From the horses mouth

The Handbook Blog

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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Holi at The Cinnamon Kitchen

Holi In The City

February 19, 2014

The brightly coloured Indian festival of Holi falls next month on the 17th March and for us it couldn’t come sooner. Embracing the celebrations,  restaurant The Cinnamon Kitchen will be putting on a varied agenda to banish those grey skies and sodden streets for good. 

Kicking off with a chance to go a little bit crazy, don a protective suit and step into a ‘paint throwing party pod’ which will take residence between the 11th and the 22nd of March in Devonshire Square. Basically doing what it says on the tin this is the perfect chance to celebrate the festival of colour with a hedonistic session of throwing paint at each other. Ideal!

 

Following up these energetic celebrations, The Cinnamon Kitchen will take a turn for the tasty with a five course Holi feast. Priced at £45 per person enjoy a starter of chargrilled sprouting broccoli with almonds and rose petals followed by an interesting lotus stem korma or enormous tandoori king prawns in a coconut and mustard curry. Traditional Holi sweets of carrot halwa parcels and slices of coconut and pistachio cake will finish the meal.

 

Also on offer for the duration of the festivities are exclusive brightly coloured Holi cocktails. This special menu will include the 'Holika Fire', a concoction of Applejack, fresh lime and homemade grenadine and the 'Neela Heera' of Broker’s Gin, Maraschino Liquer, Creme Yvette and fresh lemon.

 

Tickets are £8 per person or £15 with a Holi cocktail and canape. 50 pence of this will go as a donation to Coexist, a charity empowering children and women.

 

www.cinnamon-kitchen.com

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 10:44 am | Comments »
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Cocktails at The Dorchester

The Handbook Competition

February 18, 2014

The Handbook has teamed up with Zomato and is giving away an £80 bar tab at The Dorchester to one lucky person!

The Dorchester is known for its luxurious style and is a favourite amongst A list celebrities. The bar boasts food treats like Goujons of plaice, Wagyu burger and a Mosaic of octopus. Let’s not forget about the sweeter end of the menu with dessert options like Marinated strawberries with lemon sorbet, and Deep pan chocolate pizza. The bar of course also offers an extensive list of vintage wines, classic cocktails and stunning champagnes.

All you need to do to be in with a chance to win is head to our Twitter page @thehandbooknews and retweet our competition tweet. The lucky winner will be announced on Friday!

 

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 13:10 pm | Comments »
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Asian 'Dog' at Dirty Bones restaurant

Dirty Bones Review

February 18, 2014

Dirty Bones is a restaurant full of surprises, from its location in High Street Kensington where it is hidden away like a speakeasy, to the menu, which seems simple at first glance but hides very indepth preparation. 

We almost didn’t see the entrance as it only takes up a couple of doors width but once we had made our way down the darkened stairs we were surprised at how big it was, enough room for a bar and seating area plus a decent sized restaurant. The bar serves cutely named drinks like Deputy Dog and Mutt’s Nuts but the unsurprisingly clear winner was the Top Dog, a delicious mix of vodka, fresh strawberry, Chambord, Jaio prosecco and lemon.

The menu is uncomplicated with 6 ‘Dog’ options and 3 ‘Bones’ options plus various side dishes, all hotdogs are available in beef, pork or veggie. The hotdogs have been given specific toppings which they don’t advise you interchange as they have been purposefully chosen to give the best bite for bite flavour. A must have is the Burger Dog with aged bavette and beef fat mince, beer cheese, frenchies mustard and ketchup. The hotdogs are served individually and can be eaten on their own but why not make a meal out of it with a side of Triple cooked chips or Mac’n’Beer cheese? Although emphasis seems to be on the hotdogs you need to eat ribs, emphasis on the need. Delicious, flaky, melt in your mouth ribs slathered in BBQ sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions, they are onto a real winner.

Keeping up the simplistic menu style there are only 3 dessert options, one of them being an espresso. The Milk and cookies is actually a chocolate cookie served with milk gelato in a glass with a straw, and the Coffee and doughnut is a doughnut with coffee gelato. The milk gelato cuts a creamy relief of the strong chocolate cookie, complimenting each other well.

www.dirty-bones.com

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 10:54 am | Comments »
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Women's Klassik watch from Skagen

Luxury jewellery brand, Skagen, have recently brought their slick Danish designs to the UK with two new shops in the Westfield shopping centres. This happens to coincide nicely with the reveal of their Spring 2014 Watch Collection which is available for men and women. The Scandinavian minimalistic style is represented throughout the line and even in the store with bright, airy spaces and clean lines.

Last night we attended the Skagen launch with flowing Champagne and outstanding macaroons, where we perused the stunning new collection for ourselves.

The Spring line has 3 watches for men and women respectively, in an Aktiv or Klassik style, the Klassik is only available for women. The focus of the Klassik watches is simplicity and functionality, with a simple two hand watch movement and elegant look. The men’s Aktiv watches have bold, statement colours like orange and red, taken from the brightly coloured fishing nets along the Skagen coastline. They also have a functional chronograph or a simple three-hand-with-date movement as well as being water resistant.

The Spring collection is available now in stores and online.

www.skagen.com 

Posted by Charlotte Knight at 14:44 pm | Comments »
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Place settings at Plateau

Join Plateau as they unite with Devaux Champagne for another of their famous wine dinners. Recently voted as one of the ‘top trending champagnes’, to taste this upcomer on the champagne scene in what is guaranteed to be a night of fine dining. 

Created by head chef Allan Pickett, Plateau’s  four course menu features dishes that will balance delicately with  the individually selected champagnes for each course. Guests can start with a tartare of Loch Duart salmon, chives, salmon caviar and pickled cucumber with a Collection D- Le Rose before winding through to a raspbery and white chocolate delice where the sweetness matches perfectly with a Cuvée Rosée. 

 

The evening will be held on Monday 24th February at 7.30pm and the tickets are £70 per person

 

www.plateau-restaurant.co.uk

Posted by Susannah Smith at 12:24 pm | Comments »
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The Holi Lunch Boxes at Carom

Holi Celebrations at Carom

February 14, 2014

Despairing at what is looking to be an eternal winter? Never fear, as the Indian festival of Holi is just around the corner to brighten up our March for good! Head down to Soho based Pan-Indian restaurant Carom to sample their vibrant new menu in honour of the Hindu festival of colour. 

Between the 17th and 21st of March specially designed ‘Holi Lunch Boxes’ will be on offer including a variety of small dishes that will  make an interesting alternative to your usual lunchtime fare. Created by executive chef Vishnu Natarajan the boxes will include a purple Dhaba Salad with Asian Vinaigrette and a spiced Tandoori Roasted Pappad Cone with bite sized Mini Paratha garnished with ruby red bell peppers. The vibrant colours continue with a brightly hued Dal Saagwala with fresh spinach, cumin and garlic and a crowning glory of Chicken Malai Tikka which glows gold in the centre of it all. Make sure to leave room for a deliciously dark, Mahogany Sticky Toffee Pudding. 

 

Not restricted just to lunchtime, Carom’s Tea Light Lounge will be decorated with tons of candles, jars of vibrant powder and atmospheric rainbow coloured pools. Holi's bright colours even spread to  a new cocktail menu, with the special Holi Cocktail including passionfruit, apple, blueberry, lemon juice and a large splash of Brockman’s gin. 

 

Both the lunch boxes and the Holi cocktails are priced at £7.50

 

www.caromsoho.com

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:12 am | Comments »
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Information about 'A Wedding Journey'

Officially hailed as ‘the most romantic building in London’, where better than the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel to start your wedding planning for 2014 ? Take the chance to see whether the venue is right for you with the hotel's all encompassing 'Wedding Journey' that will display their full wedding package. 

During this journey, couples will be able to visit the hotel’s key event spaces and be able to ask the planners any questions they might have about the venue. The tour will include the prime photograph location of the Grand Suitcase before being led through to The Gallery where they can imagine themselves walking under an aisle of crystal chandeliers. Other hotspots include the historical Ladies Smoking Room where a champagne and canapé reception will let potential couples view what a pre wedding reception will look like. Finally the Hansom Hall is transformed into a dinner and dance venue letting guests have a good idea of how their evening might end.

 

In addition to the tour, preferred suppliers of the hotel will be in attendance. With such bespoke names such as Pinstripes and Peonies florists, Abigail Bloom Cake Company, and Mark Bothwell photography this is a real chance to tick some items off of your to do list. Enjoy a relaxed day of wedding planning in expert hands. 

 

Sunday 9th March 2014, 11am to 5pm

 

www.marriott.co.uk

 

Posted by Susannah Smith at 11:10 am | Comments »
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