2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:20
Why is there so much talk about the new restaurant Pharmacy 2, from London? What is so special about this place, which highly sought-after dishes, which starred chefs, which exclusive ingredients will ever be offered in the new temple of cosmopolitan cuisine?
Or rather, none of this.
Because Pharmacy 2 is a restaurant that is not talked about for the quality of the food served or the mastery of the chef, both of which are taken for granted, but for the particular figure of the owner / owner, the setting and the furnishings offered.
He, the anomalous owner, is Damien Hirst, and if this name does not tell you anything, you should know that he is one of the most quoted and most discussed artists of the Young British Art current that started in the early 90s in England.
And the physical location where the restaurant is located is its new art gallery, Newport Street Gallery, in the Vauxhall neighborhood of London.
In short, a (another) artist who gives himself to food, to catering.
Let's say that the idea would not be so original or artistic: by now food, the new idol of our era, is combined with practically everything, from the sale of books to objects, and after all, even in Italy there are cases of mixing between art and restaurants, without bothering entrepreneurs of another kind such as Belen, who opened Ricci Milano with Joe Bastianich.
But this is Damien Hirst. Not a soubrette, not an actor or a television comedian, but a true artist, that is, one who, already in 1998, sensing the potential of the food-art combination, had opened, also in London, the first Pharmacy restaurant, a destination for calibers such as David Bowie or Madonna, closed after only five years due to problems not of management but of the real estate type.
Hirst is a sui generis artist, original, out of the box, with that right disheveled air that draws so much, dedicated, in his time, to alcohol, to mixtures, to altered states of consciousness - and hence, probably his attraction for chemical or pharmaceutical preparations and compounds - able to tell without problems when, not yet an established artist, he was able to steal an entire rack of bone-in steaks in the warehouse where he worked to make the meat pie at home.
Or when, at the time of the first Pharmacy, he was caught by his own bouncer with his hands in the bag, that is to say in the classic bathroom with the classic drug in his hand, and that he implored his own employee to throw him out of his own place, in how much "you have to do it, you know that in this place we have a big problem with drugs!" (obviously not executed by the bouncer in clear conflict of interest).
One, in short, who not only does not hide his shortcomings but who actually seems to want to flaunt them.
One that recalls those same weaknesses also in the furnishings and setting of the restaurant, replacing the cheap and sad restaurant pictures with images and references to an artificial, chemical, altered world made of tablets and alchemical bottles.
Like a true artist, or a skilled entrepreneur (these qualities are absolutely compatible, beyond the romantic rhetoric of the damned and impractical artist).
Moreover, ours seems to nurture an authentic passion for food, as well as for art, since it considers it "art without tangible proof". He has been in the restaurant business since 1996, when he collaborated with chef Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis, also in London. In short, a person, a particular artist, one of those who in some way move the masses.
Here, probably the success of Pharmacy 2 is all here: not in the quality of the food served, not in the particular and trendy place inside an art gallery, not in the deliberately absurd and jarring setting with the main function of the place, and perhaps not even in the chance to admire Hirst's own works of art (such as the Medicine Cabinets and Kaleidoscope panels inspired by butterfly wings) when most of us cannot even recognize an authentic crust from a real work of art. 'modern Art.
No, the success of Pharmacy is him, the damned artist, the artist perpetually over the top, with his vaguely rock allure who has "also" opened a restaurant: you go there to breathe a little of his madness, of his nature, his vision of things and of the world.
And finally, perhaps, also to taste the menus proposed by chef Mark Hix, Hirst's partner in this venture.
So, finally, a mention of cooking and food is a must. The restaurant offers revisited traditional English dishes, with local raw materials and inspirations with an international flavor, along with a selection of fine wines and cocktails designed by Hix himself.
And now, come and tell me that you really care about the menu …