The Cube by Electrolux high tech pop-up restaurant pictures and hands-on
The London version of pop-up restaurant The Cube by Electrolux has been a massive success since it opened at the beginning of June. Not only has it seen a steady stream of some of the country's finest Michelin-star chefs ply their trade inside for limited periods, it has also provided fine examples of what is attainable by using Electrolux Professional kitchen equipment.
Pocket-lint attended a lunch at The Cube created and presented by double Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi, who owns the hugely popular restaurant Hibiscus in central London. We got to watch how he and his kitchen staff prepared each course on Electrolux kit, including induction cooking tops and the latest range of ovens which, unlike in many restaurants, are on show to the diners.
And that's the main appeal of The Cube, to include you in the experience, like a super-cool dinner party -albeit one where the food is cooked by one of the world's greatest chefs on some of the finest kitchen appliances money can buy.
There's only one table, a central one that can seat up to 18 guests. When you book, you and your party will be seated with other diners, as the whole point of the experience is to interact - with your fellow guests, the chef and staff.
Throughout the chef will not only explain each of his courses - of which there were eight during our lunch, not including coffee - but will answer questions on how it was created, give tips on how to emulate the culinary delights, and even give you ideas of how to use your own kitchen equipment to get the best results. You can wait until he comes to you, but he's equally at ease in answering questions while plating up or cooking at the hob, which is also on show at all times.
It's a very high-tech-oriented idea - perhaps obviously, considering the Electrolux involvement - and even the mood and ambience is set using an embedded iPad on the wall. You are also positively encouraged to take photos of your food using smartphones or cameras. While Pocket-lint was there, another Michelin-starred chef and Bosi's brother were also dining with us, and they had their iPhones in hand to capture the action.
Getting to the dining area is a tech-laden exploit in itself, as you have to travel to the top of the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank - where The Cube is currently situated - in the famous "singing lift". Each floor announcement is sung in a rapidly higher or lower note depending on which direction you're going. It sets up the special event in the most perfect of fashions.
Naturally, the food is spectacular. As is the wine, with a different glass chosen to perfectly complement each course. Chef Bosi presented a number of inspiring dishes, with perhaps the hot terrine of hare and foie gras with leek vinaigrette and black truffle being our fave on the day - no matter how very very guilty it made us feel. But it was his openness and access that made the event.
As James Wilson, manager of The Cube by Electrolux, told us, this level of interactivity is rare in Michelin-starred chefs' own restaurants. At The Cube they cook and plate the food, tell you how it was made and, even, what equipment was used in the process.
Plus, as the pop-up venue operates on a rota basis, the menu and methods change with a new world-class chef taking the reins each week. They even bring their own cutlery and dishware, which can help create a completely different ambience. The kit they cook with, of course, stays the same, but they may have different favourites.
Bosi told Pocket-lint that was particularly fond of the Electrolux ovens used at the venue. "I like the induction plates, but I like the ovens most," he said. "They can steam, half steam, can be really precise. Yes, the ovens are fantastic."
What they are capable of creating - in the right hands - certainly is.
The Cube by Electrolux is still open for bookings until 31 December - which will culminate in an amazing New Year's Eve overlooking the Thames, Houses of Parliament and London Eye. After then, it will be taken down with a new UK venue yet to be decided. It was planned for only four months initially, but has been in operation for seven, so has had a good innings for a pop-up restaurant.
It has also had sister Cubes in Stockholm, Milan and Brussels, but they have now finished their respective runs.
Lunch starts with a champagne reception at 12pm daily and lasts around three hours for £175 per person. For that, all wine and food is included. Dinner starts at 7pm daily and costs £215 per person. Each will present a minimum of six courses.
The menu changes depending on the chef in residence that particular week. You can find out more at www.electrolux.co.uk/Cube/London.