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

 

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

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Located in Portman square, Marylebone, Churchill bar & Terrace is wonderfully located in the centre of London, and it certainly lives up to its lavish location. The bar and terrace are beautifully decorated with Winston Churchill and his beloved wife Clementine in mind, intwined in the design are references to Churchill’s life in photography, art and features. This includes a life size bronze statue of Churchill “in conversation”. 

I spent my visit in the beautiful terrace area, which is surrounded by carefully trimmed hedges offering a degree of shielding from the pathway nearby whilst not taking away the feeling of being outdoors. For colder times of the year each table has a heater installed above it, adding to the summer vibes that are provided by the beige and pink flowers surrounding the terrace. 

Churchill Bar and Terrace is renowned for its fantastic cocktails, and I found out why during my visit. I tried two drinks from the new summer cocktails menu, the Battenberg and the Country Pumpkin. The first thing that will surprise you is the presentation of the cocktails which is exceptional. Even at first glance you can see the thought, time and effort that has gone into creating each one. For The Battenberg, the talented team at Churchill have deconstructed the cake by using amaretto for the marzipan coating, British gin-pinkster for the pink squares and vanilla syrup with apricot jam to finish it off. It is served with a slice of Battenberg cake on a sliver cake knife placed on top of the glass. In a similar fashion, the Country Pumpkin utilises pumpkin syrup, wild heather honey Drambuie and grapefruit bitters to create a resembling taste. 

They also serve a selection of ‘picnic hampers’, including a variety of finger sandwiches, cheeses and cured meat. Other dished such as scotch eggs or cucumber and mint soup are on offer. I tried the scotched eggs and cured meat which were both delicious and to matching standard of the cocktails.

For more information and bookings visit here.

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

BLUEBIRD Afternoon Tea – London


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As expected for an institution in the heart of Chelsea, BLUEBIRD is as elegant as it is stylish. With a range of lavish reds and dark browns the interior feels warm and sophisticated. The restaurant has has earned its legendary title and has become a hotspot for food lovers, attracting locals, countrywide visitors and tourists. One reason why I would return to BLUEBIRD would be to take guests, the calm environment is great for conversation, not to mention the impressive service and food quality.

We visited on a sunny Friday afternoon, with the place buzzing with groups enjoying the delicious selection of cocktails im the glorious sun. Afternoon tea is served on the first floor of BLUEBIRD, and on our visit a specially set up Rubik’s Cube theme was housed with the dining area, the 80s themes decor specially set up for a limited time added an element of fun to what is come be be expected of the traditional afternoon tea. Bright colour block tables made for the perfect instagram backdrop!

Afternoon tea comes with a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, assorted cakes and a glass of Moet&Chandon brut imperial Champagne. They have a large range of traditional and exotic teas to offer. I tried the Flowering osmanthus, a tea from Fujian, China. It was very impressive, upon serving the flower was in a bud, but over a short about of time it opened in the hot water releasing the full intense flavours. Other interesting teas such as Darjeeling 2nd flush or Herbal Infusions are also on offer.

Sandwiches were but into rectangles and came with fillings such as salmon and creme cheese and slices of tender salted beef. The scones were still warm and came with clotted creme, but it was the homemade jam that really made them special. The selection of cakes included a large macaroon, banoffee slice and a mini eclair. All of which were delicious, you will not be disappointed with the food quality at bluebird.

Afternoon Tea at BLUEBIRD is priced at £22.50 per person or £29.50 with a glass of champagne.

www.bluebird-restaurant.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

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

 

 

 

Limani – Rockefeller Plaza – New York

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Famed New York restaurant Limani has opened its follow up location in Rockerfeller Centre, joining its debut post in Roslyn, Long Island.

Set in prime location for locals and visitors alike upon entering the restaurant your eyes are met with beautiful all white interiors with blue accents, echoing the picturesque white architecture of Santorini or similar islands along the Greek coast.  Limani, meaning “seaport” in Greek, is a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant offering an array of dishes, but its signature is its seafood., with plenty of it.

The spacious 200 seater restaurant even has an open market display of fish, which diners able to select which takes their fancy.  Modern and white its interiors create a sense of vast space, with its open plan design even including the kitchen, with visitors able to take a look as the staff prepare dishes.

The new opening was helmed by Chef Alam, with Limani’s owners in the orchestration of the opening of the Rockefeller Center venture, which embodies many culinary and atmospheric elements of the original, while updating these with  new components created for a New York City audience.

A selection of staple and seasonal selections make up the menu, all using the  highest quality local and Mediterranean seafood, authentic Greek preparations and use of artisanal small-batch items, such as capers from Santorini and Saffron from Kozani. Meat eaters need not worry as the menu also offers the Tomahawk, a 36 ounce, bone-in 30-day, dry-aged USDA Prime rib eye steak.

The comprehensive menu includes 22 seafood entrée selections with some priced by the pound. On our visit we opted for the Stuffed Calamri, which is grilled and filled with a delicious mixture of feta, manouri and kefalograviera cheeses. A perfect opener for the meal the calamari was tender with the cheese filling perfectly complimenting its subtle taste.

Next up we went for the Swordfsh, served whole and simply grilled with peppers and tomatoes. The flesh was moist and meaty, with its signature slightly sweet taste. To accompany the dish we opted from a few sides, Asparagus, served simply in olive oil and sea salt and Yukon gold steamed potatoes tossed with shallots, oregano, olive oil and lemon.

Alongside food Limani also offers a large selection of drinks, including wines, spirits and cocktails. The cocktail selection is particularly tasty, The Passionate Punch is a particular highlight – Passion fruit, Grey goose, peach schnapps, fresh pineapple juice and cranberry juice, served on the rocks.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner from noon to midnight, Monday through Saturday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For additional information or to book your reservation, please call 212-858-9200 or visit www.limani.com.

Limani
Rockefeller Center,
45 Rockefeller Plaza,
New York, NY 10111

 

Jatachi – Barcelona

vietnam chicken 2U + duck bao

Jatachi is one the the latest new foodie hot spots in the ever growing Barcelona food scene, fusing together the dishes from across Asia for an ultimate fashion menu.

Located in Castelldefels, Barcelona the industrial looking eatery was created by co-founders after their extensive trips to the continent, with stops in Thailand, Singapore or Japan wanting to combine experiences from their travel into one new destination.

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Wanting to create a venue were  “the street comes into the restaurant” the duo created just that, with an industrial space that echoes the hustle and bustle and neon lights of bustling streets markets in Asia. The space is sleek and modern, with concrete and metal throughout and cold graffiti artwork and bright yellow logos decorating the space throughout.

Jatachi is modern and minimal but at the same time inviting and a perfect excuse to wonder off from central Barcelona, we tried for ourselves on a recent visit.

The menu is diverse and is based of sharing dishes, not starters and mains here. Dishes take inspiration from across Asia, with Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese just some of the cuisines referenced in the menu. The staff encourage you to select a variety of dishes for you to share with friends and try a variety of flavours.

The sushi section features several roll fillings, from mango to kimchi,  with the latter being particularly taste, with the Korean staple mixed in with avocado, tuna and mayonnaise for an all mighty combo. Maki and Nigris options are also available if you want to stick to just sushi options.

Salmon tartar was another highlight, super fresh fish served on a bed of rice, a tuna option of the same dish is also available.

The hot dish section is varied with curries and pad Thai options, but we went for the Tori Yakisoba, a noodle dish with vegetables and chicken, super tasty and filling. The red curry was another success, the Thai dish coming in chicken and prawn options.

If you still have room then there is a small selection os sweet dishes, we recommend the cheesecake and artisan mochis.

Kat Sumi
The cocktails are delicious with a nod to Asia in their ingredient choice, the Kat Sumi, the passion fruit and tequila mix with a touch with ginger for a kick.

We recommend you selecting a few dishes demo each section depending how many people you go with so you can try a bit of all the menu, with no dish over €10 it’s a bargain, and worth the half hour trip from Barcelona centre

To book and for further information visit www.jatachi.com

Roast Restaurant – London

Scotch egg
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