4 July 2013

The House of Peroni

Whilst gastronomical pop-ups may have been hogging the limelight recently, there's been a quietly elegant revolution bubbling away under the surface. This week it came to the fore with the grand opening of The House of Peroni. A temporary residency in 41 Portland Place, The House was created to 'celebrate the new wave of Italian culture' and boy, does it do so.

The formidable entrance flanked by impeccably dressed hosts sets your expectations high, and The House doesn't disappoint. Greeted by a welcome bottle of the classic Peroni and The House book, the ground floor showcases two larger installations - one, a colourful texture of built-up-and-stripped-back wallpaper that, according to artist Ludovica Gioscia (who was wearing a fab sequin jumpsuit), decodes marketing strategies, and the other by Carlo Bernadini, a room of mist and lights.

A storey up and the gallery space is full of light with smaller pieces displayed around the room. The most engaging was 'The Creation Project' where the artists had reworked the classic glass Peroni bottle into something completely different, a result of 'a blend of researching, reading, meetings, train delays and lost planes, and what's happening on the street'.

From there, a bar led you out onto the terrace where mixologists were busily whipping up Gerry Calabrese's Peroni creations. I tried (several of) each - The Calabrese Float, loosely based on a Collins with the most delicious lemon tones, and a Mirtillo, with forest berries that had been steeped in Peroni. The terrace was perfect for people-watching and meeting new people - I spied a few familiar faces (including Mr Carluccio himself) - and spoke to a few of the other guests.

Unbelievably, I missed the food - created by the Michelin-starred Costardi brothers - but reports talk of chilled soup in glasses and creamy risottos in tins. To make up for this, I'm very tempted to return for the Take A Seat... event, where 'you will be invited by the chef to help create and consume six delicious courses' as this sounds right up my street.

The House of Peroni residency runs until the end of July with a huge host of different events on offer. Catch it while you can!

Photos courtesy of The House of Peroni website.

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