Hidden away in TT Liquor in Shoreditch, is Dinner Time Story London’s pop-up Le Petit Chef. The two hour immersive dining experience takes guests through the travels of Marco Polo along The Silk Road, through the eyes of an affable, tiny, high-pitched chef. Seating is communal and guests are presented with a large story book onto which visuals are projected from above, which makes for a great conversation starter and invites you to be as interactive as you’d like. Interest piqued? It’s already excited many tourists who are looking for something more adventurous than the typical sightseeing. But is Dinner Time Story London’s Le Petit Chef worth trying out for us locals?
The adult’s version of Tom Thumb that traverses across sea, desert and mountain, facing threats, eating food three times his size and befriending a sparrow presented in ‘3D’, makes for a heartwarming introduction to the various Asian cuisines ahead. The projections are atmospheric and set the scene – during the lychee lemongrass palette cleanser set in the snow-capped mountains, I was sure I felt much colder than before. The table setting during each of the themed courses were however, culturally reductive with the kinds of visuals and props you’d expect at a kid’s birthday party. Still, no real harm done – unless you’re an interior designer. One of the highlights of the experience was the little book given to the guests with each course, where the menu would be tucked into its hand scribbled pages. Flicking through the thoughts, feedback and messages from previous diners was a hilarious activity to bridge the time between canapé munching and the next mini adventure of Le Petit Chef.
“What canapés”, you ask? The dishes served throughout the first three courses, ranging across French, Arabian and Indian, can be best described as finger food. Their appeal really lies in presentation: the truffled goats cheese was the tastiest sample of them all and found in a mini treasure chest with a few tiny seashells thrown in, non-edible in case you were wondering.
So, where’s all the food, am I right? After the palette cleanser, Le Petit Chef takes us to China for our main course where black cod, caramelised duck or Sichuan tofu on fried rice is on offer. My first thought was: okay, it’s a pretty bold move to do Chinese food as the main event. My second: this tastes like business class airplane food. Is that positive or not? You can be the judge of that.
The sweets were much better, even though this made up just one course and I guess the palate cleanser too, if you want to stretch it. The fusion finale, a saffron, vanilla and cardamom creme brûlée tasted exactly as it sounds and was definitively the most refined plate. But the drinks. Oh, the drinks. If you go to this Dinner Time Story pop up, the cocktail pairings are what you’re really paying £95 for.
Whether or not you hold a strong preference for any particular type of liquor or flavour, the variety and complexity of many of the concoctions was what made the meal palatable.
The final verdict: cute for first dates, birthday parties or if you’re a complete virgin to Asian cuisine.