Newsletter 31 October 2012

Day of the Dead Celebrations, Rooftop Wigwams, Bombay Cafes plus the latest foodie news!

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News & Events…


1497 Newsletter 31 October 2012Wahaca Day of The Dead Festival, Old Vic Tunnels. 31 Oct-3 Nov
Wahaca is bringing Mexico’s vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations to London for a four-day festival of music, food, art and film hosted at The Old Vic Tunnels.  The tunnels will be transformed, with Wahaca’s very own temporary street kitchen and Mezcalaria bar, where bartenders will serve cocktails made from award-winning Tequila, Olmeca Altos, along with a photography and visu al art exhibition. Each night will also see a performance by this year’s Wilderness Festival headliners, Rodrigo y Gabriela with their unique instrumental blend of metal, jazz and world music.  Daytime tickets are £5 to have a look around, whilst £30 evening tickets include a late night party with live music and a mescal experience.  Tickets from

The Wine Gang Xmas Wine Tasting @ Vinopolis, SE1. 3 November

The Wine Gang – five of the UK’s top wine experts – have returned for the annual extravaganza of wine tasting and top tips to ensure we drink well over Christmas.  Over 350 wines will be available for visitors to taste in newly relaunched Vinopolis, with opportunities to participate in tutored tastings with winemakers, take part in their popular ‘wine walks’ and attend exclusive master classes.  Tickets are £20 from


Masterclasses & Tours of the City of London Distillery

City of London Distillery (aka C.O.L.D) is the first working distillery to open within the city for over 200 years.  The site just off Fleet Street combines a working distillery, bar, and visitor attraction, introducing an entirely new venue concept to London.  The distillery is open every day from 10am to 4pm for visitors to come and see how small-batch artisan gin and vodka is made and to see the stills and bottling line.  For those who want a more in-depth tour, groups can book for a masterclass with the Master Distiller, whilst truly dedicated enthusiasts can even rent the distillery and the services of the Master Distiller to create their own bespoke batch of gin!

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WigWamBam @ The Queen of Hoxton, EC2. November-March 2013Perched high above bustling Shoreditch on the edge of The City and swathed in fairy lights, the WigWamBam pop-up returns for its second winter.  Possibly the cosiest tipi this side of Nebraska, the familiar setting brings back fond memories of camping with the Scouts/Brownies (delete as applicable!) and will have everyone reminiscing about this summer’s festivals.  Relax in a camping chair by the crackling fire pit and enjoy the feast of  grilled meats, toast-your-own marshmallows, S’mores (this winter’s must have foodie treat!) and hot chocolate ‘spiked’ with a dark spirit of your choosing.

Vintage Spirits @ Nightjar, EC1

Over the last two years, renowned speakeasy bar, Nightjar, has sought out and bought rare examples of renowned spirits with the purpose of delivering an extensive menu of exceptional liquids.  Each a survivor from the golden ages of alcohol history, Nightjar has committed to ensuring that these liquid time capsules are sensibly priced at around £30.  With the collection including everything from Hannisville Rye 1863 whiskey to Old Tom gin from 1910, there aren’t too many better ways to truly experience a taste of the past.


New Openings…


1501 Newsletter 31 October 2012

Dishoom Shoreditch, EC2

Drawing on the heritage of Bombay’s famous street cafés, where everyone from city’s rich to the working class rubbed shoulders, Dishoom has brought its taste of traditional Indian culture to Shoreditch.  The restaurant and bar provides an easy going place to eat and drink throughout the day, with an affordable menu based on Bombay’s street grills and food stalls.  The ‘Bombay meets London’ breakfast includes Bacon naan rolls, whilst signature main dishes include Lamb Raan (leg of slow-cooked leg of lamb marinated in chilli, garlic and ginger) and Pau Bhaji, a quintessentially Bombay style dish of spicy mashed vegetables with a hot buttered bun.  The bar is inspired by India also, including boozy cups of chai and spicy martinis.

Reverend JW Simpson, W1

Created by the people behind much loved Fitzrovia speakeasy, Bourne & Hollingsworth, Reverend JW Simpson has opened to appeal to a slightly more sophisticated crowd.  The new venture aims to provide the level of service of a hotel bar with the atmosphere of a private drinks party, with the key focus of on its cocktail list.  The menu provides a nostalgic selection of Fizzes, Flips, Cobblers, Smashes and Sours, all expertly made using classic recipes, with many often mixed and served at the table.  To ensuring customers feel more like guests, free bar snacks are available throughout the night and there’s even a piano in the corner for visitors to have an impromptu musical session on!


1502 Newsletter 31 October 2012

Outlaw’s Seafood and Grill, SW3

Despite being one of the UK’s most high-profile chefs, Cornish-based champion of British seafood, Nathan Outlaw, has only just opened his first London restaurant with Outlaw’s Seafood and Grill.  The two Michelin-starred chef’s menu focusses on beautifully prepared, sustainable seafood from Cornwall and around the UK, whilst carnivores are catered for with a selection of simple yet delicious cuts of meat.  Housed within the charming Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, the interior by Nina Campbell reflects the casual sophistication of the menu with subtle references to the sea and Nathan’s philosophy of simple cooking.  Whisky fans will also appreciate popping into the Capital Bar at some point, where Bar Manager Cesar Da Silva showcases his immense passion for all things malt.

Buddha-Bar, SW1

1503 Newsletter 31 October 2012 After a few years away, Buddha-Bar has returned to London with its inimitable brand of striking Oriental style and cutting edge music.  Nestled in the heart of Knightsbridge, the restaurant and bar provides a decadent Pan-Asian menu fitting of its upmarket postcode, including Seabass with Shiso Butter and Smoked Duck & Foie Gras Gyoza.  Expect a similarly sophisticated cocktail menu designed to provide visual appeal as well as satisfy the taste buds.  Ensuring pleasure for all of the senses, the venue’s live DJs will be spinning the mixture of electro-style rhythms and ethnic sounds that Buddha-Bar has become internationally renowned for.

The Shed, W8
The three brothers Gladwin – comprising of a farmer, a chef and a restaurateur – have combined their creative juices and passion for food to launch their vibrant new bar and restaurant in Notting Hill.  With venues such as Bunga Bunga and Brawn under his belt, Richard Gladwin will manage the venue, whilst Gregory will supply hand-reared livestock from their family farm.  Bring it all together is chef Oliver, who’s experience in restaurants such as Launceston Place and Oxo tower will hold him in good stead. The menu is made up of imaginatively assembled small plates of British food, changing daily according to availability of produce, including Rabbit Ravioli, Cured Hotsmoked Pheasant Breast and Crispy Pollock.  Drinks take a local approach too, with features for beers from Hepworth Breweries & Co and wines from Nutbourne Vineyard.

Try This Week…

1500 Newsletter 31 October 2012

‘Eat the Bits Chilli Oil’

Having tingled the taste buds of many a customer over the years, Tsuru – the renowned Japanese restaurant chain – has finally bottled its famed chilli oil for us to enjoy in the comfort of our own homes.   Made from a blend of rapeseed oil, d’Arbol chilli flakes and shichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice mix), the oil is given additional depth of flavour by the addition of red miso, garlic, onion, sesame seeds and sesame oil.  The result is an incredibly addictive combination of hot nuttiness, packed full of natural umami that is great for adding a new flavour dimension to stews, stir fries and marinades as well as providing a delicious dip.  A genuine store cupboard essential!  Available for £4.95 from Tsuru outlets and

1504 Newsletter 31 October 2012
Patrón XO Café

Having made its way into the affections of P Diddly, 50 Pence and many another gangsta rapper, the original Patrón Silver can lay claim to being one of the first premium tequilas to gain mainstream popularity.  With XO Café, Patron has taken its mass appeal to another level by taking tequila – a spirit that is still an acquired taste – and blending it Arabica coffee beans to produce a dark, rich spirit, with the irresistible aroma and taste of fresh coffee balanced with sweet vanilla notes.  Distilled to a solid 35% Abv, Patrón XO Café is ideal in cocktails such as Espresso martini’s, but really comes into its own as a dangerously delicious shot!  Around £25 from Waitrose and discerning spirits retailers.

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‘Dine In’ by Heston @ Waitrose

Snail Porridge and Bacon & Egg Ice Cream may have been dishes that earned him his reputation, but for his latest venture Heston Blumenthal has dispensed with the outlandish recipes to create a menu of more conventional meals.  Inspired by the recipes from his Cook at Home Book, Heston has given his special touch to well-known classics including Fish Pie, Lasagne, Chilli Con Carne, Shepherd’s Pie and Macaroni Cheese.  True to form however, Heston has added a few unique touches to the familiar flavours, including adding umami-rich ingredients to bring out the natural savoury notes in Lasagne and using truffle flavoured olive oil to add depth and a touch of luxury to the Macaroni Cheese.  Available for £4.89 from Waitrose