The Lowdown: hands-free dining

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Hands Off restaurant

Related tags: pop up, Restaurant

Next week restaurant discount scheme Tastecard is launching its first pop-up restaurant, where customers are not allowed to use their hands and instead are fed food and drinks by servers.

Sounds messy, should I bring a bib?
Might be an idea.

How will it work?
Guests attending the appropriately-named Hands Off! restaurant​ will spend the evening being fed food directly by servers who will also be there to help you drink by sticking a paper straw in your beverage and bringing it to your lips as and when you wish. According to Tastecard, which is hosting the event to celebrate the relaunch of its app on iOS and Android, the concept is inspired by a ‘Bangkok tradition’… nope, we don’t have a clue what this means either.

What’s on the menu?
The restaurant will feature a set tasting menu priced at £20, with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to Tastecard’s charity partner Mary’s Meals. The food will be prepared by Hands Off! partner restaurant Feng Sushi, and include dishes of Nippon ‘mock’ duck (a Chinese pancake with cucumber, spring onion, caramelised tofu and hoisin sauce); a selection of nigiri and vegetarian rolls featuring salmon, tuna and Japanese omelette; and for dessert it’s Japanese rice cake in chocolate and strawberry cheesecake flavours.

Sounds gimmicky...
That’s probably a fair assessment. Tastecard promote the Hands Off! Restaurant as an opportunity for diners to live out their laziest fantasy. But as anyone who has ever embarked upon such an endeavour, particularly within an intimate setting, will know, there’s nothing really relaxing about the act of being fed food by another person.

Will it be hygienic?
If the servers were feeding you using their hands then it would likely be a bone of contention, but we understand all food will be served to diners using chopsticks.

Has anything like this ever been done in London before?
Apparently this is the first time such a concept has been brought to London, but this is certainly not the first pop up restaurant we’ve seen that could generously be described as a little bit weird. Lest we forget the one-day crow café, where visitors could drink coffee while surrounded by a flock of magpies, rooks, ravens and jackdaws. And then there was the Run for your Bun café by David Lloyd Gyms, where you weren’t allowed to eat until you had completed a 10-minute HIIT session. But even by those standards, the Hands Off! restaurant sounds strange.

You got that right… One last question, will the servers say “here comes the aeroplane” before every mouthful?
One suspects things may become a little too Freudian if you asked them to do that.

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