Bompas & Parr and Mercedes-Benz teamed up for one weekend to create a drive thru restaurant at the old Selfridges Hotel as part of London Fashion Week.
If you’ve never heard of them before, Bompas & Parr are a pair of posh young jelly mongers who host rather bizarre events around London which have ranged from a boating lake on the roof of Selfridges to a bubble gum factory in Whiteleys Shopping Centre.
My gentleman companion and I were totally intrigued by their latest idea so willingly forked out the £40 (plus a £6.85 booking fee) for a car pass which got us four meals. We could have chosen to pay £10 each for a pedestrian ticket and eaten in the revolving restaurant but we though we’d fully embrace the idea and get the drive thru experience.
As we waited in a short queue of cars right behind Selfridges, we were given a piece of smelly cardboard in the shape of a slice of salami (which smelt sickly sweet) to hang around our rear view mirror.
We were then told to wait in front of the gated entrance where a waiter greeted us and gave us our menus. Two options were available: a Big Merc or a Veg Merc which was a meat or veggie patty sandwiched between a dohnut bun – we’ll talk about the dohnut buns later!
Eventually, the gates opened and we were told to drive into a small narrow room where the gates closed behind us. To order our food we had to speak into a circular orange microphone – just like a real drive thru – however it was so muffled we could hardly hear the girl taking our order which was a shame.
Suddenly, white and red lights flashed in the shape of arrows. Through a big puff of smoke the gates in front of us opened and we had to drive thru to pick up our order – it was rather exciting I must say.
A couple of girls in rollerskates then precariously rolled around the outside of our car and brought us our food. At this point I was in a state of shock – was this really happening? It was all quite surreal. The people sat in the revolving restaurant were having a whale of a time watching us ‘drive thru’.
Sadly though that’s where the fun ended for us – after a few laps of our car, once we were handed our food we were then ushered out by the roller girls and that was that. We then found ourselves stuck in the middle of Oxford Street with a car full of burgers and nowhere to go! We eventually found a spot on the side of the road and we got stuck in.
The Big Merc was a duck sausage patty with damson ketchup, celeriac remoulade and a slice of tomato ‘vac marinated’ with 11 herbs and spices topped with smoked cheese. All this was sandwiched between a dohnut bun. This was quite honestly the oddest thing I have ever eaten. The duck patty was delicious and incredibly meaty but the dohnut was so sweet – it was even dusted with sugar.
Our back seat passenger had one mouthful and decided it simply wasn’t for him. I however enjoyed the burger – but not enough to eat his as well. My gentleman companion absolutely loved his though and thought it was brilliant. The burger was served with a side of grapes. These bizarrely worked really well with the sweet burger but we had to constantly spit out the seeds. To serve seeded grapes was an absolutely stupid idea which ruined every mouthful.
The Veg Merc was a mushroom and Stichleton cheese patty smeared with cucumber ketchup topped with a fried egg sandwiched between a dohnut bun. Again, with the dohnut bun it was very sweet but it was very pleasant.
We also ordered the three sodas available. My orange and quinine soda with khat bitters was totally disappointing. It was flat and reminded me of Asda orange squash. The berry soda with fine apple vinegar shrub along with the violet and elderflower soda were also a let down.
The food was totally NOT suitable for eating in a car – the meat juice dripped out of my grease proof wrapper and into my lap – staining my trousers. My fingers were also covered in sugar from the bun and as we weren’t given wet wipes my steering wheel quickly became sticky.
We felt that for £46.85 it was all over far too quickly. The fun and exciting part was the actual drive thru – which was over in a matter of minutes. I think the diners, sitting in the comfort of the revolving restaurant, got the better deal, watching the spectacle of the drive thru!