FOOD NEWS: No.1 Duke Street, Richmond

We have to admit, we have more than a soft spot for Richmond. Being so close to London and yet feeling so far, it’s a fantastic place to go for a day to escape the city. Not that we need an excuse to go, but when we heard of new all day restaurant and bar No. 1 Duke Street opening near Richmond’s leafy Green we got very excited.

From the group behind No.32 Old Town Clapham and No.11 Pimlico Road (two firm favourites of ours for cocktails and brunch respectively), No.1 Duke Street is a place away from home that locals and visitors to the area can enjoy any time of day, for any occasion.

The menu promises glorious yet great value food, with seasonally changing ingredients – think lamb and apricots in springtime; beef and blackberries in winter. There’ll also be non-meat options available, catering for vegetarians from start to finish. Small dishes and sharing plates will encourage No.1’s idea of social dining (highlights including the spiced crab & avocado crostini and pork & fennel meatballs) and plenty of drinks options from excellent craft beers to cocktails (the Pear & Ginger Toddy and Hot Peanut Butter Rum sounding particular heavenly during the winter months) will be sure to quench every customer’s thirst.

There’ll also be a few nice touches along the way. For locals, a loyalty card giving 10% discount off food Monday – Friday lunchtime and for those with rugby match day tickets, a free beer will be given per ticket. Set across two spacious floors, No.1 Duke Street houses a private dining room, an intimate courtyard, games room and an open kitchen, meaning whatever your reason for visiting Richmond – be it for good food, fun, meetings or celebrations – No.1 has got your back covered.

No.1 Duke Street, TW9 1HP | www.no1dukestreet.com

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FOOD NEWS: Christmas Classics with Paul A Young

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Christmas flavours are getting a chocolate makeover thanks to renowned chocolatier Paul A Young.

The likes of Snowball Cocktail, Orange Cream, Whisky Cream and Cherry Kirsch are all being reworked as incredible handmade chocolates created, of course, with only the highest quality ingredients.

The filled chocolate collection can be available as individual chocolates and up to a 42-piece box (we know which we’d prefer…) and includes: Glen Moray whisky cream caramel; Cherry & Kirsch caramel; Snowball Cocktail; Cranberry, Sage & Cinnamon; Tawny Port, Stilton & water biscuit; Gingerbread molasses; Nutmeg, milk & honey; Peppermint crunch; and Cinnamon milk chocolate truffle.

For those with incredible willpower (read: definitely not us), choose from Paul A Young’s decadent chocolate decorations. Deck the tree with some Popcorn Baubles (available in 70% dark, caramelized milk or white chocolate with popcorn inclusions and filled with chocolate pearls), put the finishing touches on the table with their new Snowflake Christmas Tree or fill the stockings with one of Paul’s new festive flavoured chocolate bars – we rather like the sound of the Chocolate Cranberry Crumble (caramelized milk chocolate with dried cranberry and cookie crumb with a hint of cinnamon).

Whatever flavours you’re into at Christmas, it’s guaranteed that Paul A Young will have something to suit. Buy online at www.paulayoung.co.uk or visit one of Paul’s three shops for some pure chocolate indulgence.

Got you craving the cocoa? Us too.

Follow Paul on twitter | instagram | facebook

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FOOD NEWS: Bourne & Hollingsworth Present B&H Banquets

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Starting this Thursday (19th November) are the B&H Banquets, a series of specialist, interactive suppers, hosted by Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings. There will be three themed evenings which shall serve as a preview of the hotly anticipated B&H Kitchen, a new cookery school above the restaurant, which is due to launch in January 2016.

Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of the Greenhouse at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, the three suppers will cover the following:

  • Gratifying Game- Thursday 19th November
  • B&H Thanksgiving Banquet- Thursday 26th November
  • Festive Fish Feast- Tuesday 1st December

Bourne & Hollingsworth Group’s new Executive Chef, Adam Gray, will conduct demonstrations on a bespoke gas-fired cooking trolley before the meal commences. Gray will also be on hand throughout the evening to answer any questions that guests may have.

Each feast will consist of four courses with each course being paired, in true B&H style, with a cocktail or glass of wine. The B&H bar team will also be close by to interact with guests at the dinner table and talk diners through the different tasting notes.

Tickets are priced at £70, which includes 4 courses with a cocktail or a glass of wine paired with each course. Ticket are available here.

B&H Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HU | bandhbuildings.com

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BOOK NOW: The Quintessentially Wine & Gentleman’s Atelier

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This November plays host to the first ever Quintessentially Wine & Gentleman’s Atelier, the ultimate boys night out, at the prestigious Skinners’ Hall, London. An evening of indulging in the finest wines and London’s best street food, together with a showcase of luxury brands across fashion, grooming, tech and motors.

Guests will be treated to a tasting of the wines from world renowned suppliers including, Penfolds, Louis Roederer, Jaboulet, La Lagune and Banfi, accompanied by London’s best street food by Burger Bear, Chicken ‘n’ Sours and Prawnography.

The Atelier will also showcase luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Tod’s bespoke shoe service and Savile Row’s Scabal. Petrol heads can discover Ducati, plus a series of classic cars from Samuel Lawrence. Other boys toys include a crystal football table from Lux Deco, retro jukeboxes from The Games Room Company and Sautter Cigars, who will be offering tastings and tutorials.

Tickets for this exclusive event can be purchased for £150, which includes all food, drink and entertainment. To purchase please visit: quintessentiallyatelier.com

Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th | Skinners’ Hall, London, EC4R 2SP

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BEAUTY NEWS: Duck & Dry to launch exclusive Events Lounge

The LDN Social - Duck & Dry

Duck & Dry, London’s Boutique Updo and Blow Dry Bar on the King’s Road, is set to unveil a dedicated Events Lounge in time for the festive season.

The brand new Lounge will be available for exclusive hire to those looking to bring something a bit different to their event. The lovely ladies at Duck & Dry know a thing or two about entertaining and have catered to the needs of corporate blow dry breakfasts, ladies luncheons, book launches and fashion workshops as well as birthdays and bachelorette parties!

The Lounge will echo the much talked about bespoke interiors of the flagship store but with a more luxurious feel and deeper hues of the brand’s signature colour palette of duck egg blue and dusky pink and will boast a beautiful bar and comfortable seating with dedicated styling stations.

A visit to Duck & Dry is the only way to kick start the night so whatever you’re planning, give these ladies a thought – we guarantee you’ll leave feeling a million bucks.

Duck & Dry Events Lounge can be hired on an hourly basis from £45 per person. Open 7 days a week 7.30 am – 7.30pm. Additional services such as nails, make up and catering are available on request. To book, email events@duckanddry.com.

335-337 King’s Road, SW3 5ES | 020 3489 9370 | www.duckanddry.com

The LDN Social Duck & Dry Events Lounge

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FOOD NEWS: #ChristMASHbegins at MASH

This Sunday (15th November) at 6pm, Regent Street will be turning on their Christmas lights (yep, Christmas really is coming folks – brace yourselves!) and as a bit of a treat, the lovely guys at MASH want to give you a good ol’ dinner deal after you’ve enjoyed the festivities – all you need do is hashtag!

That’s right, you heard, a simple hashtag is all it’s going to take for you to get 50% off your steak! Simply tag them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ChristMASHbegins, show your post when you arrive and they’ll take care of the rest.

The offer is available to both pre-booked and walk-in guests during dinner service on Sunday (excluding wagyu beef). So enjoy the lights and afterwards retreat to the luxurious comfort and warmth of MASH for a half-price steak and glass of red.

Perfect Sunday don’t you think? Make sure you don’t miss out – it would be a really huge mis-steak!

– Sorry.

77 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN | www.mashsteak.co.uk | t: @mashsteaklondon | i: @mashsteak | 020 7734 2608

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COMING SOON: Kanada-Ya announces launch for second site

Japanese ramen restaurant Kanada-Ya is set to launch its second site on Monday, 30th November at 3 Panton Street in Soho. The opening will be preceded by a Soft Launch period from Thursday, 26th November till Sunday, 29th November which will offer diners 50% off the food bill if they sign up to the soft launch mailer on Kanada-Ya’s website (which you can do here).

The new site will offer the same selection of ramen alongside some new additions such as chicken karaage and korokke. There will also be an extended drinks menu with the introduction of bottled cocktails, Japanese craft beer, rare Japanese Whiskeys and a wider wine selection.

The restaurant – which will be open for lunch and dinner – will be sleeker in its interior design approach and will seat up to 56 covers over 2 floors (ground and basement) with two bookable tables for larger groups of 6. And for the very first time, you’ll be able to make bookings for these through a dedicated WhatsApp profile.

With the winter chill fast approaching, we can’t think of anything better than slurping some warming bowls of ramen, can you?

www.kanada-ya.com | 3 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL | twitter: @KanadaYa_LDN | instagram: @Kanada_Ya_LDN

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FOOD NEWS: Build your own Sundae at Ma’ Plucker

The 11th November marks National Sundae Day (we know – is there anything that hasn’t been given a National Day?!) and to celebrate this all-American dessert, Soho’s Ma’ Plucker will be launching their build-your-own Sundae Bar.

Ruler of the roost Sexy Sylvia is inviting guests to create their perfect Sundaes on Sunday, err’ Sunday. Guests will be provided with Sundae glasses, vanilla ice cream, cream, and a selection of suitably sweet sundae toppings and delightful decorations, including; mini marshmallows, popcorn, jelly beans, Oreos and of course some sexy Sundae sauce to drizzle all over.

For those that create the most picture perfect of puddings and post proof on Instagram (@MaPlucker) with the hashtags #SylviasSundaeSunday there will even be the chance to win a mystery prize. And for those less of the creative persuasion fear not, there’s also going to be two of Sexy Sylvia’s signature Sundaes available to order from the main menu. These will include Ma’s ‘Sweet ‘n’ Salty Sundae’, and the ‘Cornflake and Caramel Sundae’.

Sundays just got saucy and we like it.

75 Beak Street, W1F 9SS | www.maplucker.com | Twitter : @maplucker

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BAR REVIEW: The Bar at Boundary, Shoreditch

One of the great simple pleasures in life is a Martini. Even the mighty James Bond wouldn’t dispute that. Since hearing him utter those magic words “shaken, not stirred”, the humble Martini caught our attention. And now, with the 007 season in full swing, it would be rude not to have a few in his honour and there’s no better place than at Boundary, where the house special is an exceptionally stiff Martini.

Boundary is split into the three R’s: rooftop, restaurant and rooms. We made our way downstairs to the restaurant. The room is shrouded with an air of class and elegance, and beautifully decorated with a sophisticated bar. Whilst it’s a little on the small side, it proves to be an intimate, charming setting which makes you feel as though you could be in a scene from Casino Royale. The perfect setting for a Martini or two, no?

What we’ll say right now is that Sandra, our wonderfully talented bartender, sure knows how to make an absolute killer Martini. We went for a round of classic dirty gin Martinis to start which, hands down, were some of the best we’d ever had. We don’t know what she did to it but boy, they were good. These went down in a flash, paired wonderfully with some smoked salty almonds. So good they were in fact that we were tempted to order another round but we’re told in no un-certain terms this was both silly and boring. Pfft. And so we left our fate with the knowledgeable bar staff, who came up with some rather crowd-pleasing concoctions. The Ward Eight (Woodford Reserve, Lemon, Orange, Grenadine, Maraschino) might just have been one of the best cocktails we’ve ever tasted – both dry and sweet and beautifully presented – and the Paloma, a grapefruit Margarita of sorts. Delicious.

The cocktail menu is superb and really interesting too, split between Martinis and Classics. We’d highly recommend this place for both a pre and post dinner cocktail so what are you waiting for? Whether you’re a Martini lover or not, Boundary is guaranteed to quench your thirst with their creations. We’ll definitely be back for more.

2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD | www.theboundary.co.uk

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COMING SOON: The Lighterman in Granary Square, King’s Cross

Set to open early 2016 is The Lighterman – a new pub, dining room and bar in Granary Square, King’s Cross. Spanning the entire eastern side of the square, the brand new standalone building designed by Stanton Williams will offer all-day drinking and dining across three floors, with outside seating overlooking both Regent’s Canal and Granary Square.

Each floor will feature a series of dining and drinking areas, covering casual drinks through to destination dining. Interiors will be industrial and minimalist with large open spaces, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, exposed concrete walls and a neutral pared-back colour scheme.

The modern British all-day menu will be overseen by Executive Chef Diego Cardoso, who joined Open House in 2014 to launch their first restaurant and bar, Percy & Founders, in spring 2015. The extensive drinks menu will include draught & bottled beers, craft ales and seasonal cocktails, together with a well-curated and affordable wine list.

The Lighterman will feature a canal-side bar with an alfresco terrace, a top floor with panoramic views across the square and canal, a wood-fired grill and a pizza oven. The ground floor will serve everything from breakfast through to dinner in a more formal dining experience meaning it will be perfect for long lunches, dinners and private events.

3 Granary Square N1C 4BH | www.thelighterman.co.uk@TheLightermanKX

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BOOK NOW: Quintessentially Weddings Presents The Winter Atelier at Claridge’s

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Quintessentially Weddings has announced the return of its luxurious wedding showcase, the Atelier, running from the 6th –  8th of November 2015. Hosted for the first time at the iconic Claridge’s Hotel, the Atelier will transform the venue into the glitz and glamour of the 1920’s, curated by Quintessentially Weddings’ world famous wedding planners, complete with the finest luxury brands and artisans.

The showcase will offer brides and grooms the chance to step inside the stunning wedding destination for exclusive access to Quintessentially Weddings’ little black book of couture contacts. Guests will receive elite expert advice with access to a hand picked selection of designers, florists, gastronomes and photographers, as well as experiencing a unique bridal catwalk show. A selection of the brands showcasing include lingerie designer La Perla, Chanel Beauty and Parisian sweet maker Laduree, Laurent Perrier, Vivienne Westwood and Mr and Mrs Smith.

Combining the finest craftsmanship with impeccable taste, the Atelier creates the ultimate wedding emporium for distinguished brides and grooms, in order to help them curate their very own fairy-tale wedding with some 1920’s style razzle-dazzle.

Tickets for the Quintessentially Wedding Atelier are available for £35 per person. To complete the magical day, Claridge’s is also offering a tasting of its delightful Afternoon Tea, available through appointments at an additional price of only £30 per person.

For further info visit: www.quintessentiallyweddings.com/atelier

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DRINK NEWS: The Gunpowder Plot explodes into Alcoholic Architecture

Those imaginaries at Bompas & Parr’s very own walk-in cloud bar Alcoholic Architecture have been at it again.

For Guy Fawkes Night and the subsequent weekend they’ll be serving the Gunpowder Plot, a drink garnished with an explosion. Of course – what else?

The bar team has collaborated with special effects technicians and magicians to develop the smokey and unctuous cocktail. The aromatic explosion that finishes the drink is created through the same pyrotechnic powders that are used for epic stage shows where you can feel the heat at the back of the auditorium. The pyrotechnics further serve to unleash a fierce concoction of spices that delight the nose of the experienced alcoholist as the flames bind together all the flavours in the glass.

Aneila Prier, acting bar manager, commented: ‘I singed my eyebrows in the early testing of the cocktail but it was worth it for the flaming and apocalyptic spectacle visitors to the bar will be able to consume. If only Guy Fawkes had been as successful..!’

So, pyrotechnic cocktail lovers – what on earth are you waiting for?

Tickets for Alcoholic Architecture are exclusively available through www.billetto.com.

Time slots are priced at £12.50 peak (Thursday post 5pm, Friday post 4pm and Saturday ending at 10pm)

Find Alcoholic Architecture at One Cathedral Street, Borough Market, SE1 9DE

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FOOD REVIEW: Free Flowing Thursdays at The Exhibit, Balham

The Exhibit in Balham is something of an all-round creative hub. It has a jam-packed social calendar filled with everything from art events, fitness classes, quiz nights to film which means that you can plan your week around it. In fact, you can spend your entire week there if you so choose, but chances are you’re bound to get a little hungry and thirsty. Rather handily, this is where their all-day restaurant and bar come in just nicely (yep, it’s got those too) and their newly launched Free Flow Suppers.

Exclusively for Thursdays – the most sociable (and thirstiest, apparently) night of the week – from 6pm till midnight, The Exhibit’s first-floor restaurant will serve bottomless bubbles for an hour-and-a-half from when you order your food (a minimum of two tapas dishes per person) for a bargainous £20 a head. Who can possibly say no to that?

And with that, we got tucked in. The menu is a delicious array of tapas alongside a few main dishes and a little something sweet. We could have practically ordered every tapas dish going they all sounded that good, but went for the recommended four tapas each (and then one extra for good luck). Our final choices included the pan fried padron peppers, patatas bravas with aioli, breadcrumbed goat’s cheese with slow stewed cherry tomatoes, fish tacos with an extra helping of smoked salmon, tempura squid, macaroni cheese with truffled mushrooms, jamon croquetas and finally, the deep fried braised pork in a potato ball (because the waiter practically ordered us to have it). It would be impossible – and totally unfair – to pick a favourite when all were so outstandingly more-ish so we’ll just say all come highly recommended and you won’t go wrong with any. We greedily finished with a cracking rhubarb crumble complete with heart-warming ginger custard and a chocolate mousse we wished wouldn’t end.

Oh and yes, one more glass of bubbles for the road. Because if you’re going to free flowing Thursdays at The Exhibit you need to do it right after all.

12 Balham Station Road, SW12 9SG | www.theexhibit.co.uk

Twitter: @theexhibit

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BOOK NOW: Diwali at Kricket, POP Brixton

On Wednesday 11th November, new kids on the block Kricket at POP Brixton will be celebrating Diwali, the ancient Hindu Festival of Light, with a special three course dinner.

Chef Will Bowlby has designed a menu showcasing his Indian cooking practice using British ingredients, with the centerpiece being the Goat Raan, an Indian delicacy saved for special occasions. The three course meal will also include a Masala Chai welcome cocktail and a selection of Kricket’s infamous Indian street food such as Bhel Puri with raw mango, sev, yogurt, and Samphire Pakoras with wild garlic mayonnaise, date and tamarind chutney. For sweets, try the delicious Gulab Jamum with carom seed crumble and clotted cream.

That’s not all for the evening as British-born artist Rupert Newman has designed a bespoke projection, transforming the event space at POP Brixton with abstract colour and light to applaud the biggest and brightest festival of the year.

Tickets cost £35 for 3 courses and a welcome cocktail. To purchase, click here.

POP Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ

www.kricket.co.uk | Twitter/Instagram: @KricketBrixton

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FOOD REVIEW: Chez Antoinette, Covent Garden

The LDN Social Chez Antoinette - Picture 1

Covent Garden is always a favourite destination of ours in London, and with the discovery of French eatery Chez Antoinetteit doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. Nestled in the lower levels of the market, this quaint little space aims to give customers a truly authentic French experience serving up a range of Lyon-style tartines (a fancy French open-faced sandwich if you will), soups, salads, pastries and cakes, all in the heart of the city.

The interiors are designed to feel like your grandmother’s living room, cosy and inviting, with a view into the open-plan kitchen allowing you to see all the food being prepared from scratch using only the best quality produce sourced from local suppliers. We started with a sharing plate of saucisson, duck pate, bread and pickles which we demolished almost as soon as it was placed on our table. This was followed by the soupe du jour, a rich and creamy mushroom soup topped with hazelnuts, a delicious winter warmer. We then moved on to the main event, the tartines, and we’re ashamed to say we practically ate every variation on the menu – yes, they were that good. Ranging from the traditional croque monsieur (a personal favourite which owner Aurelia explained took 2 months to perfect the recipe) to the goats cheese, acacia honey and blueberries, we were overwhelmed by the quality of food on offer at this petite French tartinerie. At this stage we felt we’d eaten enough food for most of Covent Garden, but felt it would be rude to decline Aurelia’s offer of pudding, so settled for a trio of lemon tart, gluten-free chocolate cake and apple crumble which was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

Whether you want a coffee and croissant, a quick lunch or a romantic date night, Chez Antoinette ticks all the boxes with reasonably priced food and wine. Next time you’re passing through Covent Garden, make sure you pop in.

30 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8RE | www.chezantoinette.co.uk

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NOW OPEN: Sexy Fish, Mayfair

You might have heard a thing or two about the latest from Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings as Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square is making quite the splash. Now open in the heart of Mayfair, the Asian fish and seafood restaurant has everyone putting on their glad rags and is even giving the great Chiltern Firehouse a run for its money, challenging its title of ‘hottest spot in town’.

The kitchen is run by chef Ben Orpwood (Zuma, Japanese izakaya, Daniel San) with the menu being split into robata grilled fish, a raw bar, sharing platters, market fish over charcoal and caviar. The restaurant itself has been designed by Martin Brudnizki and features work by famous artists including Frank Gehry (think installations of shimmering fish hanging above the bar and a giant crocodile crawling across the wall) and Damien Hirst. There’s also a huge ceiling mural from highly respected fashion figure Michael Roberts, Style Editor-at-Large of Vanity Fair.

The restaurant is huge, seating 190 and the ‘Coral Reef Room’ private dining area which seats 48 comes complete with its own huge coral reef tank.

We know it should all be about the food, but we kinda want to make a reservation just to have a tour of the place – who’s with us?

www.sexyfish.com

1-4 Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR | For reservations call 020 3764 2000 | Twitter @sexyfishlondon

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FOOD REVIEW: Suvlaki, Soho

If you needed one more reason to visit Soho for dinner then Suvlaki is it. Recently opened at 21 Bateman Street, this Athenian Grill’s aim is to bring the best Greek souvlaki to the streets of London.

The first thing you’ll notice about the restaurant is its size: teeny in comparison to some of its neighbours but perfectly formed and strikingly designed. The team have managed to utilise the small space to its full potential and with that, have created something rather cosy and marvellous. It’s the type of place you’re going to knock knees or make a few friends on the table next to you so don’t be afraid – for one night only, you’re in Greece. Go with it!

The menu is split conveniently into Skewers, Wraps, Signature Dishes, Salads, Snacks and Sides, though that didn’t make our choosing any easier. When we finally came to order (with the help of a carafe of their Alpha Estate Malagouzia 2014 white wine) we were well and truly ravenous. Our starter of Pita Bread with Tzatziki came (thankfully) almost immediately, warm and ready to scoop up the dip. Next to arrive was the Baked Feta, the unanimous winner of the night (trust us – it’s not a maybe, it’s a must) – we loaded the warm, gooey feta onto the pita and rolled our eyes back with utter content. From the skewers list we ordered the Wild Boar Sausage, Pork with lemon glaze and Vegetarian – all delicious, but we have to hand it to the veggie option, it held its own quite nicely. Our final meat dish was the much recommended Lamb Shoulder Suvlaki from the signature dishes: 200g of tender lamb just ready to be pulled off the skewer. Teamed with a side of Greek salad, it topped off a sublime meal.

Whilst it’s likely you’ll be stuffed by the time the question of desserts crops up, don’t think about missing out on the Chocolate Biscuit Cake with homemade Greek coffee ice cream, this would definitely be a crime – seriously, we decided to share and instantly regretted our foolish decision. Pair with the Samos Nectar (2009) dessert wine and we guarantee you’ll leave with nothing but fond memories of Suvlaki.

21 Bateman Street, W1D 3AL | www.suvlaki.co.uk

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BOOK NOW: The House of Veuve Cliquot’s Widow Series

Since when did Halloween become all about cat ears, masquerade balls and bad fancy dress? Just once, we want not to be a walking Halloween cliché. Thankfully The House of Veuve Cliquot have just the answer. The legendary House have created a new annual event which will pay homage to Madame Clicquot, the woman responsible for taking her late husband’s champagne business and turning it into what it is today.

The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series is a one-night only immersive experience that aims to add a touch of glamour and cool back into Halloween. The evening will be held in the former home of Central Saint Martins ‘The College’ on Thursday 29th October.

This year’s partnership is with legendary photographer Nick Knight who will bring back the creative spirit of The College. What to expect? Haunting fashion films specially commissioned by Knight’s ground-breaking SHOWstudio, a series of curated room by the likes of taxidermist Rose Robson, Lady Amanda Harlech and fashion designer Gareth Pugh. There’ll be music from Josh Quinton (Disco Smack) and Charles Jeffrey (LOVERBOY night club) and a drinks list curated by Veuve Cliquot, of course.

Tickets are on sale for the evening here – giving you entry and a Veuve Cliquot Tasting Experience.

Hurry, tickets are selling out FAST and this is one Halloween spectacle you don’t want to miss. We’re already planning our outfits and there’s not a touch of ghoul, ghost, cat or mouse in sight.

www.veuveclicquotwidowseries.co.uk

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FOOD REVIEW: Royal China Fulham

The Royal China group of restaurants are a bit of an institution. They’re where you go if you’re looking for traditional Hong Kong Chinese dishes in London and like us, want to avoid the crowds of Chinatown at all costs.

We went along to The Royal China in Fulham, situated along the Fulham Road just a short walk from Parsons Green tube station. It’s the smallest of the group but as expected, impeccably decorated with striking gold and black features and the group’s signature Chinese mural taking centre stage covering the wall.

We poured ourselves over the never-ending menu – page after page of mouth-watering choices. We opted for the House Dinner Menu for two, a selection of all the best dishes from starter to dessert. We began with the Chef’s Imperial House Hors D’oeuvres – a filling array of the signature starters including sesame prawn toast, spicy smoked shredded chicken, Vietnamese pancake rolls, sweet Mandarin pork chops and crispy seaweed. The only thing missing from the platter was their deep-fried baby squid with spicy salt – so naturally we just had to order these too. Our next course was undoubtedly the one we were most looking forward to: the Crispy Aromatic Duck served with pancakes and all the trimmings was as good as we’d hoped and we made sure not even a shred of cucumber was left. Next to arrive were a duo of sautéed dishes: the classic beef with chilli and black bean sauce and the prawns marinated in a delicious red chilli sauce ‘Szechuan style’. Accompanying the mains were sides of stir-fried mixed vegetables to add a touch of green and steamed rice, which we opted for instead of the fried rice (in our attempt to be… healthy).

We finished with a scoop of green tea ice cream to satisfy our sweet tooth and sipped our respective teas of Oolong and Jasmine, feeling fully satisfied but without the heavy feeling you can often get after a Chinese meal. Throughout the night, the restaurant was buzzy and filled with families, friends and locals – something we never tire of seeing in good neighbourhood restaurants.  With good food and attentive staff there’s not much more you can ask for – so when you’re next looking for that traditional Chinese dinner, think Royal China and you won’t go far wrong.

You can find the other Royal China Group restaurants in Queensway, Baker Street, Canary Riverside and Harrow.

Visit www.royalchinagroup.co.uk

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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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FOOD REVIEW: Aladino’s, High Street Kensington

You could be forgiven for not knowing much, if anything, about Alexandrian cuisine after all, it’s not exactly common here in London, but after reading this, you won’t be forgiven for not trying it. The food of Egypt’s second largest city draws on its cosmopolitan background with traditional Egyptian dishes heavily influenced by Lebanese, Turkish and Greek tastes and spices. And the place to try such food is at Aladino’s, a fine dining neighbourhood restaurant in High Street Kensington. It’s an elegant affair without the stuffiness. Staff are polite and attentive whilst restaurateur Aladin himself is a warm, friendly chap that will have you sampling the entire bar if you’d let him persuade you.

We began with some pre-starter nibbles: a delicious trio of hummus, smokey baba ganoush and flatbreads we practically filled up on because we couldn’t resist how good they were. For starters we ordered the succulent King prawns in a light, crispy coating and the goat’s cheese and beetroot ravioli which hands down was one of the tastiest dishes we’d had in a long time. Our mains of sea trout with spiced beure blanc, brown shrimp, sea purslane and slow-roasted tender shank of lamb which just melted off the bone were just as much crowd-pleasers as their predecessors. Desserts were probably not necessary if our full stomachs were anything to go by, but certainly couldn’t be missed. The 70% Valrhona chocolate delice with summer berry compote and pistachio crisp was an indulgent delight whilst the mango parfait with tangerine coulis, creme chantilly and meringue was surprisingly light and just the perfect amount of sweet. We finished off the simply wonderful meal with a deliciously drinkable glass of German Riesling, converting us fully to dessert wine drinkers.

Aladino’s is a place not only for the locals, but also for those that want to feel like a local. We were made to feel part of the family at Aladino’s and couldn’t find one thing to fault, it truly was an exquisite meal from start to finish – we can’t recommend you visit Aladino’s enough and get better acquainted with Alexandrian cuisine.

www.aladinos.co.uk | 38C Kensington Church Street, W8 4BX

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LAST CHANCE: W London goes Dutch

To celebrate the recent opening of W Amsterdam, the W London has ‘gone Dutch’ with a themed takeover to celebrate the launch in style.

Head down to Leicester Square to find W London transformed into the canals of Amsterdam. There will be photo opportunities galore, with the iconic scenery of Amsterdam brought to life in the heart of Soho, complete with dutch bikes, Amsterdam themed Photo Booth, unique dutch cocktail and food platters. Oh and if you have a Dutch passport, you get your first drink free!

The takeover finishes on Friday 23rd October 2015. For up-to-date information on the takeover, follow W London on Twitter @WLondonHotel or visit www.wlondon.co.uk . For more information on W Amsterdam visit www.wamsterdam.com or follow @WAmsterdamHotel on Twitter and Instagram and hashtag #WXXX.
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COMING SOON: Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

There’s one event in the calendar that ALWAYS gets us excited for Christmas and that’s the return of London’s favourite festive destination, Skate at Somerset House.

With skating on the giant rink, gourmet treats from Fortnum & Mason, seasonal shopping stalls and warming winter drinks all on site, Skate offers the ultimate winter experience. There’s also your chance to experience the (quite literally) coolest club around at Club Nights on the ice, with acclaimed DJ’s playing a mixture of reggae, hip-hop, disco and house.

For those who prefer to stay off the ice head over to The Christmas Arcade with Fortnum & Mason, featuring all the best treats from one of London’s oldest and most loved department stores. Once you’ve got your Christmas shopping out of the way, finish off with delicious seasonal nibbles and a glass or two of warming mulled wine overlooking the rink.

So whether it’s an evening out with friends or colleagues, a family day out, or even a romantic date night (best give them a little nudge ladies…), Skate is the perfect destination to soak up the festive season in a truly beautiful setting.

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason returns from 18th November. Tickets start at £7.50 including skate hire. Get yours here: www.somersethouse.org.uk/skate

Sessions sell out quickly so you better get your skates on!*

*Sorry, we couldn’t resist.

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COMING SOON: German Gymnasium, King’s Cross

This November, the restaurant power-group that is D&D London is set to open a series of cafés, restaurants and bars at the German Gymnasium, the newly renovated former Grade II listed gymnasium in King’s Cross.

Designed by London-born architect Edward Gruning in 1865, this was the first purpose-built gym in England. Incredibly influential in the development of athletics in Britain, German Gymnasium hosted the first-ever indoor events of the 1866 Olympic Games and now, 150 years later, this historical establishment is to re-open with a brand new 447-cover complex comprising of a ground floor grand café, an outdoor terrace, a restaurant, bars and private dining spaces.

Interiors are designed by Conran and Partners, who will work with the building’s key original features to create a space that evokes the heritage of this London landmark. The décor will be a contemporary take on the grand cafes and brasseries of Central Europe and, influenced by the building’s original purpose, playful gymnasium details will also filter through the overall design.

Food will be overseen by German-born executive chef, Bjoern Wassmuth who will create broad-ranging grand café and brasserie menus featuring some classic Mittel-European dishes as a nod to the site’s German heritage. The dining areas will combine one of Kings Cross’ largest al fresco terraces, a patisserie counter, an all-day grand café serving breakfast through to dinner, a first-floor restaurant and the Meister Bar, playing Berlin beats until 1 a.m. There’ll also be a specially curated wine list from Head Sommelier Virgile Degrez showcasing niche German, Austrian and Hungarian labels as well as a selection of bottles from Eastern Europe. The bar will be managed by Fred Tartas who will be designing an innovative cocktail menu whilst the German Gymnasium as a whole will be looked after by General Manager Sam Bernard.

Without a doubt, the German Gymnasium is bound to be a spectacle not to be missed so stay tuned for news about the opening by visiting www.germangymnasium.com

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FEEL THE BURN: Core Collective, Holland Park

It’s been open less than 6 months and has already earned itself a cult following with the fitness devotees of West London. Core Collective, the boutique fitness studio in Holland Park, is the new breed of studio wanting to change how we workout.

There’s no sign up fees and no monthly contract, instead Core Collective encourages you to pay as you go – also giving you the option to buy classes in bulk to ultimately reduce the overall cost per session. The studio offers five classes in total: Velocity (high intensity, athletic interval training), Resistance (stamina meets strength in their TRX class), Accelerate (straight-up spin cycling), Power Yoga (to energise and revitalise) and Mat Pilates (combining classic pilates and ballet techniques). Each studio room hosts state of the art equipment and just the right level of lighting that will allow you to see every move your doing but not every droplet of sweat you will, without a doubt, be producing – amen to that.

Guaranteed to put you through your paces, your body will work out like never before at Core Collective. We can honestly say once you’ve had your first class you’ll be hooked. Dare we say, you might even love it as much as we did.

Join the #fitfam and register online now for an introductory offer – what have you got to lose?

45 Phillimore Walk, Holland Park, W8 7RZ | www.core-collective.co.uk

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FOOD REVIEW: L’eto Caffe, Brompton Road

The LDN Social L'eto caffe

We’ve often walked past L’eto in its various locations and stared longingly at their glazed fancies in the window but the saint on our shoulder always got the better of us. Little did we know then that they also serve up dinner and so, in an attempt to rectify the situation, we found ourselves making our way to the L’eto Brompton on Brompton Road – just a short stroll from both the V&A Museum and Harrods.

We begun with an impressive trio of bruschetta topped with avocado, mushrooms & tomatoes and the insanely delicious grilled sweet potato with sesame and teriyaki sauce. For mains we tucked into a fresh plate of crab spaghetti and the chicken teriyaki with ginger & oyster mushrooms, heavenly with each mouthful. Desserts came from the display – all sitting finely in the window just begging to be picked. We selected the strawberry tart – a tower of cream and fresh strawberries – and a soft hazelnut chocolate fancy that was pure indulgence worth every calorie.

A special mention should also be given to the extensive drinks menu. We began with an absolutely divine Apple & Elderflower Collins from the Cocktails List and a non-alcoholic Jasmine Lychee Ice Tea which we could have sipped all night long. We chose to finish our meals with pots of the Jasmine Tea and the Ginger, hand-prepared using fresh sticks of cinnamon, chunks of ginger, cloves and honey – so delicious we plan on recreating at home.

In keeping with the area, interiors are plush and decadent whilst still managing to be cosy with a homely feel. It’s safe to say we wholeheartedly fell for L’eto Brompton and we think you’ll rather like it too. It’s an ideal spot for either a sit-down meal or a quick piece of cake and tea – both we’d highly recommend.

L’eto have locations in Soho, Belgravia, Fulham, Mayfair, King’s Road and Brompton. For further details, visit www.letocaffe.co.uk.

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NOW OPEN: Il Cudega, London Fields

Now open in London Fields is Il Cudega, the new deli, wine bar and restaurant (or ‘eco-gastronomia’ if you’re more acquainted with Italian!) offering an array of Italian dishes and produce from the northernmost region of Lombardy.

Created by Italian-born Hackney resident Giovanni Brighi, his Milanese business partner Luca Gaggioli, and head chef Paolo Eslebani who joins the team from Brescia in Lombardy, Il Cudega promises to offer a truly authentic Italian culinary experience.

Il Cudega features a café for sit down meals and a deli for take away produce and freshly prepared meals to enjoy at home. There’s also a standalone Focaccia and Espresso bar for those who really want to live the Italian dream (and get a caffeine kick that will last them a lifetime).

Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week, this new pocket of Italy is guaranteed to make you want to hop on a plane to the real thing quicker than you can shout Bellissimo!

Arch 358 Westgate Street, E8 | Mon – Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat – Sun 9am – 6pm

Website: www.ilcudega.com

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BOOK NOW: Under the Sea Supper Club

They’ve catered for the likes of Jimmy Choo and David Cameron, and now Top Hat Catering is serving up dinner for their exclusive supper clubs  – and you’re invited.

Taking place on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd October, guests will enjoy a welcome drink on arrival followed by canapes of wild trout ceviche, crispy fish skin and cod brandade. The courses are set as follows:

 

1st – cucumber, rye and home smoked salmon with tartar

2nd – seared yellow fin tuna, daikon carpaccio on avocado, fried garlic and shallots with ponzu and frozen horseradish

3rd – wild sea bass, grilled and pureed celeriac, peas and caper sauce

4th – palette cleanser ‘Apple Oreo’

5th – Mum’s lemon drizzle cake, lemon yoghurt ice cream, passionfruit curd and vanilla crisp

 

BYOB rules apply, to book call 0207 924 3180. The supper club can seat up to 45 people, with 9 seats available at the Chef’s Table.

Prices: Dinner – £45 pp / Chef’s Table – £55 pp

Venue: Unit 1, Heliport Industrial Est, Lombard Road, Battersea, SW11 3SS

Website: www.tophatcatering.co.uk

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THIS WEEK: KERB is 3!

TheLDNsocial_Kerb

Street food specialists KERB are celebrating their third birthday this Friday and they’re taking it right back to where it all began – to West Handyside Canopy, the 120-year-old warehouse in King’s Cross.

The celebrations kick off at 6pm with the very best in street food being showcased. There’ll also be some never-seen-before trader KERBlaborations (including Claw X Oh My Dog! and Oli Baba X Born & Raised), plenty of beer, cocktails, DJs, photography and films from the KERB team. The party will be bringing back some of the original collective including Bleecker St. Burger and The Ribman as well as introducing some new kids making waves including Tongue ‘n Cheek, Kimchinary and Luardos, Capish? and Donostia Social Club.

It’s a chance for all to reminisce about everything that’s gone before, share in the great successes of KERB’s first three years and look forward to all that comes next in the ever-evolving world of London street food. You say party? We say see you there.

Entry to KERB is 3! is free. Friday 9th October, 6-11pm.

www.kerbfood.com

 

 

 

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