We board the Laverstoke Express for a whistle-stop tour of Bombay Sapphire’s botanical destinations
The marbled, art-deco interior of Banking Hall
doubles up as an extremely convincing 1930s train station. It’s beneath this former bank’s grand columns and original clock that we find ourselves thrust into the fictional departure lounge of the Laverstoke Express. As we sit on seats fashioned from luggage and have our invitations stamped by the conductor, we’re handed the first of many gin-based beverages.
Tonight’s voyage is being hosted by Bombay Sapphire. In the centre of the hall is a pop-up steam train. On the outside, the shiny, gold-accented locomotive is billowing smoke, while inside a moving screen whisks us through the countryside and into Morocco, our first pit-stop. We toast the occasion with a coriander-infused Bombay Sapphire, topped up with mead.
Between each cocktail, we’re served three courses which take us from Tuscany through to Spain and Germany. In the kitchen is Tom Sellers of Michelin-starred Restaurant Story. His botanical-infused menu ranges from an impeccable hot and cold scallop duo with lemon peel mousseline (the standout dish of the evening), to Iberico pork with roasted pear: the dish’s corresponding botanical, almond, is served fresh, sugared and as an amaretto jelly. It’s delicate, but delicious.
As an event, it’s one of the best brand activations we’ve experienced. Not only does our knowledge of the gin improve – the conductor and a sommelier introduce each course – but we really are immersed in the journey – the carriage even rattles. We’re not so unsteady that we can’t ascend the venue’s marble staircase for a few more after dinner. Let’s just say my voyage on the Laverstoke Express was slicker than the one home.
Venue Banking Hall
Build anticipation by only revealing only the essential details ahead of your event. We had no idea what we’d be eating or how the evening would pan out, which added to the excitement.
Get more event inspiration with this list of some of our favourites this summer so far.