There was a time when men were men. They used to eat fish and chips, drink beer and wear footie shirts to the pub. Sadly, those days are long gone. Now, if you don’t know a few titbits when it comes to the foodie world, you’re a social recluse.
Get confused when seeing foie gras or focaccia on menus? Don’t worry, finding some worthy ventures when it comes to food and drink isn’t that hard. You don’t even have to compromise your junk food addiction or Die Hard obsession to do it.
Drinks for Mad Men
I’ve never seen Mad Men, but since every Tom, Dick and Harry in London seems to be having parties themed around it, I’m guessing it’s popular. In true London fashion, Carnaby Village watering hole, Red, has used this power-dressing palaver as inspiration for their new cocktail menu. Featuring five boozy options such as the rum and liqueur infused, ‘Don Drapers Cocuba,’ and gin and absinthe concoction, ‘Tender Betty’. Now, the aforementioned Betty is indeed, not tender, like all of the cocktails on show here, they’re all hard liquor. Strictly no mixers. Despite the lack of Coke Zero, these beverages were a welcome change to the normal juice and ice fare in cocktail bars. Even my cynical bitter-drinking northern mate sipped them down happily after saying, ‘Cocktails are for pussies,’ as we walked to the bar. These cocktails certainly aren’t for, ‘pussies’. Have more than two and you’ll think you’re in the sixties, and might even wear a fedora, before getting mugged.
Cocktails at Red start from £8.50.
Red: 5 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PF: Tel: 0207 434 3417: www.redsosho.com
Men’s Afternoon Tea? Surely not?
Three words I never expected to see together, Men, afternoon and tea. But no, what sounds like a pastime of Oscar Wilde is hitting all the hotels in London. When I walked past a table of nattering girls in the Mandeville hotel with my friend, Will, it did raise a few eyebrows, but like men, we started talking about the football scores loudly. Thankfully, after sitting at our table in the tranquil tea room we were assured by management that the blokes afternoon brew is popular for stag dos and birthday parties alike. I can see why. We tucked into sirloin sandwiches, chicken satay and some weird giant deep-fried fig – all washed down with a glass of whisky, and of course, a choice of tea. Definitely a departure from usual afternoon tea involving finger sandwiches and chat about Will and Kate’s wedding. If you want a real insight into our visit, why not waste a couple of minutes of your life by listening to the podcast below – you will regret it.
Men’s afternoon tea at the Mandeville starts from £23.50 per person, £31 with whiskey.
The Mandeville Hotel Mandeville Place, London W1U 2BE: Tel: 0207 935 5599: www.mandeville.co.uk
Cheese, then wine, then some more cheese in a three course meal
The days of Babybel and Blossom Hill are over. Now it’s cool to have the knowhow when it comes to cheese and wine, apparently. To help me get up to speed, the new foodie haven of Mayfair, St James’s Hotel and Club, offered to enlighten me with an invitation to one of their masterclasses. Now not only is this club rich with VIP tradition (Tom Selleck’s been there), it also hosts an afternoon of cheeses from Paxton and Whitfield matched with specialist wines. Being where it is, the masterclass at St James’s did have it’s fair share of plummy accents and theatre talk, but after a few vinos everyone was up for a chat about the Shakepearean undertones in Die Hard (well, I think they were).
The highlight of the day was a three-course meal by newly crowned Michelin star chef William Drabble who’s done a stellar job since arriving from Aubergine. All the courses included, yes, you’ve guessed it, cheese. Rope your mates in for this one, then head to the gym the next day.
The Master Class is priced at £75.00 per person.
St. James’s Hotel and Club: 7-8 Park Place, St. James’s, London, SW1A 1LS: Tel: 0207 316 1600: www.stjamesclubandhotel.co.uk