Newsletter 12 December 2012

Festive Drinks Special, Burlesque Evening Teas, Apocalypse Parties and the coolest foodie news!

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News & Events…

 

1542 Newsletter 12 December 2012 ‘The Last Supperclub’, EC2. Until 21 December

Another year, another ‘End of the World’ prophecy, although at least it gives us an excuse to have a glutinous blowout just in case January never comes!  In case the Mayans are correct and we do all perish on 21 December, ‘The Last Supper Club’ sees the creative production expertise of The Halo Group collide with the gastronomic inventiveness of Platterform to create a feast for all senses.  Visitors can either dine on an experimental three-course menu or opt for the cultural buzz of global street food inspired by previous doomsdays. The pop-up also features a charity linked art auction, with a display from creative artists to showcase their vision of what the end of the world has in store for humankind.   Tickets are £35 from www.lastsupperclub.co.uk

 

Holiday Cocktail Masterclass @ 69 Colebrooke Row,N1. 15 December
The team behind the award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row has put together the perfect cocktail boot camp to get budding cocktail heroes ready for the holiday season. The Holiday Cocktail Masterclass will teach clueless cocktail fans how to make the perfect seasonal punch, an eggnog with a twist and champagne cocktails to get them ready in time for the party season.  The masterclass will be held 2-4pm with tickets priced at £40 per person.  To book email maria@69colebrookerow.com

1541 Newsletter 12 December 2012
‘High Tease’ Evening Tea @ The Grosvenor Hotel, SW1
A feast for the eyes and the tastebuds, London’s most tempting evening tea is coming to the Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria as a monthly special event in the beautifully refurbished Victorian lounge.  Inspired by the Hotel’s most famous former guest, the Parisian Courtesan Cora Pearl, ‘An Evening of High Tease’ will see guests treated to a Champagne and cocktail evening tea as they enjoy seductive performances by award-winning burlesque dancer Bettsie Bon Bon.  Those looking to prolong their taste of Victorian splendour can enjoy an indulgent ‘Weekend of High Tease’ featuring a themed weekend of seductive burlesque antics and fine dining. ‘High Tease’ costs £65/person, with events confirmed on 20 December 2012, 31 January 2013 and 28 February 2013. www.guoman.com/tease


The Last Days of Pisco, N1, 14th & 15th Dec
Whilst Peruvian cuisine is all the rage at the moment, all of the recent restaurant openings have focussed on ceviche and grill style dishes – great in the Peruvian heat but not exactly ideal for our chilly winters.  For a different perspective on the country’s cuisine, head down to The Last Days of Pisco pop-up, where they have returned this winter with traditional, hearty Peruvian stews; think interesting potato varieties alongside giant corn, hunks of tender meat and handfuls of fresh herbs.  Keeping with the Peruvian theme, the bar will focus solely on pisco based cocktails, including a seasonally inspired hot buttered pisco.  £15 gets your food – ceviche, stew and something sweet. www.tldopisco.com 

Mince Pie Project, 11-14 DecemberTruly a unique opportunity, 100 of the UK’s best known chefs and bakers are offering the public an opportunity to bring their mouth-watering culinary creations into their homes with this charity auction of mince pies.  The initiative takes the form of an online auction, with each chef’s unique and freshly made batch of 50 mince pies going to the highest bidder.   Chefs involved include Michel Roux Jr, Raymond Blanc, Eric Landlard and William Curley.  All money raised goes to charity and final bids need to be in by midday on 14 December.  Make your bid at www.themincepieproject.com

 

Merry Christmas and see you in 2013!  Yes lovely people, this is our final full issue of the year (although we may have a little ‘restaurant review’ special next week).  We hope we have filled 2012 with plenty of tempting foodie inspiration and we look forward to seeing you again 

in late January 2013!

New Openings…

 

HKK, EC2
Inspired by the long-standing Chinese banqueting tradition, the latest restaurant from the Hakkasan Group, will specialise in providing just a single, ever-evolving tasting menu at lunch and dinner.  With such a specialist concept to deliver, HKK has entrusted the keys to the kitchen to Michelin-starred Tong Chee Hwee, the former head chef of the original Hakkasan in Hanway Place.  The menu at HKK embodies chef Tong’s talent for presenting complex flavoured Cantonese dishes with a modern flair.  Dishes on the 8-course lunch menu and 15-course dinner menu include Lychee wood-roasted Peking duck served with sesame pancakes; Dim sum trilogy of truffle har gau, panfried Szechuan dumpling, sour turnip puff; and Wok-fried lobster in yellow bean sauce.  Dinners will also have the option of matching their food with wine or fresh juices for an all-encompassing experience.  www.hkklondon.com

 

1543 Newsletter 12 December 2012

The Luggage Room, W1
Take a step through the inconspicuous engraved door on Grosvenor Square and be transported back to a bygone era of glamour, elegance and sophistication at London’s latest drinking destination – The Luggage Room.  Reminisce over the days of Bentley Boys and 1920′s movie star glamour as you luxuriate in the bar’s opulent ambience and linger over a classic cocktail in a venue that was literally once the luggage room of Marriott Hotel!  Bar Manger Abdulai Kpekawa and his crew of bartenders have been inspired by the past for their menu of cobblers, martinis and punches, including their signature cocktail, The Bentley Cup – Gin, elderflower syrup, cucumber water, marmalade vodka & champagne.  www.luggageroom.co.uk


Flat Iron, W1

1545 Newsletter 12 December 2012Following their super-successful Shoreditch pop-up earlier this year, steak restaurant Flat Iron has come to the West End for its permanent home.  Those unfamiliar with the concept will find a menu of just one item – the little known butcher’s cut of beef called ‘the flat iron’.  When cooked properly, the flat-iron is actually incredibly tender and tasty, but best of all, it’s also ridiculously cheap – a mere £10 for a steak!  Throw in some beef dripping chips, maybe some creamed spinach and a beer and change from £20 is well within reach!  www.flatironsteak.co.uk


Sweet Shop @ Gelupo, W1

1544 Newsletter 12 December 2012Already home to some of London’s finest gelato, Gelupo has transformed its delicatessen into the ultimate sweet shop.  Gone are all of the savoury snacks, instead replaced with shelves stack with the finest treats and temptations from Italy.  Sweet-toothed visitors will have their pick of everything from Italian chocolates, sweet fruit pastilles, dark liquorice and panforte to desserts such as cassata, bonet and crème caramel, delivered from Gelupo’s renowned sister restaurant, Bocca di Lupo.  The venue will also showcase the creations of one of Italy’s most celebrated chocolatiers, Guido Gobino. www.gelupo.com

 

Festive Drinks Special…
1546 Newsletter 12 December 2012

Chapel Down Rosé Brut
Fly the flag for Britain this Christmas with a bottle of festive fizz from the acclaimed Chapel Down Winery.   They may not be able to call it Champagne as it is produced in Kent, but in terms of quality and feel-good factor, this award-winning beauty is up there with the best that France has to offer.    Featuring a classic Pinot Noir nose of strawberry and raspberry with a splash of creaminess, the weight of fruit in this rosé also makes it a great choice for turkey Christmas dinners or as a cheese course companion.  Available for around £25 from good wine retailers including www.bibendum-wine.co.uk

Chardonnay Reserva Vina Mar, 2010
A panel of the UK’s leading wine critics has voted this Chilean Chardonnay from Corney & Barrow ‘the ultimate match with turkey and stuffing’ in a recent food-and-wine pairing competition.  Judges at www.WhatFoodWhatWine.com - including Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW – found the wine to have “attractive wine with tropical fruit flavours and a touch of walnut softened by creamy oak.”  Apparently, it “adds a richness to the turkey, not overpowering the meat but adding a succulence to the food.”  Costing £8.95 from www.corneyandbarrow.com, it’s priced pretty reasonably too.

Blue Nun Sparkling Gold
Purely on this list for kitsch value, the people at 1970′s favourite Blue Nun clearly have a great sense of humour if this irresistibly naff Sparkling Gold wine is anything to go by!  Light, fruity and ridiculously easy drinking, each bottle contains flecks of actual 22 carat gold leaf.  She may not be classy but there’s no doubt that the Blue Nun Sparkling Gold will be the talk of every party she attends! £9.50 from www.drinksdirect.co.uk

Bottlegreen Hot Cordials
For those moments when you’re trying to take a break from changing your blood/alcohol levels in favour of the latter, check out Bottlegreen’s new Hot Cordials.  Available in Spiced Berry and Ginger & Lemongrass varieties, they’re filled full of festive flavour but don’t come with any risk of a hangover.   Once you’re ready to get back on the wagon, you can even add the Spiced Berry to a bottle of red to create a quick and easy mulled wine.  Bonus!  Widely available for £3.15

1548 Newsletter 12 December 2012

Paul John Single Cask 161 Whisky

‘Whisky from India?’ you ask?  Well yes, and this debut expression from John Distilleries has been creating a major stir in the whisky world since its recent launch.  Rave reviews for the first of a series of single cask whiskies include a ‘Liquid Gold’ award from The Whisky Bible.   Bottled to cask strength of 57% abv, just a single cask of John Distilleries inaugural whisky has been released totalling 150 bottles.   The whisky is made from Indian malted barley before being aged in ex-Bourbon barrels in the tropical heat of Goa to provide an extremely approachable experience, with sweet notes of honey and ripe fruits, a touch of spice and a clean finish.  Considering the quality and the limited supply, there aren’t too many better whiskies to spend £60 on.  www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-18122.aspx


Kings Ginger

Originally formulated in 1903 by Berry Bros, England’s oldest wine and spirits merchants and still holder of a Royal warrants to supply the royal family, King’s Ginger is the most quintessential of British spirits.  The liqueur was actually created for King Edward VII as a drink to stimulate and revivify His Majesty as he took part in his many outdoor pursuits.  At 43%Abv, King’s Ginger is wonderfully rich, zesty and potent liqueur created by the careful maceration of ginger root enlivened by the judicious addition of lemon peel. Although warming and heartening on a cold day, it is also great in cocktails; mix equal parts with a fine Single Malt for a delicious alternative to a Rusty Nail or lengthen with bitter lemon and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing long drink.  Around £20. http://thekingsginger.com


Grand Marnier

One of the best known and most prestigious of all French liqueurs, Grand Marnier combines the warming wintery flavours of bitter orange with smooth Cognac to provide the perfect festive liqueur.  The possibilities are endless, with a host of popular cocktails – including the Cosmopolitan and Sidecar – benefiting from Grand Marnier as an alternative to triple sec, as well as being ideal for a spot of flambé action and totally delicious over ice.  Whilst the recipe has stayed true to the 1880 original, this Christmas sees the release of a stunning limited edition blue lacquered bottle overlaid with a gilded gold frieze outline of a star-filled Parisian skyline.  Around £26 from Harvey Nicholls.


Baileys Orange

As hard as you may try, I defy anyone to go through Christmas without a little swig of Bailey’s along the way.  This year they have given us another reason to nab a bottle with the launch of their filthily delicious orange truffle flavour.  Imagine melting down a Terry Chocolate Orange, adding some booze and drinking it and you’re pretty much there in terms of flavour.  Delicious on the rocks, it’s also ideal to pour over puddings or to add a rich twist to your coffee.  Around £20 from Tesco’s.


Stoli Chocolat Razberi

One of the nicest flavoured vodkas around, Stoli Chocolat Razberi delivers notes of rich, deep chocolate followed by a delicate hint of fresh raspberries – perfect for those who want a sweeter style drink to sip on without bringing out sugar-laden liqueurs or creamy drinks.   It’s one of the few flavoured vodkas that can genuinely be enjoyed on the rocks, although the experimental amongst you may wish to toy with a few cocktails too.  £20 online and from all good drinks retailers.

1549 Newsletter 12 December 2012

Corkicle
The Corkcicle shuns messy ice buckets and (heaven forbid) ice cubes in your Pinot Grigio slotting right into the top of a bottle, chilling the wine from within. Made from a thermal gel that’s completely sealed inside the elegant icicle shape, this will retain its temperature far longer than ice and won’t dilute your drink.  £19.99 from www.firebox.com

Ice Ball Moulds
Ever wanted to recreate those snazzy balls of ice you get in your cocktails at flashy bars?  More than likely they’ve got a fancy pants machine or a bartender who’s spent a lifetime learning how to hand-carve them.  For a cheats version, check out these moulds.  Just fill them up and stick them in the freezer.  Moreover, with these moulds, you can even add a twist to your ice by adding fruit segments or mint into the mould so the ice releases flavour as it melts. £11 for a set of 4 from www.baytreecookware.co.uk

Musical Wine Glasses
Never mind finding ‘notes of oak and tropical fruits’ in your wine, these glasses add a whole new dimension to the wine drinking experience.  The glasses feature musical notations corresponding with levels of liquid, so while a nice full glass might be a B flat, when you start getting low on vino, you’ll be playing a G sharp. You and your dinner companions will be performing boozy ballads in no time.  £39.99 from www.firebox.com