Bars

London-Bars

Last week I was invited to take a look around the recently opened The Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge. I had popped in a few months ago when it was just a building site and I was very excited to return, to see the end result.

But before I take you on a tour with my photos, let me give you some interesting facts about the hotel. They’ll explain why I think this place is pretty special.

Each guest staying at this 36-room boutique hotel will have complimentary use of The Wellesley’s Rolls Royce for journeys within two miles of the area. Guests will also receive 24-hour butler service, Samsung tablets in their rooms and a Wellesley mobile phone to use whilst staying at the hotel.

When you walk into the building the first thing to hit you is the sumptuous art deco interior, of which I am a huge fan.

The Wellesley HotelTo your right you have The Crystal Bar, which houses an impressive array of cognac (some dating back to the 1770s), whiskies and champagne. The 1920s-inspired cocktails list is also very inviting.

The Wellesley HotelThe bar leads out onto an outdoor terrace with gorgeous leather seats. This isn’t a place you would want to leave in a hurry.

The Wellesley HotelAcross the corridor, in the hotel, is the Cigar Lounge and Terrace. And if you know any cigar fans, you might have to let them know that The Wellesley houses the largest bespoke hotel humidor in Europe and the biggest collection of cigars sold on a stick-by-stick basis in the world.

The Wellesley - Smoking Room

The Wellesley HotelI stepped into the humidor and whilst I don’t know too much about cigars, I do recognise an impressive collection when I see one.

The Wellesley HotelSome of the boxes which store the cigars were impressive in their own right and I could imagine a cigar aficionado having plenty of fun browsing this collection.

The Wellesley HotelAfter a look around, we stopped into the Oval Restaurant for lunch. With seating for 28 diners, I loved the intimacy of this venue as well the design.

The Wellesley HotelThe Italian menu inspired by seasonal ingredients was also a real delight to try.

For starters, I chose the roasted vegetable salad with goats cheese.

The Wellesley HotelFor main I had the pappardelle with wild boar.

The Wellesley HotelAnd for dessert, I had to try the apple tart with Armagnac ice cream.

The Wellesley HotelNeedless to say, attention to detail was integral to the presentation of these dishes. But the pleasures of lunch didn’t end there. The flavours and the quality of the fresh ingredients also elevated lunch to a more delectable level, which was topped off by these sweet offerings at the end.

The Wellesley HotelUnfortunately for me but fortunately for the hotel the bedrooms and suites were occupied, so I couldn’t take any photos this time round. But here is a photograph of one of the rooms, from my last visit – to give you some idea.

The Wellesley HotelAnd whilst I have no immediate reason to check into this hotel, I am intrigued by their jazz bar where Afternoon Tea is also served. The previous venue on this site was the legendary Pizza On The Park where some of the most revered jazz musicians have played. So it seems only fitting that The Wellesley Hotel would want to continue the musical legacy of this location by showcasing both established and up-and-coming acts in their Jazz Room. And that is exactly what they are doing. To find out more, have a look at The Wellesely’s website. This is truly a gorgeous hotel.

So it’s January and you’re trying to be good and keep it dry. But it’s getting boring and these gloomy days are not helping. Sorry this isn’t the most optimistic introduction to my cocktails post but the permanent tinge of grey in the morning sky is really starting to become tedious and I cannot wait for spring to arrive!

For me the best way to beat the winter blues is through plenty of exercise for those endorphin hits and keeping my body fuelled with lots of fruit and vegetables. But you don’t have to live the life of a saint to keep feeling good. After all, booze has medicinal purposes too. It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve felt fluey for more than 24 hours thanks to the ‘nipping it in the bud’ approach of two hot toddies before bedtime. It never fails.

But back to January. From 7th of this month until 10th February 2013, The Botanist will be serving up a range of cocktails designed for balanced goodness. They include (with benefits):

Lemon Aid, which is a blend of apricot-infused Tanqueray and white tea syrup. Apricots are rich in potassium, known to oxygenate the brain and stimulate the kidneys whilst white tea syrup is found to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure.

Green Business involves a mix of vodka; fresh cucumber; basil; and spirulina powder. Spirulina powder is a dietary supplement rich in B12 which protects the liver from toxic substances and helps build more red blood cells.

Hazy Days involves a blitz of Tanqueray gin; green apple liqueur; fresh ginger; and the superfood sun-dried goji berries. Goji berries are packed with more vitamin C than oranges, more iron than steak and more beta-carotene than a carrot whilst fresh Ginger helps alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

The Botanist Cocktail
The cocktails are £8.50 each and don’t forget there is also The Botanist’s food bar menu. The soft shell burger is sooo good! Enjoy! x

*scroll down for the latest updates*

The last couple of weeks have been huge for various reasons and I hope to share them in time. But this has also meant that a Don’t Miss in December 2012 post is missing from my blog, which I guess isn’t such a bad thing. With so much going on this month, I’ll be able to write more focused posts with plenty more tips than my usual top five.

So first up, New Year’s Eve. Being one of the biggest parties of the year, New Year’s Eve needs serious consideration of course. So here is a list of what’s going on in the Royal Borough, which I’ll be adding to over the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you have any party tips for the area, feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

Have fun picking your NYE venue!

86 are going to be turning their venue into a circus! *scroll down for latest update*

See website for further details

See website for further details

 See website for further details

UPDATE:

Sand's End New Year's Eve

The Sands End are cooking a pig and with feasting tables. Three-courses at £45 per head, the pub will be open until 2am, and they only have one more table available for 9 people. Call up now if you don’t want to miss out! (020 7731 7823)

The Hollywood Arms New Year's Eve

Dukebox New Year's Eve

When I put together the first fashion outfit for my blog, I hadn’t thought about matching the clothes to the cocktail of the week as I am doing now. So it only makes sense for me to update this post to include the cocktail which inspired the military look below.

Let me introduce you to the Egg & Soldiers at Dukebox! – which is enough for 8 to 10 people.

It is made up of pear purée, apple and lemon juice, and is shaken with Iceberg Vodka and apple liquor. The cocktail is garnished with gourmet marshmallows, and topped with Pommery Champagne. Are you tempted?

And for now my original post …

This is my first fashion board and I thought I’d go straight for the Military look, given the recent launch of Dukebox with their staff in 17th century military outfits and my penchant for snapping pics of Chelsea Pensioners as and when I spot them. Does anyone else smile inside when they see a Chelsea Pensioner walking around? Or is it just me?

1. Military Jack from Zara

2. Metal Finger Ring and Metal Knuckle Ring by Hannah Warner

3. Current Elliott The Combat Skinny Army from Donna Ida

4. Trinkah pleated front panel shirt by Ted Baker

5. Yellow Bondage Boot by Vivienne Westwood

6. Cone compartment necklace by Hannah Warner

“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”

– Gregory David Roberts

Barbarella’s relaunch party was such a blast that I was keen to return, to try the restaurant as soon as I could. So I headed back down there a few days later.

I had all sorts of imaginings on how the night would play out. With tables and banquets around the dance floor, Carlito’s Way did cross my mind. But a gangster’s den, Barbarella certainly is not.

Sitting at our table, there were a couple of large birthday parties as well as smaller tables of more intimate groups around us. One set seemed to have turned up for just the food whilst everyone else was there for the whole night.

When you arrive at the start of the evening, the tables are laid out and presented very tastefully: the glamorous dining experience is underpinned by an understated chicness.

Official Press Photo

And when you first look at the food menu, it is so easy to wonder about the quality of the dishes. After all, first and foremost, Barbarella’s first impression is clearly a nightclub. And from experience, late-night dining isn’t always the best – with a few rare gems scattered around London

But as soon as I tasted my first bite of the starter, any such musings had quickly dissipated. The prawn and lobster cocktail was too good to allow any further doubt to seep in. The wonderful 70s-esque presentation aside (and you know how I love most things served in a martini glass) – the ingredients were fresh and tasty. The prawn and lobster were juicy and the sauce was spot on.

For my main, I had the seared tuna loin with caramelised onions. Admittedly, I had relished most of it by the time I remembered to take a photo. So unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of another well-presented dish. As for the tuna, it was cooked exactly how I like it. It’s so easy to overcook tuna. That’s why I hardly choose it when eating out. But in this circumstance, my request was translated eloquently onto my plate and my tuna was perfectly pink – and not a dull grey – in the middle.

For my dessert, I ordered the tiramisu which was heavenly! You know when you’re in a public place and the last thing you try to do is scrape every last bit of your pudding, off your plate? Well, that.

There was a custardy topping that increased its moreish appeal. I know, I know, tiramisu doesn’t have custard. But trust me when I say, this really works!

After dessert, the bf and I didn’t want to leave. The place was getting busier as more people were turning up for the club. So we decided to order another bottle of wine and stay longer. And after some time later and another empty bottle, it was time to stretch our legs and head to the bar.

Official Press Photo

As we paid the food bill and stood up, we headed around the corner to find that the bar was already quite packed out. Leaving the restaurant vibe and stepping into a bar, without having to leave the building was pretty awesome – especially as you felt like you’d walked into somewhere new.

In the meantime, the table cloths and cutlery were being taken away as diners finished their meals. And as we continued our circular tour of the venue, past the booths and onto the dance floor, it was time to burn off the yummy pudding until the early hours of the morning.

Am so going back! x

Barbarella’s website.

Page 3 of 10
1 2 3 4 5 10