Newsletter 18 April 2012

Dine with Shakespeare, Bacon Jam, Whisky Festival plus the latest foodie news and openings!

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News & Events…

Shakespeare in the Sky @ Galvin at Windows , W1, starting 25 April

High-flying restaurant, Galvin at Windows, has teamed up with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to create a series of unique events and cook up a Tudor feast this spring as part of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival.   Four special ‘Shakespeare in the Sky’ evenings will combine sumptuous Shakespearean menus with live performances where guests will be seated amongst the dramatic action of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.   The first event will be a Romeo and Juliet dinner on 25th April 2012, with scenes from the romantic tragedy dramatically played out between courses by actors.  More events are planned in May, June and September.  Tickets are around £150. To book, please email:

Whisky Lounge London Fest, SW1, 20 April

The Whisky Lounge is bringing back its immersive brand of ‘whisky love’ back to London with its whisky festival.  Whisky is, of course, the main focus of the event, with producers from all over the world getting involved; drams from Ireland, Japan, India, USA and even England will be available to sample, as well as a huge array of Scotch whisky.  The event also includes workshops, live demonstrations and a special presentation from the outrageously entertaining booze experts/accidental comedians from  The event also caters to a wider palette with a few other select ‘dark spirits’ being showcased, including Rum and Cognac.  Event runs from 5-9pm. Tickets are £40 including plenty of whisky samples from:


Young British Foodies Awards – Entry Open until April 30

In contrast to the plethora of more established awards, the Young British Foodies Awards is scouting every pocket of Britain to embrace the new culinary personalities breaking boundaries in the food and drink world.  With support and judging from some of the most recognised talents in their respective fields, including Nuno Mendes, Bompas and Parr and Tony Conigliaro, it certainly won’t be any easier to win an award.  The eight categories include ‘The Rising Star of Mixology’, ‘New best alchemist of the oven’ and ‘Best Food Experience Artist’.  From enthusiastic spare-time foodies to budding professionals, entry is open to all.  For more details visit:


New Openings…


The Empress, E9

1373 Newsletter 18 April 2012Independent owner-operator, Michael Buurman, has bought the well-established Empress pub from the ETM group and has transformed the gastro pub into a more laid-back bar/eatery to suit its hip Hackney surroundings.  The most significant change is the food offering, which is now taken care of by Elliott Lidstone, former head chef of the Michelin starred L’ortolan in Berkshire.  In his new role Elliot has eschewed his fine-dining background to create a far heartier and easy-going menu, with dishes including Bone marrow with snails; Pollock with curried cauliflower & lime; and Purple sprouting broccoli, sesame & goat’s curd salad.  Coming out of the bar is a quirky, keenly priced wine list where you are more likely to find a Hungarian Olaszrizling than Chablis.  Similarly, the more original choices of Brewdog, Redemption and Camden brews also feature.

1374 Newsletter 18 April 2012

Niko B’s Chocolate Lab @ Avo Hotel, E8

Award-winning chocolatier Niko B has created a sweeter side to Dalston with the opening of The Chocolate Lab.  The ‘Lab’ is a shining beacon for chocolate fans in East London encompassing a chocolate shop, the Niko B chocolate kitchen and fresh hot chocolates and desserts served canteen-style at solid wood communal tables. On Sundays, the venue also offers Brunch, including American pancakes with a chocolate twist, flipped hot by American-born chocolatier Anthony Ferguson.

Spaghetti House, W8

The latest addition to the Spaghetti House chain heralds a new look for London’s longest established restaurant group.  Small but perfectly formed, this new-style restaurant sees a change from the traditional, with more colourful and stylish interiors to attract the discerning Kensington locals.  However, the food is still very much the main focus, so the kitchen has found itself at the heart of the restaurant and in full view of the diners. Whilst still aiming to provide an authentic menu for which Spaghetti House has been known for five decades, dishes have also been given a contemporary makeover.  Diners have the option of everything from assaggini and antipasti to stone-baked pizza, sharing platters and seafood specialities such as whole Seabass baked with lemon and thyme.


Try This Week…


1379 Newsletter 18 April 2012Jeremiah Weed Brews

First we had cider, then came alcoholic ginger beer and now, vying for position as the quintessential drink of summer 2012 are the brilliantly named Jeremiah Weed Brews.  Before you think it, there are no drugs involved in the production of these drinks!  Instead, the brews are a mish mash of mellow and easy going ingredients put together to provide the taste of rural America.  In the case of Jeremiah Weed Root Brew, they have added a hint of ginger, whilst the Sour Mash Brew includes a touch of bourbon flavour.  For the full Deep South experience, dig out an old jam jar, fill with ice and your chosen flavour of Jeremiah Weed, stick on an episode of Dukes of Hazzard and enjoy!  Widely available for around £2.20/500ml bottle.

Bacon Jam by Eat 17

1376 Newsletter 18 April 2012

You may think the concept of Bacon Jam is more than a little bizarre, but if our American cousins can get away with serving strips of pork with their pancakes and maple syrup, there is no reason that we can’t combine bacon with our conserve making skills! More than a fun fad, Bacon Jam is genuinely delicious when paired with crusty bread, cheese or crackers.  Made using British ingredients, the versatile, umami-packed relish is also a great addition to a burger, base for a canapé or secret ingredient for stews, pies and casseroles.  Around £3.50 from Selfridges, Harrods and good delis nationwide.




1377 Newsletter 18 April 2012Bedford & Strand, WC2

Having launched to widespread critical acclaim back in 2005, Bedford & Strand has managed the enviable trick of keeping a low-profile whilst still remaining popular amongst those in the know, particularly as London’s foodies get sucked in by the ever glitzier new restaurant openings in the city.  However, those who do find the steps to the basement restaurant and wine bar are unlikely to look back because Bedford & Strand’s combination of delicious every-day food, lively atmosphere and great wine makes it a definite keeper!  CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REVIEW…

1378 Newsletter 18 April 2012
Bam-Bou, W1

Housed in an elegant Georgian town-house and styled with colonial French-Vietnamese inspired furnishings, Bam-Bou’s unique offering has seen it firmly established itself as a favourite amongst the glut of restaurants in Fitzrovia.  Featuring a labyrinth of dining and drinking areas, including a stylish top-floor bar and various private rooms, Bam-Bou is just as suited to a romantic dinner as it is a lively evening meal with friends.   With its unique yet familiar menu, Bam-Bou also provides a welcome alternative to the multitude of mediocre Thai restaurants in town.  CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REVIEW…