Bread rolls dangle from the ceiling by string like chubby prisoners. Earplugs and a blindfold sit cross legged on tables wait for something to happen and in the spot where an innocent old fork might once have been is a syringe filled with a yellowing fluid.
Such quirky delights can be found at House Of Wolf, the new experimental dining experience on Upper St, where the menu and chef change each month. The last 4 weeks have been headed up by food artist Caroline Hobkinson, who produced an edible assault course designed to challenge the senses. Blindfold on… hands behind back…
Can you taste the sound? Can you hear the texture? Can you see the smell?
Can you, err, get some freshly baked bread please?
Stale bakes may be fashionable, but after chasing a pendulous bread roll for twenty minutes like a blind yorkshire terrier, when you catch it you don’t expect to nearly lose all your teeth.
Shortly after the weird bread moment, there’s a sharp whiff of Rosemary – always pleasant – followed by a goat’s cheese smothered cracker which, thank god, is placed in the palm first so you can, you know, eat it. You can taste rosemary which is interesting because there’s no rosemary on the cracker. Sensory element – check.
The evening improves markedly as a small plate of salmon sashimi arrives, only to be destroyed seconds later when we’re instructed to inject it with whisky. Now I’m sucking wincingly on the ghost of a perfectly good plate of raw fish. Why is this happening? I ask myself. I miss old eating.
A palate cleanser arrives and, ooh, I recognise an old friend. It’s a spoon. I suck the spoon affectionately but – agh – to my horror it’s been doused in salt?!? I’m wilting. Water is poured into a vessel marginally bigger than a shot glass. Why so small?
Two plates of deliciously rare venison arrive. What’s the catch? I ask searchingly. Do we have to eat it through a straw telekinetically? Maybe we got away with it, says my partner. Then our waitress arrives with a couple of branches. Not twigs. Branches. The ends of which have been carved into forks. Not actual forks but miniature tridons really to remind us of, you know, caveman times. Only I can’t get Zeus out my head.
Ahhhhh, I nod, as it becomes increasingly apparent that the diner’s enjoyment comes a risky second at this ere establishment. I can’t pick the meat up. Neither can partner. Hands happen.
The final course is sort of a hit. Chocolate brownie lollipops which if we dial the special telephone number on the menu, depending on which sound option we choose, the chocolate tastes sweet or bitter.
At £45 a head, the experience is like an expensive day at a lab, and when Heston’s doing it so well – transient projects like this fall drastically foul.
There are more pop ups to follow at this three-story lair though so keep your eyes peeled for other collaborations.
House Of Wolf is at 181 Upper Street, N1 1RQ
original pics from Lost And Found In London