The Handbook Blog | London Restaurants, Nightlife, Arts & Culture
From the horses mouth

The Handbook Blog

Dining at West London restaurant Paradise by way of Kensal Green

Paradise Review

July 4, 2014

It is rarely that you come across a restaurant that delivers whole-heartedly, but luckily for us Paradise by way of Kensal Green is one of those places. From charming and friendly staff to delicious good and varied and creative cocktails, Paradise is a real winner, heck even the décor had us impressed with its shabby, chic design.

After having perused many, many a menu seeing a Cherry and Nectarine Salad as a starter was an unexpected surprise which impelled us to try it. It stood its ground as an enjoyable dish with perfectly ripened fruit, baby spinach, peanuts and an elderflower sauce.

Beer-batter Halloumi served with crushed peas and match stick chips is what all good pub food should emulate to be; indulgent, filling and satisfying. The distinctive saltiness of the halloumi cuts through the grease of the batter while the crushed peas make you feel at least partially healthy. The Stirloin Steak was done to requirement which doesn’t sound like much of an achievement but as any steak fan will know, it’s always hit and miss from what your idea of medium rare is, to the chef’s.

We are informed while examining the dessert menu that the Sticky Toffee Pudding is a customer favourite, so curious to see if it will become our favourite we give it a try. It is definitely a contender with a thick slab of sponge drenched in a sweet toffee sauce, complimented with vanilla ice cream and a stick of nougatine. The winner of the evening though, would have to be the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake which arrives deconstructed in a mug with a praline crumble on top. It is incredibly creamy and thick, we are ashamed to say we couldn’t actually finish it but we shall definitely be returning to make sure we finish a whole one!

For your chance to win dinner for two at this amazing restaurant plus a bottle of champage, simply click here!

www.theparadise.co.uk

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 09:47 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Champagne Summer Pop Up in the Square

Yesterday the Luggage Room stepped outside with its punch pop up bar at Summer in the Square and they have alcoholic lollipops.

That’s right the opulent speakeasy-style bar is packing up its bags, venturing out of the Grosvenor hotel and emerging from the secret door it lies behind and heading to Grosvenor Square. With a little help from their friends at Appleton V/X, Perrier-Jouët, Pernod Ricard UK, Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Berry Bros. & Rudd they’ll be serving up classic punches and cups, Champagne sorbets (yes it is a gift from the gods!) and those lollipops, forget after work cocktails this is where it’s at.

Summer in the Square starts today until the 20th July and includes all the best things in life, comedy, food, music and performances.  Want us? We’ll be at the bar punch in one hand, sorbet in the other…

Check it out here

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 09:47 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Hendrick's St Germain des Prés at the Rivington Greenwich

Rivington Greenwich are teaming up with a range of renowned gin distillers including Hendrick’s, Beefeater, Tanqueray, Langley’s No 8 and Bombay Sapphire on the 15th August for their very own summer gin festival, “GINBOP”. For one night and one night only, guests can enjoy mouth-watering gin-based cocktails, created by all the different gin experts, as well as traditional G&T’s of course.

A summery evening with a drink in hand wouldn’t be complete without something to satisfy your appetite, so a hog roast will be available for those who get a bit peckish. And having tried and tested a few of the delicious cocktails on offer, no doubt you’ll be struggling to stand still, so a live band will be playing for you to dance the night away to, while the pop-up bars keep their wondrous concoctions flowing.

Whether you’re a gin-enthusiast, just fancy trying some new cocktails, or simply looking for a fun evening with friends, Rivington Greenwich’s “GINBOP” should definitely be put in your diary for August 15th. What better way to celebrate the start of the weekend?

6pm - 1 am on August 15th, tickets are priced at £40 and include three cocktails, live entertainment and a hog roast.

www.rivingtongreenwich.co.uk

Posted by Georgia Carnegie at 00:00 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Great Indian Food Feast at The Dolls House in Hoxton

Spice up your summer and kick-start your senses with some delicious Indian food at the Great Indian Food Feast at The Dolls House in Hoxton. A gastro adventure brought to you by Urban Rajah, a food writer and pop up guru, you’ll be lucky enough to indulge in 4 courses carefully crafted by the famous Indian chef.

Don’t be put off by the industrial looking vibe given off by the old textile factory which houses the Doll’s House, because once inside you will be transported to a truly different world and culture, with sounds and smells like no other you will find in a standard London restaurant.

Put that takeaway menu to one side, and get down to the Dolls House on the 24th/25th July for a spread that’s better than your standard Korma or Madras. At the Great Indian Food Feast, you’ll be able to gorge on Safelle (chicken dumplings), Lamb Shammi kebabs and Chemmeen Prawns… Much more interesting, cultural and fun than eating a takeaway on the sofa at home, don’t you agree?

www.thedeaddollsclub.com

Posted by Georgia Carnegie at 10:33 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Sunshine menu at The Aqua Kyoto

Reports all over newspapers and the Internet are showing that 80% of Britons are deficient in Vitamin D due to a lack of sunlight, which isn’t hard to believe given the rare presence of the sun even during the summer months, and the unpredictability of it gracing us with its presence. The Spectator has actually just published an article focused solely on the importance of Vitamin D, and its plentiful health benefits. Helping you to live longer, keep your bones strong, and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and strokes, this definitely gives us all a valid excuse to dig out our deck chair and bathe under the rays when they finally do appear.

However, sunlight is not the only way of enhancing your levels of Vitamin D, since it is also derived from your diet, which is where Aqua Kyoto’s new “Sunshine Vitamin D” menu comes in.

A restaurant specialising in innovative and contemporary Japanese cuisine is already promoting the health benefits of Vitamin D, since Japanese food is naturally rich in this seemingly miracle supplement, but Aqua Kyoto’s Head Chef Paul Greening is showcasing the importance of Vitamin D in a new Sunshine menu. Try dishes such as mackerel and ginger roll, grilled salmon with unagi and Japanese mustard soy or tamago with Japanese knotted sorbet, all accompanied by a ‘sunshine’ cocktail with Apollo 11, elderflower and grapefruit.

So now you can keep your Vitamin D levels healthy while avoiding a nasty sunburn from a day at the beach!

www.aqua-london.com

Posted by Georgia Carnegie at 13:53 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

The EDF Energy London Eye

Here at The Handbook we're always on the hunt for great party venues. This week we attended the EDF Energy London Eye Hospitality Showcase, a sneak preview of the seasonal hospitality packages for the upcoming year, offering some of the most posh dining and exquisite celebration experiences in London.  

At the showcase we took in breathtaking views of the city during the Champagne Reception - a thirty minute rotation in a private capsule on the London Eye enjoyed with flutes of Pommery champagne and a delightful serving of canapés.

We then boarded the Barracuda, one of the most stylish cruisers on the River Thames, for a lovely social gathering. With a retractable roof, guests are able to sip themed cocktails like the Mistletoe Mojito and enjoy small plates under the stars. The capacity allows up to 230 people, making this a fabulous venue for weddings, corporate receptions and networking events. 

Don't miss out on exclusive opportunities, like the Dining 135 event - a three-course meal served while revolving in a private capsule, with only 50 experiences available all year. The wide variety of packages accommodate all party sizes and preferences, so be sure to book events in advance to save your date. 

www.londoneye.com

Posted by Maddy Ewles at 11:07 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

The Oval Restaurant, The Wellseley, Park Lane

The Wellesley: Review

July 1, 2014

The Wellesley is relatively new in terms of London hotels, when many have been opened for over a hundred years, The Wellesley has only been opened since the end of 2012 and yet already it is known as one of the most decadent boutique hotels.

The décor is inspired by the 1920s townhouse that it is situated in, with a modern twist on  the art deco movement, it is very sumptumous and none more so than in The Oval restaurant.  Having heard that there was a new excutive chef, Michele del Monaco, at the restaurant we grabbed our bags and headed over to Park Lane.

There are three things that really strike you about The Oval, first the huge, sparkling chandelier that  commands all the attention in the centre of the room, secondily the intricate marble floor which is inspired by an elegant luxury sunburst clutch by Judith Leiber and finally it’s teeny, tiny size – there were 16 of us there and any more would have been a squash. It’s intimate but not claustrophobic and most important for us you can still have a conversation about all the most important things in life without feeling like everyone is listening in. 

Michele del Monaco was raised in Caserta and has a global career, having worked in Rio de Janerio and the world renowned kitchens at the two Michelin stared Hotel Il Pellicano in Tuscan. He brings to the table his fine dining style which still keeps authentic Italian flavours at its heart.

We were there to try the tasting menu, highlights include Mediterranean prawns wrapped up in squid ink ravioli with lobster bisque and a wonderfully creamy, cheesy  buffalo mozzarella stuffed in swordfish. Langoustine carpaccio with crab and almond meringue had a somewhat interesting texture and the almond meringue was rather overpowering.  If the dark chocolate fondant is on the menu then order it, you won’t be disappointed, luxuriously smooth and incredibly decadent it was one of those times where you wish pudding was served first so you could fully appreciate it without having eaten 5 or so courses and at least two bread baskets beforehand....

When you think of dining at a hotel restaurant, The Oval might not immediately spring to mind but with Michele del Monaco in the kitchen, you would be wise to think again and choose this teeny tiny restaurant. 

www.thewellesley.co.uk

Posted by Emily Gray at 19:45 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Burger for Independence Day

Wouldn't it be good if we could all just up sticks and head to America to celebrate this Friday - it's Independence Day don't you know? Heck we aren't even American but Londoner's love a good reason to party. From eating competitions to craft beer, here is The Handbook's  all-American guide to the best places to go on Independence Day: 

Avenue

So you think you can eat a lot? As much as on Man Vs. Food? So prove it at Avenue... The new American restaurant are hosting an all-you-can-eat Boston pig butt bun challenge on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th in celebration of the American holiday. Diners have to eat as many Boston butt buns as they can, with the chance to win a meal for two with wine at the restaurant - you don’t want to go eating any more after that. www.avenue-restaurant.co.uk

Blues Kitchen

In Camden or Shoreditch on the 4th ?  Then make sure you head to the Blues Kitchen. Over in Camden the Southern American restaurant is kicking off this Independence Day with a special event, with the resident band performing a strictly Southern Rock playlist. Think The Black Crowes and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Have an American passport? Then lucky you, you have free entry! Whereas over in Shoreditch, they want to know if you can beat the eating machine Ed Conway, who put away 19 hotdogs in 30 minutes – the rules include no crying and no puking, so only the best should stand up to the challenge. www.theblueskitchen.com

Farr's School of Dancing

We may not be in America, but their famous federal holiday Independence Day is still celebrated over in East London... Farr’s School of Dancing, a lavish public house in the heart of Dalston, is throwing a 12 course feast, comprising of starters, mains and desserts, all deriving from different states of America. Put all diet plans to one side, and enjoy the splendid food alongside pitchers of beer and cocktails, while dancing off all the calories to tunes of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. Any excuse for a party, especially when it involves good food. www.farrsschoolofdancing.com

Outsider Tart

Buff up on your geography knowledge in the best way, with food at the authentic Fourth of July cookout where popular American bakery, Outsider Tart, will be serving up chilli dogs and hamburgers that represent different states. Traditional sweet treats like cupcakes, whoopie pies and cookies will also be available to celebrate the Yankee holiday. www.outsidertart.com

Jenius Social

What’s the best way to spend two hours? Working your way through six of the best American craft beers plus sampling mini sliders and Buffalo wings paired with each American beer, obviously. Where can you do this? No need to cross the pond, just get yourself over to Jenius Social. www.jeniussocial.co.uk 

Benjamin Franklin House

Celebrate the main man behind the US Independence Day at the Benjamin Franklin House, the world's only remaining Franklin residence, with a glass of Champagne and cake from 12 - 2 pm. Heck, you might even learn a thing or two about the only statesman to have signed all four documents that created a new nation and of course one of current day's most sought after destination, (New Yoik New Yoik, so good they named it twice). www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Rock on at the Honky Tonk

Honky Tonk Clapham and Chelsea are set to celebrate this holiday in true American rock ’n’ roll style. Get your best ‘Oooohhh’ and ‘Aaaahhh’ sound effects ready for the brilliant fireworks display while a live music playlist of the best US rock songs gets ready to bring the house down. So you may not be from the States, but that’s no reason not to stop you throwing back a few Star Spangled Slammer shots in the name of a good party. Not to pick favourites but Honky Tonk Clapham will also be hosting an American-style hot dog stand on the new Sundowner Terrace. www.honkytonklondon.com

Cheers to the US of A

Our favourite adventurer, Phileas Fogg, celebrates our friends over the pond by opening his residence for a good old knees-up, filled with American cheer. Mr Fogg’s household staff will be suitably decked out in ‘stars and stripes’ themed attire whilst serving drinks like ‘Dodged a Bulleit,’ a strong mix of Bulleit Bourbon, homemade spicy syrup, blackberry puree, Berry’s Red Port, fresh lemon juice with an egg white and ‘Petticoats & Whisky Notes’, a creamy blend of Bulleit Bourbon, vanilla infused double cream and dark chocolate liquor. The drinks will even be getting involved by donning cocktail sized American flags. mr-foggs.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 15:19 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Brunch party at The Shed

The Shed in Notting Hill is bringing you something to add to your calendar each Saturday to kick start your weekend: a brand new Brunch party, lasting all afternoon with live music, cocktails and more of their fresh, delicious and seasonal dishes.

Drag all your friends out of bed, and bring them along to The Shed to bathe in the glorious weekend sun, which will stream through the open French windows and skylights, making for a perfect start to the weekend. We can’t quite think of a better hangover cure if you had a heavy night out the night before! If you fancy embracing the hair of the dog, you will find on the menu The Shed’s very own innovative cocktails, alongside Bloody Mary’s featuring their own green tomato vodka…

With a live band playing, the weekly Brunch parties will provide a rustic, relaxed but still stylish setting to catch up with friends now it’s the end of the week.  Enjoy delicious food, including British bacon, reared by the brother of the restaurant owners in the beautiful rural confines of Nutbourne in West Sussex, in dishes such as bacon mallard breast served with a corn fritter and poached egg with broad bean. Scrumptious. 

www.theshed-restaurant.com

Posted by Georgia Carnegie at 12:16 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

New dishes at tapas restaurant Opera Tavern, Covent Garden.

Enjoy a summer evening of fresh, new and original tapas dishes at Opera Tavern in Covent Garden.

Specialising in modern Italian and Spanish-influenced tapas since it’s opening in January 2011, this smart and beautiful bar and restaurant will experience a series of chef takeovers this summer, bringing with them new and exciting dishes for customers to test and enjoy.

James Cornwall, Head Chef at Covent Garden’s J Sheekey Oyster Bar, will move into Opera Tavern on the 14th July, which is the perfect opportunity for you to plan an evening of theatre and good food, in whichever order you choose. The tapas bar and restaurant is just opposite the Drury Lane Theatre and seconds from the Opera House. What better excuse to plan a perfect evening with friends?

This new chef will bring with him four tapas sized dishes of his own creation, offered alongside the Opera Tavern menu. His philosophy is inspired by his childhood growing up in New Zealand where simple dishes were created from quality ingredients, and he greets his kitchen with the same ideology: that quality ingredients and low-fuss preparation is a recipe for exciting and unusual flavours. We look forward to all that he brings to Opera Tavern, come mid-July.

www.operatavern.co.uk 

Posted by Georgia Carnegie at 09:00 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Pages