The term experiential being applied to catering is relatively new so we looked ‘experiential’ up in Oxford Dictionaries and it defines as – involving or based on experience and observation. So experiential is nothing new to catering then but on investigation of Tonic’s experiential application on 19th January we discovered much is.
The Science Museum in London’s South Kensington welcomed over 300 event professionals to an evening of spectacle and discovery to launch its new spaces. We experienced three of the museum’s most stunning spaces – the Media Gallery, Mathematics gallery and Wonderlab, all in one evening. The invite was to witness the launch of Tonic’s new brand and its experiential catering and service concept.
We have already covered the launch itself in broad terms here, but this woman was there to try and better understand experiential catering, so I’ll concentrate from here on in on the food and drink.
The food and drink was being prepared for all to see and certainly was experiential as it was involving and certainly based on experience and observation. It was hard not to be engrossed by the cocktail team on duty as they looked like a rather motley group from a hammer horror film.
The chef brigade rustled up a very colourful and eye catching range of canapes including…
Beetroot Cured Salmon with Soy and honey, Watermelon and Goats Cheese, Crab and Wasabi on crackers. All three of these dishes worked with contrasting flavours that married well.
The next food offering allowed guests to use a thermal gun to find the hot and cold foods.
There was much to enjoy including Puffed Salmon Skin, Crispy Chicken Skin with Ceasar Dressing, BBQ Duck Doughnuts with Gravy, Cheddar Doughnuts with Cep Sugar, and my favourite the hazelnut cake with melted onion.
We were then treated to frozen lollipops that were frozen very quickly indeed in front of our eyes. Followed by, Green Apple and Tuna Katsuobushi, Seville Orange and Salted Duck skin, and White Chocolate and Winter Truffle.
Moving swiftly along we were introduced to floating puff pastries and the spherification counter. The puff pastries were melt in the mouth filled with either lobster butter, or fois gras mousse which was creamy and delectable. The puff pastries were followed with palate cleansers of gin and tonic spheres. The explosive textures and flavours did the palate cleansing perfectly and left me wanting more.
I finished the night at the make your own dessert bar enjoying taking a trip back to my childhood by simply enjoying the delights of the science museum itself.
So a big thank you to Tonic, Chef Dave Pigram, and all the Tonic team on the night, I enjoyed being involved, experiencing and observing experiential catering.
Restaurant Openings and Reviews Editor, Majella O’Connell