If you haven’t been living off the grid, you are familiar with people’s favourite shopping temple for big labels and small prices. The latest TK Maxx campaign of Ridiculous Possibilities opens up the door to a whole new adventure, inspiring not only your sense of sight and touch but smell and taste too.
Cue Gizzi Erskine, the ridiculously talented British chef, food writer and dynamic TV personality. The queen of pop-up food scene partnered with the high street shop to launch #DuvetDining, a series of one-day exclusive pop-up dining experiences, to bring to life the new campaign, embracing an unpredictable shopping experience each time you step in-store.
The first event kicked off in London, in the loft of a charming Shoreditch venue aptly called The Loft. Keeping up with the campaign theme of ‘expect the unexpected’, Gizzi created a bespoke 7-course meal tasting menu, throwing the cooking rulebook right out of the window and turning the dining tradition on its head.
As the phrase Duvet Dining helpfully suggests, expect to be led into an incredibly inviting and cosy looking duvet fort, built like a spacious tent from various patterned sheets and furnished with the cosiest looking eiderdowns, chic linen and colourful cushions spread around the low dining tables.
It takes time to take it all in, once you casually flop down on your chosen cushion or duvet to sit on. The bunting above our heads, the dining tables brimming with some unlikely items to be found on a dining table, like wellies with Prosecco bottles inside them, and a giant TV screen showing cult movies like Little Miss Sunshine or the way-back-in-time The Breakfast Club, on mute. Ambient music softly compliments the hubbub of the intrigued and hungry guests.
Whilst sipping a refreshing cocktail made of prosecco, ginger ale, lime, pomegranate and basil from a jar, the waiters start fussing around us with the cutest tea pot set crockery, different design style for each guest.
However, it was not a traditional tea we were served. The delicate teapot contained a cold tomato consommé ‘tea’ which you poured onto the tiniest star-shaped vegetables in your tea cup. Upon the first sip the tasting buds just kept on discovering further flavours, hidden within the dish. We excitedly compared out loud any new flavours detected upon each sip, like a bunch of school children.
The following few hours was filled with plenty of never-ending ‘nom-nom’, ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ dining pleasure sounds. Goats mousse with baby veg patch is followed by a tray of charred sourdough slices with a cherry-shaped ‘meat fruit’ pâté on top, with edible japanese cherry blossoms scattered around them. Gizzi named Heston Blumenthal’s own ‘mandarin meat fruit and chicken liver parfait’ creation as her inspiration behind this dish.
The seriously meaty part of the tasting menu came in the form of flavoursome and spicy Korean fried chicken accompanied by crispy tuna rice nigiri. Gizzi introduced each dish prior to us polishing it off, and offered helpful tips like ‘mercilessly squish the crispy tuna rice between your fingers, dip in the soy sauce and pop into mouth’. By this point, the cutlery was long forgotten.
The last two parts of this ridiculously tasty and deceptive dining experience are playing on your sweet tooth. Egg crème brulee was served in an egg shell, in an egg cup, on top of a retro saucer. And last but not least, Golden beetroot and blood orange jellies, tricking you with colour that doesn’t match the flavour.
Leaving this duvet fortress was harder than I thought and I was contemplating to hide in the duvets. Grabbing a gorgeous diary book given to each guest, I’ve shuffled out of this glamping tent in a dizzying post-food bliss.
- The TK Maxx pop-up #DuvetDining event celebrating Ridiculous Possibilities campaign will roll out regionally in Belfast later in May and in Edinburgh in early June. For more information visit Facebook.com/TKMaxx