Newsletter 6 April 2011

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News & Events…

1131 Newsletter 6 April 2011Chocolate Festival @ The Southbank Centre 8-10 April

The Chocolate Festival returns for its annual Easter extravaganza offering an ideal opportunity to learn about and indulge in everyone’s favourite treat.  As always, the event will feature stands from award winning chocolatiers and brands, giving visitors the opportunity to buy the best sweet-treats in town.  There will also be demonstrations, tutored tastings and book signings from master chocolatiers including the likes of William Curley, Paul Wayne Gregory and Damian Allsop.  www.festivalchocolate.co.uk

Cigar Dinner @ The Montague Hotel, WC1 on 18 April

Ever the bastion of all things old-school British, The Montague Hotel is holding its annual Cigar Dinner.  The meal comprises of a 3-course dinner and a tasting of three cigars with a representative from Hunters & Frankau cigar company.  The evening also marks the opening of the hotel’s cigar terrace, a secluded decked area that overlooks the private gardens of the Bedford Estates and acts as a posh smoker’s paradise during the warmer months!  Dinner is £89/person.  www.montaguehotel.com

Thai New Year Events

Thai Entertainment & Dining @ Mango Tree, SW1 on 10 & 14 April

Just when you thought the celebrations of New Year were a distant memory, another festivity is fast approaching with Thai New Year.  Belgravia favourite, Mango Tree, are celebrating with a couple of parties that include spectacular shows of traditional dances, cooking demonstrations and even massages!  The evening also includes a special 3-course menu costing £40. www.mangotree.org.uk

Award-winning Puppetry & Thai New Year @ Ora, W1 12-16 April

To celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year, Ora restaurant has brought over one of Thailand’s most famous puppet shows.  Forget any thoughts of Punch & Judy – with each puppet standing at over a metre high, and controlled by three puppeteers, these puppets are about providing seriously grown-up entertainment. Evening diners will be able to enjoy a series of dramatic plays and dances from the traditional to the more contemporary whilst indulging in a special three-course set menu for £35. www.ora-restaurant.co.uk

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New Openings…

The Zetter Townhouse Bar, EC1

1135 Newsletter 6 April 2011In addition to the 13 rooms and games room in the basement, the newly opened Zetter Townhouse will feature one of the years most eagerly anticipated bar openings.  Covering the entire ground floor of two Georgian buildings and looking out onto St John’s Square, the bar is run by renowned cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro.  Tony has created 12 new cocktails drawing inspiration from the Georgian theme, including The Flintlock, which has a tincture of gunpowder; and the Master of Arms, which features a port reduction and rum with shipping knots tied around the base of the glass.  If that’s not enough to entice you, the venue even has bar food taken care of by super-chef Bruno Loubet. www.thezettertownhouse.com

Restaurant @ McQueen, EC2

1132 Newsletter 6 April 2011With the launch of their new restaurant, this stylish Shoreditch hang-out hopes to build a reputation as one of the coolest dining experiences in East London.  The combination of exposed stone, dark wood, chocolate leather and furs create a warm and intimate atmosphere whilst walls adorned with McQueen prints add a touch of vintage Hollywood glamour.  The kitchen is taken care of by head chef Anupam Som, formerly at Saf, so expect some interesting dishes using seasonal ingredients, including Merlot & herb Braised Pig Head served with truffled cauliflower puree; and Raw beetroot ravioli.  www.mcqueen-shoreditch.co.uk

Kêu Banh Mi Deli, EC1

Forget your boring sandwiches from Pret/Eat/Other random chain.  London’s latest trend in bread based snacks has come from the far-flung reaches of Vietnam, home to the Banh Mi.  Like a baguette, only lighter and less crusty, Bahn Mi come filled with far more exotic fillings than your regular French loaf, including barbeque chicken, spicy pork, pate and pickled veg.  The latest to join East London’s growing collection of Bahn Mi joints is Keu.  Part of the renowned Viet Grill and Cye Tre restaurant group, the key difference with Keu is that it has recruited renowned baker Sally Clarke to create a classic Vietnamese bread without the use of the artificial improvers. www.keudeli.com

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Try This Week…

1133 Newsletter 6 April 2011Nescafé Dolce Gusto by Krups

Despite not being a heavy coffee drinker, a coffee machine has always been on my list of wants.  And now that I have one, it’s almost impossible to walk past it without firing the bad boy up, if only for the intoxicating smell of coffee that it emits.  OK, so with its coffee ‘pod’ system it’s not exactly for serious fans of the black bean.  However, the rest of us will revel in the ease of use and the fact that it takes only around 20 seconds for the machine to wizz-up one of 7 coffee shop favourites, including Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino and Mocha.  The Dolce Gusto also has a funky look and it’s availability in black, red and cream colours should see it match most kitchens.  Widely available for around £100

Molecular Gastronomy Kit1134 Newsletter 6 April 2011Daring chefs and adventurous home cooks can join in on the Molecular Gastronomy action and bring a little culinary wizardry to their dishes with this box of tricks.  The kit contains all of the essential ingredients and tools for budding Hestons to make a wide range of weird and wonderful dishes, including caviar pearls; rapid setting and heat-resistant (hot) jellies; hot and cold foams that will last for hours; eye-catching shot glass suspensions; and even a flaming sorbet!  The recipes are easy to follow with step-by-step detailed instructions and all the equipment you need to turn you hand to a wide range of impressive techniques. £59.99 from www.msk-ingredients.com

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The Blog – Men’s Eating Guide!

Men. Get ready to cut your culinary teeth!

1136 Newsletter 6 April 2011There 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, and now if you don’t know a few titbits when it comes to the foodie world, you’re a social recluse. If you don’t know your foie gras from your focaccia, 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!  From Men’s Afternoon Tea and Mad Men style cocktails to the ultimate Cheese masterclass, our man in training, Dan Lloyd, tried it all!