Restaurant pop ups are a relatively new concept in the UK, a new and exciting prospect in my opinion but they have existed for much longer in the US. In case you’re not down with the foodie lingo, a restaurant pop up is basically a restaurant that “pops up from nowhere” to put it simply. They’re usually temporary and quite often have a theme. They usually operate during festivals (like The Fringe in Edinburgh or during Gay Pride in various cities, or even over Christmas or the summer period). Sometimes their in a private home, or a disused warehouse and they’re definitely most popular in large cities such as London and from my own experience, New York. They usually use social media to spread the word as can be seen in the movie Chef (which I watched on the plane back from the US last year) and are a great way for new chefs to gain exposure.
The concept of a restaurant pop up has been taken one step further with the creation of the All In Kitchen. Launched by PokerStars and Jones & Sons to celebrate the new season of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour the idea is simple, you play poker to win your gourmet meal. At the end of three hands you can see whether you’re lucky enough to pay absolutely nothing towards your three course meal and cocktail, but even if poker isn’t your strongest game (personally I excel better at Trivial Pursuit) you may still only have to pay £5 or £10 towards your bill. Not only that but the menu sounds absolutely delicious. Crafted by Andy Jones the dishes all have an element of poker in it, such as Four of a Kind Lamb Chops!
However, if you really don’t believe your poker skills to be up to scratch you can always eat at the restaurant, enjoy the atmosphere (which is wonderful have you ever been to a casino) and pay full price for your meal. The food itself does sound like it’s worth the money (which is about £50 per head for three courses and a bespoke poker related cocktail).
Although this pop up event was held back in January, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the first of many, even just for Jones & Sons and PokerStars after it being such a success. The event is purely for fun and the customers never exchanged money (unless paying for the meal) like in real poker, instead the cost of the meal was waged. As someone who is able to play poker (I learned during the height of strip poker while at uni) this does sound like something I would seriously enjoy, but then again I enjoy anything where I could win a free meal!
Not convinced yet? Watch the video!