Newsletter 6 February 2013

Rio Carnival, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year come to London plus the latest foodie news and new openings!

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News & Events…


Happy (belated) New Year!  Welcome to our first issue of 2013.  We hope you’ve finished/given up your crazy detoxes and are ready to join us for another year of great food, cool cocktails and all-round fun!

Rio Carnival Festival @ Guanabara, WC2. 7-12 February
 1557 Newsletter 6 February 2013

The dazzling colours, pounding beats, and sultry heat of the Rio Carnival is coming to Covent Garden for six days of non-stop festivity. Brazilian bar Guanabara is hosting a variety of events, from live percussion bands and samba dance parades to DJs playing the hottest sounds straight from Rio.  Show stopping performances will be complemented by exotic rum cocktails, ice cold Brahmas and a menu of carnival street food, such as Corn dogs and feijoada – a black bean, sausage & beef stew.   The main festivities include The Carnival Parade on 8 Feb; a masked ball on 9 Feb; and the week’s biggest bash, the Domingueira Carnival Special, a late night party on the Sunday evening featuring live bands from Brazil.


Mardi Gras @ Blues Kitchen, NW1. 12 February

Inspired by the infamous carnival of New Orleans, Camden’s very own Mardi Gras will include a live marching band, festive beads and feather boas, as well as a quintessential menu of creole food. Entertainment will be from marching band The Brass Volcanoes, a Dr. John set from The Blues Kitchen Gumbo Band as well as Djs until late. To get the party started there will also be free Gumbo for all guests from 5-7pm.  Keeping the party going until 1am will be a menu of classic cocktails, including Manhattans and Dark & Stormy’s.


1558 Newsletter 6 February 2013 Chinese New Year Celebrations, Chinatown. 10 February

The magic of China comes to London’s West End in a breath-taking blaze of colour to celebrate the Year of the Snake.  The festivities, which are the largest outside Asia, offer revellers a feast of Chinese culture and a variety of performers from China.  The day kicks off at 10am with a parade of colourful floats beginning in Trafalgar Square and ending in Rupert Street at 11.00 am.  This will be followed by over 100 performers, including the world-renowned Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance, taking their place on the Trafalgar Square main stage.  Celebrations will end at 6pm with a spectacular fireworks display.

Alternative Valentines Events

Bed Hopping At Supperclub, W10  1329 Newsletter 6 February 2013

Visit supperclub on 14th February you will not be allowed entry if you’re in a couple.  The event will see diners take to a bed and be given a menu of aphrodisiac food and drinks including a very special love potion shot…perfect for those singles looking to find the one. Once guests are feeling in the mood for love there will be the perfect opportunity to get flirting with supperclub’s very own twitter system where you can pass messages onto the hottie across the room.  If he/she likes what they see, you can move things into the kissing booth for a spot of alone time!  Tickets are £49.

Singletons Movie Night @ Beas of Bloomsbury, SE1

In the spirit of all things American, Beas of Bloomsbury @MaltbyStreet is hosting a block party style cinema screening for the single folk of London.  Love-free Londoners can expect American style Chilli Cheese Dogs, Jalapeno Chilli and Mushroom Mac’n'Cheese all to the sounds and sights of the classic themes of yester year.  Quite appropriately, the movie for the evening will be the distinctly romance-free classic, ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’.   The evening starts at 6.30, with tickets at £5.50 from


New Openings…

1560 Newsletter 6 February 2013

The Rum Kitchen, W11
Londoners wanting to forget about the cold weather can experience a mini Caribbean getaway with the launch of The Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill.  The bar and restaurant showcases the vibrant flavours of the West Indies and with a hidden cellar housing over 100 varieties of rum from across the region.  Head chef Darren Williamson, who recently earned rave reviews for his food at Puma Yard, has put together a menu of pimped up Caribbean classics, including Ackee & salt fish bruschetta, Curried goat and spiced Roast cod.  The atmosphere will be complemented by music director DJ Fast from The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, so visitors can expect everything from Reggae to Latin and Calypso to Afro-funk.


1559 Newsletter 6 February 2013

Smith’s Cocktail Bar, W6
This stylish new bar has opened to provide a slice of old-school glamour to 

West London’s well-heeled cocktail connoisseurs.  Exposed brick walls, Louis XIV style furniture, tasseled lampshades and low lighting combine to provide a room inspired by the drinking dens of both New York and Paris. The drinks promise to be just as exquisite courtesy of veteran mixologist Jeevan Perinpanayagam.  From the classics to the flamboyant, cocktails include Fruit Bubbles – a mixture of passion fruit and lemon sorbet topped off with Champagne and a mango lollipop; and the Tall, Dark and Handsome, featuring Young’s Double Chocolate stout, Havana 7 Year Old and Pedro Ximenez sherry served with Belgian chocolate pellets.  Sustenance comes in the form of sharing platters, including pork rillettes, confit maple duck wings chicken and crab fish cakes.

The Wheatsheaf, SE1

Following a three year closure, The Wheatsheaf, one of Borough’s most famous pubs has reopened.  Originally built in 1772, the early Victorian pub has been given a complete overhaul that keeps the best of the original architecture whilst also adding a few quirky additions.  Key new features include a campervan kitchen outside on the new heated terrace, a vintage bicycle that houses cosy blankets, a screen showing a live feed from London Bridge station and a mix and match food ordering system.  Beers include tipples from of some of the UK’s finest brewers, including Meantime Pale Ale, Camden Hells Lager and a variety of Young’s ales.  Food takes its inspiration from street food classics including Hay Box Ham, Sticky English Whiskey Ribs and Cyder Spit Chicken.

Clockjack Oven, W1

1561 Newsletter 6 February 2013 Fans of Nandos have a new place in central London to compete for their chicken loving with the opening of Clockjack Oven in Soho.  However, instead of trying to blow your tastebuds away with per-peri, Clockjack provides more subtle marinades such as creamy ranch and tangy barbecue sauce.  Taking its name from the Tudor cooking mechanism that has inspired it, Clockjack Oven’s free range chicken is roasted over a naked flame, where the intense heat preserves and intensifies the flavours in the skin whilst the rotation of the spit ensures the flesh is gently cooked, keeping it succulent and tender.  With a menu that includes sandwiches and chicken snacks, Clockjack is ideal for quick lunches and casual dinners.

Shutterbug, EC2

1562 Newsletter 6 February 2013 Open just in time for Pancake Day on 12 February is a brand new experimental creperie and intimate cocktail speakeasy in the heart of Shoreditch.  Parisian chef and crepe expert, Romain Ragouin is the mastermind behind Shutterbug’s unique daily menu.  Having spent 15 years mastering the art of posh pancakes, his imaginative savoury and sweet creations include buckwheat crepes with pulled pork, cheese & pickles and a Red velvet crepe with mascarpone and strawberries.   Open till late on weekends, Shutterbug will also serve cocktails and other booze for local nightowls.

Pop, W11
Forget the stale and overpriced stuff you get at the cinema, Pop has opened in Notting Hill with a mission to provide proper popcorn to the masses.  The self-styled ‘popcorn boutique’ produces coated and dusted air popped popcorn freshly made to order in unusual and indulgent flavours, including Gingerbread with real gingernut biscuit pieces, Chocolate & Orange, Bloody Mary and Chilli & Cheese.  Customers can even experiment with their own bespoke popcorn for parties and events.

Try This Week…

New York Soup Co. Fully Loaded Soups

1563 Newsletter 6 February 2013 With the coldest February on record expected this month (I swear they say that every year), it’s time to put away the sandwiches and head down the soup isle for lunch.  Luckily, you don’t have to resort to dodgy packets of cup-a-soup or boring flavours that have been around since your Nan was just a girl, because the New York Soup Co has come to the rescue with delicious liquid delights.  In true American fashion, these soups are all about big bold flavours filled to the brim with stuff that would keep the average Texan trucker full for at least 30 minutes.  With flavours including BBQ Pulled Pork, Nacho Chilli Chicken and Chunky Lentil & Bean, winter lunchtimes just got a little more interesting.  Available from Tesco for £2.10.

1565 Newsletter 6 February 2013

Johnnie Walker ‘The Spice Road’

It may only be February, but we think we’ve already found one of our favourite whiskies of the year with the recently launched Johnnie Walker ‘The Spice Road’.   This new whisky is the first in the Explorers’ Club Collectionof whiskies that take their inspiration from the travelling heritage of John Walker & Sons.  The Spice Road is an evocative expression of the vibrancy, aromas and spices that the Johnnie Walker agents would have discovered in the thriving markets around Asia.  As you would expect of Johnnie Walker, Spice Road provides an exceptionally smooth and rich honeyed flavour, including a touch of signature smokiness.  Additionally, the whisky adds inspiration from olde world spice markets by spending time maturing in old casks for an intense finish of cloves, ginger and vanilla.  Costing just £26, ‘The Spice Road’ represents an incredible bargain, although the big catch is that it’s only available from Duty Free.

1564 Newsletter 6 February 2013

The Macallan Gold

In an incredibly bold move that goes against all that we have been told about buying single malt Scotch, The Macallan has done away with age statements on its new 1824 Series of whisky.  Given their position as one of the world’s most popular Scotch brands, it’s a bold move.  Instead, the company is basing the quality and flavour of its whiskies on the natural colour the liquid gains from spending time in barrels, with the idea being that the longer it’s been in a barrel, the darker it will be.  The range starts with The Macallan Gold, a whisky produced from 9-15yo first fill and refill sherry casks that essentially replaces the 10 Year Old bottlings.  Quite light in style, the delicate notes of citrus fruits and vanilla make for an easy going style of whisky.  Widely available for around £35.