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Anna H.

 

I’m currently going through a period of reflection.   Reflecting on the rather extended alcohol fuelled nights regularly indulged in before my other half and I had our beautiful but exhausting children.  I’ve been reflecting on how my highly energised friends and I felt the need to elongate the evenings with pre-dinner drinks, post dinner drinks and an extra few hours in a mate of a mates bar in the back end of no-where simply because alcohol and lack of commitments allowed us to.

Now don’t get me wrong, we all still need those nights once in a while (there’s only so much of the school run a mum can take before she cracks), but for many of us parents, the allure of a night out comprising of a gallon of wine followed by a raging hangover lasting three days (showing our age) is quickly losing its appeal; and yet there’s only so much Netflix and sofa surfing we can justify…

So when I received the invite to review an experience with Taste Film – I rejoiced.  Finally, a night that involves fabulous food, good wine, and a classic film – and it’s not in my house or with food cooked by me – hurrah!

To give you the low down, Taste Film is a concept that offers guests a unique and immersive dining Amy small 2experience where food and cinema is combined within well-rated eateries.  It is the brainchild of Film and Media Studies teacher and ex TV exec Amy Fernando, a born and bred West Londoner (and former resident of our very own Kensal Rise).  Amy’s vision of being able to taste what you see on film occurred one evening she told me, whilst watching cult classic Goodfellas.  The step by step instruction during the prison scene for the perfect Marinara sauce made Amy wish she could smell and taste what she was seeing and hearing –  thus Taste Film was born.

The experience begins once you have selected one of the films on offer  (think nostalgic classic or arthouse), and you excitedly wait for your carefully selected menu to pop up in your inbox a week prior to the evening.  The menu will consist of three or four courses, dependent on the film and always includes an alcoholic drink.  I’m told that any requests for amendments due to dietary requirements can be catered for with no problem.

I was unfortunately unable to attend the classically hilarious Home Alone screening at Parlour over the Christmas season but friends who attended said it was brilliantly fun with delicious gastro pizzas followed by canapés serves in iconic little airplane type trays as reflected in the film.  They apparently had a riotous time double dating so that bode well for my upcoming experience.

And in hindsight I’m really quite pleased as I had the good fortune to watch culinary based arthouse film Julie and Julia, starring the wonderful Meryl Streep, which I hadn’t seen before so total bonus.  It was also at Parlour in Kensal Rise which, led by Jesse Dunford Wood, always comes up trumps in the culinary stakes so double bonus.

On arrival, I was taken to the atmospheric candle-lit table and presented with a lovely welcome glass of organic Beaujolais (half of the film is based in France so it was very fitting), a warm soda bread roll, and a cute side of popcorn.  The tables were full but the room and screen were a decent size so there were no problems with visibility or comfort (if your bottom lacks a little padding however, a cushion in your handbag wouldn’t go amiss).

 

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The first course was served twenty-five minutes into the film when the dialogue centred around the importance of butter in cooking (at last, a justified reason for indulging in the glorious substance!) and consisted of an enjoyable sharing plate for two of Globe, Jerusalem & Chinese Artichokes Hollandaise alongside Ballottine of Chicken with Mushrooms & Port En Gelee – and yes, butter featured in all its delectable glory.

An hour or so in and the film is stopped for a leg stretch, loo break or just a little natter, after which the second course was served – a Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia – which plays quite a central role for on-screen character Julie, who is attempting to replicate classic cook Julia Childs’ acclaimed dish.  Once again, it was really delicious – meat was tender, gravy was aplenty and the accompanying mash was creamy and divine.

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Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia

The final course of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Almonds and Pralines also didn’t disappoint in terms of its flavour and resonance with the film, rounding the experience off just perfectly.  If I didn’t have to rush back for the babysitter, I would have happily relaxed and enjoyed a post film glass of wine or coffee, which would have been a nice way to reflect over the evening.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Almonds and Pralines

All in all I was thoroughly impressed by the evening, and loved the unique synergy of the senses – combining sight and taste in a relaxed and inviting setting.  We all lead such busy lives and sometimes the mundaneness of our daily routine can be all encompassing which is perhaps why we all love a pop-up so much and why I think Amy has tapped into the perfect audience by giving us a brilliant way to experience the two hugely popular pastimes of food and film.  I’m told there are grand plans ahead for Taste Film, including an overnight Taste Film experience this summer (watch this space), further fabulous eateries to host the events, and even some family friendly daytime events over the school holidays – and we simply can’t wait to follow the journey.

The next local Taste Film experience is a Valentine’s Special of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Sunday 18th February at Parlour.  Taste Film is kindly giving 10% off to the first six people to mention ‘Queen’s Park Mums’ when booking.

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