Diciannove, Italian for number nineteen, opened in the Grade II listed Crowne Plaza Hotel near Fleet Street a few weeks back, and has been wowing visitors with impeccably prepared cuisine from the Appenine peninsula since then. Alessandro Bay plied his skills as sous chef at Locanda Locatelli and he appears to have dramatically honed his talent in the Michelin-starred kitchen, enough so to execute elegantly conceived dishes. These include a seriously sumptuous burrata crostini served with grilled aubergines, tomato, chilli and basil; ‘coda di rospa’, a lovely roast monkfish accompanied by artichokes and chickpeas in a saline tomato stew; and a classic tiramisu that was light at a feather. With the coffee, it was the ideal pick-me-up at the finale of the meal. For those that are after a more viscous form of sustenance, the bar focuses heavily on Negronis, with a sbagliato and rhubarb version available. These can be complemented with ciccheti for an aperitivo hour, if you need to blow off some steam after a long day in the City.Continue Reading →
For anyone in need of some dude food to slake their appetites, new Hoxton eatery Red Dog American Sandwiches will be doling it out with droves of dogs daily. Alongside some interesting combinations from across the pond like The King (a snappy German hotdog topped with peanut butter, jam and crispy bacon bits), they also are serving delicious regional fare including a catfish po’ boy (New Orleans), which delivers a hearty fishy crunch, salt beef or pastrami Reubens (NYC), Dagwoods (Midwest), and Cuban sandwiches (Miami). Wash these down with a cold Kona beer and a shot of Rebel Yell Bourbon, and you’ll get a taste of true Man v Food savour.Continue Reading →
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If you’re opening a venue these days, chances are that you’ll be doing it in Shoreditch. However, a lot of these flashes in the pan close quickly. For an opening with longevity, it needs to dovetail with the neighbourhood’s vibe. 100 Hoxton is one such spot. Its design scheme takes cues from Bauhaus, with a central floating steel bar, concrete pillars, austere retro furniture and gridded floor-to-ceiling windows letting in Hoxton Street’s urban climate. The kitchen staff, who cut their teeth at Ottolenghi, Nopi and Zilouf’s, are creating small plates fusion cuisine perfectly suited as an introduction to an evening out. Alongside a savvy wine menu and an eclectic cocktail list, guests can enjoy dishes like the pan-fried duck breast with mushroom, courgette kimchee and cashew beer butter or edamame and split pea fritters with halloumi and lime pickle yoghurt. The prices are very reasonable and the setting is cool, it’s ideal as preparation for an evening out in the ‘ditch.
One Glühwein away from après ski hilarity - this bar/restaurant/club offers an escape from the busy streets of W8. Bodo’s Schloss is designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a warm Austrian alpine ski lodge and it certainly delivers on that front. From the wooden panelled walls, the kitsch furniture and Austrian gingerbread to the good-looking staff dressed in lederhosen and the shots from the bar served on a ski for added amusement, Bodo's Schloss is a guaranteed good time.
The menu reads smoothly, with classic Austrian dishes on offer as well as the usual fish and meat seen across the board in London restaurants. The entrées; charcuterie board, salads and soup deliver great flavours to the palate – the goat’s cheese salad was delicious with a good amount of tangy, fresh cheese combined with the sweetness and crunch of the red cabbage. The mains saw a battle of ‘Schloss Classic’ veal Schnitzel versus sea bream; both well presented on the plate and equally sensational on the taste buds. The veal was crisp and golden, served with a lemon wedge to cut through the richness of the buttery bread-crumbs and a dollop of sweet cranberry compote, paired with a new potato and spring onion salad.
The general atmosphere at Bodo’s is awesome. The place comes alive around 11pm after all the tables are cleared and it morphs into the nightclub. Cow-hide booths and tables laden with chilled bottles of Ciroc vodka await the party crowds eagerly queuing. The music is what really gets the place going, with the DJ hitting the decks in an impressive mountain cable car. From Dire Straits and Michael Jackson classics to chart topping tunes, you can’t help but grab your drink and head to the dance floor for a very memorable night.
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Curtain Road has its fair share of hipster hotspots, but that’s not to say that there isn’t room for more. Far Rockaway launched last week on the aforementioned street and aims to channel a bit of New York’s urban attitude to the Shoreditch triangle. The full throttle design scheme includes original works by neon artist Andy Doig and street artists Xenz, Above, Cranio, Cept and Guy Denning; a DJ booth fashioned out of umpteen early 90s style boomboxes, and a comic book library with over 4000 DC and Marvel issues for you to peruse. As one might expect, there will also be a plenitude of American comestibles to enjoy, including frozen margaritas, Coke glazed baby-back ribs, and pizza by the slice.Continue Reading →
For any oenophiles interested in imbibing a bottle from one of the great wine cellars, The Balcon will be serving a very special menu to celebrate French Wine Week from the 23rd to 30th September. The restaurant will be collaborating with Mouton Rothschild, who will be releasing select vintages stored in the brick vaults at the 19th Century Buckinghamshire country house, Waddesdon Manor. These will include bottles such as a 2011 Viognier, Pays d'Oc, Baron Philippe de Rothschild and a 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, the Chateau d’Armailhac, 5eme Cru Classe, Pauillac, Baron Phillipe de Rothschild. Head Chef Vincent Ménager has carefully devised a menu to fully complement the wines, with dishes including a hot smoked salmon and Dorset crab ravioli with goat cheese curd, baby spinach and sweet corn or a thin apple and fig cinnamon toffee tart with salted caramel ice cream. Dishes can be ordered individually or as a three-course menu priced at £37 per person.Continue Reading →
Ace Hotel, a music-led design hotel concept born in Portland, Oregon, has established itself as a cultural and culinary fixture in nearly every city it has touched down in. No less so in London, where it aims to reflect the edgy/trendy zeitgeist of Shoreditch with a fashion forward crowd and design. For the hotel restaurant, Ace have enlisted the talents of Pablo Flack and David Waddington, the boys behind Shrimpy’s and Bistroteque, to create an all-day dining destination in keeping with the East End ethos. The modernist brasserie will serve super-seasonal fare with breakfast, elevenses and lunch options. Diners will be accomodated in relaxed booth-style seating and live entertainment will feature heavily.Continue Reading →
Mestizo is a restaurant perched up on Hampstead Road above Euston, and it is quite possibly serving some of London’s most authentic Mexican fare. Translating as ‘mixed blood’ from the Spanish tongue and alluding to the intermingling of Spanish conquistadores with native Mexicans, it also nods to the introduction of the New World’s most vibrant flavours to Londoners hungry for a taste of Central American culture. My visit to Mestizo coincided with the Festival Gastronomia, a celebration of Mexican Independence (La Dia de Indepencia), held from the 4th to the 14th of September as a ten day ode to one of the spiciest nations. As things go in Mexico, this party ended up getting pretty loco.
I had the opportunity to sample plates from a special menu paying homage to ten southern states of Mexico, with regional dishes spanning the from Jalisco to Chiapas. My meal commenced with ‘Panucho’, a popular dish from the Yucatan Peninsula that fired off the flavour cannon. It was a tower of refried beans, crispy fried tortilla and melt-in-your mouth cochinita, a kind of Mexican pulled pork. Following this I ordered Pollo Con Mole from Puebla, a boneless chicken breast accompanied by a sauce comprising of twenty-four different ingredients, including chocolate.
For an unadulterated dose of Mexico at Mestizo it’s important that you take time to taste the tequila. I was lucky enough to try three expressions of Ambar tequila, which is definitely a top-shelf brand of cactus juice. The waiter plonked down three shotglasses teeming with blanco, reposado and anejo, which I quickly made short work of. The trio of spirits did a good job to represent the full spectrum of the agave. Mestizo has the largest collection of tequila and mezcal in northern Europe, you’d be nearing death and certainly borracho in the attempt to sample the 250 plus bottles behind the bar. For the uninitiated, Mestizo is a colourful crash course of all things Mexican, and for North Americans missing the cuisine it really hits the spot. The experience melts down into the whole enchilada of Mexican pride and flair.Continue Reading →
For those in the know, early Sunday afternoon is now the new Saturday, and Hakkasan are offering an experience that will rocket your weekend into the stratosphere, with the introduction of Dim Sum Sundays at their original Hanway Place restaurant. Predicated on the ancient Chinese culinary ritual with a distinctly contemporary vibe, Hakkasan will be offer a signature six-course menu packed with iconic dishes and cocktails and accompanied by laidback tunes from resident DJ Pathaan. Kicking off from 12pm until 6pm every Sunday , guests will be invited to gourmandise on a delicious menu devised by Chef du Cuisine Wah Ho Hip with an array of steamed, fried and baked dumplings, salads, a main course and a dessert. Whet your appetite with a distinctive aperitif from Hakkasan’s award-winning cocktail list, followed by a meal accompanied with a half bottle of Perrier-Jouët’s ineffably elegant Blason Brut Rosé, and a wide variety of teas available for any teetotallers or recovering late night revellers. For the heartier, there will be a digestif to accompany dessert.Continue Reading →