I have been keen to check out Banquet of Hoshena ever since it started making an appearance on my Instagram feed. To say that I was very intrigued by this immersive dining experience in London would be an understatement. Regular readers of my blog will know how big a fan I am of dining experiences (Jewel of The Empire, Bustronome, Underground Supperclub), so when the opportunity came to check it out via Love Pop Ups London, I was all for it.
Banquet of Hoshena is brought to us by the same team that had done several other world-class immersive dining experiences in London, including the very popular Dinner Time Story. The show has been produced in collaboration with multimedia British artists Davy & Kristen McGuire from Studio McGuire. It is held inside Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush, where they have temporarily converted and repurposed a retail space for the show.
Stepping inside, you do feel you have landed in the middle of a kitsch wedding banquet, with white cloths draped over tables and chairs, satin napkins, ornate mirrors and shimmering cutlery. But once the lights are fully dimmed, you start to feel that you have stepped into an alternative universe, perhaps something straight out of a fairy tale. This is the magical, enchanting, whimsical kingdom of Hoshena.
For the next two hours, the storyline unfolded through a spectacular display of 2D- and 3D-projection mapped images, levitating dishes, psychedelic lights, special effect smoke, sounds, scents and background narration. In the midst of all the theatrics, the staff quietly and deftly bring out course after course as you sit mesmerised, absorbing the storyline and taking in all the visualisations.
As part of the dining experience, you are treated to a five course menu. Without giving the plot away too much, each course relates to an emotion which is a key part of the storyline. You also have the choice to opt for cocktails and wines designed to match each course, carefully crafted by TT Liquor.
Some of the courses we tried were:
Amuse Bouche : Mushroom Croquette
ACT ONE – THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF TIME
Cocktail : Snapdragon | Sugar snap pea infused gin, yuzu liqueur and lime, served in a highball with fresh cucumber and topped with watermelon and cucumber soda
ACT TWO – FEAR
Starter : Lentil Soup | Sourdough Crostini (VG)
ACT THREE – ANGER
Entree : Chicken Burger | Charcoal Bun | Slaw | Sriracha Mayo
Entree (V) : Bean Burger | Charcoal bun | Slaw | Sriracha Sauce (VG)
Cocktail : Lunar Eclipse | Coconut rum, yoghurt liqueur, white chocolate and vanilla liqueur and lime, served in a frozen coupette with fresh blackberry
ACT FOUR – SADNESS AND HAPPINESS
Main Course : Grilled Salmon | Broccoli | Asian Rice
Wine: Riesling White Wine
ACT FIVE – LOVE
Dessert : Chocolate & Beetroot Torte | Desiccated coconut, salted caramel, chocolate and cardamom ice cream
Cocktail : Summer in Hoshena | Spiced and salted rum, banana liqueur and sweet vermouth, served on the rocks with a banana leaf and edible flowers
I am always concerned that, when it comes to experience-led dining, a lot gets invested into the production but the quality of the food suffers. Not here! Each course was not only delicious but the portion sizes were substantial as well. I particularly loved the ‘levitating’ mushroom croquettes which were savoury, earthy and full of delicious fungal notes. The chicken burger, arriving to a theme of flaming plates, was pretty delicious. The meat patty was soft and the inclusion of the charcoal bun instead of a regular one was a nice touch. There was also the option of a bean-based burger for vegans; in itself, the patty was delicious but needed a bit more sauce to moisten it.
Only the main course of the salmon felt a bit subdued and underwhelming compared to the other exciting courses. The menu is tweaked to cater to allergies and accommodate various dietary preferences, which is good to know.
The dessert was a real showstopper, not just in terms of presentation but also in flavour.
The experience is priced at £85 (or £110 with drinks), which at first glance does seem pricey. However, if you factor in a 3D-immersive show entwined with a five course meal, it put things into perspective.
This is definitely a one-of-a kind immersive dining experience in London that is best reserved to treat that someone special, to impress a date who likes things different or simply to enjoy a night out that is fun, quirky and somewhat out-of-the-box.
Banquet of Hoshena is a sensory, spectacular, exhilarating and visually brilliant production with food to match. After attending this immersive dining experience in London, normal dining is boring now!
Website : Banquet of Hoshena
Disclaimer: I was invited to review the above experience on behalf of Love Pop Ups London and my ticket was complimentary, but all photos, videos and opinions are mine.