Going out - Gingerline's The Grand Expedition

At 4pm on an unusually sunny February day, I receive a clandestine text message. Its contents is fairly cryptic; just the name of a tube station and a set of walking instructions to guide me towards the location of my fast approaching evening adventure.
Photo credit - Rob Greig
Gingerline’s latest immersive dining venture The Grand Expedition is shrouded in secrecy, but when I arrive at a rather shady looking carpark with a tentative friend in tow, I know immediately that we’ve come to the right place. We’re met by a small gathering of equally clueless fellow ticketholders, who are slowly but surely being ferried in to an unassuming warehouse building. I’m given a green wristband to dictate my vegetarianism (my friend, an omnivore, is given a different colour) and then we too are ushered inside.

Like stepping into Narnia, the drab outdoors melts away, and we’re welcomed warmly into a pastel coloured storybook world. A small but mighty team of hosts work with military precision to seat us and our awestruck fellow diners beneath a canopy of vintage hot air balloons, and then just like that we’re off on a grand expedition…
Photo credit - Rob Greig
Over the course of the evening, we traverse the world from the comfort of our seats, as a small army of gibberish waffling aeronauts entertain us with dancing, slapstick comedy and mime, and even a couple of silly games to get us out of our seats and mingling with our fellow adventurers. The performers, who double up as waiters, work tirelessly to preserve The Grand Expedition’s madcap foodie fun, and although their flying goggle sporting aeronautical adventurers do occasionally resort to cultural stereotypes in order to convey a sense of place, their committed performances are certainly worthy of plenty of praise.
Photo credit - Rob Greig
Interspersed with the fun and games, we sample 5 courses of delectable cross continental fodder, served up in increasingly kitschy ways. Our plates burst with flavour, whilst our surroundings shift and evolve, immersing us deeper into the expedition. We’re even called upon to do a bit of DIY food presentation at one point; serving up our own pelmeni dumplings on a bed of borscht ketchup. As a result, we’re soon chatting chummily with our fellow dining companions, as we’re whisked further and further from home.

Every mouth-watering course brings something new to the dining experience, with each plate building on the one that came before it, despite drawing on culinary influences from every corner of the world. From the quaint to the downright otherworldly, by the time we come down from our indulgent gastronomic high, our taste buds have clocked some serious air miles!