Cocktails

London-Cocktails

I love seeing messages from Emma come up on my phone. They always seem to arrive at the perfect moment and they always make me smile. One of the last messages I’d received was an invitation to Emma and Angie‘s joint birthday lunch at the Michelin-starred Marcus restaurant at The Berkeley. What a great way for two fabulous foodies to celebrate their special days, I couldn’t wait to be there.

Lunch started with an amuse-bouche: foie gras that melted in the mouth. And we all decided to go with the lunch menu with the sommelier’s selection.
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine David Levin, Loire Valley, France 2012 was paired with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the poached sea trout with trottolino pepper and buttermilk.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The next glass that was poured was the Ribeiro Godello, ‘Cepas Velhas’, Godeval, Galicia, Spain 2015, which went very nicely with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the salt baked celeriac with hazlenut and truffle, which I absolutely loved.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Next was the cod with sweetcorn and clam …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… followed by the fallow venison with heritage carrot and glazed fig.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Every single dish and wine pairing was spot on. And needless to say so was the company which also included Aftab and Lauren.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Before we moved on to dessert, we swiftly devoured the cheese platters which gave us a taste of everything we could want.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

And eventually we reached the chocolate with clementine and rosemary …

chocolate

… followed by a final taster.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The dining room was busy when we first arrived and by the time we had finished we were the last table left. Still it felt too soon to head home so instead, we popped into The Berkeley’s Blue Bar for one more drink. I had a glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé while I also had my eye on …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… Emma’s toffee martini …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… and reminisced at the sight Aftab’s Porn Star Martini which used to be my cocktail of choice at one point.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

I absolutely love those lunches that can go on for hours and into the evening. Something that’s so easy to do when you’re with these guys. One of my favourite moments during our meal was one of our many toasts – when we raised our glasses to ‘blogging friends’ and then unanimously decided to toast ‘to friends’. Such a special afternoon.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus, The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL.

A short while ago I revisited The Bloomsbury, a hotel which I used to consider to be one of the greatest hidden gems in the heart of London. The reason for my return was to visit The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’ve always been a huge fan of this bar where I have tried some of the best cocktails in London.

Thing is, this place isn’t much of a secret now especially after its revamp – and I for one am very pleased.

We started the evening  inside, perched on stools, where we tried cocktails such as: The Roger Fry; Vanessa Bell; Duncan Grant; Desmond McCarthy; Lytton Strachey; and of course Virginia Woolf. As the various concoctions flowed, so did the stories. And each drink was as distinctive as the next. Conversations with the mixologists are definitely something I’d recommend here. You’ll be enraptured by what you hear.

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury HotelThe Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

After, we moved outside onto the terrace where the fairy lights sparkled and it felt like we were ensconced in our own private cocktail world. Here we heard more stories that inspired the other cocktails we tried: The Clive Bell; E.M Forster; John Maynard Keynes; Leonard Woolf, and still we were all enthralled while our tastebuds enjoyed a literary adventure of a lifetime.

Here is the full menu to give you the fuller flavours of The Bloomsbury Club Bar’s fantastic range of cocktails.

mixing

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The whole experience was wonderful as I would have expected. And all I can say is if you are in the West End looking for a bar that serves great cocktails and has a special atmosphere then I have no hesitation in recommending The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’m just so pleased their secret is finally out and I’m so sure the Bloomsbury set would have had a most fabulous time here.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN.

I love books. Books are my passion. I buy more than I can read and I still have so many yet to be opened from my days as a bookseller, as I worked my way through uni. and shortly after.

So you can imagine my delight when I found myself organising a bloggers event that was to start at Taschen on Duke of York Square.

After some bubbles and a catch-up with a great crowd that included Angie, Suze, Fiona, Emma, Lauren, Aftab, Matilda and Tania, the manager of Taschen (Nolan Browne) led us around the store to explain the background of Taschen’s unique publishing ethos and the wide array of titles in the store.

And as I listened to Nolan telling us about Benedikt Taschen’s agenda to create a greater accessibility to the wonders of art in publishing, I started to think back to my initial purchases as I built my book collection. It was Taschen that published the first Magritte book I bought and I remember picking up this two-book Van Gogh publication (below) from a store in Besançon where I studied for my third year at uni. It was also Taschen that published the first interiors book I bought. And to this day I’m still picking up titles I feel I need in my collection. Thing is, whilst Taschen provided an entry point into the world of art and interiors for me they also publish some of the most exclusive books you can get your hands on – and I want them all!

Taschen Books

Nolan talked us through Taschen’s limited editions …

David Bowie at Taschen, Duke of York Square

… and Sumo books that are sometimes accompanied by limited edition prints. I meant to take a photo of the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) book which is something I would love at home. If you’re a Muhammed Ali fan, I urge you to visit the downstairs of Taschen’s store to discover a book that was printed with such care, you’d find the same craftsmanship at the Vatican.

Taschen, Duke of York Square, London

The start of the evening satisfied the book-nerd in me and it also gave me ideas for future gifts. There’s a gorgeous publication on tree houses which is perfect for someone I know who loves architecture and of course tree houses. 🙂

After a tour of Taschen, we all popped over to Manicomio. We could have hopped, it’s so close. And our night here started with a gorgeous vodka-based cocktail called Jagged Wood; a nod to Exhibitionism at Saatchi Gallery which is a must-visit exhibition whether you love The Rolling Stones or not. It’s very impressive.

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

And as we waited for our starters to arrive, we were pleasantly surprised by the shots of truffle soup that were served to us. I love truffles and I savoured the thick texture of this soup. It was a great preamble to our meal.

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

For starter I had the yellow fin tuna which was gorgeous too.

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

And for main I ordered the chicken tagliata with asparagus, artichoke and onions which I had with a side of …

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

… rosemary potatoes.

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

Dessert was the buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb, which I absolutely loved.

Manicomio, Duke of York Square

As usual Manicomio didn’t disappoint and it was great to finally experience this place in the evening. I’ve always been drawn to Manicomio for lunch or a glass of wine in the afternoon because I love their terrace. So it was a treat to discover the nighttime buzz inside the restaurant.

There is so much to look forward to over spring/summer on Duke of York Square, which I’ll be sure to cover on here. But to give you the heads up, here are some dates for your diary …

  • Chelsea in Bloom – 23rd to 28th May
  •  Strawberries & Screen for the Wimbledon semi-finals and finals  – 8th to 10th July
  • HRH The Queen’s 90th Birthday & Commonwealth Market, which will include a street party style occasion to mimic the Queen’s own celebrations at the Mall  – 12th June
  • The BFG Dream Jar Trail’s arrival into Chelsea, which will excite any Roald Dahl fan – 8th July to 31st August

Maybe I’ll see you around?

Chelsea Girl

I absolutely love turning up somewhere not knowing what to expect, only to end up having a fun-packed evening filled with a string of surprises. This happened a few weeks ago when Suze from The Luxury Columnist invited me to visit Buddha-Bar in Knightsbridge with her.

Buddha Bar Knightsbridge

I absolutely adore Suze so I already knew the night was going to be great fun. What I hadn’t anticipated were the fantastic cocktails served by the charming bar staff; the tuna tartare with a hint of truffles that wowed both Suze and I; and the wonderful atmosphere that happens regularly with Buddha-Bar’s 1001 Nights.

Buddha Bar Knightsbridge

1001 Nights is an evening of belly dancing where the diners are also taken by the music and the whole basement part of the restaurant truly comes to life as we are transported into the tales of the Arabian Nights. Some diners head to the dance floor, others stand up to dance by their tables, and some even create their own stage by standing on their chair. When those professional belly dancers step through the door, the evening becomes charged.

This was my first visit to a Buddha-Bar – a name that can be found all around the world, from Prague to Manila and from New York to Monaco. The first one opened in Paris in 1997 and many years later the London bar and restaurant serves fusion cuisine and experimental cocktails that are spectacles in themselves.

The cocktail we started the night with was the Bubble Wap, a signature cocktail that included strawberry & raspberry puree, rose liquor, elderflower liquor, with touch of Belvedere vodka and topped up with Champagne – which I absolutely loved. I also had a lychee martini at the bar which also didn’t disappoint.

Buddha-Bar is now on my radar as somewhere to drop in for a good cocktail when catching up with a friend and their 1001 Nights is definitely something I’d recommend for a refreshingly fun night.

Buddha-Bar London, 145 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PA

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