FOOD REVIEW: Oliver Maki, Soho

The latest resident to move in on Soho’s Dean Street is contemporary Japanese newcomer, Oliver Maki. It’s the first UK opening for the brother-duo team Oliver and Amer Zeiton, who already have award-winning restaurants in both Kuwait and Bahrain. We went along for a preview dinner before the restaurant opened to sample some of Executive Chef Louis Kenji Huang’s (formerly Head Sushi Chef at Nobu Las Vegas) creations.

We began with taster dishes of grilled edamame flaked with sea salt and an oyster shot each – fried oysters deliciously covered in a crispy batter (thankfully these didn’t need to be gulped down in one) that were perfectly sized nibbles. Next to arrive were the individual shrimp tempura shots – big juicy shrimps marinated in a delicate batter and deep fried. We get hungry just thinking about these fellas. Next up was their signature dish, the ‘Oliver Maki Roll‘, made up of 8 different rolls which include over 30 ingredients such as avocado, quinoa, black truffle, black rice and foie gras. Something of a sushi roulette as we weren’t exactly sure which roll we were going to get – but a delicious way to play with your food nonetheless.

Our final course was the ‘Out of the Box’ Bento Box – given it’s name because the box itself is a small clear cabinet featuring slide-out drawers, each containing a different dish, and on top in prime position are a number of the Chef’s daily Nigiri sushi waiting to be devoured first. Within the compartments lied the addictively good miso quinoa salad, crunchy maki sushi rolls, the special Oliver brown rice and a delicious warm salmon glazed in teriyaki sauce. Big enough for two, but far too good to even think about sharing. Full to the brim we managed a few small mouthfuls of the zingy yuzu sorbet to finish – just enough to refresh our palates and send us merrily on our way.

We rather like Soho’s latest resident – and think you will too.

33 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PW | www.olivermaki.co.uk

Facebook: OliverMakiUK | Twitter: @OliverMakiUK | Instagram: @OliverMakiUK

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COMING SOON: Chucs to open in Notting Hill

Chucs restaraunt press shots by Jamie Lau

This February, Chucs, will launch their distinctive menswear label boutique and restaurant in Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill. Reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit of the brand and the current trend in the area for shopping and dining under one roof, Chucs new menswear collection will be housed on the upper floor, and Chucs Restaurant and Cafe will be located on the garden level of the site.

Chucs, a brand synonymous with classic Italian craftsmanship, whether dining or dressing, will enhance the area and offer Italian cuisine, alongside, lighter, healthy dishes, created by Alessandro Verdenelli, executive chef of KX gym, who will also oversee the full menu. In addition to the restaurant and boutique, the venue will also boast an express, Italian Effe coffee bar, as well as an outside garden terrace, perfect for enjoying breakfast, brunch or an early evening aperitivo.

Open from 7.30am, Chucs is the perfect spot for a post-workout, or simply pre-work breakfast. The ‘Light & Healthy’ menu offers a varied selection of wholesome options, including; Matcha Egg White Protein Pancakes, Bowl of Acai with Banana and Granola, and ‘Cogurt’ (100% fresh coconut meat blended with banana, served with quinoa and berries), and a selection of freshly squeezed juices and shakes. Lighter all–day options will also be plentiful, showcasing carefully created dishes such as Quinoa Soup, served with Clams, Prawn, Salmon, Tomato, Garlic and Chili, and Tabbuleh Salad, served with Avocado, Asparagus and Lemon dressing, and Baked Tomatoes, stuffed with Quinoa served with Olives Tapenade and Basil Pesto. Healthier sweet treats, such as Raw Coconut Tart and Chocolate Mousse, will not just be vegan, but also free-from dairy, gluten and sugar.

For those in search of heartier fare, and classic Italian cuisine, Chucs Westbourne Grove will also serve a number of signature dishes, inspired by their flagship venue on Dover Street.  This traditional Italian element that draws upon the brand’s heritage will thus provide Westbourne Grove with the welcome addition of a high quality, yet relaxed, Mediterranean style, neighbourhood restaurant. Italian starters will include Aubergine Parmigiana, Tagliere All’Italiana (a selection of cured meats, cheese and marinated vegetables), and Beef Fillet Carpaccio served with Rocket and Parmesan. Guests will then be able to enjoy a selection of Home-made Pasta and Pizza dishes, (Gluten free options available), as well as Meat and Fish mains, including Chicken Milanese and Organic salmon Paillard. Timeless classics such as Tiramisu, and Zabaglione and Berries, will also be available for dessert.

Designed by the renowned Peter Mikic, the venue’s interiors will largely reflect the elegant, 1950s, Italian, style of the flagship restaurant on Dover Street, with a slightly lighter and more airy, daytime feel. The white walls of the entrance and coffee bar area, will be adorned with framed, black and white vintage photographs of the Italian coast, sourced by Lauren Gurvich. The bar itself will boast an Italian marble top and showcase a large silver leaf mirror above. The restaurant area will have warm, oak, herringbone flooring, with a selection of ivory white, booth and scallop backed banquette seating. The outside terrace, Mediterranean in feel, will have a terracotta, rhombus tiled wall, and several palm style trees and plants.

Chucs, 226 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH | www.chucsrestaurant.com | facebook: Chucs  | twitter: @Chucs

Chucs restaraunt press shots by Jamie Lau

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FOOD NEWS: Jason Atherton to open Sosharu

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March 2016 will see The Social Company launch its seventh London restaurant with the opening of Sosharu, a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant situated within the Turnmill Building on Clerkenwell Road.  A 40 cover cocktail bar, Seven Tales, will be located in the basement of the restaurant.

Sosharu is a collaboration between Jason Atherton and Executive Head Chef Alex Craciun, who has worked within The Social Company for four years, previously sous chef at Pollen Street Social. In preparation for the launch, Craciun relocated to Japan on a research trip, spending the year studying at the Kyoto Culinary School. He also worked at restaurant Kikunoi under Chef Yoshihiro Murata in Kyoto then RyuGin under Seiji Yamamoto in Tokyo.  He is now set to bring his culinary experience and expertise of Japanese cuisine to Sosharu.

Serving casual yet refined Japanese cuisine using British seasonal ingredients, Craciun’s menu will comprise small dishes, with sections dedicated to different specialities including temaki, hibachi grill, yaki grill, tempura, sashimi and more. Guests will be encouraged to try innovative dishes from each section such as chashu pork belly, udon, king oyster; bream sashimi, shichimi, crispy potato; Scallop, yuzu butter, fresh nori; and sukiyaki wagyu beef, glass noodles, young leeks. Desserts include apple pie, miso butterscotch; and white sesame, chocolate, miso caramel.  Kisetsu, meaning season, will be an entirely separate dining space with its own kitchen, accessible via the main entrance to Sosharu. Here, a tasting menu will be served in fine dining style adopting the ‘omakase’ tradition. Loosely translated as ‘trust the chef,’ diners are offered a bespoke daily changing menu chosen by Craciun. Guests will be seated around a kitchen counter with the interiors changing seasonally to coincide with the Japanese name.

Downstairs, Seven Tales cocktail bar will be reminiscent of the night-time atmosphere of Tokyo. Headed up by Bar Manager Geoff Robinson, formerly of Happiness Forgets and Experimental Cocktail Club, the drinks menu will be inspired by Japanese culture and philosophies, such as Munenori’s Mojito, a twist on a mojito made with cold-brewed matcha, nigori, Cuban rum, tonka bean and absinthe; and Yugen, containing rose vermouth, citric acid, hibiscus salt and sparkling sake.

Shosharu is set to open 7th March.

Turnmill Building, 63 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell, EC1M 5NP | www.jasonatherton.co.uk

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FOOD NEWS: Tiny Leaf, London’s first zero waste restaurant, set to open

Tiny Leaf Interior_AG_MG_6856Opening on Thursday 28th January, Tiny Leaf is London’s first organic, vegetarian, zero waste restaurant. Taking temporary residence on Notting Hill’s Westbourne Park Road on the former site of Bumpkin whilst looking for a more permanent home, the brand new concept turns surplus food donated by local food suppliers into a guilt-free gastronomic experience.

Spanning four floors, including a ground-floor bistro and juice bar, zero waste fine-dining restaurant, an upstairs cinema and events space known as ‘The Dark Room’ and botanical cocktail bar; Tiny Leaf brings a conscious yet fun eating experience to West London. Reflecting the restaurant’s surplus supply chain, menus change daily depending on would-be-waste deliveries from partners including Planet Organic and the UK’s largest wholesales of local and seasonal organic produce Langridge.

Breakfast will be served until 12pm daily with dishes including quinoa and spelt porridge with apple & cinnamon; wild rice with mango & toasted coconut; and buckwheat pancake with blueberry compote, coconut yoghurt & bee pollen – washed down with drinks such as flavoured Kombucha, nut mylks and cold-press juices from the juice bar. Due to the fast turnaround nature of the produce used, the menu changes daily.

For lunch, a selection of constantly changing daily specials and vegetarian mains dreamt up along with the morning delivery, will be served in both the casual brasserie and more formal dining space in ‘The Green Room’. Guests can indulge in dishes such as red and golden beetroot salad with crisp sage and parsnip; courgetti with hemp pesto toasted almond & rye wafer accompanied by a butter bean ragu, tomatoes and homemade paneer. Tiny Leaf’s trademark Vegetable Market Plate – will turn in the day’s vegetable offerings into a thing of elegant beauty.

On the first floor, guests will be treated to an ever-evolving casual fine-dining menu designed to delight and inspire. Dishes such as textures of beetroot with pumpkin, crisp sage & wild flowers; char-grilled celeriac and broccoli steaks with baba ghanoush; and cauliflower & red lentil pilaf with rose & pistachio explore Tiny Leaf’s new eating approach without forgetting the all-important enjoyment factor – particularly when you factor in puddings like rhubarb, ginger and carrot crumble and orange, polenta and chia seed syrup cake.  The masterminds behind Tiny Leaf are chef, writer and food activist Justin Horne, General Manager Jonathan Krauss (formerly of Chiltern Firehouse) and Marketing Director Alice Gilsenan.

Climb three floors to reach the Jackson Pollock-esque painted botanical cocktail bar amusingly referred to as ‘The White Room’ and experience the combined talents of ground-breaking phytotherapist & botanist Michael Istead and cocktail artist Lee Shephard. The talented pair turn organic and fair trade spirits and otherwise-overlooked ingredients into healthy-but-boozy elixirs. The drinks list will include a signature cocktail ‘Tiny Leaf’ with organic vodka, apple, cucumber, mint, elderflower & ginger served in a plant pot with edible soil. Highlights on the drinks list include Toast, a zero waste beer made from surplus bread, pioneered by zero waste champion Tristram Stewart.

209 Westbourne Park Road, London, W11 1EA | www.tinyleaflondon.com | @TinyLeafLondon

Reservations are available at 020 7243 9818 or at info@tinyleaflondon.com.

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FOOD NEWS: Wild food restaurant Native coming to Covent Garden

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Launching at Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden in early February 2016, Native is a new restaurant from co-founders Imogen Davis and Chef-Patron Ivan Tisdall-Downes that will specialise in game, wild food and rare breeds. Focusing on the robust and distinctive flavours found when raiding Britain’s wild larder, Native will showcase some of the most underappreciated and overlooked, but absolutely delicious meats, vegetables and fish found in Britain today.

Hugely passionate about nose to tail and stem to root eating, the Native aim is to change the public’s perception of game meat; using innovative techniques, bold flavours and taking inspiration from street food. Native makes game, rare-breed meats and wild food more accessible in both approach and price.

The lunch and dinner menus will constantly change with seasonal demand and will feature twists on familiar dishes, such as their signature Wood Pigeon Kebab and Southern Fried Rabbit, alongside full-flavoured foraged and vegetarian dishes. With starters and desserts from £5 and mains from £11, examples from the menu include:

  • Braised Chicory, Walnut, Buttermilk
  • Raw Sussex Venison, Treacle Cured Pheasant Egg, Hayonnaise
  • Charred Cauli, Rye Bay Scallop, Tentsuyu Broth, Pennywort
  • Confit Trout, Wood Ear Speltotto, Bone Marrow
  • Pigeon, Liquorice Ash, Artichoke Puree, Pickled Turnips
  • Pickled Pear, Winter Cress, Lord of the Hundreds

The drinks menu will highlight British wines, beers and ciders as well as a regularly changing seasonal cocktail. Examples from the menu include:

  • Nyetimber ‘Classic Cuvee’ West Sussex, England
  • Three Choirs ‘Winchcombe Downs, Gloucester, England, 2013
  • Bolney Pinot Noir, West Sussex
  • Wild Beer Co. ‘Ninkesi’, Somerset
  • Hawkes Urban Orchard Apple Cider, London and Somerset, England

With a capacity of 30, Native’s style is simple and clean cut. The rustic and raw décor is set over two floors, with the ground floor featuring counter seating surrounding an open plan kitchen, where guests can interact with chefs as well as window high-tables looking out onto bustling Neal’s Yard. A dining area in the basement will host handcrafted wooden tables that will compliment the beautiful driftwood paneling.

Located in the heart of one of the capital’s most iconic destinations, Native will allow Londoners to be able to experience the wonder of wild food, rare breeds and game meat presented in a wholly unique way and at a reasonable price.

3 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP | www.eatnative.co.uk | @eatnativeuk | hello@eatnative.co.uk

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FOOD NEWS: LE BAB TO LAUNCH IN KINGLY COURT

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This month, Le Bab is set to revive and redefine the kebab with a new restaurant opening in Soho’s Kingly Court. Headed by a kitchen team previously at Le Gavroche, Le Bab aims to drive a ‘kebab renaissance’ in London, reinvigorating kebabs with provenance, seasonality and technique. The setting will be a stark departure from traditional kebab houses: modern, relaxed and casual, with a novel cocktail list, curated fine and rare wines and craft beer.

The highly seasonal menu will offer a small selection of individual and sharing kebabs, and a limited, eclectic range of starters, sides and desserts. The winter menu showcases four kebabs including a Roe Deer Shish, with damson and isot pepper jam, cavolo nero kimchi, artichoke crisps and game mayo, a Free Range Chicken Shawarma with turban squash hummus, chicken crackling, winter pickles, Le Bab toum and biber chilli, and the BBQ Paneer Kebab, a heavy hitting vegetarian option, with beetroot and coconut puree, crispy onions, rainbow chard stems and curry mayo. Sharing kebabs for the table include a Rare Breed Pig’s Head and its crackling, with kohlrabi and carrot slaw, red onion and pomegranate molasses.

Co-founders Stephen Tozer and Ed Brunet have brought on board two chefs previously at Le Gavroche (where Ed himself spent time learning the culinary tricks); former sous chef Manuel Canales Garces and former chef de partie Angus Bell. Manu will lead the kitchen, bringing years of elite culinary experience and innovative ideas, along with a superior knowledge of ingredients. Manu will be using wild and free-range meats and seasonal vegetables sourced predominantly from the UK. The only ingredients to be transported from warmer climes will be the spices.

Le Bab will be serving an exclusive range of cocktails including the Ottoman Bandito, a heady mix of agave blanco tequila, dry vermouth, cardamom, pomegranate juice, orgeat and burnt fresh rosemary, Roman Holiday, a soothing synthesis of Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Ed’s homemade elderflower cordial, Lillet rose, and fresh mint, and, last but not least, the reinvention of a fashionable classic, the Le Bab Old-Fashioned, containing a blend of Rye whiskey, carob syrup, and house aromatic bitters.

Providing an irreverent accompaniment to their kebabs, Ed and Stephen have curated a rare and fine wine list. Bottles range from Czech natural wines to top French crus, with value a key priority throughout – a limited range of fine French wines will be available at exceptionally low prices. There will also be a selection of craft beers from The London Beer Factory available.

Le Bab is situated on the second floor of Kingly Court, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded courtyard, in one of London’s most popular, destination restaurant hubs.

www.eatlebab.com

Open 7 days a week, from 12:00pm – 3:30pm and 6:00pm-12:00am

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BOOK NOW: A night at The Tick Tack Club

When we say we love Peaky Blinders (the addictive tv series set in gangster Birmingham circa 1920’s starring the also addictive Cillian Murphy) we mean we really love it. So we were a little bit thrilled that there’s now a place to let all our Peaky Blinders dreams come true.

That place is called The Tick Tack Club and well, it’s somewhere in London Bridge. We’re not sure exactly where but we’ve been told it’s located under a railway arch, in a shop moonlighting as Kimber’s wallpaper emporium. Obviously.

You can choose your journey: start upstairs in the Art Deco inspired room of The Tick Tack Club and experience a sophisticated night of decadent five course dining with cocktails, live jazz and dancing. Dress in appropriate evening attire and mingle with Bright Young Things. When the mood takes you, descend into the dark gambling den located behind a hidden door in the wallpaper emporium: the heart of The Elephant Boys’ operation. An illicit world of backstreet bookmaking, beer, wine and women, you may join a raucous sing-a-long at the piano, tuck into some traditional pie and mash, or even persuade Billy to give you some cash to make bets on the gee-gees. Every night will be different. Your paths may cross with the chilling prophetess Esme, who will tell your fortune in a hidden room if you line her palm with silver, or you may even be ‘stood up’ to be part of the gang. Only time will tell.

The Tick Tack Club launches on January 29th on every Friday and Saturday from 7pm to 2am, until Derby day on June 4th 2016.

What to Wear: 

Guests are highly encouraged to dress appropriately for the occasion in 1920s cocktail wear or underworld but there is also a dressing up box on request.

When to Arrive: 

Diners arrive 7pm, non-diners from 8pm. Returning customers and those who have been “stood up” to be part of the gang can join later on to see the night out.

Tickets:

Dinner £45
A set menu of 5 courses in the Club Room. Vegetarian options are available.

Entrance £15
Arrive from 8pm, and traditional public house menu available in the gambling den.

All bookings should be made via A Place In Time website: http://aplaceintime.co.uk/1921/book.php

Where:

Its secret location will be revealed upon ticket purchase.

www.aplaceintime.co.uk | twitter: @A_Place_In_Time | facebook: APITLondon

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NOW OPEN: Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Covent Garden

The story goes that good old Mr Phileas Fogg was travelling around the world in 80 days when his beloved Aunt Gertrude passed away, leaving him the sole beneficiary of her estate, including a delightful pied-a-terre in Covent Garden. Mr Fogg honoured his Aunt’s wish and permitted long-time housekeeper Fanny McGee to create a tavern for her friends and theatrical acquaintances downstairs, whilst keeping the upstairs salon as a much needed refuge for himself and friends.

And so to the present day, which sees Mr Fogg’s Tavern open on St Martin’s Lane. Set over two floors, Mr Fogg’s Tavern has an ‘upstairs downstairs’ theme with a Victorian Tavern on the ground floor and a refined Gin Parlour and Salon upstairs.

The downstairs space features a warm wooden interior with nineteenth century artefacts adorning the walls and hanging from the ceiling, a focal point being a large aviary filled with plants, stuffed birds and other oddities. Staff in traditional overalls will serve up real ales, batch brews, ‘mother’s ruin’ gin cocktails and grog in traditional tankards and pewter cups. Weary travellers will be able to tuck into honest fare served throughout the day and evening including, in Auguste Escoffier’s opinion, ‘The Best Pie in London Town’ served with traditional liquor, alongside roast game, fowl and beast. There is an array of salted, smoked and preserved meats as well as freshly caught sea dishes and local vegetables, sourced daily from the market or foraged from the wild.

With a separate entrance for ladies and gentleman to enter discreetly, the upstairs Gin Parlour and Salon is just as the lauded actress left it, with a large cabinet displaying her antique theatrical props, wigs and old scripts. The Salon features Aunt Gertrude’s ornate glass chandeliers, damask curtains and bijoux objects. To make himself feel more at home, Mr Fogg has added some of his souvenirs from around the globe, with stuffed animals, annotated maps and worldly treasures.

Mr Fogg’s immaculately turned out staff will greet visitors on arrival with a refined section of gin, tonics and botanicals lining every inch of wall space in the Gin Parlour. Moving into the Salon, they will then be served punch, the Victorian tipple of choice, in authentic silver punch bowls, alongside an array of cocktails inspired by the nineteenth century. ‘Tipsy Tea’ will be served at the weekends, where guests will enjoy a delicate array of dainty sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petits-fours with cocktails beautifully presented in teapots.

We think we’ve spotted a chaise longue with our name on it, shall we meet you in the salon?

58 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4EA

www.mr-foggs.com | Twitter: foggstavern | Instagram: @foggstavern

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RESTAURANT NEWS: Drake & Morgan, King’s Cross

Slowly building their empire, Drake & Morgan have unveiled their ninth site in Pancras Square, King’s Cross. The all-day dining destination simply named Drake & Morgan is to be the group’s flagship and is their largest one yet. Spread across two immaculately designed floors, the venue includes two bars and a restaurant, deli and lounge, private dining room as well as a number of kitchen ‘pods’ to make you truly feel like you’re socialising with friends around the kitchen table. There’s also an outdoor terrace should the weather play fair.

Drake & Morgan is open seven days a week for breakfast through to dinner and Sunday brunch. The bar features a sublime cocktail list created by Alex Daulby (Hops & Jigger) as well as an extended wine list, extensive range of craft beer and artisan coffee to-go. Food is overseen by newly-appointed head chef Dave Green (Dean Street Townhouse) under the direction of group executive chef Robert Mitchell and will be divided into meat, fish, vegetables ‘off the grill’ together with a dedicated deli section offering charcuterie and cheese.

Drake & Morgan promises to not only be an everyday escape for those working in the area, but also a destination bar perfect for entertaining. The group have stepped up their game with this opening (just check out the photos below for the proof), it should only be a matter of time before you pay them a visit.

6 Pancras Square | N1C 4AG

Website here

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