Le Petit Chef in Shoreditch: An augmented reality dining experience
Walk into Burberry’s flagship Regent Street store, and glance at any label. You’ll find a QR code that, when scanned, will take you to an in-depth summary of that product’s specifications. For many items, there’ll also be styling tips, helping you pair it with something classic or suggesting a bit bolder. The line between the physical and digital worlds grows thinner with each passing day, and no industry is hastening this process more than AR. Augmented reality straddles two distinct worlds with an almost insidious charm; reshaping, enhancing and supplanting the world we see in front of us with something more, it offers potential rarely matched. Le Petit Chef is, for lack of a better term, an AR dining experience that begins to tap into this incredible well of possibilities.
Diners are invited to take their place at a long table, and a blank book is placed in front of them. Though nothing is written there, the story it will tell is a whimsical and thoroughly enjoyable. Through the power of projection, we follow the adventures of a tiny chef, as he embarks on a journey akin to Marco Polo’s.
From his beginning adrift in the ocean, to finally arriving in China for the main course, the journey is a visual treat. Each course arrives with its own snippet of story, themed music and a different scene projected onto the table top, as well as a selection of small dishes, which vary somewhat in quality. Of everything we eat, a tagine croquette is definitely the highlight. Tangles of meltingly tender meat, elevated by a spike of cumin, are utterly delicious. As is the opening cocktail, a bright mixture of gin, Lillet blanc, lime juice and tarragon.
Looking around the tables, we see as broad a mix as you’re likely to get. A small group of children, oohing and aahing at the sights in front of them. An older couple looking a little blown away by the whole thing. A group of tourists that react to each course with eager gasps. A couple that have travelled into London especially to be here. They’re far from the only ones: a brilliant touch is that each time Le Petit Chef has stopped off in a different city, it’s asked people to fill in a little book with their comments.
Ranging from glowing reviews, to bemusement to some truly hilarious little chains of comments that span continents, there’s a singular mood of happiness and excitement. Everyone seems charmed with what’s on offer.
A few focus on the food, but really his sort of event is less a meal than it is an experience. As an experience it excels in delivering two solid hours of whimsy and light-hearted fun that will no doubt delight young and old.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Daniel Masters
To book a table at Le Petit Chef, TT Liquor 17B Kingsland Road London E2 8AA, call 020 3131 2793 or visit their website here.