The longer I write this blog, the more I fall in love with London.
I’ve said before that I would never have moved to London if it weren’t for this blog … and I don’t simply mean the new opportunities which writing 30 Dates has opened me up to, I’m also talking about the adventures I’ve had in the process. Every date I went on in London showed me another face of the city. Another hidden gem. Well-known tourist attractions have proven just as fun and novel and pop-up, one-off events!
A friend of mine once pointed out that in London you could have dinner in a different restaurant every night for a year, and still be left with thousands more options. I never thought one of those options would be the clock tower of St Pancras station!
The beautiful station is one I’ve known relatively well for years. I always took the train to university from King’s Cross, and so the beautiful spire is one I’ve stared up at over the years. It was only a few months ago, when I stumbled upon the pop-up dinner specialists Grub Club, that I realised there was the option of eating in the St Pancras clock tower.
The fourth and fifth floors of St Pancras station are private apartments, and one of those apartments is built into the clock tower. The room beneath the clock has been renovated into a gorgeous, spacious living room / dining area, which now plays host to UNA London a few nights each month.
UNA is the brainchild of Argentinean Chef Martin Milesi. Billed as a ‘One Table Dinner Experience’ UNA was born from a desire to change the contact he had as chef with diners. The focus of the UNA six course taster menu is to create a gastronomical experience, which promotes the cultural diversity of Latin cuisine.
Each course was meticulously and creatively presented, and prefaced with a personal introduction by Martin himself. We started the evening with incredible passion fruit cocktails and then sat down for a first course of ‘Fake Potato’ – a dish which looked like a sprouting potato in soil, but which was actually chipa, buried in a mushroom mousse shaped like damp soil, and an earth made of rye bread and olives. Course number two was called ‘Four Corns’ – an incredible polenta soup, poured over three other types of corn.
And the food just kept coming …
Frankly, the evening was incredible. I’ve had taster menus before, and they normally turn out to be non-existent portions, or more like a buffet. This menu was perfect. Perfectly sized portions, with so many different flavours in every course.
The setting worked so well – a table for twelve, perched high above the bustling city.
And the company was great – I attended an evening for the press, and I met so many interesting, creative people – I had a really great night.
UNA runs regular events for Grub Club, and the design of the evening is that you always eat at one table, so you meet and chat to your fellow diners. As such, it’s a great opportunity to turn up to something alone, and whilst it isn’t a specific singles event, in my experience, pop up dining experiences are events which attract a lot of singletons. Recently I went to Society Dining, and everyone at the dinner was single, even though it hadn’t been specified as a singles event.
Alternatively I do think the UNA event could work as a date venue. If you’re a little nervous about meeting one on one, or not having enough conversation to get through dinner, I do think a group event can be quite a comfortable setting for a date. On my 30 Dates Challenge I went to a couple of different pop-up events on dates, with other diners around us, and also did a sushi-making masterclass, on a table with other students, as a date, and interestingly being around other people, and being involved in a wider conversation can add another angle to a date. You see how that person interacts with other people, and it can be interesting to see how different someone acts when they are talking one-on-one, as compared to speaking in a group.
I LOVED my evening with UNA in the St Pancras clock tower, and will certainly be recommending it to others to do. I had assumed the venue would make the evening, however the location was just the start of the breath-taking elements of the evening, and Chef Martin Milesi really was the star of the evening.
For more information about Martin and UNA go to http://unalondon.com
To buy tickets to upcoming UNA tables – visit grubclub.com – but be warned, places sell like hot cakes, so get in quick!
All July dates are sold out, but the company has just announced evenings on the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th of August.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx