London's Inventive Catering Outfit: TART
Eclectic, international cuisine paired with contemporary art and design
At the recent opening of multi-media artist Quentin Jones and spatial designer Robert Storey’s exhibition "The Fractured and the Feline," Jones’ beautiful collages of cats and girls and Storey’s exciting mirrored rooms were complemented by food from TART. The London catering company run by Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones created a fun, innovative menu for the opening night that included gyoza, cheesy quesadillas, pulled pork, and a chorizo and bean stew. The restaurant section was also designed by Storey, with tables that resembled airy, open timber huts, strewn with fairy-lights. Impressed by the freshness of the food and the aesthetics of the pop-up, we had a chat with Jones about the duo's company and plans to open a restaurant.
You cater for a lot of fashion events. What do you think makes your food suit them so well?
The food is quite exciting and freshly made on the spot. Everything is seasonal and fresh and we like our hot dishes to be interactive. For example, we do noodle stands with pho that people can add the ingredients to themselves. We also like to make the dishes part of a color scheme. And we have a girl-power-type team, which creates a good atmosphere and a jolly feel! We decorate the spaces too, and people often say it feels like coming into someone’s home.
What inspires your food?
Seasonality—what we cook depends on what’s in the stores at the moment. Lucy and I are also inspired by food from different countries. If we’re into Moroccan food, we’ll make a warming tagine on autumn days, and so on. We get inspired when eating out and we’re such greedy foodies that we usually find inspiration in whatever we feel like picking on.
What’s been on the menu at the pop-up restaurant dinners so far?
We created Middle Eastern-inspired sharing courses and paid lots of attention to the color and textures of the food. It was a bit scary to do it in a car park (The Vinyl Factory exhibition space) since it’s so cold, it was tricky to keep the food hot. We served a starter of black fennel risotto and mushroom bruschetta, and for the main we had 24-hour marinated lamb’s neck and our smokey baba ghanoush. We also had a Spanish seafood dish in terra cotta dishes, as well as a mezze of dips: a butternut squash dip, a spiced beetroot dip, grilled fennel with horseradish ricotta and chilli, edamame beans, wild rice with dill, parsley, toasted nuts and edible flowers. The dessert was our salted dulce de leche tart with homemade tonka bean ice cream and a hot spiced plum compote.
Do you plan to expand TART in the future?
We’re excited about the next step. After catering for two years, we have a potential cookbook coming up and we’re looking for a space in northwest London—Camden, Primrose Hill, Kentish Town or Queen’s Park—to open up a restaurant in.
"The Fractured and the Feline" by Quentin Jones with Robert Storey is presented by The Vinyl Factory at their space in The Brewer Street Car Park, London from 19 November to 13 December 2014.
Images courtesy of Tart