Sunday, May 19

Gingerline – The Grand Expedition

Immersive dining trailblazers Gingerline have returned to London with their show The Grand Expedition. The culinary journey started off as a secret project in Tottenham back in 2019 before travelling the world, visiting cities such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Seoul.

The Grand Expedition is back, bigger and better than before with a full-scale re-imagining of the original story. The team takes you on an edible journey that transports you around the globe with five courses of delicious dishes, telling a story while appealing to your senses with colourful sights, sounds and tastes.

As we queued up outside the secret location, the crowd was a mix of Gingerline superfans donning aeronaut-inspired costumes and immersive dining newbies. 

After we entered the venue, winded and ducked through corridors and stepped through a secret door, what we saw was quite the spectacle. Inside the dining room, the tables were surrounded by illustrated three-dimensional hot air balloons floating in the sky, each a little bit different, littered with lanterns and ropes. The walls were covered in 360* audio-visual animations projected onto screens which added to the storybook scenery. The room was something straight out of a fantasy world and felt truly otherworldly.

After we had all been seated, The Grand Expedition began. If you’re a smaller group you will share a table with some fellow diners, adding to the social aspect of the experience. We were sitting with some very loyal Gingerline enthusiasts who had been following the company since the beginning.

There was a team of performers to keep you entertained throughout the night while you were eating, with such enthusiasm, you could tell they were really enjoying themselves. A real standout was the trapeze artists, beautifully floating over the room while the audience watched in awe. The actors never speak and mime throughout, reinforcing the whimsical atmosphere. The only dialogue comes from the voiceover of the narrator telling the story. There is quite a lot of interaction with the performers and audience participation but in a nice way, making you feel more involved in the story as it unfolds.

One criticism would be that some of the costumes representing the different destinations were at times a little stereotypical.

Now onto the food. Carefully crafted and inspired by the destinations where you touch down in the story with some interactive aspects such as pouring your own “tea” or adding grains to your dish. The portions may seem small at first but after five courses you’ll be feeling satisfied. Everything was perfectly timed, and the food was brought out with military precision through a fun mix of dancing, miming and animation. 

For a magical combination of food and theatre where you’ll be transported on an unforgettable journey, The Grand Expedition is the experience for you. It was unlike any other theatre I have experienced; the level of detail was mind blowing. We left feeling inspired, and eager to venture deeper into the realm of immersive dining.

The Grand Expedition is on until May, you can find out more here:

Reviewer: Gemma Prince

Reviewed: 13th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.