Newsletter 1 December 2010

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News & Events…

1032 Newsletter 1 December 2010Taste of Christmas, 3-5 December, ExCel London

Cutting edge chocolatiers, boutique wine producers, artisan bakers, old-fashioned family butchers and traditional cheese-makers from all over the British Isles and beyond will play a starring role at this years’ Taste of Christmas.  Visitors to the show will be able to see, sample and buy all of their Christmas food & drink, as the cream of the country’s top producers and suppliers come together. Masterclasses, tastings and opportunities to ‘meet the experts’ will also add some interactive fun to the event. Tickets are £19.

The Courvoisier Dickens Punch Tour

Charles Dickens loved his Cognac to the point that he was even known to include Cognac punch recipes in many of his literary works. To commemorate this, Courvoisier are hosting The Courvoisier Dickens Punch Tour – the perfect festive excuse to explore London’s hidden history and have a few drinks! The hour-long tour includes a couple of Courvoisier cocktails at The Covent Garden Cocktail Club and a guided walk around the mysteries of Dickensian London, including The Olde Curiosity Shop and the dark hallows of Bow Street Magistrates Court. Tours run everyday until 19 December. £10/ticket from

Search for a Green & Black’s Chocolate Taste Assistant!

Lord Sugar isn’t the only one currently offering the nation’s ‘finest’ a job. Green & Black’s Head of Taste, Micah Carr-Hill, is offering one lucky individual the dream job as his new Taste Assistant.  No formal qualifications are required, but the Taste Assistant will have to be prepared for the tough task of coming up with exciting new flavour combinations, tasting new products and possibly even travelling the world to source the best ingredients. Applications can be made at

New Openings…

1033 Newsletter 1 December 2010Sketch @ The RA, W1

Renowned Mayfair restaurant sketch has once again opened ‘sketch at the RA’ for Christmas.  The pâtisserie and café will run alongside and is inspired by the Royal Academy’s exhibition, GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, which will focus on how artists and designers examine clothing as a mechanism to communicate elements of our identity.  ’Master’ chef Pierre Gagnaire has created an all-day menu of gourmet dishes and patisserie which will be served in the achingly fashionable catwalk inspired interior.  Click here for more info…

1034 Newsletter 1 December 2010Après Lounge, W1

Opened just when we are all looking for somewhere suitable to escape from the snow, Après is a luxury Whistler-style diner-meets-ski lodge by day and a candle-lit cocktail lounge by night.Elegant yet quirky, with a relaxed and friendly vibe, it’s capable of holding up to 300 guests, yet still feels intimate thanks to its warm design a multiple rooms.  The ground floor serves as a champagne, cocktail and Tapas bar, with a British and Mediterranean influenced menu.  As the sun disappears, those after a more lively evening can head to the downstairs bar, where DJ’s will raise the tempo and keep the party

1035 Newsletter 1 December 2010Nordic-inspired Vista Bar @ The Trafalgar Hotel, SW1

The Trafalgar Hotel has given its roof-top Vista bar a Nordic-inspired makeover.  The seasonal look includes a specially created white dome that covers the entire bar space but still offers spectacular views across Trafalgar Square this winter.  Guests will also be able to explore the new Nordic inspired cocktail menu, including the warming Hot Blooded Viking.

Cassis Bistro, SW3

Cassis is the latest restaurant from the highly regarded MARC Ltd, whose other London restaurants include Michelin-starred Umu and The Greenhouse.  The menu provides a mix of traditional and contemporary Provençal dishes and has been taken care of by David Escobar, a chef with immense pedigree in his native France. Expect dishes of Pastis flambéed snails, Bouillabaisse to share and homemade pâtés, as well as brunch dishes for early diners.  There is also a solid wine list of around 700 bins to quaff with the meal.

Try this week…

1036 Newsletter 1 December 2010‘Beer is Proof God Loves Us’ by Charles Bamforth

If you’re going to judge a book by its cover, with a name like ‘Beer is Proof God Loves Us’, this book possibly has the greatest cover of all!  The book has been written by and looks at the experiences of Charles Bamforth, a man whose love of beer landed him with a career spanning 32 years in the industry, culminating in his appointment as the first ever Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor in Malting & Brewing Science.  In this often humorous and highly researched book, Bamforth reveals the cultural values of good beer, the radical changes in brewing companies, the latest global trends, the industry’s many adversaries, and best of all, why beer is actually good for you!  £18.99 from all good book retailers.

Swiss Diamonds Frying Pans

1037 Newsletter 1 December 2010For guys who want to risk buying their partner a kitchen utensil as a Christmas present may just get away with one of these – a diamond coated frying pan!  Made in Switzerland, Swiss Diamond pans feature a unique non-stick coating incorporating real diamond crystals, providing a virtually indestructible cooking surface that is officially guaranteed not to crack or peel.  Their exceptional non-stick ability also means that no oil is required when cooking, whilst the diamond crystals ensure optimal heat distribution, eliminating hot spots and helping to prevent burning. A 20cm pan is available for a special price of £30, whilst larger pans start at £90.

‘Pizza the Action’ visits…

1038 Newsletter 1 December 2010Franco Manca, W4

This week, resident blogger ‘Pizza the Action’ visits Franco Manca. From rootsy beginnings at Brixton Market, Franco Manca has expanded on its early success and since early 2010 have been firing trad Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in Chiswick too.Franco Manco aims to produce the most authentic sourdough pizza to be found outside of Naples – and at prices that even undercut the local takeaways. If your a pizza person Franco Manca is an absloute must.

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