Food & Drink

Hartmann’s

I am not a restaurant critic. But my fiancé, Paul, is. I am a scientific researcher (hence my rather straight-to-the-point prose) in the fish biology discipline (specifically trout — important later). In return for agreeing to marry Paul, I often come to be his chosen review date, a treat that just about makes the forthcoming contract worth it. And the reason you are reading my review is because, during our meal at Hartmann’s, Berlin, I felt so compelled by the food (or the too-much wine?) I grabbed the voice memo, snapped plates with my iPhone and duty-bound myself to the task of fluffy food talk. I think I’ll start by getting the…

Jumeirah

When you park your marque in the Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s underground bunker, you pass Phantom nestled next to Ferrari, tucked in beside Aston. It might as well be a private car club. In hindsight, we probably should have let the concierge park our pool car though. However, at the time, a white Ferrari FF was arriving with the usual pomp and ceremony from a well-honed door staff. This is Kensington at its most seductive. The gold gilt and mahogany lobby is refined and unassuming, the staff polite and courteous, with personality too. This makes a change from the usual robotic gofers you find at many London hotels. Having checked in,…

2013 Gift Guide

It can be a chore we know, Christmas shopping is a bore at the best of times, unless you are working to a one for me one for you program. This year we hope to simplify with a little guidance from the team on what works.

Winery Finery

Anna von Bertele Move over, Sauvignon. Try New Zealand Riesling Last weekend I was flicking through a second-hand wine encyclopaedia that was published in 1994. My attention was grabbed by the section on New Zealand. I couldn’t believe that all it contained was one map, two pages of text and no differentiation of regions, just a simple description of the country and emphasis on the fact that their main grape of production is Sauvignon Blanc. This made me start thinking about the change that New Zealand has seen in the past ten years. Ever since Cloudy Bay came in to the spotlight, people fell in love with the fresh, crisp,…

A Mouthful of Madrid

I’d been to the Spanish capital before. It was the summer I graduated, I was twenty-one and me and my group of gal pals tagged it on the end of a honey rum-swigging, cheap, paella-munching trip to music festival Benicassim. Madrid was essentially the last stop on a ten-day blow out before we all went back to our parents’ houses with decent degrees but without jobs. Naturally, the city didn’t hold the most brilliant of memories for me. Amy McNichol tells you where to spend your euros in the Spanish capital Six years on and with meaningful employment, I was back. My word, how differently I felt this time around. Myself and…

Gaucho Tower Bridge

I think that, sadly, it might be time to get off my soapbox. I have pontificated over the health benefits of red meat for some months now and perhaps my electoral candidate sermonising is becoming tiresome to our weary readership. Well, tough I say to the honourable gentleman (waves countryside alliance membership card in the air). Firstly, let’s clear something up: I do not have membership to the CA, not because I don’t support what they stand for, but because I don’t live in the countryside. Having returned some months ago from a central London restaurant review, I decided to do the unthinkable; I posted some snaps of my meal…

The Mark of Excellence

Champagne – has the bubble burst? Mimi Avery of the British wine dynasty that is Averys wine merchants, reviews the current market favourites. Getting bubbles in the first place is an interesting story in itself. The method of producing a secondary fermentation in bottle was, often questionably, discovered by the English in the mid 1500s, when Charles Merret (who now has a Ridgeview English aparkling wine named after him, Merret) added sugar to create the second fermentation. The Methode Champenois for volume production was then perfected by the French: Dom Perignon, a monk, started at the monastery six years after Merret’s work and took forty years to complete the process….

The Dining Room

At last! It’s in vogue to be British! Hoorah (in the non marine sense) to all Henries, let’s all dress head-to-toe in Harris Tweed and celebrate massively, in an incredibly understated miniature fashion, don our best stiff upper lips and swap all Chihuahuas for sizeable hounds immediately. I was reluctantly persuaded to leave the pipe at home and do my very best to behave tonight.  Alright, perhaps I’m a little over excited – but I’m off to The Goring. Once upon a time, not too long ago, The Goring Hotel was born into the blue-blooded heart of Belgravia, a mere brogue’s throw from Buckingham Palace. Like all things regally British,…

Wilks

If you ask the local folks around Bristol, you will find a host of people and the old rags pontificating about the “way things were”. James Wilkins and Christine Vayssade bought the lease on a property on Chandos Road to set up their dream restaurant. It just so happens that the space was previously owned by another couple who ran a highly successful restaurant there for over 30 years. But as I never went to its predecessor, I would be able to dine at Wilks, unabated and untainted. I will fast forward to mid-meal. As I saunter toward the amenities, I notice numerous pictures of James with multiple Asian chefs….

Bangkok: A Culinary Mecca

From street stalls to hipster bars, from single plate meals to exquisite sharing menus, Bangkok will thrill your palate. Former Bangkok dweller Amy McNichol finds out where to dine. Mmm, Thai food! Delicious, right? What could be better than dunking a fistful full of prawn crackers into a polystyrene tub of acidic orange gloop and shovelling them into your trap while they fizz? For mains, it’s a vat of watery, green curry and a brick of tooth-decayingly sweet coconut rice that has been packed in to, and moulded by, its plastic takeaway box. As it flops out onto the plate and smashes like a poorly made sand castle, remember, Thai…

Voltaire

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. Located in the square mile, Voltaire is housed in a Grade Two-listed building, styled by renowned interior designer Sue Wheldon. At one time, the vaults at Voltaire housed the vast wealth of the patrons to the bank above. Now, you are more likely to find a rich plume than doubloon in its hallowed walls. The vaults are mini-cavernous escapes adjacent to Voltaire, where you and your private party can retreat into the stone for an evening of private frivolity. Here guests can enjoy handmade canapés, fine cigars from a variety…

The Hangover

For ten thousand years, ever since human beings settled down to the cultivation of cereals and vines, alcohol has played a fundamental role in society. It has served as an object of religious festivals, social lubricant, and afforded many unattractive men and woman the otherwise-unobtainable affection of higher mortals. Suffice to say, heavy drinking has always been part of the British character. Winston Churchill once told: “A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk’, to which I replied ‘I am drunk today, madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly.” For years alcohol manufacturers have been telling us that…

RADIO

Radio is the new rooftop bar and terrace atop the newest of the ME hotel’s, owned by Sol Melia on The Strand. Having stepped out of the Rolls Royce Phantom (provided by the team at the Envy Group), we power walked from the car to the hotel’s circular street entrance and into the Norman Foster designed building. Space is top of the menu here, with a cavernous lobby opening up to 157 individually designed rooms, 16 suits and 499sqm of meeting space. But tonight, we aren’t here for the hotel. We aren’t even here for a suite. We are actually here for the launch of Radio, the hotel’s destination bar…

Cinnamon Kitchen, EC2

We got escorted off the premises of Cinnamon Kitchen the other day. The lady and I were frogmarched to the roadside by the scruffs of our necks and admonished for doing the unimaginable, the abominable, the detestable: smoking. It was like being back at school. There we were, two grown adults, merrily imbibing the night, suddenly cut down by these health fascists. I understand not smoking next to the front door, but in an empty seating area? C’mon, guys, don’t cack on free choice. Other restaurants would be thankful to have a drippingly cool couple who think they’re Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall smoking outside. This is Shoreditch, after all….

Interview: Frederick Forster

Frederick Forster joined Prescott & Conran in July 2012 as the head chef responsible for Boundary Restaurant, and Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill. Earlier in his career, he won the Roux Scholarship, before going on to win the prestigious Craft Guild National Chef of the Year Award in 2011. What is the philosophy behind The Boundary Restaurant? Our philosophy is to produce consistently high-quality French based food using only the best and most authentic ingredients available in the UK and from France, creating dishes with simplicity and techniques that are representative of a first-class establishment. Seasonality is key, with the main ingredient of a dish always remaining the focal point….