Yesterday we had our last chance to rub elbows with celebrities and royalty alike, at the pop-up dining experience, “The Minotaur”, by Pret a Diner. Pret a Diner is an exciting pop-up dining experience, combining art, entertainment, luxury & gourmet food. Each venue and experience is completely new and difference.
Previously, only popping up in Germany, they’ve finally graced London with their presence this October 10th – 25th, and one extra day at the bar. London’s hot spot was in the Old Vic tunnels, and you would never believe the spectacular transformation from drab to très chic!
Immediately selling out the invite-only tickets on the first day, it was possible to get on the waiting list, or better yet know someone. Someone good. If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket at the
fantastic price of £75, you were treated to a special pop-up exhibition, along with a 3-course, luscious Michelin dining experience.
We were told to promptly arrive 30 minutes prior to our 7 o’clock reservation, lest our much desired seats be given up. The “Old Vic tunnels” is quite an unusual address and so we meandered through the streets, finally finding the inconspicuous signs pointing “The Minotaur” entrance. I must say, it felt exhilarating to be a part of this exclusive experience and the difficulty in locating the place made it feel even more secretive and unique.
Coming out of the cold night air, we were immediately hit with an underground stream of warmness and could hear the bass thumping from the music system inside. We were then led through the tunnels, amazingly transformed and outfitted with strange and fascinating art installations. Playful shadows and lighting followed our steps as we were just taken aback by each artist’s interpretation of the mythical Minotaur.
One of the most beautiful and serene installations, took us into a dark room with a large projection of moving light, overlooking a reflective surface. No longer did you feel like you were anywhere, but pure heaven, with the tranquil music of what sounded like angels singing.
After moving through the whimsical pieces, we were led to the lounge-bar. The finest members of society were dressed to the nines, sipping champagne and various other fanciful concoctions of colorful drinks. We heard Madonna was there the last night, but with the red, pulsating, warm lighting, we only had eyes for each other.
Soon we were seated at a long table filled with peculiar, mismatched cups and utensils, à la Alice in Wonderland. Beauteous crystalized plants and flowers were set under domes of glass for a timeless capture of the ephemeral. The natural condensation underneath the glass created a perfect arrangement for our lovely dinner. Cages hung from the ceiling capturing our favorite creature of flight, champagne bottles from the sponsor, Veuve Clicquot.
After taking in all this beauty and rich experience, we assumed that would be enough sustenance, but then the menus arrived. First course was sashimi, which was light, fresh and a perfect started to clear the palate. Yuzu and a light soy sauce complemented the fish well.
The second course was a gorgeous plate of sushi, and living in Tokyo for 11 years, I’ve had yet to have any sushi outside of it come even close to authentic. Pret a Diner certainly has its “umami” in check, for the sushi didn’t make me sick, but homesick. Delicious!
For the main course, a beautiful beef filet with an emulsion of green vegetables, garlic and crisp mushrooms. Remarkably, one of the best filets you could ever dream for and a true Michelin dining experience. We skipped the delectable looking dessert since we like to keep our figures in check for the next haute soirée!
Finally, to our delight, we were able to play “The Minotaur”, by exiting the tunnels through an elaborate labyrinth.
The next Pret a Diner is by invite-only, in Berlin. While we have no problem hopping over to the old wall, we can’t wait till they come back to London!
Heather Russell is the CEO Rinkya Inc.