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If you’re heading to the French Riviera this summer – for business or leisure – and don’t want to spend the duration with your head stuck firmly in the beach sand, check out the new blog from Burger Davis Sotheby’s International Realty. With a regular list of regional events and background to major towns in the area – from Cannes to St Jean Cap Ferrat – it’s a reliable guide to France’s most exclusive bit of coast.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (July 2010)... Fancy something a little different from the norm this July? Then check out the host of events being held as part of the Courvoisier Revolutionary Spirit campaign. From Victorian dinosaurs, spectacular sugar sculptures and pedal-powered punch to Jacobean tragedy; over the next month, the drinks company is teaming up with members of Courvoisier The Future 500 to throw weird, whacky and intriguing events across the capital.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (July 2010)... On a summer’s day, few places in west London can replicate the atmosphere of Parsons Green, the small triangular stretch of greenery off the New King’s Road. Which is surely why Cloudy Bay have chosen it for their pop-up shack, run by Tom Aikens, which takes place from 24-25 July. For just £8.50 visitors can buy a glass of wine, a specially designed Tom Aikens dish and join the stripey-shirted hordes lazing around on the leafy green.
We’re slap bang in the middle of picnic weather, and here at Square Meal we've just found out that Shoreditch's Pizza East has become the latest restaurant to offer a hamper service. Just a stone’s throw from the City, £25 can buy you a selection of wicker basket-packed deli items, with drinks to boot. However, if east London is the wrong side of town for you to pick up a picnic, read on to check out offerings from the likes of Corrigan’s Mayfair and Nobu.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (July 2010)... Fancy a taste of the Mediterranean this summer without travelling from the capital? On Sunday 25 July, Salt Yard is putting on a tasting menu of southern Italian dishes, inspired by the regional cooking of Campania, Puglia, Calabria and the country’s islands. £75 will buy you seven courses, including dishes such as red mullet with smoked confit peppers, aubergines and olives, plus matching southern Italian wines.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Although far from ground breaking, the Dorset Square Hotel has nonetheless fashioned a decent neighbourhood trattoria in the form of Osteria dell'Orologio. The site’s aimed for a charming Italian rusticity in its interiors, and more-or-less achieved it. Heavy wooden tables and displays of bread and fruit provide the backdrop for good-value food. Four courses are priced at £24, with a £10 lunch deal also popular.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Just check out the peak-time queues to see what a splash this noodle-peddling newcomer has made in Soho. Inside, a no-frills interior is the backdrop to the undoubted star of the show – the fat, Japanese udon noodles that the restaurant specialises in. Get stuck in to standout dishes such as atsu-atsu – firm, freshly made noodles in a mouthwatering hot broth – wash it down with some sake and leave with change from a £20 note.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Those familiar with Canary Wharf’s Parlour and The Refinery in Southwark will know what to expect from this new sister site in the City – stylised interiors, a heavy emphasis on quality but accessible booze and a hearty line-up of international grub. Champagne starts at £40 and is supported by a good list of Old and New World wines, while cocktails are listed by calories, and food includes the likes of Thai beef salad and linguine alle vongole.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Now under the control of London micro-brewery heroes the Meantime Brewing Company, The Old Brewery has been turned into a tasteful new café/bar that promises to be a dedicated beer-drinker's dream. Stick to Meantime’s own superb selection or pick from over 60 international beers. For the oenophiles, a short list starts at £4 a glass, and a hearty selection of lunchtime pub classics moves up a gear for the dinner crowd.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... A bright, breezy and good-value new Bermondsey trattoria, Zucca offers no-frills Italian grub to packed tables of eager locals. The interior deals in no-nonsense white walls and high-gloss furnishings, providing the backing for a concise but generous daily menu. Kick off with hearty portions of dense Italian bread and olive oil, move on to a main of roast pork on creamy cannellini beans, and finish with a moist orange polenta cake.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... The curious name of this Clerkenwell newcomer makes a bit more sense when you learn of its theme, which is an homage to everything pedal-powered. Much like the atmosphere, food and drink is kept informal – grab a coffee, a smoothie or a lager and chow down on a sandwich as you watch lycra-clad cyclists on Eurosport. The real perks are for dedicated cyclists – staff will service your brakes or gears as you grab lunch.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Once a big name on the capital’s dining scene, Joël Antunes – chef at the Michelin-starred Les Saveurs in the 1990s – is back, pitching up at the shiny new Park Plaza on Westminster Bridge. The inside of Brasserie Joel is a dark and rather forbidding affair, but a refurb is apparently on its way. Meanwhile, the cooking can be patchy, but with Antunes’ pedigree not open to debate, don’t be surprised if this steps up a gear or two in the coming months.
Listen up all those without weekend plans: in a competition exclusive to Square Meal, Mahiki Rum are giving one lucky reader and three friends the chance to win a boozy day at the Asprey World Class Cup Royal Polo at Hurtwood Park, near Cranleigh in Surrey, this Saturday. With £500-worth of cocktails, lunch at its pop-up bar, celebrity polo and entrance to the après party on offer, it’ll be a day to remember – if the cocktails let you.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Following its recent rebranding, Café a Vin – the brasserie adjoining Spitalfields’ Galvin La Chapelle – is quickly building a strong fanbase of its own. Boasting a stronger emphasis on wine, and with an exciting list featuring biodynamic and ‘natural’ wines, plus Italian- and French-inspired brasserie food – think steak tartare or escargots bourguignon – now is the perfect time to visit, with an appealing alfresco space in full swing.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... One for veggie-lovers as well as vegetarians, Amico Bio is a new Mediterranean-inspired meat-free restaurant near Farringdon. Get stuck into dishes such as rice croquettes with mozzarella and savoy cabbage or mushroom ravioli on a lentil ragout, then follow it up with the likes of apricot tart with strawberry sauce. Located on Cloth Fair, and with dishes all under £8, it’s tailor-made for a light lunch.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... A newcomer to Kensington’s Royal Garden hotel, the ground-floor Park Terrace is a worthy companion to the property’s popular Chinese Min Jiang. Boasting pretty views over Kensington Gardens and dealing in reasonably priced modern British grub, expect the likes of Cromer crab ravioli with samphire and shellfish bisque, followed by Anglesey sea bass with razor clams then raspberry flapkack with pear sorbet.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Nothing hits the spot on a summer’s day like a gin and tonic. Which is why the clever people at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen have pulled off a master-stroke by setting up a specialist gin pop-up bar in one of London’s favourite warm-weather attractions: Hyde Park. Dished out of a restored 1950s Citroën van, order a Plymouth and tonic, a Hendricks with cucumber or a pick of gin cocktails, and tuck into the restaurant’s summery menu.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... The brains at Benugo – the company behind popular haunts such as the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen – are at it again, this time installing one of their stylish, reasonably priced concepts in the Museum of London. Settle into a brown leather banquette in the 1970s-themed interior, and tuck into British comfort food such as pork and rabbit terrine with piccalilli, followed by braised short ribs then maybe a sherry trifle.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Having stomped its vast, mechanical boots across east London, parked in Clerkenwell and cleverly transformed into the guise of an easy-going, all-day diner, Giant Robot’s bid for world, or at least City-wide, domination is all going to plan. Owned by drinks impresario Jonathan Downey, expect sublime cocktails, a menu of sophisticated Italian-American diner food and the appearance of a Tiny Robot in west London sometime soon.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Following on from the phenomenal success of their Soho Italian, the brains behind Bocca di Lupo have extended their culinary charms across Archer Street and into the newly launched Gelupo – a gelateria, deli and espresso bar that bristles with all the creativity of its sister restaurant. Order a classic pistachio gelato, sip an espresso at the marble counter and leave with a bag of restaurant ingredients from the deli.
To celebrate its 250th anniversary, acclaimed Champagne house Lanson has launched a Little Black Book of Champagne, full of interesting fizz facts. Register now to get your free copy. What's more, one lucky Square Meal reader who registers for a book will even win an entire year’s supply (that's 52 bottles to you, dear readers) of Lanson Black Label.
If summer’s slipping by and you’ve still no holiday plans in place, don’t panic, accessible five-star luxury is just a phone-call away. The good people at Visit Malta have got in touch to tout some top-class deals to the sunny Mediterranean island and they are well worth passing on to you sun-hungry readers. Four offers start at £341 per person for a week’s bed and breakfast at a five-star Maltese hotel, including flights.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... The brainchild of Belgian Luc van Oostende – the man behind Le Pain Quotidien chain – and his daughter Julie, Café Luc arrives on Marylebone High Street with a stylish swagger. Done up in dark wood, brown leather and mirrors, the interior is certainly slick, even if the menu falls short of being great. Dealing in European bistro food, dishes include the likes of shrimp croquettes, onglet steak with shallots, and crème caramel.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Cocktail wizardry at its finest, Blandford Street newcomer Purl comes courtesy of three swish, young mixologists who look destined to make a mark on the drinks scene. Located in the stripped-out cellars of a former Davy’s wine bar, the site deals in imaginative cocktails such as Mr Hyde’s fixer upper, which is presented in a stoppered Victorian medicine bottle that emits a cascade of nitrogenous ‘smoke’ – all priced from £7 to £10.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... Popping back up in its rooftop Peckham location, Frank’s Café & Campari bar returns for another temporary run, this time until the end of September. Brave the gritty urban surrounds to be transported to a 10th-floor haven with sparkling City views, then relax with a glass of wine or a refreshing Campari-based drink to partner some apertivi or, from Thursday to Saturday, a more substantial dinner menu.
RECENTLY OPENED (July 2010)... With its 200-hundred year history and prime Hyde Park position, No. 5 Hamilton Place – the stately residence adjoining the Intercontinental Hotel – might seem something of a mystery to some. For the last 60 years the building has been an exclusive private casino and members’ club, and now for the first it is opening its restaurant’s doors to the public. Expect classy, French food such as Dover sole, steak tartare or roast black-leg chicken in extremely opulent settings.
What with all the sunny weather we've been having, isn't it time we all got out of the smoggy old capital and started eating further afield? If you're a keen foodie looking to dine out of town, but don't know where to start, never fear: Square Meal has trawled the length and breadth of the land in search of Britain’s 50 top regional restaurants – and here is our pick, kicking off with L'Enclume, the winner of our award for the best out-of-London eatery.