If I told you that last week I went to The Literary Hour presents The World of Beatrix Potter, you would probably have a blank look on your face. If I then told you this was a dinner party in a stranger's house, you would probably have a confused look on your face. If I told you that this was one of the most surreal, surprising, exciting, delicious, and imaginative dinners I have ever had, you'd probably be interested. So read on...
Having booked this dinner months in advance on Grub Club, I was not expecting to be knocking on the door of a terraced house in Harringay on Friday evening. But since The Literary Hour is the brain child of 5 incredibly creative graduates who met at university and wanted to bring literature to life in dinner parties, what better place to host than in their living room? Everything you see in these photos is the product of imagination, creativity, craft and hard-work, all inspired by the Beatrix Potter books that we know and love from our childhoods.
We were welcomed as if we were old friends. There were 20 or so guests from all over London, all different ages, and all complete strangers. Seated along a single (hand made) wooden table, there was a wonderful atmosphere in the room - all excited for the wonders that were in store. Our welcoming cocktail was an oddly delicious Pigling Brand's Bacon Bourbon Sour, served with a chunky piece of bacon and a haribo egg. The whiskey had even been infused with bacon at home that very same day! And yes, there was a veggie option available.
To really get into the Beatrix Potter spirit, before each course we were read a small excerpt from the book that inspired it. Once we were seated at the beautifully decorated table, we were treated to our first reading of the night, my personal favourite: The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Up first was Mr McGregor's Pillaged Garden Patch, a delicious 'salad' of pickled vegetables and crumbs including an olive tapenade - which was actually the beautiful table-long decoration you can see in the photos! It's safe to say the garden was definitely pillaged by the time we were done eating it.
Our second course was Jemima Puddleduck's Duck Egg Ravioli.
At this point in the evening there was a surprise, as we were asked to guess from an excerpt of The Tales of Squirrel Nutkin what our next course would be. I would never have guessed that it would be crickets... Not something I ever thought I would eat - and am incredibly proud that I did - but in fairness it mostly tasted of crunchy tobasco sauce. I was glad of the blackberry sorbet to chase it though!
Three courses in and we were already verging on full, but we still needed to eat poor little Benjamin bunny. And boy oh boy was he tasty! Rabbit is something else I'd never eaten, and to be honest never thought I would eat, but it was cooked to perfection. Serious thanks to the cook for broadening my culinary horizons!
Even as the evening drew to an end, I was still overwhelmed by the care that had gone into every little detail; from the hand sewn Peter Rabbit vests to the impeccable standard of the food. There were even Beatrix Potter tapes playing in the toilet!! I must say, considering I was in someone's living room I received better service (and food!) than I would in most restaurants.
To round off the evening's culinary delights, we were served The Nuttle Table of Timothy Tiptoes. If memory serves me correctly it was a hazelnut meringue, baileys cream, and a lot of other nutty and chocolatey bits and bobs that came together in this wonderful dessert. I was in need of a rosemary tea by the end of the meal because I was fit to burst.
I had a truly magical evening at The Literary Hour presents The World of Beatrix Potter, and I know that whatever theme is next on their list, the team will pull it out of the bag. If there are still spaces left for their next events after you lot have booked, then I can't wait to see and taste what they have in store for us!
p.s thanks to Emilia for introducing myself and our friends to this wonderful experience!