Category Archives: Culture

Hovarda – London

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Hovarda Interior
Soho seems to be the new hot spot for fine dining with the foodies flocking to Rupert Street for the latest hot spot, Hovarda. Nestled between Soho and Chinatown the new opening from the restaurant group behind eateries Yosma and Frescobaldi have opened their latest with dishes inspired by countries of the Aegean Sea. To be more specific the culinary delights of Turkey and Greece, but no shawarma or pitta bread in sight, instead a fresh and delicious menu with a focus on sea food, all fresh off the grill.

Upon entering you will be met by a luxurious for unpretentious setting, with a spacious restaurant on the ground floor with an open plan kitchen and grills and first floor cocktail bar, designed by architect Lázaro Rosa‐Violan.

The menu was created by Turkish chef Hus Vedat and features plenty of fare from the Aegean region so there’s plenty of fresh seafood and a daily changing menu filled with fresh catches from the British seas.

Used in both Turkish and Greek the word ‘Horvada’ refers to “a generous host with a free spirit” and that’s certainly the case with the menu on offer, with a contemporary take on traditional dishes from the region.

Designed to share meze options include raw, hot and cold options, with our favourite being the Octopus, which comes with a grape and tomato relish.  The sea bass ceviche was another highlight, which comes simply prepared with tomato, avocado and red onion but is plentiful in flavour.

Next up the menu is divided simply into land (meat and vegetables) and sea (fish and shellfish) options as a larger main.  We opted for the latter trying out the Langoustines which were generous in size and flavour and went for the equally delicious oven roasted potatoes as a side.  The helpful waiter is on hand to help you navigate through the menu if you’re not too familiar with the cuisine and there are plenty of drink options to keep you going.

Next time you hit up Soho, Hovarda is a must. If you fancy some music to accompany your evening check out their rotating schedule of live music performers, with many musicians from Turkey and Greece, a perfect soundtrack for your drink.

Hovarda
36 – 40 Rupert Street
London
W1D 6DW

For more information on Hovarda and other restaurants on Rupert Street and Soho please visit thisissoho.co.uk

 

Huawei Releases P30 Series

Tech giant Huawei chose Paris for the launch of their latest P30 range of smart phones, and we were in for quite a reveal. The latest handsets certainly deliver what you have come to expect from the brand with top notch features and abilities packaged in a sleek and eye-catching design, quickly becoming the world’s number 2 smart phone brand.

The P30 series is available in two variations, the 6.1 inch P30 and the 6.47 inch P30 Pro, both building on the P series’ core of photographic abilities, making leaps from its predecessors models.  The latest handsets capture breathtaking images and videos, to their barrel load of features, which includes SuperSpectrum Sensor, an optical SuperZoom Lens, a new Huawei Time of Flight (ToF) Camera, and enhanced optical and AI image stabilisation technology.

HUAWEI P30 Series Family

The top tier P30 Pro comes with new Leica Quad Camera System, including a 40MP main camera and the front facing camera is packed with an incredible 32MP, for that ultra-sharp selfie.  They didn’t just tell us about these new features, they showed us, with live demonstrations of zoom and low light abilities, with results putting competitors Samsung and Apple devices to shame.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, said, “The HUAWEI P30 Series is a fundamental breakthrough after decades of digital camera technology development; it will rewrite the rules and reshape everyone’s perception of mobile photography. Innovations such as the HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor and SuperZoom Lens allow us to push the envelope of both photography and videography—a frontier long overdue for disruption. The Huawei P30 Series will set the pace for the next generation of smartphones by empowering people to capture the true beauty of the world around them through a device that fits in the palm of their hands.”

Another feature that caught people’s attention was the Dual- View video, with the P30 models being able to record two perspectives of the same scene at once, using it’s multiple cameras simultaneously so you can view a long shot and zoomed in angle at the same time in the same composition.

With such abilities you might be worried about battery life, but no need, with the Pro packing a huge 4200mAh battery, and thanks to supercharge function you are able to charge from 0 to 70% in just 30 minutes so you’ll never be caught short on juice.

Not only does do the new phones perform amazingly but they also look great too, taking inspiration from nature and technology. The near bezel free bodies feature a tiny top notch for maximum screen surface area and come in Breathing Crystal, Amber Sunrise, Aurora, Pearl White and Black, Amber Sunrise, a bold and rich red proved to be the most popular id the audience’s reaction is anything to go by.

Other products announced at the launch include a line of Huawei GT watches, FreeLace wireless earphones and their collaboration with eyewear designers Gentle Monster on a collection of smart eyewear.

Prices start at £699 for the base model, and the Pro versions priced at £899 for the 128gb model or £1099 for the huge 512gb version.

For full spec and list of retailers visit consumer.huawei.com

Fenchurch Restaurant- Sky Garden London

Located on top of London’s famous ‘walkie talkie’ building, Fenchurch is the capital’s must visit for a meal with a view… and a tasty menu.

Located on the top level of the sky scrapper the restaurant offers dinners magnificent views of the city landscape, a perfect setting for either lunch or dinner.  On a recent Saturday visit for lunch we got to experience the restaurant for ourselves.

Upon entering the building you will be met with a security check, not the usual for a restaurant but the effort is worth it once the elevator doors open onto the top floor. Hereto will be met with London’s ‘Garden in the sky’ or as it is known Sky Garden, offering a lush green space nestled into an urban skyscraper. After a few minutes exploring the multi tiered garden and taking in the magnificent city views we headed to the even higher level7 were Fenchurch is located.

The warm hostess greeted up and sat in the far end, a table with dunning views over the city.  It was quite busy, with the sun making an early appearance so the restaurant was buzzing. The menu specialises in seafood with a European touch, but mainly sticks to classic and loved dishes.

To kick things off I opted for the sea trout (£12.50) to start, which comes with broccoli, anchovy and black olive, the dish was delicious and light, a highly recommended pick.

For my main I decided to move away from the seafood options and opt for my favourite meat, pork, with the Iberico pork (£28.50) that comes served with hispi cabbage, black pudding, apple and sage. Though black pudding, seemed like an odd combination it proved to be a successful one, alongside this I opted for a side of chips which were another highlight.

If you still have room for it then dessert is not to be missed. The desert selections small but covers all bases, after mulling it over I went for the strawberry cheesecake (£10.50), classic and very satisfying, with the cheese layer light and delicate on the palette.

At the waiter;s recommendation we accompanied our meal with the Rioja Reserva, Ondarre, Rioja, 2011 (£39.50), a red wine full of flavour and deep hues than went terrifically with our menu.

Located a short walk from Liverpool Street Station, Fenchurch is a highly recommended busy, with a delicious menu match by spectacular setting with breath taking city views.

Fenchurch Restaurant
1 Sky Garden Walk,
London
EC3M 8AF

skygarden.london

 

 

 

28°-50° Maddox Street – London

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Taking its name from the latitudes within which most of the world’s vineyards are located, 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen has been serving up a delicious menu on London’s Maddox Street since 2013.

28°-50° Maddox Street has one of the most unique wine lists in London, featuring a range of over 30 traditional and eclectic red and white wines available by the glass, carafe or bottle along with a modern European seasonal menu.

The restaurant is set over 2 floors with the main floor housing its Champagne bar, offering 25 different varieties.  Downstairs guests are treated to an open kitchen and wine display Both levels have seating for 50 covers and there is additional outdoor space with terraces to the front and rear for those who wish to eat al fresco during the warmer months.

The menu, created by Executive Chef Justin Leclair, together with Aggi Sverrisson, offers simple, seasonal modern European food which changes seasonally. On a recent visit we were able to try their dinner offerings.

To kick things off we went for the Seafood platter (£55), designed to share the large dish come with 1⁄2 a Lobster, 300g mussels, 6 Blackwater, 6 prawns, 300g clams, crab salad, lemon and shallot vinegar all beautiful presented in an iced platter. The prawns were a highlight perfectly paired with the shallot vinegar and a sprinkle of lemon juice. 

The mains options were all appetising but we ended up going with the Scottish ribeye weighing 220g (£19.99), the 28 day aged steak comes with béarnaise sauce, we also opted for the skinny fries (£3.95) from the sides selections. The steak was ordered medium rare and it came perfectly cooked with the  béarnaise sauce being rich and delicious.

We made room for dessert and opted for the Eton mess (£6) which comes with strawberries and raspberry sorbet. The meringue was crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, a delight.

We had a bottle of the 2008 Rioja Reserva Spanish red wine (£30) , which was recommended by the friendly waitress and was an absolute treat.

28°-50° Maddox Street is highly recommended, an unpretentious yet stylish restaurant with a delicious European menu matched by it’s equally tasty wine selection and friendly staff.  A must visit.

28°-50°
17-19 MADDOX STREET
MAYFAIR
W1S 2QH

www.2850.co.uk

Roast Restaurant – London

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Roast Interior

Nestled within the world famous Borough Market is one of London’s foodie treasures, Roast. Offering a delicious menu of British fare to Londoners since opening its doors back n 2005.  In its 12 years of business the restaurant has garnered acclaim across the UK, including a rosette in the AA guide, for its take on traditional  British dishes, headed up by chef Stuart Cauldwell.

We got a chance to visit ourselves on a recent weekend trip, though a London highlight Borough market can be super busy at weekends with tourists flooding in, however we were pleasantly surprised that while right in the centre of the hustle and bustle of it all Roast is away from the noise and crowds.  Split over two floors (it even has a lift for easier access) the restaurant is spacious with crisp white decor and huge windows filling the room up with light. Roast gives diners picturesque views of  St Pauls and The Shard, two of the capital’s most recognisable landmarks.  As it was a Sunday live music also played, providing a beautiful soundtrack to accompany your meal.

The menu is full of traditional British dishes and many of the ingredients come from Borough market itself.

We popped in for lunch and started with the Chorizo Scotch egg with piccalilli (£8.50), a hearty choice full of flavour and the chorizo adding that kick to the English staple.

With it being a Sunday we opted for the traditional roast beef as our main, which comprised of 48-Day dry aged roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, rosemary roasties and horseradish cream (£35) and an extra side of mashed potatoes (£4). We requested the beef medium rare and it was cooked to perfection and generously sized, with the large home made Yorkshire pudding crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, a highlight.

If you still have room and have a sweet tooth then we’d recommend the Bramley apple and blackberry crumble, another Brit classic, this ones comes with almonds and English vanilla custard (£7).

As well as the food Roast offers a comprehensive menu of drinks and cocktails, a favourite was the Hard Vanilla (£10) , the cocktails mixes Buffalo Trace, Amaretto, vanilla ice cream and Hakushu 12, lemon juice, cherry juice,  egg white and ground cinnamon  for a refreshing sweet concoction.

So for Londoners and visitors alike we highly recommend Roast, the perfect location for a new take on classic dishes.

ROAST
The Floral Hall,
Stoney St,
London
SE1 1TL

www.roast-restaurant.com

The Cavendish – London

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Since its launch in 2014 The Cavendish has become one of Marylebone’s much loved foodie havens, an all-day brasserie sat alongside the area’s hip and fashionable boutiques.

The restaurant offers an all day modern European menu set in a stylish old world English pub interior, with plush booth seating spread across two floors, and outside dining for when the British weather permits. The beautiful interiors are the work of Concorde Interior Design – known for designing for the likes of Tom’s Kitchen, The Botanist, and Copita.

Heading up the kitchen is chef, Douglas Santi, with over 25 years of experience in the industry, Santi began his career at the young age of 13 working for Laurent Saudeau – the right hand man of acclaimed chef Paul Bocuse.

The seasonal menu pairs the best quality ingredients with inspiration from classic French and Italian cuisine, and all at a pocket friendly price – with most menu options at below £20.

On a recent visit we got to try out the dinner menu for ourselves.

Once sat in a quiet corner of the second floor we eyed over the impressive menu to see what caught our eye. To start things off I opted for the Octopus Carpaccio (£12.80), the dish came beautifully presented – round slices of juicy octopus garnished with crisp chorizo and potatoes. The dish was light but delicious, a highly recommended starter.

For my main I had to go with the restaurant’s signature (and much instagrammed) ‘100 Layers Lasagne’ (£12). An update of the classic lasagne the recipe for this version comes straight from Chef Santi’s grandmother.  The dish again is beautifully presented, with layer upon layer of lasagne  resulting in a striking main, filling without being stodgy and full of colour and flavour.

With just about enough room to fit in dessert I opted for the Butter toffee and Pecan Praline Cheesecake (£6) which came highly recommended by the friendly waitress. Again it didn’t disappoint, sweet but not sickly with a light cheese layer and crisp biscuit base, heaven.

The Cavendish is a must visit, a delicious menu in a beautiful London location at an affordable price point, what more could you ask for?

The Cavendish
35 New Cavendish Street
London
W1G 9TR

T: 020 7487 3030
reservations@35newcavendish.com
www.35newcavendish.co.uk

Reyka Vodka takes over Hackney

Icelandic first vodka brand Reyka has arrived to the UK and to celebrate it has set up based in Hackney,  for a series of pop ups to introduce Londoners to a slice of the Icelandic way of life.

Reyka Vodka produces a truly unique product that uses the country’s own stunning environments to produce a one of a kind products, made from water comes from an arctic spring that runs through a 4,000-year-old lava field, filtered through lava rocks with a distillation process that results in a smooth and slightly fruity spirit.

Reyka uses one of the few Carter-Head stills in existence – the first and only one of its kind used to distil vodka, using the botanical basket for lava rock filtration. It is the high copper level which this produces that gives Reyka its clean, crisp taste and unparalled smoothness.

Brand Ambassador, Fabiano Latham explained: “Iceland is one of the most charming and unique lands in the world, one with distinctive provenance, people and culture, which is why we have created a spirit that captures the offbeat spirit of Iceland. We proudly embody all of the awe-inspiring offerings in our Reyka vodka production.
To celebrate their arrival to British shores Reyka Vodka will be hosting a series of events in Hackney from the 14th – 26th November, each showcasing different Icelandic traditions.

Upcoming events are…

Honeymoon – Icelandic Feast
18 to 19 November (2pm and 6pm)
£20
Reyka invites the bravest to dine with them over the weekend and enjoy an Icelandic feast, washed down with a Reyka cocktail. Tickets cost £20, which includes a Reyka cocktail on arrival and a six-dish feast.
460 Hackney Rd, London E2 9EG

Four Quarters East – Painting Peaks
18 to 19 November (12:00 noon)
Free
Grab a drink, sit back and watch street artist SELUR live paint an offbeat and surreal Icelandic landscape. Reyka Vodka invites guests to peer through the Gluggi (window) into this otherworldly landscape.
Unit 8 Canalside, East Bay Lane, Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3BS

Kansas Smitty’s – Icelandic Beats
24 November (10:30pm)
£10
Hidden in a basement deep beneath Broadway Market, Reyka Vodka will host an intimate gig supported by an awe-inspiring Northern Lights projection that will take you on a musical journey to Iceland.
63-65 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH

The Barge House – Aurora Borealis Light Projection
25 to 26 November (multiple times)
Free
Normally limited to Iceland, the land of fire, ice and elves, Reyka will present the marvel of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), via a stunning water installation down at The Barge House in Hackney, whilst enjoying a Reyka cocktail or two.
46a De Beauvoir Cres, London, N1 5RY

NUMBER 90 – Icelandic Hot Dogs
25 (5pm) to 26 November (2pm)
Free
Icelanders love hot dogs – boiled in beer and complemented by a Reyka cocktail. Pop down to Number 90 to enjoy this winter-warming Icelandic staple.
90 Wallis Road, London, E9 5LN

Visit reykaexpedition.eventbrite.com for more details and to make a booking

If you are unable to pop then then you can grab a bottle of Reyka Vodka from retailers including Waitrose,  M&S and Harvey Nichols RRP £26 for a 70cl bottle.

iSmash Expansion

ISmash offers the perfect solution to all that common problem, a smashed of phone screen.

Founded by Julian Shovlin the business not only offers an array of smart phone (and computer) repairs (from broken screens, home buttons and water damage) but does so with a quick turnaround time and with a customer guarantee, something that independent repair places can’t offer, peace of mind.

The young entrepreneur started the business in 2013 with a flagship in Chelsea, it has then grown to 20 branches in London and the UK wth ones in Manchester and Bristol opening in recent months.

We recently got to try out their services and visited the Westfield White City branch. Handing over our screen smashed iPhone 6 we came back a mere 30 minutes later to be greeted by a new looking phone , with a brand new screen fitted by the on site technician (the glass workspace allows you to see them work). Unlike most repair shops in the high street iSmash offers a work guarantee (the duration varies depending on the repair carried out) which means you have no worries about the quality of the work carried out. Our repair cost £84.99 and that included a 12 month guarantee.

In addition to iPhones iSmash offers repairs to most phone brands, including Huawei, LG, Samsung and Google pixel.

In addition to repair services iSmash also sell an extensive range of cases to make sure your screen doesn’t smash again. While many of us (myself included)  carry on using our phones with cracked screens this is not advised, as well as potentially cutting ourselves with the glass leaving it cracked could mean dirt and liquid could enter the phone which will result in further (and more costly) repairs down the line, so it’s best to get it fixed sooner rather than later.

With so many of us using our smart phones for not only calls but to organise our entire lives this fast turnaround time is perfect, reuniting you with your phone in often less than an hour, so no need to be disconnected from work, friends and loved ones.

We caught up with Julian to talk more about his business

Tell us a bit more about how iSmash started? what gave you the idea to create it?

iSmash started whilst I was at university in Ireland, where I became so frustrated with the level of service I received when getting my phone fixed that I started learning how to fix screens myself – it was at this point that I realised there was a gap in the market to take advantage of. So the concept of iSmash manifested in Dublin but I decided to launch the brand in London due to the market size and scope to attract international attention to support fundraising and growth. 

What makes the iSmash concept and service so unique, what makes it different to other high street retailers offering gadget repair services?

I founded iSmash because I felt the industry as it stood did not serve the needs of consumers, which should be at the centre of all businesses. Despite the proliferation of smartphones and other tech, those with broken technology were left with limited choices between the pricey manufacturers and the cheaper, but less trusted, street-corner independents.

 The tech-repair market was dominated by unbranded local independent businesses and was very fragmented. For consumers this only offered a low-quality repair and generally you wouldn’t get a warranty when you got your phone or tablet screen repaired. So we decided to bridge the gap with iSmash, between these types of independents and the manufacturing giants, by offering a lifetime warranty and a 30-minute repair promise at a competitive price.

Your newest store is in Bristol, what made you choose this for the latest location?
After a successful initial launch in London, we knew the logical place to take iSmash was to influential cities across the UK. Opening on Broadmead, right in the centre of the city, means we’re now placed in a high-footfall, iconic location at the heart of the community.

 Are you looking to expand further? specially beyond London?
Our aspiration is to establish iSmash as the market leader for tech repairs in the UK. We first launched the brand in London but have since expanded to Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol in recent months. We will be opening in key locations in Leeds and Brighton next, as well as to further commuter and tourist hotspots in the capital.

 What’s next for iSmash?
Our vision is to be the trailblazer of the international tech repair market by providing our customers with the fastest, most convenient and professional tech repair service. We will have 28 stores across the UK by the end of 2017 and have plans to open 50+ stores nationwide by 2019.

So if your phone needs a quick fix then pay iSmash a visit ismash.com

 

Lights of Soho presents “Be Illuminated” by Papi

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Artist
Roger Taylor AKA ‘Papi’ has opened his latest exhibition “Be Illuminated!” in the Capital at Lights of Soho. 

The self taught artist works with the medium of light so what better venue than the capital’s leading light-art gallery.


Papi started his journey training as an actor in New York at the acclaimed Lee Strasbourg theatre institute where he studied his craft for several years. He then moved onto working as a creative director for some of New York’s hottest night clubs creating sets for their weekly shows.

Thereafter moving to Manchester to set up his own design studio where he uses traditional tools and methods to hand sculpt metal and form a fusion light and art with his work exhibited from London to Tokyo.  Most pieces are one of a kind of extremely limited so this is your chance to see his work up close and snap one up yourself.

Remarking on his debut neon collection Papi says:
“I am so excited to working with Lights of Soho on this show. Prepare to BE illuminated!” 

Hamish Jenkinson, Curator at Lights of Soho, said;
“In 2016 we showcased Papi’s angel wings and they took social media by storm. This year Papi is back with a full show and I cannot wait for him to transform the gallery in to a fairy-tale land with mermaids, exotic animals, angels and more light splendour.”


“Be Illuminated!” will be available to view until May 13
th
at Lights of Soho. All pieces on display at the exhibition will be available to purchase.

 

https://www.LightsofSoho.com