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

The Handbook Blog

Celebrity magician Dynamo

There are a lot of things you can do under the stars, namely star-gazing, but you can also play the long-established game of Chovgun. For those of you not in the know it is a traditional oriental polo activity played at night with only the sparkle of the stars and moon to guide players.

Tomorrow will see incredible helium filled globes lighting up the grass pitch at Ham Polo Club to set the scene, as the night begins with a huntsman dressage display and parade of the teams before the main polo event begins.

This black tie event will be a glamorous evening - a combination of City meets the Fashion & Art World - to raise awareness and support fantastic children’s charity, War Child, for those children affected by war. Dynamo will also perform a 20 minute set sure to baffle and bewilder guests as they try to discover his tricks.

The Chovgun Polo takes place 10th September at Ham Polo Club.

For tickets email: info@twilightpolo.com

www.chovganpolo.com

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:46 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

The World's First 800ft High Sleepover at the Shard London

So you’re single, living in London and dating, but are you dating to the best of your ability? If thumb twiddling over a dreary dinner whilst inquiring about their job sounds all too familiar then we need to introduce you to activity-based dating site doingsomething.org, who focus on taking the awkwardness out of dating. Would you rather meet your beau to be during a ping pong championship at a rooftop party, getting your downward dog on for yoga pub dating or through an obligatory blind date your mum organised for you?

How about at the world’s highest sleepover? For 10 hours guests will have free roam of floors 69-72 in the Shard where there will be performances from Sofar sounds, a midnight feast from Pizza Pilgrims, literary readings from the London Literary Salon and the chance to gaze at the night sky thanks to the telescopes provide by the Royal Observatory. Ample opportunity to snuggle up to any hotty that catches your eye!

We have teamed up with www.doingsomething.org to give away evening tickets to this event on the 13th September, just click here to enter!

www.the-shard.com 

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 12:05 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Dim Sum Platter Yauatcha

Yauatcha: Review

September 8, 2014

Yauatcha on Broadwick Street is celebrating its 10th birthday with a month of secret dishes on the menu focused around the four iconic offerings that it is known for: the Chinese kitchen, teahouse, patisserie, wine and cocktails.

As we can’t resist dim sum or a reason to party, The Handbook went over to celebrate last week, when the secret dish was a dim sum platter. We headed downstairs to the main area of the restaurant and for a Tuesday night it was packed, the atmosphere was upbeat, with loud music, dark corners, bright leather chairs, constant chattering from the other diners who all looked up each time to see who else was sauntering in to dine (it’s that sort of place) whilst a tank of exotic fish running the length of the bar commanded all attention.   

Being slightly overwhelmed by the extensive menu we told the waiter to bring over whatever the chef felt liked cooking that night, which we then realised was potentially a risky move;  but with our life, well supper in their hands we sat back with a Hakka, the Hakkasan signature cocktail, a muddle of vodka, Akashi-Tai sake, lychee, coconut and passion fruit and waited.

They played it relatively safe starting us off with their best-selling dish prawn and bean curd cheung fu, a soft rice noodle roll with a crispy centre and the secret platter of dim sum; wild fungus and pomegranate, a spicy lamb and fig dumpling and our favourite, a creamy lychee scallop puff, we only wished there was more than one of each!  

This was followed by crispy aromatic duck and what they got right (along with it not being dry) was the amount of pancakes, because most places never give you enough – you’re normally presented with quarter of a duck and 2 sheets that look like they might disintegrate if you so much as look at them but not at Yauatcha it was like our basket was never ending.

Next up was ribs and ribs seem to be their thing, (Kim Kardashian was dining on them Hakkasan, their sister restaurant the same night), they were big hunks of tender meat glazed with sticky syrup.   They were accompanied by a spicy Singapore stir fry vermicelli which was bursting with prawns and squid.

We finished with coconut and blueberry macarons which were beautifully light with a  creamy filling, they are also currently offering ten new macarons for £10 throughout the month. This week it is the turn of the tea house with Senior Bar Manager Eder Neto, I could tell you what they are offering but I think it would be a much better idea if you just took a trip there yourself to find out.  

www.yauatcha.com

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:36 am | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

LINDA EVANGELISTA, NAOMI CAMPBELL, CHRISTY TURLINGTON

Girls! Girls! Girls!

September 5, 2014

Time to rub shoulders with some of the world’s most beautiful women, photographed shoulders that is, as an exhibition opens displaying the likes of Naomi Campbell, Dita Von Teese and Rachel Weisz in chic black and white photos.

Stunning shots of super-photogenic femme fatales like Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington will also be featured among the 50 photographs which can be bought from the website – so when you say you’re taking a supermodel home with you…it won’t be a lie!

The exhibition is open to the public from 16th September - 25th October 2014.

www.thelittleblackgallery.com

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 13:09 pm | Comments »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

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 »
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

Pages