'The Lost Gardens of Gingerline' 2015 / Dining Experience

Back in February, I experienced the fabulous dining experience Gingerline which if you don't know, creates the most unique themed dining events based around a secret. The theme and location is not revealed until the evening, however you are given clues to dress accordingly. I've wanted to go to a Gingerline event for quite a while and couldn't miss the chance to get a ticket this time round! Tickets for Gingerline Jubilee cost £60, quite reasonable when you are receiving a a gourmet four course dinner, a full on themed event and a cocktail on arrival.

The dress code clue I received in my email was 'pastels'and decided to go full on head to toe in pastels! Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of my pastel outfit; which consisted of a lemon fluffly turtle neck, pink and grey checked smart trousers and baby pink and holographic brogues. I actually looked like a golfer in my checked pants haha.

On the evening of the event, you must wait above ground at any station on the Jubilee line in London to receive instructions on the night ahead. I waited with Nathan in Pret outside London Bridge station until 6pm when the phone buzzed with instructions and a location! Luckily we were already at London Bridge so we followed the instructions until we found the V2 bomb. It took us a while to find the butterfly insignia, but when we did we whispered 'I believe in Lionel' which led us to our next check point, then on to the dining location.

Walking through a back door off an alley way which seemed to lead to a house, I entered the building and was pleasantly surprised to find out the theme of the evening. Me and Nathan have been guessing for months what the theme could be and we guessed correctly! The Lost Gardens of Gingerline was an exciting theme with the warehouse decked out fully in to a garden party. Actors welcomed us with their 'well spoken' accents and full pastel get up, handing out glasses and pouring cocktails from a watering can.

The Lost Gardens of Gingerline was made up of five sections of dining areas, each within a different part of the garden. We were seated upstairs in the 'Tree house' next to the window, where we could see other dining sections of the garden. We were sat on a table with four other diners who made the evening as wonderful as the event.

Once we were seated and settled, the lights went out and a voice boomed welcoming us formally to the Gingerline Jubilee Gardens. We were given a fictional back story on the history of the gardens and the family who once owned this wonderful garden.

Picnic basket full of suprises

First up on the menu was a 'picnic basket full of surprises', this consisted of salmon and mustard ice cream with pickled dill, caramelised onion muffins with thyme icing and bags of spiced popcorn. The picnic basket of starters were a great idea for the garden theme and the food was delicious! I adored the savoury flavours in the unusual setting of sweet foods. The caramelised onion muffin was my favourite as the thyme icing gave the muffin a small powerful punch. I could eat one of those muffins right now!

Salmon & mustard ice cream with pickled dill
Spiced popcorn

The salmon and mustard ice cream had a smooth consistency, just like a mousse in a cone topped with dill, probably my least favourite of the three but still good. The spiced popcorn was the perfect snack, especially if you like the flavoured varieties by companies such as as Propercorn.

Caramelised onion muffin with thyme icing

After the picnic basket, the lights dimmed and we were introduced to our next course. Next up we received a second course of Boating Pond Soup. This course was intriguing as it consisted of iron bark pumpkin veloute, with smoked haddock, parmesan and curry caramel oil. The flavours in this soup dish were rich with wonderful chunks of the smoked haddock and small powerful blobs of the oil, carrying the distinctive taste of both caramel and curry. I could have easily eaten another bowl.

Boating Pond Soup

Throughout the evening I dropped quotes and sayings to the staff, which were stated on the Gingerline Facebook page. These were secret codes that could reveal hidden things. Disappointingly nothing came of anything I asked, although I followed this up twice with the same waitress. I feel that I was let down a little bit by this; as on the next table an actor was presenting pots of honey to the diners, something that was not presented to anyone else so it must have worked for them. Oh well there's always next time!

Winter garden vegetable duck ragout

I eagerly anticipated the main course and was not disappointed when it arrived! Winter garden vegetable and duck ragout, with citrus and carrot purée, confit turnip, toasted almonds, roast potatoes and a trio of flavoured salts. The food was literally as good as it sounds! I've never tasted duck so tender and delicious, it was almost like flakes. Not being a big meat eater (yes I love burgers, but I mean actual slices of meat) I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the duck. The winner on the plate however, was the excellently paired citrus and carrot purée. Fresh and zingy, the purée complimented the duck well.

Just before the main course arrived, a trio of salts were presented to us along with an explanation behind this from the actor. Each salt contained a different flavour: citrus, (aniseed and seseme seed / poppy seed?). The salts were to compliment the main course, sprinkling a little of each to enhance the flavour. I avoided the aniseed and enjoyed the citrus salt the best, which made the vegetables taste even better than they did already.

After the main course, we explored the rest of the garden, stumbling upon wishing wells and bee hives as our feet crunched on the pebbled gravel beneath our feet. A nice touch, along with the overgrown plants that covered the walls and coloured lights that created a magical atmosphere. The toilet was an experience within itself, as a recorded radio broadcast of the Chelsea Garden show (I think?) entertained me whilst using the loo.

We were treated to a performance from the actors just before our main course arrived, a mini ceremony that welcomed our feathered friends the ducks. We squawked and flapped our arms like birds, which was quite fun! Our dessert promptly arrived afterwards, which was probably my favourite course as I have such a sweet tooth! The Bee Tamer course consisted of: burnt honey parfait, poached pear, butterscotch granola and honey syrup cake. I adore honey so I was absolutely loving this dessert course! Every bite of each element of this course tasted like heaven. The honey was prominent throughout, with added extras like the slight burnt taste of the parfait, the crunch and toffee taste of the granola and the firm texture and juiciness of the pear. I will be trying to recreate this at home!

We carried on drinking after dinner and were surprised to realise our table was the last left in the building! As we were paying I had the pleasure to meet Susannah Mountfort, the co-creator of Gingerline who was lovely and friendly.

Overall I can't recommend Gingerline enough, I will be booking to experience future events and look forward to the next one. Anyone who loves dining on gourmet food with exciting flavour combinations, unusual settings, fun atmosphere and exciting cocktail options would love Gingerline. It's definitely not for the boring among us.

We have Susannah Mountfort and Kerry Adamson to thank for such a wonderful evening! Not forgetting all the people who collaborated with Gingerline to make this experience unforgettable.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Gingerline event, it's too much fun not to attend! For more information check out the website, where you can also see photos of past events.

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