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FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (February 2009)... Did you know Spain is currently reckoned to be one of the most exciting countries in the world for wine? Come and discover why at the Wines from Spain exclusive tasting. Tickets cost just £15 and include the opportunity to taste over 150 wines from key Spanish regions, plus a glass of cava on arrival, wine walks and advice from experts, tapas and live music. Click here to find out more.
RECENTLY RELAUNCHED (February 2009)... It's all change at Kettner's. The Soho institution and one-time favourite of Oscar Wilde has had a complete overhaul. Out go the cheap pizzas, in comes upmarket brasserie fare – think leek and Gruyere tart or steak frites – served in surrounds that blend modern with vintage. There's a Pudding Bar for the sweet of tooth, while fizz fans will be relieved to find that the Champagne list is as impressive as ever: some things, you don't mess with.
Who needs the BAFTAs or the Booker Prize? Here at Square Meal, we have our very own award, for the best reader review. Ever since My Square Meal was launched, amateur critics have been posting comments on our restaurant pages. And today we can reveal that the winning review for winter ’08 was by Robert B (pictured, left). He has won a £300 meal for two and has opted to spend it at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. For the chance to win the next prize, post your comments by 25 April 2009.
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... What more could you ask for in a new restaurant than an oyster bar, a deli and three private rooms? How about a butcher’s counter with meat supplied by the Ginger Pig and a John Norris fishmonger stall in the adjacent courtyard. The idea at The Commander is that diners choose their cut and variety of meat or fish, pay market price for it and then pass it on to the kitchen to be jazzed up with sides and sauces at a £10 premium. There’s also an a la carte menu and wines by the glass, carafe and bottle.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (February 2009)... All good things must come to an end, and so it is that the game season draws to a close. For one last hurrah, head to The Cinnamon Club on Wednesday 18 February for an evening hosted by executive chef Vivek Singh and England rugby player Tom Voyce (pictured, left). With cocktails, canapes, a four-course game dinner and a few hunting stories, it promises to be a great end to the season. For a chance to win a pair of tickets (worth £60 each), email your name and number to [email protected] by 10 February.
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... Remember those helter-skelters at Tate Modern? The artist, Carsten Höller, likes people to interact with his work, as seen in his latest project, The Double Club. Supported by Fondazione Prada and with proceeds going to charity, its intention is to give visitors a dual perspective of the world from two different standpoints: Western, and Congolese. Thus, music, art, and cooking is drawn from both cultures: think spiced goat stew alongside French-inspired wild boar terrine, ahead of throbbing beats on the dance-floor.
It’s national chip week. And, here at Square Meal, we like nothing better to accompany our crispy-on-the-outside and fluffy-on-the-inside chips than some salt, a sprinkling of vinegar and a pearly piece of battered fish. So why not work your way around our top 10 places in London for fish and chips. You’ve got until Sunday 15 Feb for an excuse to try them all.
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... Cor, blimey. If this is a 'caff' then things have come a long way in the capital's dining scene. For Albion, the ground floor eatery in Conran’s new Boundary complex, calls itself just that. And with a long, light-filled dining room and good-value school dinner cooking (think boiled beef & carrots, shepherd’s pie, and egg custard), who's going to argue? There are even pots of tea in woolly brown cosies: granny would approve.
DATE FOR THE DIARY (February 2009)... It's that time of year again: the ankle-biters are out. Half-term means that those of you suddenly blessed with several extra hungry mouths to feed may be tearing your hair out over where on earth to go. Never fear, Square Meal is here. Our list of family-friendly restaurants takes in old favourites as well as a few spots you may not have tried yet. It's never too early to get your tots interested in eating out.
DATE FOR THE DIARY... Join celebrated chefs Vivek Singh of The Cinnamon Club (pictured right) and Eric Chavot of two-Michelin-starred The Capital (pictured left) at a charity dinner in aid of the Mumbai terror attack victims. On Thursday 5 March the two chefs will be cooking up a five-course meal at The Capital, with all proceeds going to The Oberoi Care Fund. Tickets cost £500 per person and can be purchased by emailing [email protected].
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... Docklands workers and residents with a taste for high-end Indian cuisine may have felt left out by last year's spate of new openings – from the arrival of Mumbai favourite Trishna in Marylebone to the launch of Cinnamon Kitchen in the City. No more. Newcomer Dockmaster's House brings distinctive fine-dining Indian cooking to E14: think duck samosas with apple and ginger chutney or rack of lamb with cumin-creamed potatoes.
DATE FOR THE DIARY (February 2009)... According to model-turned-make-up artist Jemma Kidd, models do eat more than lettuce leaves and Diet Coke. To prove the point, she’s created a menu to run during London Fashion Week (20-25 February) at Chelsea restaurant Papillon. The three-course menu – featuring pea risotto and rack of lamb – costs £25, including a £5 donation to Children with Leukaemia and a goodie bag for each diner.
DATE FOR THE DIARY... Provenance is the buzzword du jour and nowadays everyone wants to know where what they’re eating comes from. For the ultimate in traceable meals head to the Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa on Thursday 12 March for a menu crafted entirely from local Sussex produce. Highlights include Selsey lobster canapés, roast local lamb, Sussex cheeses and wines from Bookers Vineyard in Bolney. The five-course meal costs £80 per person.
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... London may already be home to many a fine tapas joint but we’re pleased to announce that there’s newcomer that’s joined the fold. Iberica London opened quietly last autumn, but has already scored a hit with local workers and London’s Spanish community. Its early popularity is no doubt due to a combination of friendly staff, upbeat atmosphere and innovative, well-crafted tapas. There’s also an eye-catching array of hams and cheeses to eat in or takeaway.
RECENTLY OPENED (February 2009)... What better time for superstar restaurateur Alan Yau to open a second branch of his cheap and cheerful Chinese noodle bar, Cha Cha Moon, than right in the middle of the credit crunch? The newcomer, situated on the second floor of Whiteleys shopping centre in Bayswater, serves up big bowls of prawn wonton noodle soup and plates of Singapore fried noodles for around a fiver – much like its Soho sibling.
Forget trawling newspapers, cutting out coupons or printing off vouchers – now you can book restaurant special offers directly through www.squaremeal.co.uk. Simply click on the Special Offers tab on the right-hand side of this page and you’ll find great deals in over 200 restaurants nationwide. Today’s top picks include 50% off at Galvin at Windows, 40% off at Patterson's and three courses for £19 at Coq d'Argent.
DATE FOR THE DIARY... Argentinian wine is all the rage. To learn more and sample some yourself, why not take advantage of our exclusive reader offer. Square Meal readers are invited to attend one of the Tuesday evening wine-tastings being hosted by Corney & Barrow. These intimate and informal evenings will allow you to enjoy eight different wines, seven of which will come with individual food matches. What’s more, rising star sommelier Will Buckland will be on hand to guide you through the selection and answer any questions. Tickets are limited – to book at the special price of £19.50pp, please call 020 7265 2500 or email [email protected].