Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern, London

When we’re “up to London” we like to take in a gallery or two. Nothing compares with the offering in Yorkshire (YSP, Hepworth, etc….yawn…Ed) but we’re alway open to new ideas. Tate Modern is always a draw, even if just to stare at the Rothkos and feel we’re not as depressed as he must have been. We’d give one house room though, given the chance; we have the space honest. Tate Modern has been in the news recently, as Mr Justice Mann kicked out the case brought by the residents of Neo Bankside who were somewhat pissed off by the visitors to the Tate’s tenth floor viewing gallery staring into their livings rooms. They are supposed to be ‘winter gardens’ but most residents treat them as extra living space. We mean, come off it – it’s fun…and the Tate was there first. So, get used to it. Come on up and peek into your neighbours – why not?

The Tate also made the headlines when a disturbed seventeen year old threw a young french lad over the railings and, somewhat luckily, only fell five floors. At least he wasn’t stabbed as well, the attack method of choice currently in London, but suffered severe injuries including a brain bleed. What on earth gets into some people?

So the current exhibition.  Olafur Eliasson believes food is integral to art. We’re not going to disagree. In fact, food before art any day. So, when he sorted his current exhibition he insisted on “designing” the Tate restaurant’s menu, with the emphasis on food miles. Naturally, we had to give it a go…

Eliasson’s plan for the restaurant at Tate was ambitious. Not only would his studio help to devise the menu (Tate’s chef, Jon Atashroo, came out to Berlin to see its kitchen in full flight), he also wanted it, like so much of his art, to speak to the state of the planet and thus to be as sustainable as possible. “We wanted to halve its carbon footprint,” he says, peering at a sheet on which some numbers are printed. “One third of all CO2 emissions in the world are food related.

So how was it? Firstly the exhibition “In real life” was fascinating and heartwarming, unlike the Venice Biennale. Not as good as the Rothkos but lots to think about. Colourful and fun – there should have been more children, they’d have loved it.

And the food?

In 1995, Olafur Eliasson founded Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, which today comprises more than one hundred team members. The SOE Kitchen was established in 2005 and prepares organic, vegetarian meals that are shared by the full studio team four days a week, as well as visiting guests and collaborators, using seasonal produce from an organic farm just outside of Berlin. The kitchen provides sustenance, a healthy diet, downtime, and social glue, and engages in research and experimentation into topics like fermentation and sensory perception.

Simple, very tasty Nordic inspired vegetarian 3 course menu (£45 each mind plus drinks, but it did include entry to the exhibition), plus some sourdough starter and little petit four to finish. Very friendly staff – the Italian server disappeared into the kitchen and returned with the recipe for the courgette tart written on the menu. That’s dedication for you.

Oliver Eliasson at the Tate

Course 1…

Course 2…

Course 3…

Course 4…

Neo Bankside…

…oh, and the art. Reindeer moss and wave machine [not connected]

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