Newsletter 20 March 2013

Gin Palaces, Jazz Nights, Masterchef Winner’s Restaurant, plus the latest foodie news and openings!

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News & Events…


Tanqueray Gin Palace, WC2. 27-28 March

Tanqueray is reimagining the 19th Century gin palace, giving it a modern twist and bringing its original splendour to a new generation.  Situated on Covent Garden’s Floral Street in a shop setting, the venue takes its inspiration from the old Bloomsbury gin shops frequented by the creative community of their day including Charles Dickens and artist George Cruikshank.  Gin aficionados will be able to ease into the Easter break by listening to live acoustic music whilst enjoying a range of innovative cocktails created by leading bartenders including Erik Lorincz from The Savoy and Diego Cabrera from Le Cabrera in Madrid.  Visitors will also be given the unique opportunity to experience gin tasting sessions led by Tom Nichol, the Tanqueray Master Distiller.  More details at

1583 Newsletter 20 March 2013

Jazz Thursdays @ Gillrays, SE1

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is turning up the volume on the South Bank this Spring with a series of jazz evenings taking place every Thursday.  Taking centre stage is jazz artist Rebecca Poole, recently hailed as “the new voice of nostalgia” by Jazz FM, who will be performing from 7.30pm until late.  Guests can also treat themselves to some cracking cocktails in their gin bar or a steak dinner in their stunning restaurant looking onto the Thames.

The Time Emporium Party @ Village Underground, EC2. 23 March
  1588 Newsletter 20 March 2013

The team behind the Winterwell festival are hosting a Medieval-themed shindig at converted Victorian warehouse, Village Underground.  From 10.45pm onwards, revellers will arrive at a fully-realised, dark-ages village where they can play medieval street games, interact with historical characters, all whilst being entertained by Winterwell’s finest.  Top choons will come courtesy of Norman Jay, as well as live performances from dirty blues and soul acts such as Bad Zuke and hip hop vibe acts including The Milk Bar Kid.  Tickets are £15 from

Italian Street Food Fiesta @ Dehesa, W1. 25 March

Defy the weather and kick-start Spring at Dehesa as it hosts an Italian street food party.  ’La Sagra a Dehesa’, will run from 6 to 9pm, where artisan Italian beers and a range of cool cocktails will be on offer.  Food will be served hot off the BBQ, including rolled padina with grilled picco’s; Italian style sausage with rocket and Parmesan; Grilled parmesan in piadina-foccaccina; and calda calda. The feast will finish in true Italian style with homemade gelato cornettos in a variety of flavours, including espresso, chocolate, grappa and pistachio. A range charcuterie and cheese from suppliers will also be available to sample.

UK’s first Brewery Fresh Beers

The ever growing legion of non-beardy beer lovers has something new and exciting to raise their pints for.  Greenwich-based craft brewers Meantime Brewing and Young’s pubs have introduced ‘Brewery Fresh’ (aka ‘tank beer’) in a UK-first.  To the uninitiated, this basically means you’ll be able to enjoy a beer unadulterated by pasteurisation, filtering or pressurisation, with the beer dispensed directly from special tanks installed in the pubs themselves. The result is a well-rounded, smoother lager, with enhanced aromas and flavours.  Brewery Fresh is available at The Plough and The Grove in Clapham, and The Grove in Balham.


New Openings…


3 Cromwell Road, SW7

Steeped in 60 years of history as a private members bar, 3 Cromwell Road’s most impressive claim to fame was that it was the first London venue in which Jimi Hendrix played a live performance.  The latest incarnation sees the three storey Georgian townhouse comprising a ground floor cocktail bar, a downstairs club and a first floor restaurant serving a simple menu of steak frites and nothing else.  The design sees details from 19th and 20th Century London townhouses aesthetically juxtaposed with edgier contemporary touches, including neons and Kalashnikov rifles papered into the walls.

1584 Newsletter 20 March 2013

Oaka @ The Mansion House, SE11

There used to be a time when Thai restaurants were housed within local pubs all over the country in a bid to provide ‘innovative’ menus.  Whilst those days are gone, the guys at Oaka clearly didn’t receive the memo. Oaka at The Mansion House is a new pub and dining room in Kennington that offers this forgotten combination of Pan Asian cuisine and hand crafted real ales from acclaimed Peterborough-based brewery Oakham Ales.  Even the bar menu takes its inspiration from the East, with a choice of small plates designed to complement the flavour of the brews.

The Corner @ Selfridges, W1
  1586 Newsletter 20 March 2013

Keri Moss, joint winner of Masterchef 2012, will be providing a large portion of style with her menu with the opening of her first restaurant in shopper’s paradise, Selfridges.   Situated in the corner of Womenswear Designer Galleries, the restaurant and Champagne bar offers a frequently changing menu with the emphasis on British seasonal cooking.  Fans of Masterchef will also be please to know that Keri will be serving up some of her signature dishes, including Mackerel Tartare crisp, poached quails eggs, apple & pancetta wafers.

House of Roxy, SW15

House of Roxy has opened in Putney to provide locals with a place to enjoy top cocktails, craft beers, fine wines and delicious Mediterranean dishes, all served in a laid back but stylish atmosphere.  Taking over the site of Spanish restaurant Destino, House of Roxy has retained its head chef to offer a menu of Mediterranean food made with seasonal British ingredients, with tapas and a la carte style eating both available.  Come the weekend, the venue hosts DJs, performers and live music to create the ideal venue to dine and party the night away.

1585 Newsletter 20 March 2013
Old Mary’s @ The Mitre, W2

Spread across three floors, the historic grade II listed Mitre Townhouse in Bayswater has just unveiled its new basement bar.  Formerly Lord Craven’s servant quarters, this atmospheric basement bar is the scene of a tragic love story, where one of his servants – Mary – took her life over her unrequited love for him.  Today, it’s also the setting for classic cocktails, craft beers and delicious gourmet hot dogs all ready to be enjoyed in a quirky underground hideaway.


Try This Week…

G’Vine Gin de France  1589 Newsletter 20 March 2013

As the world continues its love affair with gin, it’s no surprise that a new brand seemingly seems to be popping up every week.  However, whilst most of these brands focus on their unique blend of botanicals, G’Vine has taken inspiration from its French heritage to create the first gin made from grape spirit.  Made in the Cognac region, G’Vine also champions the vine flower as its lead botanical.  The result is a floral spirit with a softer juniper influence than traditional gins, creating an experience that is almost akin to a full bodied flavoured vodka.   Available in the delicate Floraison or punchy and more herbaceous Nouaison varieties, G’Vine is certainly worth having on the shelf for its unique yet appealing character.  Currently available from Harrods on special offer of £31.95 (instead of £37.95). and

1590 Newsletter 20 March 2013
Cream Gin

As radical as the concept of ‘cream’ based gin may sound, this collaboration between specialist spirits retailer Master of Malt and top London bar The Worship Street Whistling Shop actually takes its inspiration from days gone by.  Cream Gin was popular in the in Gin Palaces of the Victorian Era, although back then the gin was mixed with cream and sugar then left to infuse.  By contrast, this modern interpretation has been cold-distilled using fresh cream as a botanical to capture the fresh flavour of the cream in a perfectly clear (and fat-free!) spirit.  The result is a sweeter style of gin with a rich mouthfeel and an enjoyably straightforward gin flavour.   £41.95 from

Posh Ravioli from Dell’Ugo

1591 Newsletter 20 March 2013When it comes to simple and tasty meals, you can’t really get easier than a plate of pasta, especially the filled variety.  The problem is that the stuff at most supermarkets normally comprises of thick tasteless pasta with a bland stuffing.  However, with the new Ravioli range from Dell’Ugo our tastebuds need suffer no more.  The pasta itself is tasty in itself and comes generously filled with delicious ingredients, with flavours including Crab & Crayfish with a hint of lemon & chilli; Asparagus, Pea & Mint; and Wild Mushroom with truffle oil.  Around £3.99 from Waitrose