While the chef may be little, thankfully the flavours are anything but. Le Petit Chef – In The Footsteps of Marco Polo is the Dinner Time Story’s latest pop-up dining experience and after successful launches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Belgium, it has finally come to London.
Taking place at TT Liquor in Shoreditch, the new dining concept prides itself on turning the dinner table into an art form.
Using cutting-edge 3D visual technology, the story is set along the famous Silk Road and guests are transported on a journey which starts in Marseilles and goes through Arabia, India, the Himalayas and China.
Upon entering, the room looks fairly standard with two long tables stretching the length of the room. But that’s where the comparisons to your usual restaurant end. In front of every spot there is a large grand book, which is accompanied by a bright spotlight beaming down on it from above. When everyone has taken their places and are settled, then the show begins.
The table comes alive right before your very eyes when Le Petit Chef introduces himself. The teeny-tiny Frenchman marches across the pages of the book to explain – in an amusing squeaky voice – that his countrymen don’t take him seriously so he is off on a culinary adventure of self-discovery.
He turns the pages to show a mapped descriptions of the places he intends to visit – and then craftily uses one of the pages to build himself a boat to sail across to his intended destinations.
The table is overtaken by a sea of blue choppy waves, accompanied by the relaxing sounds of waves, and then a treasure box is put in front all of the guests.
Inside, was an amuse bouche of truffle goat’s cheese and slow roasted tomato on a gruyere sesame and a tuna nicoise tartlet with a soft boiled quail egg – and it was all washed down very nicely with a gin-based paired cocktail called Le Chat Noir.
But we didn’t have too long to explore as we were soon off on our travels again. This time our table was covered with sand before being decorated with royal purple and gold as we arrive with Le Petit Chef in Arabia.
Our Arabic course consisted of five small bites, including a lamb tagine croquette and smoked aubergine caviar, which were served up alongside some fake miniature hookah pipes. It was accompanied by another gin-based cocktail called Magrabi TT.
For the rest of the two-hour experience, we travelled to India and tasted butter India chicken and flew over the ice-covered tops of the Himalayas with Le Petit Chef on the back of a small sparrow (yes, really) to eat a pink grapefruit and lychee sorbet amidst a fog of dry ice.
The main course is the only one where you have a choice – between miso cod, Szechuan tofu or caramelised honey and ginger duck – and we both opted for the cod, which was served with a nice glass of white wine.
Sadly, our whirlwind holiday had to come to an end. Le Petit Chef gave us a little recap of our travels before sending us packing after making up our creme brûlée on our plate (which was then delivered by the waiting staff a few seconds later).
For anyone looking for something a little bit more that a normal restaurant can offer, then this is definitely for you. A mixture of theatre, great food and interactivity makes this the perfect option for those looking to mark a special occasion. And it proves that the best things really do come in small packages.
* LE PETIT CHEF – IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARCO POLO at TT Liquor, 17B Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA
* Confirmed London dates to the end of February 2018. Tickets, priced at £95 are available at http://www.dinnertimestory.com/#shows. Further information and timings can be found on the website or by calling 020 3131 2793.