I see The Loft Project as a Chef’s gallery which give chefs from all around the world the opportunity to exhibit their cuisine at its best and offer the guests a unique and personalised food experience.
Here’s how Nuno Mendes describes his project launched a year ago, which takes place in his apartment in Shoreditch.
Describing and positioning the Loft Project is a whole exercise by itself.
Stepping away from traditional restaurant and supper club set-up, the Loft Project is a unique concept, which gives talented chefs a platform to exhibit their cuisine in the way they want, with no creative constraints.
The Loft Project is the chance to experience a personalised and intimate dining experience with a 10 course menu and the opportunity to see the chef chatting, cooking and plateing food with and in front of you.
It is a unique social experience where you share a table with 15 other guests who have embarked on the same culinary journey to enjoy food from the world’s best restaurants in London.
The Loft Project is also a travelling guide at home that brings you to Sydney, Copenhague, Spain, etc… without travelling. Just pass the door on Kingsland Road and the foodie world comes to you.
That night, it was Anna Hansen’s turn from the Modern Pantry to transport her guests to the edges of India with her Sri Lankan inspired menu. Known for “fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients”, Anna created a menu full of intense flavours, every dish being an expression of her creativity and love for combining ingredients with spices from the East.
Like in any art gallery, the spectator sits down, watches, examines and finally enjoys the piece of art. There are comments about the art, the way it looks, the way it tastes, the approach chosen by the artist and the best way to enjoy it. And of course, everybody has its favourite.
That night, Anna’s masterpiece seemed to have seduced the savvy invitees, some of whom had been dreaming of tasting her food for ages.
Amongst the favourite ones, the well-cooked and executed Sugar cured New Caledonian prawn omelette nori roll, enhanced by smoked chilli sambal and delicate touches of coriander was a hit as well as the Singapore style wokked crab with Thai basil. Simple and honest, the dish yet combined different levels of flavours that made it the best crab I had ever had.
The Pan roast wild sea trout, pickled beetroot, rhubard & samphire salad, shaoxsing & verjus dressing, macadamian crumbs shined by its amazing combination of flavours with a continuous back and forth taste of savouriness and sweetness enhanced by the macadamian crumbs that added a delicate crunchiness.
The sweetcorn, turmeric, curry leaf & green chilli fritters with mango tamarind sauce was a very interesting interpretation of Indian cuisine. However, the spiciness of the candied green chilli overpowered the dish and damaged our taste buds a bit. Like too much red on a painting.
The audience continued this arty culinary journey with the Smokey grilled aubergine, yuzu, soy & sesame dressing, crispy shallots, shiso cress; the powerful Kingfish sashimi, mancha & kalamansi lime dressing, tomatillo, wasabi tobiko, the tender and yet crispy Thit heo kho, Vietnamese style slow cooked pork belly, lotus root pickles & crisps and the Seared onglet, carrot & miso puree, chocolate, chilli & tonka bean jus.
Moving on in Anna’s creative menu, we had crispy and comforting Black Doris plum & palm sugar stuffed coconut sticky rice balls, served with a coconut sorbet and a tamarind caramel. It was most probably the best use of spiciness in a dessert. The taramind caramel brought a real kick to the rice balls while the coconut sorbet added a soft touch. The Mini chocolate liquorice ice cream and Hokey Pokey ice cream cones was the last piece of this brilliant masterpiece.
The artist had achieved its masterpiece and it was time to go home. Hats off to Anna and may the next generation of great chefs have the opportunity to exhibit at The Loft Project.
The Loft Project
Unit 2a, Quebec Wharf,
315 Kingsland Road
Hackney, E8 4