Nathan Anthony joined forces with eBay to create the UK's first-ever pop-up restaurant exclusively serving dishes made from refurbished air fryers.
Kitchens have undergone quite the transformation over the years, evolving in tandem with new technologies, shifting culinary habits, and the ever-changing landscape of food trends.
Think about it: the 1930s dazzled us with the electric blender, while the 1960s birthed the microwave. The 1970s served up the trusty slow cooker, and the 2000s gave us the juicer.
Now, since 2010, the coolest kid on the kitchen block has been the air fryer, the whiz machine which promises to save on energy bills, shrink cooking times, and offer a healthier alternative to deep-frying.
Even Hollywood's very own Drew Barrymore hopped aboard the air fryer train, unveiling her own chic sage green model in Walmart stores.
But do these spaceship-looking countertop contraptions have more to offer than just making curly fries and turkey dinosaurs?
Well, the answer lies in a unique culinary experiment - a pop-up restaurant in London that was the brainchild of TV chef and best-selling food author Nathan Anthony, in collaboration with eBay.
The restaurant, the first of its kind in the UK, exclusively served dishes made from refurbished air fryers.
Curious to explore the potential of the gadget, I ventured along to the opening of this one-of-a-kind air fryer experiment.
What I experienced was a delightful surprise.
Arrival at the restaurant
I arrived at the 'AIR' restaurant, located in London's oh-so-trendy Hoxton neighbourhood and was welcomed with a glass of prosecco. Oh go on then!
As I sat down the culinary wizard himself, Nathan Anthony, known as the "Air Fryer King", made his charming entrance from the kitchen. With a twinkle in his eye, he explained the mission behind the project.
The concept was simple: with the cost of living and energy costs remaining unaffordable for many this winter, the pop-up's aim was to educate shoppers on the major cost and energy saving to be made through choosing refurbished kitchen and home appliances.
Representatives from eBay also revealed some telling data. Over a third of Brit’s (39%) are unsure how they’ll pay for increased energy bills this winter.
And with an average running cost of £55.71 per year vs. an electric cooker at £335.57, it’s no wonder that air fryer sales have been skyrocketing. eBay have witnessed a +350% increase in searches for ‘refurbished air fryers’ since the start of the cost-of-living crisis.
Despite the craze however, nearly half (42%) of Brit’s still don’t own one, with cost being the key barrier (32%).
Bring on the food!
Before I knew it the starters swooped in. Crispy salt and pepper squid, arancini balls stuffed with Nduja, halloumi fries, and a roasted cauliflower salad complimented with coconut yogurt and a pomegranate and cashew miso dressing.
The plates were devoured by my table within seconds. And not only did they taste heavenly, but they also looked like edible works of art. If I hadn't been in on the secret, I wouldn't have guessed that an air fryer played the starring role in this foodie-themed magic show.
For the main event, we feasted on parmesan covered aglio e olio chicken wings, lamb chops with mint sauce, steak tacos with an avocado cream and miso-glazed aubergine. The verdict? A resounding 10/10 on all fronts from me.
Finally, it was time for the dessert - banana and chocolate crepes with a S'more dip, chocolate creme puffs, and peaches with ice cream, honey, and pistachios. Safe to say, my sweet tooth was more than satisfied.
Overall, I had a wonderful time at the pop-up and it definitely opened my eyes to possibilities of the gadget. A little air fryer ingenuity and some thoughtful plating can go a long way.
As I bid adieu to the evening, my belly content and my heart full, I couldn't help but think of my trusty air fryer back home, which usually only sees action when I'm craving some chicken nuggets or some french fries.
I underestimated you old guy...