The Thursday was a beautiful day, like most of the other days that week. Many extra hours had gone into the preparation for the first pop up dinner event at bhuti whilst running the tea room as usual, mostly alone. The number of bookings increased on the day from four to 10, which was exactly as many as I had thought to prepare for, just in case, earlier in the day. I had my fingers, toes, legs and arms, and guts crossed that it would not increase, as I had ran out of the appropriate coconut milk needed for the dessert, of which I had already prepared exactly ten of anyway. As the day went by, luckily not over-the-top busy, the gut twisted further from just being crossed for good luck. Lunch time rush dealt with, it was time to make sure I have in stock everything I needed. Some more topping up, last minute prep, and time to close the tea room. It is weird to close the kitchen, only to leave it open and ready for dinner. As the time rolled to 5pm, together with my comi I realised there really was not much left to do. Followed by a priceless image of the two of us sitting behind one of the tables, folding the napkins into French pleats, as people walk by to and from yoga classes.

Setting up the tables was a peaceful and beautiful process. From years of working in catering including events such as dinners and weddings, I have grown more than accustomed with the appropriate way of laying out the table. However seeing the casual tea room transform into a cosy and warm with a hint of romantic atmosphere was very endearing, to me. Despite us serving no alcohol at bhuti, which I am quite happy about, it was a BYOW, and from the local social norms, having the wine glasses on the tables added a level of sophistication to it all. Cutlery polished, tables set and candles lit, the first guests arrived well in time.

Sam got started on the arrival drinks of carrot-orange-ginger juice, and the mingling began, accompanied by snacking on some kale crisps and macaroons.

With half an hour to spare before scheduled beginning of the service, there was enough time to start plating up the first course, and explain people what we were doing, and just casual chat to make it more interactive than just a sit-down for a four course raw vegan meal. Out of the 10 booked, by 7.30pm nine people had arrived, all getting acquainted with each other, and the dinner began, as the last person never showed up.

First course

Marinated and dehydrated sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot, and a couple of kohlrhabi chips, served with avocado chilli cream, paprika pine seed mayo, and yellow pepper hummus.

Second course

Dehydrated spinach and vegetable ‘bread’ tart, with spinach cream cheese filling.

Third course

Raw courgette and spinach lasagna with broccoli pesto, sundried tomato marinara, and cashew cheese sauce, and mung bean sprouts.

Fourth course

Mulberry and walnut crumble layered with kiwi, strawberries, and coconut cream.

Post-meal

Raw chocolate and coconut truffle, and a cup of chicory coffee with hemp milk.

People really seemed to enjoy themselves, and so did I, for I had the chance to choose the playlist for the evening. The biggest winner of the evening was the lasagna, which as far as I my experience goes with it, has always been a winner, no doubt about it. Be it a raw vegan, or a meat-eater, I know of no-one who has yet turned away from a slice of the raw lasagna. I reckon the crumble did not fall far behind, for the texture of the coconut cream, together with the freshness of the fruit, and the sweetness of the crumble parts just melted together. And by the time it got to the truffle, many people were too full to even finish that piece of confectionary. The feedback was positive and it seemed there was a demand for a new event.

Well, the requests have been met and the next one will take place in the very near future. The date is yet to be carved in stone, but the menu is pretty much set. Behold… the raw vegan pizza is on the way..

Eli x