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FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Fancy an exclusive cookery class with a Michelin-starred chef? In the run up to November’s Wine and Dine Month in Hong Kong, Square Meal has got five pairs of tickets to give away to just that – a masterclass with Alvin Leung, the chef-proprietor at Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation, and cookery writer Sophie Grigson. The event takes place on 30 June at L’Atelier des Chefs in Marylebone and is only open to competition winners.
Has the recession turned Londoners into miserable stay-at-homes? Far from it. The city’s better bars are as upbeat as ever, & ‘the blues’ is making a comeback, judging by the rash of music lounges that have sprung up around town recently. Even non-aficionados will be familiar with names-to-drop such as the world-famous Ronnie Scott's or Blues at the 100 Club, but strike out from Soho for some equally sexy saloons. Whether your tastes run to Big Mama Thornton & Sonny Boy Williamson or Charlie Parker & Billie Holiday, our musical pick is aimed at those who want to go Wang Dang Doodle – as the late Koko Taylor sang it.
Summer’s here, the sun is (occasionally) out and it’s that time of year to enjoy an alfresco drink. Want a change from the usual tipples though? Summer drinks should be fruity, refreshing and designed for sharing, which is why Courvoisier has joined forces with 15 bars across London to create a variety of special punch recipes for you to enjoy. Read on to discover the bars involved and how Square Meal readers can get money off.
Have you ever felt that there are thousands of great wines out there, but that you’re not getting to see them? Well you’re right. Many of the most interesting wines don’t make it onto the high street, being snapped up instead by the country’s top restaurants. The trouble is that this isn’t much use to you if you’re looking for a wine to drink at home, or take to a friend’s dinner party. So at Square Meal, we’ve used our contacts with some of the country’s top sommeliers to put together a great case (six bottles) of wine for you.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2010)... What promises to be one of summer's hottest attractions, Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens has teamed up with Compass Group to create an offshoot of his Chelsea restaurant Tom’s Kitchen in the stately riverside setting of Somerset House. The canopied spot, formerly occupied by the River Terrace Café, boasts superb river views and a pithy menu featuring dishes such as chilled gazpacho and coronation crab salad.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Poles apart from its former incarnation as a seedy strip club, this refurbed bar and restaurant deals in honest British grub, most of it from a single organic farm in Devon. Pop in for post-work drinks and bar snacks in the ground-floor bar area, or head upstairs for the attractively executed food, with dishes such as al dente asparagus spears with hollandaise preceding the likes of roast pork with crackling, jus and apple compote.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2010)... Over the last decade or so we’ve come to learn the standards to expect from Caprice Holdings and the company’s latest venture, Mount Street Deli, doesn’t disappoint. A drop-in sandwich joint in a prime Mayfair setting, it may not be as grand as other Caprice ventures, but everything from breakfast items such as smoked salmon and organic cream cheese bagels to homemade soups, pies and sandwiches, delivers with aplomb.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2010)... Bringing the family’s famously classical approach to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Roux at Parliament Square comes courtesy of a partnership between Le Gavroche chef-patron Michel Jnr and catering giants Compass Group. Expect precise French cooking and top-notch British ingredients, with highlights including asparagus in a morel butter sauce and confit salmon with samphire and baby nasturtium flowers.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Fancy a free tapas meal for four and some top-notch bottles of cava? Well, you could be in luck: the good people at Freixenet have teamed up with Barcelona Tapas to offer readers an opportunity to win just that. One lucky reader will get the chance to treat three friends to a three-course meal at Barcelona Tapas, coupled with three bottles of Freixenet cava, including the new, premium Elyssia; while two runners up will win a case of 12 mini bottles of Freixenet Cordon Negro to enjoy over the summer.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Think formal train dining is something from a bygone era? Think again. The Orient-Express is running regular black-tie dinner events on board its British Pullman restaurant car throughout 2010 and early 2011. The train departs London Victoria at 7.30pm and travels a circuit through Sussex as guests enjoy a tasting menu with matching wines. Normally priced at £330 per person, readers can book the 24 June dinner for the special price of £264.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... If you fancy a quirky and unique foodie evening, you’ll struggle to better Bompass & Par’s Complete History of Food. Taking place from 14-18 July in 35 Belgravia Square, the Courvoisier-sponsored evening will focus on key revolutionary periods in food, including medieval, renaissance, Victorian/Edwardian and modern, with matching Courvoisier cocktails and a few outrageous installations to boot – think flooded dining rooms, enormous sugar sculptures and dinner in the belly of a dinosaur.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2010)... The brains behind Bistrotheque and its hugely successful pop-up ventures are at it again with Studio East, a very short-term restaurant above the Westfield Stratford City, which is due to run from 16 July-4 June. Bistrotheque chef Tom Collins is behind the stove, cooking a communal feast designed to celebrate the best of the English summer. An inclusive price of £75 brings you three courses plus Patrón Tequila cocktails, wine and service.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Fancy becoming something of a pâtissier? Or maybe you want to wow some friends with your barbecue skills? Well, throughout the summer, five-star Hertfordshire hotel The Grove is running cupcake and barbecue masterclasses over the weekend. For £325 per person, escape London on Saturday, enjoy a cupcake workshop at the hotel, then dinner, an overnight stay, breakfast, a barbecue workshop and lunch.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... Fancy winning a meal for two at Borough Market-based British restaurant Roast? As the winner of an exclusive competition for Square Meal readers, you could find yourself tucking into dishes such as Loch Etive trout with pea shoots, shallots and lemon, or lamb’s sweetbreads paired with fresh broad beans and lovage, while enjoying top-notch views over the hustle-bustle of London’s famous foodie mecca. To find out how to enter, read on.
Summer is at last upon us, which also means it's time to reveal the BMW Square Meal award for the Best UK Restaurant of 2010. This year, the competition has been as tough as ever, but for the first time our panel of judges had direct help from you, the Square Meal readers, via an online poll. And the winner? Seeing off competition from Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Waterside Inn, Whatley Manor, Fat Duck and Nathan Outlaw, Cumbria's L'Enclume rose to the top of the pack.
Do you have a serious hankering to jive this weekend? Well, you’re in luck. Blues bars are rushing back into fashion faster than a pair of snake hips to a jitterbug. And it’s not just Soho – home to world-famous haunts such as Ronnie Scott’s – that is seeing the funky venues spring up, but everywhere from Streatham to Dalston. Whether you want to grab a cocktail and chill out, or strut into the early hours, London's got a bar for you.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... In a rather novel idea, Cinnamon Kitchen is launching a menu made up exclusively of canapés. And frankly, we couldn’t think of a better restaurant to try such a concept, especially after the Liverpool Street Indian scooped Square Meal’s Canapé Cup last year. Four courses, consisting of 14 canapés inspired by its tasting menu, are priced at £30, or £60 with matching fizz. Who says you need a knife and fork to enjoy a good meal?
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2010)... London’s top hotels all sport very tempting afternoon tea menus, so how does the discerning tea drinker differentiate one from another? Only quaff the very best, we say, which is what you’ll get at a selection of Firmdale Hotels, which are running the Ruinart and Miller Harris Sensory Tea through the summer. Get a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne, a choice of Miller Harris teas and a mouth-watering line-up of cakes and sandwiches – all for £35.