Rambling Restaurant at the Market Estate Project

We’ve cooked in old train depots and darkened car parks and city centre squats and sprawling warehouses. Last week, Rambling Restaurant added a soon-to-be demolished 1960’s North London housing estate to the list of odd and unusual venues, swooping in just ahead of the wrecking balls.  In the amazing Market Estate Project, artists from around the world took over empty flats to create imaginative, engaging, thought-provoking and awe-inducing installations ranging from short films to death-defying performance art to covering entire apartments in building plans or blue plastic.  We were honored to be a part of the day by cooking up all sorts of meals and snacks for people involved with the project.

Sarah and foodrambler conjured up massive pots of beef rendang and aubergine and sweet potato coconut curry with rice and creamy cool banana chutney to fill up the many volunteers before their very very cold outdoor shifts.

Once people began trickling in, we Rambling Restaurateurs turned our attention to making canapes for visitors and staff and lucky wanderers. Homemade chickpea and beetroot hummus on crackers, carrot and cumin dip on crispbreads, mini onion quiches, and Michelle’s famous fried-on-the-spot fish and chips.

In between dishing up cute little newspaper cones and assembling sandwiches for staff sustenance, we found some time to explore the incredible and inspiring works of art. Like an entire flat – bedroom, living room, bathroom, balcony and all – transformed into an enormous blue plastic balloon:

And another apartment entirely papered over, top to bottom, in building plans:

More art photos and some thoroughly inauthentic banh mi sandwiches after the jump…

There were beautiful murals and graffiti art and random creations to be found around every corner and down each hallway.

One of the most shocking and unexpectedly beautiful sights of the day was this performance piece by the lovely Tom Geoghegan, who hung suspended and completely immobilized off one of the estate towers for several hours in the freezing cold.

Looking up at him earlier in the day, we had wondered if he was  real or some sort of hanging dummy.  Turns out Tom is very much human and very much susceptible to high winds when hanging many many feet off the ground. I really enjoyed learning a bit about his various projects over stacks of bastardized chorizo banh mi sandwiches.

The most whimsically joyful flat award goes to this pink balloon-filled kitchen, where Sarah, Antonio, Marc and I stopped in for a cuppa tea and a chocolate biscuit or two.

I’d like to fill an entire apartment up to the ceiling with balloons or maybe rubber exercise balls so you have to squeeeeeeze through, like a grossly enlarged Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

It was exhilarating and exciting and inspiring to run around an empty housing estate late at night and imagine all the lives lived within the walls now covered in blue plastic and spray paint. RIP Market Estate: from birth in 1967…

…to burial in 2010.

4 Responses

  1. irene says:

    So, so cool! We are having some serious ESP(N?) right now: we are also planning a delicious banh mi extravaganza. Also, Tom is real? Please explain.

  2. admin says:

    ESP or general acknowledgement of everlasting banh mi deliciousness at all times. all times. like while watching ESPN.

    tom is real. and super cool. he hangs in crazy places, like horizontal chairs and on hidden boards 100 feet off the ground.

    love.you. excited for roast pig times.

  3. Tamsyn Dent says:

    Looks amazing – wish we could have been there. One question though – why are they called “bastardized chorizo banh mi sandwiches”? Are their parents not married??

  4. admin says:

    thanks tam! actually, it’s an interesting story – the vietnamese meats, cilantro and pickled vegetables ran off with the french baguette and pate and created their fusion child of banh mi. somehow this spanish chorizo offspring came into the mix. mutant child? a secret baby bundle switched by an culinarily curious iberian nurse in the cradle? a random cross-cultural combination of cuisines? who knows, as long as it’s delicious!

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