Remember the 2017 Le Petit Chef pop-up? That was the work of Dinner Time Story and their devotion to taking your dinner to the next level, via projectors, speakers and a whole lot of technical razzledazzle.
After taking that show on tour, they’re back with the world premiere of Banquet of Hoshena — new venue, new narrative, but the same projector-led hi-tech flamboyance.
This time the dinner’s led by the Queen of Hoshena, a white bust animated by the same projectors and speakers that make our plates talk, make our burgers sprout flames and make the table pulse with veins of electricity.
Either our opening snack (little tamarind macaron, favourite food of the evening) was spiked with a little something-something psychedelic, or these guys are doing some stunningly realised — and extremely trippy — things on the technical side.
It’s not all projectors though. Colour-changing drinks, temperature-controlled (we think?) LED cubes going multicoloured-loco in our lentil soup. Croquettes arrive on a gently spinning plate that hangs in magnetic suspension above our table. That one’s a winner, actually: the disco soup we could take or leave, but from now on if a canapé doesn’t arrive whirling on a plate suspended in mid-air with some hidden but potent magnets, it’s dead to us.
So this is visually amazing. The story and the food can’t quite level up to that, with some good-to-okay dishes across the five courses: that brilliant little macaron, just-okay chicken burger, nice and punchily beetrooty dessert. The matched drinks tend towards heavily sweet, including some medicinally syrupy rum cocktails that we can’t get through for the kids’ Calpol flashbacks.
And the story, structuring the evening — it’s a mesh of high production values and cartoony, hyperkitsch storytelling. It’s camped-up, fun and looks fantastic, but could do with more flesh on its bones to hook the imagination for a two-hour dinner — this is more fantasy-lite (some winged fairies, an angry volcano, some morals about the importance of letting yourself be emosh) than meaty saga.
Like the cocktails, the supperclub’s on the saccharine side. But like the plate of floating canapés, there’s also so much lavish attention to detail and technical wizardry that it still often dazzles.
Banquet of Hoshena by Dinnertime Story runs till 7 August 2019 at Westfield Shepherds Bush and moves to TT Liquor from 8 August. Tickets start at £85.
Banquet of Hoshena, Westfield, Ariel Way, W12 7GF.