From the horses mouth

The Handbook Blog

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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The Pantechnicon Motcomb Street

Like wine, cheese is one of those things that everyone loves, but when it comes to talking about it sometimes we are a little lost and it can’t be denied that we all secretly wish we knew what we were talking about to impress others.

Well good news, on Tuesday 18th March The Pantechnicon Rooms are hosting a cheese tasting in The Loft. Their brilliant cheese supplier – La Cave a Fromage will be hosting the night with Jeff Brown, who will be talking through all the cheeses on offer. And of course as you can’t have one without the other, you can indulge in a glass of wine or two whilst you sample the cheese.

The evening runs from 6pm – 8pm at £20pp including cheese and wine.

Been to this venue? Leave a review here

www.thepantechnicon.com

 

Posted by Emily Gray at 10:58 am | Comments »
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Inside Tonteria's LFW party

LFW Closing Party at Tonteria

February 21, 2014

Last night at Tonteria, Cristal was splashed, latex body suits were donned and eyebrows were raised at their distinctly dominatrix themed party. Marking the close of London Fashion Week, Guy Pelly and friends enjoyed champagne in VIP surrounded by catwalk models in Soft Paris lingerie and cat masks. In conjunction with Profile Model Management and PRITCH London (who introduced their new ad campaign there) this was truly an event that sizzled.

www.tonteria.co.uk

Posted by Susannah Smith at 16:29 pm | Comments »
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Far Rockaway Shoreditch

Far Rockaway Review

February 21, 2014

The first thing that struck us about Far Rockaway was its size – it is vast, a mix of low tables, high  tables, little tables, trestle tables, sofas and bars, the next thing we  noticed was just how colourful it was. Every inch is decorated, whether it is graffiti art, skateboards lining the bar, neon lit up signs huge murals of world leaders or the album artwork that is plastered all over the bathroom walls.  And yet somehow it wasn’t overwhelming or garish which is always a bonus.

The menu is unashamedly American, no fine dining here – just lots of the good American diner style food –  buckets of 48 wings, 18 inch pizzas, beef salt sandwiches all served up simply or if you’re lucky on skate boards!

We started off with a range of the small bites – mac n cheese spring rolls, corn dogs and pretzels. The mac n cheese spring rolls – were pure, unadulterated guilty food – a crisp exterior filled with mac n cheese and served with more melted cheese, we could see why they were one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Brilliant. The mini corn dogs had the perfect fluffy exterior and were served with  homemade ketchup.

As part of the ‘bites’ section of the menu we were expecting mini pretzels, but they were quite large, doughy and seemed to be missing the sea salt dusting. New to the menu they need a little bit of tweaking or to be served with a little more flavour - but I am sure they will get there.

We followed this an enormous pizza – luckily on an Italian thin crust, thick dough would have been too indulgent we went for Garbage Pie topped with USA sausage, pancetta, artichoke, onion and mozzarella and crispy sweet potato fries

Pudding was slightly disappointing; a pecan pie and key lime pie were distinctively average in flavour but an Oreo and peanut butter and chocolate milkshake definitely made up for this.

The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed - they didn’t seem to mind toddlers running in and out behind the bar and clambering over the sofas and were attentive without being overbearing.

Far Rockaway, Shoreditch, I will definitely be back, I need more of those mac n cheese spring rolls! 

www.farrockaway.co.uk

Posted by Emily Gray at 11:35 am | Comments »
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Jose Cuervo Margarita

Didn’t know National Margarita Day was a thing? Well it is! Now doesn’t February look a little better?

Falling on the 22nd of this month, Hawker House are honoring the holy day with a pop up Jose Cuervo bar serving authentic margaritas all night long. The company’s Frozen Margarita Machine will also make its debut, showing off its cocktail making skills for you all. A huge range of flavours of margarita will be on offer, ranging from the classic Strawberry Margarita to the Tamarind Margarita with Chilli Rum for the more adventurous customer. 

 

In addition the usual Hawker House street food traders will be serving up their burritos, curries and fresh Asian cuisine making this the tastiest way to celebrate our new favourite holiday. 

 

Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd February 2014, Entry free before 7pm and £3 on the door after 7pm. 

 

www.streetfeastlondon.com

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 15:15 pm | Comments »
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Savoury pancakes from the Tefal chefs

This month combine two of the world’s greatest pleasures (pancakes and shopping of course) in John Lewis’ pop up pancake restaurant. Framed in the window of the busy Oxford Street branch, chefs will cook up gourmet pancakes that will make your simple lemon and sugar option look decidedly lack lustre. 

Organised by cookware company Tefal and using their new Ingenio cookware range, the pancake will be prepared to an audience of passing shoppers before being served in the Tefal Ingenio restaurant. Officially the first pop up restaurant ever to be held in a shop window this is definitely one for the foodies among you. Lucky applicants will also get a chance to sit at the chef’s table. 


Tefal will be serving gourmet pancakes on March 3rd and 4th between 10.30am and 8pm. Available by reservation only, reserve a seat at the pop up restaurant by visiting their website.

 

www.tefalingenio.co.uk

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 13:01 pm | Comments »
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Sketch and David Bailey

In what is sure to be one of the exhibitions of the year, over 250 of David Bailey’s hand selected images are currently on display at The National Portrait Gallery until June. Bailey is a photographer famous for his truly soul bearing portraiture and this is the chance to see the work that makes ‘the famous immortal and the anonymous unforgettable’. 

In conjunction with what is sure to be an unforgettable exhibition itself, Mayfair restaurant Sketch has paired up with the gallery to create a ticket and lunch combination. Priced at £48 per person and running through to the 16th of May diners will have the chance to enjoy a seasonally chosen Gourmet Rapide menu created by chef Pierre Gagnaire and then  ,stomachs full and ticket in hand, the gallery is a mere ten minute walk away. 

 

Starters will include Butternut Squash Veloute with Saffron, Terrine of Venison and Foie Gras with Toast and mains offer up a Veal Blanquette with Ginger or a Potato Puree with Nori Seaweed. Coffee, desserts and a glass of champagne are also included. 

 

Available Tuesday to Friday 12.00-14.30 until 16 May 2014

 

sketch.uk.com

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 12:12 pm | Comments »
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The Lady L Cocktail at Rextail

Rextail Review

February 19, 2014

On one of those truly grey nights that only London can produce, Mayfair restaurant Rextail seemed the perfect place for The Handbook to hide out in. Shouldered in between Brown’s hotel and the Royal Arcade on Albermarle Street we headed down a small flight of stairs and into a chicly lit basement space where our coats were taken and we suddenly remembered the perfect cure for drizzly nights - cocktails, tapas and a healthy dose of people watching. Luckily Rextail offered all three.

Seated at one of the individual place settings along an enormous black bar we took in what Rextail had to offer. Stretching all the way to the back where an open kitchen busied away were closely packed tables where diners were enjoying a quiet Monday night dinner. The interior balanced the odd combination of fine dining with rustic touches of warm blues, worn wood and cows heads mounted on the walls. The effect was welcoming and created the perfect ambience for an evening of propping up the bar with cocktails and a selection of tasty bar tapas. 

 

The cocktail menu itself was extensive and artfully designed to combine classics with something a little different. Starting off small and figuring you can’t possibly go wrong with a mojito we tried the elderflower option which disappeared way too quickly for our liking. These soon followed with a gin based Basil and Berry cocktail featuring Tanqueray Gin, lemon, basil, blackcurrants and Creme de Framboise which cut sweet with bitter perfectly. We also sampled the Andalusia martini which turned out to be both ours and the incredibly friendly, female mixologist’s  favorite. 

 

As for the bar food, the quality and quantity easily offers up a perfect quick supper as an alternative to a sit down meal. Dotted all around us were little tasty dishes including impossibly fresh mozzarella, creamy goats cheese, piquillo peppers and a marinated artichoke and avocado salad with a sprinkling of pomegranate. There were also the heavy weight options of steak tartare and toast as well as a rich rabbit pate crossed with a sweet fig jam. Our only criticism would potentially be the service which although incredibly attentive and friendly never really gave you a moment completely on your own.

 

Rextail is a go to place in Mayfair for cocktails, fine dining and now tasty bar tapas.

 

www.rextail.co.uk

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 12:30 pm | Comments »
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