Have you heard of the experimental dining group Gingerline? They have been creating immersive dining experiences in hidden spots around London since 2010. I’ve previously attended Juniper Manor, a collaboration with Sipsmith Gin (totally on brand for me!) and now I’ve been invited to The Grand Expedition via Love Pop Ups London.
Whilst I can’t give the secrets away (I don’t want to spoil your surprise), you can read on to see what the experiences are like:
*Full disclosure – my ticket to The Grand Expedition was free in return for this review. As I’ve previously paid to attend a Gingerline event you can be certain that I genuinely love this brand!*
The Grand Expedition from Gingerline
What is Gingerline?
The Ginger Line is the affectionate term for the East London Overground Line. A delightful orange on the official Transport for London maps, this line looks definitely ginger!
So why is this immersive experience named after it? Well the original incarnation of the Gingerline experiences were all hosted at venues along the length of the East London line. In the recent Grand Expedition they’ve expanded this to the Victoria Line, but more on that later.
My previous experience at Juniper Manor
As I mentioned before, I’ve previously experienced the Gingerline productions at the Sipsmith Juniper Manor. This was in a South London location (reached via Ginger line naturally!).
In true Gingerline manner, you only get told the precise location on the day of your visit. Additional hints to the experience may be given by the dress code – but don’t worry, it’s not as involved as Secret Cinema!
The focus at Juniper Manor was similar to their Chambers of Flavour concept. This where you move through several rooms to experience different flavours. So you definitely went on a journey of discovery!
The staging and acting really transports you to the time and place you are visiting. Whilst I don’t recall everything we ate on our Juniper Manor adventure, it was all very tasty and came with interesting (gin based) drinks.
The decoration of the space under the railway tracks was superb and we enjoyed relaxing in the
bath bar before and after our experience.
The Grand Expedition
The Grand Expedition is located on the Northern section of the Victoria Line, in a departure from ‘East’ East London (instead this is more North East). Apparently this was because they had very specific requirements for the venue and could only find it on the Victoria line (all becomes clear when you attend!)
Once you have booked your tickets you are sent a confirmation email. This encourages you to confirm any dietary requirements, your mobile phone number and also gives you the dress code. Whilst you do not need to turn up in fancy dress, it can be fun to play along.
*It’s not compulsory to stick to the dress code.
Then on the day of your ticket (or the day before if you are attending a matinee), you will receive a text message at 4pm with the secret location!
This should give you sufficient time to get to The Grand Expedition for the 7pm start time. (There isn’t much point turning up early as doors only open at 7).
Once I had located the secret location and found my friend, we gave our names on the door and they checked dietary restrictions. As my friend has some allergies she was given a special wristband to make sure she wasn’t served anything she was allergic to. This worked really well during the evening.
After a brief briefing we were let into the experience! A welcome drink greeted us and then we were led into the main space:
Now I can’t give anything way on what we did, saw or ate… so this is going to be a short review!
However I think I’m OK to say that we had 4 courses, all from different cuisines. They were able to cater for all dietary requirements, so no one missed out on anything either. I loved the food and left absolutely stuffed full! (So go easy early on!).
Alongside the food you could either order drinks at the table or use the bar. They offered pairings of wine, beer or cocktails, as well as decent non alcoholic options. I shared the cocktail pairing with my friend, and we were impressed at the matching – including theme as well as flavours.
A full menu of drinks was available also, which included all the matching cocktails, mocktail versions and the wines and beers used for the other pairing flights,
After / The Verdict
What can I say? Just ‘wow’!
The staging, set and acting really brought you into the experience. Even better was being dragged up (willingly) to participate at several stages of the evening, making this a participatory as well as an immersive experience. (Omg it’s killing me not to be able to tell you more!!!!)
Unlike the Chambers of Flavour you don’t need to move around for this ‘journey’… and it appeared that it would be accessible (always good to check on your specific requirements though.)
My friend likened this Gingerline experience to: ‘immersive like Secret Cinema, but worth it’ and I’d think I’d agree. Whilst we didn’t watch a film, the evening was immersive with actors like Secret Cinema and we got fed really well. So from a value for money perspective I think it’s worth it.
Everything hung together with the theme. You could tell that a lot of work has gone into ensuring that entertainment, food and drink was cohesive. The performances were done really well and the staff were amazing. From the server who kept our drinks topped up, to the lady ensuring my friend didn’t accidentally poison herself, to those clearing the tables. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. For me this was the cherry on the cake.
Tickets start from £60 + booking fee (up to £75 for weekend evening) and you can buy them online here: The Grand Expedition tickets
The Grand Expedition from the Gingerline runs until July 2019. Matinee performances are suitable for 12+, but evening performances are 18+.
Big thanks to Love Pop Ups London for the opportunity to review and to Gingerline for hosting us so well!