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The Handbook Blog

The Oscar statues

Oscar Results

March 3, 2014

Leonardo Dicaprio is an award winning actor but unfortunately for him not an Oscar winning actor as he lost out for the fourth time this weekend. The man to pinch him to the post was Matthew McConaughey for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, where he portrays an HIV victim who tries to give his situation a positive spin by selling illegal medicine from Mexico to fellow sufferers. His co-star Jared Leto also got the award for best supporting actor.

Cate Blanchett took the award on the ladies side with Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, with relative new comer Lupita Nyong'o picking up Best Supporting Actress for her harrowing portrayal as a slave girl in 12 Years a Slave.

Although George Clooney and Sandra Bullock both missed out on awards, the film itself, Gravity, scooped an impressive seven awards including Best Visual Effects and Best Directing. 12 Years a Slave won the title of Best Picture though and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:39 am | Comments »
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Aqua Shard, London

Stop the press, for an important announcement. The Handbook has a new review section! 

Here at The Handbook we always try our very hardest to bring you the latest and greatest in London venues. Whether it is a new review of a quiet town pub, our thoughts on the latest club opening or having you reach for the credit card with an account of a luxurious London getaway, we pretty much have it covered. However, with the launch of our brand spanking new review section this month we cannot wait to hear from you instead.

Use our venue finder to find a venue you have visited, click on the new review tab and let us know your thoughts. It takes just five minutes to write a  couple of lines about your favourite London haunt  and you'll be in with a chance of winning a £500 gift voucher...we do spoil you!

To find a venue to review click here to go to our venue finder.

Posted by Susannah Smith at 10:50 am | Comments »
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Perfect date venue Circus in Covent Garden

Date Ideas in London

February 27, 2014

March is almost upon us and as the most romantic month in the calendar leaves us for another year you might be tempted to put your Tinder account to rest but that’s no reason to turn your back on love. We’ve come up with a few of our favourite date venues for you to take that special guy or gal to that will be sure to create the perfect atmosphere, all is left is for you to get your game face on and woo the pants them off them (metaphorically of course).

Circus

This Covent Garden venue serves an innovative combination of Pan Asian food as well as boasting a West End cocktail bar but the main reason people are drawn in is the glamorous cabaret performances. The Circus troupe has wowed critics and customers alike with their beautifully skilled performers twirling magically in suspended hoops. Guests can either sit at the catwalk-esque ‘stage’ table for a more entertainment focussed night or on their separate table where they can enjoy the view. This venue is perfect for a date and even better if the conversation begins to lull as you can always just sit back and enjoy the great performances.

It is our duty to warn you that this might a third or fourth date destination due to the saucy nature of the entertainment. When we went we saw more than our fair share of nipples tassels and overly bendy gymnasts.

Rooftop Gardens

Perfect for every stage of your date, you and your guest can enjoy the initial dinner at Babylon with mouth-watering cuisine before moving to the rooftop terrace on the 7th floor where you can enjoy amazing views over London's skyline. We can definitely recommend grabbing a blanket and cosying up in the heated terrace to enjoy a romantic sunset. End the evening in the opulent cocktail bar next door which boasts a capacious dance floor for you to strut your best moves.

The cocktails here are really delicious so we suggest you start off with a Rooftop made with Freshly juiced orange, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries with fortified Shiraz, Grand Marnier & spiced syrup, served over crushed ice, before heading on to the hard stuff with Death in the Afternoon - a touch of Absinthe is mixed with Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Ernest Hemmingway’s advice was to drink three to five of these slowly..

Avenue Restaurant

If you’re after some hard core romance then Avenue is the place, with sultry lighting making even the worst of blind dates look acceptable, and a stunning chandelier centre piece this venue oozes seduction. Enjoy delicious mains like Lobster Macaroni (10/10) and Stone Bass with Spicy Kale and Hazelntut Cream or you could even share the ‘Boston Butt’ – Blythburgh pork served with Pecan cabbage and BBQ sauce.

The sommeliers here are very friendly so don’t feel shy about asking which wine will accompany your ‘Buston Butt’ the best, as they have an extensive knowledge of all things wine.

The London Cocktail Club

With five locations in London you are spoilt for choice in which LCC to pick but we suggest you try at least one. They offer an extensive cocktail menu ideal for erasing any first date nerves. The top of our list is the ‘Brixton Riot’ cocktail - a blend of Cranberry, Lychee and Rum, served in a flaming glass with spinning flaming passion fruit floating in it.

The best part about these venues (part owned by Raymond Blanc) is that you can actually hop behind the bar and have a go at creating your own cocktail, perfect for those Tom Cruise fantasies circa ‘Cocktail’ to come true. A helpful barman will be on hand to guide you through the process though, in case of any liquor related errors.

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 15:59 pm | Comments »
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Strawberry Whisky Sour

The age old combination of strawberries and tennis is one we like. We have no idea of the mysterious origin but the arrival of a few sunny days and the new Strawberry Whisky Cocktail at The Athenaeum Hotel to celebrate World Tennis Day has definitely got us smiling. 

With the hotel’s famous Whisky Bar rumoured to have one of the finest collections in the whole of London you know you are in capable hands with their new drink.  The sour aims to reflect the upcoming tennis battle between two of the world’s greatest players Pete Sampras and Andre Aggasi at the World Tennis London Showdown scheduled for the 3rd of March, including an  All American Bourbon alongside the very British strawberry influence. 

 

With The Athenaeum Hotel being the official hotel sponsor of The World Tennis Day Showdown make sure to get in on the spirit and sample The Strawberry Whisky Sour- available through until the end of March.

 

www.athenaeumhotel.com

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:35 am | Comments »
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Rumble Part Deux

Following on from the success of Rumble at the Deli, the Shuttlecock Inc guys are back with their latest gastronomic venture: Rumble Part Deux and we can't wait.

The Gallic spin off is hosted by Shuttlecock’s latest comedy creation Arnaud Hérouville-Saint-Clair-Escoffier: great-grandson of culinary legend, Auguste, and chef/proprietor of Parisian institution, La Constellation - so called for its  unrivalled string of Michelin stars, don’t you know?

The rules are simple it is a battle to the culinary death as two chefs cook it out. Using three key ingredients taken from the market that morning and taking inspiration from some of Arnaud’s favourite recipes it’s up to the chefs to each create a starter, main and pudding which will impress the diners enough to vote for them! Because no one wants to  be the loser washing the pots and pans now do they?

Chefs taking part so far are Shuttlecock's very own Ollie Templeton (Moro), defending champion Max Pasetti ( from Bocca di Lupo, Trullo), Tom Stracker (The Walnut Tree, The Ledbury, The Dorchester Grill, Heston's Dinner), Tom Forster (St John, Bocca di Lupo, Trullo, Roberta's, Chop Shop, Clamato, Septime), Freddy Money (El Bulli, The Dorchester Grill), James Knight (Moro, Barrica, Copita, Quality Chop House) and Ellen Parr (Moro, The Art of Dining).

So chefs get your aprons and utensils at the ready, diners get your voting caps on and head to Rumble Part Deux!

Rumble Part Deux runs 18th  - 22nd March  and 25th  - 29th March. Tickets include six courses (3 for each chef) and an apéretif on arrival

www.shuttlecock-inc.com

 

 

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:00 am | Comments »
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Wine and food pairings at Hush

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or you’ve always blinked blankly at the waiter and gone for the ‘safe’ option of the second cheapest bottle, you will love Hush’s new venture. 

Throughout the whole of 2014, Hush Brasseries have partnered with WineChap to bring a series of monthly food and wine pairings to London. These ticketed events are set to be a complete tour of Europe starting with a Burgundy evening of ‘Mercurey to Meursalt’ before progressing onto Northern Italy, ‘La Dolce Vita’ via Germany and Austria's ‘Teutonic Tipples’. 

 

Hosted at Hush St Pauls and Hush Holborn, each evening’s five wines will be paired with five European style courses, designed to specifically complement the night’s wines.

 

Tickets to  the first night 'From Mercurey to Meursalt' are priced at £55 per person 

 

www.hush.co.uk

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:15 am | Comments »
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Shwopping Celebrities

M&S 'Shwop' Boutique

February 25, 2014

It’s always at the beginning of the year where words like ‘declutter’ and ‘streamline’ are thrown about leaving you feeling more than guilty staring at your fit to burst wardrobes. However, never fear as M&S and Oxfam have you more than covered this March with the latest addition to their Shwopping campaign. 

On the 6th of March, the two will join forces to launch the Kids Shwop Boutique at the M&S on Marble Arch, London. The pop-up charity shop will showcase and sell childrenswear items donated from top UK style icons and celebrity mums, as well as the best items Shwopped over the course of the year. For three days only, the British public can get their hands on these once-loved items from the likes of Peaches Geldof, Abbey Clancy and Joanna Lumley, with all proceeds going towards Oxfam’s Mother Appeal. Each celebrity item of clothing comes with a hand stitched message of advice. 

To help support the cause and hit the £10 million campaign target, the retailer is asking the public to Shwop any unwanted items of clothing, of any brand, at M&S stores around the country.

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:58 am | Comments »
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Inside Novikov

The Venice Carnival runs between February 15th and March 4th and is one of the highlights in Italy’s yearly calendar. If you're scared of missing out, let the carnival come to you this year at Italian restaurant Novikov, where a celebration of the hedonistic event is set to take place.  With a nod to the truly unexpected, join in  with staff and don an elaborate mask  and traditional Italian dress before enjoying a  specially prepared Venetian menu in front of an evening of live entertainment.  

The event will take place on March 4th from 7.30pm onwards. There is a minimum spend of £100 per person.

 

www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk

 

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:07 am | Comments »
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The Venice Carnival runs between February 15th and March 4th and is one of the highlights of Italy’s yearly calendar. If you're scared of missing out, let the carnival come to you this year at Italian restaurant Novikov, where a celebration of the hedonistic event is set to take place.  With a nod to the truly unexpected join in  with staff and don an elaborate mask  and traditional Italian dress before enjoying a  specially prepared Venetian menu in front of an evening of live entertainment.  


The event will take place on March 4th from 7.30pm onwards. There is a minimum spend of £100 per person.

 

www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:07 am | Comments »
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Sweet Margherita Pizza

Take everything you think you know about pizza and re-imagine it. That’s what Mayfair Pizza Co. has done, with interesting results.

Mayfair Pizza Co have created a Sweet Pizza menu with fruits and chocolates instead of tomatoes and cheese. The pizzas are ideal for sharing due to their size, (smaller than a regular pizza but still pretty sizeable) and because all that dough makes for a heavy pudding especially if you have already sampled a savoury pizza for your main. The Sweet Pizza menu has 4 options; Wild Strawberry with White Chocolate, Nutella Calzone, Banana Tiramisu and Limoncello & Lime. We sampled the Wild Strawberry flavour with strawberries, large flakes of white chocolate, milk chocolate covered popping candy and a basil pesto drizzle, served cold. The basil pesto actually fits well with the other sweet flavours and all the toppings mixed together taste great, it’s just the dough that doesn’t add anything extra to the dish. In lieu of a tomato base the sweet replacement is a strawberry cream which holds the ingredients together well.

One for next time is the Nutella Calzone, a pizza base topped with chocolate, marshmallows and crushed hazelnuts before being covered in itself with dough and served warm. The Mayfair Pizza Co. takes a little bit of detective work to find but is definitely worth wandering down through the courtyard to discover. The atmosphere is sophisticated and cosy, perfect for a first date and the sweet pizza menu is definitely worth trying.

www.mayfairpizzaco.com 

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 15:11 pm | Comments »
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