Experimental food designers Blanch and Shock have been ‘‘continually moving – both physically and with ideas” for the past 4 years, from trucks, tents, fields and now into fully equipped pub The Endurance, Berwick Street, Soho. Throughout August is their first residency and a chance for a much wider audience to experience their emancipation of food culture.
During their time researching into the psychology of dining they’ve been asking: ‘‘what can you do when you put people round a table?’’. Immersive theatrical performances, edible installations, and pop-up projects with both artists and scientists are just some of what they’ve yet designed. Conclusions thus far? ‘‘there isn’t room in a restaurant to be what we want to be’’.
Their previous collaborations were praised for plunging diners into elaborate lands of sound, darkness, set design, actors and special effects. As if shrinking these externalised sensations into edible ingredients the studio has shifted their focus back to the simple pleasures of eating. Ideas now manifest their ‘‘personality in the food itself’’ by working an assortment of flavours and textures. All the secrets of theatricality, food-science and experimentation surrendered to you as you eat.
Blanch and Shock’s simple yet intricate dishes bring something quite unique to the ‘food-design’ movement, progressing it away from novelty or extravagance to a reflective finesse. They are also keen use their projects to demonstrate a food trade ‘that stands up ethically and in terms of quality’. The narrative of the courses designed by Blanch and Shock yet predicated by the locally sourced ingredients, ‘‘evolving as the summer ingredients change’’.
To sample and be part of what has been called the ‘‘emancipation of food culture’’ their simple dishes are available weekdays 12 til 3, with more intricate and ‘‘longer tasting’’ meals available by ticket on Saturdays at 7pm. All dishes costing between £4 and £6. For all of August Blanch and Shock will be catering at The Endurance pub,Soho, until their next voyage.