Bombay Sapphire Presents Dinner Lab

Bombay Sapphire Presents Dinner Lab

ALL iPhotos courtesy of ©ATOD Magazine | by Dawn Garcia + Matthew Sanderson {CREDIT ATOD Magazine™)
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MaRS | 649 S Anderson St. | Los Angeles, CA 90023


{DINNER LAB}: A group of food lovers coming together to enjoy a one-night only menu at a secret location with prestigious chefs. In essence, come with a sense of culinary adventure. MEMBERS ONLY


Downtown Los Angeles is constantly evolving and meliding into the cultural trifecta that any booming city thrives to be. With innovation from the reinvigoration of DTLA – an ode to the DTLA of the 1940’s including the trolly system in progress on 6th – to the constant influx of art, talent and culinary prowess that continues to flower the downtown landscape, it was no surprise that Dinner Lab chose a tucked away, newly situated art gallery in the heart of the industrial district. MaRS | Museum is one of those oddball museums with a grandiose space that is ideal for entertaining, events or an artist with an undeniable, larger-than-life, body of work waiting to be exhibited.

Tonight, this popup gourmet dinner is something I was really looking forward to. The theme is inspired by Chef Wes Whitehead’s love of global teas, world travels, and his insatiable desire to bridge the gap of culinary breadth. Sadly, the heat bore down on us with relentless abandon and in spite of our hunger, tonight, LA heat won the battle. Thankfully, our night began with a very stocked bar from wines and beers to Bombay Sapphire inspired cocktails that were abundant in a fresh, cold, flavorful composition that took us away from the blistering humidity and burdensome discomfort of this LA night. (I have to give Kelly Valentine tremendous applause for doing everything she could to make guests comfortable, and while there was simply a shortage of A/C {MaRS, PLEASE invest in air conditioning!}, she spent the entire evening checking on every guest. The staff that evening, including our server Michael, was exceptional.)

With a room fully seated with hungry diners, including the sophisticated, fashionista Tyra Banks, I think it’s safe to say we all anticipated tonight’s clever menu. Before you read on, it’s important to note that Dinner Lab does one thing more consciously than any other dinner popup I’ve experienced so far: they take careful notes of any food allergies and are not only willing to adapt, but completely willing to alter the dish they serve you. That is worth signing up for, in my opinion. Without further adieu, below is my review of each dish.

My chief complaint for tonight’s dinner was simply that it was just way too hot in the MaRS Museum to fully enjoy the meal. Here’s to hoping they invest in a much better AC! 

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Tea Time: A Global Celebration of Tea and Cuisine

As a young man, Chef Whitehead had an overzealous coffee habit. After years of abuse, he was forced to turn to another caffeine alternative, tea. Many years later, he is still an avid lover of all things tea: its subtlety, complexity and variety are some of many reasons that tea is perhaps the world’s most versatile beverage in addition to being its most popular. With this in mind, he presents Tea Time, a global gastronomical tour devoted to the nuance and possibilities of tea.

When you spend even 5 minutes talking to Chef Whitehead, there is no mistaking his love of cooking and his desire to create cuisine that keeps you on your toes.


Arnold Palmer Hushpuppy (USA)

sweet tea infused corn fritter | preserved lemon & shrimp tartare | pickled peach | sweet tea oil

Chef made mine gluten-free. The batter was perfectly cooked and crisped and the pickled peach and sweet tea oil were an added element of complex flavor. I wasn’t a huge fan of the shrimp, but in fairness, I’m not a huge fan of shrimp, and at this point, the heat in the place was near unbearable.


Salmon Caravan (Russia)

Russian caravan smoked salmon | golden beet purée| pickled caraway | tea infused creme

What a surprising composition of explosive ingredients! With the salmon culminating the smokiness via it’s near tartare state, once combined with the puree, pickled caraway and tea infused cream, this was a truly interesting bite.


Oshinko Ceremony (Japan)

green tea pickles | gen mai cha rice | bonito dash

As an avid lover of Japan, Japanese cuisine, and Japanese culture, I appreciated the 2-step aspect of Dish No. 3 | The broth that went alongside the plated bowl was absolute perfection but on a whole, I think, in part – it was having this dish served in a paper bowl that took away from it’s rich flavor potential. Something this thoughtful should have been served in a proper bowl as to not distract from the ingredients.


Chai BBQ (India)

chai smoked brisket | burnt eggplant purée |cauliflower-naan crisp | rooibos & apple chutney

Brisket ND infused chai?! Something about inviting my palate into a bold Indian inspired BBQ brisket is fascinating and intriguing. The meat itself was moist with bursts of the chai’s spiced botanicals coming through, but the edges were a tad dry, however the eggplant purée was stunning. I didn’t get enough of a sampling of the rooibos and apple chutney and I would have liked to. 


English Breakfast (UK)

earl grey custard | toffee shortbread cookie | tea speckled gelée | candied orange zest

The refined finish to an eclectic range of culinary vastness. This was certainly alive with a sea of flavor and a fine end to a colorful evening. 

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COCKTAILS | An evening homage to Bombay Sapphire + The Owl’s Brew




1.5 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin

2.5 ounces Owl’s Brew The Classic – fresh brewed English Breakfast tea with lemon and lime peel

.5 ounces fresh lemon juice



Lavender sprig garnish.

Serve over ice.


It doesn’t get much more refreshing than this. The Duke of Earl was my drink for the evening! Refreshing, herbal with the lavender garnish, and a balanced cocktail all around. Considering we were all attempting to maintain poise in the unattractive glisten forming on us all, this was a godsend. 

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{Sapphire Hibiscus Palmer}


1 ounce Bombay Sapphire Gin

1 ounce Owl’s Brew Pink + Black – fresh brewed Darjeeling hibiscus tea with lemon peel, strawberry and lemon juice

2 ounces fresh lemonade

2 ounces unsweetened iced tea


Serve over ice.


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CHEF | Wes Whitehead

HOMETOWN | Los Angeles, CA

CURRENT GIG | WEST Kitchen & Catering in Malibu

LAST 4 PLACES WORKED | Bottle Rock | LOVE Catering | Private Chef | Stovetop Playlist Catering




Launched in 2012, Dinner Lab is a national social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners who are looking for something different from the traditional restaurant experience. The concept features up and coming culinary talent from the local community (as well as skilled chefs from other parts of the country) and gives them a platform to be head chef for the evening while gaining valuable feedback from our members. We don’t dictate what our chefs cook, but instead ask them to tell a story through their menu – recipes that speak to their background or heritage, ingredients they’re passionate about, or completely new dishes they’ve been experimenting with on days away from the restaurant.


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