir, in my hometown of London, I was super excited. After a successful run in other countries such as Dubai and Berlin, this unique dining concept has popped up in London until August 2018.
It tells the story of Le Petit Chef, a tiny animated chef and is set along the famous Silk Road, with the experience taking dinner guests on an intrepid historical journey from Marseilles in France all the way to the souks of Arabia, followed by India, the snowy Himalayas and finally concluding the journey in China, all using cutting edge 3D visual technology and effective storytelling. The whole experience lasts 2 hours.
We arrived at TT Liquor in Shoreditch, not really knowing what to expect. It did not look like a venue that had such a fabulous event space, more like a bar, but it did have a fantastic space upstairs that was perfect for this and so don’t judge a book by its cover! There are two sittings, one at 7pm and one at 9pm, and it runs on Wednesdays and Fridays and we had chosen a 9pm sitting on a Friday night. We were all seated on a long communal table and presented with a story book each, which was set in front of us in symmetrical fashion.
The lights soon dimmed and the show began, displayed on the open pages of our book, with Le Petit Chef starting his bold journey around the world, with the first destination we arrive at being Arabia.
In total, there are six courses, each one representing different parts of the Silk Road. Without giving too much away so that you too can enjoy the experience to the fullest, there was a variety of dishes, starting with an Amuse Bouche of truffle goat’s cheese and roasted tomatoes on a gruyere sesame seed biscuit and served with a sweet tomato chutney as well as a Tuna Niçoise Tartlet accompanied with a soft boiled quail egg.
Then followed several Arabic Mezze dishes, served in a gorgeous box, followed by Indian dishes beautifully presented on a tray, and a pink grapefruit and lychee sorbet served with theatrical flair,as our palate cleanser. It is set on dry ice and you are told to pour liquid around it, creating a mist around the sorbet. This was so much fun and a great way to have an “ice breaker’ between the courses.
You get to choose your main course in advance, and I had picked Szechuan Tofu whilst Amit had chosen Caramelised honey and ginger duck. The third option was Miso Cod. You aren’t told what the other dishes are prior to booking, which adds to the element of surprise. Both were really lovely.
Each course comes with a cocktail pairing or wine, depending on the course, which is all included in the price. My favourite cocktail of the evening was a pineapple and mango cobbler, a blend of Vermouth Bianco, Kaffir lime, lemon, pineapple and mango juice. It was served with the Indian course and was so refreshing.
Dessert was the highlight, as at this point of the dining experience Le Petit Chef makes the dessert in front of you on your plate which was really exciting to see. Our dessert was a Saffron and cardamom rice pudding with a crunchy crust, and it was delicious.
This was a really great experience from start to end, and definitely something I would do again. You do get engrossed into the story during the evening and the animations are amazing, and you feel like you are really going on a journey between each course, seeing birds, dragons and changes in terrains along the way. The food comes perfectly on time, with changes of themed table accessories, and at the point it should do during the story and the staff were excellent and attentive, enhancing the smooth experience.
One fun aspect was that we were given tiny journals in case we wanted to make any notes, and it was hilarious reading some of the comments made by previous diners.
It makes for an entertaining evening, and although the tickets are on the dearer side at £95 per ticket, it is a unique dining experience, where you get six courses and six paired drinks each, and I suggest it for a different type of night out which you could try for a special occasion or a date night in lieu of a Michelin Star meal, which would cost around the same.
It was unlike anything I had experienced before and I would definitely recommend it for the quirky factor, the immense creativity that has gone into it behind the scenes, the perfect synchronisation and the innovativeness of the concept. Everything from the music played, the table patterns displayed, the various props, ingredients, flavours and decoration really enhanced the whole experience.
You can find out more on their website as well as buy tickets for upcoming sittings.
Disclaimer: My dinner was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.