Bright idea: the pop-up phenomenon

Name: The pop-up phenomenon

Launched: Er, circa 2004, according to Trendwatching.

What is it?

Just as Heraclitus mused over life's ever-changing nature by attempting to cross the same river more than once, pop-up establishments are making a nod to the very nature of transcience, cropping up, peddling their limited edition wares and disappearing, sometimes within a matter of days.

Ah! So their proprietors are looking to create a sort of artificial scarcity; challenging consumers more used to a world of plenty, in effect doing away with a society which commoditises time itself and confronting the 'I want it now' attitude head-on?

Er, yes. Everyone's doing it: even Stelios got in on it with his easyJet Beach Club back in 2004.

So what about it?

Well, it seems the recession has created a bit of a niche for enterprising chefs keen on capitalising on the pop-up phenomenon: in London alone, dozens of would-be restauranteurs are opening their homes to miniature groups of paying customers. From chefs more used to working in a Michelin-starred kitchen to cooks whose only previous experience is of doing dinner parties for their friends; it seems everyone's at it.

Isn't it a bit, um, illegal?

Technically, no: as long as no alcohol is sold on the premises, everything is perfectly above-board.

Surely not?

Well, if you're going to run a business out of your kitchen, you should probably have the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) come and check it out first: there are certain rules you need to comply with. For instance, there should be more than one door between the food preparation area and the toilet; and you need to have a seperate sink for washing hands. You'll also need to ensure you have adequate food storage facilities, and...

Enough of your rules! Where can I get me a piece of this pop-up restaurant action?

Try Horton Jupiter's Hackney-based  The Secret Ingredient.

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