Going on previous experience, any event at The Vaults is likely to impress. Tucked away underneath London Waterloo station, this versatile space has looked like a completely different venue every time I’ve visited. And their latest installation, An Evening of Meat, sticks to that trend.
An Evening of Meat is an immersive theatre and dining experience from all-female creative collective, I AM. The concept of the evening is the idea of positively exploring the female form – women’s power and strength making them much more than ‘pieces of meat’.
(FYI vegetarian and vegan friends, they also serve a meat-free menu, so if you want to enjoy the show, you’ll be able to eat too!)
From the moment we were seated, banquet-style, I got the idea that this wouldn’t be an ordinary dinner – or an ordinary show. With a corseted woman in seeming slumber in front of my place setting, I prepared myself for something unique. And that’s what An Evening of Meat certainly delivers.
The talented all-female cast showcased a mixture of well-considered choreography and raw improvisation that involves the audience as much or as little as they’d like. Mostly performing on the tables themselves, the feeling of power and strength radiated from their movements, but with vulnerable movements too. Set to an ever-changing soundtrack with an overarching industrial force, each main section of performance felt electrically charged.
Usually, when food is combined with a performance element, I tend to find one or the other aspect will suffer. And, to be frank, it’s usually the food. There were no such worries at An Evening of Meat though, because the food here is actually really rather good. The six-course dinner featured some stunning dishes, with much more of a ‘fine dining’ feel than I’d been expecting.
I won’t do a full-on course-by-course review, but a few of the dishes are particularly worth a mention. The Salt Baked Potato starter was simple yet packed with flavours, served on top of a yeast buerre noisette (a buttery, warm French sauce), which complemented the potato fantastically.
The winning savoury course for me, though, was the Pig Cheek oyster (basically, a small portion of pig cheek). The meat itself was incredibly tender and juicy, and the lentil and dahl accompaniment proved to be pretty much perfection on a plate.
And finally, the dessert? That’s something pretty special indeed. Vocal #wewantplates types may sneer at the fact it’s served in an ashtray (a clean one, obv), but what’s inside is a rich 70% Guanaja chocolate and olive oil ganache. To work with the richness of the ganache, the dish was topped with sesame ‘ash’, coconut bacon flakes and vanilla salt. These savoury-based toppings worked with the chocolate in the way that salt and caramel goes hand in hand. As a chocolate dessert fan, I’ve no issues with saying this one makes my top five chocolate dishes I’ve had. Ever.
Tickets for the event range between £35-45, although lots of the dates are sold out so act fast! Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheaper days, FYI. For what you get, it’s an absolute bargain, and anyone who enjoys the more abstract side of performance and likes eating good food NEEDS to snap up a ticket ASAP. Seriously, do it.
An Evening of Meat runs until June 2nd at The Vaults, Waterloo – for more information and to buy tickets, head to The Vaults’ website here.
*I attended as a guest of Love Popups London