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The rise of the pop-up restaurant


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24th June 2016

Pop-ups have come a long way since the days of food trucks in disused warehouses.

The excitement of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ has led to the concept seeing monumental success, and as a result, restaurants and chefs alike are seizing the opportunity to get a piece of the action. Thanks to the uptake of the trend by critically acclaimed chefs, we are now seeing a more high-end temporary pop-up emerge, where well-heeled professionals flock in their droves to sample some of the finest cuisine, for a limited time only.

Foodies are now spoilt for choice, as there seems to be an endless stream of glossier, more refined pop-ups appearing across the UK. London has been the central point of high-end pop-up activity, with a number of famous restaurants and chefs from across the globe bringing their talents to the capital. Currently, Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor restaurant is playing host to San Pellegrino’s ‘Live in Italian’ pop-up, where for a few short weeks, a selection of top chefs from restaurants such as The Westbury and Dabbous will be serving up their gourmet take on classic Italian meals.

The ‘posh-up’ as it is becoming known, takes many forms. Not restricted to temporary appearances at classic venues such as hotels, there are a number of supperclubs appearing. Grub Club and Disappearing Dining Club are some of the now many organisations that are creating one-off dining events in interesting venues such as lighthouses, laundrettes, churches, galleries, rooftops and much more.
One of the main attractions of these dining clubs is the sociable quality they hold; something that is often lacking in normal restaurants. Seated at communal tables, guests can mingle over delectable dishes and fine wines or creative cocktails. The allure of supperclubs is so potent that diners will often stay for hours, chatting away and relishing in their food comas. Not only are these events a great way to meet like-minded people, but they can make for a highly enjoyable night out.

The Sybarite recently spoke to private chef turned supperclub host Blo Deady, who said that the attraction of supperclubs is down to the fact that they are “as intimate as a dinner party without the formality or fuss of a restaurant”.

One particular champion of this relaxed, sociable dining experience is ‘That Hungry Chef’; a series of dinner parties hosted by legendary Michelin-starred chef, Pratap Chahal, and his wife in their home. These events are highly in demand, and it’s no wonder; Chahal has cooked at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, Chez Bruce, Cinnamon Club and Galvin Bistrot, amongst other famous foodie hotspots.

If sit-down dining is feeling a bit passe, there are several supperclubs that are willing to spice up the whole experience. Wild Brunch Club invites its guests to hunt down their menu’s ingredients in London’s woods (don’t worry, you’ll be accompanied by a professional forager, rather than having to fend for yourself completely), followed by a gin masterclass.

Thanks to this continual success, there’s no doubt that the pop-up restaurant concept, unlike its name suggests, will be around for quite a while. Watch this space!

By Aimee Phillips

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