Accused of turning men to beasts, women to martyrs and even threatening the future of an entire country, la fée verte, the nearly 70% proof green fairy is notorious for having an appetite for destruction. In its latest avatar, the decadent Pernod Absinthe has combined forces with the Rebel Dining Society, an underground collective of Londoners with a passion for fine dining, art and music to put together a series of aniseed tasting, interactive art and fusion cuisine. We were invited to the gallery at 20 Hoxton Square to check out one of these ensembles.
The event began with a green hour, a time set aside to sample three Absinthe-laced fruit cocktails while taking in some of the work by local artist Henry Hudson. A passion-fruited French kiss, an apple-flavoured Paris citrone and a mojito later and we started seeing new meaning in his chalkboard sketches of loos from museums around the world. After a browse and a mingle, we took our seats at long tables and filled the anticipation by cutting and decorating paper pigeons in protest of their eviction from Trafalgar Square. All good causes need celebration and there was more absinthe on hand, this time the purer form that we mixed with ice water dripped through dissolving sugar and alternated with glasses of wine.
With the lines between green, white and red slurring, we were served appetisers of velouté of pea and herb potato in a banquette of coco bean followed by a performance from the Roundhouse experimental choir sung to mains of rabbit leg Bolognaise in carrot purée. If one had to choose a winner between the entertainment and the food, we would recommend the latter given that the former battled hard for attention over the din of hungry diners. Dessert was rice pudding with a compote of cherries and a light head.
Over the summer, Pernod Absinthe and the Rebel Dining Society are organising five dinners in secret locations in East London. Each event will have a unique five course menu, a collection of art and feature a flood of absinthe. The package costs £15 and is by invitation upon registering at www.therebeldiningsociety.co.uk.
Written by Nikhil Kalanjee - Photography by Mitra Nataraj