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Bobo Social

Bobo Social: Review

September 5, 2014

Last week was National Burger Day and with burgers being one of the most important food groups as we all know, we thought what better way to celebrate than with a quick jaunt to new burger place Bobo Social on Charlotte Street.

It’s brought to you by Jacinta Maddison and Michael Benson (Sticky Fingers, Palm Court Brasserie and Supperclub London) and is serving up a winning combination of burgers and small plates. Bobo stands for Bourgeois Bohemian and as such the restaurant is kept simple;  wooden floors, a mix of communal and small tables and neutral colours juxtapose with gilded mirrors and twinkling lights, whilst food is served on mismatched crockery. There were a few teething problems such as bannisters coming away from walls and locks in the bathrooms not quite locking, but I’ve been ensured that these are being taken care of because no one wants to be the one caught sitting on the loo by another guest.

But let’s move on as a dodgy bannister never got in the way of a good burger. They’re made with rare-breed beef from Sussex, and are cooked in a Kopa Charcoal Oven with the wood used varying day to day. On the menu you’ll find burgers served with chorizo, lobster and crab burgers and a mushroom and truffle burger as well as specialist burgers with the likes of kangaroo.

We went for the Peanut Butter – a rare breed beef burger topped with Monterey Jack, maple drizzled cured bacon, red onions, BoBo sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and the piece de resistance rich, slightly crunchy, salted peanut butter, it was lathered on and boy was that one hell of a burger, it oozed in all the right places and yet the buttermilk bun still held it all together – perfection.

We also went for The Debauchery – Wagu Beef, Ogleshield cheese, confit Shitaki mushrooms, bacon mayonnaise, truffle  and onion compote and shaved truffles, yes it sounds a terrifying rich, but it wasn’t the flavours all came through but you didn’t feel like you were going to have to diet for the next month. With a name like The Debauchery I was expecting something a little bigger, a little more impressive on the plate, but then I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover nor a burger by its size. Chips in bacon dripping were wonderful as were sweet potato fries coated in truffle salt although there unfortunately wasn’t a hint of truffle.

We finished with the elderflower and raspberry jelly which was covered in a shot of champagne and the dark and milk chocolate mousse with salted caramel- the mousse was a delicious but needed more salt if it was to be called salted caramel.

Bobo Social, it’s relaxed, it’s fun, it’s the sort of place to leave your manners at home and get stuck into pretty great burgers. 

www.bobosocial.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:32 am | Comments »
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Oyster Festival at Bentley's Bar and Grill

Clear your diary because on Wednesday 10th September Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is ready to welcome you in style; guests that make bookings on that day will be welcomed with live music and a complimentary oyster plate, complete with a Bloody Mary shot. The half a dozen oysters will vary from both rock and natives, served raw and cooked, including ‘Rockefeller’, Tempura, Garlic baked, ‘Catalan’, and just on their own with classic dressings such as shallot, tabasco or just a squeeze of lemon.

If you think that sounds delicious but had no clue that you could have oysters in such variation then Bentley’s regular shellfish and oyster masterclasses, running throughout the year, are for you. Shuck and eat your way through British and Irish oysters, followed by a refreshing glass of fizz and a three course lunch with paired wines – oh did we mention the goodybag?

The next masterclass takes place 13th September, tickets cost £120 per person.

www.bentleys.org

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 15:03 pm | Comments »
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Eclipse club Chelsea

Thursday, it is pretty much the weekend, it’s an extra night to go out and if you do accidentally/on purpose stay out well passed your bed time, you only have one day in the office to get through whilst nursing your hangover. With that sorted, what are you plans for tonight? You don’t have any yet? 1) Why not, shame on you 2) We have just the thing for you.

Eclipse Chelsea is holding another ‘Walton darlings’ tonight where all girls get a complementary glass of Champagne on arrival. You don’t have to have any special code, no secret password, just turn up et voila, free Champagne and who can say no to that?  Sorry guys this isn’t one for you, although if you’re taking someone out and payday seems a little too far away…

After your Champagne, order a Watermelon Martini and dance the night away to London Beats who will be DJing, they even have a set of Bongos. You’ll normally find them in Barcelona but they’ve decided to come over and play in London. 

Thursday night plans: done. 

www.eclipsebars.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:27 am | Comments »
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Cuban bar and restaurant in Camden, The Cuban

The Cuban Review

September 4, 2014

Bang in the middle of Camden market, amongst the rockabilly boutiques and cybergoth shops is The Cuban; a South American bar and restaurant. Downstairs the atmosphere is buzzing with people clinking down tequila shots and strutting their stuff on the make-shift dance floor by the mini stage.

A quick elevator ride transports you upstairs to the much quieter official dining area, although food can be eaten throughout the venue if you are looking to talk with your friend/parent/Tinder date then avoid downstairs. The live music is great fun and all around us people were getting drawn in and twirling each other round, Samba style but it is loud, very loud. The cocktails are mostly rum-based but range from Mojitos in a variety of flavours, the best being the Vanilla Mojito, gold rum infused with vanilla pods, to Very Cuban Berry; Bacardi 8yrs rum, muddled raspberries, blueberries & blackberries sprinkled with cinnamon dust, fresh lime juice & balanced with mango syrup.

The food is tapas focussed with dishes like Fried Green Plantain & Sweet Potato which came out served as crisps, and Quesadillas.

The winning main was the El Presidente Whole Baby Chicken which is marinated in white rum, sweet & dry vermouth, triple sec and maraschino liqueur, and a few special spices. Unfortunately the Patacon con Todo, whole plantain, deep fried then flattened to a pancake, topped with guacamole, sour cream & tomato salsa was a disappointment and tasted like a piece of cardboard. The ‘Cajun Fries’ we ordered came out sans the Cajun so were just plain white unseasoned chips.

The rustic looking décor and live music makes for a great hang out place to drinks cocktails and to whip out your Salsa moves on the unsuspecting crowd but it isn’t really the place to go for a quality dinner.

www.thecuban.co.uk

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:26 am | Comments »
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Eelbrook, Eelbrook Common

Eelbrook Review

September 3, 2014

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago we told you about the new all-day eatery that has just opened on the edge of Eelbrook Common, aptly named Eelbrook, well not one to say no to checking out a new restaurant The Handbook sauntered over to Fulham to do just that.

The venue itself is somewhere between a café and a restaurant with twinkling lights, large windows, plain white walls and white tables and chairs. A scattering of cushions and flowers provide splashes of colour, but the minimal décor is so minimal that in places it almost looks unfinished; the spirits for example sit in a shelf which looks like basic ply board nailed together. I can imagine though, come the summer or a warm crisp autumn morning the terrace would be a lovely area to catch up over brunch and feel smug that you are not one of the runners going round and round and round.

We visited on a Tuesday night, they had a few bookings that night and despite the room not being filled with chatter there was still a warm atmosphere. Our first waiter seemed to have stage fright and only muttered a few words before handing us slightly dog-eared menus which was a shame as the dishes (created by Brett Barnes) deserved more than flimsy paper. Once another waiter had come over and talked us through the menu, which is primarily British but with European and North African influences we felt more relaxed.

We started with the crisp pig’s ear, it had a wonderful texture and was a generous portion but the flavour was rather lost; but never mind the chunky beef tartare was delicious and worked well with the thin rye crackers it was served with.

We followed this up with the grilled wild bream, vegetables and pistou (like pesto but without the pine nuts), it was beautifully cooked with a crisp skin and whilst it would make the perfect light supper alone, we couldn’t help but order  a side of salt crusted aura potatoes and aioli and were very glad we did. The Elwy valley lamb rump served with coco beans and sauce vierge was also a highlight, with my friend claiming it was superb.

For pudding I had the blackberry sorbet and it was heavenly with that wonderfully intense autumnal flavour, one scoop and it took me straight back to afternoons spent scouring the hedgerows as a child.  My friend went for salted caramel chocolate fondant and I have to admit I had food envy, it was rich, dark with a molten fondant and a hidden salted caramel centre, everything you could want from a pudding.

I would be interested to go back and see what Eelbrook is like during the day, not just for the baked eggs but also because perhaps the minimal décor works better flooded in sunlight, that said the food did win us over at this little eatery. 

www.eelbrook.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:51 am | Comments »
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London Fashion Week Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand

London Fashion Week is fast approaching and style-savvy folk all over the capital are preparing themselves for a week of models strutting their stuff, adorned in the latest garb. Fashionistas will be drooling, not only over the clothes this year though, but at the introduction of The Ampersand’s new fashion inspired afternoon tea.

The gorgeous apparel-themed pastries come in the shape of High Heeled Biscuits with a white chocolate and lemon curd "cat walk", a Gingerbread Dress, Sugar Handbag with caramelia mousse, Raspberry and Pistachio Macaroon, and Blueberry Milkshake.

There are also savoury options like Glouster old spot ham with sauce gribiche, H.Forman & Son London smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese and Coronation Chicken.

Of course no afternoon tea would be complete without a warm selection of plain and white chocolate scones, served with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve – fashion never looked so appetising!

The Afternoon Tea costs £32.50 per person or £44.50 per person with a glass of Champagne and is available from 6th September - 21st September. To book a luxury afternoon tea please call 0207 591 4414 or email drawingrooms@ampersandhotel.com

www.ampersandhotel.com

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:49 am | Comments »
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South African restaurant in Camden, Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu Review

September 2, 2014

Filled with towering statues and tribal prints, Shaka Zulu, has created an immersive dining experience that makes you feels like you have skipped the 12 hour plane journey and landed bang in the middle of the Rainbow Nation.

The cocktails are great and even boasts a Rum Blazer which was voted ‘CNN Top Twelve Unusual Cocktails in the World’ thusly awarded as you get a mini pyrotechnic show at your table as they prepare it for you, be warned though, it may look pretty but it kicks harder than a mule. If you can bear to share a cocktail, you definitely should because they are served in creative vessels like a (ceramic) hyena’s head which holds Mandela’s Guests; raspberry vodka shaken with raspberry liqueur, rhubarb jam, lychee puree, balanced with fresh lemon, apple and cardamom syrup.

Shaka Zulu is named after a great warrior and Zulu King, which makes sense as you look around at the walls of tribe warriors lining the walls, there is even an adorable Young Warriors Menu for kids. There is an emphasis on exotic meats here like Crocodile Cigars, Springbok Carpaccio and Ostrich. If you want to get in the spirit but aren’t feeling too daring then the Zebra Steak is a way in, tasting like a blend of the best of red and white meat.

If the idea of chomping down on wildebeest isn’t your idea of a great time then I wouldn’t look to the vegetarian options as it appeared that not much thought was put into those dishes. The Halloumi skewers are just cubes of halloumi, red pepper and onion served on a bed of sour onion. It apparently comes served with a ‘ginger and soya glaze’ but it was so runny it appeared to just be soya sauce. As a starter the Smoked Corn Soup is delicious though but isn’t on the main menu so make sure to ask if you want it, there is also a special menu for celiacs.

The Selection of Home-Made Ice Creams is perfect for adults and children alike as it is 6 ice creams cones served in miniature form. The Passion Fruit Crème Brulee is nice but nothing to write home about.

Later in the evening performers dressed in traditional tribe outfits go round the restaurant dancing and beating on drums getting everyone in the party mood, just try and resist getting into the rhythm! Shaka Zulu gets full marks for entertainment and great décor, throughout the night I saw more than a few people taking snaps of the great interior. Unfortunately sometimes the food fell a bit flat but is a great place to go for cocktails and if, like me, it is the nearest to South Africa you’ll be getting this year it is definitely somewhere worth checking out.

www.shaka-zulu.com

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:37 am | Comments »
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South Place Hotel in Ibiza

It might be the end of summer for us but in Ibiza it isn’t, unlike us it is still a balmy 29 degrees….29 degrees. And making the most of this is boutique hotel South Place, who is leaving London and going in search of warmer weather to host its first annual pop-up party at Sands Resort on the stunning Playa d’En Bossa on the 28th September. 

Like house music? Great, because they have Harri and Domenic of Subculture the longest running weekly house and techno night in the world, who will be keeping the party going. There are also rumours of another special guest who is so super special that for legal reasons their identity has to be kept under wraps...

Sands Resort is located one of the islands most famous beaches, you can stroll straight out of the turquoise sea onto the dance floor – men, start practising the classic Daniel Craig/James Bond scene, girls, scout out the best bikini.The resort has been there for 20 years so this party makes up part of their decadent year of celebrations!

So before London gets dark and rainy, head to the white isle and dance until the sun goes down, heck dance until it comes back up again. 

For VIP entrance email members@southplacehotel.com.

www.southplacehotel.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 09:30 am | Comments »
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Make Mine a Martini

Make Mine a Martini

September 1, 2014

Come next month, your beach-read addled brain will, no doubt, be crying out for some intellectual stimuli. So we’ve found you a suitably improving tome. No don’t stop reading… it involves alcohol.

Make Mine a Martini by cool food writer and broadcaster Kay Plunkett-Hogge is a round-up of 80 of her favourite cocktails and 50 delicious canapés compiled as a guide to planning the perfect party. Recipes from her favourite bar smiths around the globe include everything from the Martini to the Margarita alongside mouth-watering bites such as Vodka & Caraway Cured Salmon, Pork Crackling with Rosemary & Fennel and Cervice Shots plus plenty of boozy stories and anecdotes.

A former model agent and movie co-ordinator, Plunkett-Hogge also runs a bespoke catering company for the fashion industry, Kay Cooks For You – the ‘You’ being clients including photographer Alasdair McLellan, titles such as UK and American Glamour and French Vogue and brands from River Island to Stella McCartney.

Sure to leave you shaken and perhaps a little stirred…

Published by Mitchell Beazley from 1 September

Posted by Stephanie Hirschmiller at 10:36 am | Comments »
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Dan Loftin

The Great British Cook Off

August 29, 2014

What could be better than a chef cooking for you? Two chefs cooking for you and battling for your approval that’s what. Oh and the profits going to Action Against Hunger too.

Happening over at Almeida, The Great British Cook Off will take place on the 29th September and will see host head chef Tommy Boland sharpening his knives, making his chef whites extra white and cranking up the heat as he prepares to take on head chef Dan Loftin from sister restaurant Kensington Place. Each will be cooking up 3 dishes: one meat, one fish and one sweet dish which diners will score out of 10 not knowing who has cooked what, it’s all very Great British Menu-esque.  

Dishes include wild rabbit terrine with pickled carrots, rabbit liver parfait, sorrel and hazelnuts, fillet of turbot with peas, herb gnocchi, palourde clams and samphire and Amalfi lemon with meringue and raspberries, but we can’t possible tell you which chef is behind each dish – we don’t want to sway any opinions/it’s top secret.

Drinks are provided by Boutique Brands including GVine G&T Martini with reduced grape tonic on arrival created by Kensington Place’s bar manager Imants Zusmanis. Food critic Joe Warwick will be hosting the event, presenting a range of live and silent auctions and providing an interactive running commentary of Tommy and Dan as they work hard in the kitchens.

Let’s just hope they cook fairly – we don’t want any sabotage. 

www.endhunger.actionagainsthunger.org.uk

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:42 am | Comments »
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