Food & Drink

The Benjamin Ichinose Collection

“It was perfection,” wrote the late Michael Broadbent MW. The legendary wine critic and author, not to mention the man who launched Christie’s wine auctions more than 50 years ago, was describing the equally-legendary private cellar of Dr. Benjamin Ichinose at his home in Hillsborough, California. The cellar was, he insisted, “Absolutely perfect in every sort of way.”

The Hollow Bottom

The Morgan raced on down the lane as the late October rain pelted the demure metal figure of British engineering. The storm had been battering my small enclave of the British Isles for some time. So much water had risen, I was beginning to forget a time before the flood.

Sexy Fish Mayfair Restaurant

Sexy Fish

Considering how prime its position on the square is, the exterior is rather understated. Though the interior decor is about as dramatic as anything I have ever seen. The floors are made of rare esmeralda onyx marble imported from Iran. There’s a large shoal of Frank Gehry fish lamps above the red stone bar that are guarded by some rather buxom bronze mermaids from Damien Hirst. Interior designer Martin Brudnizki has curated the interiors with Art Deco light fixtures, coral-coloured leather banquettes and a sizeable ceiling mural that covers the 190-seat restaurant.

Chef Profile: Michel Roux, Jr.

Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Junior, 51, is owner Le Gavroche in Mayfair. He also runs two of London’s other leading restaurants: Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at Langham Hotel. He is the son of Albert Roux and the nephew of Michel Roux – two of the world’s most celebrated chefs. Between service, he also finds time to present BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals. We sat down with Michel to discuss the evolution of food, his culinary pet hates, and his favourite London restaurant. You’re one of the world’s leading chefs – was it always meant to be? I always wanted to be a chef and I couldn’t imagine being anything…

Ten Trinity

When I dwelled in the soot-covered streets of central London, I didn’t really have much need to pay dues to a members’ club. London is hectic, in a way that makes even the most confident and athletic appear grey and lifeless over time. But that wasn’t me, babe. I was living out of a certain hotel on Brook Street circa 2007 and all was gin-soaked and well with the world. Except, quietly, it wasn’t, was it. BNP Paribas was quietly blocking withdrawals from two of its hedge funds. The Dow Jones peaked at 14,164.53 and then started to decline faster than Gordon Gekko’s prison sentence. Shortly after the US bailed its players out to the tune of $800 billion (that we know of), the European ripple was in…

Bowcliffe Hall & The Yorke Arms

As I continue to rack up the years like tree rings laced with gin and bittersweet symphonies, I am constantly reminded of the ever-increasing gap between the young and the no-so-young. This widening fissure between generations presents itself more often in the usage of phrases that my grandparents taught me when I was growing up. After all, the language we use in our formative years becomes our cultural lexicon. So, when I say to you that Jonathan Turner is ‘salt of the earth’, I expect those of you without the knowledge of the term to research it, whether you are scholarly or not. Established in 1919, in Leeds, by a…

The Globe & Rainbow, TN17

Goudhurst. I couldn’t even pronounce it properly, let alone find it on the map. But this is where Gemma, the other half, decided to bring us for my birthday. We’ve been scouting villages around London, making a shortlist of places that are charming enough to call home—you know, buy a house, get nestled, and eventually fire out some little ones. So this was as much a reconnaissance as a celebration. One of the great, incontrovertible truths about England is that, deep down, we’d all rather be in the countryside. If you don’t feel it now, you will. The English weren’t built for the city and its Faustian promises. We’re too…

La Patata

Occasionally, whilst reviewing a restaurant, you come across a story that adds a real insight into the passion behind a business. Then, once in a while, you find one which really touches your soul. Having dined at La Patata, a classical family restaurant in Lenzerheide, we were introduced to Giancomo. The restaurant was his brother’s love and life’s work. Unfortunately, five years earlier, he was killed in the valley, in an avalanche. Giancomo took the view that, because the restaurant was, as he says, ‘his brother’s life’, the building should go to the employees. It now stands as a fitting tribute, and his brother’s dream lives on. Being towards the…

Galvin La Chapelle

My visit to Galvin La Chapelle coincided with the first proper rainy day of the summer. My partner and I rejoiced at how wonderful it was—how we would soon see the restoration of the green and pleasant land of England—and celebrated by spending the day in bed watching the extended The Return of the King, whilst said partner, a historical architecture fanatic, remarked on the relative merits of fortifications and roof structures. It was rather fitting therefore, that upon leaving our hobbit hole we were dining in the Grade II listed St. Botolph’s Hall, now Galvin La Chapelle. Constructed in 1890, the building is late-Victorian architecture at its reminiscent best;…

Christie’s Finest Wines and Spirits

Today Christie’s New York Wine Department announced the final wine sale of 2018 just in time to bolster your investment portfolio or restock the cellar for Christmas: Finest Wines and Spirits Including the Liberty Hall Museum Collection of Historic Madeira and an Extraordinary Collection of Pre-Prohibition Whiskey. The auction will take place across a day and evening session on Friday the 7th of December and will present a vast array of nearly 800 lots of rarities from regions of both the wine and spirit producing parts of the globe. Taking place concurrently is the Wine Online Sale (19th November – 5th December) featuring approximately 352 lots. Day Session, Lots 1-516, 10am The day sale commences…

Delphina Hotels 5* Freedom – Sardinian Style

I had once again decided that this was the summer I would finally kick the habit of trying any and, more importantly, all food put before me when Peter (Ed) asked if I fancied popping over to Sardinia. My virtuous resolution at once gave way to voracious temptation and, before long, I was flying to the north of Sardinia in expectation not only of culinary delight, but to experience Sardinia’s renowned coastal beauty, the welcoming hospitality of its people and the longevity-inducing, sense of freedom that this island evokes. Delphina Hotels met these expectations and more. Sardinia, although politically a region of Italy, is ethnologically distinct. This family-owned business, consisting…

A man and his meat

After navigating icy hairpin bends, snow banks and rushing waterfalls, we found our destination concealed in a valley between Lenzerheide and Chur in the Swiss Alps. In hushed tones, we had been told there was to be found a true specialist in the artisan field, who we could not miss visiting whilst we were in the area. The exclusivity of the suggestion was reinforced by the fact we were unlikely to discover his wares outside of the immediate region due to export restrictions. On checking the ‘tip off’ with restaurant and bar staff, we were returned the knowing smiles that experience has shown often lead to culinary excellence. Our interest…

Wild Turkey

Bourbon is undoubtedly the most misunderstood spirit of the bar shelf or cocktail cabinet. Never has a spirit sparked such an immediate cry of denial and reaction from people. No doubt because they tasted a brand poured far too long, non-premium and solo over ice. Like many things, it’s about opening the mind and looking for the right one that fits your taste profile. Bourbon now comes in many tastes, shapes and sizes so we decided to explore subject with the best distiller in Kentucky, Eddie Russell from Wild Turkey, on a rare across the pond visit and get to the bottom of this spirit. Bourbon is rooted in family…

Restaurant with a twist

1,775 metres above sea level in the Valsana hotel is not where you expect to find an English library, but that’s where I found myself. Sat in the ski resort of Arosa, surrounded by books, in front of a log fire, enjoying a glass of Roederer. Although the books in this recreation are a little modern, it’s the thought that counts. It’s a nice homage to the UK by the owner of the hotel, who dictated its form as he was a fan of all things English. All I need now is my smoking jacket and slippers, and I could be ensconced in a modernised 221b Baker Street with Watson…

Half Moon – Kirdford

For this foray into the countryside, there could be only one choice of dining partner: our illustrious publishing director, Gatsby himself, Peter Robinson. This ensured four of the most critical eyes present, and both some great observation and conversation. Arriving in the village of Kirdford, we find ourselves in some disbelief of what we are seeing. We seem to have been transported to a place that bears a startling resemblance to a 70’s episode of The Avengers or Doctor Who. At any moment you expect to hear the whine of John Steed’s 6.5 litre Bentley, as they trundle past the manicured telephone box and Saxon church, on their way to…

VERMEER, AMSTERDAM

As we strolled around the Gallery of Honour, the heart of the Rijksmuseum, it was not without amusement that my mother listened to my thoughts, or rather criticisms, of the revere in which Vermeer is held by the Dutch people. Boring was my general complaint. She asked, not unreasonably, why if I held Vermeer in so little esteem had I decided to reserve a table at a restaurant whose namesake was that very artist. I raised my eyebrows in responseand my mother replied by informing me that I was ‘completely wrong about Vermeer, by the way’. But then she would say that. She is, after all, Dutch. The interior of…

Champagne Heroes – Piper Heidsick

When the telephone call came from Simon Stockton, ambassador for Piper Heidsieck, to say one of champagne’s greatest cellar masters was heading my way to showcase his new vintage, it was an invitation I couldn’t resist. I was incredibly flattered that a bottle was being brought into the UK for me in complete secrecy. When I found out later that it was to taste their vintage prestige cuvée Rare (pronounced ‘Rarr’), I became more intrigued. Rare itself is something of a phenomenon; very much an educated quaff. It quietly stepped onto the champagne scene in 1985, delivering the 1976 vintage, and is produced in relatively small quantities. So, to drink…