Issue Fourteen All you need to know about fine dining, luxury accommodation and the best food and beverages the UK has to offer
Dabbous: London’s hottest restaurant – seasonal, innovative and beautifully restrained
Ceviche • The Pig Metropolitan • London Marriott County Hall • Heythrop Park Grain Brewery • Only Natural Products • The Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel
Drinking a fine London
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E AT S L E E P D R I N K Issue Fourteen
All you need to know about fine dining, luxury accommodation and the best food and beverages the UK has to offer
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This month, our EAT features combine some of the most en vogue cuisine anywhere in the UK with refreshingly simple philosophies. Indeed, our recent visit to Dabbous (pronounced Da-Boo) highlighted the extraordinary talents of Michelin starred Head Chef, Ollie Dabbous. If you can get a table, you’ll be
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Hall and Heythrop Park will make for fascinating reading. All three properties
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CONTENTS Issue Fourteen
EA T Dabbous:
Today, Dabbous is known as one of the biggest success stories of 2012, with a waiting list that reads like The Fat Duck and one Michelin star under its belt. We went along for ourselves to see if it lived up to the hype.
Founded by Martin Morales, it was Ceviche that led the trend for Peruvian cuisine. We visited this hotspot to get a taste of the cultural institution.
In the spectacular setting of the New Forest on the south coast of Hampshire sits THE PIG, a restaurant with rooms, which offers a touch of luxury combined with a homely charm.
S L EE P Metropolitan:
We visited Park Lane’s most stylish property to get the inside scoop on this most impressive of London hotels with some of the most jaw-dropping views anywhere in the capital.
London Marriott County Hall:
Located on the banks of the Thames, this luxury 186 room, 14 suite, five star hotel epitomises traditional elegance and offers breathtaking views of Big Ben and the River Thames – all this in combination with the amenities and firstclass service one would expect at a five star property.
Housed within the Grade II-listed Heythrop mansion designed by Thomas Archer in the 1700s, Heythrop Park Resort is one of the jewels in Crowne Plaza’s UK portfolio.
DRINK Grain Brewery:
Opened in the summer of 2006 and driven by a love of great beers, a distaste for big business and a desire for a fresh start, Grain Brewery is an independent brewery based in South Norfolk.
Family-owned and run, Only Natural Products (ONP) produces three brands, Dr Stuart’s, Higher Living and Kromland Farm. Deliciously wholesome and wonderfully creative, we spoke to the man behind the brand, Keith Garden, to find out all there is to know about the world of tea.
Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel London:
London’s cocktail scene is number one in the world. Forget New York, Paris and Milan, London is at least two years ahead of everywhere else in terms of making innovative cocktails, as we discovered at the Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel London when we met Davide Segat, Bar Manager, for an evening of cocktail discovery.
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Sunday Supper Clubs at Alimentum Cambridge, UK Mark Poynton, Chef-Patron of Michelin starred Alimentum in Cambridge (to read our exclusive review of Alimentum, please click here to subscribe to our print quarterly), has made his successful series of ‘Sunday Supper Clubs’ a permanent monthly fixture. On the first Sunday of each month, in a fine-dining twist on the supper club phenomenon, Mark gives diners the exclusive chance to preview, taste and discuss the team’s newest creations before deciding whether they should feature on the restaurant’s official menu. Mark’s passion for creating innovative and exciting dishes has already earned him numerous accolades and recognition across the UK, including his first Michelin star in October 2012. It is this desire to create and explore new flavours and combinations that has led to his ‘Sunday Supper Club’. The menu remains a surprise. Guests are asked for any dietary requirements
when booking and are then left in the talented hands of Mark and his team. The experience is intended to be relaxed and informal, offering guests the chance to play gourmet guinea pig for the evening and bring their own wine if they wish. Starting at 6.30pm for a 7pm sit down, Mark introduces each of his five courses, giving a brief explanation of the background, ingredients and inspiration behind each dish. At the end of the meal, feedback is welcomed from the customers. Mark comments: “We’re always developing and experimenting with new
dishes at the restaurant and this is the perfect opportunity for us to gain the invaluable opinion of our diners when shaping Alimentum’s menu. I wanted to offer our customers something a bit different at the same time as giving the team a platform to experiment with new dishes for a ‘live’ audience. Initially introduced as a trial, the supper clubs have proved to be amazingly popular, so we’ve decided to make them a permanent feature”. 5 course menu – £50 per person. BYO wine optional. n Please Visit: www.restaurantalimentum. co.uk or call: 01223 413000 for reservations. Alimentum, 152-154 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PB
Valentine’s Day at Banca Mayfair Mayfair, London
This Valentine’s Day, acclaimed Italian restaurant Banca Ristorante Italiano (read our exclusive feature here: http://www. esdmagazine.com/banca-mayfair/.) is
bringing the romance and glamour of Milan to their prestigious Mayfair locale, with the launch of its luxurious Valentine’s Day menus. Diners can choose from a three or four course traditional Italian set menu, which fuses fresh, seasonal and authentic ingredients including oysters, caviar and truffles - ingredients that have long been associated with aphrodisiac properties. On arrival, guests will be presented with a glass of champagne, followed by oysters, and can then expect dishes including Warm Fassona Beef Carpaccio with Norcia’s Black Truffle or Grilled Beef Fillet with Aged
Balsamic of Modena, and a dessert choice of Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Heart and Madagascar Vanilla Sauce or Coffee and Petit Fours. Banca is offering guests the choice of two seatings: 7pm (three course menu at £80) or 9pm (four course menu at £110). n Please visit: www.bancarestaurant.com or call: 0207 6472525 Banca Ristorante Italiano 30 North Audley Street London, W1K 6ZF
SLEEP The Ultimate Valentine’s Treat at No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Knightsbridge, London Celebrate with your Valentine at No.11 Cadogan Gardens (read our exclusive feature here) with the Ultimate Valentine’s Package. Located in the heart of Knightsbridge, No.11 Cadogan Gardens is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™. • 1 night in the hotel’s signature 120sq meter Sloane Suite • A traditional butler exclusively at your service throughout your stay • Horse & Carriage Champagne ride through scenic Chelsea and Knightsbridge • Romantic dinner for two with wine pairings in the privacy of the Mirror Room • Decadent dessert served in the privacy
your suite •C hampagne turndown with red roses and luxury bath salts • F ull English breakfast in bed The package is priced at £2,249 per night and is available on Valentine’s Day, as well as Friday and Saturday nights throughout the month of February. n Please visit: www.no11cadogangardens. com or call: 020 7730 7000 for reservations. No.11 Cadogan Gardens London SW3 2RJ
Gluten-free Afternoon Tea at St. James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair, London London Fashion Week’s front-rowers, fashionistas everywhere, along with the capital’s carb-conscious, can enjoy the delicious gluten-free afternoon tea from Michelin starred chef William Drabble of the luxury five star St James’ Hotel & Club (to read our exclusive feature on St. James’s Hotel & Club, please visit http:// eatsleepdrink.wazala.com and subscribe to our print quarterly now!). Launching for London Fashion Week on the 15th February, the new afternoon tea from one of London’s best chefs is an indulgent escape from the catwalk chaos. Rest your Louboutins in the luxurious and tranquil surroundings of the hotel and indulge in fabulous fancies that deliver on
preserve. For just £19, the afternoon tea is served with a selection of freshly made wafer thin sandwiches on gluten-free bread and a choice of the finest teas and herbal infusions from around the world. Feeling fabulous? Then upgrade to haute couture, and enjoy with a glass of Jacquart Champagne for £34. taste as well as being real eye-candy. See airy macaroons layered with fresh raspberries; delicate financiers embellished with seasonal berries; corset-friendly chocolate mousse cake; light lemon drizzle cake; and scones dressed with clotted cream and a rich homemade strawberry
n Visit: www.stjameshotelandclub.com or call: 0207 3161615 for reservations. St James’s Hotel & Club 7 – 8 Park Place London SW1A 1LS
DRINK Bassoon Bar at Corinthia London, UK Bassoon Bar at Corinthia Hotel London (read our exclusive article here) will be serving up a taste of Fashion Week with The London Collection; a selection of limited edition fashion-inspired cocktails celebrating the most stylish destinations in the capital. The chic and intimate atmosphere of Bassoon, with a seven-metre long piano that forms the bar top, provides the perfect surroundings to sip cocktails as the fashion world descends on London. Head barman and expert mixologist Mario la Pietra has crafted this delicious collection using the finest quality ingredients and an exquisite spirits library.
The Savile Row Stitch-up
East London Spice
Dewars 12 stirred with Lustau East India sherry. Pierre Ferrand Dry orange curacao and Bassoon own grenadine syrup
42 Below Vodka, lime juice, King’s Ginger liqueur, orange bitters, lengthened with ginger beer. Cocktails from The London Collection are priced at £16 Available from Friday 15th – Tuesday 19th February 2013 Bassoon is open daily: Sunday – Thursday from 4pm to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 1am.
The Bond Street Bespoke Fresh raspberries, caster sugar, fresh lemon, Amaro Averna, bitters
The Somerset Sling Hendricks’s gin, fresh lemon and lychee juice, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, the bitter Truth, Crème de Violette liqueur
The Sloaney Pony Grey goose la poire vodka, fresh pomegranate seeds and lemon juice, St-Germain elderflower liqueur.
n Visit: www.corinthia.com/London or call: 0207 930 8181 Corinthia Hotel London London SW1A 2BD
Pukka Love Tea Nationwide, UK Valentine’s Day is a day of love and appreciation, meaning that women throughout the country will find themselves waiting in anticipation for a token of love from their partners. Whilst indulgent chocolates are delicious, they play havoc with the post-festive diet, and traditional flowers soon wilt. Pukka Love Tea (read our exclusive feature on Pukka here!), however, is the perfect answer to those Valentine’s frustrations. Why not make yourself a cup of Love tea for the perfect romantic start to the day?! The beautifully packaged Love tea will
be sure to soothe, warm and create the perfect mood for romance, giving your man those all important brownie points and allowing you to sit back and relax. Drinking Love tea will also ensure that love isn’t just confined to Valentine’s Day as the elderflower and chamomile continues to soothe and relax throughout the year. Point your man in the direction of Pukka Love tea this Valentine’s and enjoy your day. n Pukka’s Love Tea is available from Tesco stores nationwide or from www. pukkaherbs.com and costs £2.25.
EAT : Dabbous, Fitzrovia, London
S U O B B A D
nced ronou ed it p ( t n a ard taur ed res ngingâ€™ and awt success m a n f cha r s sel gges s to hi food â€˜game ne of the bi lin star undee. r o o d the the as o hyp che pened schler called s is known and one Mi d up to the o s u o u Ma uck abb bbo t live Ollie Deks later, Fayrd. Today, Daike The Fat Des to see if i , y r a u In Jan . A few we ing Standa hat reads l or ourselv en o) gf tt Da-Bo ars in the Ev a waiting lis e went alon four st f 2012, with its belt. W o stories
Ollie Dabbous’ impressive CV features some of the best restaurants in the world, from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Hibiscus in the UK, to wd-50 in New York, Murgaritz in San Sebastian and Noma in Copenhagen. As he’ll tell you on his website, Dabbous focuses on clean flavours, seasonal ingredients and innovation. His aim is to create food that is modern and impressive, simple and restrained – you won’t find overcomplicated, lavish sauces on Ollie’s menu.
Refreshingly affordable The popularity of Dabbous means tables must be booked months in advance – around five for lunch and up to a year (yes, a year) for dinner. Our recent lunch reservation was made back in June, so when the day finally came to go, we were quite literally champing at the bit. Situated just around the corner from Goodge Street, Dabbous is protected by a tall, heavy black door that may seem more at home at a bank, or indeed, the MI5 building. Inside, simple wooden tables and chairs sit on a concrete floor, surrounded by wired screens and exposed pipes. It’s safe to say the décor is urban, edgy and cool, without feeling grimy. The theme continues downstairs at the bar, run by awardwinning mixologist Oskar Kinberg. Although we were there for the food, a quick peek at the menu told us the cocktails were seasonal, made up of ‘The Classics’ and Oskar’s own creations. There are also bar snacks available, many of which we recognised from the menu upstairs. Talking of upstairs, the staff – trendy-yet-approachable – showed us to our table before taking us through the menu options. As it was lunchtime, we had the choice to go A la
Carte, with the Tasting Menu or the Set Lunch. Considering the hype, its recent Michelin star and quality of ingredients, the prices were surprisingly reasonable, with the set menu coming in at just £26 for four courses. At the other end of the scale, the Tasting Menu was £54 per person, covering seven dishes and an eighth that asked for a £9 supplement. This menu was a commitment for the whole table, so, knowing this might be the only time we’d get to sample the delights of Dabbous, it was the obvious choice. That, and a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet (£25.00) from the extensive wine list of reds, whites and desserts, all at varying price points.
The art of simplicity With wine came a paper bag of freshly made bread and a whipped spoonful of creamy salted butter sat on a dark piece of slate. As moreish as it was, we were careful not to eat too much as it wasn’t long before the tasting menu began, starting with Hispi Cabbage with Sunflower, accompanied by a short description from our knowledgeable waiter (obligatory at the start of each course). It must be a good sign when a chef manages to make cabbage taste so good. Blanched and crunchy, it came with a nutty sunflower mayonnaise that had a rural beauty due to the petals and seeds lightly sprinkled on top. Next up was an equally inventive dish, again made with the simplest of ingredients – celeriac, grapes, hazelnuts and lovage (a hard to come by herb that has the flavour of parsley, celery and aniseed). All ingredients were brought together in a pretty consommé topped with an olive oil emulsion. The result was refreshing, light, fragrant and unique, something that was becoming a common theme at Dabbous.
An irresistible signature Much like Heston’s Meat Fruit (read our exclusive feature here!), the third course has already become the restaurant’s signature dish. Coddled Free Range Hen Egg with Woodland Mushrooms & Smoked Butter came in an eggshell that sat in a straw filled plant pot. It was the highlight of the meal at that point, tasting like an intensely rich fry-up, with the smoked butter acting the part of the bacon. The next two courses were what you could call the mains – Braised Halibut with Coastal Herbs and Barbecued Iberico
Pork with a Savoury Acorn Praline, Turnip Tops & Apple Vinegar. The halibut was light, poached to perfection and brought to life by the wonderful sauce of verbena, vermouth and bright pink pickled garlic, whereas the slab of pork was rare, salted and substantial, sitting on a bed of crunchy acorns that sweetened the dish. We now had a decision to make – do we, or do we not, pay £9 to have cheese when there are still two desserts to come? It wasn’t just greed that made us say yes, our waiter talked us into sharing one. On a plate lay four slices of creamy artisan cheese – two sheep, one goat, and a cow next to half a baked, caramelised apple and a portion of toasted sourdough. I’m glad we decided to have it, but I’m also glad we decided to share. After five courses, one each would have quite possibly killed our appetites and ruined pudding. The first dessert was Fresh Milk Curds, Birch Sap, Winter Fruit & Vegetables. The sweet yet savoury curds hid chunks of chewy birch sap and crunchy vegetables, one of which was chorogi (Japanese artichoke). The dish was unusual, but by no means unpleasant, making an interesting bridge from the mains into pudding. For us, the best came at the end with a
bowl of Chocolate Soaked Brioche served with Barley Malt Ice-Cream, Azuki Beans and Pecans. It was everything you’d ever want from a pudding – varying textures, balanced sweetness and a cooling, melting topping; simply sublime. At the end of our eight courses, we felt like Ollie Dabbous had not only treated us, but also taught us a few things. In two and a half hours, he’d shown us how simple ingredients can feel exciting and exotic. And that you don’t need to hide behind white tablecloths, fancy lighting, suited waiters and bound menus if the food is excellent, and it’s always worth adding a few complimentary surprises to the meal – the French sponge cherry pudding given with our bill being a case in point. n Tasting menu, excluding wine, £63 per person. Visit: www.dabbous.co.uk for reservations or call: 020 7323 1544 Dabbous 39 Whitfield Street London W1T 2SF
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S L E EP : Metropolitan COMO London, Park Lane, London
Opened to universal acclaim in 1997, Metropolitan COMO London is part of COMO Hotels and Resorts, the name behind luxury private island resorts such as Parrot Cay and Uma by COMO properties in both Bali and Bhutan. We visited Park Lane’s most stylish property and spoke with Chris Orlikowski, PR and Marketing Manager, Europe, to get the inside scoop on this most impressive of London hotels. Among the capital’s first hotels to embrace contemporary design, the Metropolitan by COMO London’s interiors balance modern style with a timeless subtlety. The philosophy behind the design is to strip back the non-essential elements of a traditional English hotel to create something cool-yet-accessible, sophisticated and warm. The hotel’s understated style was maintained during a gentle refurbishment programme in 2006 that highlighted simplistic designs and added warm colours, such as coffee and cream with accents of plum. The hotel also undertook a major bathroom refurbishment in 2010, resulting in understated contemporary bathrooms that ooze sophistication. Simply put, this was a hotel we were very excited to visit.
Energetic flair As we discovered upon arrival, what is immediately apparent is the level of
energetic service at the front desk, which was refreshingly consistent for all guests, as Chris begins by telling us. “Upon check-in, guests will be struck by the flair and energy of our service. Our concierge imparts a level of local knowledge that
allows each guest to feel like a London insider. As with all COMO Hotels and Resorts, cuisine is a key element of the experience. At Metropolitan London’s Nobu restaurant, Executive Chef Mark Edwards heads up one of the most exciting kitchens in the capital, serving an original mix of Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. Indeed, whilst both countries are famous for their raw fish, the marinades of Peru include different chillies, types of citrus, garlic and coriander. This combination of South American and Asian flavours has become known as ‘New Style Japanese’”. Combining this attentive service with an enviable location is one thing, but it is in the guest rooms where the hotel really comes into its own. With 144 rooms and suites as well as 19 long-stay apartments, the Metropolitan has something to suit every guest (and indeed every budget). As well as the hotel’s impressive range of accommodation, the Metropolitan’s COMO Shambhala Urban Escape opened its doors in 2011 and provides >>
guests with results-driven treatments from message therapy to facials to acupuncture. There are six treatment rooms, two of which are double treatment rooms for couples featuring steam rooms. As one would expect from such a respected spa brand, COMO Shambhala products are used for a majority of the treatments. Made famous as an uber-cool celebrity hang-out in the late Nineties, the Met Bar has recently been rejuvenated
with a major renovation. Guests can expect an innovative cocktail menu, seasonal British classic cuisine and new levels of sophistication, enabling relaxed networking for those wanting the perfect lunchtime at work or evening at play, as Chris continues by affirming. Tables are back-painted glass with golden highlights, reflecting the natural light, which floods through during daytime from the newlycreated glass wall. The evening brings a
change of mood with the electro-technic glass becoming etched, obscuring the view from outside in. A raised private booth sits beside the staircase with views through to the main bar area. Art is found in the form of a unique corrugated cardboard relief by renowned British artist Giles Millerâ€?.
Iconic for a reason Given the hotelâ€™s unbeatable location, the Metropolitan is similarly proud of being
the only contemporary property on Park Lane, as Chris continues by telling us about the major selling points. “As well as the amazing contemporary interiors, we also have Nobu, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape and the Met Bar. At the latter, guests can enjoy a modern twist on British cuisine, paired with innovative cocktail creations such as ‘El Abuelo’, a perfect marriage of fresh passion fruit and lemongrass with Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata Tequila, shaken with fresh lemon juice, agave nectar and served straight up. “At the Urban Escape, our idea was to create an urban oasis that offers resultsdriven treatments for busy travellers and a space that restores guest’s energy through treatments provided by expert therapists. Guests particularly enjoy our range of facial treatments by Samantha West, a highly trained skincare specialist with over 10 year’s experience in the beauty industry,” Chris affirms. “Acupuncturist and Shiatsu Practitioner Yuki Nishikubo is also a highly sought-after member of the team with a strong following. At the moment, one of the most popular treatments is the signature COMO Shambhala Massage that we developed”.
in the London market. Clocking in at 355 square feet, the Metropolitan Rooms are more than ample for a romantic weekend away and come with a well-placed desk and a comfortable banquette sitting area, which almost demands you to sit down and luxuriate in the incredible views. If you’re looking to truly push the boat out, we’re delighted to confirm that the Metropolitan has something very special, as Chris concludes by highlighting. “For me, the ideal experience at the hotel would have to be a stay on the 10th floor in the COMO Suite, with its unbelievable views over Hyde Park. I’d enjoy a spa treatment at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape followed by dinner at Nobu. I’d then round off the perfect evening with
a cocktail in the Met Bar, my personal favourite at the moment is the Met 97”. With City Rooms starting from just £239 per night including breakfast, those looking for a Valentine’s Day treat would be well-served by booking a Suite at the Metropolitan. n Visit: http://www.comohotels.com/ metropolitanlondon for reservations or call: 020 7447 1000 for reservations. Metropolitan by COMO 19 Old Park Lane London W1K 1LB
A night to remember Having stayed in one of the ‘Metropolitan Rooms’ on our recent visit, the first thing we noticed was the breathtaking views over Hyde Park, which rank as some of the finest we’ve seen anywhere in the capital. Complete with a wealth of modern features, the Metropolitan Rooms combine contemporary design and technology with comfort and space, both of which are a precious commodity
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D RI N K : Grain Brewery
Going against the
grain Opened in the summer of 2006 and driven by a love of great beers, a distaste for big business and a desire for a fresh start, Grain Brewery is an independent brewery based in South Norfolk. We spoke to Managing Director and Founder, Phil Halls, to learn more about Grainâ€™s wonderful range of lovingly-crafted beers.
the harvest moon with a fresh taste and citrus hops. We produce a great India Pale Ale, which at 6.5% ABV is a strong golden pale ale with crisp and refreshing hops. The Blackwood Stout is a traditional black stout with a flavour of burnt toast dryness and a hint of coffee”. Grain also produces Chestnut, Blonde Ash Wheat Beer – perfect for the summer, with fresh grassy aromas and a wheat finish – and Winter Spice, which is a ruby red winter ale, subtly infused with seasonal spices and thus an ideal Christmas present for ale aficionados. Refreshingly, Grain Brewery is always >>
Located in the picturesque Waveney Valley in South Norfolk, an area defined by its vibrant yet tranquil river (the Waveney), Grain Brewery is that rare beast – a brewery more concerned with quality over quantity. The magic happens at South Farm in Alburgh (pronounced Arrrrrbraa), which has been owned by the Bond family for three generations. Having converted the old dairy into its brewhouse and cellars, Phil and his team have been perfecting the art of brewing ever since 2006 – an art that is evidently working wonders.
Driven by desire With a background in publishing, it is fair to say that Phil Halls is not your average brewer. Indeed, with nothing but a genuine passion for beer and tired of wearing a tie too often, Phil decided to risk it all in 2006 and open his own microbrewery, as he begins by recalling. “I suppose with hindsight it was an absolutely crazy decision. At the time, my business partner, Geoff Wright, told me that it was now or never, so, despite having a mortgage and a young family, I just went for it. Ultimately, I wanted to do something more hands-on that I was passionate about. “The location of the old dairy at South Farm was perfect for us, so we converted it into our brewhouse and cellars because we didn’t want to work in an industrial estate,” he remembers fondly. The rest, as they say, is history and Grain hasn’t looked back since, having also opened The Plough in central Norwich, which is the brewery’s showcase for its fantastic range of beers. In the six or so years since they
started, Grain has won numerous awards, including several from renowned beer advocacy group, CAMRA. “Our major desire is to keep on expanding without compromising on quality,” Phil tells us. “We’re hoping to open a second Grain pub in East Anglia this year. Personally, I love the fact that our barley is locally sourced and that all of our beer is lovingly-crafted right here in Norfolk. We produce crisp, clean beers from simple recipes, which is an ethos reflected in our branding as well. We have our own branded glasses and pump clips made from wood – basically, we spend money where we don’t need to spent it!”
Award-winning ales As well as The Plough in Norwich, Grain Brewery beer can also be found in a number of pubs across Norfolk and Suffolk, in addition to online at www. grainbrewery.co.uk. It is the brand’s determination to constantly innovate and try new things that has enabled it to emerge as one of the area’s leading beer producers. Indeed, in the second half of 2012, it recorded a 30 per cent increase in sales but this by no means dictates the direction of the business, as Phil confirms. “For us, it really comes down to making a living whilst producing beers that our customers will like. “At present, we produce a range of nine bottled beers. For the traditional ‘ale drinker’ we have the Oak Bitter, Best Bitter and Porter. If you’re looking a more unusual and unique flavour, then we have the Harvest Moon, which is a full-bodied and hoppy golden pale ale, inspired by
â€œThere is a real sense of camaraderie within the company and the overlying characteristic is one of genuine passion for brewing and the art of perfecting great British Aleâ€?.
welcome to visitors and Phil and the team are more than happy to show guests around the brewery as long as they’re not too busy! There is a real sense of camaraderie within the company and the overlying characteristic is one of genuine passion for brewing and the art of perfecting great British ale.
The perfect pint Since the arrival of its ‘Beer Missionary’ Tom Hanna, whose sole responsibility is to help spread the word of Grain’s awardwinning beers throughout East Anglia, the business continues to go from strengthto-strength as the 30 per cent increase in sales reported last year underlines.
“Over the last six months, Tom has made an amazing impact, successfully growing our local business as well as keeping in tune with existing customers. He regularly visits pubs and restaurants throughout Norwich, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to keep them up to date on new beers. Tom is one of those people that you just instantly warm to and he’s so engaging that the beer can do the talking over a good chat”. As Tom himself says, “You can’t beat sitting down with friendly people and chatting over a beer and that’s pretty much what my job is all about”. It is this kind of philosophy that continues to inform Grain Brewery. By taking time to
understand its customers and perfecting the brewing process with simple recipes – similarly reflected by its simple branding, Grain has been able to add value to its bottle customers by independently running free tasting days in local shops, delis and department stores. By offering consumers a chance to try their fantastic range of beers, whilst tasting the ingredients used in brewing, Grain is engaging the public on a grass-roots level. From its breathtakingly picturesque headquarters in South Norfolk, we’re predicting another delicious year for Phil and his team of beer missionaries! n Visit: www.grainbrewery.co.uk
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E AT : Ceviche, Soho, London
Ceviche This time last year, the Mystic Megs of the food world predicted the rise of Peruvian cuisine in the capital. Well, their crystal balls were working as not one, but five major Peruvian restaurants opened throughout the year – Lima London, SushiSamba, Coya, Tierra Peru and Ceviche. We went along to Ceviche to get a taste of this cultural institution for ourselves.
Founded by Martin Morales, it was Ceviche that led the trend for Peruvian cuisine. He left the world of music and media to pursue his passion for Peruvian food, drink and culture. Ceviche started life as a tweet (@martinceviche), before growing into a series of supperclubs, pop-ups and, ultimately, a restaurant that opened in February 2012 and had us for dinner last week.
A taste of Peru Based on busy Frith Street in Soho, the front of the building lists some of what you’ll find inside - Tiraditos, Pisco Bar, Picarones and Anticuchos, along with a helping of Carino (affection) and Amistad (friendship). It’s these values that shape the laid back, fuss free restaurant that’s brimming with Peruvian personality and rhythm. Upon entering, you fall upon a narrow, fresh and bustling Ceviche and Pisco Bar with tall seats for those looking for a quick bite, drink or chat. The wider restaurant is located at the end of this
bar, decked out with bistro-style tables and chairs, posters, metal edged mirrors and artifacts, all inspired by Barranco (Lima’s Soho) and, more specifically, Bar
Juanito – a regular haunt of Peru’s most celebrated poets and musicians. The staff are friendly and attentive, channeling the restaurant’s passion for
Co nter-top coffee kudos from Fracino’s new PID Fracino, the UK’s only manufacturer of espresso and cappuccino machines, has demonstrated the strength of its multi-million pound research and development programme - and world class engineering and production skills - with the launch of the versatile new PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) espresso machine. Equally suited to both the experienced barista and the rookie, the PID is aimed at style-conscious bars, restaurants and coffee-shops, where its sleek white retro but state-of-the-art design will appeal to a wide range of operators and customers. The PID is unique in that the barista can use the same coffee through the machine but set the individual group heads to different temperatures. Available in two or three groups - each group with independent boiler for optimum temperature control - anti-splash nozzles on the hot water outlets and steam tubes for frothing milk, the PID boasts market-leading technology including touch pad displays for ultimate control. Boasting all the power, technical qualities and reliability synonymous with Fracino’s products, the PID also features: • Top quality copper boiler heated by multiple looped element • Pressure controlled by a triple contact switch • Automatic water level system with probe, electronic control unit and solenoid valve • Brass safety valves to separately control water and steam pressure • Groups with clearance of 120mm to allow for 10oz takeaway cups and 8oz latte glasses • Stainless steel case, waste and cup trays • Brass bodied group with stainless shower plate, solenoid valve and high pressure pump • Independent group boilers made of nickel plated brass • Automatic on/off timer and time setting options • F.A.S.T steam system (on right) that can be used at the same time as the groups • Manual steam tube (on left) that can be used at the same time as the groups • Dual pressure gauge showing water and steam pressure
A multitude of control and diagnostic features, centred around a simple but stylish LCD display in the front panel, provides the user with unrivalled levels of choice and control. Like all Fracino machines the PID encapsulates world-class engineering and cutting-edge technology, designed and hand-built to the highest standards from the finest stainless steel, copper and brass. Fracino has invested over £1million at its cutting edge plant in recent months to ensure the delivery of a top quality customer experience, and leaving nothing to chance with the new machines’ style, innovation and sheer commitment to coffee quality. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 328 5757. Celebrating the “silent grind” John McGinnell, sales manager at award-winning Fracino, gives a sneak preview of the manufacturer’s brand new range of fresh-on-demand coffee grinders. John says: “Traditionally coffee grinders have been tolerated rather like a younger sibling – a necessary but often noisy addition to the family! Quiet grinders have been few and far between and it was accepted that speed would be sacrificed in favour of quieter operation. “All that is about to change with the launch of Fracino’s new range of fresh-ondemand coffee grinders. The A8, K8 and K10 models are sleek and speedy – and most importantly, much quieter. With full electronic control of shot dose and micromatic adjustment for coarseness, these grinders have adjustable fork height and can even be adapted for coffee cans. “This new range of grinders is the perfect complement to our stunning new top of the range coffee machines designed for style-conscious venues that focus on the customer experience – just like the PID. Placing a noisy grinder in a 30-cover bar or restaurant could lead to customers defecting to a venue where their conversation isn’t interrupted every time a coffee is brewed. Quiet grinding is here to stay and we’re confident our Fracino machines will be a roaring success – a quiet roar, that is!”
Coffee with Control
World-class Engineering Benefiting from Fracino's extensive research and development programme, world-class engineering skills and state-of-the-art production methods, P.I.D is a genuine marriage between style and control. The P.I.D is a seriously stylish machine available with 2 or 3 groups, hot water outlets fitted with anti-splash nozzles and steam tubes for frothing milk. It boasts all the power, technical qualities and reliability synonymous with Fracino products, in a stunning new look to create the ultimate bar furniture. The P.I.D features an illuminated gloss white back panel and gloss white steel side panels. An exquisite,uniquely styled steam, water and filter holder handles. The touch pads and display are illuminated with blue led lights enhancing the look of the front panel and balancing the illumination of the back panel which can be branded to individual requirements.
Control Features The Fracino PID offers an array of control and diagnostic features, allowing the user to adjust and fine tune various features on the machine to create the perfect espresso time after time. Most of the features are controlled by a simple and easy to use LCD display mounted on the front panel. Each group has an independent boiler for optimum temperature control - settable between 80-115°C - for example the user can set one group to 90°C and another to 95°C whilst still maintaining the standard boiler for water and steam.
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Peruvian food with their informative menu suggestions. As we’d booked, our table was ready and waiting, so it wasn’t long before we had a menu and glass of deliciously sweet Pisco Sour in front of us, priced at £6.50.
Tasty, local, sustainable Ceviche prides itself on being the first UK company specialising in Peruvian food that has a focus on sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. It’s for that very reason that so much is brought over from Peru, from the chillis and delicious Giant Choclo Corn, to the Pisco and Cusqena Beer. The colourful menu is made up of Nibbles & Sides, Ceviche, Salads, Grilled Skewers (Anticuchos), Classic Favourites (Recuerdos) and Desserts, along with a few specials, which for us had a festive theme. The dishes range between £2 and £12 and each one is made to share – our waitress suggested up to four each. On the back of the menu is an equally extensive list of drinks, which includes everything from cocktails and Macerados (Pisco Infusions), to beers, wines and soft drinks. We were hooked on the Pisco Sours – ‘when in Peru’ – but the wines matched the reasonably priced food, with the most expensive bottle of red coming in at just £41.
Flavours of the South We made our order based on the waitress’ recommendations, starting with a portion of Cancha and some Cheese & Chard Tequenos. The Cancha is Giant
Choclo Corn, fried, cooled and salted to create the perfect crunchy nibbles. The Tequenos were like Peru’s version of a samosa – crispy dough on the outside and melting soft oniony cheese within. For main, we went for three items from the Ceviche Bar – Don Ceviche (sea bass), Sakura Maru (salmon) and Alianza Lima (mixed seafood) – as well as Solteron, Corazon (beef heart) and Paiche (an Amazonian fish) skewers. All of this was topped off by a very indulgent and utterly moreish serving of Huancaina Macaroni. Starting with ceviche, it was clear why this was the restaurant’s signature dish. In particular, the Don Ceviche and Sakura
Maru both had a lovely kick from the chilli, which was refreshingly curbed by the lime and sprinkles of rock salt. Both dishes were marinated in Tiger’s Milk and topped with light and crispy pieces of potato that made an interesting contrast to the delicate pieces of fish. Even though we had two very different skewers, they were both tender and meaty, accompanied by a delightfully spicy sauce that added bite to each mouthful. The Solteron was a mixture of palm hearts, spinach, alfalfa, Peruvian Botija olives and a generous sprinkling of feta, all dressed with lime. You could say it’s a Peruvian take on Greek Salad, but either way, we probably could have done with something a little lighter.
Too good to leave A bit like left over turkey sandwiches on Christmas day, you can always tell something is truly delicious when you can’t say no, even after a substantial feed. This is how we felt about the grilled, cheesy and spicy Huancaina Macaroni. It was the ultimate comfort food. Somehow, we managed dessert, which came in the form of Brownie Peruanco – a chocolate and pecan brownie served with cinnamon ice cream. The ice cream was the star of the show, smooth and creamy, its spice made us feel festive. As for the brownie, it didn’t have enough goo or chew for our personal liking, but who knows, perhaps that’s how they do it in Peru. Morales has done a fantastic job of bringing a taste of Peru to London.
Everything from the design and music, to the food, drink and staff exudes Peruvian lifestyle and culture, giving the customers a very repeatable experience. Luckily for Londoners, there are plans to open a Shoreditch branch in 2013, which will no doubt be just as popular as its Soho sister. For those not in London, the Ceviche’s Tiger’s Milk Records CD, a copy of the new cookbook and a bottle of Pisco will go some way to doing the job at home. n Dinner for two, including drinks, £70. Visit: http://cevicheuk.com/ for more information and reservations. Ceviche 17 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4RG
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S L E EP : London Marriott County Hall, South Bank, London
First opened in July 1998, The London Marriott Hotel County Hall was purposebuilt to ensure that its guests enjoy the very best of British hospitality, whether travelling for business or pleasure. We spoke to Director of Sales and Marketing, Sioned Parry-Rudlin, to find out more about the hotel’s impressive heritage and grandeur. With a prime location on London’s South Bank, County Hall was originally acquired by Japanese property and leisure company Shirayama Shokusan in 1992. Three years later in 1995, Whitbread signed an agreement to build a 200-bedroom hotel and leisure club in part of the premises. In 1998, this became The London Marriott Hotel County Hall and on 23rd September of the same year, Mr. JW Marriott Jnr, President and Chairman of Marriott International, presided over its official opening. Today, this luxury 186 room, 14 suite, five star hotel epitomises traditional elegance alongside breathtaking views of Big Ben and the River Thames – all this in combination with all of the amenities and first-class service one would expect at a five star property.
Plotting an icon As County Hall’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Sioned is ideally positioned to explain the hotel’s rich heritage and
remarkable place in London’s history. “The iconic features in and around County Hall act as a historic timeline for the building,” she begins. “Examples include the plaque near to the hotel entrance that commemorates the official opening of County Hall by King George V in 1922 – and Queen’s Walk, which forms part of the Silver Jubilee Walkway, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977. “Indeed, County Hall is steeped in history and every feature has helped to shape the hotel into its current state. Even the iconic lion statue, which originally stood on the roof of Goding’s Lion Brewery, can boast a royal connection. Upon the brewery being demolished, the lion, which weighs 13 tonnes, was saved at King George VI’s personal insistence and came to stand at County Hall in 1966,” Sioned recalls. “Today, our hotel provides a streamlined guest experience, from our public areas to bedrooms that allow guests to connect and/or recharge. We are always investing in improving the product and service that we offer. This year sees the launch of a new restaurant and in 2013 we will yet again be renovating our rooms, so watch this space! “As a hotel we have realised that due to people’s busy schedules, the conventional hotel restaurant no longer fits the modern guest’s requirements,”
she notes. “We have reacted to this by launching an English Steakhouse (http://www.esdmagazine.com/gillrayssteakhouse-bar/) that is vibrant, exciting and, unlike many hotel restaurants, offers all-day dining”.
Location is key Despite the difficult economic conditions of recent times, County Hall has performed strongly over the past four years – a performance that Sioned is keen to highlight. “One of the major factors behind our high occupancy rates is our location. We are located right in the middle of the cultural hub of London, which appeals to the business and leisure guest. For the business guest we have great connections to Mayfair, City and Canary Wharf – and with Waterloo train station on our doorstep, access to the South Coast is within easy reach. “For the leisure audience,” she continues, “County Hall offers stunning and unrivalled views. The majority of our rooms overlook the River Thames, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. We also have an additional advantage in being able to offer Balcony Studios with their own private verandas – what better way to start the weekend than admiring the view with a glass of champagne? Furthermore, we continually invest in the property. This year we are
>> launched a new restaurant called Gillray’s
Steakhouse & Bar, which caters to in-house guests, local residents and visitors to the city. The menu features nine different cuts of steak, all of which are sourced from 35-day dry aged cattle from the Duke of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey Estate in Yorkshire – and the bar offers 33 different varieties of English gin, as well as in-house infusions created by our expert bar team. “We are also fortunate to have one of the best leisure facilities of any hotel in London,” Sioned affirms. “We have an 8,000 square metre Leisure Club with the latest cardio equipment. To compliment these facilities, we have a 25-metre swimming pool with natural daylight and a luxury spa area where guests and non-residents are able to enjoy Murad or Decleor treatments. Extensive relaxation areas are also available and facilities include a steam room, whirlpool bath and sauna. “However, we wouldn’t be able to maintain our excellent performance if it wasn’t for the team we have at the hotel,” she explains. “Training plays an important part in ensuring that each associate is equipped and ready to take care of our guests. As a direct result of this, we are able to retain a long-standing and experienced team, helping us to achieve consistently high levels of service”.
Unique marketing Given the hotel’s prime location on the South Bank it should come as no surprise to learn that County Hall goes to great lengths to capitalise on the marketing potential of its prominent address, as Sioned is eager to affirm. “We work closely with the South Bank Marketing Group to maximise our location and ensure our guests can make the most of their stay – whether it’s arranging tickets to the London Eye or keeping them informed of the latest offering at the Royal Festival Hall,
for instance. We have also formed a unique partnership with the London Film Museum to deliver an exciting new proposition for the meetings and events industry. With the London Film Museum also housed within County Hall, we can offer bespoke packages, taking advantage of the best that both venues have to offer. “So, whether it’s a drink at County Hall followed by a screening in the London Film Museum’s historic and impressive Debating Room, or a banquet for 200 guests in the London Film Museum’s riverside rooms catered for by our Executive Head Chef, we can guarantee to deliver an exceptional experience for any occasion,” she confirms. “I would say that our three major strengths would be character, location and amenities. County Hall is steeped in history and has been restored to retain its original architecture. The towering bronze doors, original wood-panelling and polished marbled floors give the property a unique character, all set in a beautiful Grade IIlisted building”.
A positive force for the future As part of the globally-renowned Marriott International Group, County Hall has taken great strides to demonstrate that corporate responsibility in hospitality management can be a positive force for the environment, as Sioned is keen to tell us. “As a Group, we’ve set a variety of objectives, including reducing energy and water consumption by 25 per cent per room by 2017; to educate associates and guests to support the environment; and to invest in innovative conservation initiatives, such as rainforest protection and water conservation. “Environmental awareness plays a huge role in the Group’s business practice and our green achievements of Marriott-branded hotels in the UK have led The Sunday Times to rank Marriott
International seventh of out 60 in their ‘Best Green Companies’ list and ‘Best for Employee Environmental Engagement,” she attests. “The team at the hotel is dedicated to delivering five-star service and a memorable guest experience. Guests return time-and-time again because they know they can rely on us to deliver unrivalled service alongside luxury accommodation. The riverside location, views, space, history, food, service and quality – it all amounts to the perfect venue”. And as for her favourite room at County Hall, Sioned concludes by telling us about the delights of the Library Lounge. “With its original wood panelling and historic marble busts, the Library Lounge overlooks Big Ben and has large riverfront windows that offer spectacular views and even houses some of the room’s original books. It can hold 100 people for a reception or 50 people for a banquet and is the perfect room to host weddings, functions and private dining events – or simply to enjoy our traditional Afternoon Tea”. Given County Hall’s unrivalled location on the South Bank, its luxurious accommodation and five-star service, it will surely be the gold standard for visitors looking for an urban oasis in the heart of the action in 2013. n Visit: http://www. londonmarriottcountyhall.co.uk for more information or call 0207 928 5200 for reservations. Twitter: @MarriottHotels London Marriott County Hall London County Hall Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7PB
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DRINK : Only Natural Products
Success Story Family-owned and run, Only Natural Products (ONP) produces three brands, Dr Stuartâ€™s, Higher Living and Kromland Farm. We caught up with Keith Garden, Managing Director, to find out all about this refreshingly ethical tea business.
As a genuinely independent tea business, ONP is run by the appropriately named Keith Garden, with his daughter Charlotte handling marketing and international sales and his wife, Tina, dealing with customer services. Indeed, even his two younger daughters have been busy cutting their teeth and have been known to lend a hand at demonstrations in stores and at exhibitions. With three different brands falling under the ONP umbrella, it is fair to say that the Garden’s have a tea for just about every taste.
Teas for every occasion and taste Perhaps the most famous of all three, is the Dr Stuart’s brand of tea that has been around for 20 years, as Keith begins by telling us. “Created with worldrenowned ethnobotanist Dr. Malcolm Stuart, Dr Stuart’s teas are simply wonderful and the perfect remedy to even the most depressing of days. For us, it all started with Dr Stuart’s. Higher Living organic teas are created using the finest quality organic ingredients for a better, brighter, bolder cup and a more uplifting and fun herbal experience. This is our newest brand, but we like to think of it as the champion of the three. The company’s 45 years of blending experience has been utilised excellently in our 23 blends, three of which are brand new for 2013. As well as being
100% organic, the majority of our herbal blends are caffeine-free, which is a huge selling point. “Kromland Farm is a passion of ours as all the organic Rooibos is produced on a pioneering single estate in South Africa noted for producing some of the finest quality Rooibos,” he affirms. “The owner of the Rooibos estate approached us as they wanted a quality product that reflected their quality produce. He asked us to try his Rooibos and despite not even looking for another product, once we tasted it, we never went back. It was simply the best Rooibos we had ever had the pleasure of consuming. “The original inspiration and still our rationale today is to offer the very best teas and infusions – really going the extra distance to provide great quality and taste; to look for interesting packaging; and to engage with customers,” Keith explains.
First impressions count As well as producing great-tasting, healthy teas, ONP is famous for its eye-catching packaging, most notably displayed across the Dr Stuart’s brand – a part of the business that the Garden’s are particularly passionate about. “Our thought is to work with the best designers we can find that are in line with our brand – people that share our enthusiasm for our products and offering. Design is key – the most important
thing about our brands is the quality, but customer’s first view of our products is the packaging and first impressions count. We do not have the marketing budget of the multinationals but we have unrivalled energy, spirit and love for our brands and products. “I’d say that our biggest challenge was going from contract production to our own factory in January 2011, completing this with the very best new machinery available in this current economic period and financing it with little help from banks,” he recalls. “However, the experience has been fundamental to our growth and having sector-leading quality, service and keeping production in the UK. Whilst most other tea companies are having their teas produced afar in places like China and Poland, keeping our production in Britain is very important to us. We are very much pro-British and EU workers and enjoy supporting the local economy. Us Brits are known for our love of tea and for producing the best quality products in quirky and eccentric ways, which ties in perfectly with our brands and ethos”. This love of tea, so ingrained within our culture in the UK, has made the tea sector the most competitive anywhere in the world – a fact that has made Keith particularly receptive to creativity. “Like the majority of Brits, our passion for tea comes from the ethos that a cup of tea solves anything, so we are always trying to create something >>
â€œHigher Living organic teas are created using the finest quality organic ingredients for a better, brighter, bolder cuppaâ€?.
that everyone can enjoy in a variety of different situations. We’re always looking to improve and think of our brands as athletes, no matter how good you already are, there is always room for improvement. We also are very service orientated and look to work with all customers in the same way – large or small”.
Happy and healthy “There are many reasons why these are our best
sellers but Valerian Plus, Detox, Slim Plus and Wild Fennel are popular because we have spent more than 30 years studying and using plants that are useful to people, and as our customers repeatedly return to experience, they really work,” he affirms. “Dr Stuart’s Apple & Ginger and Higher Living Green Tea, Chai, Licorice, Cinnamon, and Sweet Chilli are popular because they taste so amazing and all contain ingredients that are good for you. Kromland Farm Vanilla is delicious as it can be drunk with milk like formal tea but unlike a cuppa it is naturally caffeinefree, low in tannin and a natural source of antioxidants. If you add milk it also tastes like ice cream!” When asked about ONP’s incredibly affordable price points, Keith was quick to point to the broad appeal of greattasting tea. “We want to be an affordable regular tea or infusion – we use the finest ingredients but it’s important to us that most consumers can enjoy our premium products without having to fork out the premium price tag. It’s very important to offer customers value for
money. We are focused on only producing teas and infusions and are firm believers in exporting our products. We are often the only UK tea company at international tea exhibitions, so we get all the interest! I strongly believe we have the best quality products on the market and we do continuous consumer tasting in house and independently against all competitors to check we offer the best and cleanest tasting products”. In terms of the future, Keith is equally as optimistic, as he concludes by telling us. “We have a lot of new products in development that will launch this year, including some really unique tea experiences and a loose tea range that will include a wonderful Matcha tea. We also have some lovely gift products in design stages for later on in the year. At present, we have two new projects that will attract a different customer that may not have bought our teas before. Due to the exceptional taste and interesting qualities of our teas, the distribution both in the UK and abroad is increasing all the time. Ultimately, we hope to keep growing our business whilst keeping our values of quality service and passion!” Having recently sampled the entire ONP range of teas, we can confirm Keith’s sentiments about quality and great taste. What’s more, the packaging is beautifully crafted and communicates the genuine ethos behind the brands. Don’t just take our word for it though, visit: http://www.drstuarts.com/ http://www. higherlivingherbs.com/ and http://www. kromlandfarm.com/ to make your tea extraordinary today!
E AT : The Pig, New Forest, Hampshire
It’s really a restaurant with rooms In the spectacular New Forest on the south coast of Hampshire sits THE PIG, a restaurant with rooms, which offers a touch of luxury combined with a homely charm. We caught up with Robin Hutson, Chairman, and James Golding, Head Chef, to discover the charms of this wonderfully unique venue. Formerly a hotel called Whitley Ridge, which in turn was originally the home of the Queen Mother’s Uncle, The Hon. Malcolm Bowes Lyons and his wife Winifred, the idea behind THE PIG was to transform it into the antithesis of the traditional, tweedy country house hotel. In this sense, the masterplan has undoubtedly worked as this restaurant with rooms has become one of the most popular and talked about of its kind anywhere in the UK.
Contemporary and chic As Robin begins by recalling, the initial concept for the project was a completely new take on the country house hotel, which was ultimately about comfort. “We wanted to make THE PIG something
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contemporary and chic, yet totally relaxed. From the outset, THE PIG was always going to be a restaurant with rooms; the focus is very much on the food – fabulous, uncomplicated and simple British garden food, true to the micro-seasons and influenced by the Forest, with the emphasis squarely on fresh, clean flavours”. The restaurant’s interior and design is truly a breath of fresh air and works wonderfully to communicate the ethos behind the kitchen’s philosophy to deliver fresh, clean flavours. “Our greenhouse-style restaurant, with its vine-clad pillars and mosaic floor, bare wood table tops and mismatched bone-handled cutlery eschews the non-uniform look, something that was our aim throughout the entire property. From day one the reaction to the restaurant has been incredible, not just on the part of our hotel guests but from people who travel from all over the country to eat here. In this sense, I would say the restaurant’s main strengths are its innovative dishes, its total reliance on home-grown produce and its unpretentious atmosphere”.
Cooking up a storm With a new season not a million miles away, we were keen to find out from Head Chef, James Golding, what he’s looking forward to serving up. “We can start to feel that spring is just around the corner and the garden at THE PIG is already starting to show the early signs of the new season. As we move into spring, we will start to see the winter
produce flourish into fantastic fruits of purple and white sprouting broccoli as well as our winter broad beans producing those beautiful beans that are fantastic in salads, risottos and even dressings. Local Isle of Wight garlic will be dug up as well as the fantastic and vibrant rhubarb bed supplying almost all our seasonal fruit for the pastry”. In terms of James’ philosophy, he is refreshingly informed by the rhythms and beats of THE PIG’s garden and, indeed, the local surroundings, as he was keen to reveal. “I am basically led by the garden we have here as well as the local area. Our forager will bring in punchy wild garlic leaves, as well as wild flowers and shoots alongside the fantastic spring sea shore vegetables like rock samphire and sea beet. As this produce starts making its way to my kitchen you can hear my mind ticking as I think about how to utilise every bit of it as well as showcase them in a slightly different way that our customers will find interesting but without over-complicating the dish”. Unlike many restaurants where customers flock back for a couple of signature dishes, THE PIG is defined by James’ ingredients, as he is particularly passionate about. “I think that when freshness is your key ingredient, vitality can be your only signature!”
Truly evolutionary Working in such a way and being informed and inspired by the rhythms of nature, we are reminded of a certain Michelin starred Tessa Bramley, whose cooking at The Old Vicarage just outside Sheffield (read our feature on Tessa and The Old Vicarage by subscribing to our
print edition at http://eatsleepdrink. magazine.com) reflects a similar passion for local ingredients. “I think that when you work in this way it’s truly evolution,” James explains. “Every dish you put on has to change so quickly that you end up with so many it is difficult to select just one! In terms of my ideal experience at THE PIG, as I’ve said, the food is the driving force, so for me, it would have to be a hearty breakfast followed by forraging in the New Forest and ending with another hearty dinner amongst friends”. Ultimately, THE PIG is all about the food and, refreshingly for such a proudly innovative venue, the philosophy to use only local ingredients from within a 25-mile radius is staunchly upheld. As its website proudly proclaims: “Everything is driven by the gardener, forager and chef – they grow and find the food, the chef then creates the menu. This immediacy from garden to plate is THE PIG’s trademark”. Even better, customers can avoid the much-dreaded drive home and retreat to one of the THE PIG’s 26 bedrooms with
its original features, relaxed atmosphere and dedication to comfort. Comfy, interesting and homely with muted colours, the ‘rooms’ have evolved into themselves rather than be designed to look that way. If you like nothing more than a relaxing stay away with perfectly cooked, seasonal produce, THE PIG is surely the ultimate destination for an idyllic experience with friends or loved ones. Rooms rates start from £129 midweek. Dinner for two from the 25 mile menu - £70. n Visit: www.thepighotel.com or http://www.thepighotel.com/hotel-in-thenew-forest/eating-in-hampshire.aspx to get a sense of what’s on the menu today. THE PIG Beaulieu Road Brockenhurst Hampshire SQ42 7QL
SL EEP : Heythrop Park, The Cotswolds, Oxfordshire
Jewel in the Crowne Housed within the Grade II-listed Heythrop mansion designed by Thomas Archer in the 1700s, Heythrop Park Resort is one the jewels in Crowne Plazaâ€™s UK crown. We spoke to Tracy Stanton, Marketing Manager, to find out more about the hotelâ€™s quest for continued excellence.
Fusing a metropolitan style with a stunning history and location on the edge of the Cotswolds, Heythrop Park offers chic accommodation amidst 440 acres of glorious countryside. Heythrop’s parkland setting also boasts a state-ofthe-art conference centre, an 18-hole championship golf course and spa facility that offer the perfect package for both business and pleasure. Further to this, the hotel offers a choice of restaurants to satisfy even your most outlandish cravings, making it the ideal spot for fine dining, pre-dinner cocktails or simply a quiet nightcap.
Excellence as standard Having recently won the 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, we were keen to get to know the rich history of Heythrop and understand some of the major milestones on its road to success. “The house was designed by Thomas Archer for the Talbot family,” Tracy begins by telling us. “There was a great fire in 1831 and it wasn’t until 1870 that the home was restored to its former glory by Thomas Brassey as a wedding present to his son Albert. Then, in 1922, it became a Jesuit Seminary before, of all things, a Natwest Training Centre in 1969.
“In the year 2000, Heythrop was purchased by the Firoka Group and moving closer to present day, in 2009/10 there was a massive £50 million investment in a championship golf course, leisure club and a Crowne Plaza 4 star hotel, which now sits alongside the Heythrop Park Hotel,” she recalls. This investment was the real catalyst
in restoring Heythrop to its former glory and the Crowne Plaza Hotel Heythrop Park can now proudly highlight a range of major selling points, as Tracy is understandably quick to elucidate. “For the very first time in the UK guests can now enjoy the sophisticated, cosmopolitan elegance of a Crowne Plaza hotel in a glorious parkland setting. For work, the
purpose-built conference facilities include a cutting-edge conference theatre offering built-in audio-visual facilities and on-site technical support for up to 350 delegates. In addition, a beautiful ballroom for up to 450 guests and an additional nine new meeting and event rooms are available – all with private access to a unique central courtyard or directly overlooking the estate. “For rest, we have 197 chic and stylish guest rooms featuring the designer touches of a contemporary boutique hotel, including nine suites and 61 twin rooms,” she affirms. “In terms of leisure, we have a fantastic 18 hole golf course, a brand new leisure club with 20 metre indoor pool, gym, steam room and three spa treatment rooms”.
Playing to its strengths Working closely with local authorities can have its ups and downs but for Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park, their relationship with Meet Oxfordshire has been a superb way to build awareness. “We have developed collateral for guest information, highlighting the opportunities that our grounds offer for their enjoyment, such as mountain bike hire; woodland walks; and children’s adventure playground,” Tracy
notes. “In terms of our major strengths as a hotel I would draw attention to three key areas. Firstly is our location and setting as the resort’s two hotels are set in 440 acres of parkland. “Secondly, we have one of the best conference theatres anywhere in the UK, which is fantastic from a corporate point of view. Lastly, I would highlight both our 18-hole championship golf course as well as the spa facility located within the resort grounds – all of these attributes combine to really make the hotel a winner. We also have the luxurious Brassey Restaurant located on the third floor, which overlooks the South Lawn and water fountain and offers a Table d’hôte or the popular A La Carte Menu”.
Time and time again Offering choice and flexibility, the Heythrop Park Resort is becoming a more and more popular destination for guests looking for genuine value-formoney in a idyllic setting. “Indeed, the 18th century manor house alongside the 21st century sophistication of the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park Hotel enables us to cater for a breadth of event types and leisure requirements and budgets,” Tracy explains. “The business traveller attending
as part of a conference can easily return with their friends/family for a leisure stay, golf trip or spa break, for example. “Our guests return time and time again for the warmth and personal service of the whole team here,” she continues. “In terms of my ideal experience at the Resort, I would have to unwind with a game of golf or by exploring the nearby woodland walks, followed by an evening meal in the Brassey Restaurant and then a nightcap in the bar before retiring to bed”. With a world of activities on offer, not to mention the stylish accommodation, restaurant choices or first-class leisure facilities, Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park does indeed have something for everyone. Now taking bookings for extended Christmas breaks, we suggest booking as soon as possible to luxuriate in the peaceful and idyllic surroundings of the grand resort. Visit: http://www.cpheythroppark.co.uk Heythrop Park Resort Enstone Chipping Norton Oxfordshire OX7 5UF
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D RI NK : The Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge, London
The Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel
Davide himself. He started off by pointing out that every great hotel has a signature cocktail and not wanting to be left behind, he gave himself the task of finding such a signature for the Bulgari… What, as a brand, is Bulgari most well known for? Exquisite Jewels and a rich fragrance range. Jewels are obviously a little hard to incorporate in to a cocktail, although we’re sure many women would be delighted to find a Bulgari jewel in their drink, so Davide decided to incorporate the perfume. The way he brought the perfume in to the cocktail was to deconstruct it in down to its raw ingredients. He took us through the ‘Au Thé Vert’ cocktail, this fragrance is one of Bulgari’s most famous and loved and proved to turn in to a deliciously fresh and flavoursome drink. The broken down elements were Green Tea, Jasmine Tea, Oak Moss and orange blossom. To put these in a drink, the oak moss was turned in to syrup, which was then perfectly balanced by the Jasmine tea infusion and lifted by the orange blossom. Then, to offset the sweetness, a squeeze of lemon juice and, of course, the all important gin. Amongst the other ‘fragrance cocktails’ are: ‘Sandalwood and Jasmine Fizz’ and ‘Bergamot Sgroppino’. Davide has most definitely created a unique list of cocktails that showcase the luxury taste (quite literally) of the Bulgari brand.
London’s cocktail scene is number one in the world. Forget New York, Paris and Milan, we, in London, are at least two years ahead of everywhere else in terms of making innovative cocktails and accepting the science of mixing flavours that will complement rather than clash. The art of making cocktails is a fine one and requires a lot of skill, one that Davide Segat, Bulgari Hotel’s Italian Bar Manager, shows he has in abundance when he created the bespoke cocktail menu for Il Bar, the hotel’s modern, stylish drinking lounge.
Master at work We were lucky enough to attend a cocktail masterclass there hosted by
>> Italian Heritige
Proud of the brand’s Italian heritage, Davide felt it would be wrong for the list not to include some classic Italian ‘aperitivo’ as well as the bespoke cocktails. One of the classics is an ‘Aperol Spritz’. This was the most refreshing drink we have ever tasted, it’s in fact so refreshing that you think it’s actually good for you. Aperol is the slightly sweeter cousin of Campari, favoured by those who don’t enjoy Campari’s very bitter taste. The Aperol is mixed with prosecco, a dash of soda water and garnished with an orange. A long, citrus drink that we could imagine enjoying rather a lot whilst sitting by the pool in the summer. In true Italian fashion, the aperitivo at the hotel are all accompanied by complimentary antipasti called ‘Piccoli Morsi’. Davide pointed out that apero in latin means open and therefore aperitif, which one drinks before a meal, loosely means ‘to open the stomach’. Thus the conclusion is that all aperitif must be accompanied by a few nibbles. We couldn’t argue with that when we were presented with a tray of Bulgari’s enticing mini eats. Tucked away at the back of Il Bar is ‘The Spirit Room’. A haven of old school glamour, one can imagine the Rat Pack almost certainly enjoying their whiskey and cigars here, were they still around. The walls are decorated with beautiful black and white photos of Sophia Loren and Elisabeth Taylor casually sipping champagne with Sean Connery during his James Bond era, each lady dripping in Bulgari Jewels. This room perfectly reflects the opulence and exquisiteness of the Bulgari brand and the hotel’s exclusivity. The room not only has the same cocktail list as the bar but also houses a large selection of vintage and ‘forgotten’ spirits, such as a pre-phylloxera Cognac from 1840. For the uninitiated, 1840 was the greatest vintage in memory for Cognac. We could have spent all night there but sadly the room was unavailable on our visit. Luckily the room is available for hire for events and you can even have your very own Cocktail Masterclass there if you so desire. Ultimately, if you’re looking for an indulgent cocktail in ultra-glam surroundings, then the Il Bar is the place to be, just remember to dress up glamorously! Visit: http://www.bulgarihotels.com/en-us/london/bar-andrestaurant/il-bar For more information please contact Il Bar on: +44 (0)20 7151 1025 Bulgari Hotel & Residences 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW
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