On 28th November at 7:30 pm the doors opened onto a very unusual event… Titled the Love Dinner, it was the first in an upcoming series and a collaboration between KeHa Sun and myself, meant to present love in a multi-sensory manner.
Poetry, music and a menu created with special ingredients—some aphrodisiacal —set the tone for an evening of surprises.
It was the perfect melding of different creative talents: Svetlana Jäkel aka Lanadoki brought her beautiful, subtle poetry; Kerstin Hahlbohm & Regina Brittner aka KeHa Sun & Ms Romanow accompanied by Tilmann Cologner were on the decks (accompanied by a friend) with some great jazz, house and hip hop (listen to the evening's soundtrack here). The lovely Sonja Schwarz documented the goings-on, and I was in the kitchen of the pop-up restaurant Tor Dining, which is where the evening took place.
Imagine a dining space dedicated to food as performance. Walking into the Tor Dining restaurant, run by Nick Kircher and Chris Wassmus and supported by Appel Nowitzki, is somewhat similar to entering a church—if solely due to architectural detail. You push open a very non-descript door in a not-so-reputable neighbourhood in Frankfurt and then stop to catch your breath.
The entire interior is one long space, culminating in the kitchen. Dark walls, spotlights and plenty of Instagram-worthy details occupy your attention for a few moments. Between you and the kitchen is one of the highlights of the space: the long dining table that spans almost the entire length of the room and where all guests sit down to dine, next to each other. The other highlight is the kitchen, spotlit with brass lamps that create a stage-like atmosphere: from the kitchen, it’s hard to see much of the dining area; you, on the other hand, are brilliantly lit and therefore, on display. This was an important fact to remember whilst braising, frying and mixing—don’t frown, don’t grit, keep smiling!
The base of our menu was very Indian; this was then re-imagined through the lens of the Tor Dining principles. The end result was five courses rich in colour, detail and flavour: a true collaboration of different kinds of knowledge. Each plate was a smorgasbord, both visually and from a flavour perspective. Coming, as I do, from a completely non-professional background in terms of food, it was a huge learning experience and yet there were plenty of “what on earth is that!?!” moments on both our sides. Both Nick and Chris were patient and open, and I was once again witness to the incredible speed and multi-tasking abilities one needs in a professional kitchen.
It was a magical experience—and just like one, it went by in a blur. I loved the experience of prepping and plating whilst dancing to hip hop; the voyeuristic aspect of the open kitchen and the adrenaline of sending off course after course to our very lovely audience. The teamwork—and the sheer beauty of bringing people together at that table, strangers before the meal and friends after—was both moving and exhilarating. It was, in every way possible, a night to remember. As an added gesture, 10% of the proceeds were donated to the Kinderschutzbund Frankfurt chapter.
Listen to the evening's soundtrack here.
Text: Vatsala Murthy, Images: Sonja Schwarz