Pop-up enlightenment in Newington Green with Gingerline’s latest surprise dining experience
“Right, we need to look for the heckler,” I say, peering at my phone and attempting to decipher the cryptic directions texted to us by the Gingerline organisers.
It turns out we don’t have to look very hard as we see a throng of people gathered outside a church at the top of Newington Green. In their midst is a woman wearing a sandwich board and warning us against the “unholy” goings-on inside the building.
We’re warned to keep silent as we enter the church and, after picking up our “cup of acceptance” cocktails (gin-based ones using spirits from microdistillery Sipsmith), we are shown our seats in the nave by a mysterious masked and robed “priestess”.
Glances are exchanged with fellow diners, all of whom seem as perplexed as the pair of us, and we share silent shrugs while taking in our surroundings; pentagrams on menus, moving stained-glass windows and individual envelopes ominously commanding us to “confess”.
Gingerline is a “unique dining experience in secret and changing locations” say its organisers, a group of friends who organise pop up food and theatre events along the former East London Line, now called the Overground - or the Ginger Line as they like to call it.
The school assembly awkwardness dissipates with mock Latin chanting by the priestesses and talking is permitted as the feast commences with “blood and bone initiation” (delicious ethically sourced roasted bone marrow). We receive “purification” for our souls with a surprisingly flavourful lettuce broth, followed by our “nourishment” of line caught Norwegian cod with crispy chorizo on spicy red lentils.
Things start to get a bit raucous as the priestesses read out the congregations’ confessions and by the time we have dessert, rich, dense chocolate cake with boozy cherries and mascarpone, and progress onto the cheese, new friendships have formed and strangers are sharing their off-license purchased wine with each other.
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Gingerline’s latest pop-up run has now come to an end but diners eager to experience the next surprise can sign up to the mailing list at gingerline.co.uk