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Archive for April, 2011



London Calling

Jonathan has already touched upon the well-publicised forthcoming nuptials of a young lady named Kate and a certain chap called Will (or maybe it's Bill?). As such, London will be buzzing with folk who've caught a dose of Wedding Fever - and since all eyes will be on the UK capital, we felt it was a good opportunity to let the locals or holidaymakers in the city know about our latest London newcomers to the site!

 

First up is Nova Bar and Grill, which is a laid-back yet modern restaurant handily located near the Marble Arch and is just off Oxford Street. Offering British cuisine with an Oriental twist, guests can relax and enjoy a cocktail or two in the bar after a hard day's work (or shopping!).

Next up is Ascots Bar and Restaurant on Oxford Street, where diners can relax in luxury. It's not far from the Bond Street and Oxford Street Underground stations and is decked out with leather furniture and wooden panelled walls and wooden floors. Using only the best British ingredients, it's perfect for a peaceful or romantic evening away from the hustle and bustle.

Located just moments from it's namesake, Leicester Square Bar and Restaurant is a stylish and modern establishment furnished with cream leather seating and original art adorning the walls. With a contemporary menu featuring a great range of fish and seafood and British Meats, the restaurant aims to please your palate with simple dishes created with passion.

Fashionable Covent Garden is host to the chic and sophisticated Dial Bar and Restaurant, which serves contemporary British favourites with a modern twist. Furnished with a mix of luxurious chocolate leather and aubergine velvet, its sleek tables and deep sofas make it an ideal place to chill out.

Azura Restaurant and Bar is located in London's Canary Wharf, and boasts terrific views of the river. With it's own cocktail bar for guests to visit for a drink before or after their meal, the food itself is seasonal with menus designed to showcase British produce at its best.

And last but by no means least, we welcome Hampshire Bar and Restaurant, which is a contemporary establishment with classic mahogany panelling and sumptuous crushed velvet sofas, and can be found on Leicester Square, in the heart of theatre and cinema land. Ideal for business or pleasure, the popular menu fuses Mediterranean influences with modern British cuisine. You might even spot a celebrity while you're there!

 

Phew. Think it's time for an ice lolly now, since Spring seems to have sprung! :)



Scotland le best

Dominic Jack of Edinburgh's Castle Terrace and Alain Soliviere of Restaurant Taillevant in Paris get to grips with some Scottish langoustines

There was a nice pat on the back for Dominic Jack, chef at Edinburgh's Castle Terrace, when he was recently visited by his old employer and mentor, Alain Solivérès.

Chef Solivérès, the current holder of two Michelin stars, spent eight years training and mentoring Dominic Jack at the well posh Restaurant Taillevant and Hotel Vernet in Paris, where Dominic held the position of Sous Chef.

Solivérès was rather complimentary about the quality of Scottish produce.  At his restaurant in Paris, Solivérès champions Scottish produce including langoustine, lobster, scallops, beef, lamb, grouse and even talked of his love for haggis.

He says: 'I have travelled the world, from New York, to Hong Kong and now to Scotland and the one thing I have learnt is that regardless of where you are in the world, if you are cooking with fresh, local, seasonal produce - living and breathing excellence – that’s the making of a great chef and outstanding restaurant. Scotland has a tremendous chance to be up there with the world’s best restaurants having all the best produce at its doorstep.'

As well as being anointed as a Michelin Rising Star, Castle Terrace was awarded the Newcomer of the Year award at the Scottish Restaurant Awards earlier this year. In the vid below, Ross from the restaurant explains a little about the aims of the new Edinburgh venue.



More wedding fever

Union Jack grundies: the appropriate way to support the wedding

Bars and restaurants in Scotland face a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to next week's royal wedding. There are plenty of Scots who want to mark the occasion, perhaps ironically, perhaps not.

However, not many people up here are likely to be hanging out the bunting and digging out the Union Jack underwear.

The blog liked the cool approach of Glasgow's Lucky 7 Canteen who have produced a Royal Wedding menu apparently after being tipped off by one of the Buckingham Palace butlers. Their menu, which costs a lucky £17.77 is here.

We also liked their newsletter which points out that Kate Middleton seems like a nice girl and that 'if it all goes a bit Fergie for her then she can grab a couple of shifts with us'.

Sticking with the wedding, Dean's@Let's Eat in Perth is offering a 15% reduction on your bill if you can prove that your name is Kate or Will.

If you aren't blessed with a blue blooded name then fear not; 5pm can still bag you a bargain. Opus One and The Bothy in Perth are both running tasty deals.



Drink like a royal

I'll have what he's having, etc

Last wedding post for today. We promise.

Those naughty boys at BrewDog have produced a special edition beer to commemorate the royal wedding. It's called the Royal Virility Performance and is said to contain Viagra as well as several other aphrodisiacs.

You can get the full story on their website here. Expect lots of 'Arise Sir Willy' and so on.



Eat like a royal Pt II

Mark Greenaway restaurant at Hawker and Hunter will be hosting a royal banquet

Edinburgh's Hawke and Hunter is getting into the swing of the imminent big day with a royal banquet and the chance to win a sparkler of a prize.

In the Mark Greenaway Restaurant, the eponymous chef will prepare a three course banquet including a glass of champers for £50 per head while the cocktail bar is having a right old royal knees-up with champagne cocktails, wedding cake and goodie bags from the Lime Blue diamond store.

One of the goodie bags is said to contain something rather sparkly.

Both events take place on Friday 29 April.



Eat like a royal

I've pinched this diagram from a BBC piece on the etiquette of not behaving like a turnip-munching serf should you find yourself unexpectedly invited to the royal wedding bash.

Soup spoon? Check. Bread cutlery? Check. Water glass, red wine glass, white wine glass? All check but what's that to the bottom right of the white wine glass? Is it a can of beer or an ashtray? Is this Prince Harry's place setting?

While on the subject of the forthcoming royal nuptials, the blog has been enjoying a press release from the British Trout Association which has ingeniously managed to engineer a link between the 'wedding of the year' (TM all newspapers) and the rather less glam subject of trout fishing.

Apparently, trout eggs used to be shipped to Africa to found recreational fish farms. The WillKat are said to have visited one such fish farm on Kenya's Lake Rutundu shortly before he popped the question.

They caught nothing.

More fast-breaking trout news here.

 



New Italian in Edinburgh

Caciopepe has set up shop in the Hanover Street premises which used to house The Patio, another Italian restaurant which had done good business on the site for donkey's years.

It's an interesting little stretch, that block between George and Queen Street. As well as a half dozen Italian restaurants, including 5pm member Grand Cru, there is Urban Angel, a Chez Jules, 99 Bar, the late night delights of Garibaldi's; the cracking Spanish Tapa; Yes Sushi; two of David Ramsay's Dogs restaurants; the venerable Hendersons and, just around the corner, the cracking Bramble cocktail bar.

Caiopepe adds an extensive menu of Italian trattoria favourites to the cosmopolitan mix.



Limelight switches on

The Limelight opens today

All being well, the Limelight Bar and Grill should open today on Waterloo Street.

Part of the Hotel Indigo, it is the brainchild of Maurice Taylor who runs La Bonne Auberge restaurants.

Exec Chef Gerry Sharkey is the cat in the hat supervising the kitchens and he has come up with a good looking menu.

Among the starters are a white crab and potato tian; a shellfish bisque with prawn dumplings and a rouille plus a wild mushroom fricassee served with Portuguese cake and rocket.

As well as a handsome aged steak section, the main course goodies include a crispy duck salad and Cajun monkfish roasted on the bone.

Without wishing to perpetuate any awful gender stereotypes, it looks likely that the six pot dessert banquet at £12 will be a hit with ladies who lunch and then fancy a little snooze in the afternoon.

Dessert pot choices include cherries in kirsch; sherry trifle, low fat raspberry cranachan and a choc mousseline with Glayva syrup.



Mitchell’s Deli opens in St Andrews

Mitchell's will go big on local produce such as smokies

A couple of weeks back, we told you about G1 opening their Mitchell's Deli and Cafe in St Andrews. We knew a bit about it then but we didn't know when it would happen.

Now we do.

It should open on Monday 18th April.

The venture takes its name from Murray Mitchell's Butcher shop which previously occupied the Market Street premises. Apparently, the building had been known as Mitchell's since nineteenoatcake and G1 figured it was best just to go with the flow and keep the name alive.

You can see copies of their menu here. The blog has dibs on their pork and apple pie, especially since it comes with picalilli, a condiment which is delicious to eat but a complete 'mare to spell.

The plan is to open a branch of G1's popular Bothy restaurants in the space behind Mitchell's around June/July.

 



Best Service Award Winners: Two Fat Ladies

Tam Cowan presents Ryan James with the Best Service Award

The Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery scooped the Best Service Award at the recent Scottish Restaurant Awards.

It's not the first time that the team has won that particular gong. You can find out their winning formula from this backstage interview in which the management team of Ryan James and Des Mullan talk about the way they have founded their service on the proper, old school way of doing things.

 

The Two Fat Ladies group of restaurants specialise in fish. An ongoing aim is to open their own retail fish shop at 86 Dumbarton Road, next door to the original Two Fat Ladies restaurant.

That particular dream is still to come together but, in the meantime, they plan to open an offbeat art gallery in the space. Apparently, large swathes of the Two Fats team are not just dab hands at restaurant service but they are also rather handy in the art department.

While the fishmonger shop hasn't quite got off the ground, that hasn't stopped the Two Fats organisation from moving further up the seafood supply chain.

They recently bought into a firm called The Scottish Fishmonger and are supplying their restaurants from the company. Eating fish obviously does make you brainy.

If you want to see what award-winning service is like and enjoy some of Scotland's finest seafood then sample menus for Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery are on their 5pm page.

 



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