Disconnect from the internet for a one-off Italian food and gin dinner at the Standard Hotel
Newly launched gin Villa Ascenti is holding a special evening on the 26th of October with author and activist Naomi Shimada. The ticketed event, featuring dinner and drinks, encourages guests to digitally disconnect and spend an evening fully present in the moment. As Shimada notes in her introduction, our phones have been designed to be as addictive as possible: “Our attention is a commodity.” It is refreshing to be invited to lock up the pocket tyrants for a few hours, as everyone puts them in a box at the end of their table.
Villa Ascenti brand ambassador Jack Sotti has created a drinks menu to show off the gin’s flavour profile. Master distiller Lorenzo Rosso’s creation, from Italy’s Piemonte region, evokes the sensual lushness of its home. The gin has notes of basil, mint, bergamot, yarrow and elderflower in concert with the requisite juniper. Four punchy cocktails are included in the ticket price. Prosecco with gin; the Piedemonte Terroir (Villa Ascenti, green cordial of basil, coriander, mint, lime, and cucumber with soda); the feisty Festa Martinez (Villa Ascenti, Belsazar rosé, olive brine, chilli bitters finished with a disc of olive oil suspended in the liquid); and the delectable Latte e Miele (Villa Ascenti, clarified milk punch, tart raspberry, jersey whey, organic lime honey, lime leaf and peppermint). Sotti whittles each of the giant ice cubes in the latter drink by hand, and they languish in the glasses like miniature icebergs.
The bespoke cocktails are paired with a four-course menu from the hotel’s head chef Adam Rawson. The dishes have been selected to reflect the gin’s home. To start, large chunks of marinated tomato studded with basil and garlic are simple but beautiful, whilst the creamy burrata with pickled dill is unctuous. Homemade sourdough mops up the tomatoes’ flavoursome jus. The second course is ceviche (with a vegan option available) and kohlrabi bagna cuada. The main course is succulent chicken, caramelised to perfection, and a Jerusalem artichoke grain risotto with garlic miso for the veggies. The vegetarian dessert is a fresh and modern yoghurt meringue with Amarillo peach and herb granita.
To capture the evening, Polaroid cameras are provided to each guest, which is a fun touch. There is a thrill in using the old-school devices, which churn out instant Insta-hued physical photos. The evening is punctuated by the powerful flashes, and seeing the images emerge in front of you is exciting.
The event will be held at the Standard Hotel, opposite St Pancras station. This is the first branch of the Standard chain to open outside America, and the upside-down sign at the entrance signifies that this experience will be anything but. Housed in the meticulously restored Brutalist former Camden Town Hall, the hotel’s interior by Archer Humphryes is seriously sumptuous. Its Bauhaus-inspired design makes for a striking and modern space, with a cosy library and the beautiful Isla restaurant and terrace whose immaculately dressed tables are home for the evening. All in all, the Disconnection Dinner is a slick and nostalgic experience that is not to be missed.
The Disconnection Dinner will take place on Saturday 26th October at the Standard Hotel. Tickets are available here.