Fine dining: Dabbous creates a post-war art-inspired feast at Sotheby’s
Gimmicky perhaps, but food inspired by art is irresistibly playful; think of the humble Battenburg famously transformed into a cut-and-come-again Piet Mondrian.
In the art world, it’s increasingly becoming a prerequisite to have an on-trend foodie partner. They tap into an affluent, perhaps young and aesthetically engaged demographic – just the sort many art businesses also want to engage with as future buyers.
The grand Bond Street façade of Sotheby’s may be daunting to the uninitiated but the auction house is ever more creative in its initiatives to attract new audiences. Art on walls in no longer enough, it’s all about offering an experience too now.
As part of this, Sotheby’s have hooked up with high profile names from other creative industries, such as the fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu, who guest edited their ‘Contemporary Curated’ London sale in March.
Recognising the allure of a hot young chef, Sotheby’s has now invited Ollie Dabbous to create a feast inspired by their next ’Modern & Post-War British Art’ sale on the 13 and 14 June. The six-course tasting menu will be served for just three nights this weekend (10–12 June) at a Dabbous pop-up restaurant within the auction house’s galleries, set among the paintings and sculptures themselves.
But there’s not a Mondrian Battenburg in sight; the art is British and so is the produce. Instead, a rhubarb crumble inspired by a Patrick Heron abstract – keep a straight face, this is dessert elevated to art. A lamb and kohlrabi dish riffs on a Barbara Hepworth bronze sculpture, and a pea dish based on an abstract painting by Graham Sutherland is British summer in a bowl.
Dabbous was drawn towards ’the different colours and textures, particularly with the more shape-driven abstract artworks’, but also their backstory – ’in where the artists came from, and the regional stories behind the works, as I am passionate about the locations that I source ingredients from’, he explains. Hence, Yorkshire rhubarb for the Leeds-born Heron.
Pretentious? Maybe and, at £250 per head, certainly not cheap. But a lot more affordable than the art itself – and possibly the most beautiful meal you’ll ever eat.