Flash puts the 'temporary' into contemporary dining. But will anyone miss it when it disappears next year?

Flash, Royal Academy of Arts, 6 Burlington, Gardens, tel: 020 8880 6111.

The Flash restaurant may have only opened at the beginning of November but I guarantee it will be dead, gone and dust by January. It's not that I'm the Kiss of Death, it's just that it is a short-term, flash-in-the-pan, pop-up restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts and it really will be gone by January. That leaves only one question: is it a shame it has so short a life or is it just as well? Or is that two questions?

Flash is the baby of Bistrotheque'sPablo Flack and David Waddington, the pair behind the kitschy Christmas-themed Reindeer restaurant set up in Brick Lane's Truman Brewery for a minute in 2006. It is an installation within an exhibition, designed as part of the new GSK Contemporary arts season at the Royal Academy. The entire restaurant – walls, doors, reception desk – has been built from 191 art storage crates by architect David Kohn. The crates in turn have been inlaid with water-jet-cut felt and computer-cut vinyl to create a kind of modern marquetry, while a two-metre black Swarovski crystal sputnik-chandelier designed by Giles Deacon hovers over proceedings.

According to Flack, it's all supposed to symbolise "heritage subverted by youth". What ho. I fear that it could be as obscure and self-conscious as the mainly video installations in the exhibition itself – the 3D holopods, Cartesian geometry, metaphoric propositions and multiplicity of dimensions all completely lost on this visitor at least, although I did like the three empty plinths surrounded by smashed pieces of statue. At least I think it was one of the exhibits.

Inside Flash, the art is more to my taste. Wedgwood dinner plates, illustrated by Will Broome, carry inscriptions of mumsy invocations ("If you don't eat your greens, you won't get your pudding", and "Elbow off the table") while large paintings of cockatoos reference the Burlington gardens of the original address.

There is already a collaborative buzz in the room among the arty types and archetypes in their black-framed glasses, Cleopatra headbands and statement ear-rings. Bistrotheque chef Tom Collins has put together a French/Californian menu that runs from haddock, sea bass and king prawn ceviche to roast quail with pecans, apple and maple syrup jus and pan-fried pollock with almond and caper quinoa. The prices feel a bit over-confident, given the temporary nature of the kitchen but, to be fair, I will make allowances and assume much has been prepped beforehand.

Even so, a very small truffled celeriac tart is a bit clunky and stodgy, especially for £9. "Celeriac mash on a McVitie," says my wife, who has difficulty coping with overly generous amounts of truffle oil. My ham hock and eel terrine with a cute watercress sauce and Melba toast is a better choice, but slim pickings for £8. I thought modern art prices were meant to be going through the floor, not the ceiling.

Main courses are drear. A dry fillet of pan-fried bass (£22) sits on a heave of crab and creamed leeks surrounded by rubbery pellets of herbed gnocchi. A Roquefort, pine nut and raisin ravioli with cauliflower purée and carrot reduction (£13) has a better chance of survival but clashes with itself, unable to unite as a whole. A Louis Changarnier Vin de Pays d'Oc Pinot Noir (£29.50) off the sparse but useable list is light and likeable. To finish, a lemon trifle (£7), served in a frosted glass tumbler, seems to be more cream than anything else.

Flash does a better job of the cocktails (excellent), the service (lovely), the room (smart), the statement (bold) and the crowd (lively) than the food (just ordinary), which makes it like a lot of other restaurants. But at least when this one closes, I don't have to feel guilty.



Flash, Royal Academy of Arts, 6 Burlington, Gardens, tel: 020 8880 6111. Lunch, tea daily; dinner Thu-Mon. Until January 19. Around £130 for dinner for two, including wine and service

The crunch brunch: Galleries with cool cafes

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

75 Belford Road, Edinburgh,tel: 0131 332 8600

With the emphasis on seasonal, organic and Fairtrade, you get a heaving café serving good, thick soups, salads and some of Edinburgh's best-loved cakes

National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, London WC1,tel: 020 7747 2525

Oliver Peyton and designer David Collins have put together a bustling café for the capital. From braised veal through healthy sandwiches to afternoon tea

Whitworth Art Gallery

University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, tel: 0161 275 7450

As well as organic juices, home-made cakes and a menu that runs from game terrine to mezes, this award-winning café also runs its own art exhibitions

Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
i100Most young people can't
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home