Newsletter 22 February 2012

Hyper Japan, Russian Festivals, Blueberry Cocktails plus the latest openings and foodie news…

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1344 Newsletter 22 February 2012

Hyper-Japan, Earls Court, 24-26 February

The UK’s biggest J-culture event returns bigger than ever this year, with a tantalising selection of activities. Eat-Japan @ Hyper Japan will provide visitors with the opportunity to discover and experience the full diversity of Japanese cuisine, including a selection of demonstrations and masterclasses.   The event also marks the UK Sushi Awards and UK Sake Awards, both of which can be attended by the public, with winners actually awarded according to votes given by the visiting public!  Tickets are £10 + £10 to visit the Sushi and Sake Awards.

The London Maslenitsa Festival, Trafalgar Square, 26 February

The Maslenitsa celebration is a Russian tradition that marks the last feast before Lent in the Russian Orthodox calendar.  To mark this important date, Trafalgar Square will be transformed into a bustling bazaar offering traditional Russian foods, handicrafts and souvenirs and original art from contemporary Russian artists. At the same time performances from some of Russia’s most acclaimed dance, theatre, folk, pop and jazz artists will entertain the audience from the Festival’s main stage. Entrance is free and events run from 1-7pm.

Chef Season @ Benares, W1

Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar is joining forces with some of the country’s leading chefs to create a series of fusion menus to be served at the stylish Benares Bar in Mayfair.  Beginning with Anna Hansen (The Modern Pantry) on 21st February until 5th March, Atul will also be joined by Richard Corrigan (Corrigan’s) on 20th March until 2nd April, David Thompson (Nahm) on 16th April until 29th April and Nigel Haworth (Northcote) on 3rd May until 16th May.  Each chef will work closely with Atul to prepare a menu of small plates reflecting the layers of flavours and spices Atul is so famous for, combined with their own signature style.   Prices look pretty tempting too, with 3 sharing style dishes priced at £21 per person.

New Openings…


London Cocktail Club St Giles, W1

1345 Newsletter 22 February 2012Less than 12 months after the launch of their award winning Goodge St Cocktail Club the boys are back at it again! This time the kick-ass team of JJ Goodman, James Hopkins and Raymond Blanc are mixing it up with a new venue on Shaftesbury Avenue.  Their latest bar is inspired by the rich history of the British in making rum one of the world’s most popular spirits.  Cocktails include classics such as Trader Vics Mai Tai’s, Beachcomber Zombies, Grogs and Swizzles, all imaginatively served in everything from jars to syrup tins.  True rum fans may also want to try the Black Tot rum; available for £100/shot it’s one of the few places where the public can try some of the navy’s last consignment of rum allowance.

Cock Tavern, SW6

1346 Newsletter 22 February 2012Cool and cosy with a mid-century twist, the Cock Tavern hopes to become everyone’s favourite ‘local’ in Fulham. This newly refurbished pub has been designed to create an atmosphere where visitors can refuel, socialise or spend the day simply chilling out.   With quirky design features, including booths with vintage telephones from which you can place your order, a sharing & grazing menu and a great selection of drinks, including craft beers and great wines, there’s certainly plenty to keep punters occupied once they walk in the doors.  If that’s not enough, the Tavern also provides a stash of board games, a darts board, weekly quiz nights and live music every Friday evening.

French Bubbles Champagne & Cheese, WC2

French Bubbles opened over Christmas as a pop-up, but given its popularity, has recently announced its permanent residency in Covent Garden.   As the name suggests, Champagne is at the heart of the concept, bringing together twenty award-winning champagnes (mostly from the lesser known producers).   In addition, French Bubbles also provides an enviable selection of French cheese and charcuterie.  The venue is designed to provide an informal deli-style experience, where customers can either drop in for a drink and a light bite or buy some great produce from the gourmet shop to take home with them.  They also have a regular calendar of masterclasses for those who want to learn more about Champagne.


Try This Week…

1347 Newsletter 22 February 2012Zorokovich 1917 Vodka

Every brand needs a good story, so it’s no surprise that film-maker turned vodka purveyor, Dan Edelstyn, has quite a compelling yarn for the launch of Zorokovich 1917.  Apparently Dan was sparked onto a journey to re-establish a lost Ukrainian vodka empire by the discovery of his grandmother’s memoirs in 2005, which uncovered details of his family’s forgotten distillery. Originating from the frozen plains of North-Eastern Ukraine, Zorokovich uses locally sourced winter wheat and natural spring water from an artesian well for the distillation process.  The vodka itself is then oak-aged providing Zorokovich with a unique taste profile.  The resulting vodka offers a fresh nose with a soft mellow palate. The smooth finish of Zorokovich features a remarkably sweet flavour (almost strawberry like at the tip of the tongue), followed by a drying middle and underlying creamy aniseed flavours – truly one of the most moreish vodkas we’ve tried in ages. £24.99 from  More info at


1348 Newsletter 22 February 2012If you’re after quick and easy inspiration in the kitchen, in doesn’t get simpler than these rubs.  They can be sprinkled in to soups, sauces or stir-fries or mixed with olive oil to form a delicious marinade.  Combined with breadcrumbs they make a great coating for frying or make into a crust for any meat or fish. You can create a paste with butter and soy sauce to liven up rice dishes.  They can also be mixed with honey and balsamic to make a glaze for basting or add to lemon juice and natural yoghurt for a great sauce. Available in a range of flavours, including Herby Fish, Harissa and Tandoori, there is simply is no excuse for bland food with a couple of these tins in your cupboard! £3.99 from


Video: Blueberry Cocktails with Ryan Chetiyawardana


With a few February lurgies flying about, it’s a good time to increase your intake of superfruits.  Here’s mixologist extraordinaire, Ryan Chetiyawardana, showing us how to give Chilean blueberries a more grown up twist with a couple of cocktail ideas!


1349 Newsletter 22 February 2012