Newsletter 28 November 2012

Fried Chicken, Opium bars, End of the World events and the latest foodie news!

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News & Events…


‘End of the World’ with Crystal Head Vodka, EC4. 5 December

Hidden beneath St Andrews Church in Holborn lies a locked 13th century crypt, which for one night only will creak open to play host to Crystal Head Vodka’s unique ‘End of the World’ lecture.  Seeing as the vodka is inspired by the mystery of the 13 crystal heads, it’s apt that they facilitate the conversation about our impending doom as predicted by the Mayan calendar.  Conversation will no doubt reach ‘interesting’ levels as visitors enjoy the menu of cocktails that will flow throughout the evening!  To bag yourself a free space RSVP to:

Naughty & Nice with Patron @ House of Wolf, 3-5 December

Patrón Tequila is celebrating the start of the festive season with a Naughty & Nice themed take-over of the slightly crazy and ever-so-cool House of Wolf.  Upon arrival it will be determined if you’ve been good or bad this year. If you’ve been good, you’ll be led to the angelic attic room with its relaxed lounge environment and Patron Silver cocktails. If you’ve been bad you’ll be taken to the dark side in the first floor Victorian Apothecary bar where you’ll find all manner of weird and wonderful potions and a range of experimental cocktails inspired by Patrón XO Café.  The evening will also bring together a motley crew of fortune tellers, experimental canapés pioneers and DJs to keep the party going until 4am.  Tickets are £20 including free cocktails and food from

1528 Newsletter 28 November 2012Krug Institute of Happiness, N6, 5-8 December
The Krug Institute of Happiness is a bespoke dining experience that employs contemporary and creative ideas to turn even the most resolved frowns upside down!   Inspired by the passion behind Krug champagne, the experience will take visitors on a multi-sensory journey identifying the various means, actions and memories we call upon in the search of happiness.  Starting your journey in chauffeured transportation, your driver will take you to the stunning private residence that is 85 Swaines Lane where guests will also be treated to a special endorphin-releasing menu by Michelin starred chef Nuno Mendes.   At £440/couple, we’d hope it keeps guests smiling for a very long time indeed!

Winter Wonderland @ Hyde Park, until 6 Jan
1529 Newsletter 28 November 2012One of the biggest Christmas themed spectacles in London, highlights at Winter Wonderland include an outdoor ice rink, a Giant Observation Wheel and the beautiful Angels Christmas Market, comprising of a hundred chalets offering unusual and handmade gifts and crafts.  Entertainment is provided by Zippo’s Christmas Circus, who have their regular family friendly show as well as Cirque Berserk, a more adult version that takes its inspiration from dark and twisted fairy tales such as The Brothers Grimm. They’ve also got plenty of festive treats to enjoy, including the Bavarian Village where bratwurst and mulled wine will keep revellers in high spirits.


New Openings…
1523 Newsletter 28 November 2012Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour, W1
Renowned cocktail guru Dre Masso has teamed up with nightlife impresario Eric Yu to create a new drinking den in Chinatown inspired by Soho’s opium dens of the late 19th Century.  However, this Opium is a den for more salubrious pursuits: fine dining and drinking.  The venue is split into 9 distinct areas over 3 floors, including lounge seating, intimate boudoir-drinking-dens and open-plan bars.  The concise cocktail will evolve seasonally with the ingredients discovered in Chinatown and adding to the apothecary feel of the main bar, you’ll even discover a chi-enhancing herb or two amongst the classics.  Masso has also matched his signature drinks to the selection of luxurious dim sum and roast meats which make up Opium’s fare.


Wishbone, SW9

1524 Newsletter 28 November 2012 In its most popular format, fried chicken may not have the best of reputations but I’d defy anyone who claims that they haven’t had at least one deeply satisfying experience with it, especially after a drink or ten!  However, with the opening of Wishbone, you can shout your love of fried chicken with pride.  The brainchild of food writer and chef William Leigh, Wishbone serves up ethically sourced, delicious, guilt-free fried chicken from its stylish surroundings in the infamous food hangout of Market Row in Brixton Market.  The menu is made up of supremely plump, crispy, fresh-from-the-fryer chicken and plates of wings – including Buffalo, Korean style and their very own twist on the chicken burger.  Throw in a side of deep fried Mac ‘N’ Cheese Nuggets and a few cocktails and craft beers courtesy of the Soulshakers and you’ve got a deep fried recipe for success.  Say it: “I love fried chicken and I don’t care who knows!”

Coya, W1

1527 Newsletter 28 November 2012Peruvian cuisine has made a major splash in London’s dining scene this summer and the latest to join the trend is Coya.  Launched by Arjun Waney, the man responsible for Zuma and The Arts Club, Coya brings together the food and culture of Latin America to create a genuinely exciting new socialising destination in London.  Housed in an impressive Georgian building, the venue comprises a restaurant, a ceviche bar, a dedicated pisco bar (the national Peruvian spirit) as well as a private members club.  Chef Sanjay Dwivedi, who has formerly graced the kitchens of Zaika and Le Caprice, has create a wide menu offering everything from classic ceviches and tiraditos to grilled skewered meat and parrillada dishes such as Duck breast with lúcuma, soya sauce & coriander shoots.  Completing the lively atmosphere will be the regular calendar of live bands and DJs.

Wabi London, WC2

Having spent over six years working within the revered restaurant group, former Nobu head chef Scott Hallsworth has embarked on his own London venture.   Named after the Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi, a movement characterised by simple, undeclared beauty, Wabi London will champion this philosophy with understated yet luxurious design and an elegant array of dishes.  The seasonal menu is provides a contemporary European interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine with many dishes distinguished by unusual contrasts of flavours and textures. Signature creations include Foie gras martini with umeshu jelly, nashi & black vinegar; and Tea smoked duck tataki with burnt ginger amazu sauce.  Wabi also offers customers the option of dining at a sushi bar overseen by Taiji Maruyama, another Nobu graduate who has dedicated his life to perfecting the fine art of sushi.

Mezcaleria Quiquiriqui, E2

1526 Newsletter 28 November 2012Even though the dust has barely settled on the recent trend for Tequila bars, a new movement has emerged for mezcal bars.  Similar to Tequila, mezcal is also made from the agave plant, but undergoes a different production process to provide a slightly smokier and cleaner flavour.  Located on Hackney Road, Mezcaleria Quiquiriqui houses some of Mexico’s finest mezcals alongside a range of classic mezcal inspired cocktails.  There is also a big focus on music, with DJ’s playing an eclectic mix of old rock, modern Cumbia and vintage electro.


Try This Week…

1530 Newsletter 28 November 2012 Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook

Following on from the successes of his first three cookbooks, celebrated chef Vivek Singh has used his renowned City restaurant, Cinnamon Kitchen as inspiration for his latest publication.  Spread across 288 gloriously glossy pages, the recipes combine authentic Indian spicing with Western cooking techniques to produce balanced dishes for modern, cosmopolitan home cooks.  Dishes you can expect to master include everything from a simple Lobster Soup from Kerala and Aromatic Spiced Welsh Lamb Kebabs to heartier plates such as Lucknow-Style Black Leg Chicken Biryani and Roganjosh Shepherd’s Pie.  There is also a great section covering the basics of Indian cooking with instructions for making pastes, powders and accompaniments.

Drinks by Tony Conigliaro  1531 Newsletter 28 November 2012

Often described as the ‘Heston’ of the cocktail world, Tony Conigliaro is amongst the most creative and influential bartenders of his generation.  Feted for his relentless pursuit of perfection and his scientific approach, his new book provides a stunning contemporary cocktail guide, which updates 50 classic recipes in astonishing and original ways.  Fortunately for home bartenders, the book also contains a good selection of lip-smacking recipes that can be made with off-the-shelf products.  More than just a recipe book, Drinks also looks to unveil the fascinating secrets behind the workings of our palettes and aroma to create the perfect cocktail.


Benedictine Liqueur

1532 Newsletter 28 November 2012 Originally created as a medicinal elixir by monks at the Benedictine Monastery at Fecamp along the Normandy coast in the early 1500′s, the recipe was actually lost during the French revolution.  Fortunately, this most curious of liqueurs was unearthed again in the 19th century by Alexandre Le Grandand and was quickly popularised around the world.  In fact, Benedictine became so popular that it allowed Alexandre to fund the building of an actual palace (the Palais de la Bénédictine) around the actual distillery, making it amongst the most grand and beautiful distilleries in the world – a must visit if you’re ever in the area.

We actually went over to the distillery a short while ago, followed by a cheeky trip around some of the finest cocktail bars in Paris.  You can see what we got up to on the following video:

 Newsletter 28 November 2012
Benedictine Road Trip 2012

So what is it and what do we do with it?   To the uninitiated, the closely guarded blend of 27 herbs with a cognac base can seem a little intimidating.  However, Benedictine is incredibly versatile and particularly suited to the chillier months when the bold flavours will reawaken your senses.   Take a nose and you’ll find a rich aroma, full of spice and ripe fruits.  On the palette, expect an incredibly appealing collection of flavours, including warming cardamom and cloves, subtle orange and lemon as well as a honeyed sweetness.  In terms of cocktails, Benedictine is simply delicious with Champagne or tonic, as well as warmed up as a long drink.  Check out the video links below for full recipes:

The Bobby Burns

The Benediction

The Big Ben

The Bene ‘n Hot