I went to an underground restaurant on Saturday night… the place in Kilburn (The Underground Restaurant) run by Ms Marmite Lover.
I have to say, I was bit surprised to find myself photographed and on her blog here. Nobody asked me for permission to be photographed eating my dinner and then having the photo published somewhere. What’s that all about anyway?
I took a photo of one dish, the wild asparagus, here.
I’ve never been to any of the underground restaurants in London before, and there is quite a scene developing, but from my first experience I’m inclined to feel that there is a lot of hyperbole associated with the “movement”. I’ve been vegetarian for a long time – a couple of decades – so I’ve tried veggie food all over the world. Therefore I had some high expectations of a secret restaurant in London serving veggie food, especially after glancing at the blog and reading about the extreme levels of preparation that go into each dish. According to the blog, it took 9 hours to prepare the aubergine.
But, I was just disappointed with the whole experience. The food might have taken a lot of time and effort to prepare, but it didn’t interest me much, let alone excite me. I can get something more exciting at the Soho Hare Krishna temple. Then there was the secret and underground nature of the dining experience. Before dining we were warned that if the police busted the place for being an illegal restaurant then we should all pretend to be at a private birthday party – one girl was singled out for it to be “her” birthday. That none of us even knew her name didn’t seem to concern anyone – even the trigger-happy Metropolitan police are not that stupid!
It did seem that most people at the restaurant were treating it as a social experience – it wasn’t like a normal restaurant. You were expected to socialise with fellow dinners because of the shared “secret” experience. Yet when I looked around the place and listened to some of the conversations going on I just thought I had been dropped into a convention of estate agents or actors… plenty of preening and posing going on and indulgence in the supposedly naughty underground experience. I’m afraid I just yawned and watched as people filed outside to smoke their fags – more than half the room were smoking, which possibly says something about the crowd?
So will I continue pursuing more underground experiences? Maybe, but I won’t bother returning to that one.