Once Upon a Time’s The Little Treasured Toy Shop
Always hoped that Hamleys comes to life at night? Then Once Upon a Time’s Little Treasured Toy Shop is your Christmas dream come true. The two-storey space on Conduit Street has been transformed into an abandoned New York toy store where you’ll be treated to a three-course meal as your surroundings slowly come to life throughout dinner, from swinging acrobats to marching toy soldiers. Expect a toy drummer’s salmon pâté, turkey croquettes and a ‘magic monopoly’ dessert — an interactive board game of brownies with berry coulis, jelly and a spiced Christmas cream. We’ve been told to expect themed follow-ups at Easter and Halloween.
Where: Conduit Street, W1
Tickets: from £70. 24 Nov to 22 Dec (onceuponatimepresents.com)
‘We’re living in a world where everyone’s obsessed with the way things look, especially cocktails,’ says Pitch Black’s co-founder Dom Balfour. Not any more. At the cosy Shoreditch drinking den the lights are dimmed, then extinguished, after all the guests arrive before a delectable, ever-evolving liquid smorgasbord is served in absolute darkness: Champagne on arrival, two cocktails, followed by two aromatic wines. You don’t find out what drink you’ve had until afterwards and the idea is to let your nose and taste buds do the talking. The cocktails change every week but they’re always well-known classics, from breakfast Martinis (gin, orange liqueur, marmalade, lemon juice) to pisco sours. Expect Christmas drinks to join the menu soon. Bring on the egg nog.
Where: City Road, EC1
Tickets: £48 (pitch-black.designmynight.com )
Bompas & Parr’s Beyond the Waterfall
Sam Bompas & Harry Parr’s last theatrical outing, Dinner at the Twits in September, served up bird pies and glass-eye-topped cocktails from Roald Dahl’s gruesome hosts. This latest one really pushes the boat out. In the middle of Westfield shopping centre, a small vessel sails you across an actual 60ft lagoon, under a waterfall and on to a twinkling Aladdin’s Cave before you stumble upon a hidden cocktail tavern staffed by mermen mixologists. Everything’s ocean-inspired, including the cocktails, which are laced with undersea botanicals and minerals. Saltier than your average mojito.
Where: Westfield, W12
Tickets: £15. 9-23 Dec (bompasandparr.com)
Futuro, the third chapter of artist Sean Rogg’s critically acclaimed Waldorf Project series, isn’t for the faint-hearted. Engage your brain, then surrender your senses as dancers lead you through chambers of a plastic-padded ‘cathedral’ space in the Here East building, with performers clad in costumes that emit more light the more people gather round. Seven ‘courses’ follow: a savoury, brown composite is tastier than expected while lychee cocktails in balloon-like containers are served throughout the three-hour psych-out. The night ends with one drop of tincture placed on your tongue. They call it closure. We call it a little stingy.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 Tickets: £84. Until 4 Dec (waldorfproject.com)