Newsletter 24 November 2010

News & Events...

1024 Newsletter 24 November 2010Pommery E:Cube, 19 Nov-4 Jan, Hyde Park

With Pommery’s Brut Royal in full flow, an indulgent bar menu on offer and performances by The Organic Jam, a collaboration of London’s top DJs and live musicians, the ‘igloo style’ E:Cube is one of the ‘coolest’ place to eat, drink and play this Christmas. Located in Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, the E:Cube is an eye-catching white structure which will entertain its guests with a lively atmosphere and screenings of experimental art videos by Europe’s best digital artists.  www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Plymouth Gin Martini Sessions @ Graphic Bar, W1, 29 Nov

For the perfect pre-Christmas tutorial, Plymouth has teamed up with gin loving London bar, Graphic, to put together a martini masterclass.  With a cocktail on arrival, guests will taste a selection of fruit based martinis before attending two sessions – one to learn all about the martini and how to make a perfect one, followed by a short Plymouth gin tasting. The event is free to attend.  From 6-9pm. To book a space contact www.graphicbar.com / 020 7287 9241

Auchentoshan Presents… @ Lock Tavern, NW1 Camden, 28 Nov

Auchentoshan, the triple distilled single malt whisky from Glasgow, has teamed up with innovative nightlife promoters, Sunday Best, to put on a series of lively Sunday music sessions. The events kick off at 3.30pm with cocktails and a whisky tasting session.  As the tasting ends, the party unfolds, with guest DJs including Rob Da Bank, Man Like Me and David E Sugar.  These events will take place monthly, so for the latest details visit www.facebook.com/auchentoshan

Free Whisky every Wednesday from Penderyn Distillery, starting 17 November!

1017 Newsletter 24 November 2010Wales’ only whisky distillery, Penderyn Distillery, has teamed up with some of London’s top bars to give out free drams of smooth and warming ‘Welsh Gold’ to Londoners every Wednesday this winter.  Head down to Mint Leaf, Haymarket (www.mintleafrestaurant.com) or The Pipeline in East London (www.thepipelinebar.co.uk) between 5-7pm, say the magic words ‘Welsh Whisky Wednesday’ to the barman and claim your free dram.  The bars will change every Wednesday, so follow Penderyn’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/penderyn) or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PenderynWhisky) to find out the latest venues.

New Openings…

1026 Newsletter 24 November 2010Brasa, SW6

Literally meaning ‘live coal’, Brasa has a delectable menu based around dishes cooked on an impressive Asador Grill, imported especially from the Basque area of Spain. However, the food offering is distinctly British with emphasis on quality cuts of meat from organic UK farms, fish straight from the Dorset coast and fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Drinks are also impressive, with a quality wine list expected of a restaurant specialising in grills, as well as cocktails created using homemade infused spirits including chilli vodka, pink grapefruit tequila and lemongrass & ginger rum.  www.brasalondon.com

The Nightjar, EC1

Hidden along a parade of morning-to-midnight cafés along City Road, is a doorway like no other. If curiosity should take you, then step inside and you will enter the world of The Nightjar.  Combining the glamour and charm of an early 20th century European cabaret venue with refined cocktail traditions, the Nightjar is set to lure London’s discerning drinkers, lounge lovers and late night hedonists.  Guests can expect a menu of rare, revived and original cocktails of the highest calibre as well as live performances from musicians. www.barnightjar.com

Bar @ OXO Tower, SE1

1027 Newsletter 24 November 2010Presiding high over the river Thames with stunning views over London and St Paul’s, the iconic Oxo Tower has seen the launch of its new bar. With an impressive interior alongside an innovative new drinks list and lunch menu, the new OXO Tower Bar looks to be a must visit destination.  The interior provides an intriguing combination of classic cruise liner-meets-cutting edge contemporary, with modern furniture and cool LED lighting.  Similarly, the cocktail list features both traditional and new styles with a particular nod to artisan drinks using their own home-made bitters and cordials.  A bar menu is also available with small bites and sharing plates.  www.harveynichols.com/restaurants/oxo-tower-london

Ora, W1

ORA lies tucked away from the chaos of Oxford Street and brings authentic Thai cuisine to the West End. The menu includes Thai favourites alongside lesser-known specialties such as taub yeng (grilled foie gras served with homemade dip and a mixed herb salad). The restaurant encourages a sociable dining experience with a large centrepiece table that seats 20, although there are individual tables too.  The bar is well suited to a few cocktails and those looking for a more virtuous experience can also request one of their ‘healthy drinks of the day’. www.ora-restaurant.co.uk

Try this week…

Tideford Organics’ Rice Puddings

1028 Newsletter 24 November 2010Love it or hate it, rice pudding has come a long way since the horrible gloop that we used to get served at school.  These Tideford Organics’ Rice Puddings are gorgeous pots of winter-warming deliciousness, made with lashings of rich organic milk and cream from the South West as well as luxurious pudding rice and a delicate touch of nutmeg.  Available in Classic and Butterscotch flavours, the rich, sumptuous puddings are equally delicious served hot or cold.  They’ve won a host of accolades, including Great Taste Awards and Organic Food Awards, so give them a try!  Widely available from supermarkets and www.ocado.com for around £1.30/pot.  www.tidefordorganics.com

1029 Newsletter 24 November 2010Security Feel Better (Hangover Cure)

Don’t say it too loudly, but if my calendar is anything to go by, Christmas party season looks to have kicked off.  Even my postman wished me a Merry Christmas the other day.  Anyway, with Christmas comes hangovers and whilst we all claim to have our miracle cures, from France comes the optimistically named ‘Security Feel Better’. Apparently it contains a mix of herbal extracts (including artichoke, angelica and Yunnan tea) proven to aid digestion that naturally stimulate the system to break down food & drink more effectively. Make it the final drink of your night and you should theoretically be ok for the morning after. £2/bottle from www.security-feelbetter.com

Reviews…

Wahaca, Various

1030 Newsletter 24 November 2010Mention Mexican food, and most people think of rubbery, cheesy tortillas and over-seasoned chicken fajitas – so much potential, completely destroyed by Mexi-Brit chain restaurants.  But then came along Wahaca, launched by culinary visionary and winner of Masterchef, Thomasina Miers, who realised the potential of an authentic version of the popular South American cuisine.  Providing affordable and immensely tasty food, the Wahaca group has grown from its original Covent Garden location to new outposts in The Westfield Shopping Centre, Canary Wharf and most recently, Soho.

Bellamy’s, W1

Bellamy’s provides a fine example of how old-school restaurant values still triumph over superficial modern style.  Tucked away in a Mayfair side road, the inconspicuous entrance leads you into a charming deli area where local suits enjoy a quick lunch at the oyster bar and pick up some high quality groceries.  However, it’s the main restaurant area where the real magic happens.  With comfortable banquet seating, crisp white table cloths, and some of the slickest service this side of Roger Federer on a tennis court, this is traditional French brasserie dining at its best.

(Click on restaurant names to read full reviews)

Win a Bottle of Ardmore Traditional Cask

1031 Newsletter 24 November 2010Two lucky winners are being offered the chance to win a bottle of Ardmore™ Traditional Cask to enjoy this winter!

Ardmore™ Traditional Cask is a new generation Highland single malt Scotch whisky that is double-matured to create an extraordinary malt with a well-rounded, smooth flavour and a unique peat-smoke richness, softened by a delicate sweetness.  Perfect to enjoy on a cold winter’s night in front of the fire or to drink after dinner, Ardmore™ Traditional Cask comes in a beautiful presentation cylinder which would be ideal as a gift for whisky lovers.

Click here to enter this competition…