MI1020: Gingerline’s Latest Adventure Dining Experience
Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Monday, December 23rd, 2013
What happens when you combine a pop-up restaurant and high-tech gadgets with an immersive theater event? Some lucky residents of London found out in early December. The MI1020 experience was a four night long bespoke event put together by Gingerline, an innovative group known for creating what’s been called “secret cinema dining.” The whole initiative was done in partnership with Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone, which provided the tech gear used during the evening.
Pop-up restaurants aren’t a new concept. They are often a low cost way for rising culinary talent to show off their cooking chops or under the radar venues for exotic meat enthusiasts. But what MI1020 and Gingerline created was different: it elevated the idea of the pop-up restaurant into adventure dining.
Gingerline was founded in 2010 by Suz Mountfort and Kerry Adamson, to create pop-up dining experiences with a twist. The twist was simple: integrate great cuisine with an atmosphere full of mystery, delicious food, performance and art. Guests walk into experiences that are largely an unknown. Instead of getting the event details in advance, participants are given a stop from the London subway sixty minutes before the event begins and from there the experience unfolds.
Typical Gingerline pop-up events sell out months in advance. This time the general public had a better shot at a seat at the table. The group released a trailer on YouTube and used social media to entice visitors to participate. Partnerships with numerous publications also helped people compete for a ticket.
Spy references were the central theme of the event. Guests were asked to use their sleuthing skills and the Lumia’s high def camera to uncover various mysteries throughout the evening. Each guest was essentially James (or Jane) Bond, completing a series of tasks. As the night continued, each success was rewarded with parts of a four course dinner and upscale liquor tasting.
The evening was guided by a story where participants worked to defeat the evil Syndicate. They were taken to an advanced Research and Tasting facility for training. As they moved through the streets of the event’s East London setting, they completed mini photographic missions. Eventually, they uncovered the door that opened the way to their dinner. A Spy Master oversaw the events, and the guests uncovered evil Syndicate agents in their midst before enjoying celebratory cigars and brandy. The serving staff and actors never broke character. The menu alone was an experience, moving from lobster to venison and a dessert described as “festive chocolate cigar with brandy ice-cream, white chocolate truffles and raspberry ginger coulis.”
For foodies and people looking to explore a different approach to dining, Gingerline’s events offer a unique perspective on what’s possible. Combining immersive dinner theater with active mysteries, storylines, new settings, and gourmet cuisine is something themed dining designers should consider. We’re excited to see how the trend of adventure dining continues, and whether we’ll see this style emerging in other cities like Austin, New Orleans, and San Francisco where pop-up dining is already a rising trend.