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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

Chambers_ immersive dining experience — the review

Chambers_ by Gingerline

MaryAnn’s quick take…

An interactive story-driven culinary adventure that’s like being dropped into a Doctor Who–esque spacetime unknown. Weird, wonderful, sometimes unnerving. An intriguingly odd sensory odyssey.

A few months ago I told you about a new interactive, story-driven dining experience in London — like Secret Cinema but centered around food instead of movies — called The Grand Expedition. Recently I returned for a second immersive dining event from the same folks, Gingerline, and it was another absolute delight, and a real blast.

If The Grand Expedition was a bit like stepping into the middle of a Jules Verne–style adventure, Chambers_ — yes, with an underscore there at the end — is a bit like being swept up in an episode of Doctor Who and dropped into a spacetime unknown. Chambers_ leads you through an exploration of new realms… and because of that, as with Expedition, Chambers_ wants to catch you unawares: you do not want to know in advance what you are going to come up against. So I can do no more than tease and tantalize you, in order to protect as many of its weird and wonderful secrets as possible.

Chambers_ by Gingerline

Your last touchstone with Earth before you embark…

On the afternoon of your evening visit to Chambers_ — or the day before if you’re attending a matinee — you receive a text message giving you directions to the place where you will enter a “multi-dimensional dining portal” and begin your adventure. (I can reveal that the portal is in Hoxton, in east London. More than that I will not say.) I am authorized to tell you that after a welcome drink in the bar — a bar that I am also authorized to show you here — you then advance through multiple science-fictional spaces, where you encounter and interact with fascinating beings and nosh on deliciously unusual food. (You can also order additional drinks at the bar that will materialize along your journey.)

Chambers_ by Gingerline

Welcome drink, and a (useful?) map…

Chambers_ by Gingerline

The extradimensional portal awaits.

The food? Well, the images below are from a previous version of Chambers_ — Gingerline has produced multiple “Chambers of Flavour”s; this latest one is completely different from those — but they lend a feel of the intriguingly odd sensory odyssey — of smell and taste and sight, too — you will encounter:

Chambers_ by Gingerline

Yum? (I did not taste this.)

Chambers_ by Gingerline

Also very likely very yum…

You may rest assured that culinary thrills and astonishments are in the offing, not least because you will not know what you are ingesting as you consume it. (Accommodation can be made in advance for dietary requirements and allergies, of course.) Only afterward will you learn what you have been eating, and some of it may surprise you. Don’t worry: it’s not bugs or anything that outré! But each course will come with as much suspense and revelation as the strange domains in which you will devour them, and the creatures who will serve them to you.

Chambers_ isn’t like anything I’ve seen or done before… and that includes The Grand Expedition. The feeling of dislocation, untethered from Earth, was real; one realm was particularly unnerving to the point where I almost had a minor freakout… and I loved that. I would definitely go back for a second visit, but I’d much rather wait till the next Gingerline experience, which I fully expect will be something, well, completely unexpected.


The next batch of tickets for Chambers_ goes on sale on Monday, September 2nd, at noon BST. Go go go!

bar and drink photos by me; portal photo and food photos official publicity by, respectively, Rob Greig and Emma Nathan


see also:
The Grand Expedition immersive dining experience — the review


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reviews | stage buzz

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