Popup dining rises from a scrapheap in Ridley Road market to bring a new taste to Dalston

RISING UP from a scrap of land in Ridley Road market where once an old caravan served teabags and instant coffee is this truly popup restaurant.
The Decorators and Atelier ChanChan, the organisers, call it a “market food initiative”, although happily for simpler folk these, uhm, artytecture types also call it “Ridley Road’s September Kitchen”.
They’ve come up with a striking concept: for three or four weeks you can dine high above Ridley Road on the best the market can offer at a communal table on the second floor.
If you want lunch, you exchange produce you’ve bought from the market for a meal.
Dinner (what the middle class call the evening meal) will cost £15 . That includes the nosh (what middle-class folk call food when they brandish words like “inclusive”) and a £10 food shopping voucher. Guest chefs will create menus and their meals will be prepared in the ground-floor kitchen, then raised Heath Robinson-style to the first floor.

 

Top and right: launch night and, above, a vintage couple waiting for lunch at the popup. Ah, bless!

You’re encouraged to get philosophical; the progenitors say: “This scenographic journey emphasises the vertical transformation of the raw food at market level to the cooked meals at the elevated podium above.”
More prosaically they add: “This temporary summer installation is a means of demonstrating the kind of activities that could be created to make the life of this market sustainable and is an opportunity to re-imagine the possibilities for the regeneration of the area.”
Project member Suzanne O’Connell told Loving Dalston: “We’ve got to know the traders and they’ve got to know us.”
Hackney council invariably goes for a top-down approach to regeneration. The project is a living example of regeneration, ground-up. Will the council get it?

David Altheer 310711

* Near Colvestone Primary School, Dalston E8 2LG, to Sat 24 Sep 2011, Wed-Sat, 11am-11pm, lunch 1-2pm, dinner 7.30-11pm

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