It won’t be the first multi-sensory experience in a London gallery, but surely one of the more bizarre: a tasting menu and three course lunch menu, created by Head Chef of Rex Whistler restaurant Alfio Laudani and inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s vivid colour schemes and Dutch flavours, to mark the Van Gogh and Britain exhibition (March 27–August 11).
Having studied the time the Dutch master spent in England, Laudani will be fusing seasonal British produce with Dutch pastry techniques and ingredients such as pickled herring. Van Gogh’s colour palate, replete with shades of yellow and blue, will also enter the fray: for example, a dessert which riffs on the Gevulde Koek (a popular Dutch almond tart) will nestle upon a vivid stroke of turquoise absinthe paint, calling to mind Starry Night on the Rhône.
The explosions of yellow found in Sunflower and The Shoes are alluded to via a delectable Coronation Chicken dish featuring corn-fed chicken from award-winning butchers Farmison, charred sweetcorn, sweetcorn puree, pickled apricots and golden raison puree.
Art historians won’t need to ask what alcoholic tipple will be involved: absinthe will be integrated into various parts of the menu (including the aforementioned Gevulde Koek which is balanced out with white chocolate and absinthe ice cream). The pickled herring starter, meanwhile, also nods to Van Gogh’s love affair with the aniseed based liquor with its subtle elements of fennel.
It all sounds very left field: but given Alfio Laudani’s creative track record, we’re expecting an artfully executed approach.
£53 per person for the Van Gogh in Britain Exhibition with three course Lunch; £55 per person for the lunch tasting menu. tate.org.uk