Knowledge and precision has always been the cornerstone of professional cookery. Much like a wine connoisseur can learn how to detect the hint of some floral bouquet, one can train their palate to detect the slightest whisper of flavour. They can turn to the venerable tomes of fine cuisine and be an expert in the roux, the masala and the salsa di nochi before they have even begun to pick up a whisk.
They can even explore the science of food, understand its complex web of relationships and the chemistry that defines it. Pioneers on molecular gastronomy, like Heston Blumenthal, have been using a plethora of exotic techniques to perform some sort of culinary alchemy: infusing, transforming and reimagining ingredients at will.
Yet the culinary world is, at its heart, an emotional experience. Aforementioned master food scientist Blumenthal is a man that understands this. His passion, rather than his analytical mind, is what drives him to creation. His dishes are masterpieces because they challenge and they shock. They remind us that there is as much joy to be had in walking past a bakery and smelling the scent of freshly baked loaves dancing through the cold morning air as there is in one of Ferran Adrià’s latest molecular masterpieces. The most powerful restaurants are the ones who translate their knowledge and expertise into a story.
The Fable Bar hopes to be one of these special restaurants. Part of the Drake and Morgan group, it infuses the very essence of its culinary culture with fairy tales. Its focus is on the narrative side; one of those restaurants that one frequents for the experience. The entire place is a living, breathing sketchbook of artistic vision, paying homage to the ideals of culinary enchantment.
The imagery is simple. The conspicuous choice of serving apparatus establishes a rustic and antiquated yet powerful feel. Order cocktails with friends and prepare to be delighted as they arrive served in an eclectic assortment of glass jars. Have the enchanting desserts and prepare for a storm of fine china and rose petals. The ideas may be a little textbook, however they are implemented with such confidence that it’s easy to be swept away in the story.
The food largely follows the same pattern. In this place, in this menu, the relatively standard dish of surf ‘n’ turf seems oddly exotic. Served on a wooden platter, the mixture of meat and seafood evokes the kind of eclectically scavenged meal one could see being eaten in an old tavern or by a fisherman of yore. Much can be said of the exceptionally well polished marketing here, after all much of the appeal of The Fable Bar dining experience is a glamour of sorts, one that augments fairly ‘run of the mill’ dishes with a touch of theatre and wonder.
That’s the point though. The Fable Barjust a restaurant or a place to get a decent DIY cocktail: it’s a story waiting to unfold. Like any good story, recipients must be willing to leave a degree of their scepticism at the door and immerse themselves into the narrative. If they do, they’ll feel the delights of teacups as serving vessels, original cocktails and mugs full of golden chips. They’ll be enchanted by the decor, amazed by the accessories and pleasantly surprised by the excellent standards of the food. Simply put, once the storybook opens it’s hard not to fall in love.
What element do you think is most important when relighting the spark of culinary adventure? Taste? Theatrics? Novelty? Or maybe something entirely different: let us know!