Pop-up 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 pop-up 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 awaiting lunch at the pop-up. 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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