Gingerline: for the adventurous food lovers

Secret spy tools Pic: Monkeys Communications

Secret spy tools Pic: Monkeys Communications

Adventurous food lovers can experience a one-night-only, secret culinary adventure in Haggerston, by east London pop-up Gingerline.

“Remember: what happens in MI1020, stays at MI1020.” A tall man in a lab coat mutters into his earpiece and disappears as quickly as he appeared.

EastLondonLines has been called to a top-secret location in order to put our super-sleuth skills to the test.

The unique culinary spy adventure, code name MI1020, is part of a four-day immersive dining experience by east London pop-up Gingerline.

Our mission for the night? We are undercover agents for the Superintendence assigned to thwart the arch-villain ‘The Syndicate’.

Hushed into a railway arch, we are briefed and armed with a black hat and smartphones, before being sent out into the back streets of east London to hunt for clues. Along the search, we find ourselves in a fixed location where we are served dinner as a play is performed around us.

Inside the spy bunker Pic: Monkeys Communications

Inside the spy bunker Pic: Monkeys Communications

Gingerline was founded in 2010 by food fanatics Suz Montfort and Kerry Adamson.

Montfort said: “We started Gingerline as a fun thing to do on the side. We all had daytime jobs and so it became a break from normal life and a way to do something creative and fun.”

She added: “It’s really only over the past year that we have been able to do it as full-time thing.”

To date, the secret supper club has served over 10,000 Londoners through one-off events held at secret locations along the Overground, from Canonbury to Crystal Palace.

The pop-up collaborates with chefs, designers and artists across the capital to create immersive dining experiences.

Montfort calls Gingerline a ‘creative enterprise’ that attracts adventurous Londoners and is fuelled largely by word-of-mouth.

The concept is simple. One hour before the events begins, diners will receive a text naming an Overground station where they should assemble.

Montford said: “We have never before in the past let people know what was in waiting when they signed up. They would walk through the door and not know what to expect. With MI1020 we have changed that a bit. People know it is spy themed.”

Montford crafted the concept for the event herself by drawing on her favourite film references and spy novels. Mel Brooks was also one of her main sources of inspiration.

The new series of events are held in collaboration with Nokia, who supply the phones that diners receive clues on.

Montford said: “It was very important for us that any form of collaboration with a commercial partner let us stay true to the concept. Nokia approached us and was very respectful of what Gingerline is about.”

Some of Gingerline’s past events have seen diners submerged in a dive’n’dine experience in a ‘submarine mess hall’ in Shoreditch, or transported to a Siberian circus in New Cross Gate.

By Laura Raphael and Mathilde Ive.

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