I’m a sucker for some immersive dining, combining two of my favourite things as it does, and I’ve been to some cracking ones recently – Shotgun Carousel’s Divine Proportions was a hoot and Gingerline’s Grand Expedition was whimsical delight. I had high hopes for Banquet of Hoshena.
And it was indeed fun but I think it has suffered for pricing it as it has. The full price is £80 for five courses and the immersive factor. That’s a lot of money and it doesn’t even include any drinks. Luckily, the Nudge were doing a £40 discount so we took advantage of that and went along, otherwise I think the price would have put me off completely.
As it seems to have done for others. When the ten of us turned up, we discovered we were the only ones dining that night! We were asked to choose our drinks package and that left another bitter taste as there were no wine or beer options. You could choose to buy the package – another £25 for three drinks or £40 or so for five. These were designed to pair with each course. You could choose to have any of the paired drinks solo (at £10 a pop) but it was impossible to order anything other than what had been predetermined as pairing best with its particular course. I balked at forking out £10 on a glass of wine or another £25 altogether so I remained sober for this experience.
It was a lot of fun to be honest. The premise is quite ‘sugary’ and ‘cheesy’, as they use the plight of a fantastical kingdom due to its dim-witted king as its hook to hang the journey of the meal on. And the main effects are projections and lighting, with some fun levitation and swirling mists thrown in every now and again. It is quite clever and amusing to watch but it isn’t mind blowing.
The food, I have to say, was absolutely delicious. We had the most amazing chicken burger – I would guess it was confit with the skin crisped up, a charcoal bun and plenty of chillies to taste. The salmon which came after was also cooked beautifully with creamy celeriac mash and sauce vierge. A treat.
I really enjoyed it but at full prices I find it hard to recommend. Perhaps they have time to get some discounts on, and rethink their approach to beverages.