Down the Rabbit Hole, a secret underground space where you will encounter amazing food and magical performances united.
Now, this is something so unique that I could not pass up on attending. I even gave away my own ticket for the Food & Drink themed Pecha Kucha Night #19 as it coincided on the same night. Too many events happen on the same day.. The Buzz Event was also going on!
Obviously something pretty important was going to have to replace going to Pecha Kucha, as I was pretty stoked on listening to 20 different speakers, all in the food industry! The concept of underground dining / pop up restaurants have long attracted my attention since I started food blogging, but for many reasons just never got to try one. Here’s a compiled list of various underground dining places around the world.
After arriving at the meet up spot, we were led “down the rabbit hole” by The White Rabbit (“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”) and Alice to the secret location. Coats taken, shoes off, time to socialize and eat.
1st course - Amuse Bouche Marechal Cheese (Les Amise De Fromage), Concord Grape Fruit Band. I didn’t even notice these until the staff shone light on them.
Hot Toddy (Amontillado Sherry, Scotch Whiskey, Cayenne, Lemon Peel, Tarragon) was served and was very welcome as it was a cold night. No rain though, very thankful for that. I can’t be the only one who would much prefer cold and snow over cold and rain, right?
Some nibbles on the table in the form of a Broken Tea Party Tableau (Buckwheat Crisp, Harvest Squash Puree, Chantrelle Mushroom Duxelle).
Throughout the night, I kept seeing artwork referring to Alice in Wonderland. I must say, if I were not a photographer, I probably wouldn’t have noticed half the things here, some are just so well placed that most eyes would glaze over it. That or I’m just naturally very curious.
As this was a dress rehearsal, some things were still being worked out. However, I did enjoy the overall performance. Alice stumbles upon the DRINK ME bottle..
Then she finds an EAT ME cake. We all know how that goes.
After she thundered off to explore, it was time for our own drink.
Eat Me/Drink Me Beaker Soup Watercress Veloutte, Fennel Pollen Breadstick, Blue Cheese Sauce
Soup in an Erlenmeyer Flask? Yea why not.
After the soup, Cheshire the Cat made an appearance. We were ushered downstairs for the main dish and the bulk of the performance. He followed us downstairs as well.
Course 3 - Salad Garden Selection U-Pick Butter Lettuce, Curly Carrots, Pickled Red & Golden Beets, Roasted Butternut Squash, Pea Shoots, Curried Cauliflower, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Light Vinaigrette
A subtle hint and instruction as to what we were supposed to do.
A few more pieces of artwork I found around the house.
The vibe was awesome here, with the quiet chatter and strangers becoming best of friends for a few hours, bonding over the most common interest, food.
Blue Caterpillar! Complete with hookah. Heh.
Excuse the ring, it’s supposed to be covered in fluff to represent a smoke ring.
Course 4 – Main Duck Confit (local), Cranberry Cinnamon Sauce, Hazelnut Gnocci, Jerusalum Artichoke Puree, Brussels Sprouts in Butter, Turnip Tangle, Chive Flowers
Normally I am not a fan of duck prepared Western style, but this was ridiculous.
All the meat was easily scraped off the bone, in fact there was very little scraping involved. Just stick your fork in, pull and bam, meat. No resistance at all. The slightly salty and crunchy roasted skin and the succulent flavour of dark meat duck….ah yes..bliss.
Again, not so subtle instructions on the ceiling.
The Mad Hatter even showed up a couple times.
Of course, Alice in Wonderland would not be so if the Queen of Hearts was not present.
Along with her husband, King of Hearts.
Course 5 - Dessert: Rose Petal Ganache, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Crumble, Cherry Compote
Dark, rich and chocolatey, the chocolate ganache was easy to eat. Between bites I cut the sweetness with the slightly tart cherries. With the rose ganache, we were instructed to alternate bites with the sage and rose petals.
And with the final course, it was all over. Was it all a dream Alice?
..who knows, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Bonus, you can even play croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs outside.
To sum it up, this was an experience. Not your regular dining, but interspersed with live actors, this was truly food for ALL my senses. I do appreciate food, and I still consider it first and foremost the reason for going out to eat, but it’s hard to deny the effect your surroundings also have on the entire experience.
Even if the food sucked at this dinner (which it didn’t), there really is nothing else in Vancouver that can compare to this on the unique scale. In fact, it’s so unique that it’s even garnered interest from Bob Blumer who is currently in production with a new Food Network show, World’s Weirdest Restaurants.
There are still a few days left, and though I tried my hardest to convey the feeling of this event through my words and pictures, it does not compare to being there in person. If only I could afford to do this on a regular basis…
Many thanks to Robin Kort (owner/chef/sommelier of Swallow Tail), Matt Guterres, Richard, and Chef Chashma. Along with In the House Festival, the puppetry and shadows are done by a creative group called Mind of A Snail.
Public & private bookings available.
Perfect for company Christmas parties 25-45 ppl
Vegetarian Menu Available
Nov 26 (sold out!), Dec 3 (sold out!) & Dec 17.
Saturday – 4pm & 8pm showing
$129 regular rate / $99 group rate
Call 778 319 9453 to book or email [email protected]
** Chauffer Service available at an extra cost