Waterloo is old stomping ground for me as the girl I shared a house with when I first moved to London knew all the good pubs down there (a solid basis for spending all my time there I think you’ll agree).
I was recently invited to the intriguing sounding An Evening of Meat at The Vaults, so thought, why not (as you know Mudsters, it’s only 45 minutes into St Pancras from Wellingborough and you have the whole of London to unearth)! The Vaults are set in a maze of disused railway arches under Waterloo station and is London’s home for immersive theatre and alternative arts, so I knew the evening would be, erm, interesting.
The dining experience is touted as a feast of femininity and combines performance with fine dining. The all-female creative collective, I AM, is lead by American director Kate March and together they have brought a unique mixture of choreography to make this a one-off experience (can’t say I’ve ever eaten with a semi naked lady practically sat on my plate).
We had a drink in the bar beforehand, and it was a very varied crowd, no set age or demographic by the looks of it, although I’m not sure there would have been may vegans : /
“The dancers explore various aspects of the on-all-fours position, such as vulnerability, strength, stability, sensuality, power, domestication, and unbridled wildness. In this exploration in femininity, the audience and performer build a unique relationship, and as the diner becomes part of the dancer’s struggle, screaming for her to stand up, she in turn destabilises their gaze and becomes more than just a piece of meat on the table.” Yup, that’s the score for the night!
It was an interesting evening, and I wasn’t altogether sure I properly got the whole vibe, but the food was delicious and it was certainly different having an erotic dancer planting herself next to my beef carpaccio! The 6-course menu included: A scoop of chicken liver – served in a savoury cone, spiced beetroot glaze and walnut crumb; Salt baked potato, yeast beurre noisette, crisp pancetta; Seared carpaccio of dry-aged tender beef – kohlrabi, haricot verts, puffed rice and a thai dressing; Braised mutton shoulder – sweet garden peas and spearmint, 14 day fermented black garlic mustard, dehydrated feta, pea shots and charred wild garlic; Melt in the mouth rare breed pig cheek oyster – with a side by side pairing of lentils, a gently spiced red dahl and herby Puy topped with citrus gremolata; 70% Guanaja chocolate and olive oil ganache, sesame ash, coconut bacon flakes and vanilla smoked salt (which came in what looked like an ahs tray). Veggie options are available too, but I guess An Evening of no Meat didn’t quite have the same ring to it (or indeed the same point)!
Proving women aren’t pieces of meat, by those very same women cavorting half dressed while owning themselves and what they do, isn’t a new concept, but these ladies did it with aplomb, and left me wondering if I hadn’t been too cautious with my choice of outfit that evening. Whatever people’s thoughts, it got me and my plus one talking, and on top of some delicious food and a very cool venue, I would call that a success!
An Evening of Meat runs until Saturday 2nd June and ticket prices range from £35-£60 and can be bought right here