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How can a café transport you into a Gertrude Stein poem? Until June 30, the East London AMP Gallery space is transformed into a performative installation café. With a menu that’s conceptually designed in response to its artworks, embrace combinations extraordinaire: switching from palette to palate.

Sitting down at the Supper Club for my five-course meal, each is as unique and unusually delicious as the next, and the sweetly sour taste of pickled rhubarb mingles with the soft homemade butter. But by artist café they don’t mean simply eating surrounded by art, but also eating on art, eating with art and eating art itself.

As part of Open Space’s exhibition series, artist Inês Neto dos Santos and co-curator Huma Kabakci commissioned twelve emerging artists to create pieces for a new gallery café, Tender Touches. Both decorative and functional, the artworks embrace every aspect of the space, both walls and furniture. Clementine Keith-Roach’s terracotta sculptures lovingly hold their candles in the centre of Coco Crampton’s playful tables. The walls, papered by Marco Palmieri’s delicate designs, carry Paloma Proudfoot’s decadent ceramic collars.

In response to the commissioned artworks, Neto dos Santos creates dishes that have evolved and been adapted through research and conversations inspired by both the art and the artist. Hand-rolled pici pasta echoes Bea Bonafini’s leaf-like plates, and vibrant crumbly cornbread imitates Magda Skupinska’s organic pigments. Each course becomes a narrative of its own, so beautifully told by Neto dos Santos.

Sitting next to artist Lindsey Mendick, creator of the gorgeous pickle cutlery, I find myself in warm company as I tuck into a fruity dish that recalls ‘that’ scene in the film Call Me By Your Name. Ceramic cutlery cast from six different pickles, Lindsey assures me that variety is the spice of life. So why not pick up a pickle with your pickles? On May 25, you can attend a fermentation workshop held by Inês Neto dos Santos: learning the value and art to the natural preservation of foods.

Or if you’re feeling a little hungrier, make sure to attend the Artist supper club on June 6. Hosted by artists Coco Crampton and Inês Neto dos Santos, you’re invited to a night at the circus, so expect the unexpected. A fully-working café open Wednesdays to Sundays with a menu that changes throughout the six weeks, waltz on over to Peckham for a tender touch of creative eating.
The café-cum-gallery Tender Touches is open until June 30 at AMP Gallery, 1 Acorn Parade, Meeting House Lane, London.

Peach Doble
Tania Dolvers
Photos Courtesy of Open Space

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