London’s first DC Comics-themed, Batman-loving restaurant is making a £195 tasting menu served up in an augmented reality room the centrepiece of its opening in Soho on 10 August. Park Row, which replaces Mash Steakhouse at 77 Brewer Street, will feature a total of five restaurants and bars, with the Monarch Room — a 20-seater affair — the stage for its experiential journey into the world of Batman, the Joker, Harley Quinn, and other cartoon legends, assisted by floor-to-ceiling screens and projection mapping.
The menu will be served over the course of three hours, in two “acts” in keeping with the theatrical performance. The food itself will blend inventive presentation with familiar luxury signifiers: wagyu and truffle; scallop with oyster and caviar; edible jewellery which isn’t just gold leaf, praise be.
The Monarch will be bolstered by four more spaces — a speakeasy named for Gotham City, a modern European restaurant called The Rogue’s Gallery, Pennyworth’s bar named for Bruce Wayne’s butler, and The Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, with more of a focus on live music and entertainment.
Park Row is the first venture from Wonderland Restaurant Group, run by James Bulmer and Mark Garston, formerly of Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray. Mike Bagale, former executive chef at three-Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago, was previously attached to the project, but its chefs are now Karl O’Dell at the Monarch Theatre and Kim Woodward at Park Row. O’Dell comes from formerly Michelin-starred Texture, which closed in March 2020, and Woodward from 100 Wardour and The Savoy Grill.
London’s ‘immersive dining’ experiences are typically pop-ups or residencies at dedicated venues: theatres; cinemas; train carriages — basing an entire restaurant on a fictional universe is a hitherto unexplored strategy. But there is a burbling appetite for experiential dining that majors in visual trickery, outsize food, and trompe l’œil presentation — largely accelerated by the success of the Big Mamma Group at Gloria, Circolo Popolare, and recently opened Ave Mario. Park Row is a good few flaps of a bat’s wing beyond that, and looks set to be a striking addition to Soho. More soon.