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28 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from Food and other matters of interest

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  1. The swanky new Shangri-La hotel has just opened at the Shard, the tallest building in London, and indeed Western Europe. Occupying floors 34-52, it is London’s most high-rise hotel, and one of the most anticipated new openings in the capital. On entry to the ground floor reception, high speed lifts whisk you up to the main hotel lobby on the 35th floor, which impresses with spaciousness, understated opulence (all grey marble,) and floor-to-ceiling windows wherever you look, to make the most of the fantastic views. The restaurant, Ting, occupies most of this level, along with the adjoining Ting Lounge, which serves a more casual oriental street food and British classics menu alongside an extensive drinks list...

  2. Published : Wednesday, 9th April 2014

    HKK | HKK Restaurant review- When two tribes go for lunch

    Hakkasan is now a mini global empire of glitzy fine dining Chinese restaurants and lounges, but it all started with just one restaurant, the original Hakkasan in Hanway Place, off Oxford street. When it opened in 2001, a “glamorous night out” and “going for a Chinese” were concepts with little or no overlap but, overnight, Hakkasan changed the perception of Chinese restaurants in London and the UK. Offering lavishly designed, glitzy interiors, a cool lounge bar, and soon-to-be Michelin starred high end Chinese food, it attracted both foodies and fashionistas, rapidly becoming one of the venues of choice to impress a date (just as Hugh Grant did there in the film “About a Boy”,) With such a winning formula, it was no surprise that another London restaurant was opened in Mayfair, with further openings around the world in New York, Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai etc...

  3. Published : Thursday, 5th December 2013

    One Canada Square | One Canada Square Restaurant- Brunch

    One Canada Square is the original Canary Wharf tower, and still the tallest of the bunch there, with the winking light on top of the building visible for miles around. I have fond memories of working in the building, and always found the vast, marble-clad lobby to be impressive, rather than soulless, as some seem to find it. The fact that one can imagine the climactic “lobby scene” from the Matrix unfolding there merely enhances its impressiveness. Like it or not, it is vast anyway, and ETM Group (owners of leading London gastropubs such as the Gun) have managed to squeeze in a sizeable restaurant and bar into one corner. This is a somewhat TARDIS-like interior, over 3 floors, seemingly much larger on the inside than on the outside...

  4. Published : Monday, 12th August 2013

    Galvin Café a Vin | Galvin Cafe a Vin

    Having visited La Chapelle, and able to confirm that it deserves its plaudits, it was time to try out its more casual (and less expensive) little brother. The Cafe is connected to (and can be accessed through) La Chapelle, but has it’s own entrances, with 2 main internal dining areas, and 2 terraces, one facing Spitalfields Square, and the other, more secluded terrace on another side. While supposedly less upmarket than La Chapelle, the Cafe also looks rather stylish, with a very smart brasserie style and large zinc bar inside. The terrace facing the square is bustling on a nice day, and great for people-watching, but we opted for the quieter (on a Sunday evening) side terrace (which adjoins a smart terrace for La Chapelle.) It’s a lovely space, with plenty of greenery, heaters and uplighters, and feels far from the madding crowds...

  5. Published : Friday, 26th July 2013

    Aqua Shard | Aqua Shard

    Stairs lead down from the entrance on Level 32 to the Aqua bar and restaurant below. The huge bar at the base of the atrium occupies much of the floor, with the restaurant tables to one side, facing west across the Thames to give panoramic views from the London Eye across to St. Paul’s and the City. The view alone makes a visit worthwhile, of course- you could spend hours looking out of the windows, watching little trains snaking their way towards London Bridge station, and boats cruising up and down the Thames. However, having been impressed with the quality of food at Hutong, the question was whether Aqua would match (or even exceed) the culinary excellence to be found a couple of floors above. The answer proved to be very much in the affirmative...

  6. Published : Friday, 26th July 2013

    Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill | Kaspar

    The most recent restaurant opening at the refurbished Savoy Hotel was named after the hotel’s 3 foot high feline sculpture, Kaspar, in a nice nod to the hotel’s history (and the fishy focus of Kaspar’s menu.) Occupying the space that was formerly home to the River Restaurant, the restaurant is split into a large bar and grill area, and a smaller restaurant area, with large windows providing panoramic views over the Thames. The look of the place is glitzy brasserie style, with a touch of the theatrical (in keeping with the hotel’s neighbourhood.)...

  7. The Wellesley is one of London’s newest luxury hotels, situated in a prime location in Knightsbridge, opposite Hyde Park (the former site of Pizza on the Park.)Walking into the hotel, a grand entrance hallway led to the reception of their Italian restaurant, the Oval, past the main hotel reception, and several adjoining bars and lounges...

  8. Published : Sunday, 21st July 2013

    Christopher's | Christopher

    Christopher’s American restaurant has been around for a while, a Covent Garden staple particularly renowned for their extensive American brunch menu.The restaurant (and the ground floor bar) recently reopened after a major refurbishment, which has resulted in a sleeker, glitzier look for both rooms- think 1920’s New York style. I decided to give the restaurant a go for Sunday brunch, early-ish at 12pm. When I arrived (checking in at the ground floor reception, then climbing the spiral staircase,) the restaurant was fairly empty, though it filled up in the next hour or so, as expected...

  9. Published : Wednesday, 3rd July 2013

    Outlaw's at The Capital | Outlaw

    Nathan Outlaw is a young British chef who’s made quite a name for himself as one of the country’s leading seafood specialists. Having learned his trade under the great seafood man Rick Stein, he earned 2 Michelin stars at his first restaurant in Devon. His first London restaurant opened earlier this year at the Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, tucked away on quiet Basil Street just around the corner from Harrods...

  10. The tallest building in London has just seen the line-up of restaurants on the middle floors (31-33) completed, with the opening of Hutong and Aqua Shard to the public. Both are owned by City lawyer-turned-restaurateur David Yeo as part of his 20 strong Aqua global restaurant brand, but offer very contrasting menus and ambience. Whereas Aqua provides modern British cuisine, Hutong specialises in Northern Chinese dishes, like it’s eponymous sibling in Hong Kong, and provides suitably idiomatic decor...