His food is beautiful, ambitious and clever and he wants to take the eating experience to the next intellectual level. And why wouldn’t he?
If you track the eye patterns of an addict they will be drawn to things that relate to their addiction, I exhibit similar behaviour when I come across a pop up restaurants on twitter.
So like a skittish cat on a shiny paper ball, I was all over conceptual gastronomy outfit (yes really) Kitchen Theory’s announcement of a synaesthesia dinner. This was to be a multi-sensory part psychology, part neurology seven course pop-up designed to unlock your inner synaesthete, and if you haven’t got one chef Josef Youssef will whip you one up. Sounds ker-azy? Let me explain – synaesthesia is present when stimulation of one sense provokes the sensation of another.
Got it? Don’t worry. All you have to do is sit down, and relax. Four perfect spheres are placed in front of you – green, maroon, shiny white and bronze – it’s up to you to put them in order of salty, bitter, sour and sweet before biting in to them, and in doing so revealing your capacity for relating words to colours.
Do words have shapes? A plate is served broken immaculately in to two halves one of which is Bouba, one of which is Kiki – you just decide which shapes match which word.
You’re instructed to touch soft fabrics to bring out the sweeter tastes of a dish, to rub rougher textures to sharpen them. And all the time reflecting if extra sensory experiences heighten taste? How could it not, you’re stroking velvet, eating perfectly executed food with exactly the right soundtrack in the background, and being invited to think, indulge, enjoy. When did you last give food such attention, and doesn’t it sometimes deserve exactly that?
Neuro-gastronomer Professor Charles Spence (winner of the Ignobel Prize for establishing soft crisps taste crunchy you hear an audible crunch) has provided the science behind this dinner and in doing so has given magic to Josef’s alchemy, he even appears on the screens before each course to explain the science.
If we’re now all about the experiential, this pop-up is ahead of the spherification caviar curve, because this is adding rich, textural and enjoyable scientific content to an already highly indulgent experience.
This is not so much a pop up dinner but a pop up performance in which you take centre stage and come away with so much more than an experience.
Go while you can, it’s rare to find style and substance.
For more info and how to book: kitchen-theory.com
Another fabulous post by Best Bits London Co-Editor, Helen Bagnall, co-founder of Salon London.