Newsletter 2 March 2011

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News & Events…

1105 Newsletter 2 March 2011Pimp Your Pancake @ Giraffe, 8-11 March, 10-4pm

Visit a Giraffe Restaurant where they are encouraging guests to truly indulge in all of their sugar-coated fantasies by giving them a wicked selection of toppings and fillings for a pre-Lent blow-out.  Toppings include everything from Crunchies and caramel sauce to Baileys, with pancakes starting at £5.95 for 3 pancakes and 4 toppings. www.giraffe.net

Posh Pancakes @ Hix Selfridges – 7-13 March

For those who are too posh to toss, Hix Selfridges will be serving up their luxurious interpretations of the traditional pancake using Clarence Court Eggs, including a Lobster Thermidor pancake and a Blood orange & Grand Marnier pancake.  www.hixatselfridges.co.uk

Aldo Zilli Pancake Tossing Challenge @ Zilli Fish, W1, 8 March

Aldo Zilli is challenging Londoners to break his Guinness world record for tossing pancakes (117 times in one minute) this Pancake Day.  Taking place from 8am, challengers simply need to pop in and get flipping. Those not brave enough can still enjoy a pancake menu on the day. www.zillirestaurants.co.uk

Russian Maslenitsa Festival, Trafalgar Square, 6 March

Whilst we enjoy a few humble pancakes, in typical fashion, the Russians are doing things a little bigger by taking over Trafalgar Square to celebrate the coming of Lent.  The event will see a host of live music, kids theatre and stands selling traditional Russian crafts.  Most importantly, visitors will also be able to experience the food our billionaire friends, including Beef stroganoff, vatrushki pastries and the quintessential Maslenitsa delicacy, Blini pancakes.  Russian Standard will also be on hand with a bar to serve up vodka to wash it all down with!  Free to attend, 12.30-7pm.  www.london.gov.uk/event-meeting/2011/mar/russian-maslenitsa-london

New Openings…

NOPI, W1

1106 Newsletter 2 March 2011The team behind the renowned Ottolenghi group of deli-style restaurants have embarked on their first proper restaurant with the launch of NOPI. The all-day dining venue will be serving an eclectic menu largely based on the bold flavours, herbs and spices of the Mediterranean, Middle-east and Asia ingredients.  The mostly sharing-style dishes include Slow cooked pig cheeks, celeriac & barberry salad; Grilled garfish with vine leaves & chermoula; and Baked stilton cheesecake with wild mushrooms.  The venue provides a relaxed environment to enjoy the food, including shared stool seating looking into the kitchen as well as regular tables for individual groups. www.nopi-restaurant.com

1101 Newsletter 2 March 2011Venosi, SW3

With 40 years in the industry that has included setting up old-school celeb favourite, Don Luigi’s in Soho, stalwart restaurateur Luigi Venosi, has upped sticks to open Venosi Restaurant on Sloane Avenue.  In typical Venosi fashion, the new restaurant oozes old school charm and hospitality, with the kind of service that should turn locals into regulars.  In the kitchen is his son, Gino, who has gained extensive experience cooking in kitchens across Italy.  The result is a contemporary approach to traditional Italian flavours, with everything made in-house, from bread and sausages to pasta and ice-cream.  www.venosi.co.uk

Disappearing Dining Club Dining Room, EC1

The Disappearing Dining Club, which finds unusual spaces to open pop-up restaurants, has launched a permanent one-table ten-seat restaurant. Part private dining room, part dinner club, the Dining Room is a charming assortment of stopped clocks, well-thumbed novels and mismatched cutlery ideally suited to adventurous diners and groups of friends. The concept sees big, help-yourself bowls of meat, fish and veg brought to the middle of the table for all to share.  Think whole lobster steamed in vodka; plump birds with warm crusty bread; and hunks of cheese and homemade tarts.  Groups of six or more can have the room to themselves whilst smaller groups share the table with other guests.  www.disappearingdiningclub.com

Zenna Bar, W1

Featuring quality cocktails, a cool Soho venue and reasonable prices, Zenna has opened as a swish new drinking hole where you can afford more than one drink before you head to the pub for the rest of the night!   Located below renowned Indian restaurant, The Red Fort, Zenna has a subtle Indian theme, with a variety of cocktails starting around £6, a lassi menu and also Indian bar bites.  The brave can also check out the Illiana from the ‘Spiced Cocktail’ list. Claiming to be ‘the world’s hottest cocktail’, it even comes with a legal waiver in case of any adverse reactions!  www.zenna-bar.co.uk

Try This Week…

Joe&Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn

1107 Newsletter 2 March 2011Forget HD and 3D (and Heston if you’ve seen his recent show) – if you really want to add a new dimension to your movie watching experience, grab a bag of Joe&Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn!  Air popped (as opposed fried) from mushroom flakes which are less fragile than the commonly used butterfly flakes, these blockbuster treats are flavoured layer by layer to provide the tastiest and crispest popcorn we have ever experienced.  They also come in a delicious and interesting range of caramel based flavours such as Coconut & Cinnamon and Macchiato & Whisky.  Around £3 from www.joeandsephs.co.uk and their stand at Brent Cross Shopping Centre

1108 Newsletter 2 March 2011Rosella Wild Hibiscus Flowers

Wanna spruce up your Champagne or perk up your Prosecco?  Check out these funky little flowers from Porter Fine Foods.  Simply place a whole Rosella flower in a Champagne flute, pour some of the Crimson syrup from the jar over the top, then fill with your bubbles of choice. The spectacular crown shaped flower is gently lifted until it sits pretty with all the effervescence of the bubbles, making for a cool party trick and a great looking drink.  Once you’ve finished your bubbly, you can even eat the flower. Apparently, the Rosella flowers have a high Vitamin C and anti-oxidant content, so they might even balance out your alcohol consumption!  £7.42 for a jar of 11 flowers from www.porterfoods.co.uk

Love Food Love Drink – The Blog

Vodka: Of Reindeer and Rediscoveries

1109 Newsletter 2 March 2011A -5°c igloo bar 200km above the Arctic Circle line, Finland. Were the lengths I was willing to go for a good drink getting a little out of hand? I was there for an international cocktail competition organised by Finlandia Vodka, and I didn’t have just one good drink – rather thrillingly, Finlandia asked me to judge 31 of them for the competition (and they threw in a few more here and there; control, you see). All this, plus I got to pet a reindeer. Okay so it was worth it.  But it wasn’t my capers with caribou that really left an impression.  No, it was actually vodka that impressed me after (I hate to admit it) a long dry patch in my life.

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