Category Archives: Culture

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

Gyoza Bar – London

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Located in the heart of the ever popular Covent Garden,  Gyoza Bar offers some of the best Japanese cuisine in the capital.

Gyoza Bar offers a limited menu, but it consisting of just Gyoza, Ramen, Bao Bun and a few selection of small plates.  Only local organic ingredients are used and the Ramen and Gyoza are all made on site using original Japanese equipment and all made to a traditional recipe.

On a recent visit we got to try out some of their lunch menu for ourselves.

Upon entering the restaurant you are met with stripped back interiors –  wooden floors, simple tables and open brick walls, with dimly lit low hanging lighting, modern but with a Japanese twist.

Like its interiors the menu too is on the minimal side with each dish having 6 or less varieties to choose from.

For those not familiar with Gyoza they are small dumplings filled with a choice of meats, salmon or vegetables and all featuring a delicious array of chilli oil, garlic vinegar and usami soy to name a few. They come deep fried, pan fried or steamed and can be combined.

To start off we opted for the deep fried  Salmon Gyoza (£7.50), they were delicious, with a crisp casing and fluffy salmon centre, dipped in chilli oil they are a dream.

Next up was the ramen selection, in the end we went for the Char Siu variety (£11) which come Served with Japanese char siu pork, shoyu tamago, spring onion, broccoli stem, beansprout, Japanese fish cake. The dish portion is very generous and perfect if you are after something comforting and hearty to eat. The broth was delicious and pork full of favour (I ordered an extra portion of Pork Char Sui), one of the tastiest ramen dishes we’ve had in London.

If you still have room I recommend the Crispy friend ice cream for dessert (£4.50) the vanilla ice cream ball is covered in batter and deep friend and comes served with maple syrup, sounds a bit odd but believe me it was delicious, tasty but light.

Gyoza has a wide array of drinks from sumptuous wines, bespoke cocktails mixed to perfection and for those wanting an exclusively Japanese experience you can of course have either Japanese beer or Sake.

If you want to see the Gyoza chefs in action then just book yourself a ringside seat at the restaurant as all the food is prepared and made right in front of you in a open plan kitchen.

A delicious menu, hip interior and all at pocket friendly prices… a must.

Gyoza Bar
63-66 St Martin’s Lane,
Covent Garden,
London
WC2N 4JS

www.gyozabar.uk

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

Buddha Bar – London

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness Restaurant - Buddha 4 Stairs - Down 1 Ground Floor - Bar Area 3 PaparazziVIP-24 Stairs - Up

Located a stone’s throw from the famous Harrods department store in London’s Knightsbridge district is one of the capital’s most lively sushi restaurants, Buddha Bar.

The restaurant serving and extensive  dinner, brunch and afternoon tea menu along with vast bar options, with top notch mixologists prepare delicious cocktails. 

The split level restaurant offers pan-Asian cuisine, though its sushi options are its highlight. Dinner is a must with a huge selection of handmade sushi and sashimi. The fresh fish selection includes Blackened Cod and Roasted Chilean Seabass or alternatively the Wagyu beef fillet with truffle butter is the ultimate treat. All dishes are delivered to the highest standard and expertly cooked with an Asian twist by the team of chefs lead by Ravi Vydya.

On a recent visit we were able to try some of the dishes ourselves.  Designed to be a sharing experience we opted for a few dishes to get a feel for the menu with the guidance of the very helpful and friendly waitress.

To kick things off we opted for the , Chilli salt crispy baby squid , Rock shrimp  and the restaurant’s signature Buddha-Bar chicken salad.  The rock shrimp is served with a tasty creamy sauce and were perfectly cooked, crispy batter exterior with a soft flesh inside.

For mains we opted a selection of different sushi and sashimi, including the spicy tuna and salmon, the sushi rolls came beautifully presented, a feast for the eyes as well a the palette. The fish was fresh and rice delicious.

The more adventurous rolls include the spider, soft shell crab which was a highlight, a full roll with light and crispy crab.  We also opted for another signature dish, the Buddha-Bar roll, mixed sashimi wrapped in cucumber with a creamy sesame sauce

Alongside food Buddha Bar  is knows for its comprehensive cocktail selection which we also got to try, each priced from £15.

Favourites include the Blue Knightsbridge – Hennessy Fine de Cognac, Diplomatico reserve, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, peach bitters and angostura bitters. The mix was fresh and strong with the ht of ginger making it very memorable.   Another favourite was the Bubble Wap – a strawberry & raspberry puree, rose liquor, elderflower liquor, touch of Belvedere vodka and topped up with Champagne, a refreshing and strong option.

Dinner was a truly wonderful experience with every  dish a delicious experience, the restaurant is winner of the Best Restaurant Bar at London Club & Bar Awards in both 2014, 2015 and 2016, this shows in the high quality food and great friendly service.  Atmosphere is offered in heaps and bounds with live music entertainment available during the weekend, a perfect venue to take friends and loved ones, a must visit.


Buddha Bar & Restaurant
145 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PA
http://buddhabarlondon.com

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

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

 

 

 

Savini At Criterion Restaurant London

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Bringing a touch of Milanese glamour to London’s picadilly is Savini at Criterion, a restaurant with a rich 150 year history.

Dating back to 1867, Savini is Milan’s most famous restaurant, a dazzling venue where Verdi, Puccini, Callas and Sinatra all came to dine.  Owned by the Gatto family, who also own the 5 successful branches of Gran Café in the city, decided on picadilly as the perfect location to migrate the restaurant from Milan to the English capital.  The striking Grade II-listed The Criterion building houses the restaurant against a backdrop of timeless opulence designed by Royal Albert Hall architect Thomas Verity, this neo-Byzantine dining room and bar, with its gold ceiling and marble columns, a truly opulent setting.

The Italian restaurant offers an all day menu, catering to diners from breakfast to dinner with a menu of seasonal and traditional Italian fare, all produced and handmade on site from scratch.

On our visit we were able to try dishes from their dinner menu.

To kick things off I started with the 18 months cured Parma ham and melon (£16.50) , a simple but tasty dish, a light option to allow for a more indulgent main. Beautifully presented the dry cured ham is rich and salty, balanced out perfectly with the sweet melon segments.

Mains include Pasta, rice, salads, meat and fish options, my eye immediately wondered to their risotto selection – opting for the Squid ink version which comes with sautéed tub gurnard and fresh basil (£21.50) . At first glance the portion seemed small but it is deceiving as it is very filling, the glossy black rice is paired with the tub gurnard fish for a hearty and delicious meal.  Accompanying this I opted for the grilled vegetables from the comprehensive selection of sides.

To finish things off Savani offers a wide selection of Italian classics for desserts, as well as an Italian cheese board option. On this visit I went for the Guanaya chocolate Panna cotta and salted caramel (£8.50) , which is as delicious as it sounds, a perfect ending to an enjoyable dining experience.

A visit is highly recommended for some good quality Italian dishes, beautiful surroundings and a helpful and friendly staff.

Savini At Criterion
224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HP

www.saviniatcriterion.co.uk

Kanada-Ya – Panton Street – London

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With Japanese food hotter than ever we recently visited Kanada-Ya in London’s Hyamarket to give their take on the cuisine a try.  The are has seen a recent resurgence in popularity thanks in part to its recent opening of Dover Street Market, the major fashion store has acquired a huge space, a mere’s stone throw from the restaurant.While sushi has become the go to staple for those wanting a Japanese meal, Ramen is catching up as a more comforting and satisfying option.  Kanada-Ya specialises inKanada-Ya specialises in creating traditional tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen, with a recipe created by Kanada Kazuhiro, founder of our restaurant in Yukuhashi, Japan.

This second location joins its first in Soho, interiors are minimal but feel authentic with friendly staff on hand to get you seated and serve. Exposed brickwork is pared with stripped down seating and the ceiling adorned with hanging lamps.

Much like its interiors Kanada-Ya’s menu is also quite bare bones, with 3 ramen options available and a handful of sides and extra toppings.

We went for the Chashu- Men (£12.50) which comes with Chashu pork collar, noodles are made to order  (firmness) and added a Hanjuku egg to the dish. The dish was tasty and very filling, with the broth rich in flavour and noodles firm (as requested) the thinly sliced pork was particularly delicious.

If you fancy sticking around for dessert then they have a very limited option, in fact just one when we dined, matcha ice cream. The desert was pleasant, but not particularly exciting, the restaurants main selling point is its ramen, and it shows.

The small restaurant can get very busy during lunch peak hours so go just before or after for a shorter wait. Kanada-Ya is a great place for a quick pit stop if you are in the area, a satifying meal with friendly staff though rather spartan surroundings.

Kanada-Ya Haymarket
3 Panton Street,
SW1Y 4DL
London
www.kanada-ya.com

Heliot Steak House – London

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Being housed within the Hippodrome Casino may not sound like the ideal venue for a high end restaurant but Heliot Steak House certainly comes highly recommended – being judged the “Best Steak Restaurant in London” by the customers of Bookatable last year.

The 150 seater restaurant is located inside the casino in Leicester Square, perched on the balcony overlooking the main room in the casino, perfect for a pot of people watching.  The Hippodrome  itself has become a premiere entertainment destination with drinking, dining, live entertainment and gaming all under one roof.

We recently visited the restaurant to sample their dinner menu, which was created by Head Chef Ioannis Grammenos and his team.

We were sat down at an ordered a gin and tonic to get us settled, the place has a very comprehensive section of drinks available.

The  menu is small but features plenty of classic dishes for you to choose from.

With starters I opted for the smoked salmon (£8), which comes with green apple, mint salad and sour cream, the fish was delicious and perfectly accompanied by the mint salad and sour cream.

As the name suggests the restaurant’s real strength is its steaks,  boasting USDA prime steaks, all aged for between four and six weeks to develop tenderness and flavour, less than 2% receives the USDA certification.

The steak menu is split up into 3 sections depending on size small (200g), medium 250-350g) and large (500-650g) each with different varieties of cuts.  I opted for the medium rib eye (£20)   – ordered medium rare. with a lobster tail on top (£8) and a side of triple cooked chips (£3). The steak was well cooked, with a brown outer and pink centre with a Chimichurri  to accompany, the lobster tail added a luxurious touch and the chips were a highlight, crispy and delicious.

Though quite full after the steak we decided to give the dessert menu a try – we went for the chocolate torte (£6.50) made from dark chocolate it was very rich but not sickly, a sweet ending to an enjoyable meal.

Heliot Steak House was surprisingly good, don’t be deterred by its tourist trap location for inside you will find a very good restaurant and at a good price point. So pay them a visit.

Heliot Steak House
The Hippodrome casino,
14 Cranbourn St,
London
WC2H 7JH

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