A spooky setting on the Murder Express. A journey to the underworld. A ghostly tale is told…
In the backstreets of Shoreditch lies the deserted Pedley Street Station, which plays host to London’s latest immersive dining experience – Journey to the Underworld. Built into the old railway arches, the Victorian setting gives way to the Seven Sins Bar – the platform where guests sip on champagne and utterly sinful cocktails (like Sloth and Gluttony) as they wait to board the Murder Express.
A full-scale set, the Murder Express dining carriage is the marvellous theatrical backdrop for the Journey to the Underworld experience, complete with digital screens that double as windows, creating a convincing impression of journeying into the dark unknown.
No sooner had the journey begun, we were whisked into a gothic fantasy tale brought to life by a trio of fantastic actors. Guests are ushered to their seats by the comedic maître d’ Gordy before being startled by Claude, the Harbinger, hero and storyteller of the night. Claude (played by James Hamer Morton) tells the tale of his lost love, Sabine (Charlie Bond) the undead bride caught in the clutches of The Dark One.Their quest for reconciliation and redemption unfolds between four courses from a delicious menu put together by Masterchef finalist Louisa Ellis and served by masked waiters dressed as the Grim Reaper.
The tale began with Butternut Squash Volute, served with a side of mystery as we were introduced to the plight of Claude in his mission to find the three keys that would free him of his chains. The starter – a serving of black garlic gnocchi, was one of my favourite dishes. Garnished with wild mushrooms, truffle and nasturtium, it was a delectable morsel packed with flavour.Just as the main course was served – pan seared guinea fowl with celeriac textures, Anna Potatoes and braised leek – we discovered that Claude’s long lost love Sabine was not quite lost after all. At this point guests went from being spectators to participants in the quest for the keys that would release both Clause and Sabine, giving them a second chance at love.
Cue the Gatekeeper, in the shape of a burlesque dancer (yes really) who presented us with the challenge of stealing one of the keys. This was a bit of a surreal departure from the story, but certainly added to the escapism of the experience. Our final course – a sumptuous dessert of chocolate ganache served with honey ice cream – brought us to the climax of the story – the great escape as Claude and Sabine attempt to elude their doom and return to the world of the living. The exciting tale, delivered with great flair throughout the journey, ended by bringing us all back to the brink of reality. Yet even as we made our way back to modern day London, we were thrilled to see that even the cloakroom staff were committed to staying in character until we were through the door.
Journey to the Underworld was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in recent times. Truly immersive, it has just the right level of audience participation to keep you engaged with the story while enabling you to enjoy the beautifully prepared meal. The spooky story is not really the fright fest you’d expect from an experience that invites you to “Dine with the Devil”, but it is certainly entertaining. The pop-up event runs until November 4, so it’s the perfect way to get into the spirit of Halloween! Tickets start at £53 and can be booked via Furnicular Productions.