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April 2018 / Food & Drink / by Becky Pomfret

The Name’s Bond…

Immersive Dining at The Distillery

I’m a big fan of The Distillery on Portobello Road, and have had many a memorable night out there. Having experience of a recent Ginstitute session, learning about the history of gin, and how to make a great one, I was very happy to hear about their latest venture. ‘The Distillery Presents… ‘ an immersive dining event that welcomes curious minds for an evening of gastronomic storytelling. Promising to take participants on a multi-sensory historical journey; regaling stirring stories that are brought to life by a fantastical five course feast of food and drink. All created by The Distillery’s executive chef, Greg Lewis.

With several unique stories to choose from, ‘The Distillery Presents…’ tells the tales of history’s greatest bon-vivants, revolutionaries and larger than life characters, revealing fascinating anecdotes between courses. From James Bond, through the legends of TV and the silver screen, to the Royal Family, and quite a lot in between, you can choose a night that is sure to hit the spot.

The Distillery presents

The cat’s out of the bag

It’s difficult to talk about an unusual night out when you’re well, not allowed to talk about it. Our recent immersive dining experience at The Distillery on Portobello Road was shrouded in secrecy, so I probably shouldn’t even be writing this. On our arrival we are shepherded upstairs to ‘The Boardroom’ to meet our hosts and fellow guests. As someone with a pathological fear of audience participation (I refused to stand up at the end of Mamma Mia as I was too embarrassed to dance along with everyone else), I have to confess to being a little nervous.

The Distillery presents

Fully immersed

Dressed up to the nines, as our dining experience of choice is the James Bond evening, I hope fervently that I can sit quietly near the back stroking a cat and drinking martinis with no-one bothering me. The moment we enter the room, my worries are allayed. There is one massive table (so no sitting at the back) and our fellow diners are friendly and chatty. The only participation required is to eat and drink merrily. Something I get fully on board with.

Our host is Master Distiller Jake Burger, and without giving too much away, he and the super friendly and efficient staff around him host the perfect evening. There are drinks galore so this is not for the faint-hearted. I counted at least six different types of alcohol and then it all goes a bit vague from there on in. The food is fantastic; five courses plus some little extras too, all matched with the perfect drink and story behind it. The pace is unhurried and the whole experience feels professional yet fun.

We have such a good time that we don’t want to leave come 11pm and we, and our new friends, descend to the bar downstairs to continue drinking gin until the early hours. A fabulous experience that has got me re-watching Bond films and nodding along knowledgeably every time he picks up a drink or has a meal.

The Distillery presents

The details

186 Portobello Road, London W11 1LA,  020 3034 2233 www.thedistillery.london