When Peter Jones switches on its Christmas lights, there seems to be a sudden charm to the cold bite of winter. I could even say that this is one of my favourite times of the year and not just because I love lights, which I do. Did you see how many photos I uploaded from the Battersea Park Fireworks?

I also love winter menus and indulging in heartwarming cocktails to nourish the soul.

Last night, I popped into The Botanist to try their new bar menu which had piqued my interest. Bar menus are a fascinating concept because most of the time, they’re really not that good. Yet, we excuse their subpar quality because they’re not supposed to be proper meals. They’re just a bit on the side.

However, like anything in life, when we do come across something decent – it stands out.

When I tried The Botanist’s new bar menu, one particular dish stood out for me: the soft shell crab burger with smoked chilli salt.

Want a closer look?

I love soft shell crab anyway. It’s one of my favourite dishes but I’d never had it in a bun, which totally worked. For the bf, this burger reminded him of Barbados: has anyone else tried the fried flying fish in a roll over there?

The breaded oyster slider with lime and chilli aioli also tickled my tastebuds. I had forgotten that it was on the menu and was both confused and intrigued by what I was enjoying. Again, this was a new experience for me because I had never tried oysters cooked. In fact, I remember frowning upon a bunch of Sydneysiders in Australia who were telling  me about one of their favourite dishes: oyster mornay. How dare they ruin a perfectly good experience by placing the oysters under a grill and covering them with breadcrumbs and cheese? Why would anyone do that? But now I take those thoughts back. Well, perhaps not the cheese bit. But I totally get how cooked oysters can taste delicious – and in a bun.

The other two sliders that accompanied the breaded oysters were a cheeseburger and pulled pork with jalapeno relish.

But if burgers aren’t you’re thing, there are also chilli beef and chicken satay skewers on the bar menu.

I would say that my preference out of these two would be the chicken satay, which was more succulent.

The bf and I also sipped a few cocktails between us. To start with, the bf picked one of the Winter Warmers: the Winter Fairytale, which consisted of Courvoisier, Goldschläger cinnamon liqueur, cranberry, lemon juice and rose petal marmalade – served hot.

And whilst this cocktail tastes nothing like a Hot Toddy, it has a similar soothing effect to it. It’s ideal for the cold winter months ahead and it also tastes very good.

My first cocktail was the King’s Road Buccanner – but of course. And the ingredients included Diplomático Reserva Rum, Grand Marnier, chocolate and orange bitters.

If you like rum and cocktails with depth of flavour, then you might want to try this one. I really loved it.

Other cocktails consumed last night included the Sloane Ranger, which is very refreshing.

The Honey and Fig Collins – ideal for cocktail lovers with a sweet tooth.

And the Autumn Cobbler, which includes Ioyr Old Tawny Port, Somerset Brandy, Cointreau, apple and orange. Admittedly, I’m still getting my head around this one but the bf said he enjoyed it.

There were plenty more cocktails to try, including the Tinkerbell which is made of Tanqueray gin, kummel and a splash of absinthe. So if you get to try any of them out, I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Enjoy! x

1. Grey Goose Winter Ball in aid of the Elton John AIDS Foundation on Saturday 10th November at Battersea Power Station.

The party theme will be 1950s Cote D’Azur and a specially designed Grey Goose cocktail reflecting this time and place will greet guests on arrival. Michelin-starred head chef at The Connaught, Helene Darroze, will also be curating a Mediterranean-inspired three course menu whilst three bespoke portable cocktail bars will be auctioned that night. More information and tickets.

2. Interior Design Masterclass on 24th November at The Saatchi Gallery. If you’re looking for inspiration and/or a bit of help with redesigning a room in your house or flat, this could be the class for you. From 1pm – 4.30pm, it costs £60. More information.

3. ‘High Profiles’ exhitibiton at The Sloane Club on 5th and 6th November. This exhibition which will showcase 35 sculptures of the great and the good aims to raise money for the Renton Foundation, a charity initiative, set up by Mencap to offer leisure opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

Details: The Sloane Club, 52 Lower Sloane Street, SW1W 8BS. Monday 5th November, 6pm – 9pm; Tuesday 6th November, 6pm – 9pm.

4. Do you know about Deuxième or its sister shop Deuxième Too, both on New King’s Road? They are both dress agencies which sell designer clothes, shoes, bags and accessories that are all nearly-new, second-hand or vintage. Well they’re having a Christmas styling event on 20th November from 7pm to 9pm, which you might be interested in. More information and tickets.

5. Dukebox’s Carn-Evil ends on Saturday 3rd November with DJ Rich Stone, so there’s still time to head down for some wicked fun which will be going on until 3.30am.

 

I was saddened when news of Oriel closing down had broke. It was a Sloane Square brasserie, a Chelsea institution, expected to be on the corner of Sloane Square forever.

My memories of Oriel started with my first cappuccino experience at 14 years old and with my best friend as we revised for our geography GCSE. Gosh, that sounds so pretentious now but back then it was an experience, an adventure, a taste of something local and yet different. A world of its own.

So when Oriel finally closed down, I didn’t think anything could ever take its place. No one would be able to live up to the nostalgia I had for the location. But I was wrong – thanks to Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s Cobert. As soon as I learned that the guys behind The Wolseley were behind Oriel’s replacement, I felt reassured.

So yesterday afternoon I popped into Colbert for lunch to finally give it a go. I’d been waiting all week!

When you arrive at Colbert and step through the front door, you have the choice of being led into the bar area or the dining section. Oriel too was spilt into two different sections but with Colbert, more space seems to have been given to the dining area, which is a great thing.

The tables don’t seem so crammed together anymore. There is a sense of space which allows you to take in the ambiance and décor, which could easily transport you to Paris without letting your imagination work too hard.

As for the food, the bf and I started off with Fines de Claire oysters – like we usually do at The Wolseley.

And had a steak sandwich and fries each to follow.

For drinks, I started off with a glass of wine …

But when I saw a table order their second martini during lunch, I decided to follow suit and order one with a lemon twist.

… whilst the bf enjoyed a couple of beers.

Colbert Chelsea officially opens today and the place is already buzzing. And whilst there were admittedly some teething problems with the service and the matter of the lost peppercorns, I have no doubt that they’ll be smoothed over quickly.

When diners arrived at the next table, they were very happy to see a member of staff. He had been transferred from The Wolseley which has impeccable service and which is a great sign!

So all in all, I think Colbert could be a great win for Sloane Square. I for one can’t wait to return and next time, I think I’ll try the bar. 😉

 

I am SO excited we’re in September. Hurrah! This is my favourite month in the year and there is plenty to look forward to. Cue Earth, Wind & Fire!

1. If you love classic cars, flash cars, geeking out on cars then Chelsea AutoLegends kicks off tomorrow (Sunday 2nd September) at Royal Hospital Chelsea. The day will begin with a supercar run through the streets of London, so keep an eye out and to find out what other delights will be on offer, click here.

2. I’m counting down to my return to the Olympic Park next week but in the meantime, there is also The Belgravia Games to look forward to. More suitable to my gaming skillset: playing Connect Four and drinking cocktails, these games will be taking place from 7th until 9th September on the terrace of the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel. To have even more of a reason to celebrate, the first 25 guests will receive a free Gin & Tonic each day. You can download your G&T voucher here.

3. Talking about cocktails, The Botanist will be celebrating London Fashion Week with show-stopping concoctions called Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood. Available on the menu from 14th – 18th September, you can find out which ingredients are in each drink here. Happy clinking.

4. And of course there is the much anticipated opening of DUKEBOX which I wrote about here!

5. Finally, Fashion Night Out is back and is on Thursday 6th September. I love the Map Your Night feature on Vogue’s FNO website, which you can check out here!

There is so many other events and openings happening this month, what is in your diary?

Page 2 of 3
1 2 3