London is bursting with foodie experiences and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the mediocre and the truly exceptional ones. Pop-ups and supperclubs have swept through the city and talented cooks are setting up temporary homes in all corners of London offering menus and experiences that can’t be found in the bricks and mortar of a permanent restaurant. I recently experienced one which feels uniquely London but at the same time, resonates with the relaxed vibes of country living.
The innovative magazine and events company, Toast have launched SLOWmotion, a slow living concept which is hugely appealing on a number of levels; the name alone draws me in. Living in London, life often feels like it’s moving at 100mph. We schedule our lives weeks in advance, with barely a moment to stop, breath and appreciate what is going on around us.
So here is a concept that turns its back on this fast-paced, hectic living and instead encourages us to experience things at a leisurely pace, with brunches and workshops held on Sundays throughout the Autumn and Winter. Set in the stunning Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, the venue alone makes you want to settle in for the day and check your watch at the door.
The brunches are intimate affairs and the workshops are hands-on experiences hosted by expert craftsmen from Rosewood’s Slow Food & Living Market. Each workshop will focus on a different craft, exploring mindfulness and Slow Living by returning to traditional techniques, while each host will teach guests how to make an item to take home, ideal for storing up Christmas gifts with a personal touch.
We were lucky enough to experience one of the SLOWmotion brunches, hosted by the incredibly talented Rosie Birkett who prepared a brunch banquet like no other. Dishes came out the kitchen at a staggered, leisurely pace and we enjoyed a variety of delicious plates over several hours.
It was seasonal, comforting cooking at its best. Not over-complicated or fussy, just simple, fresh ingredients cooked in imaginative ways, which Rosie excels at evidenced by her increased popularity and media profile.
We were greeted with a crab apple cocktail, served perfectly chilled in a martini glass. We enjoyed beetroot blinis with smoked salmon, buttery cornbread with mixed tomatoes, cumin-spiced bacon bap brioches, freekeh stuffed squashes and a fig and blue cheese salad. Just when we thought our culinary journey with Rosie was over, two courses of dessert graced our table – an almond and pear tart and warm-from-the-oven madeleines which just melted in your mouth. We ended the experience with a refreshing cold-brew coffee.
It was a menu that was deliciously Autumnal and was created with relaxed dining in mind. Not an experience that could be rushed, we enjoyed a slow Sunday, making our way though this incredible banquet. Rosie emerged at the end, looking unperturbed by the feast she had just slaved away over, positively charming and thankful for our presence. She gifted us bags of cinnamon and coconut granola, which I enjoyed the next day with almond milk.
It was truly a blissful way to spend a Sunday; the food was outstanding and served in abundance. We left not wanting for anything, apart from perhaps a lazy weekend nap.
There are still some fantastic brunches and workshops coming up; you can learn to work with leather on Sunday 22nd November or experience Meera Sodha’s exceptional Indian cooking on 29th November, along with several others. SLOWmotion is an experience I can wholly recommend. You are guaranteed a delicious meal or creative experience, enjoyed at a leisurely pace, reminding us that sometimes, slow is good.
Bookings through the Toast website here: http://eatdrinktoast.com/events