Banquet of Hoshena in Shepherd’s Bush: An immersive and surprising sensory explosion
Following a successful run with her previous culinary project Le Petit Chef, Dinner Time Stories visionary creator Nadine Beshir presents her second conceptual dining event, The Banquet of Hoshena, in a pop-up space in the atrium of Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush. The concept – this time delivered in collaboration with Studio Mcguire’s multimedia artists and various storytellers and composers – is an illusionary, immersive, five-course dining experience based on the magical make-believe city of Hoshena.
This fairytale story starts when the queen of the titular realm banishes all negative emotions and unfortunately mistakenly obliterates all the positive ones too. The inevitable journey to restore her lush kingdom plays out through five different acts, using 3D mapping and projections, storytelling and props with food and drink pairings that correlate with the narrative.
Presented with a welcome cocktail called The Empress, a zingy muddle of fruity lychee and fizzy prosecco, we are led to a dimly lit room with dining tables covered in simple white linen alongside smaller ones with white-lacquer mannequin heads and large ornate mirrors. Slowly the room comes to life as projections unfold. Colourful flowers and quirky talking faces appear on our plates. The mannequin head becomes the queen of Hoshena narrating the script whilst the mirror reveals moving images that retell the stories of the fallen kingdom.
We commence by opening a simple white ring box revealing a savoury-sweet macaroon and then the first act begins under an autumnal glow. A refreshing Snapdragon cocktail of pronounced cucumber flavours accompanies the next dish, comprised of earthy spheres of tasty mushroom arancini. The food arrives on levitating plates and crystal sundae bowls, a fabulous opening gimmick and an instant Instagrammable highlight.
Act two is based on fear and serves up a hearty dish of white chickpea broth. Unfortunately, the tasks for this course get a bit lost in the narration, but you can expect plenty of dry ice and some LED disco light effects. This leads to the next part, which dramatically portrays the emotion of anger. Fiery flames surround each diner’s plate and tasty charcoal bun sliders with fresh crunchy slaw and tender chargrilled chicken are eagerly devoured. With a well-seasoned vegan bean burger option, and some cute chilli condiment dishes that enable you to “add your own anger”, this section is executed with perfection and easily showcases the precision of the 3D projection mapping.
Next up is the main course, supposedly steeped in watery sadness. Generous flakey portions of salmon or a miniature vegetable pie sit atop a serving of celeriac mash with cucumber gazpacho resembling a lily pad. Tropical flowers start to glow on the table and as winged fairies dash over the dishes, we reach our final course: Love. Decadent chocolate and beetroot torte is topped with crunchy coconut whilst sickly streaks of salted caramel are diluted down by the icy taste of the chocolate and cardamon ice cream. Rose petals are scattered over the dish and a Summer in Hoshena spiced and salted rum cocktail with edible flowers signifies the final restoration of this beautiful imaginary kingdom.
Cleverly pulled together with originality, Banquet of Hoshena provides an evening of wonderment and unpredictable surprises. Sometimes the storytelling is a little bit childish and the audio can get lost amongst other sounds, but overall it’s a colourful sensory explosion that is fabulously stylish. Perfect for a small group or even an unusual, fun date night.
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Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at Banquet of Hoshena, Westfield Ariel Way London W12 7GF, call 075 1020 4003 or visit their website here.