There is something innately cool about the concept of pop-up bars, restaurants and clubs. One minute they’re there, the next minute they’re gone. They feel like they’ve been thrown together with the type of effortless style that so many crave.
The Doodle Bar in Battersea is a great example; everything from the waiters, to the VW Beetle, to the ping-pong table is waiting to be brought to life by some creative doodler. Don’t blink; it’ll be gone by the time you open your eyes.
So why do they work and why are they so popular?
They make their guests feel on-scene, trendy, in the know and a part of something. It’s fun and exciting to know you’re there for a one-time experience that won’t be around in a few months. They’re special, and you feel special being there. It’s what all areas of hospitality try to achieve, and what pop-up bars have done in one swoop.
It was a first for me, however, to attend a pop-up restaurant that wasn’t in someone’s home, nor in a trendy suburb, but in the heart of Soho and organised by a restaurant due to take permanent residence in a few months. Rosa’s, a popular Thai restaurant in Brick Lane, is due to open in Dean Street in January. To build awareness, attract attention and add some hype they’ve opened a pop up restaurant called Noodles, until they move in permanently.
At Noodles, you can feel the enthusiasm from the staff, the kitchen and the customers. They all know they’re a part of something new and exciting and the staff, in particular, seem to put their utmost into creating a great experience. They know they’re only there for a short period and as a result seem set on creating a great dining experience. The menu is simple, short and to the point. The food is fantastic, particularly the pomelo salad, recommended by our waitress.
But the food is only one part of it. The interiors have been cleverly constructed to make you feel like you’re in a temporary structure. The chairs, tables and makeshift dividers are constructed from plywood – easy to assemble, easy to dissemble. The whole experience is in the moment and everyone involved, from customer to staff, feel it.
With all the abandoned buildings, cheap sites and empty restaurants littered around the city, who’s to stop an established restaurant or a fresh faced chef creating their own pop up fun? Great for publicity, on-trend and lucrative, this is the perfect time to make that leap.
Noodles can be found at 48 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BF. You can phone them on (020) 7494 1638.