Newsletter 19 February 2014

Craft Beer Rising, New Orleans Pop-Up, Jamaican Burgers, plus the latest foodie news!

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News & Events…


Craft Beer Rising @ The Old Truman Brewery. 21-23 February

Forget about a quick pint to see in the weekend and head down to Craft Beer Rising where you will find the holy trinity of fine beer, live music and street food in one place.  At the heart of the event is craft beer, with tastings from over 60 breweries, reflecting both established and experimental styles.  Adding to the mix will be street food vendors including Burger Bear, Dosa Deli and Fleischmob, whilst top tunes will come courtesy of live DJs and bands including Horse Meat Disco and Reverend & The Makers. Tickets start from £15.


1792 Newsletter 19 February 2014 Sassafras New Orleans Pop-Up @ Dalston, E2. 20-23 Feb

Get ready for delicious Cajun flavours, classic cocktails, and live music as the Sassafras crew bring the inimitable spirit of New Orleans to Dalston.  Dalston Pond – a renovated factory off Gillett square- will be dressed up in Creole fashion, including a photography exhibition of the deep south, foot-stomping live New Orleans music and a bar serving the kind of cocktails that keeps Mardi Gras buzzing!  Open for brunch and dinner, the food should have your tastebuds dancing too, with dishes including plates of Jambalaya and shrimps aplenty!  Tickets are £30.


Coffee Classes @ Workshop Coffee Co., Clerkenwell and Marylebone

Having launched back in 2011, Workshop Coffee Co. has developed a reputation for sourcing and roasting some of London’s finest coffee.  Given how crazy we’ve all become about the stuff, they’ve decided to impart some of their insider knowledge so that we can create the perfect cup whether we’re at home or even at work in a cramped office.  Each two hour class takes your from bean to cup, starting off with coffee cultivation and decoding bean jargon all the way through to different grinding and brewing techniques.  Tickets are £35, including free coffee and a caffeine buzz that will last you for the rest of the week!


1795 Newsletter 19 February 2014 Vestal Voyages

2014 sees Mr Vestal Vodka literally push the boat out by inviting you on board London’s only floating pop-up bar.  Taking place on a 50 ft classic cruiser canal boat, guests are invited to an afternoon canal ride whilst sipping luxurious libations from the Vestal vintage collection.  The Captain and his crew will take you on a leisurely cocktail-fuelled voyage along Regents canal, making cocktail discoveries all along the way.  You need to get a group of 8 people together, with tickets costing £30/head, including cocktails.

Safari Lunch @ Marsden Bistro, E2. 2 March

Originally from Congo but with training under chefs such as Michel Roux, Mick Élysée has developed a unique style of cooking that combines his African heritage with classical French training.  The result is a menu of gourmet dishes with some of the most exotic safari meats available in the wild streets of London!  Those who nab a ticket to his debut lunch event can expect dishes such as Mini Zebra & Springbok Burger with Yam Chips and Guinea Fowl in African peanut soup.  Tickets are £35. Contact Marsden Bistro to book your space:


New Openings…


1790 Newsletter 19 February 2014 Boom Burger, W10

Josh De Lisser, chef/owner of Jamaican influenced burger pop-up Boom Burger, has come to Portobello Road for his first permanent restaurant.  Expect loud Caribbean flavours at the heart of the venue, including plantain fries, Scotch Bonnet mayo and a Jerk Chicken Burger, complete with papaya and mango sauce.  As you’d expect, the bar will happily serve up rum cocktails, whilst the Jamaican inspired venue features reggae LPs and banana leaves lining the walls and a Jamaican soundtrack played throughout.


Brindisa Food Rooms, SW9

Spanish Food specialists, Brindisa have come to Brixton for their latest opening.  Part-shop, part-food bar, Brindisa Food Rooms is a combination of what they already offer at Borough Market – a food shop and chorizo grill – teamed with a simple but extended menu, set under two railway arches.  Highlights of the shop will be counters serving Manchego and torta cheeses, Spanish hams hanging from the ceiling waiting to be freshly carved and a selection of Spanish wines.  50% off food on Thursday 20th.


Holborn Dining Room & Delicatessen, WC1

It’s fair to say that former Caprice Holdings CEO Des McDonald knows a thing or two about running a restaurant, so expectations are high for his latest independent venture at the swish Rosewood Hotel. Executive Chef Lee Bull (former Head Chef of Le Caprice and Scott’s) has created a menu of classic British cuisine with dishes including cured meats, seafood platters, steaks and proper puddings.  A High Tea menu is also available, with Fish finger sandwiches and Welsh rarebit providing a touch of nostalgia to the historic venue.


La Polenteria, W1

Polenta, the store cupboard staple most commonly associated with the peasant cuisine of Northern Italy, takes centre stage at La Polenteria.  Ideal for those on increasingly popular gluten-free diets, the menu actually predates such fads with delicious dishes that have been around for generations.  Choices include Polenta with Sicilian caponata, salt cod, gorgonzola & walnuts and Tuscan sausages with borlotti beans.  With its rustic style and selection of Italian wines, La Polenteria is ideal for a spot of relaxed dining in the heart of Soho, whilst takeaway options make for interesting lunch time alternatives.

1791 Newsletter 19 February 2014

ROKA Mayfair, W1

Anyone who’s ever tried to get a booking at London’s original ROKA in Charlotte Street will be glad to hear that your chances of getting a table in the West End have just doubled!   With the Robata grill taking centre stage, diners can expect some of ROKA’s most popular dishes including the Lamb cutlets with Korean spices along with new creations such as the Rice hot pot with lobster.  The menu also includes a selection of sushi and sashimi and dishes from the main kitchen.  The interior maintains the signature ROKA feel, with liberal use of reclaimed and natural wood, raw steel, casted concrete and hints of oxidised copper.

Refurb: The Crown & Sceptre, W1

Located on Great Titchfield Street, The Crown & Sceptre has long been the perfect spot to lift the spirits after a hard day’s work or credit card bashing on Oxford Street.  Following extensive refurbishment, the old boozer has returned with a smart new look and a menu to match. Quirky design touches include light-fittings fashioned out of old milk bottles and vintage Radio Times posters.  The beer list sees the best of London breweries – including Meantime and Camden – sit alongside European specials whilst the food menu keeps to current trends too, including Beef brisket & beetroot hash and a Pork & chorizo burger.


Try This Week – 2014 Drinks Upgrade!


Now that everyone’s got their January detox firmly out of the way, it’s time to look forward to a year of quality drinking.  Here’s our round-up of the essential drinks you need in 2014!

1794 Newsletter 19 February 2014

Bulleit 95 Rye

If 2013 was the year that Bourbon finally made its way into the lexicon of the discerning drinker, then 2014 is surely ripe for another style of American whiskey – Rye – to make its mark.  With its history linking it to some of the great classic cocktails, including the Sazerac and Manhattan, chances are you’ve already been sipping on Rye whiskey.  As the name suggests, Rye whiskey needs to be distilled from a spirit made from a minimum of 51% rye.  The result is a spicier, lighter and fruiter spirit compared to Bourbon, which has to be made from a minimum of 51% corn based spirit.  With its hefty 95% rye content, Bulleit ’95′ is the ultimate expression of this style of whiskey.  Considering its high rye content, this whiskey is incredibly smooth and approachable, with deep notes of ripe red fruits and spices and a lip-puckering astringency to finish. 45% Abv. Available for around £32.


Elephant Gin

The popularity of gin shows no signs of abating and continuing the charge in 2014 is Elephant Gin.  From Ophir Gin made from Asian spices to COLD Gin made in the heart of London, the diversity of ingredients and inspiration behind new gins has reached new heights.  The unique approach of Elephant Gin sees it take inspiration from botanicals discovered in Africa by 19th century explorers.  Amongst the 14 ingredients used are superfruit Baobab, the Buchu plant with a flavour similar to blackcurrant, and African Wormwood.  The result is a distinct nose with touches of juniper, mountain pine and ginger.  The taste continues with the pine, as well as appealing floral notes and a refreshing citrus flavour.  45% Abv. Available for around £30.


Glenmorangie Companta

Whiskies from around the world may be all the rage at the moment, but let’s be clear – the Scottish can still teach a thing or two about their spirit to these precocious new upstarts! It may only be February, but Glenmorangie ‘Companta’ has already marked itself as one of the most exciting whiskies to launch this year.  Companta, the fifth annual release in the Glenmorangie Private Edition range, follows the critically acclaimed Ealanta, voted Jim Murray’s ’2014 World Whisky of the Year’.   Providing the ultimate union between Scotland and France, Companta blends the characteristically spicy whisky matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart with the sweeter Scotch from Côtes du Rhône casks.  The result is the perfect marriage of the two, with stewed red fruits and spicy tobacco, a rich milk chocolate like mouthfeel and a long, sweet finish.  Get it while you can for around £65.


La Fée Absinthe Parisienne

We hope you’ve experienced enough absinthe in your cocktails by now to remove any scary misconceptions about it, but just in case – no it isn’t a hallucinogenic, no it’s not illegal and no a whiff of the stuff won’t have your paralytic in A&E!   So let this be the year that you experiment with ‘The Green Fairy’.   Perhaps the most recognisable absinthe brand, La Fée has released a new version of its Absinthe Parisienne that is now made entirely of natural ingredients.  The new formula sees an increased Grand wormwood content and softer star anise notes to provide a more herbal yet refined character.  Enjoy in classic cocktails such as the Corpse Reviver No.2 and Sazerac, or simply serve lengthened with chilled water for a delicious digestif.  68 % Abv.  Available for around £42.


Hasslacher’s Hot Chocolate

Considering we’re currently in the throes of the apocalypse, it feels timely to include a drink to see us through the torrid weather (besides the fact that England has the ability to throw a chilly spell at us at any time of the year)! Nothing gives you that warm cosy feeling like a good mug of hot chocolate and this stuff from Hasschlers is like central heating for the soul.  Unlike the powdered stuff that most of us use, Hasschlers Hot Chocolate comes as either a solid bar or buttons of chocolate made from 100% cacao.  Just add your required amount of chocolate to some warm milk, give it a stir and voila!  Moreover, we often hear about the health benefits of chocolate and Hasslacher’s provides the real deal: loaded with anti-oxidents, the bars are completely cholesterol and sugar free too!  Available imminently for around £5 from Tesco, Waitrose and online from