Awakening the Senses

I have just bought the book ‘Adventures in Seeing’ by one of my favourite photography tutors Kim Manley Ort. I have taken several of her e-courses and found them inspirational. The book suggests a series of challenges or ‘Calls to Adventure’ which can be shared through social media (there is a private Facebook group) or one’s blog. This challenge, which is adventure number two, seems ideal for blog sharing so I will get going with it. I am telling the story of a food event. The story of a meal at the Roth Bar & Grill which is part of the Hauser & Wirth gallery in Somerset. This means that almost everything you see is visually challenging or pleasing in some way. We had planned this trip before I got the book so the timing was perfect.

The first thing you see as you approach Durslade Farmhouse is a flying gnome in super hero pose, part of an exhibition by Djordje Ozbolt. This sets the scene for the multi sensory experience ahead by awakening curiosity. But my focus here is on the food event rather than the gallery so I move swiftly on to the next thing I notice which is an advertisement  for the local wine company.

Next you can hang up your coat (though no one had despite it being a cold day) and proceed to look at the salt room described on the website as follows

“The Roth Bar & Grill has a custom made salt room lined with over 500 hand-cut Himalayan salt bricks, highly valued for their purity. All the meat is exposed to this traditional dry ageing process, where the beef is hung for up to 60 days.”

The whole thing looks like a work of art, so much so that there is a sign on it telling you it isn’t!

At last time to enter the restaurant which is, like the gallery, housed in converted farm buildings. The walls are covered with art from “Hauser & Wirth’s family of artists alongside works from the private collection of Iwan and Manuela Wirth.” A sensory feast indeed, although you may find some of the art a little surprising.

I decided to treat myself to a glass of sparkling prosecco while another member of the party opted for the home made ginger beer.

Finally the main event, the food, it looks pretty as a picture and I can’t wait to tuck in!

This is the point where things go a bit wrong, I focus entirely on eating and completely forget to take any more photos until half way through dessert (hangs head in shame!) the pudding I choose turns out to be an essay in texture rather like a good photograph; light and airy chocolate mousse combined with crunchy peanut brittle, gloopy salted caramel with a crisp biscuit on the side – delicious!

A final glance out of the window at Paul McCarthy’s giant homage to Henry Moore and it’s time to head for home with all of my 5 senses having been stimulated in a very positive way.

All photos were taken with my iPhone except the flying gnome which I took with my DSLR


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