Category Archives: Culture

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

T: 020 7487 3030

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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


Lights of Soho presents “Be Illuminated” by Papi

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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
at Lights of Soho. All pieces on display at the exhibition will be available to purchase.

QP LDN Restaurant

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Mayfair’s Quattro Passi will re-launch as QP LDN with a revamped menu and the highly anticipated opening of its new late-night bar and lounge located beneath the restaurant, QP Lounge.

Situated in the heart of Dover Street next to the Victoria Beckham and Christian Louboutin boutiques, Quattro Passi originally opened its doors back in September 2014, as the sister restaurant to the two Michelin-starred Quattro Passi in Nerano, Italy – widely considered to be the Amalfi coast’s top restaurant.

With fresh, high-quality ingredients flown in daily from Italy, and perfectly executed simple dishes inspired by the signature flavours of Southern Italy, the restaurant quickly gained a reputation as one of London’s top Italian restaurants – much loved by royals and celebrities alike including Prince Andrew, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Kofi Annan, Valentino, Kylie Minogue, Hugh Grant and Anne Hathaway.

QP LDN will continue to remain under the culinary direction of two Michelin-starred Italian chef Antonio Mellino and his two sons Raffaele and Fabrizio, staying true to its roots in Amalfi coast inspired cooking. Mellino is the chef owner of Quattro Passi in Nerano, who received recognition and praise for his artisanal freshly-made pasta and simple seafood dishes. Mellino is considered to be a master in pasta making, and his freshly-made then dried pastas will continue to be made on premises by the QP LDN kitchen staff.

Menu highlights include Risotto Con Scampi E Pesche (langoustines risotto with peach), Gnocchi Con Gamberi, Pomodorini E Rucola (gnocchi with prawns, cherry tomato and rocket), Capesante Su Salsa Di Aglio Selvatico E Rapa Rossa (scallops with cream of wild garlic and beetroot), and a selection of fresh fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean including Di Zucchine E Salsa Mediterranea (fillet of line caught Sea Bass with Zucchini cream and Mediterranean sauce), and Misto Crudo Di Pesce for two persons (a visually stunning mixed seafood platter beautifully presented on dry ice).

For dessert the restaurant is renowned for its signature Gelato Al Pistacchio, freshly made Pistachio ice cream made in-house using Sicilian Bronte pistachios – an essential ingredient in many Italian delicacies.

A must, for full information visit

34 Dover Street,






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,

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

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,

Heliot Steak House – London


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,

Click here for more information