Nicola Slawson checks out a new pop-up restaurant experience offering vegan fine dining
A menu of entirely raw food and an orchestra with instruments made entirely of vegetables… This was no ordinary night out.
Asparagasm is a pop-up vegan dining experience. Working in conjunction with events company, Disappearing Dining Club, founder Kate Lewis created the concept after visiting too many restaurants where she couldn’t find anything she wanted to eat. This definitely isn’t a concern at Asparagasm, where diners are treated to a 5-course meal from some of the UK’s best vegan chefs, plus entertainment and an ethical drinks menu.
Although not vegan myself, I brought along my vegan friend for an expert opinion. For both of us it was our first experience of raw food luxury dining. The raw food diet is based on the belief that we get the most benefit from food when it’s not cooked, so food is either eaten completely unheated or cooked at temperatures below 46˚C. The menu at Asparagasm is created by well-known raw food advocate and chef, Kate Magic, who has an almost cult-like following in the raw and vegan food world, so our expectations were high.
After a warm welcome at Studio Gi in Hackney, we ordered a bottle of organic wine from ethical brand Running Duck. A wheatgrass shot was the first course, closely followed by our favourite dish of the night, Magic’s Sublime Sushi – one of Magic’s trademarks. It was incredibly moreish, but we had no idea what was in it until the waitress told us it was made from cauliflower ‘rice’. Zucchini noodles with a kale and sauerkraut slaw came next. I barely noticed that it was raw.
After the delicate and delicious raw chocolate cake, mints and tea, the entertainment took to the stage. The London Vegetable Orchestra had whittled their instruments from butternut squashes, carrots, peppers and courgettes. Playing a mixture of big band songs and chart music, they raised a lot of laughs and had us all clapping along.
As well as an opportunity to try out some clever and tasty raw food dishes, the ‘pop-up’ nature of the event also created an atmosphere where it was easy to mingle with others – something you don’t always get the opportunity to do in a typical restaurant. And although I’m not a complete convert to the raw food lifestyle, I would certainly consider experimenting with raw food recipes after trying Magic’s creative dishes.