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The Flower Power Issue The show must go onâ€¦
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Welcome to the latest issue of Kensington and Chelsea Review. Filled with art, auction, culture and luxury, Kensington and Chelsea Review is the magazine for the rather discerning resident of the Royal Borough.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
E V I A N • L A K E G E N E VA • F R A N C E
(a source of enchantment )
A N E V I A N R E S O R T H OT E L WWW.HOTEL-ROYAL-EVIAN.COM
P U BLISHER Talismanic Media FO UNDE R AND M A N AGI N G D I R ECTOR Sid Raghava C H IE F EDI TOR Kate Weir A RT DIRE CT OR Harriet Bedder
At the time of going to press, we were looking forward to a sunny spring and had already chosen hotels for breezy weekend getaways, restaurants for long lazy meals, fresh scents and beauty treatments and more. Then, alarmingly quickly, the world took a turn for the worse. In these dark times it seems frivolous to turn our thoughts to the luxuries great and small we usually cover; however, our writers had worked hard and when lockdown finishes many of these institutions will need your business to rebuild and continue to serve in a Royal Borough that may be remarkably different. So, we put this issue out with hope, not just that this lockdown is lifted soon, but that we’ll see change for the better on the other side, more empathy and a greater awareness of the privilege we have to enjoy these luxuries. We extend our deepest heartfelt sympathies to anyone affected, give the utmost thanks for the brave heroes of our NHS, and wish the residents of Kensington and Chelsea and beyond our very best. Stay strong and stay safe. The KCR Team
THE KENSINGTON & CHELSEA TEAM
M OT ORING EDI TO R Lisa Curtiss O FFI CE M ANAGER Lee Marrero S A L ES M ANA GER Joseph McConville C ON T RIBUTORS Kate Weir, Sid Raghava, Harriet Bedder, Sarah Rodrigues, Andrew Coles, Neil Keenan, Sue Saunders, Adam Jacot de Boinod, Martin Post, Emma Harrison, Kristie Smith, Lisa Curtiss, Tani Burns, Emily Williams and Amira Arasteh.
Spring’s Hot Topics
All material in Kensington and Chelsea Review is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission of the publishers. Colour transparencies and photographs submitted for publication are sent at the owners’ risk and while every care is taken, neither the publisher nor their agents accept liability for loss or damage however caused. The publishers can accept no liability whatsoeverof nature arising out of nor in connection with the contents of this publication. Opinions expressed within the articles are not necessarily those of Kensington and Chelsea Review and any issues arising therefore should be taken up directly with the contributor.
Explore the latest openings, exhibitions and events from the Borough and beyond.
Sustainability in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and how to make your own ﬂoral masterpieces.
What to splash your cash on this month.
We try out cosy staycations and far-ﬂung adventures.
Madcap 10-course menus, an A-list Mexican meal, Michelin-starred classics and the chefs to watch.
Lotions and potions for a fresh spring look. The sleekest city drives and the high-end models to get a handle on.
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READ ALL ABOUT IT A rundown of news, from the worlds of art and culture (plus the items that intrigue us), all handpicked for the Royal Borough resident. TRO PI C AL SENSAT ION Backyard Cinema has a new immersive experience for guests that’s awash with neon and offers exotic escapism. You’ll uncover a secret entrance hidden in a laundrette, before finding your way through a multi-sensory dreamworld on an adventure to find a tropical haven. Then you emerge into Paradise City: a glittering cinematic dreamworld. Here special effects, dazzling light shows and live performances create a film-watching experience like no other; and, of course, there will be giant bean-bags, imaginative cocktails and carefully curated movies. www.backyardcinema.co.uk
A RT DECO DR IN KS IN W14 Ricco Lounge & Club is an elegant Art Deco-style space serving classic cocktails and wines that compliment delicious Middle Eastern dining, which doubles up as a venue to showcase live bands and DJs. It will be open to the public at least four days a week until late to welcome discerning Londoners looking for an exciting night out in an intimate setting. It’s also open to hire for private functions, and the well-crafted drinks and culinary delights – coupled with expertly warm and efficient service – should certainly prove a hit with punters. www.riccoloungeandclub.com
M O L ECULAR HEA LING Molecule is London’s first boutique CBD concept store and wellness centre. This first-of-its-kind CBD wellness destination aims to make CBD accessible to a wider audience by bringing together a retail space, yoga and wellness studio, and health bar. The founders wanted to create a complete ecosystem for wellness, optimising health through yoga, meditation, sound healing and workshops. Molecule plans to educate and provide clients with high-quality CBD products, all ethically sourced and cruelty free. www.moleculehealth.com
S NE AK OU T AD VENT UR E The Duke + Dexter sneaker release ‘In Pursuit of Adventure’ is a collaboration with former F1 World Champion Jenson Button and free-skiing prodigy Jon Olsson. Crafted in England, the new Hiker Low Sneaker is inspired by adventurers who push the limits. Built to last from Italian water-resistant suede, these sneakers have internal leather padding for comfort, hiker-inspired eyelets for quick fastening and a carabiner clip for storage while on the move. The Hiker Low Sneaker launched in December and is available exclusively in Duke + Dexter stores. www.dukeanddexter.com
HA R I’S SA L ON Hari’s has been part of London’s hair scene since 1976 when they opened their first salon in Sydney Street 45 years ago. Now they have four salons on Brompton Road and King’s Road, and in Parson’s Green and Notting Hill. Hari’s specialist team of creative colourists recently unveiled their most-lusted-after Wet-Lights. Regularly spotted on A-listers and royals, this restorative colour-touch service is a match made in hair heaven whether you’re blonde or brunette and will make your hair feel beautifully healthy and luxuriously lifted. www.harissalon.com
STEPHANIE DE GOEIJEN
TU R KISH T REAT S IN FI T Z ROVI A Oklava Bakery + Wine, the new concept from Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie opened in January in Fitzrovia on the site of the pair’s former restaurant Kyseri. The two Oklava restaurants (the original is in Shoreditch) borrow popular elements from Kyseri and Selin brings new dishes and unique styles of baking to the forefront. Born of Selin’s passion for Turkish baking, featuring recipes passed down from her grandmother, Oklava Bakery + Wine is open all day, serving lunch, dinner, and – for the first time – breakfast and Saturday brunch, alongside a vast array of baked goods. www.oklava.co.uk
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B I C ESTE R V ILL AG E X RH S To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Bicester Village’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 garden will be designed by Wild at Heart’s Nikki Tibbles. It will bring countryside romance to London and is designed to be an urban oasis, inspired by architecture, fashion and literature. The garden will also showcase charities from Bicester Village shopping collection’s ‘do good’ programme. Following the show, the garden will be transferred to Bicester Village, treating guests to a taste of Britain’s most prestigious gardening event. www.tbvsc.com
BE LG RAV IA’S GL OW-UP The mad scientists at Bompas & Parr are at it again for the fifth edition of Belgravia in Bloom, The Future of Flowers. This year, flowers will both grow and glow: in Eccleston Yards will be a floral display that’s naturally illuminating, inspired by research into plants as a future more sustainable light source. There’ll also be a scented map developed with Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, and there’s a call for artists who can win £5,000 to build an installation themed around the future of flowers. www.bompasandparr.com
B ON JOUR C OLETTE At-home dining just got a zhuzh courtesy of Colette: a new deli and traiteur on Fulham Road. Head chef Chris Hill has saved your dinner parties, date nights and picnics with daily-prepared, seasonal dishes such as confit cod with lemon, roasted garlic and capers; smoked chestnut and butternut squash risotto; hand-cut linguini with girolles in a pecorino sauce; and a range of gourmet salads. French pâtissiers Ladurée also offer pastries as part of the take-home offering. And, with wines, cheeses, charcuterie and champagnes to boot, why would you shop anywhere else? www.colette.co.uk
P O SITI VE LUXURY AWARD S The first Positive Luxury Awards were held on 25th February at the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel. Guests included Ronan and Storm Keating, Alice Temperley, Anya Hindmarch, Hum Fleming, Anastasia and Amy Webster and Lord and Lady Bamford. They’re a celebration of sustainability and innovation within the luxury industry and recognise companies or individuals working towards affecting positive change in business and beyond. www.positiveluxury.com
K BAR’ S N EW COCK TA ILS The K Bar at The Kensington hotel is launching a new cocktail menu, entitled Terroir.Taking inspiration from Europe’s best-loved wine regions, each of 15 new cocktails is designed to showcase the characteristics of different Old World wines. K Bar’s manager, Salvatore Maggio (formerly of St James Hotel and Club) and award-winning master of wine Anne McHale have created drinks such as the 45th Parallel (Rémy Martin VSOP, Evangelista Ratafia, Syrah Jus, blackberry and citrus). www.townhousekensington.com, image by Lateef Okunnu.
SO CH IC The Jockey Club Live are thrilled to announce the return of the legendary Nile Rodgers & Chic to Sandown Park Racecourse on Wednesday 29 July 2020. Rodgers’ talent and his legacy is nothing short of extraordinary, having won multiple Grammy awards as a composer, producer, arranger and guitarist, he consistently challenges the boundaries of modern music. With a chart-topping career spanning four decades, fans can expect to hear some of the most acclaimed pop anthems of all time. Nile Rodgers & CHIC are sure to put on a performance truly like no other. www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
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T H E E T HI C A L B U TC HER This premium butchery service is for a new generation of meat-eaters, offering ethicallysourced meats with a transparency and traceability unprecedented in the industry. It allows you to support British farmers producing food that isn’t just sustainable but regenerative, using methods that rebuild ecosystems and lock carbon back into the earth, which are kinder to both the animals and the environment. This message challenges the vegan narrative that we need to stop eating meat to save the planet; in fact, some producers are running carbonnegative farms that means lock away more CO2 and methane than emitted. www.ethicalbutcher.co.uk
SAL ON SL OA NE Salon Sloane’s bespoke hair-filler treatment is regenerative and hydrates, glosses and plumps the hair. It includes the purest form of 100 per cent hydrolysed keratin, comprising proteins and minerals which help repair weaker strands and overprocessed locks. The treatment smooths and resurfaces and delivers an immediate hydrating boost, leaving hair shiny, soft and strong. Hair filler is a professional-only treatment available at Salon Sloane; prices starting from £60. Clients are recommended to book a course of three: two in the first month, then a top-up one month later. www.salonsloane.com
H A N DBA G CLINIC The miraculous restorative services offered by Handbag Clinic, give treasured luxury handbags a second or third life. They can also change the colour or customise any leather handbag to suit customer preferences. Customers can be confident their beloved bag is in the hands of highly skilled technicians and that the finished result will be immaculate. The dedicated team of ateliers, who restore around 700 handbags a month, have bespoke solutions for seemingly impossible tasks, using advanced techniques and technology, and the service couldn’t be easier – enquire instore or order a free door-to-door pick-up. www.handbagclinic.co.uk
S E A CH A NG E F EST IVAL 2020 The fifth Sea Change has a scintillating line up of alt music, literature and art in the rarefied surrounds of Devon’s Dartington Hall Estate. This year’s performers include Jeremy Deller, Tim Burgess, Aldous Harding, Squid, Dry Cleaning, Vanishing Twin, Working Men’s Club, Islet, Pozi, Katy J Pearson and many more. There’ll also be two concerts from masterful composer Yann Tiersen, Ethiopian jazz from Hailu Mergia, new work from folk legend Shirley Collins and a ‘Yurts for Life’ literary space curated by Rough Trade books. Plus, you’ll take a trip to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s fabled country Nutopia. It’s not your average festival… Please note: postponed until 2021 www.seachangefestival.co.uk
T R ATE’S T EC HNIC OLOU R MA L AIS E In April this year, Canadian artist TRATE will launch his second series, Technicolour Malaise, at 15 Bateman Street, Soho – and to ensure social distancing is met, the exhibition can be seen online. The show sees TRATE launching his figurative works to the London arts scene, with a collection of bold and emotive, large-scale, oil-oncanvas paintings, each in his haunting, childlike style. His alias refers to the physical ‘traits’ of people, and Technicolour Malaise captures human sensibilities in deceptively simple and subconsciously sourced forms. www.aliastrate.com www.15batemanst.co.uk
TENDER DISFIGURATION BY TRATE
S P I TA LFI ELDS MUSI C FE S TI VA L Spitalfields Music Festival is returning to the heart of East London from 24–28 June. Founded over 40 years ago, this year’s festival is titled Metamorphosis and Transformation and will feature worldpremieres, new music, and classic repertoire from a variety of musical styles. This year’s festival will be held on the original site of the first ever Spitalfields Music Festival in 1976. Highlights include Pygmalion performed by a contemporary dancer to the music of Rameau, the world-premiere of Aberdeen from David Fennessy and Sonia Cromarty, and the UK premiere of Klaus Lang’s Veronika’s Thread. www.spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk
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MU TT M OT ORCYCLE Crafter of bespoke, vintage-style bikes, which are affordable to buy and run, Mutt motorcycles wanted to make biking accessible to all. Now, they’ve launched a flagship store in Bethnal Green, where they can showcase their sleek builds. The brand can count Tom Hardy and Skin from Skunk Anansie as fans and since their inception they’ve grown rapidly, developing new models, moving into international markets and developing a wider range of products from parts to apparel. So, get revved up for their cult cycles. www.muttmotorcycles.com
H IG H- E N D DININ G Following on from the success of last year’s elevated wine dinners, Searcys at the Gherkin will once again bring together panoramic views, live entertainment and prestige wines for four unique events in 2020. Each dinner is a collaboration between world-renowned vineyards and executive chef Shaun Rowlands. Hosted in the Gherkin’s private dining rooms, guests will enjoy global wines alongside a fourcourse menu of seasonal dishes.Sitting on the 38th floor of this Norman Fosterdesigned building, the Gherkin’s private dining rooms have been designed to create memorable, sky-high events. www.searcysatthegherkin.co.uk
L A GER FELD ON TOUR An exhibition that offers an access-allareas experience of Karl Lagerfeld’s most influential and monumental fashion shows will exhibit for the first time in the UK. Following Paris Fashion Week, Art Photo Expo and Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square present the UK debut of Lagerfeld: The Chanel Shows – an exhibition of photographs by renowned British artist, Simon Procter, celebrating the work of the late Karl Lagerfeld. Running for three months, from 18 March, visitors can also enjoy the Runway Afternoon Tea inspired by the show. www.fourseasons.com/tentrinity
A C ARING M O VE Chelsea Court Place, on the King’s Road, will have three more residences on Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, and in Notting Hill. With top-drawer Loveday & Co carers, they lead the way for dementia care, implementing the latest technologies, learnings and therapy concepts. Innovative Aged Care chair and founder Laurence Geller is backing the build and previously donated more than US $20 million to humanitarian, cultural and civic causes. He’s a leading expert in geriatric healthcare, serves as Global Business Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and has become the largest dementia care philanthropist in the UK. www.innovative-agedcare.com
ALL E Y E S ON KOR EA The State Hermitage Museum, Parallel Contemporary Art and Saatchi Gallery are delighted to announce an exhibition of Korean contemporary art presented by Hana Bank. The show will star emerging and established South Korean contemporary artists, and will show at St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum before travelling to the Saatchi Gallery in June, then rounding-off with a homecoming in Seoul. As an ensemble of work curated by Dimitri Ozerkov (The Hermitage), Serenella Ciclitira (CEO of Korean Eye and Parallel Art) and Philippa Adams (Saatchi Gallery), the works represent mass culture in all its forms. www.saatchigallery.com and www.koreaneye2020.com
JUM P FO R J OAL I Travel may be tricky at the moment, but if you’re going to daydream, dream big. Joali Maldives, an ultra-luxe, ecoconscious, immersive art resort on the isle of Muravandhoo is launching a new private branded seaplane, which seats up to eight, for exclusive use to make the 45-minute journey to and from Malé Airport and the unspoiled Raa Atoll. Customised with cream leather seats and signature, rose-gold BOSE headphones, the seaplane elevates your journey to Joali, reducing wait times and giving you access to Joali’s private airport lounge. www.joali.com
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ROYAL FLORAHOLLAND NAALDWIJK
BACK TO THE ROOTS IN T H E RU N U P T O CH E LS E A 'S H IG HLY-A NTIC IPATED A NNU AL FL OWER SHOW, E M ILY WI LL I AM S S P E AKS WIT H LON DON’S L EA DING EC OFRI E N D LY F LORIS T S AN D ROYA L F LOR A HOL L AN D TO FIN D OUT H OW SUS TA IN A BLE IN I TI AT IV E S ARE B EG INNING TO B UD FR OM TH E R OOT S O F T HE BU S I NE S S .
The world’s most famous floral event of the year is about to burst into bloom in the heart of Chelsea, and final preparations are well and truly underway. World-renowned, royally approved, and a hallmark of quintessential British tradition, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has become an institution for flower growers and botanical enthusiasts over many generations. Not only is it an important showcase of the planet’s rich biodiversity, but the exhibition also provides essential environmental education for hundreds of thousands of spectators who travel near and far to marvel at the imaginative garden displays. At the forefront of this year’s 2020 Chelsea Flower Show, there will be a topical focus on the challenges of a changing climate, and the irreversible damage that the world’s flora will face if preventative action does not ensue. Fortunately, the show’s international platform allows the RHS charity to raise awareness on a large scale and encourage collective commitment towards a sustainable future through green urban design and innovative horticultural enterprise. For florist extraordinaire, McQueens Flowers, the Chelsea Flower Show has always been firmly set among their busy events schedule, and the brand was in fact commissioned by the RHS last year to construct two interactive installations. The first was called ‘Honey I’m Home’, a giant hive that continuously evolved as visitors attached their own handmade bees, and the other, ‘Per Oculus Apum’, immersed spectators into the sensory world of bees to reveal their critical role in the plant kingdom. In a recent interview with Maria MacDonald, McQueens Flowers’ sales and marketing manager, she explained that ‘it was an honour to partake in the sustainable displays, particularly as their messages align with the brand’s dedication to eco-friendly practices and ethical floristry’. Naturally, these commitments also led McQueens Flowers to be the first florist to receive the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury, an accolade that identifies luxury brands with the highest standards of environmental performance. This year, McQueens Flowers will be partaking in Chelsea in Bloom, the wider free festival that extends across Chelsea. During this event, Maria revealed that several themed classes will be hosted at their prestigious McQueens Flower School, and an array of ‘fantasy floral reveries that have been masterfully dreamed and expertly
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executed’ will pop up at various event activations. Although these locations cannot yet be disclosed, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for McQueens Flowers’ jaw dropping sustainable visions during Chelsea in Bloom. But for the time being, if you’re looking to implement eco-friendly florals into your home, Maria suggests mixing
‘STUDIO FOUNDER &
MANAGING DIRECTOR JOANNA RHODES EXPRESSED HER
DETERMINATION TO SET NEW INDUSTRY-
STANDARDS: ‘NOT ONLY ARE WE PROUD TO
SEPARATE, COMPOST &
RECYCLE 100 PER CENT OF OUR WASTE, BUT WE
ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO REPLACING NONBIODEGRADABLE
FLORAL FOAM WITH WIRE FRAMES OR
fresh seasonal flowers with preserved or artificial ones, for fresh bouquets with added longevity. Another leading London florist, Hayford & Rhodes, also champions sustainability. At the 2019 Chelsea in Bloom, their characterful red cabbage, celosia and succulent octopus named ‘Paul’, made
for POLPO restaurant, won a Gold Award, and its imaginative design was widely praised. This year, they are set to collaborate for the second time under the theme of ‘Extraordinary Voyagers’, and their enchanting Venetian Gondola will consist of preserved florals to show how natural beauty can last long after the petals blossom. On my last visit to the Hayford & Rhodes Studios, founder and managing director Joanna Rhodes expressed her determination to set new industry-wide sustainability standards: ‘not only are we proud to separate, compost and recycle 100 per cent of our waste, but we are also committed to replacing non-biodegradable floral foam with wire frames or trellis structures’. As a highly established and respected florist, these inspiring steps are destined to help change the British flower industry for the better. In the meantime, Joanna’s top ethical floristry tip is to redisperse flower arrangements at events where multiple rooms are used throughout the day. While Corporate Social Responsibility is all well and good, it got me thinking about the source of the supply chain and if there’s a way that sustainable practice can stem from its origins. During my conversations with London’s seasoned florists, I traced most of their production back to Aalsmeer in Holland, where the world’s largest international flower markets have existed for more than a hundred years. ‘Today we have 4,000 members, 5,500 suppliers, and 2,500 regular buyers of horticultural products at Aalsmeer’ explained Michel Van Schie of Royal FloraHolland, not to mention a mighty €4.6 billion turnover. Aalsmeer is clearly a pivotal epicentre for the international flower trade. When speaking on the subject of sustainability, Michel was pleased to announce that the Royal FloraHolland Members’ Council and Management Board have recently introduced measures to ensure that every plant sold at Aalsmeer is grown using sustainable agricultural practices. In order to maintain a responsible level of competition, Royal FloraHolland are also encouraging a market of multiple accreditation companies to keep them competitively priced. With these impending systems in place, it is already clear that sustainability is heading to the forefront of the auction’s agenda, and is beginning to bud from the roots of the global flower market industry.
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BLOOMING MARVELLOUS BOOKS IN THE RU N U P T O T HE RH S C H E LSEA F LOWER SH OW, SUE SA UNDER S HIG HL IG HT S HE R FAVOU RI TE F LOR AL -T HEMED T OMES. A L L IMA GES BY PHO T O G RAP H E R J A M E S S T OP FO RTH .
Living With Flowers: Blooms & Bouquets for the Home by Rowan Blossom. This gorgeous book would more than satisfy William Morris and his famous edict that you should have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ‘Living with Flowers: Blooms & Bouquets for the Home’ is a very pretty package indeed, the debut work of a writer who goes by the charmingly apt name of Rowan Blossom. Peeping out from behind bundles of blooms, in a variety of bohemian blouses, dark-eyed and with a swishing curtain of long brown hair, she is a Nigella of the flowers, posed appealingly with her creations against rugged, pink-painted walls. Her ‘babes’ – that’s what she calls her hand-picked buds and blossoms – cascade from beribboned curtains and tumble over table decorations, and the design of every chapter is as pictureperfect as you expect from publishers Laurence King, who specialise in beautiful books on the creative arts. Interior designer Lucy Barlow has lent her lovely, quirky house as a backdrop for all this prettiness, and every page is a feast for the eyes. Were it nothing more than a good-looking coffee-table book, it would still be a very splendid offering. But it is so much more than that… When Rowan began writing, from the outset she wanted to create something that was not only inspiring, but also offered really practical advice: ‘the sort of book
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I would have pored over when I was first exploring the idea of going into flowers as a career.’ I do believe she has succeeded admirably in her aim, and if my enjoyment of it is anything to go by, many a copy will end up being lovingly dog-eared and watermarked and besmirched by strange green stains, as novices like myself attempt to create a bloom bon-bon or a flattering flower crown. Divided into five main sections, including ‘Everyday’, ‘Entertaining’, ‘Giving’, ‘Fashion’, and ‘Party’, it is an absolute treasure-trove of suggestions, from a floral ice-cube (use distilled water – it keeps the ice crystal clear) all the way through to an awesome archway. The amazing thing is that she manages to make even this seem do-able, with detailed instructions as transparent as her ice-cubes. In this she reminds me of cookery guru Delia Smith, beloved of me and my mum and millions of others, for keeping us calm with matter-of-fact confidence-boosters such as ‘don’t worry if it looks a total mess at this stage’. Thus gratefully we plough on, reassured that the end result might actually bear some resemblance to the glorious full-colour photograph, if we just follow the instructions to the letter. In this respect, and many others, it seems a truly generous book, conceived from a genuine wish to share the joy she so clearly gets from working with flowers. What I really love about Ms Blossom is
her totally unselfish enthusiasm for letting us benefit from the hard-won bounty of her knowledge…she started off in the world of fashion, and is the first to admit that when she branched off naively and optimistically into her new career, she was often hopelessly out of her depth in trying to marry up what she had promised and what she could deliver. She has clearly come a long way since then, studio-based on the fringes of Notting Hill, and has nothing to fear, competition-wise, from us, her readers. But I still find it really sweet the way she lays out so precisely the tricks of her trade, starting with a comprehensive and well-explained tool-kit. Now I know that there is such a thing as waterproof florist’s tape that can secure my hitherto unruly chicken wire, and that a judicious little crumble of baby-bottle sterilising tablet (don’t overdo it) will keep your flower-water super-sparkling. Bohemian and unpretentious in effect, yet spontaneously lavish, these projects would transform any occasion, from the most cosy and casual to a really big bash for that special occasion. ‘Living With Flowers’ is a really life-enhancing volume, which would obviously make a lovely gift…but I think I’ll be keeping my own copy tucked away until I have the chance to wow my friends and family with a personalized posy or two, even without a ‘blossy posse’ to help me.
M ORE FL OWERY P I C K S ON FL OWER S: LESSONS FR OM AN AC CIDENTA L FL OR IST B Y AM Y MER R IC K Floral artist Amy Merrick has worked on a flower farm off the coast of Washington State, and studied ikebana in a florist in Kyoto. She’s used these skills to create unpretentious yet striking arrangements of supermarket flowers, foraged blooms in NYC and pickings from her family farm in New Hampshire. A book that’ll look great on the shelf and help you to elevate your centrepieces. B LOOMS: CON TEMP OR ARY FL OR AL DESIGN, P UB L ISHED B Y P H AID ON WIT H A N INTR OD UCT ION B Y CLA R E COUL SON This showcase of 70 contemporary floral designers shows how dynamic posies can be when you think outside the box. Lewis Miller Design’s floral explosions over the streets of NYC, Parisian Debeaulieu’s dainty compositions, the eye-catching arrangements of florist-perfumer Eric Buterbaugh and master scent-maker Lyn Harris (one half of Miller Harris) are just some of the blossoming and established talents picked by industry insiders. HA ND PICK ED : SIMP LE, SUSTAIN AB L E, A ND SEA SONAL FL OWER A R RA N GEMEN TS BY INGR ID C A R OZZI A N D EVA NYQVIST Brooklyn-based florist Ingrid Carozzi shows you how to get hands-on with seasonal blooms to make not-youraverage arrangements. She covers all bases, from sculpting with chicken wire and tape to upcycling containers to make vases. Carozzi creates showpieces that don’t feel too stiff, and she’s packed the pages with tips and the prettiest of pictures.
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW? A MI RA A RA STE H LOO KS AT TH E G A R DENS TH AT A IM T O NURTU R E TH E EA RT H IN T HI S Y E A R’ S RH S C H E LS E A FLOWER SHOW.
Taking place from 19 to 23 May 2020, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is back for spring. And this year, the prestigious annual event will focus on incorporating methods of sustainability. Approximately 160,000 people attend the show in central London – a huge crowd, to whom the necessity and positive impact of sustainability can be highlighted. In recent years many industries have taken environmental concerns into account, and the green-fingered Chelsea Flower Show is ideal for showcasing sustainable practices. It’s celebrated by many Londoners, and has visitors from all over the UK (and beyond) in attendance too, so it’s worth asking: how eco-friendly is the Chelsea Flower Show and to what extent has it adapted to fit this trending topic? This year, the show will not only incorporate eco-friendly matters into its production but it will also act as a
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platform for brands and designers to get on board too. Its renowned gardens will both promote sustainable living and highlight methods to fight climate change. In championing sustainability as a core value of its production they ensure everyone else participating will cooperate and contribute too. Ultimately this results in more companies taking the environment into consideration. There’s talk of more designers and brands keeping their business within the UK to eliminate the air pollution generated by importing plants and flowers. Further changes to the show arrive in the form of UK-sourced, recycled timber (which traps carbon) being used for all garden structures and a drastic cut down on single-use materials, such as cement and concrete. Moreover, many gardens involve planting schemes which benefit both wildlife and the environment.
THE M&G G A R DEN The show’s sponsors M&G aim to support the RHS’s work in making the UK a greener place. With this in mind, their garden space has been created by award-winning designers Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris around the theme of regeneration. Focusing on the need to introduce green spaces in cities, the garden has been constructed using repurposed materials and implements sustainable water-management methods. THE GU A NGZHOU CHIN A: GU AN GZHOU G A R DEN Displaying their work for the first time at the Chelsea Flower Show, horticultural designers Peter Chmiel and Chin-Jung Chen are also showing a garden made for the city, indicating the balance between cosmopolitan life and nature. Sustainability is also at the forefront of the design, and it’s inspired by the landscape-stewardship
F IV E FL O R A L D IN IN G S P O TS T O V IS IT D U R IN G T HE CH E LS E A F LO W ER S H O W programme used by environmental planners in Guangzhou. There are elegant bamboo structures, a woodland dell to promote cleaner air and shelters for both humans and wildlife. T H E FA C EBOOK G A R DEN: G ROWI N G THE FUT UR E Environmentally-friendly traits have been put to good use by designer Joe Perkins, whose entry has received an RHS gold medal. He uses the metaphor of water flowing into the ocean to emphasise the power of social-media platforms as conversation starters for issues affecting climate change and more, and he aims to highlight the positivity of social media in holistic fashion, focusing on the social bonds it helps us to make; to this end, the garden will be repurposed as a hangout spot for teens after the show ends. T H E Y E O VAL LEY OR GA NIC G ARD E N Using the Chelsea Flower Show as a platform to encourage buying responsibly sourced food, the UK’s largest organic dairy company, Yeo Valley grows one of the show’s partner gardens. With the aim to encourage British gardeners to go organic, the Yeo Valley Organic Garden, designed by Tom Massey, has biodiverse plantings, walling stone and boulders sourced from Yeo farmland, and habitats to provide shelter and food for wildlife. Materials will be returned to Yeo Valley when the show is finished (any carbon produced will be locked into the farmland as biochar); and crucially, no pesticides or fertilisers have been used. What happens to any leftover flowers and plants after the show? The RHS has long been an advocate for extending the life of the plants and flowers that make up the gardens in the Chelsea Flower Show. But how is this done? On the final day of the show, the event transforms into a flower market. Think Columbia Road but on Miracle Gro, as the impressive, award-winning plants and flowers are sold at bargain prices come 4pm. If you’re not able to attend the show’s last day, it’s worth checking in with local nurseries and garden centres as any unsold plants will be returned to the original suppliers. Corporate sponsors and local offices tend to luck out as lots of the flowers and plants making up the gardens in the horticultural event are donated. Any greenery which isn’t sold or given a new home is recycled. The RHS is intent on the show not creating waste – to that end, 95 per cent from last year’s show was recycled. Rejected wood, soil and concrete are all distributed to relevant projects where they can be put to good use. The RHS is strict on requiring exhibitors to state their plans on disposing of any remaining plants and flowers after the show to reduce the possibility of waste and any negative impact on the environment.
JA R DIN B L AN C RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London Gate, Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR Raymond Blanc’s secret-garden restaurant returns in 2020. Hidden in a quiet corner away from the flora and fauna fanatics at the event, is Jardin Blanc, where guests can enjoy botanical cocktails, champagne and a choice of six dining packages. Sustainability is also at the heart of Jardin Blanc’s menus, with the food focusing on seasonality and using fresh and local ingredients. There are more plant-based dishes this year and all food waste is recycled or donated to those in need. THE IVY C HELSEA G A R DEN 195, 197 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EQ All of The Ivys are aesthetically pleasing, particularly come the summer months, but The Ivy Chelsea Garden tends to go above and beyond. The restaurant’s entrance is an ode to the Chelsea Flower Show with its impressive floral display – perfect for the ‘gram, in case anyone needed encouraging. Expect limited-edition floral-inspired cocktails, as well as the brasserie’s usual impeccable menu. FAR M G IR L 9 Park Walk, Chelsea, SW10 0AJ The beautiful yoghurt-and-granola bowls at the popular café Farm Girl are adorned with pretty floral petals, but it’s the drinks that will truly get you in the mood for the Chelsea Flower Show. The drinks menu has a section for ‘special lattes’: a rose matcha with organic Japanese green-tea powder infused with rose water; and a butterfly matcha, coloured blue with the plant ‘clitoria ternatea’ as a primary ingredient. There are a variety of fresh smoothies and pressed juices too. R AB B IT R ESTAU R AN T 172 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4UP With the Gladwin brothers at the helm of this farm-to-table-style restaurant, Rabbit serves food that is sourced from the family’s Nutbourne farm in Sussex. With an alternating menu, the dishes are served as delicious small sharing plates. Currently gracing diners’ palates are the addictive mushroom-marmite éclairs, squash and harissa hummus, monkfish fillet and much more. Of course, in May this will change to incorporate new windfalls. PEG GY P OR SCHEN C AK ES 219 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EJ One of the most Instagrammable contenders London has ever seen, Peggy Porschen is an excellent spot to stop for a coffee and cake pre or post attending the Chelsea Flower Show. The exterior is sure to present some impressive floral display to get you in the spirit for the day ahead or keep you in the mood if you’re visiting after the show. An homage to floral spaces in London, the coffee shop constantly changes its bouquets and flower presentations year-round.
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A TRIBUTE TO TANNER KROLLE L ET’S CELE BRATE T HE H E RI TA GE BRAN D ’S N EW-CO LL EC TION L AU NCH .
Heritage leather brand Tanner Krolle is relaunching with a new collection and the opening of a new townhouse-set boutique at 70 Cadogan Place. Since 1856 Tanner Krolle have been creators of luxury leather goods and are best known for their range of bags and travel accessories. Now they have a range of new designs, including soft trunk bags, backpacks, and small leather goods alongside offering a fully bespoke service catering for each client’s individual needs. Tanner Krolle crafts classic, exquisitely made pieces for the modern buyer. To mark the launch of their collection and the opening of the new boutique, they’re delighted to announce their latest bespoke-trunk commission for renowned jewellery expert and collector Harry Fane. Tanner Krolle’s enduring vision of British luxury has seen the brand maintain an unwaveringly loyal customer base. The attention to detail and quality of their unrivalled craftsmanship are undoubtedly attributed to company founder, Fredrick Krolle, whose values remain at the core of every collection. From humble beginnings, making saddles using rudimentary hand tools, he moved on to producing the brand’s signature luggage, bags, attachés, document cases and jewellery boxes, using only the finest quality materials. Tanner Krolle’s aim of making the very best products has never been compromised. Each and every piece is shaped by highly skilled artisans using age-old methods to create goods that stand the test of time. It’s the reason why they’ve had countless notable customers over the years, including Her Majesty the Queen, Jackie Onassis, Cary Grant and Diana Princess of Wales. The relaunch of Tanner Krolle continues to keep the brand’s name synonymous with authenticity, heritage and a thoroughly modern, global outlook.
EXQUISITELY MADE PIECES FOR THE
The collection is priced from £275 for small leather goods and from £1,290 for bags, and it will soon be available exclusively at www.tannerkrolle.com or pick up some timeless pieces at the townhouse store, 70 Cadogan Place.
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FORTY FIVE KENSINGTON BY SI D RAG H AVA 45 C ROM W E LL ROA D , SOUTH KEN SIN GT ON, SW7 2 EF 02 0 758 9 404 1
Back in the early early Noughties when I lived in the Boltons, life was good. Gilston Road, where I lived, was quietly and daintily placed between Fulham and Old Brompton Road. Puff Daddy (formerly known as Sean Puffy Combs, and in future known as P Diddy) had his summer home right across from my humble duplex flat and Madonna and Kylie Minogue inhabited neighbouring streets. The Goat in Boots on Fulham Road was my local – but not the one and only – and 606 on Lots Road was my go-to jazz club. The Troubadour in Earl’s Court was a great live venue and eatery; and then, of course, there was the panoply of rainbow-flagwaving bars and clubs. Another hot spot for nighttime activities was a bit further up north, closer to Kensington Gardens: the tourist heavy Gloucester Road. There was a buzz around here then, and there still is, and right around the corner of Queensberry Place and Cromwell Road lay a little casino called Cromwell Mint. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t advocate gambling and I know it can be a real problem for some people, but I like a good game of dice as long as you’ve got a grip on reality and can enjoy a good night out with friends at a casino without a wager too far. As far as I can remember, I have always fancied my luck, be it football betting online or placing a bet on the Grand National, but the reality is I only do it for a bit of fun and certainly don’t come even moderately close to breaching alarm-bell-ringing limits. The Mint was a good stop every now and then for a latenight drink and striking up conversations with strangers while playing a little game of luck. The Cromwell Mint has long since disappeared and was replaced by Forty Five Kensington, also owned by Genting Casinos. Furthermore, Forty Five Kensington has been recently refurbished and the results are astounding. The refurbishment has completely revamped the mood and feel of this historic building and the business is now more than just a casino.
So let’s have a quick rundown of all the essentials: there’s baccarat, American poker and blackjack, plus three-card poker. For the latter, Forty Five Kensington offers a ‘Prime’ progressive jackpot side-bet for another chance of winning at any of the other three tables. Become a member and you can spin the roulette wheel at the New Queensberry Room while the E-Tables offer a personalised, more intimate and modern digital gaming experience on the main Kensington Floor. And then there’s the food and drink. Reasonably priced cocktails include the Flirtini and Sevilla Spritz. Whiskies, both single malt and blended, abound – and brilliantly enough, you can design and concoct your own gin cocktail from a choice of mixers and garnishes. Dishes from all over the world dominate the restaurant menu, ranging from delicately exquisite lobster and Champagne risotto to the sharpish miso-glazed black cod and a bevy of Middle Eastern favourites such as Farouj Mashwi, a tender garlicand-lemon-chicken number. For someone who used to frequent the Mint, revisiting was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Particularly astounding is the way the owners have completely reinvigorated the historic building and carved a little gem of a gaming den out of it. It felt a bit like finding a warp zone or portal in Zelda or Prince of Persia that travels back to a realm of glory that wasn’t quite there. Most interestingly, while gaming is definitely the main attraction, fortunately there’s also an equally attractive incentive to visit – the delectable bar and restaurant area. Forty Five Kensington is a late-night destination for us all to savour and celebrate. Welcome to the new, improved Royal Borough casino. Special thanks to the following men for taking particularly good care of Kensington & Chelsea Review team: • Gary Moore - Club Director • Sherif Soliman - Head of Hospitality • Connar Baird - Hospitality Manager
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‘‘DESIGN MUSEUM MEMBERS SUPPORT THE FUTURE OF DESIGN.’’
GRAND DESIGNS ADVERTORIAL
W HY Y OU S H OU LD BE C OME A D ESIG N M U S E U M M E M BE R Situated in the heart of Kensington, the Design Museum explores how design shapes the Earth and its inhabitants, through a world-class programme of temporary exhibitions, learning initiatives and events. Design Museum members enjoy unlimited free entry to our upcoming blockbuster exhibitions, without needing to book: Prada. Front and Back the first major museum exhibition of one of the world’s most influential fashion houses. This unmissable show will offer unprecedented insight into Prada’s creative approach, inspirations and landmark collaborations. Opens 18 September 2020. Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers discover how visionaries from Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers powered the electronic music scene through design, technology and innovation. Opens 1 April 2020. Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street step up and discover the footwear phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired new subcultures and shaken the world of fashion. Opens 6 May 2020. Get closer with membership. As a member, you will receive:
• • • • • •
Unlimited free access to all temporary exhibitions for yourself, plus a guest and up to three children aged 15 and under when attending with you. Skip the queues – members do not need to book a ticket in advance. Invitations to member-only events including lates and out-of-hours access to the exhibitions. A monthly e-newsletter with information about what is going on at the museum and upcoming events. Members get up to 25 per cent off select events in our inspiring programme, plus a member-only priority-booking period each season. Take home a piece of classic design with a 10 per cent discount in the Design Museum shops.
Enjoy 20 per cent off food and drink from the café, plus get a free tea or filter coffee from 10am–12 noon or 3pm–5.30pm each day. Design Museum Members are also supporting the future of design through the world’s foremost community hub. Support from our members enables the Design Museum to achieve its mission; to build public awareness of design, to reflect the designer’s role at the forefront of social, technological and environmental change, and to serve the design community. Join today from £65, or give the gift of membership to a fellow design-lover.
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Windowology at Japan House London - Takumi Ota Photography Co., Ltd. 2019
With the Olympics and Paralympic Games gearing up to take place in Tokyo, new Ace and Aman hotels popping up in Kyoto, Louis Vuitton’s first restaurant in Osaka and other exciting developments, we’re looking to Japan for intrigue and innovation in 2020. For some sharper insight, we’re collaborating with Kensington’s Japan House London throughout 2020 to further explore authentic Japanese culture, cuisine, art, design and more, led by experts. First up, an investigation of the – not overlooked, exactly – but perhaps underappreciated art of the window in Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan, a fascinating free exhibition, part of the London Festival of Architecture 2020, which will run from 16 April to 28 June 2020. Produced by the Window Research Institute, under the direction of architectural historian and critic Igarashi Taro, this exhibition frames this unique aspect of Japanese culture, whether studying the effectiveness of the yonkoma (four-cell) panels of popular manga strip Sazae-san, delineating the beautiful geometry of shōji screens and how these sliding panels transform the feel of a house and reveal intricate gardens, or peering into styles of Japanese handicraft, and culminating in a full-scale washipaper reconstruction of the famed elegant Yosuitei teahouse, designed to show the okoshi-ezu 3D models carpenters and architects have worked with for centuries. See how this vital detail of home
decor has evolved, from the Zen-inspired positioning of windows in historic minka houses to the quirky scattershot glazing of Takeshi Hosaka Architects’ ultramodern Roomroom. You’ll understand Japanese architecture in a global context, seeing how different styles emerged in different countries: relative to Germany’s tilting ‘dreh-kipp’ windows and doorlike French windows, for example. And you’ll get a clearer vision of the cultural approaches and artistry involved in designing and crafting panes through a photo series by French snapper Jérémie Souteyrat, tech demos and snippets of Japanese literature. Plus, the important role windows play in crafts such as indigo dyeing or ceramics and washi-making: drying materials, clearing steamy rooms, or trapping heat. Whether they’re providing true enlightenment, letting you interact with the world beyond your sphere or giving a glimpse into the soul of architectural tradition, the Window Research Institute ‘regard windows not only as a part of architecture, but as being related intimately to people’s lives and physical actions’, and they’ve compiled a truly unique exhibition – also set to go on tour – that’s guaranteed to make you look. Visit from 16 April to 28 June 2020 on the lower ground floor of Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London W8, www. japanhouselondon.uk.
WINDOWOLOGY EXHIBITION AT JAPAN HOUSE, LONDON
THE SPRING SHOPPING GUIDE: FAMILY EDITION SI D RA GHAVA ROU N DS U P T HE BE S T BRAN D S F OR KI DS’ CLOTHES A N D A CC E S S ORI E S . Soren’s House was born of a beautiful story of recovery and a family pulling together. Initially a concept shop for Scandi children’s goods, the shop was closed when the owners’ six-year-old son Seth was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. When his cancer went into remission, the store reopened with a new focus: eco-friendly homewares, toys and clothes made with natural materials that evoke a simple, magical childhood. www.sorenshouse.co.uk 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Izipizi, junior kids’ sunglasses in green tortoise | £29.50 Sticky Lemon, small deluxe backpack | £44.95 Little Green Radicals, organic cosy jeans in plum (for 6–9 months) | £16.90 Little Green Radicals, Time to Tuk Tuk t-shirt (for 9–12 months) | £8 Fern, living play tent in mustard | £95.50 (or £99 in olive) Liewood, Aiko tableware | £22.50 Liewood, Mimi cloud mobile | £21.90
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KIDS B OB O C HOSES The people behind Bobo Choses are big kids at heart. Working from an old toy factory by the Mediterranean, they turn out fun, witty clothes for kids that are comfortable to move and play in, plus children’s books and the sweetest accessories www.bobochoses.com 1.Leopard sweatshirt | £50 2. Tango sweatshirt | £50 3. Shall you dance striped t-shirt | £30 4. Sunrise zipped hoodie | £60 5. BC straight trousers | £65 6. BC overall | £77
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KIDS N OÉ & Z OË BE RL IN Noé & Zoë started producing sweet kids clothes in 2009, and founder Nici Zinell delves into her background in film and theatre to make these imaginative and fun clothes and accessories. Even better, the company is committed to high quality and fair wages. (https://noe-zoe.com) Gift set with beanie, short-sleeved body and a fabric bag | £32.25 Baby Judoka vest | £52.28 Baby Judoka pants | £39.22 Olympic sweater | £65.37 TH E NATT Y The Natty makes sustainable kids’ and maternity wear, using ethical production methods and organic materials. Their pieces are simply beautiful and comfortable – and gender-neutral, too. (www.thenatty.co) Play-all-day onesie (for 6–12 months) | £29 Water droplet sweater | £39 WE ’RE ALSO LO VIN G … NUNA, TRIV stroller and MIXX pushchair | £500 each, www.nunababy.com Bluemint, SS20 collection Arthus Animal Kingdom swim shorts | £95, www.bluemint.com PuroQuiet, active-noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones | £89, www.purosound.com or www.amazon.co.uk
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TECH & LIFESTYLE TED B A KER , LU GG A GE AL B A NY COL LECT ION from £140, www.caseluggage.com CLEA N SPA CE, NATU R AL SOY-B LEND C AN DL ES (£ 44.00) LIQU ID R EED DIFF USER S (£ 46.00) AN D L IN EN AN D R OOM SP R AYS (£40.00) www.cleanbeauty.com VA NMOOF, ELECT R IF IED S2 B IKE £3,198, www.vanmoof.com B AN G & OLU FSEN, B EOSOU ND B A L AN CE SP EA KER £1,750, www.bang-olufsen.com R AMP U R , SELECT SIN GL E-MA LT WH ISKY £49.95 for a 70cl bottle, www.thewhiskyexchange.com
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FASHION D UK E & DEXT ER Drake hiker low sneakers £150 a pair www.dukeanddexter.com A RTESAN Patois collection hybrid wool/denim blazer £460 www.m-a-i-l-l-o-t.com S HACK LET ON Pilot down jacket (£1,500), Endurance parka (£1,400), cashmere Fisherman’s beanie (£125) and striped Merino scarf (£70) www.shackletonlondon.com N AECO ORI GINA LS Tailored swim shorts in reef red £160 www.naeco.co.uk
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HEALTH & BEAUTY B A LA D E EN P R OVENC E all-in-one pour homme £9 www.balade-provence.com T ISSER A ND A R OMATH ER A P Y, P UR E ESSENTIA L OIL S from £5.05 www.tisserand.com C B VIT, AC TIVE H EMP SHA MP OO £19.99 www.cbvit.com MON PU R E L ONDO N Strengthening silk protein shampoo (£36 for 200 ml), strengthening silk protein conditioner (£36 for 200ml), clarifying scalp scrub (£63 for 120g), nourish and stimulate scalp mask (£63 for 120g), follicle boost hair density serum (£96 for 50ml), and hydrate and soothe scalp serum (£96 for 50ml) www.instagram.com/monpurecosmetics C AN NA B IGOL D TER P EN ES+ OIL £24.99 for 250mg www.cannabigold.co.uk www.bobochoses.com
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AN INTERVIEW WITH NURCIN SEBUK HEAD DESIGNER AT NU SID RA GH AVA TALKS T O NU DE SI GN ER NURCI N S E BU K ABOU T H E R T URK IS H HE RITAGE ; S T U DI E S IN PE RUG IA ; A N D HE R TI ME A S FA S HI ON CO ORDI N AT O R AT ARM ANI, G IA N FRA N CO F E RRÉ , VALEN TIN O, JEAN PAUL G A ULT IE R A S N U LA U N CH THEIR NEW S T ORE ON C H E LS E A’S KI N G ROAD.
TEL L US ABOU T N U ’S H E RITAG E I believe a heritage reflects the hidden lines between who you are and who you become, and also what has been done right or wrong. But we regret to assign such major descriptions – NU wishes to be a simple storyteller. In fact, in our story, against what might have been expected, we never consider fashion as part of a social process of discrimination or a signifier of prestige in a deeply unequal society, but complete self-expression, which should always speak for reality, independence and challenge. WHAT IS Y OU R U S U AL C RE AT IV E PROCES S A N D WH E RE D O Y OU F IN D TH E INSP IRAT ION FO R Y OU R DE SI G N S ? It is not easy to describe my creativity or collections. I would prefer to say it involves the continuing parts of your own story reaching to different dimensions through an evolving concentration which can only come from real life. In general our way represents a balanced reflection of both joy and sorrow. We don’t draw lines between genders, which allows us to a larger playground and a wider instinct to be inspired by anything that leads us to our desired balance. WHERE DOE S N U S I T I N A W ORLD CONCE RN E D WI T H S U S TAI N ABI LI T Y, RECYCL ING A N D RE P U RPOS I N G? It sits side by side. NU has never been a fast-fashion business and I regret the existence of any kind of fast consuming. I see more and more people are being mindful of the origin and manufactured context of the products they’re purchasing. It became clear to consumers that the fashion industry – and its emphasis on seasonal trends – is driving a pattern of overconsumption that’s harming the planet. How we’ve reached that great insight is simple: it’s weak human nature taking action to protect the environment just at the critical edge of destroying it. However, protecting and caring shall be our core attitude and mindset. I regret the effect of fear, which I see in many things today.
H OW D O YOU TAK E TECH NOL OGY A ND SO CIAL MEDIA INT O CONSID ER AT ION WH EN D ESIG NING ? Both express development and momentary changes, but for me do not represent the same. Social media represents the opposite of most core values I carry; but, technology is a fact you can’t regret, and both are not comparable with each other. Both can be improved with adaptation that can only come with research, learning, using your senses at your full capacity and knowing your limits. But to know how far you should aim to improve and how far technology should capture you is very important. Sensitivity and authenticity are important. WH AT IS YOU R BIG GEST D ESIG N C HA LL ENG E? I try to look at every new design as a new challenge because each is waiting for a new soul. It should communicate and captivate. But, if we’re specifically referring to a design challenge, it when I’m expected to design colours. T EL L U S A L IT TL E A B OUT THE KING ’S R OA D P OP -UP ST OR E - WH Y T HIS LOC ATION IN PA RT IC UL AR ? Following a very successful launch in our Marylebone store in 2017, we’ve noticed a great demand for NU in London. King’s Road was a no-brainer and an obvious location for NU’s new home in Chelsea. We see King’s Road as a greater arena that can speak louder for the better, it’s very exciting.
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HOW TO DO THE PHILLIPINES IN
KRISTIE SMITH DISCOVERS PARADISE IN THE PHILIPPINES
‘Why would you visit Manila?’, people asked me. ‘There’s nothing to see there’, I was told. Well, I believe there is no place on Earth that is not worth visiting and Raffles Makati (an outpost of the legendary Singapore stay) happens to be in Manila, and that’s more than enough reason for me. The 30-floor masterpiece – home to Raffles Makati, Raffles Residences Makati and Fairmont Makati – fuses old-world charm with new-world design to create an understated feeling of luxury. We arrived at the hotel in style, pulling up in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz, before stepping into the elegant entrance to the hotel where an intricately detailed chandelier hangs above white marble floors. Chocolate-leather sofas dressed with scarlet velvet cushions invite guests to curl up in them, and the fully-stocked dark-wood bookshelves and low-lit lamps create a homey atmosphere – already we didn’t want to leave. Beyond the lobby lies the Writers Bar; a library-style lounge that is a tribute to famous novelists who have stayed at or written about Raffles in Singapore (after all, it hosted Joseph Conrad – purportedly
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the hotel’s first guest – Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling and many other notable scribes). Adorned with books and furnished with a grand piano, it is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. We checked into one of 32 suites – all of which have floor-to-ceiling windows and command unparalleled views of the city. With a bath big enough for two, a spacious drench shower and even a walk-in wardrobe; I felt as though I had died and gone to heaven. That was until I realised that each suite at Raffles Makati offers a butler to tend to each guest’s every need. Would you like a bath to be run in time for when you arrive back from a day in the city? No problem. Or perhaps you’d like an afternoon turndown service so that you can snooze after your massage at the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa? No ask is too big or too small at Raffles. The hotel highlight has to be the Long Bar, which is styled to resemble the original at Raffles Singapore (where the famous Singapore Sling was created, no less). Sticking with tradition, guests are invited to brush peanut shells off the table
‘‘NESTLED BETWEEN THE ANCIENT MANGROVE FORESTS AND THE SOFT WHITE SANDS OF SIARGAO AND WITHIN EASY REACH OF TROPICAL JUNGLE, HIDDEN WATERFALLS, UNTOUCHED BEACHES AND THE FAMOUS CLOUD 9 SURFING SPOT; NAY PALAD HIDEAWAY HAS IT ALL.”
and onto the floor. Lifting a finger isn’t the done thing here, not when there’s a butler and flock of friendly staff to call on. Situated in the heart of Manila’s financial district, Raffles Makati is within walking distance of the Ayala Museum which gives a glimpse of the Philippines’ thriving art and literature scene. Also worth a visit is Casa Manila – a stone-andwood structure designed to depict the Filipino lifestyle during the Spanish colonial era. For those seeking something a little more bouji, the likes of Hermès and Gucci lie on the hotel’s doorstep. With one of the most prestigious addresses in cosmopolitan Makati, Raffles is the ultimate stopover en route to the Philippines’ incredible islands. The secluded island of Siargao is just a twohour flight from Manila. Recently voted the Best Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveller, Siargao is home to one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious hotels: Nay Palad Hideaway. Nestled between the ancient mangrove forests and the soft white sands of Siargao and within easy reach of tropical jungle, hidden waterfalls, untouched beaches and the famous Cloud 9 surfing spot; Nay Palad Hideaway has it all. The Hideaway has just ten villas, so each feels delightfully secluded. Most notable of all is the Perlah Villa, which has two master bedrooms, one double bedroom, an indoor lounge with a movie projector and fireplace, an outdoor terrace with private pool, a stretch of beach to call your own and even a treetop platform accessed by a spiral staircase, so you can gaze at the stars all night long in your very own little corner of paradise. At Nay Palad Hideaway there is no such thing as a restaurant or a menu. Instead, the hotel’s resident chef, Marc Silvestre Carbó, creates memorable tailormade dishes for each guest, depending on what they would like and what fresh local produce is available on the day. Hidden among lush palms and greenery lie wooden spa pods where expert therapists are on hand to pamper you into a near Nirvanic state. With its soothing full-body massages, transformative facials and even a romantic bathing suite designed especially for couples, the Nay Palad Hideaway Spa can be counted among the best in the world. Whether you choose to laze by the ocean-view infinity pool, practice yoga in the sea pagoda, stand-up paddle board beside ancient mangroves or take a boat out to the crystal-clear waters of the Philippines and visit the many beautiful islands surrounding Siargao; there’s no place quite like Nay Palad Hideaway. Raffles Makati, Manila Suites from around £280 a night depending on the season. www.raffles.com/makati Nay Palad Hideaway, Siargao Villas from £515 a person, each night based on two people sharing. www.naypaladhideaway.com
THANK S TO A D E C A DE S - LON G P RAC T IC E O F RESPECT, VI S I T ORS T O S ABI SA BI P RI VATE GAME RESERVE A RE IN FO R A WA LK ON TH E WIL D SI DE, F IN D S S A RA H ROD RI G UE S
INTO THE I’ve had some fairly dismal airport transfers in my time. I’ve also had some exceptional ones: one in a silver Aston Martin, pinnacle of all my Bond Girl fantasies, springs to mind. But never before have I found myself goggle eyed at the sight of a leopard lounging in the midday shade. Less than 20 minutes ago, we were disembarking from a tin-can aeroplane at tiny Skukuza airport, having caught a short internal flight from Johannesburg. Now, en route to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, we’re already witnessing glimpses of the riches that the coming days are to offer. And that’s just the wildlife. The recently refurbished Earth Lodge, which is to be home for the duration of our stay, is almost as jaw-dropping a spectacle as the leopard. As one of the four lodges that make up the accommodation at Sabi Sabi, it’s a tangible expression of the reserve’s long-held commitment to sustainability, with its unobtrusive design, which, from a distance, resembles nothing more than heaped termite mounds. However, I doubt that any termite has ever revelled in such luxurious design details. Tactile materials like earthen walls mixed with grass (you know when you haven’t shaved and you wear tights and the leg hairs prickle out? It looks like that but way more attractive) provide a textural backdrop that contrasts beautifully with smooth dark-wood accents, marshmallow-y pillows, a vast bath tub and luxe highlights: beyond the multiple sliding doors, there’s a private pool area, complete with a hanging chair and sofas you can sink in to. From those cooling waters – ever so welcome in the midday hours between morning and evening safaris – there’s a view of a watering hole, less than one kilometre away; from here, a family of hippos make socially unacceptable sounds, and at first appear to be slithery, moving black rocks, can be seen wallowing. Kudu gather at its edges to drink and, refreshed, bound carelessly towards my decking area, where they graze on the scrubby vegetation at its fringes. If the leopard, with its dazzling aloofness and blatant disregard for our proximity, hadn’t assured me of the fact that Sabi Sabi’s approach to sustainability has maintained an environment in which its rightful inhabitants feel unthreatened by the presence of awestruck humans, then the kudu, and the comical warthogs who snuffled around on bended front knees as we ate lunch, settled the matter. Around the 60,000-hectare reserve, the animals, moving freely, reign
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supreme – even through the unfenced accommodations, a fact that renders ranger escorts necessary after dark. The close range of friendly kudu pales into insignificance on seeing the tails of elephants drinking from lodge pools, or prides of lions chilling on the path between restaurant and lodge. Once back in my room, I fall asleep with just the sturdy screen doors closed, the better to hear the grunting, squawking, screeching, shrieking, roaring sounds of the Bushveld in the relative cool of the night. Of course, sustainability is always a double-edged sword in the context of travel. Even so, Sabi Sabi’s efforts are admirable, not only in terms of the unobtrusiveness of the lodge design on the landscape, but also in terms of investment into antipoaching units, which have resulted in the sharp decline of killing and maiming of rhinos for their horns. Investment is also directed towards the support, training and education of the local Shangaan communities, from which many of the staff, ranging from trackers and cooks to gardeners and chambermaids, are drawn. Strict rules surround safari activity itself, including the provision of a minimum distance from which an animal may be viewed and the number of vehicles that may attend a sighting at one time; the spirit of camaraderie that this fosters, with rangers radioing each other to ensure that guests have the best experience, yet simultaneously hanging back to wait their turn before advancing, is almost as compelling as the sightings themselves. The days are structured around the morning and evening safaris; the hotter hours between are time for both humans and animals to relax away from the relentless African sun. We’re woken each morning at 5.30am and gather around a breakfast buffet before setting off in our vehicles on a three-hour-long journey that seemingly passes in a third of the time. Preceded by high tea, the evening safari follows the same pattern, other than that we stop midway to watch the evening sky change colour while our tracker removes an ice chest from the vehicle
‘ONCE BACK IN MY ROOM, I FALL ASLEEP WITH JUST THE STURDY SCREEN DOORS CLOSED, THE
BETTER TO HEAR THE GRUNTING, SQUAWKING, SCREECHING,
SHRIEKING, ROARING SOUNDS OF
THE BUSHVELD IN THE RELATIVE COOL OF THE NIGHT.’
and expertly blends our choice of sundowner. The darkness of the return journey is punctuated by the beam of his torch, which homes in on movement and stillness alike: the scurry of a wildcat in the long grass, the leg of an impala raised, midstep, the glow of an watchful eye, a strip of hanging bark that is actually a snake. Over the course of our stay, we see arpeggios of zebra (the true collective noun is ‘dazzle’ but the rippling effect of their keyboard markings as they move in a group puts me in the mind of a musical performance) as well as lazy lions, lumbering elephants, glowering buffalo, elegant giraffes and clumsy rhinos, as well as the gaping nostrils of hippos as they rise from the muddy water for breath. We spot several leopards, variously prowling and dozing. It’s a mark of all that we see that, by our second day, we barely register the innumerable impala; they’ve taken on an almost urban pigeon-like quality in the majestic context of our surroundings. I find that there’s a curious, almost Faustian struggle, that occurs on safari, a simultaneous revulsion and attraction, that reminds me of the way that a tongue seeks out the metallic, bloody absence of a missing tooth simply so that it can recoil from it again. Watching a cheetah, markings stretched taut over its angled form, stalk an impala, I find myself longing to witness the spectacle of a kill, even while my other internal voice pleads with the impala to run. As wild dogs tear savagely at a fresh carcass, the interior of its rib cage gleaming whitely in the sun, their playful pack-antics, so similar to my own dog’s, are both endearing and, in the context of their dripping maws and fetid stench, repellent. Even if our accommodation were not so alluring, and the midday sun not so harsh, those in-between hours would be welcomed simply for decompression and digestion: there is much to contemplate, not least the privilege of being here.
Stay at Earth Lodge at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve from ZAR 21,900 (approximately £1,130) per person per night. This includes open vehicle safaris by day and at night to see Africa’s big game accompanied by qualified rangers and Shangaan trackers, environmental awareness walking safaris, breakfast, lunch and ‘boma’ dinner, selected beverages and South African wines, VAT and transfers from the Sabi Sabi airstrip. For more information visit: sabisabi.com
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
“HAVE YOU EVER FLOWN A KITE BEFORE?’, THE
TRAINER ASKED – I HAD NOT. BUT THIS DIDN’T PROVE A
PROBLEM WHEN GETTING TO GRIPS WITH THE STEERING HANDLE THAT CONTROLS THE KITE.”
EM MA HARRIS O N GE T S A RUS H IN M OROC C O’S C H AR MIN G COA STAL CITY.
Morocco has been on my list of places I simply must visit for ages now, so when an invitation to travel to Essaouira with kitesurfing experts KiteWorldWide dropped into my inbox, it felt like the ideal opportunity. I had a basic understanding of kite-surfing but went down a rabbit-hole on YouTube to find out more. It’s fair to say my mind was blown – could I really do this? A girl who sometimes gets her left and right muddled up. (Please don’t judge me, I am working on it.) Apparently, I could, according to the co-owner of Explora Watersports, Abdeloauhad Nasser, who works with KiteWorldWide, providing watersports in their various locations throughout the world. He tells me anyone can learn to kite-surf at any age, and you don’t necessarily have to be super fit either. Picturesque city Essaouira is one of Morocco’s best spots for kite-surfing, so the conditions were ideal for me to give it a try. Wetsuit on, I headed down to one of Essaouira’s beautiful beaches, where I was harnessed up and given the chance to undertake my initial training on dry land. ‘Have you ever flown a kite before?’, the trainer asked – I had not. But this didn’t prove a problem when getting to grips with the steering handle that controls the kite. This, in turn, is attached to your safety belt, which allows the kite to pull you through and out of the water. It’s more scientific than you might first think, as you also need to understand the wind window (where to put the kite to attain the different levels of power), but the team at Explora Watersports and KiteWorldWide explained everything concisely which made getting to grips with the technique really easy. If you’re looking for an all-round workout that really targets your core, kite-surfing is ideal. It’s all about balance and technique, especially with regards to controlling the kite itself.
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As the kite flies left, you steer right, and when the kite veers off to the right, you steer left – it really is that easy. Plus, it’s an exhilarating, thrill-a-minute sport if you love being in the water. I couldn’t recommend it more. It gives you an amazing sense of freedom and satisfaction (once you’ve nailed that all-important technique.) As well as kite-surfing, you can try surfing with Explora, towhich was a lot of fun. We headed up the coast to find the very best surfing conditions, and after had the pleasure of having lunch at the gloriously rustic ‘Castle in the Sand’ (named after the iconic Jimi Hendrix song, allegedly inspired by Essaouira’s halfburied Bordj el Berod fort) – a relaxing spot where we enjoyed a delicious meal of local delicacies. It’s set right on the beach, and it’s comprised of two luxury holiday villas, both more than 200 years old and decorated in a traditional Moroccan style. Prefer to stay on dry land? Well, Essaouira has many more amazing things to try, including quad-biking, yoga, horse rides on the beach, hiking, mountain biking and more. We were invited to participate in a fantastic yoga class with the city’s top instructor Karim Elmouatasim, who had me stretching myself to my limits – definitely needed after a busy day of kite-surfing. After getting our pulses racing by land and sea, we were in need of some serious R’n’R. Our home-away-from-home in Essaouira was one of the new luxury villas at the glamorous, Gallic-accented Le Jardin Des Douars hotel. Rooms are spacious and elegantly designed in a beautiful Moroccan style, with intricately woven rugs, arched doorways and colourful accessorising. Each villa has a huge kitchen, stylish living areas and a private swimming pool, too. Shrouded by lush argan trees, within walled gardens, the place feels totally undiscovered and evokes a real sense of tranquillity. Guests can take advantage of the two onsite restaurants and the spa, where treatments include relaxing argan-oil massages, algae wraps and indulgent facials. But, that’s not to say that we didn’t dive into the local dining scene. We ate at some of Essaouira’s fantastic restaurants while we were in town: contemporary, Mediterranean-influenced Umia; bijou Ramsess, whose tempting menu is overseen by an allwomen family team; casual and comfy Beach and Friends; and Taros, whose rooftop terrace is great for sundowners. A visit to Essaouira isn’t complete without a visit to the lively Medina, where you can buy traditional musical instruments, leather goods, pottery, clothes and more – be prepared to haggle. This Unesco World Heritage Site is easier to navigate than Marrakech’s sprawling souk, and with its alleyways of bright-blue doors and shutters, it’s charm personified. So, if you’re considering a trip to Morocco, that’s equal parts thrill-seeking and peaceful seclusion, definitely make a pit-stop in Essaouira.
Our writer travelled to Essaouira with kite-surfing travel experts KiteWorldWide (www.kiteworldwide.com) and our kite-surfing and surfing lessons were provided by Explora Watersports (explorawatersports.com). Accommodation was provided by Le Jardin Des Douars (jardindesdoars.com). To reach Essaouira, you can fly direct from London Stansted with Ryanair (ryanair.com). Images by Adam Drake Hughes
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
We’re due to meet by the clock tower in the lobby of Waldorf Astoria’s gargantuan 346-room hotel in the emirate of Ras al Khaimah, just under an hour north-east of Dubai. I’m a long way from England, both physically and culturally. Bigger is better in the UAE, and the sheer scale of this hotel beggars belief. But that clock tower is a slice of England in an otherwise gilded land. It was crafted by master clockmakers Smith of Derby, and I’m waiting here to revel in another masterpiece of British craftsmanship, created a little over an hour from Smith, in Gaydon. Just the mere sight of the three gleaming Aston Martins parked in the forecourt has my heart racing, and I’m here to drive them, to take them out into the surrounding desert and see what they can do. The Aston Martin Driving Experience is the fruit of a recent partnership between the British luxury supercar maker and the international luxury hotel and resort chain, and we’re set to take them on a road trip to Waldorf Astoria’s latest opening at Dubai’s International Finance Centre, finishing our journey with a luxurious dinner party in the desert nearby. Driving experiences such as this have been run throughout 2019 from Waldorf Astoria properties as widely spread as Edinburgh, Palm Springs and Shanghai. But surely, hotels don’t just let their guests loose in brand-new supercars, do they? As I hand my driver’s license to Aston Martin Middle East’s Ramzi Atat, he asks me which car I’d like to drive first and with a grin slides across a legal disclaimer binding me to take full responsibility for any speeding fines. Maybe they do. Introductions are made among our small group, and we’re taken for a traditional Emirati lunch at the 16th-floor Marjan restaurant. Over mezze I catch Ramzi and ask him if we’ll have the opportunity to, shall we say, explore the capabilities of the cars a little further. ‘The three of us will be in a line so you don’t get lost, there are many speed cameras in the UAE so we need to be very careful…but there is one place, just follow me.’ With a plan to work my way up the model hierarchy I grab the keys to the £120,900 Vantage for the first leg. This is the sportiest model in the range, and its short stance and muscularly shaped curves look purposeful as the hot Arabian light falls onto its toned surfaces. With its bright ‘Chancellor Red’ leather interior it feels outlandish and exotic yet eminently usable, like a pair of Louboutin trainers worn to a cocktail bar. In the mirror I watch the palatial hotel slip into the distance as our convoy of three drives away, stealing looks and glances from other guests and the few pedestrians braving the midday heat. With the air-conditioning on overtime and the 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo piping a local Arabian radio station softly into my ears I’m in complete comfort, but you wouldn’t travel all this way to drive an Aston Martin and not fully experience it, would you? Ramzi is leading the way in the limited-production DBS Superleggera. Up until now the experience has been rather
restrained, but an open stretch of highway appears, and in an instant, he’s gone, accelerating hard into the horizon. When in, err, Dubai, right? I drop the Vantage down a couple of gears, sink the throttle into the thick carpet and revel as the twin-turbocharged V8 engine works hard to keep up. The Vantage makes over three times as much power as your average hatchback, and since the UAE’s statute of limitations is still more than a decade from now, the following few minutes will remain etched in my memory and nowhere else. We find a twisting road through the dunes and after first slowing to allow some camels to cross ahead of us, we stop to swap cars for the final leg. Windblown sand covers the edges of the narrow road, and far away in the dunes we spot the camel herder, perched watching for a safe passage. I take the wheel of the £147,900 DB11 AMR. The swelling reserve of power from its big V12 engine is the ultimate luxury, it has 25 per cent more than the Vantage, and you feel it when merging onto the highway and slotting into traffic after just the gentlest squeeze of the throttle. Like a heavyweight boxer gently teeing off with a wood, not even breaking a sweat to reach the green. Soon the silhouette of the famous Burj Khalifa emerges indicating that we’ve reached Dubai, and we bid farewell to the cars, regrettably surrendering the keys to the Waldorf Astoria DIFC’s valet. I drop my bags in my 32nd-floor room and marvel at the floor-toceiling windows overlooking Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin horseracing stables, and head to the New Yorker-inspired St. Trop rooftop lounge for an afternoon cocktail. The rest of the night felt like a scene from an exotic Arabian movie. We ride camels through the desert at sunset to a Bedouininspired camp built just for our farewell Emirati feast and dine barefoot with our feet in the sand, the stars above us and a fairy-lit canopy for illumination as laughter and spicy aromas and oud music waft away over the empty dunes. The Waldorf Astoria team are surely showing off, but I won’t forget this in a hurry. Andrew took part as a guest of Waldorf Astoria, and stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah and DIFC properties. The driving experiences are available free of charge to guests staying in the specific properties at the time of the experience, and must be booked in advance. At time of printing, Waldorf Astoria have not yet confirmed the 2020 Aston Martin Driving Experience schedule. Watch waldorfastoria.com/drive for updates.
“WITH A PLAN TO WORK MY WAY UP THE MODEL HIERARCHY I GRAB THE KEYS TO THE £120,900 VANTAGE FOR THE FIRST LEG. THIS IS THE SPORTIEST MODEL IN THE RANGE, AND ITS SHORT STANCE AND MUSCULARLY SHAPED CURVES LOOK PURPOSEFUL AS THE HOT ARABIAN LIGHT FALLS ONTO ITS TONED SURFACES.”
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
VANISHING INTO THE HORIZON
The Elizabeth Hotel Fort Collins Bowerbird
A N D RE W C OL E S T RAV E LS TO T HE U AE TO DR IVE A ST ON MA RT INâ€™S LATE ST S UP E RC A RS I N T H E D ESERT. A LL P H OTOS B Y ANDREW CO LES
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
SCOTLAND’S HOTEL HERO: THE BALMORAL SI D R AGH AVA FI N D S WE LL-TO-DO DIN IN G, WHISKIES AN D WA RM T H AT E DI N BU R GH’S TOP STAY.
“FAMOUSLY, THE HOTEL’S CLOCK STILL RUNS THREE MINUTES FAST TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE DON’T MISS THEIR TRAINS.” KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EQ, www.roccofortehotels.com/ hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel
What’s there to be said about Edinburgh that hasn’t already been said before? It’s a magnificent city, the jewel of Scotland and a true traveller’s delight. There’s art, culture, food, whisky, nightlife and gorgeous architecture galore. And, there’s one hotel in Edinburgh which best captures that spirit and delivers splendidly on all counts. Located on the south side of famous thoroughfare Princes Street, appropriately at No.1, and rising up above main transport hub Waverley Station, the Balmoral holds a special, hallowed place in hoteldom. Opened on 15 October 1902 as the North British Station Hotel, it is one of the greatest railway hotels ever built in the UK. Described quite appropriately as ‘a free rendering of the Renaissance period, linking the old Scottish architecture of the old town with the classical architecture of the new’, it is a fine example of classic Scottish luxury. Famously, the hotel’s clock still runs three minutes fast to make sure people don’t miss their trains; it’s this quirkiness, coupled with its history, elegant and graceful design and decor, distinguished culinary offerings and top-notch service that keeps luring back discerning guests. Olga Pollizzi is Rocco Forte Hotels’ chief designer and she has lent a deliciously contemporary air to the Balmoral’s historic splendour. Quite a few of these design marvels are to be experienced in the hotel’s myriad restaurants and bars. The tall palms of the pièce de résistance that is the Palm Court welcome you into the lobby and high tea might suddenly just creep onto your agenda for the day. It’s Edinburgh’s answer to the tropical swagger of the Winter Garden at the Landmark Hotel. If classic French food is your calling, step into Brasserie Prince. Alain Roux – cousin to Michel Roux – runs this high-end restaurant; stalwart dishes include lamb
cutlets with couscous, sorrel and mint sauce and rabbit leg in grain mustard sauce with a courgette gratin. And then there is the Michelin-starred Number One. No stay at the Balmoral would be complete without a meal at this cult establishment famous for its Scottish specialities. If whisky is your passion, then don’t you dare miss out one the 500 (and counting) varieties at the aptly named Scotch bar. More than 400 of these are single malts – and too strong to try many in one sitting, so there’s always an excuse to come back for more. If you prefer something other than whisky, there’s always the wonderful Gallery where you can sample the hotel’s own branded Balmoral Gin. You will very quickly find that great food and wine and a delectably cosy ambience are corner to corner at the Balmoral. The 188 rooms include 20 dashing suites. One of the highlights is the Scone & Crombie Suite, which was extensively refurbished in 2018 and is named after the iconic Scone Palace in Perthshire. The flexible accommodation stretches over 220sq m and houses extensive multipurpose meeting and dining rooms. It has its own discrete entrance and private check-in facility. Former guests include heads of states and royal households as well as Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. It is by far the grandest suite, with high ceilings, beautiful cornices and elaborate fireplaces. The Balmoral also has an elegant indoor swimming pool, hammam and sauna facilities, a state-of-the-art, wellequipped fitness centre and – this being Scotland – a golf course very nearby. In short, a world of luxury and contentment is at your beck and call at the Balmoral. It’s a shoo-in as our number one hotel in one of our favourite cities.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
SCHLOSS ROXBURGHE M ARTIN POS T HE AD S TO T HE S C OT TI S H BO RD ER S TO T RY A GR A ND NEW G AEL IC -G ER MA N H OTEL… Life is too short to not try Scotland at least once. And, one should also try living like a Scottish laird once in a while – even if your traditional just-north-of-the-border lodgings have been developed by a German investment company. As it happens, one can do just that at luxury hotel Schloss Roxburghe. The journey up from London to Berwick-upon-Tweed station had already been a relaxing experience; watching the fields, flora and fauna fly by had already put me in the perfect mood for a laidback break away. I must admit it was my first time at the Scottish borders and I was amazed by the beauty of the landscape surrounding Schloss Roxburghe. The hotel itself looks like the epitome of a Scottish castle and, after one year of refurbishment, it has just opened its doors again. Despite its grand proportions, it’s intimate and rather comfy, with a feeling of exclusivity, providing an escape from exhausting daily duties or hectic city life, where you’ll be treated like royalty instead. A bit like visiting an uncle and aunt who live at Downton Abbey. So far the hotel has only 20 rooms, although more are going to be added in future. We took a tour of the existing hideaways and saw that they’re all different in design. Mine had a beautiful bed, so comfortable it would be perfectly understandable to spend a full day in the room snoozing. The wallpapers and colour schemes are unique in each room, too, as is the layout and furniture. Therefore each visitor can have an individual experience. One can see that details matter at Schloss Roxburghe. The dining room, bar and salon are decorated in equally fine taste and you can tell each detail has been carefully selected to preserve the spirit of the original castle. Breakfast, pastries in the afternoon and dinner at night were all of a high standard. I was fortunate enough that one of my fellow travellers was something of a gourmand, and she confirmed to me that in her opinion the food was already worth the trip. I was fortunate enough to meet the French cook and learned about the concept of the menu and how the food has been tailored to suit such a historic building. Many of the ingredients come from the castle´s grounds or from local suppliers to guarantee high quality. What sets Schloss Roxburghe apart from other hotels is that you really experience the feeling of living in a castle based in Scottish surroundings and not in some soulless conversion.
“ YOU REALLY EXPERIENCE THE FEELING OF LIVING IN A CASTLE BASED IN SCOTTISH SURROUNDINGS AND NOT IN SOME SOULLESS CONVERSION.”
I personally became especially fond of the fireplaces and taking my afternoon tea in front of them. For those that are more interested in sports and the outside world than food, design, furniture and history, Schloss Roxburghe has a lot to offer. The golf course was built by the Duke of Roxburgh back in the day and it is in impeccable shape. It has 21 holes, and hole number 14 especially has an amazing view. Not being a golfer myself, I still enjoyed the marvellous walks around the green. Schloss Roxburghe offers many outdoor activities and even plans to expand its offering. Fishing at the lakes is one of the most peaceful; despite the wet weather, I still enjoyed being by the water and watching the swans’ majestic swimming routine. The fish were lucky that day: in contrast with my fellow fishers, I didn’t catch any. If golf and fishing aren’t up your alley, you might like shooting. The best part about shooting was my instructor Tracy, who is marvellous in so many ways. Although I think I did hit the clay pigeons a few times, we both agreed that my talent for shooting is quite limited and that I better not quit my day job. Biking in the area is recommended too. If you have a few days to spend at Schloss Roxburghe I highly recommend exploring the neighbourhood and nearest city, Kelso. I had the pleasure of visiting the Borders Distillery and learned about the whisky-production process. I think I was the only one who didn’t know that it takes many years to produce a good whisky. The company is very modern and the machines they use are state-of-the-art. The same can be said about the fashion industry in Kelso. I visited several stores that sell cashmere and tweed in classic Scottish patterns – stylish and ideal for the country’s infamous weather. After having spent a few days at Schloss Roxburghe, I felt like a royal in a Balmoral-esque estate basking in wealth and luxury. After all, the Royal family has so many German relatives, so why can’t this journo be one more lost cousin? Our writer stayed as a guest of Schloss Roxburghe, Heiton, Kelso TD5 8JZ Find out more about the hotel at: www.schlosshotelroxburghe.com
‘BUCKINGHAM PALACE LIES CLOSE BY AND BROWN’S SERVICE
SURELY MATCHES THAT PROVIDED TO HER MAJ.’
AN ART DECO INSTITUTION IN MAYFAIR S ID RAG HAVA F IN D S T H AT A NT H ON Y GO R MLEY H AS L EF T A N INDEL IB L E MA R K ON T HE B EA UMON T HOTE L, BUT T H E RE ’ S LO TS M ORE T O SEE THA N H IS H EA DL INE-MA KING R OOM INSTAL L ATION.
The Beaumont hotel sits majestically in buzzy Mayfair, its strong Art Deco features reminiscent of some of Miami’s most beautiful beachfront properties. As you enter the staggering masterpiece of a building, from the entrance on Brown Hart Gardens, you notice a curious structure to the left of the edifice. This is the peculiar Legolike artwork ROOM, an architectural masterpiece conceived and designed by one of our favourite British sculptors, Anthony Gormley. The one-bedroom suite is an abstract take on a hotel room, where occupants are encouraged to use the pitch-black, cavelike space to effectively cast off their usual state of flux and enter a tranquil, meditative state that allows them a precious moment’s respite and prepares them for a restful night – that’s the idea, anyway. It‘s a wonderful concept and one that feels congruent to the overall feel of the Beaumont. Gormley explains his idea most succinctly: ‘I wanted to structure night as a preamble to sleeping and dreaming and reinforce the feeling of being fully enclosed, so that the window only gives a view of the night’. His ambition for the work is ‘that it should confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience’. The Zen-inducing idea behind the room seems to extend to the hotel as a whole and is reflected in the Beaumont’s timeless, understated decor, myriad peaceful stairways, corridors and hallways. The Beaumont, as you would expect, also packs in all the luxury and comfort you’d expect from a top hotel in London – the understated opulence enriches its relaxed ambience. Each of its 73 rooms and 23 glorious suites (of which the Roosevelt Suite is the grandest, with its five bedrooms and private terrace) is a winner here, Gormley-designed or not. Marble bathrooms are standard and suites come with a smattering of interesting homey extravagances, such as cosy, well-edited libraries and elegantly-upholstered,
classic wooden furniture. The Beaumont also has a salubrious spa, complete with a hammam, steam room, sauna and plunge pool and a well-equipped, ultra-modern gym, plus some of the best toiletries in town from D. R. Harris. Meanwhile, in matters of food, the Beaumont has an absolute winner in the the Colony Grill Room, which is perfect for hearty American classics such as the New York shrimp cocktail, meatloaf and knickerbocker glory. The service is immaculate all around and this is particularly palpable in the two bars that grace the property. The Magritte Bar and the Cub Room pay homage to the brilliant fictional creation that is Jimmy Beaumont, a rich, charismatic hotelier and entrepreneur from the USA, who moved to London in the heyday of Americanstyle hotel expansion into Europe. That’s precisely why a hazy nostalgia for the 1920s–30s is felt throughout the Beaumont (well, except for ROOM). Order an Old Fashioned or a Vodka Martini and you’ll be whisked back to the romance of a pre-World War II Transatlantic success story. Retro elegance seems to be what the Beaumont are working to achieve – with a touch of mod mindfulness – and on both counts, it delivers eloquently. The Beaumont are delighted to announce a pioneering new initiative to introduce a 95 per cent plastic-free solution for the hotel’s bathroom amenities, as they are launching an innovative collection of D.R. Harris toiletries in March 2020. With the introduction of the new range, the number of plastic bottles used will be reduced to zero. Any left-over toiletries, plus all the packaging can be repurposed and recycled. See www.drharris.co.uk for more information. The Beaumont 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF www.thebeaumont.com
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
A STAYCATION IN SHOREDITCH W E M AY BE WEST LON D ON E RS , BU T WE LOV E EXP L OR ING T HE WIDER R EACHE S OF THE C AP ITA L. W IT H TH I S I N M IN D , KATE WEIR H EA DS EA ST TO SPEND THE N IGH T I N S H ORE D I TC H .
THE HOT EL: THE H OX TON , S H ORE D I TC H
T HE R ESTA U R AN T: B A R B OUN
Occasionally we like to flit away from the Royal Borough to dispatch from another quarter of the capital. There’s something very decadent in staying in a hotel not far from your actual flat, especially a stay as forward-thinking and dapper as the Hoxton, Shoreditch – the first of a fleet of stylish hotels throughout Europe and the US. This ‘open-house’ hotel on Great Eastern Street, just a five-minute walk from Old Street Tube station, puts you in the middle of Shoreditch’s bustle, whether you want to see niche bands, grab a cup of artisan coffee, trawl rails of vintage threads or nab a beigel in the wee hours of the morning. It’s flown the flag for East London cool since 2006, and it’s laid the template for hipster hotels that followed. It’s certainly nailed the look: on arrival, the Hoxton’s doors swoosh open to reveal a cavernous lobby, with halo chandeliers overhead, exposed piping, concrete floors and oxblood banquettes snaking around the centre. To the right is the bar and beyond that the Hoxton Grill, the hotel’s American-leaning restaurant, which serves steaks, burgers and fish – plus eggy bits, pancakes and stuffed bagels for brunch. As the leading light on laidback uber-cool stays, there’s an insouciance to the way things are run here – the check-in desk is made of stacks of drawers and staff wave you through the process with little fuss. There are exposed brick walls, stacks of vintage books – the 1970s cookbooks amused us the most – leather banquettes and vintage tchotchkes aplenty (radios, phones, vases…). The vintage photobooth works and, indeed, I’ve stumbled into it on many a drunken night over the years; and propping up the bar, you’re met by servers who are efficient yet warm – gently ribbing me about the pronunciation of the Italian wine I order. There’s no hurry as we cosy up on one of the lobby seats and order one too many drinks for a school night, and eventually we amble up to one of the hotel’s Cosy rooms (one of 211 in total). Cosy it may be – as can be typical of London’s hotels – but large windows and a gigantic round mirror hung suggestively by the bed, give the illusion of space. There are thoughtful touches: a pair of wine glasses, shelf of books, a corkscrew and a notepad and pen. A large flatscreen swivels out for curled-up-in-bed watching, there’s free milk and water in the minibar (and free WiFi, natch, and international calls), but you can stock it with beers, wines and more stocked behind the front desk and sold at supermarket prices. It’s a pitch-perfect East London crashpad, and rates start at £120 a night, making it an affordable luxury should you wish to snooze in another postcode. But, it’s the location that truly wins us over. Favourites such as the Book Club, the Old Blue Last, Nightjar, Callooh Callay and Queen of Hoxton are neighbours. There’s a run of culinary greatness along Shoreditch High Street: Hoi Polloi, Barrio, Andina, Dishoom, Pizza East and more; and Brick Lane is just a little further along. And, if you want to be entertained, you’re close to Colours Hoxton, Old Street Records Cafe, XOYO and the Strongroom Bar. Plus, you can take circus training at the Shoreditch Electric Light Station, dive into the pit at Ballie Ballerson and pick up posies at Columbia Road Flower Market. Then be back at your home-from-home within minutes. Perfect.
Just a few doors down from the Hoxton is our hot tip for dining: Levantine eatery Barboun. This newly opened restaurant, itself part of a shiny new hotel complex, sits centrally between our hotel, Nobu Shoreditch and members’ club with rooms, the Curtain. It’s ravishingly elegant, yet not formidably so, with wicker chairs, illuminated pillars, potted trees and red-leather banquettes. A bar and open kitchen run down one side of the room and staff snap to attention when you walk in. Behind this burnished new venture is chef Hus Vedat (formerly of beloved Soho Turkish restaurant Yosma and Aegean joint Hovarda), and in charge of the kitchen is head chef Fezile Ozalgan, and the menu is inspired by the flavourful flamecooked food found in Levantine coastal towns. Barboun means ‘red mullet’ and it’s duly on the menu served with chunky redpepper dip muhammara and walnuts. But, numerous dishes vie for our attention, and we have to call on the waiter to lay out a plan of action for us. Complicating things are the configurations of sharing plates: both the small and large plates can be doubled up and passed around. Also, the deep-fryer happens to be broken, and they’ve run out of a bottle of Israeli wine we’d earmarked. But, neither of these prove problematic. A bottle of vinho verde is whisked over, and we order a tableful of things to try. Fried halloumi with honey, apricots and walnuts is squeakily sweet and satisfying; two enormous chargrilled prawns are palatable beasts with just the right amount of smokiness. Hummus has a mop-top of caramelised onions, and we scoop it up long after we’ve done away with the pita; and the beef manti are made using activated charcoal from coconut husks – soaking in a rich red oaksmoked-paprika sauce, these goth dumplings make surprisingly powerful mouthfuls. For mains, the short-rib flatbread was laid out like an extremely upmarket pizza, topped with a generous hunk of meat. Its soft pita base was thickly smeared with iskender sauce (a plate-lickable buttery, hot tomato concoction) and Pollockaping streaks of garlic sauce. When attacked with a fork, the short rib collapses into a sexy saucy mess of the sort you really shouldn’t eat in public. My partner’s lamb rump – in my opinion, not quite as enticing as the short rib – arrives perfectly pinked and pliant, with smoked aubergine, tomato, lemon and yoghurt. At this point, we’ve eaten our way through a meal that’s probably more hearty than the average family barbecue in the Levant. We demur dessert, but with treats such as tahini fondant with hazelnut ice-cream, Burma baklava with cinnamon syrup and noodly kunefe with sinfully thick cream and pistachios – and with clean plates all round – we’re confident they’re all winners.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
Our writer stayed as a guest of the Hoxton, Shoreditch, 81 Great Eastern Street, Hackney, London EC2A 3HU, https://thehoxton. com/london/shoreditch/hotels Barboun, 61-67 Great Eastern Street London EC2A 3HU, www.barboun.com
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
A BRIT OF JAPAN Before the Prince Akatoki was the Prince Akatoki, it was the Arch, a hotel with a decidedly British flavour in its plaid, prints and stiff-upper-lip trappings. So, part of me is concerned that in its new guise, as the Japanese-inspired Prince Akatoki, the hotel will feel somewhat themed. But no, the Prince Hotels group have done a wonderful job of channelling ryokan-style minimalism and Zen delicacy into this wellheeled London setting. The hotel’s Georgian portico on Great Cumberland Place (just a hop and skip from Marble Arch, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and, well, all the places you’d want to tick off while in London) leads into a wood-lined lobby, scented with a custom perfume and manned by ever-so-charming staff in dove-grey and pink suits. It feels cosseting from the get-go, but the best is to come… Our Studio Suite – clearly the showpiece room – is enormous at 44sq m (especially in a city where hotel rooms tend to be titchier). It’s so special it’s been named Dusk rather than being assigned something as pedestrian as a number. Behind the super-soft king-size bed is a byōbu-style printed screen depicting Mount Fuji lit by a blush-hued sunrise (what ‘akatoki’ translates to). There’s a traditional cast-iron teapot and matcha cups, a monogrammed yukata-style robe to swan about in and Kobayashi-style seating – a cloche full of delicate blossomtopped pastries awaits us too. You can watch TV in the bath, the Smart flatscreen in the bedroom is interactive for ordering room service and casting Netflix at the touch of a few buttons, the sofa is deep enough to curl up in fully, and soft drinks (juices, Coke and water) in the minibar are free. Bliss. More merriness awaits in the Malt Lounge and Bar, where the warming amber glow of the whisky cabinet and sleek wood-panelling create a handsome hangout. You could order a flight of Japanese whiskies (or choose from the up-to-four-figures rarities), but the cocktails are impressive, blending spirits with shiso, pandan, yuzu and the like. We order a round of Reason For Beings – a fitting name as the tequila, kumquat, wasabi and yuzu concoction, served in a lotus-flower-shaped glass, gives us life. And more reasons to be are found in Tokii restaurant – you can go with the chef’s choice and order the omakase meal, but the à la carte called to us. Chilli-spiked edamame, rich oxtail croquettes with a punchy wasabi mayonnaise, lobster and yuzu sliders (tasty, if structurally unsound) and scallops with celeriac are hoovered up gleefully; toro (fatty tuna) nigiri come with steak-consistency slices of quality
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
KATE WEIR finds plenty of Eastern promise in regal and restful Japanese-style stay the Prince Akatoki.
fish; wagyu beef is meltingly tender and miso-glazed cod is just right in its sweetstickiness. To finish, a yuzu crème brûlée washed down with sparkling sake. The Prince Akatoki’s concept is somewhat curious, but it doesn’t feel out of place or overwrought, and its charm largely lies in its uniqueness. But, well, it’s not something we’re going to lose any sleep over anyway – certainly not with our crisp, cool bedding, meditative space and full bellies and hearts. The Prince Akatoki, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, Marylebone, London W1H 7FD www.theprinceakatokilondon.com
BED, BATH & BEYOND KATE WEIR takes to the historic spa city for a weekend of wellness and Regency excess.
‘The curved window indicates that it’s dead centre’, we’re told about the positioning of Bath’s Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. It’s certainly the crowning glory of this sweep of honey-hued townhouses overlooking the winsome spa city and Somerset greenery beyond – the other residences have the more pedestrian rectangular windows, so it’s nice to feel special. This stay, which occupies two of the landmark buildings, encompasses everything that draws hordes of Austenlovers, history-buffs, shop-till-youdroppers and wellness-seekers to the Georgian city. The architecturally influential Crescent was built by John Wood the Younger in 1774 amid Bath’s most charming greenery (the Botanical Gardens, Royal Victoria Park), with manicured lawns out front. It’s one of the rare Grade I-listed buildings in the UK where you can stay, so you feel privileged before you’ve crossed the threshold. Within, plaster busts, plump sofas, luxe fabrics, swagged curtains, fireplaces and chandeliers feel fitting for its regal bearing. There are columns, pilasters and fanciful statuary – notably in the peaceful garden out back, which leads on to the restaurant and spa. Our room is in the Coach House, also set in the garden, and we know it’s ours because there’s a handwritten sign bearing our names on the door – a thoughtful touch. It’s a spacious, beautifully appointed pied-à-terre with a separate living
room-cum-conservatory overlooking the greenery. Furnishings nod to the hotel’s heritage with a writing desk and vanity, gilded mirrors, tome-laden bookshelves and antique rugs, but it’s styled with the modern traveller in mind: the bed is super soft and dressed in fine linens, the bathroom is vast and there are appreciated little extras, such as a welcome-box of chocolates and fruit, slippers at turndown, a paper hung over the door in the morning. Central Bath is an easy downhill walk of under 10 minutes from the hotel’s door. At No 1 on the crescent is a museum detailing the curvaceous street’s history (the settlement is believed to date back to the Bronze Age and many colourful characters have lived here over the years), a little further down on Gay Street is the Jane Austen Centre with a Darcy-esque sort manning its door, and Queen Square, where a small craft market is sometimes held. The Thermae Bath Spa and Roman Baths are worth a visit to take the city’s famous waters, and there are tea rooms aplenty, plus cider drinkeries if you want something harder. However, the siren song of the hotel’s spa couldn’t be ignored. We frolicked in the 12-metre pool, bubbled away in the Jacuzzi and turned up the heat in the steam room and sauna. Treatments are legion, but I plumped for the Five-Element Aroma Massage: an hour of soothing pummelling and manipulation that left me
fragrant and wholly Zen, after which the therapist sent me away with a coconut scrub. There’s also a mani-pedi station and pampering for gents, too. Revived, we sauntered over to the Dower House’s dove-grey dining room for dinner. An artfully plated, slap-up feast, starting with Loch Duarte salmon paired with Cornish crab, scallop and Exmoor caviar; beetroot mousse; fresh bread; and a duck egg with ham and truffle. To follow, mains of perfectly pliant venison with spiced pear, pistachio and meltingly tender duck served in a spring roll; and sea bass with smoked eel, hay-baked potatoes and wild dandelion leaf. For dessert, we shared peanut parfait with freeze-dried raspberry shards. It was a meal we left full, but which didn’t dampen our ardour for the full-English with white and black pudding, fat herby sausages and more local treats the next day. The Royal Crescent Hotel sits frontand-centre at Bath’s highest point, lording it over the streets below with its one-off shapely windows, but above and beyond its status, with its cosseting staff and genteel surrounds, you feel like a VIP anyway. Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LS | www.royalcrescent.co.uk Transport was provided by Great Western Railway. To find the best deals on ticket prices and plan your journey visit www.gwr.com.
THE SECRETS OF SARDINIA: WELLBEING, WINE & THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
H ARRIET BEDDER TAK E S A R EST ORATI VE BRE AK AT TW O TOP- DRAWE R PROP E RT I E S I N S ARDI NI A.
Located an hour’s drive from Olbia airport, just a two-and-a-half hour flight from London Gatwick, Resort Valle dell’Erica is obscured from the highway by shrubland, ensuring privacy for guests. Sitting pretty in Olbia’s beautiful natural landscape and set by the crystal-clear waters of Costa Smerelda, the hotel overlooks La Maddalena – the archipelago suspended between Sardinia and Corsica – which is easily reached by boat. Luckily, the hotel has private boats available for charter, so you can dip into the aquamarine water and might even find yourself swimming alongside R&B royalty: Jay-Z and Beyoncé holiday here, as does Roman Abramovich. We’re not surprised to hear such celebrities name-dropped, with John Legend, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, and such frequenting Sardinia. As Italy’s second biggest island, and arguably ‘the heart of the Mediterranean’, it has 300 days of sunshine a year, even during the chillier winter months; plus, its beaches equal those found in the Caribbean. One of the true highlights of our trip is hearing how much the locals love living on the island, and that if any stray away (usually for education purposes), they usually return. Everyone we encounter is so friendly, and seemingly eternally youthful – so much so, we spent the next five days seeking their beauty secrets. The Delphina hotels & resorts collection covers the luxury resorts and thalassotherapy spas in northern Sardinia. Our homebase is Resort Valle dell’Erica, one of the eight glittering jewels in the Delphina crown. The Collection’s hotels are renowned for their sustainable and eco-friendly ethos; they’ve become the first Italian chain to use 100 per cent certified green energy, exclusively from renewable sources. They also use only local artisans for their properties’ interior decor – supporting the local community – and produce their own wine, food and spa products (all organic), as well as sourcing ingredients from independent local producers – nothing is imported.
R E SORT VAL LE D E LL’ E RIC A We pull off the main road and approach the gates of Valle dell’Erica, entering another world, far from the endless concrete of the highway. On the way down the steps that lead to reception – a discrete building that blends into the surrounding vista – we pass signposts indicating room numbers and arrows directing guests to the thalasso spa and gym, and we get a feel for just how vast the estate is. The Hotel Erica joins Hotel La Licciola on the seafront, combining to create a vast, lush holiday spot, serviced by electric golf carts – a necessity – manned by staff who’ll take guests anywhere onsite with a smile. The hotel, despite frequently having full occupancy, feels secluded. The Resort has nearly a mile of coast wrapping around its rocky bays; so, during the day, each bay or beach often only has three or four other guests on. Although you may be surprised when arriving at one of the seven restaurants for lunch or dinner (especially if you fail to make a reservation), when you’ll wonder: ‘where have all these guests come from?’ THE STYLE Hotel Erica and La Licciola both have distinct styles. The latter is the newer of the two, and is furnished in the modern style of Sardinian interiors. Floor-toceiling windows overlook La Maddelena and an infinity pool on the roof allows guests to enjoy completely undisturbed views. Only those staying on the top floor know about this pool (this turns out to be a common theme of the Delphina resorts, with ‘private’ pools dotted around most of the sites). The style here is mod-Mediterranean, with all rooms overlooking the beautifully pruned gardens surrounding the property. Hotel Erica is furnished in the classic Mediterranean style, with typical Sardinian features: granite, wood and an abundance of cork. The island’s character is embodied in the woods, ceramics and local materials used in the rooms – a nod to the artisan culture of the Gallura area of northern Sardinia. Lemons are a motif seen around both resorts, a clear nod to the nearby Tyrrhenian coast and the bountiful produce of Italy.
S PA Set in the beautiful gardens is the 1,600sq m Le Thermae Thalasso Centre and Spa, a tranquil spot dedicated to wellness. Thalassotherapy – an increasingly popular health treatment – consists of four outdoor, heated seawater pools at varying temperatures. It’s been noted that the change in temperature helps relax the body, tone muscles, cleanse skin, ease aches and pains, boost the immune system, improve sleep quality and also benefit those that suffer from circulatory and respiratory problems, post-traumatic disorders (such as muscle atrophy) and chronic inflammations, such as arthritis. Not only is it good for the body but it is also extremely therapeutic for the mind. We stay in the pools until our fingers are wrinkled and prune-like and liken the holistic experience to being in Iceland’s blue lagoon. Extremely relaxed, we wallow for longer, because we believe the Thalasso circuit (the least strenuous circuit you could possibly partake in on holiday) is the local’s revivifying secret – the Sardinian ‘Fountain of Youth’, perhaps (we’ll report back on results). The spa also offers a hammam, sauna, 15 treatment rooms, a relaxation area, an open-air gym overlooking the ocean and even a small golf course. EXCURSIONS When you’ve exhausted the spa (we can confirm this is almost impossible) we recommend a trip to the Siddùra vineyard, near picturesque village Luogosanto, around 40 minutes’ drive from the hotel. Here you’ll tour the cellar, vineyards and finally the house at the top of the hill, a stone chalet set in a jasmine-scented garden with manicured lawns. A tasting follows, where you’re invited to discover the differences between the Vermentino, Cannonau, Cagnulari, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Moscato grapes used across Siddùra’s nine multi awardwinning varietals. CAPO D’ORSO Hidden amid olive and juniper trees, which roll out into 100,000sq m of parkland, is Hotel Capo d’Orso. If you’re looking for more privacy or a romantic trip for two, then a stay here is ideal. With only a handful of rooms – plus a wellness centre and thalasso spa, nine-hole golf course
and free yoga classes throughout the day – there isn’t a more secluded resort on the island. We depart Valle dell’Erica from one of the private beaches and head towards Capo d’Orso on the private Delphina Resort boat. As we approach, we see a number of jetties jutting into the sea, each for just one couple, despite being big enough for a party. All have direct access into the water. A number of other private cabanas and hammocks are dotted along the coastline, each occupied by tanned guests with perfectly manicured hands nursing Aperol spritzes. We disembark and tread up the dock toward the hotel; we’re told that the marina can host yachts of up to 60 metres. While we think about docking our own yacht a little later in the summer (we wish) we head straight for the main restaurant, Il Paguro, for a tasting-menu lunch of traditional Gallura specialities and freshly caught fish, seated at a large round table for eight, where we can enjoy panoramic views of the sea. The best thing about Capo d’Orso is that if you don’t choose to stay there, you still have the opportunity to visit Il Paguro for lunch or dinner. Lunch in the sunshine at Capo d’Orso is definitely an experience that we would highly recommend. We pass the rest of the day atop a jetty where we occasionally dip into the freezing cold water (the season is yet to start, but we aren’t letting that stop us) and swoon over the hotel. We dream about coming back with our respective (or future) partners and eventually find ourselves wandering back through the juniper bushes, passing a peaceful yoga class, and back to the boat, bound for our homestead at Valle dell’Erica. It’s sad to say goodbye to the island full of such exceptionally friendly people. At our final dinner, the last sun of the trip sets behind the brush, and beyond the archipelago of La Maddalena. We mop up the last of the Sardinian olive oil and promise to come back again. Our writer stayed as a guest of Delphina Resorts. Valle dell-Erica: Santa Teresa Gallura Sardinia, Italy, www.hotelvalledellerica.com Hotel Capo d’Orso: Localita’ Cala Capra, Palau (OT), Sardinia, Italy www.hotelcapodorso.com
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
“PACO GAVE A PASSIONATE CONCERT, A
DEMONSTRATION OF BOTH THE CLASSICAL AND THE
FLAMENCO TRADITIONS, BEFORE EXPLAINING WHICH
THIGH TO PLAY THE INSTRUMENT ON FOR EACH STYLE
– SOMETHING I HADN ’T PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED.”
A WALKING TOUR IN ANDALUCIA AD AM J ACO T DE BOI N O D TAKE S A H I KE T O SPAIN’S W ONDERF ULLY W ILD RE GI ON .
Undulating mountain slopes, cork and olive plantations, oaks and fir trees, whitewashed villages and narrow cobbled alleys: this is Andalucia whose very name instantly conjures up an alluring sense of exoticism and adventure. When arriving at a destination late at night, you can anticipate the joy of opening the shutters the next morning. When I wake, I’m rewarded with the sun flooding in and clear blue skies over the terracotta roofs of Ronda. This was the beginning of my four-day self-guided walking holiday and the Hotel San Gabriel proved a comfortable central base from which to explore the town. It was converted from an 18th-century mansion built by descendants of the 16thcentury Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro, and it was one of those ancestral homes which feels special to stay in, as you’re surrounded by the family’s valued artifacts and photos, antiques and furnishings, all lovingly handed down. It’s an intimate space too – there were just six tables at breakfast, after which I nosed around some of the rooms, each dressed in a different style. I especially loved number 15 for its raised bed and luxurious linen. It’s rare that you can see fields from a European city centre, but here there were panoramic views of Hoya de los Molinos from the Palacio Mondragón gardens. It was peaceful and quiet, and in the distance there were lemon trees and a patchwork of tilled fields, like an early Miró landscape or a landscape by English painter Ivor Hitchens. I could actually hear bees buzz, dogs bark and distant church bells ringing; swallows flit back and forth and flowers gave off an aromatic fragrance in the heat. Ronda is renowned for being dramatically set atop two precipitous limestone cliffs, with a vertiginous drop to the El Tajo gorge beneath. Impregnable, it once separated the old Moorish town from the Christian district, both later to be connected by the famous Puente Nuevo bridge. A great place to take coffee or lunch and savour the vistas is at the Parador de Ronda, whose ‘cold almond soup with sweet wine jelly’ and ‘roast guinea fowl stuffed with onions, mushrooms, asparagus and cinnamonspiked apple’ were colourful, flavourful dishes, beautifully presented. Controversially, bullfighting is still active in Ronda during the Feria Goyesca, for three days in September. But, even if you disapprove, you must visit the Plaza de Toros bullring, a grand classical building where staircases are covered in blue-and-white tiles depicting bulls and their picadors. And its corridors are filled with various memorabilia: boleros and tri-cornered montera
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
hats, weapons and saddles. The bullfighters have their very own chapel, too, and one can imagine the mounting tension they feel walking out from there into the ring. Nearby, down the Calle Padre Mariano Soubiron is the Ronda Guitar House, at the back of which, in an intimate stage setting, I enjoyed listening to charismatic player Paco who gave a passionate concert, a demonstration of both the classical and the Flamenco traditions, as he explained the differences of the cedar and spruce wood used to make the guitars and which thigh to play the instrument on for each style – certainly something I hadn’t previously considered. For the second half of my trip I drove for 40 minutes to reach Grazalema, to walk in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park using detailed route notes and maps provided by Inntravel. The town has an alpine feel, with her square abundantly bedecked in red flowers, the church with its scarlet towers, and once again that winning combination of whitewashed walls and terracotta roofs. It’s a working town, where hiking tourists can pick up hand-knitted woollen ponchos and freshly made local bread and cheeses for lunch. I rested at the Hotel La Mejorana, a laidback B&B found down at the end of a steep alleyway. Early risers left the nine homey bedrooms (each named after plants) to eat on the terrace, which has breathtaking rustic views just beyond the swimming pool. For a hearty meal El Torreón has excellent steak and delicious chocolate mousse. It’s authentic and full of locals (always a good sign) and I felt that the candlesticks coated in years of wax must have witnessed many a fascinating conversation – as the Spanish proverb goes: ‘alegria secreta candela muerta’ (unshared joy is an unlighted candle). For a similarly restorative meal try El Simancón, which is adorned with antlers and haunches of ham and offers honest rustic fare of meat, asparagus soup and seasonal delicacies. ‘Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.’ said Gustave Flaubert, and I certainly felt this on my walks. For a short circular walk that lasted a couple of hours, I explored the valley behind the town returning via the reservoir, taking a steep path down at the dam, then cutting across the hillside to the top of the town. But, there are many trails for those of sterner stamina, including a five-hour walk to the village of Benaocáz via Dornajo, which I highly recommend. I also trekked to Zahara de la Sierra, an up-in-the-clouds municipality nestled in the hillside, one of Andalucia’s pueblos
blancos (the white villages you’ll find in the north east of Cádiz and north west of Málaga). It sits overlooking a lake and below a ruined Roman castle which was renovated by Arab settlers. All around is dramatic scenery, with soaring, jagged peaks and clouds spread like tablecloths overhead. On these walks I saw wonderful panoramas across the natural park. The climate offers fresh air and pleasant warmth in which to savour dreamy landscapes. The expanse is decorated with Roman roads, Visigoth fountains and Moorish towers. And the unfurling expanse reveals new views over passes, along narrow tracks and across mountainous regions. The plains are fertile and the grounds stony. Griffin vultures swoop over the pyramid-shaped pines, and I wandered along lofty paths, drovers’ roads and through meadows . In summer, in season, there are even vast fields of sunflowers, too. These sierras are both lyrical and inviting with their corporeal vocabulary with undulating hills and backbones of ridges – altogether, the ideal walking country. TIPS Ronda is well served by airports at Málaga, Seville and Gibraltar and the weather is temperate when not hot. For this selfguided, two-centre break, ensure you have ample gear, be it walking poles or rainwear, since the weather on the peaks and ridges can change quickly; and bear in mind that some areas have poor mobile-phone reception. Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for the first BBC television series QI, hosted by Stephen Fry. He wrote The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books. Adam Jacot de Boinod travelled with Slow holiday specialist Inntravel (inntravel.co.uk, 01653 617000), who offer a selfguided two-centre walking break in Ronda and the Grazalema Sierra (www.inntravel.co.uk/walking-holidays/spain/andalucia/ ronda-grazalema-sierra) from £435a person, based on two sharing, including four nights’ B&B (at a guesthouse and a four-star hotel), two dinners, a return taxi between Ronda and Grazalema, and walking route notes and maps. Flights to Málaga are extra. The break is available from 7 September to 30 November and 16 February to 30 June in 2020. Adam also had support with airport parking and lounges with HolidayExtras. com.
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REIGN IN SPAIN THREE NE W HOM ES - F ROM - H OM E F ROM W WW. AST UR IA N-P R OP ERT Y.COM.
T H E CO M PAN Y I am Miriam Malga-Smith and Asturian-Property.com is my business, the highly personalised online agency for English speakers worldwide, based in London and Asturias. I am bilingual and have bilingual professionals to assist my clients through all stages of the sale/purchase of properties in Northern Spain. If you are interested in knowing more about Asturias and other regions in Green Spain, you will find more information at Asturian-Property.com, or please contact me personally via my email email@example.com or the following mobile numbers (+34) 639 170 320 or (+44) 754 575 6152.
P R OPERTY I N LL AN E S , AS T U RIA S . P R ICE: € 4 .8 M IL LION At this designer-acclaimed clifftop villa: everything’s planned – just arrive, relax, have fun. Wake up to wide sea vistas, stroll along your private clifftop – there’s no-one to bother you here. Yet, you’re only a 50m amble to the local unspoilt beach. There are three floors, all reached by the lift, plus seven bedrooms and bathrooms, two kitchens and dining rooms, a wine cellar, larder and laundry facilities too. You and your guests will be in awe of the surrounding mountain and marine landscape. Exercise in the indoor and outdoor pools, the Jacuzzi, sauna, gym, tennis court, basketball and football pitch in 12,000sq m of grounds, including 948sq m of habitable space and a 108sq m terrace. In Llanes there are top restaurants, some Michelin-starred, and the Santander International Arts Festival or the Opera season in Oviedo are held here. The villa featured in Interior Designs magazine shortly after construction, for its sleek lines and clean finishes. There’s also a garage for six cars, and an automatic pellet-drive eco-system which supplies underfloor heating, airconditioning and heating for both pools. And, you can control all aspects of the villa when away via the top-of-the-range remote system. The nearby A8 Highway, which links to all parts of Spain and Europe, is out of sight and ear-shot, while airports, ferry ports and other principal transport links are within an hour’s drive.
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P R OPERTY IN LU AR C A , A STU R IAS. P R IC E: €3,99 0.000 This palatial villa overlooks the historic port of Luarca in the west of Asturias. The villa stands on a sea promontory above the cliffs with extensive views of famous landmarks: the Cantabrian coast and Cordillera Cantábrica mountains. Its land comprises 14 hectares, of which 28 acres have been landscaped into a world-class garden (larger than the Botanic Gardens of Madrid) that embraces a valley through which flows a natural stream and is fringed by beach-coved cliffs. The gardens have been open for pre-arranged visits, it was designed in 1992 with the help of expert gardener Rafael Ovalle and takes you from Japan to the tropical palm-fringed islands of the Americas – special mention must be made of the thousands of Camellias and Azaleas, so many they were mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. The 1,100sq m villa, designed in the mid-late 20th century by Madrid architect Javier Rojo, is meticulously decorated and maintained with antique furnishings . There are eight bedrooms (most with ensuites), two-bed housekeeper lodgings, plenty of spaces for socialising and dining, a study and library, garage, kitchen and a traditional Asturian granary that could be used as a work room. The property would also be ideal as a hotel offering garden tours. Just a few minutes from Luarca town and 50km from the airport. This garden and Villa are looking for a new owner who will ‘consolidate and nurture them for the benefit of future generations.’, in the words of their progenitor.
P ROPE RT Y I N LLA N E S, A STU R IA S. P RIC E : €78 5, 000 This fully-restored 912sq m house, ready for occupancy, sits by the 19th-century Mendoza Cortina Palace in a south-facing coastal spot. The three floors (the stables and garage, first floor and attic) bear Andalusian design and craftsmanship, with brick archways, Iroko wood and a Moorish water garden. Outbuildings totalling 417sq m have been assiduously converted from former stables and the impressive two-storey cider press could be a workshop/studio. Take a 700m stroll to unspoilt Pendueles beach, one of 30 along this coast, called The String of Pearls. The nearby limestone cliffs are famous for breathtaking ‘Bufones’ or sea geysers, and the Llanes port is only 13km away for surfing, sailing and fine dining. The cities of Santander, Oviedo and Bilbao are little more than an hour away. The Palace, now in ruins with some walls and roofs intact, was owned by two noble families and has a fascinating history. One can appreciate its former grandeur,as it was built in cast iron typical of that epoch. Pendueles is directly on the northern St James’s Way, and is a popular cultural stop-off point. The Palace’s dimensions are recorded at 3,500sq m, with an additional 700sq m approved, totalling 4,200sq m, to be redeveloped as 35 apartments, a n elderly care home, or elite hotel. The €785,000 price is for a limited time only – excellent value since the entire complex is valued in excess of €2,000,000, including the restored house with apartments. The Mendoza Cortina Palace occupies a 6,861.79sq m plot close to beaches, facing the Cantabrian Cordillera mountains. Its purchase comes with the option to take the property as it stands or have all works undertaken.
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AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER HARRIET BEDDER dives into luxury hotel Cliveden’s sparkling and scandalous past – and the luxury hotel’s sublime spa.
Cliveden House is not as big as I was expecting, but it’s still an imposing manse. The 350-year-old, Grade-I-listed stately house has just 48 bedrooms and a small number of communal areas, including a charming library and elegant dining room. However, the vastness of its surroundings – all 376 acres – keep it steadily at the top of UK attractions year after year – its National Trust-protected parkland hosted 483,754 visitors in 2018 alone. It’s not hard to see why it’s so popular, the acreage is wildly diverse, with both woodland and landscaped gardens, and provides panoramic views of the River Thames. The perfectly symmetrical house sits at the end of a sweeping driveway, sometimes used as a car park (albeit for some pretty flashy motors). Cliveden was designed by Charles Barry to replace the previous house that was ravaged by a devastating fire in 1851; he blended English Palladian and Roman Cinquecento styles, using grand columns, stucco fronting and bijou balconies, which altogether looks breathtaking, especially at night. Despite the house seeming somewhat diminutive in comparison to its estate, the hotel’s esteemed – and less so – place in British history keeps visitors flocking back, and not just to stay at overnight, but to experience the spa, take afternoon tea, enjoy a romantic dinner or even a daylight walk through the striking grounds. Cliveden House is infamously known for its role as the setting of the Profumo affair between 19-year-old model and alleged Russian spy Christine Keeler and the married Secretary of State for War, John Profumo. The scandal took
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Britain by storm in 1961, and was most recently re-enacted in BBC drama The Trial of Christine Keeler (starring Sophie Cookson and Emilia Fox) – well worth a watch before visiting. Not only is Cliveden home to the key location in the affair, Spring Cottage, but also to the classic, outdoor swimming pool at the centre of the debauchery. But, its reputation as a venue for entertaining government officials, royalty and prime ministers (not in that way), and tales of parties, privilege and power aren’t all in the past. Cliveden today is as glamorous and decadent as it has ever been. Following a five-year restoration that has seen the house renovated to its original refinement, the hotel – often included as one of the top five hotels in the UK – now houses Cliveden Spa, which is a destination its own right, not least for the Profumo pool at the centre. It’s the only listed outdoor pool in Britain, and it was said to be here that the affair began. Now it’s overlooked by a gym and the health-focused all-day restaurant and lounge, the Spa Kitchen, so you might not wish to re-enact Keeler’s seductive swim by stripping off, even if you’ve arrived in summer. The spa is ideal for an overnight escape from the city, Cliveden is around an hour’s drive from London and 30 minutes from Heathrow Airport. Following the restoration of the House, the spa has several new treatment rooms, and a range of massages and facials, alongside many other treatments, including luxury manicures and pedicures. There’s a hairdressing salon onsite too. Not only is the refurbished spa a pleasure to relax in, it has partnered up
with Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skincare, London, whose biggest celebrity fans include Victoria Beckham, Meghan Markle and Gwyneth Paltrow. We try the Skinesis facial – awarded ‘Best facial for AntiAgeing’ by Harper’s Bazaar and ‘Best Facial’ by Tatler – it’s not hard to see why. After an initial consultation with a therapist about my skin, and 60 luxurious minutes of cleansing, personalised masks and a unique Chapman massage, my skin is literally glowing and I feel like I never want to put on make-up again – and don’t – as we head for dinner at the Great Hall. Dinner is excellent. As you often find in the pages of the Review, we’re usually keen to take advantage of a sommelier who knows their stuff, and it’s no different at Cliveden. The gentleman flawlessly picks and matches wines to complement the flavours of each dish. To start, I order a tender beef tartare with smoked garlic, celeriac, and a perfectly cooked, brightorange quail egg, while my companion orders monstrously large scallops atop thick bacon with butternut squash. My main, dover sole with new potatoes and garlic butter, is light yet richly flavoured and I steal a few mouthfuls of my my friends tender venison, which is served with a red wine jus and creamy potato gratin. Though neither of us can stomach it after such a decadent meal, we order the a vanilla soufflé with poached pear and chocolate sorbet – a recommendation from our waiter – and pair it with a glass of Sauternes. On the way to bed, we ask for a quick peek at the French dining room, and although we’ve seen pictures of it – it’s a private dining room with views over the parterre and Thames, unavailable for general dining – the beauty of the gilded, 18th-century Rococo panelling (originals from the Château d’Asnières) against a turquoise background is all the more in real life. We go to bed thoroughly satisfied after a day of pampering, with full stomachs and happy hearts, and dream of living a life in this house full of history. Cliveden has not only been the home of the Profumo Affair, but also to a Prince of Wales, two Dukes, an Earl and finally the Viscounts Astor. Many weddings take place at Cliveden, too, and the house played its part in the most recent royal nuptials, as Meghan Markle spent her last night of civilian life here (pre-stepping down as a royal) before her wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018. Whether you feel more like a princess or a prime minister when you visit Cliveden, all historic fantasies have played out here. Settle in over a Veuve Clicquot red-velvet afternoon tea and leave with a rosy glow for days after a bespoke Sarah Chapman facial of course. Our writer stayed as a guest of Cliveden House (Taplow, Berkshire SL6 0JF). For more information on the hotel visit www. clivedenhouse.co.uk.
COME, WEARY PILGRMS KATE WEIR R EST S HER WEARY HEA D AT COSY PA D DING TON STAY TH E P ILG R M.
“ YOU CAN IMAGINE SOME
BUMS ROCKING UP BETWEEN
HAPPENINGS, OR THE SUBJECT OF EDWARD HOPPER’S HOTEL ROOM PAINTING MEDITATING OVER
A RAIL TICKET ON ONE OF THE
SLEEP BEDS, WONDERING WHERE TO TAKE HER SUITCASE NEXT.”
Over my many years of staying in and writing about hotels, the performative, ritualistic aspect of the experience has come into sharper focus. Some offer a brief brush with extravagance where eventually the gilded centre cannot hold; after all, if the grass-isgreener other side becomes your reality ennui can only follow. But, The Pilgrm – true to name (ignoring that dropped ‘i’ for now) – follows a humbler path, and is all the better for it. It’s somewhere you could hunker down for a while, with rooms not dissimilar to a lovingly accoutred studio apartment where one might be quite happy indeed for a while. It shouldn’t be so, for – aside from its nomadic name – it is, in effect, a railway hotel for the modern traveller, located just a few blocks from Paddington Station, ideal for weary arrivals from Heathrow Airport to roll into from the Express train. Some judicious mid-century styling in rooms and in its cosy lounge and coffee shop lets you imagine some poetry-spouting Dharma Bums rocking up between happenings, or the subject of Edward Hopper’s Hotel Room painting meditating over a rail ticket on one of the primed-for-a-good-night’s-sleep beds, wondering where to take her suitcase next. Yes, rooms are small in scale, with the largest at 14sq m, but founder Jason Catifeoglou (formerly of the Zetter Hotel group) has configured them artfully. Behind a full-length mirror are plug sockets for a hairdryer that hangs in a bag and a slight wardrobe. There are dinky paintings and a Bluetooth-enabled Marshall speaker; in the Metro-tiled bathroom, above a tin sink, hangs a tiny block of soap. Everything has its place, and luxury is felt in deep-pile marbled-blue carpets, crisp linens, a large flatscreen TV and Ren toiletries. A lovingly restored Victorian staircase snakes up into oblivion in the hallway and sustenance comes by way of a coffee- and tea-laden pantry on each floor. Its beating-heart lounge, hung with artist Karen Thomas’s glamorous grotesques, has mix-and-match cocktail seats – fittingly so, for cocktails are the order of the day. Each is a collaboration with bars across the world, exclusively made in London (something of a hangover from the drink-savvy Zetter, perhaps…). Industry insiders such as Dee Ann Quinones and Chad Solomon have mixed up tequila, plum vinegar and pepper sauce; and gin, vermouth and orange bitters. We sleep soundly, the approach of the noon check-out soothed by a quiet morning of ilde breakfasting on a fuelling full-English (with Cotswoldssourced produce and homemade baked beans) and a bacon roll of divine provenance, followed by muchneeded lollygagging. The Pilgrm allows for fantasies of a quieter kind, so when transience calls the bump down to Earth is gentler – you close the door, grab a Workshop coffee as you go, and leave warm in the knowledge that the next time you need a safehold from a chaotic world, you know where to come. 25 London Street, Paddington, London W2 1HH, For booking information, visit https://thepilgrm.com
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DINING ONE ALDWYCH HOTEL 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ WORDS: SARAH RODRIGUES Imagine lying under a soaring arc of sky, with cascades of falling stars raining down from above. Wild camping? Dreamy. Central London? Dream on. But, curb your scepticism, because a stay in the Dome Suite of One Aldwych Hotel offers the next best thing – and all without a midge in sight. Built in 1907 and designed by Mewès and Davis, the architects also responsible for Paris and London’s Ritz hotels, OneAldwych was originally the headquarters for The Morning Post Newspaper. Its copper and verdigris-clad cupola, punctuated by circular windows, crowns its distinctive triangular construction and from our vantage point in this lofty perch, we watch minute figures, hunched against the cold, scurrying over the bridge. Above the roofs, half of the London Eye looms, tracing its circular pattern against the sky. It’s difficult not to feel a teeny bit smug. Few would argue that there’s something Rapunzel-esque about this circular eyrie – especially with its plumply decadent bed at its centre – arched over by the domed ceiling. At its apex, mirrored glass provides splintered reflections and scatters light that
enhances the room’s hanging star-shower installation, a component of the recent Robert Angell refurb. A bottle of champagne, along with an array of treats, are standard perks for Dome Suite guests: even so, it’s worth venturing downstairs to the Lobby Bar, which was revamped by Fabled Studio for the 2019 reopening – part of the same redesign that saw Angell transforming each of the guest rooms. With its high ceilings and arched windows, burnt-orange chairs and exuberant florals provide bursts of colour against minimalist grey furnishings and swirling blackand-white marble floors. Look out, too, for the newsprint-block-embossed tabletops, which reference the building’s original incarnation – and you can scarcely miss The Boatman with Oars sculpture by André Wallace, which presides over the bar, at which we enjoy a cocktail, created by the hotel’s award-winning bartender Pedro Paulo. Dinner in richly-hued Indigo might leave one idly contemplating, rather than guiltily scheduling, time in the hotel’s state-of-the-art gym and 18-metre long pool: for, under the ministrations of executive chef Dominic Teague the menu has been entirely gluten- and dairy-free since 2012. His dishes impressively demonstrate that intolerances need not preclude taste and creativity when superb
8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LS
WORDS: SARAH RODRIGUES
‘Okay – it’s nothing to do with me or my name,’ says chef Ben Tish, ‘but my best ever meal was at a small neighbourhood restaurant in Taormina, Sicily, called Tischi Toschi. Run by Luca Casablanca, the focus is on slow food and seasonal ingredients – simple and delicious.’ Sicily, and its Moorish influences, are at the heart of Tish’s new venture Norma, itself part of the expanding Stafford collection, at the apex of which stands London’s the Stafford Hotel. Mediterranean food was a passion Tish developed in the 1990s at St James’ Al Duca. ‘Working in London hotels, it was all Michelin-influenced and quite laboured,’ he says. ‘Here, the focus was on simplicity and seasonality,’ – concepts which, at that time – before Jamie Oliver made them buzzwords – completely changed his approach. After 11 years at Salt Yard, Tish met Stuart Proctor, general manager of the Stafford London and now COO of the Stafford Collection. He became the Stafford London’s F&B chef director – but Proctor’s vision of expanding the Stafford portfolio was key to their discussions. ‘It took some time to find the site,’ says Tish of Norma’s Fitzrovia location: a five-floor Georgian townhouse, which was something of a ‘logistical nightmare,’ when it comes to dining. The refurb – complete with basement kitchen, dumb waiter and crudo bar – took about six months to complete. The result? Intricately tiled surfaces, flattering lighting, burnished booths and marble tables. The Stafford name adds the
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allure of sky-high service and luxury but, in a city where Italian-run restaurants abound, how does Tish – who has never formally cooked in Italy – see himself? ‘It’s a different perspective,’ he says. ‘Many Italian restaurants are steeped in tradition, cooking the way Mamma used to. What I’m doing is my own take on the food, using and spinning ingredients that are naturally present in the region but not usually combined there – say, burrata and coriander seeds.’ His passion for Moorish influences – celebrated in his book, Moorish, one of the Times’ best food and drink books of 2019 – is evident in his use of citrus, aubergine, cardamom and cinnamon. Strozzapreti, for example, is traditionally served with beef ragu, but is here reimagined with pork, anchovy, orange and mint. Traditional cannoli are elevated by the addition of candied orange. Pasta alla Norma – the Sicilian dish from which the restaurant takes its name – is traditionally rendered but made with rigatoni rather than macaroni and has a thick layer, rather than a sprinkle, of ricotta salata. So what’s next? ‘I believe that there’s room for the Stafford Collection to keep expanding,’ says Tish. For now, though, he intends to just keep improving on what he’s doing. Having opened in September 2019, Norma’s first few months have been an exciting success but ‘we don’t want to rest on our laurels’ he says. ‘There are new openings in London every week – we want to keep it exciting and fine-tune what’s already in place.’
ingredients are in play: think loin of Highland venison, seared Orkney scallops or Yorkshire grouse, and desserts such as bitter chocolate mousse with coffee ice-cream and toasted hazelnuts. Truth be told, even if the meal were dripping with unctuous layers of guilt, I’d probably still have struggled to tear myself away from lolling in my sunrise-brushed sheets in that circular room the following morning. No rescue from this tower required, thanks – this princess is perfectly content.
85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7NB
WORDS: HARRIET BEDDER Much-talked-about restaurant Hide is rumoured to have cost £20 million to develop, and has 180 covers, all-day dining and around 200 staff – butI’m eager to see how else they’ve spent the money. I’d heard a lot about Hide, aside from Googling its frequently changing menu and clocking its 2018 Michelin Star win, but I had seen its breathtaking Art Deco-style and tree-trunk staircase via Instagram. It’s a sight to behold from the outside, too, and, allegedly, the lift that runs to the top-floor can reportedly accommodate a bulletproof car, whose passengers exit straight into one a private dining room. The restaurant (owned by Russian billionaire Yevgeny Chichvarkin, alongside his Mayfair wine store, Hedonism), has garnered a lot of press since opening, with swathes of coverage for head chef, Ollie Dabbous, who previously opened the acclaimed Dabbous in 2012, following a stint at world-renowned, two-Michelin-star-holding Mugaritz, just outside San Sebastián. He’s joined by Matthew Mawtus as GM, formerly of Pollen Street Social. My friends sit waiting for me, just in front of the in-restaurant bakery at the back of Ground: the – obvs – ground-floor restaurant, which offers breakfast and lunch and an à la carte. There are three levels here: the basement, or Below, is home to the famous wine cellar and a small cocktail bar,
while Above is the top-floor spot for five- or eight-course tasting menus (with or without paired wines, at varying levels of expense). Each floor has its own kitchen, too. We, however, remain settled at Ground. Several dishes are ferried to our table, and we graze on home-cured charcuterie and doorstops of toasted brioche with chicken liver parfait, fig and hibiscus honey – a savourysweet triumph. Even the less liver-obsessed at the table can’t get enough. We fight each other for the last wedge of brioche. We also share charcoal-baked flatbread topped with Lardo di Colonnata and white truffle. Next, there’s baked pumpkin with Brixham crabmeat, garlic butter and basil for my starter – no part of my pumpkin is left un-scooped. The mains whirl by, nothing quite meeting the same level of wonder as my new crabpumpkin-garlic fantasy. I have the steamed Cornish sole with mussels, crushed potatoes and sea purslane broth – a soft and delicate dish. For dessert – though by this point we are predictably full – we are brought Dabbous’ famous warm acorn cake with smokedcaramel-flavoured Cornish clotted cream. I eat this almost entirely to myself as my friends ransack the cheese board. I’m intrigued by the carrot-cake soft-serve, too: I try some with the acorn cake. It’s divine. We end the night with a drink in Below and head into the wine cellar. Hide’s income is reported by the Financial Times to be split 48/52 wine to food (most restaurants tend to have a 40/60 split); unsurprising when the
sommelier oversees a 70-page wine menu and an iPad loaded with 7,000 bottles of wine that can be ferried to the restaurant quickly from the Hedonism store, the most expensive being the 2004 Penfolds Block 42 at an eye-watering £120,000. My party sips dirty martinis, as the bartender makes me a sweet gin cocktail, and I think about how equally sweet the evening has been. Hide seems to be a restaurant for everyone: we see friends catching up, birthday parties of 15-plus people (I dread to think what that bill came to) and older couples on date nights. It’s my first time at Hide, but definitely not my last – and with that pumpkin-crabmeat sensation and warm acorn cake on my mind – my only nitpick is that there should be phone notifications for when season-bound dishes come back on the menu.
weighty sense of responsibility, which shows in the finesse of the presented dish. Paralysed by choice surveying the à la carte, we choose the Phoenix set menu (£90 a head), a compendium of Hakkasan’s greatest hits and an excellent first impression for beginners. This starts with a basket of dim-sum, decked with more enticing packages than a Christmas tree: langoustine har gau with a laurel of Prunier caviar, swordfish and water-chestnut siu mai crowned with yet more caviar, wild-mushroom dumplings in lively pink wrappings and morsels of sweet king-crab meat. Crispy duck salad with pomelo, pine nut and shallot plays fast and loose with salads’ rep for healthiness, but delivers such an umami kick that one simply can’t care. Mains are a bacchanalian orgy of east-meets-west decadence: duck that yields softly to a fork with a crisp mahogany glaze of crackling, wallowing in a truffle-soused bath; chunks of rib-eye in a sticky merlot sauce; giant tempura freshwater prawns with chilli and cashew; tender asparagus stems slick with butter; and Hakkasan’s signature Chilean sea bass in honey, with a side of jasmine rice. All are delicious and ping each sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, sour taste receptor in turn. We wash each mouthful down with a bottle of Viognier ‘LER’ Yalumba, a wine grown in Australia solely for Hakkasan. We require 10 minutes’ respite before dessert, and retreat to the cocktail list for a Hakkasan Punch cleanser of El Dorado rum, Diplomatico Planas rum, coconut, rice milk,
absinthe and gold flakes – a powerful refresher. I joke that dessert will be pineapple fritters (although, in truth, I delight in a fritter of any provenance), and what we get is actually a haute take: a dish of pineapple sorbet and caramelised chunks with a crisped-rice wafer; a second of apple sorbet and white-chocolatecream tartlet. Hakkasan Mayfair is an affluent dream: staff move with balletic attentiveness, decor is finely detailed and the food, well, the food is in all probability the finest Chinese food you’ll find in London.
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17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, W1J 6QB
WORDS: KATE WEIR
Hakkasan’s Mayfair branch was the second in London, after founder and chef Alan Yau’s legendary Hanway Place flagship, but it equals its big sister in Michelin-star-garnering Cantonese food and, with its lacquer-jewellerybox interiors, is no less elegant – maybe even more so, for its well-to-do neighbourhood. In fact, it has a touch of blue blood: Queen Liz herself was born in a house that once stood at Hakkasan’s Bruton Street address. This year, it reaches a landmark birthday, a decade of serving up delicate dim-sum and Chinese gotos reimagined with lobster, foie gras and such, so we’ve come to celebrate with a lavish feast. Big-deal French designer Christian Liaigre, who styled Hanway Place, has worked his magic here too: you descend into the dining room down a staircase with dramatic underlighting, dragon motifs are embroidered into leather banquettes, bronze and wood finishes give the place a clubby velvet-rope vibe – after all, deal-closing, client-wooing and the odd Kardashian are the sort of thing you may see here. But, choose a corner seat below dimmed lantern lights and you’ll easily slip into date mode. Hosts wear suits, the hostesses form-fitting cornflower-blue dresses; everyone is as polite as they should be when you’re spending on average £50 a main, likely much more on wine. The way you react on opening the menu probably does denote your credit score; but this isn’t your local takeaway and Hakkasan’s team (headed up by executive chefs Andrew Yeo and Chen-Wei Chan) bears its ‘best Chinese restaurant in London’ tag with a
DECIMO The Standard, London Hotel, 10th Floor 10 Argyle Street WC1H 8EG WORDS: KATE WEIR I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Decimo, the much-talked-about 10th-floor eatery of the hotly anticipated Standard, London hotel. From afar, the group’s properties seem to maintain an aloof coolness, like the aspirational clique in school. And, well, because they are undeniably cool (certainly more so than this introverted mag editor): they first put CBD gummies in minibars, have perspex-boxed people as art installations, hot-off-the-runway designers behind their custom uniforms and collabs with megawatt fashion houses, alongside big-name DJs and glamorous, till-late parties. However, there’s much warmth to be found at Decimo, not least from the hulking fire pit or ox-blood and coral colour scheme, but in effervescent staff and cosseting corners. After the ‘red pill’ lift (which resembles London’s curvaceous double-decker buses) whisks you up the facade of Camden’s former Town Hall, with sparkling King’s Cross panoramas as you go, a coterie of model-beautiful staff glide you from bar to table. Designer Shawn Hausman’s decor is a masterclass in throwback styling: rattan ceiling tiles, macramé hangings, brown-leather sofas, warm woods and Flinstones-esque flagstone floors make a sultry modern haçienda with plenty of LA polish. We start with Piscos: mine sweetened with apricots, my partner’s punched up with chilli. Suitably tipsy, we float to our table, and are enthusiastically walked through the menu by our stellar waitress. After the squabbling and brisk negotiations sharing-concept dining requires, we settle on an outrageous amount of food – the menu isn’t cheap, so each new item sets off a cash-register ding in my head, but this is special occasion, fifth-date dining at its finest. Little bowls of croquetas de jamón, a Japanese flag of a dish – a white marble slab with a scarlet disc of red pepper – and sourdough with a pleasingly chewy crust arrive. The peppers are a revelation: cooked over coals with garlic, they’re smoky and complex and we wipe the slab clean. Next, Decimo’s divisive signature dish: a caviar-topped tortilla, £45 in its cheapest form. Fish eggs and regular eggs, not the easiest bedfellows, are anchored by the addition of leek, and the whole thing opens with an X-rated ooziness. An aguachile with a thick layer of crab and Spiral Jetty of jalapeño jelly is texturally intriguing, then, a whole leg of suckling pig hits the Goldilocks ratio: crackling crisp on the outside, fall-apart tender within. Scallops sliced and served in shell have been taken from the grill at just the right time, and have a caramelly sweetness. But, my favourite dish was a humble ‘salad’ of mushroom bomba rice. Layered petals of mushroom slices top a rich risotto with the earthy pungence of porcini and judicious slugs of alcohol added while cooking. The desserts are purposefully small after such decadence, but my vanilla cream with forced rhubarb and a dark-chocolate tart that doesn’t sink you like a stone both hit the spot. To finish: two potent
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
shots of mezcal from a list that could fast get you into trouble. Yes, the bill is somewhat intimidating, but otherwise this is a high-spec hearth-and-home joint where Michelin-star-collecting chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias (of Bristol’s Casamia and Paco Tapas) has made a menu that’s both inventive and comforting, if at times a touch profligate (I’m looking at you, caviar tortilla…). The waitresses’ smocks have a ‘chic cult’ air to them too, but otherwise I’m enchanted – even going to the bathroom is an experience, with its view-blessed glass walls. So, say ‘screw it’ to the budget, book one of the Standard’s futuristic rooms to avoid a waddle home and give in to Decimo’s extravagance – because we guarantee, you’ll be well looked after here.
107 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, W2 4UW
WORDS: KATE WEIR
I’ll admit, Bucket’s name did not inspire much confidence in me – after all, it’s a word often accompanied by ‘kick the’ or ‘list’, and I’m not of the mind to dwell on mortality of an evening out. But, I’m galvanised to visit this Westbourne Grove seafood restaurant, because it’s catches are all sustainably sourced and their portions are measured by its namesake, which was promising. My date was late, but staff were happy to let me occupy one of their beachy cushioned pavilions while I waited. The decor recalls Cornish summers, with driftwood, string-tied linen tablecloths and breezy patterns, that made you wish you were kicking back with flip-flops. I ordered taramasalata to nibble on as I waited – a dish that I’m compelled to measure against the authentic Grecian stuff, with its pungent deep pinkness – but this was a stand-up iteration, far from supermarket meek, but rich and flavourful. When, finally, my date joined me, the staff all waving off his excuses charmingly, we dove right into the more-fish-in-the-sea menu. Saltfish croquettes with a slick of citrus mayonnaise were satisfying bites, while large brochettes of head on piri-piri prawns with avocado and chilli were moreish fleshy beasts, that could have been a little more fearsome with spice – our only nitpick of the meal. Mains come served in large or small
metal buckets or from the grill. We request a small pail of calamari and the mixed grill for two – a beautifully-cooked trio of salmon, monkfish and hake – with roasted artichokes and a dish of creamy polenta. The sheer volume of fish given makes this an excellent value dish for this corner of London, and each piece is delightfully done; a swimming success that left us heavy enough to sink. Even so, the calamari is polished off quickly between the two of us. I’d also opt for a helping of mussels on the next visit, with their holy-trinity sauces of white wine and garlic, coconut and chilli, and stout and bacon. Indefatigable, we remain buoyant enough for desserts: a delicate lemon and vodka sorbetto and a somewhat less genteel – but messily enticing – dark-chocolate mousse with white-chocolate curls and honeycomb. The staff, who truly seem to want to know your thoughts on the food, are delightful – they bring us limoncellos as a nightcap and suddenly two espresso martinis appear, because the owner insists we try them. We’re sent out into the night with our hearts as full as those buckets of seafood, still somewhat iffy on the name, but com-pail-ed to return, nonetheless.
KITCHEN AT HOLMES
108 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 6LJ
WORDS: NEIL KEENAN
scallops with yuzu and asparagus both sound marvellous, but I plump for smoked eel with pickled heritage beetroot and horseradish. It doesn’t disappoint: tangy and smoky, it conjures up joyful memories of a simple but satisfying meal of herring, sour cream, and pickled vegetables enjoyed at a roadside bar in Estonia last summer. However, this is on another level, as is my dining partner’s yellowfin tuna tartare with wasabi and ponzu, which is fresh and zesty yet wonderfully comforting. Tables overlook the most open of open kitchens, and over a glass of wine we take time to watch the chefs at work. Beautifully presented dishes are the result of a level of forensic precision that Holmes himself would approve of. Those starters are going to be a tough act to follow but our mains stand up well. My choice of king crab and avocado salad with charred corn, radicchio, pea shoots, endive and Tabasco mayo is very good. Turbot, prepared table-side and served with lemon, allows a lovely piece of fish to simply be itself. A side of chips aren’t as crispy and fluffy as I’d hoped, but the buttery, chargrilled asparagus is earthy and delicious. Dessert-wise, any chocolate and orange combo is going to get my vote. And, fortuitously, there’s the chocolate and orange fiesta, served with yoghurt ice-cream: a rich, dark delight. Meanwhile, the refreshing citrus and booze hit delivered by a Limoncello baba with custard and strawberries elicits nods of approval from across the table. Our waiter brings us Case Closed cocktails, chocolate liqueur and homemade popcorn syrup blended
with rum, on the house, and although he misses the opportunity to say ‘complimentary, my dear Watson’, they are the perfect end to an evening that has truly been a treat for all the senses. In fact, so immersive is our experience that I could well imagine being collected by a hansom cab rather than the Uber that arrives.
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We’re in Sherlock Holmes territory, 108 Baker Street to be precise, to investigate the all-day dining and seasonally-inspired menu at recently opened Marylebone restaurant Kitchen At Holmes. There’s a welcoming buzz in the elegant bar area, where music creates a warm atmosphere and blends with the murmur of conversation, so a cocktail before dinner seems like a very good idea. A gin-based K T Time is served in a glass teapot, while a whisky-based Sherlock’s Pipe literally appears in a puff of (Applewood-scented) smoke from beneath a glass dome – theatrics that have us grinning and set the scene for a fun evening. Waiters are attentive but discreet. In the background my companion notices a customer spill her drink, but by the time I glance over staff are already restoring order, and moments later it’s as if nothing had happened. A plate of hors d’oeuvres – light and crispy aubergine tempura, and creamy Ibérico ham croquettes with aioli – are delectable. With appetites whetted and cocktails drained we head through to the dining room. My Sherlock Holmes-based pun – ‘Let’s see Watson the menu, shall we?’ – is met with an appropriate groan from my companion. Moving swiftly on, we’re struck by the impressive choice of seafood that, despite many enticing meat and vegetarian dishes, convinces us to go pescetarian for the evening, choosing a bottle of Viognier to compliment. So many starters take our fancy that we struggle to narrow it down to just two. Red-prawn carpaccio with caviar, and Scottish
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64 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8NQ
WORDS: HARRIET BEDDER
Fitzrovia’s new dining spot, Arros QD, is the latest edition to Eastcastle Street. The £4.3million restaurant is owned by Quique Dacosta (the eponymous QD), the Spanish Gordon Ramsey and self-proclaimed paella king, who works with Marcos Fernandez Pardo of the lauded Ibérica restaurant group. Knowing all this, alongside the buzz it’s generated, my expectations are high. My family is Spanish, so I’m particular about my comida and usually never order patatas bravas, tortilla or paella. There are some things your mama makes just too well. However, in some places I’ll make an exception, such as Cambio de Tercio on Brompton Road (a favourite). But, Arros QD may be another. Obviously, at a restaurant named Arros QD, I’m aware I’ll be eating rice. But I try to convince the waitress I don’t need the paella and the arroz negro would be wonderful instead. (I’m obsessed with this dish in Spanish restaurants as it’s so hard to make badly). However, she insists on paella, so we give in. It’s pleasant, with lively, complementary flavours; but I like my arborio wetter, and the Catalan’s way of scraping the refrito from the bottom of the pan reminds me of my own failings at making paella. Some like the socarrat (literally, singed rice), but me, no grácias. There’s a lot here for two and my companion loved it, but it wasn’t just like mam used to make for me. Regarding the arroz negro, two things disappointed me: firstly, there wasn’t enough and I had to share it. It’s cooked in the same way as paella (with refrito) but only cuttlefish is added (or squid) and it’s coloured with squid ink and topped with aioli, which was carefully spooned out evenly over the dish. With the arros/arroz out the way, let me rewind to the beginning. Just past our Moët apéritifs, we had two amuse bouches. Grace Dent has described the ‘cheese stones with parmesan, manchego cream and cocoa butter’ as a Babybel with charcoal on top. I enjoyed them, but I do like Babybel. The truffle bomb, with ‘liquid’ potato soufflé and truffle ‘spaghetti’ were one-bite wonders that burst with a rich mushroomy pungency. We have the majority of the tasting menu, but we particularly loved the stone-bass ceviche, with kaffir lime and coconut tiger milk. Having lived in Mexico before, dining on fresh-from-the-sea ceviche, I can confirm this dish is (almost) as refreshing in Fitzrovia. Other than the arroz negro, the star of the show was the beef cheeks with red-curry stew and coconut foam, another dish I hated to share. One of my favourite Spanish dishes
is rabo de toro (oxtail) in red wine and sherry sauce. I live for having this dish anywhere that’s not my kitchen (it takes 24 hours to cook properly) and Arros QD’s tender beef cheeks tempted me to hang up my apron. We left incredibly full after (after all, we did basically eat two paellas…), but I really regret not trying the caramelised rice pudding. I’ll just have to wonder whether it was a socarrat dish or not – or maybe I can go back and do it all again. Just alone, this time, and perhaps without the paella.
LIV 18-22 Holbein Place, Belgravia, SW1W 8NL WORDS: KATE WEIR LIV Belgravia is an all-day eatery in London’s most rarefied quarter that’s helmed up by Antipodean chef Damien Monley. He’s hailed by coffee connoisseurs for his popular Sydney café Flat White, but it seems he hasn’t just brought over serious brew knowhow from Oz – in LIV, the dining room’s surfeit of yellow cushions, lavish floral displays and wicker seating give it a sunny laidback air. There’s also a slew of colourful, Instafriendly brunch dishes of the kind the Aussies do so well: avo toasts, banoffee banana bread, Asiatic takes on eggs and such – but we’ve arrived after-dark, ready for a spot of warmth and a hearty dinner in London’s chilliest season. We’re greeted with the offer of a free cocktail each or a bottle of wine, always a good start – we opt for the latter, choosing a spritely LIV spritz (elderflower liqueur, prosecco, mint and soda) and a Tea Martini (a sultry take on the classic with rye whiskey, vermouth and herbal tea). Both go down very easily. The small plates menu, ideal for tapas-style dining or to start, has some enticing tidbits: brioche rolls stuffed with crab, stracciatella with salsa verde and sourdough crisps… We deliberate and choose the gorgonzola croquettes, which are delicious with a quince ketchup, and the mushroom bruschetta with truffled pecorino, which is generously heaped and laden with cheese. Mains are a fine mix of bistro staples (roast chicken, steak and chips, grilled salmon) and more decadent options, such as the 17-hour wagyu beef with Japanese slaw and the seabass with boulangere potatoes that myself and my partner pick. The former has chunks of rich fall-apart meat under a cloud of vivaciously flavoured ‘slaw, the latter was beautifully cooked and prepared with crispy artichokes and spinach. And, the menu has more healthful choices, too, plus carby goodness in the form of a
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tempting pasta edit. At the time we visited, LIV had only recently opened its doors, but already we could hear Sloanie sorts chattering away in the background, surely a sign that the locals have latched on. The space feels intimate enough for lunchtime gossiping and date-night whisperings, and the staff know when to approach and when to wait – the whole bunch are happy to chat with us, too. To finish, I have the treacle tart, the chef’s signature dessert, we’re told, and he should be justifiably proud. My partner has a plate of artisanal cheeses. But, we can’t leave without a ‘nightcap’ in the form of coffee from a century-old Neapolitan supplier Monley has tracked down. Turns out, we love LIV and long may Monley go on sating and caffeinating Belgravia’s well-heeled denizens and lunch-seeking sorts.
1 Wilbraham Place, Belgravia, SW1X 9AE
WORDS: SID RAGHAVA
Kahani translates as ‘story’ in English from the Hindi word pronounced ‘ka-haa-nee’ and it definitely seems to follow the script when it comes to top Indian restaurants in London. These are usually based between Mayfair and Chelsea and over the last 20 years or so, a somewhat incestuous circle has formed in this juggernaut of high-end subcontinental dining. Peter Joseph used to be the head chef at Tamarind when it became the talk of town, and 10 years of hard toil and creative freedom at the Michelin-starred restaurant have prepared him for this, his first solo venture. The subterranean location of Kahani on Wilbraham place in Sloane Square lends it a naturally cosy feel and Peter’s adroit amalgamation of European and Indian styles further raises the heat within the 90-seater hall. Not being entirely new anymore, Kahani is already a firm favourite with the locals, particularly well known for its Sunday Roast and Bottomless Brunch. As with most British-Indian restaurants of Kahani’s stature, the magic lies in the ménage à trois that is top-quality British ingredients, deft Indian spicing and European polish. Mr Joseph knows a thing or two when it comes to that trick. He grew up in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on a steady diet of idli, dosas and sambar, but with a sense of subcontinental food which takes
collective inspiration from the regal, traditional Persian cookery of Iran to the southeast Asian/Chinese-style flavours of Sikkim, and furthermore from the Central Asian textures and tastes of Kashmir to peppercorn and chilli-spiked cuisine of Chettinad. His 10 years at Tamarind and, prior to that, his experience in other top kitchens means he has fully grasped the idea of the high-end Indian in Sloane Square or Marylebone and is more than ready to give it his own slant. His Scottish blue lobster done in three different ways proves that, as does his sirloin kebab – every succulent bite of the latter infused with hints of truffle oil, ground fennel and the unique caraway-seed flavour that is royal cumin. In keeping with current trends, small plates abound, including smoked Malabar prawns and guinea fowl tikka, while a well-stocked bar is the perfect foil to each morsel. One of the stars in matters of thirst is the Gulab Martini, a vodka-based cocktail that has a silky smoothness with a blend of lychee liquor and juice, lemon juice and rose syrup. Vegan choices include golden-beet cakes with a mustard, curry leaf and poppadom crust. Peter Joseph knows what he is doing and his experience and obvious talent means that this quaint basement restaurant will only get better – and, as with your meal here, it’s a story that ends happily.
60A Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, W1T 2NU
WORDS: NEIL KEENAN
Confession time: steak isn’t my first choice when dining out, so why am I at premium steakhouse Gaucho? With beef from freerange Black-Angus cattle and a comprehensive list of world-class wines, including the largest selection of Argentinian wines outside of that country, Gaucho has built a well-deserved reputation for its steaks over the 25 years it’s been established in the UK. However, with changing tastes in eating habits, and the environment to consider, I’m interested to see if Gaucho (named after the skilled horsemen of the South American plains) is more than just a one-trick pony. So, where better to start than in the recently refurbished Charlotte Street branch? We’re sitting upstairs in one of two new cocktail bars. It’s a great space for after-work drinks with the option of casual dining from a tempting bar menu. Over pre-dinner cocktails (a sparkling Elder 75 with Tanqueray gin and elderflower liqueur, and a vodka-based Rhubarb Blush, which evokes fond childhood memories of rhubarb-and-custard sweets), we talk with general manager JB about all things Gaucho. He’s enthusiastic about the future, telling us that Gaucho’s new look reflects a more modern Argentina. There’s also a broader food and wine selection and a new socially responsible vision. Already sourced from cattle fed on a wholly natural diet, the plan is to make all their beef carbon-neutral through green-energy investments and a reforestation programme. And, in a move that dramatically reduces the ecological footprint, wines are available on tap. Hey, on Mondays you can
even BYOB with no corkage fee. The fully remodelled basement restaurant is set on two levels, with a new Art Deco bar running the length of the far wall. A quick glance around reveals that steaks are still the popular choice, so justly receive top-billing on the menu. But diners are also enjoying lamb, fish, vegetarian, and even vegan dishes. JB is proud of Gaucho’s first ever Beef Bar, and is keen for us to try something from that menu, so we select the lomo tiraditos. Served with horseradish mayonnaise, leche de tigre, watermelon radish, chilli-infused oil, and topped with crispy onion, it’s wonderfully refreshing. So deliciously zingy is the ‘tiger’s milk’ that I slurp the last of it straight from the bowl when noone’s looking. We’ve ordered pescatarian and vegetarian options too, and good as the tuna ceviche is, the star of the show is the beetroot tartare. A mango ‘yolk’ sits on earthy beetroot, avocado is drizzled with lime and a creamy buttermilk dressing, with salty sourdough crisps on top. I can recall a time when ordering anything other than meat in a steakhouse would be met with thinly veiled contempt, so to sit here now eating such an innovative vegetarian starter is an absolute joy. Benevolent manager Ryan happily answers questions and shares his insight; spotting our empty wine glasses, he brings two glasses of the Malbec on tap to try. Our mains soon follow: churrasco de chorizo, spiral-cut and garlicky, pairs well with smoky chimichurri sauce and thyme salt-sprinkled chips. Atlantic cod with quinoa, edamame, and blood-orange dressing is buttery and flaky. Pan-roasted
heritage carrots with goat curd and toasted almonds are sweet and velvety, and humita (creamed sweetcorn with mozzarella and chives) is comforting and adds rustic charm. We then share an excellent salted dulce de leche cheesecake with toasted marshmallows, and order a rum-based Argentine coffee, and a vodka-based sherberty Butterscotch Bonbon from the dessert cocktail menu. Caught up in the Latin spirit of the place, especially after talking with our lovely Spanish server, Ruth, we ask for carajillos: black coffee and brandy. Savouring them, it occurs to me that Gaucho is the sort of restaurant that the young me would want the grown-up me to eat in. Equally suited to a meal with mates, or a date, it’s elegant with a sense of fun. It reminds me of Fat Sam’s speakeasy in Bugsy Malone. And knowing that a social conscience plays a key part in Gaucho’s future plans is the icing on the – ahem – steak.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
XIER 13-14 Thayer St, Marylebone, W1U 3JR WORDS: KATE WEIR It’s been days since I dined at chef Carlo Scotto’s Xier, and I’m still parsing the experience. The restaurant is part of Scotto’s ambitious two-restaurant opening on Thayer Street: the sensible-twin XR is downstairs – a one-foot-on-the-ground sort with the likes of burrata, schnitzel, sliders, steaks and more stalwarts on the menu. Xier, on the other hand, is the drama kid upstairs, a flamboyant eccentric whose shtick is a 10-course tasting menu (also available in vegetarian), with ‘oh, you probably haven’t heard of them’ ingredients and complex alt platings. Xier’s look-atmeee wheedling could feel exhausting if it wasn’t anchored down by true talent. Scotto earned his whites at Mayfair Italian Babbo and came of age under the tutelage of Café Murano-founder and industry leading-light Angela Hartnett. (‘She turned me from a boy into a man’, Scotto tells our raised eyebrows.) Sat at XR’s bijou bar, you have little sign of the curiosities to come – there’s none of Sketch’s wilful whimsy here, or the sort of bonkers precedent set by cloud-cuckoo chef Heston Blumenthal. You’re whisked upstairs into Scotto’s elegant marble-clad lab, manned by implacably smiling waiters who present each course with near-surgical precision. Each dish is an experience in itself, culminating in a three-hour feast, but here’s an abridged step-by-step rundown to give you a flavour of Scotto’s culinary daring.
THE FRENCH KISS
This enigmatic dish is a Pop Art lip imprint (composed of crème fraîche, saffron, pistachio, passionfruit and chili) set on a glass block. We’re told there’s no cutlery because we must ‘kiss and lick the podium’. It’s tasty, if a safe distance from our comfort zones, but ultimately a messy affair, leaving our bouches more befuddled than amused.
KABOCHA CRISPY PANCAKE, PERIGORD TRUFFLE, CHESTNUTS AND MIYAGAWA
This Japanese-squash parcel sits on a bowl of sunflower seeds. For a dark moment, after the unconventional start, I worry I must bury my face in them. But, there’s no such shenanigans, simply a rich funghi pungence and brightening dash of Asiatic citrus.
ORKNEY SCALLOP CRUDO, CURED DUCK, CAVIAR, SOYA DASHI AND MALABAR
Beneath a micro-salad garden and layered radish petals, this served-in-shell scallop delivers an umami kick. First, we must inhale from a bowl of smoke-spewing seaweed, but hazy Proustian flashback or not, it’s a satisfying mouthful of seafood, with a spritz of edible scent for good measure.
ROSE-CURED SALMON, FOIE GRAS, KUMQUAT, YUZU, HAZELNUTS
My French friend blanches at the union of
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duck liver and fish; but – quelle surprise – citrus and floral notes prove a skilled matchmaker for these two rich morsels.
GYOZA, FERMENTED RED CABBAGE TEA
awakening, it feels a touch normcore.
SWEDISH CHEESE & FRESH FIZZY GRAPES
Once again, we get hands on, using chopsticks to fish this palatable dumpling from the surprisingly sweet vegetal tea. Then we slurp the rest from the bowl with a vigor suited to a far less upmarket establishment.
Scotto worked out how to give grapes a playful champagne sparkle when a bunch was accidentally left in dry ice overnight. When paired with rich, creamy Wrångebäck cheese, gingerbread, and white-wine jelly and pear compote, they’re surreal yet surprisingly effective.
At this point in the meal, my dizzied tastebuds need a breather and this refreshing citrus and curaçao sorbet gives them a reassuring slap on the back.
BLACK COD IN CARAMEL MISO, WALNUTS, PISTACHIO, CELERIAC AND PEAR
A stickier, sweeter take on the Nobu classic, this all-senses-firing dish is a particular highlight for me, and stands tall among bolshier flavour combos and more theatrical staging.
BRITISH BEEF CHEEK, PICKLED BEETROOT, COLLARD GREENS, BONE MARROW
By itself a laudable dish, yet something of a bit player amid its wackier counterparts. The beef cheek yields without a fight, bone marrow duly adds depth and the greens are ample roughage. But, eaten with mere cutlery and no extra-curricular sense-
Save room, because the grand finale is three desserts. First, a chocolate and passionfruit composition that resembles a Golden Snitch from Harry Potter. Second, hazelnut cream and biscuit with pear sorbet. And, the third: a ring of almond sable topped with chestnut mousse, mandarin jam and blackcurrant coulis. A holy trinity we rouse unknown reserves of appetite to demolish. And, with that, we toss our napkins down and declare ourselves done. This full-throttle feast has a touch of Lynchian uncanniness to it, with its interactive elements and 10act drama, but Scotto is certainly offering something completely different – and in a restaurant scene where fads are adopted at lightning speed and few restaurants can risk putting on such a show – it’s as refreshing as Scotto’s curaçao sorbet.
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‘DR NINA IS ONE OF THESE, WHO – GUIDED BY THE GOLDEN RATIO OF BEAUTY, THE
MATHEMATICAL SYMMETRY ALGORITHM THAT UNDERLIES OUR PERCEPTION OF
ATTRACTIVENESS – CAN TRANSFORM A FACE AESTHETICALLY WITHIN MINUTES. Many of us have had a spot or two of filler these days – to boost cheekbones mainly, but the best practitioners will view a person’s whole face and take a more holistic aesthetic approach. Dr Nina is one of these, who – guided by the Golden Ratio of Beauty, the mathematical symmetry algorithm that underlies our perception of attractiveness – can transform a face aesthetically within minutes. A vision in fresh-faced natural beauty, Dr Nina is warm, friendly and takes the time to sit and learn from you what it is about your face you have concerns over and what you might like to change. In my case, it was the appearance of jowls and the lack of definition around my jaw area, which made me feel self-conscious and more and more selfie-adverse in recent years. I assumed filler around the jaw-line would be the answer. After my makeup was removed and hair tied back, she sat me on the couch and looked closely and intently at my face, front and profile on, and felt around my bone structure for some time. Then she actually suggested that filler on the cheekbones and chin would achieve the best results, because this would reverse the triangle – from bottom-heavy/jowly, to a look of more pleasing wide/ high cheekbones narrowing to a pert and defined chin – far more aligned with the Golden Ratio of Beauty. The actual treatment was pretty painless and surprisingly quick. While I was sitting upright, Dr Nina had already marked up my face to show exactly where filler should be added for best effect, and once I was reclined on the couch, after the areas to be injected were surgically disinfected, all I felt was a few quick and light pin pricks to each cheek and on my chin – and the treatment was complete. For those who are nervous about the discomfort they might experience, numbing gel can be applied before treatments. Looking into the mirror Dr Nina provided, I was so delighted with the results. It’s actually quite incredible what a transformation can be made with just some subtle injection of filler into strategic places. By treating my cheekbones, my face was visibly lifted, and the troublesome jowl area had almost disappeared. The injection of filler onto my chin had given a much more pleasing and balanced profile, too. In just a few minutes I felt I looked 10 years younger. And importantly, the effect looked totally natural – nothing like the skin-stretched, overly plumped visage you see on so many reality stars these days.
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I had thought I needed Botox to complete my facial freshenup, but actually Dr Nina’s clever application of filler had smoothed out most of my lines anyway – this was a bonus to me, as I’d experienced temporary, slightly drooping eyelids from Botox before and was worried about experiencing this again. A couple of days later, there was absolutely no discomfort and only a tiny spot of bruising on my chin, which was already fading. I can honestly say, whether you are new to filler, or have regular treatments, I cannot recommend Dr Nina enough and will certainly be heading back for a top up after the six months or so the filler will last. o book visit www.facialsculpting.co.uk, and follow her on Instagram @Drninafacialsculpting A B OUT DR NINA Dr Nina Bal is a Cosmetic Dental Surgeon and Facial Aesthetics Doctor who, in 2008, graduated at the top of her year with distinction (BDS magna cum laude), and gained a highly respected diploma after completing a one-year postgraduate in Cosmetic Dentistry and Aesthetic Restorative Dentistry in London. A member of the General Dental Council, she is also a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and SaveFace (the National Register of Accredited Practitioners who provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments). Dr Nina and her work have been featured many times in Forbes, Evening Standard, Harvard, Tatler, The Times, The Sun, Sunday Mirror, Thrive Global and Adweek just to name a few. Dr Nina is the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards 2018 winner in the Facial Aesthetics category – Full Facial Treatment, and won finalist in the Facial Aesthetics – Dermal Fillers category in 2019. In 2017 she was shortlisted as one of the best young dentists in the UK by the highly prestigious Dental Awards. Dr Nina is passionate about enhancing a patient’s innate beauty. Her philosophy is ‘less is more’ and she loves to make subtle aesthetic tweaks that lead to excellent, yet natural, results.
AESTHETIC TREATMENT PROFILE: NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY O NE PARTI C UL A R T R EAT MENT TA KING T HE AESTH ET IC S’ WOR L D B Y S T ORM AT P R ESENT IS T HE N ON-SUR G IC AL NOSE JOB . THA N KS T O T H E HU G E D IFF ER ENCE IT CA N MA KE TO A PER SON’S A PP EA R AN CE I N LE S S TH A N H AL F A N HOU R , IT ’S B OOMIN G IN P OP UL AR IT Y W ORLD -WI D E. A ND, TH ER E’S ONE C LIN IC IAN IN PA RT IC UL AR P EOPL E A RE T RAV ELL IN G T O SEE: D R YU SR A A L -MU KHTAR , WHO HA S BE COM E R ATH ER FA MOUS FO R T HE LIFE-C HA NG ING, C ONFIDENC EBO OS TI N G PR OF ILE EN HA NCEMENTS SH E HA S MA DE. W ORD S: LI S A CURTI SS
Performing over 5,000 non-surgical rhinoplasty treatments each year, Dr Yusra has clients jetting in daily from as far afield as the USA and Australia, all wanting to improve the appearance of their noses – fixing humps, bumps, asymmetries and drooping tips, without the trauma and downtime of a surgical procedure under general anesthetic. A non-surgical rhinoplasty treatment is a corrective procedure to straighten the nose using injectables, rather than surgery. Long-lasting dermal filler is injected at strategic points in the nose to straighten it and correct deformities, irregularities or bumps, lifting the tip of the nose to better define it. This treatment is particularly good for addressing bumps on the bridge of the nose or downward drooping tips – it's a great alternative to costly surgery and has minimal downtime, if any. The non-surgical rhinoplasty treatments with Dr Yusra take just a matter of minutes to complete; with physically and emotionally lifting results. Beauty Editor, Lisa Curtiss, caught up with Dr Yusra to discover more.
‘Non-surgical rhinoplasties are the treatments that elicit the most tears and emotional impact. This is because the nose is the only feature on the face that sticks out, and if people have bumps or humps here, these are noticeable to them and others…meaning that they've often had to go through things like bullying. There's a lot of research to show that there's a significant link between having a large nose or dorsal hump deformity and depression and/or social anxiety.’ ‘We find that the biggest change in patients after their treatment isn't the physical one we've just performed – it's the improvement in their mental health. To their emotional health and psychosocial wellbeing. Whereas before our patients might hold back when it comes to going for promotions, on dates or to new job interviews; following their treatment, they're free to live their lives fully. Before, these patients would cover their faces when they smiled – or not smile at all because their nose would dip down, now they are free to express joy.’
‘The non-surgical rhinoplasty treatments we perform are unique and innovative. We inject naturally occurring hyaluronic acid into strategic points in the nose to completely mask any humps or bumps and straighten it – from a side profile perspective or face-on. This creates a long-lasting contour to the nose and can also lead to improvements in breathing.’ ‘This treatment is non-surgical – there's no downtime involved and patients can go back to their usual daily activities straight away. It's a great alternative for those who don't want to go under the knife; due to how costly this can be or the risks involved. It's also something people do before having surgery; to envisage how their nose could look before committing to it permanently. It's a very long-lasting solution. Unlike in the lips or cheeks, the nose is a non-mobile area, meaning that filler injected here lasts for a longer amount of time.’
Dr Yusra practices at the Dr Yusra Clinic, Harley Street. www.dryusra.com
AB O UT DR YU SR A Dr Yusra Al-Mukhtar BDS BSc MFDS MJDF RCS is a dental surgeon and anti-ageing expert. She's an advanced, experienced facial-aesthetic practitioner; with several years’ experience in head and neck surgery. She qualified with Honours and Distinction from King’s College London, after obtaining several prizes for clinical excellence – as well as obtaining a First-Class Honours in Medical Science and Management from Imperial College London.
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Loved by top models and influencers alike, this wonderful brand has some super make-up and skincare stars. Pigment-rich, long-lasting and easy to apply, the Unforgettable range of lipsticks and lip-liners come in a host of flattering shades to suit all complexions – and feel weightless when on. They contain vitamins E and C, hyaluronic acid and magnolia-bark extract to hydrate and soften lips. The lip-liners have a brush on one end for perfect application and handily come with their own sharpener. A favourite from the range is the silk soft Foundation Balm. This comes in 20 shades and is a full-coverage buildable foundation for all skin types. www.kevynaucoinbeauty.com
An advanced range of award-winning supplements, Ingenious Beauty products are rapidly growing in popularity, as word gets out about just how incredibly effective they are. They boast revolutionary patents which enhance your outward appearance – enlivening skin, hair and nails – as well as working from within to strengthen joints and increase your feelings of vitality. The Ultimate Collagen product has a patented capsule, hailed as a major breakthrough in collagen absorption, containing marine collagen peptide, hyaluronic acid complex and astaxanthin, and is claimed to increase skin elasticity by an astonishing 61 per cent, plus reduce fine lines by 55 per cent. They are free from parabens, fillers, sweeteners and other nasties, too. www.feelingenious.com
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WE’VE AL SO SOUG HT OU T FR ESH SCENT S F OR THE SEA SON, WITH FL OR AL , FR UIT A ND HER B AL NOT ES F R OM THE HOT TEST PER FU ME H OUSES. H ER E AR E OU R T OP SP R ING TIME SCENTS FO R L A ZY DAY S A ND R OMAN TIC NIG HT S.
ROSE POMPON, GOUTAL PARIS
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BLOSSOM SPECIAL EDITION , JIMMY CHOO
A lovely, versatile day-to-evening fragrance rich with frangipani, sandalwood and tropical fruit notes, freshened with soft, fresh florals. www.jimmychoo.com
FLOWER BY KENZO, POPPY BOUQUET
Another pretty rose-centred fragrance, this has notes of heady gardenia, almond wood, Japanese nashi pear and Bulgarian rose. www.kenzoparfums.com
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CLOUD 12 SID RA GHAVA TA LKS T O F OU N D E R OF N OTTI N G H IL L C LU B C LOU D TWELVE, JENYA DI P IERR O, WH OS E BRI LLIA N T T E A M OF EXP ERTS A R E SKIL LED IN HEA LT H A ND W E LLBE I N G.
The Ramayana is a Hindu epic which recounts India’s fabled history, underlining the basis of Indian philosophy and spirituality in metered Sanskrit. It tells the story of Lakshmana, Lord Rama’s brother, who is impaled by the demon Meghanada. There’s only one way to bring him back from certain death – the magical herb Sanjeevani – which only grows on Mount Dronagiri in the Himalayas. So, Hanuman, the monkey god, flies north to find it. However, unable to identify the plant, he uproots the entire mountain to take to Lakshmana (a true mountain to Mohammed moment). Then Ayurvedic expert Sushena uses the precious root to bring Rama’s brother back to life. Apocryphally, ecstasy ensued and Hanuman was hailed as a hero, as was Sushena the herbalist for his botanical know-how. Throughout history we’ve used herbs and roots in soothing treatments, and modern medicine makes extensive use of plant-based knowledge to achieve high standards of care. The past decade has also seen a sea change in attitudes, with throes of people preferring to live a holistic lifestyle and embrace a more natural way of living and eating. We are increasingly convinced that our physiological and mental health can be improved with a diet and lifestyle centred around adroit use of herbs and flowers coupled with our usual focus on nutrition and fitness, A herbalist is someone who employs their botanical knowledge to energise and complement one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Jenya Di Pierro is the founder of Cloud Twelve, a unique wellness club in Notting Hill. The lifestyle retreat houses a bevy of treats for all of the family: a crèche, salon, spa, a wonderfully quaint-yet-ultrastylish eatery and a staggeringly effective wellness clinic – all on a charming mews street set away from the bustle of Notting Hill’s markets and trendy thoroughfares. Jenya has meticulously introduced different aspects of health, beauty, wellness, childcare and delicious healthy food into a cosy and dynamic lifestyle hub. And she happens to be a keen herbalist too… Here is a summary of the tiered heaven that is Cloud Twelve. The ground floor is a delight for children and families, with a magical forest-themed playzone, various arts, music and ballet classes and a crèche. The spa, hair salon and organic brasserie occupy the second floor while the wellness clinic completes the spa, hair salon and organic brasserie occupy the second floor while the wellness clinic completes the triumvirate of healthy, beauty and wellness on the thirdon the third. In a nutshell, Cloud Twelve’s philosophy dictates achieving emotional, mental and physical balance while cherishing togetherness, achieving inner and outer beauty, promoting curiosity and creativity in children
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and conscious living. Above all, Cloud Twelve is about love: loving life, each other and most importantly yourself. We urge our readers in the Royal Borough to try out this wonderful haven for a holistic reboot. There’s acupuncture from the likes of famed practitioner Ross Barr; a salon with a nail bar; the nutritionally sound brasserie and bar (the vegan cakes are to die for); a cosy, adequate spa, complete with a Himalayan Salt Room and a dedicated massage area, plus talks on nutrition, IV infusions, colonic irrigation and cryotherapy – you name it, they likely have it here. When I spoke to Jenya about the vision behind her outstanding project, I wanted to know what inspired her personal mission to promote herbal remedies. We discussed that and other aspects of her life and philosophy over several sessions of coffee and cake in the brasserie. I also experienced the power of botanics and herbal therapy first hand, after a lengthy course that followed from diligent knowyour-patient sessions. When asked why we should all be consulting a herbalist, Jenya’s passion borders on philanthropic zeal. Yes, it’s a business but there is a degree of determined earnestness, to share these ideas with her patrons, friends and family. The sincerity and generosity of her spirit shines through. ‘Chronic diseases that people endure are not simple. The problem is always much broader, including lifestyle and diet. We need to go deeper and investigate the root cause beneath the manifestation. Nutrition and herbal medication go hand-in-hand and that dawned on me instantly, much like a personal epiphany, when I first started my herbal education’, PAGE 63
she declares. Back then she was a busy finance professional deep into asset management. She loved it, but once she started weekend courses exploring her passion for naturopathy, she knew her calling probably lay elsewhere. She finally decided to take the plunge and soon she was at the helm of a busy startup. The stress and rigour of juggling a busy finance job with other pursuits finally wore her down. So she chose the holistic path. Herbalism is the future’, she declares, dressed in an immaculate green-velvet dress and flashing her omnipresent, elfin smile. ‘Wellbeing is the cornerstone of my philosophy, and all natural medicine and therapies – colon therapy, aromatherapy, acupuncture – when used together, apposite to the subject, lead to all-round holistic health. Social wellbeing and meaningful social interaction are keys to unlocking that state of holistic nirvana and achieving or getting close to that state of balance is the idea behind Cloud Twelve’. It’s obvious that a healthy balance in life is the ultimate and most important goal. Hence the beauty salon, crèche, spa, herbal outpost, cakes and wine. Yes, wine. Wellness in every way. Jenya’s husband is an IT and social-media professional who puts his Italian heritage to good use by selecting some of the choicest wines for the C12 brasserie – all vegan of course. Quality is paramount and these organic wines don’t disappoint. Try the English Sparkling for instance, ‘Some of the best in the stable’, Jenya says. I couldn’t agree more – I’ve been a fan of bubbly from Blighty for a while now. It’s refreshing to see a couple who are so fastidious about the quality of the wines they serve, championing indigenous sparkling over prosecco and champagne. ‘Our business is completely vegan and we’re very proud of it. Living ethically and sustainably is a journey, one that I chose to embark on, and sharing it with the world is a privilege. Natural medicine can help ease pressure on the NHS and people need to start considering a herbalist to bring a balance to their lives and enable a healthy lifestyle based on precautionary defense’. A personal encounter with appendicitis around Christmas last year has made Jenya even more convinced of this need. ‘Not many people know what a herbalist does. Nutritionists are in the limelight but it’s different for us. It’s all word of mouth for now. Plant-based medicine is the past and the future and people should Google herbalists and seek them out for their own good’. I should know – I can firmly attest to the efficacy of plant-based remedies. On my latest trip to Cloud Twelve, I had feasted on a gorgeous vegan cake before picking up my latest round of tinctures and herbal powders – a customised therapy which has been working wonders on my digestion for the last three months. Thank you Jenya! My gut health has definitely improved and balance seems to have been restored. I am hooked on your potions, powders and tinctures, naturally. Sid Raghava enjoyed the Cloud Twelve Signature Deep-Relief, CBD-Oil Massage, which soothes the body, mind and soul. Cloud Twelve uses an organic and superior grade of CBD oil, which has been through many clinical trials. Known for its myriad of health benefits, including pain relief, reducing inflammation and speeding up the healing process, CBD oil allows the therapists to work muscles on a deeper level, as well as aiding overall stress and anxiety. Combining deep-tissue and aromatherapy massage techniques, this is the perfect choice for anyone with aches and pains that require specific attention, as well as to help balance body and mind. Kloris CBD, creators of broad-spectrum and organic CBD oils and balms partnered with Cloud Twelve for the Deep-Relief Massage. www.cloudtwelve.com | www.kloriscbd.com
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“WHILE IT ’S IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPLETELY STOP THE AGING PROCESS (SORRY ), THIS IV THERAPY CAN HELP YOU FEEL REJUVENATED BY SLOWING THE METABOLIC CHANGES THAT AFFECT THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR SKIN.”
TAN I BU RN S G E TS AN I NT RAVE NOU S BOO S T AT M A RY LE BONE C LI NI C R EVIV.
When it comes to beauty, you can put in the mileage in your running shoes and keep unfurling your yoga mat, but it’s what you put inside you that really counts. I eat my cruciferous greens and love my oily fish; I drink plenty of water and my sugar intake is minimal, but can a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet be enough? Or can we boost our bodies with something more than just supplements? Enter IV therapy… I’d heard of the IV phenomenon, but never gave it a second thought until I was recently invited to give it a go. The idea of sitting with a drip in your arm for half an hour doesn’t exactly scream indulgence. But, with winter lethargy kicking in, I desperately needed a boost and to regain some glow. REVIV, Marylebone is conveniently situated just behind Selfridges (Harvey Nichols has one of their clinics, too) offers five choices of drip: Hydromax, Ultraviv, Megaboost, Vitaglow or Royal Flush. Each is tailored to a specific need, whether to increase your hydration levels, boost your immune system, restore and revive, promote anti-aging, or to go all out for a full replenish. I opt for the antioxidant-rich Vitaglow therapy, because I’m hoping to walk out of the clinic feeling totally new and with younger-looking skin. As with all REVIV’s treatments, Vitaglow is a non-surgical beauty therapy which is formulated by a team of clinical physicians and promises to deliver noticeable results. The key is in the master antioxidant glutathione, which detoxifies the body and promotes cellular repair. ‘But, I’m a fit and healthy 30-something year old,’ I think to myself, ‘I work out most days.’ Well, according to experts, an increase in exercise intensity is in fact one of the many ways in which oxidative stress and free-radical production has been shown to accelerate in our cells. Oh dear. While it’s impossible to completely stop the aging process (sorry), this IV therapy can help you feel rejuvenated by slowing the metabolic changes that affect the appearance of your skin, essentially slowing the effects of aging and leaving you feeling revitalised and reinvigorated. As well as the high dose of glutathione, the boost of vitamin C helps to detoxify your
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body from damage caused by free radicals, cleansing vital organs while improving the appearance of skin, hair and nails. It’s reassuring to have such an in-depth consultation before the treatment, especially with someone who really knows the science behind the process. And, in the treatment room – which I thought would be clinical and alienating but felt surprisingly cosy – I was soothed by the fact that I could use my phone, send emails and surf social media, all while having antioxidants and vitamin C poured straight into my bloodstream. There’s a chill in your veins as the IV drip does its thing, which could be unsettling for some, but I was glad to know it was definitely going in, and the sensation was by no means uncomfortable. The whole process is flawless efficient – ideal for busy working women, I say – and I see these treatments becoming a big deal in the health and beauty industry. The advice is to go in for a six-week course, with a treatment once a week, and from the science behind it all I can see why this would do the trick on a longer-term basis, detoxifying the body frequently to activate your chosen treatment relatively quickly for maintainable, sustainable results (assuming a healthy lifestyle). As well as the IV therapy options, REVIV offers several booster shots, and I’m dying to try the B12, with its guarantee of ‘pure energy’. These intramuscular vitamin injections take seconds to administer and have an 100 per cent absorption rate. I’ve read articles speaking of boosted immunity, hangover cures and other magical things – all excellent prospects for a shot that’s reasonably priced between £29 and £49. When my consultant tells me stories of people experiencing an instantaneous high after a B12 shot, I’m skeptical. But, as I leave the clinic and walk through London feeling refreshed, I’m wondering whether the tales could be true after all. I’ll be making a regular booking. For more information visit: www.gb.revivme.com, 45 Great Portland Street, Marylebone, London W1W 7LD. Booster shots cost from £29 to £49; IV treatments from £199 to £499.
TWO NEW BMW M8S REVEALED BM W IS LA UN C H IN G T WO N E W VER SIONS OF IT S F LA G SHIP M 8 MODEL: M 8 CO M PE T I TI ON CO UP É, A ND M 8 COMP ET ITION CON VERTIB L E.
Hailed as a perfect fusion of dynamic prowess and luxury, BMW’s new models display the hallmark proportions of a luxury-class sports car. Sleek and muscular looking, each car’s lines hint at a decent turn of pace. Fitted with the most powerful engine ever developed for a BMW M GmbH car – a high-revving V8 unit with M Twin Power 625hp Turbo delivering 750Nm – both models are capable of a blistering sub-3.3second zero-to-62 sprint. As sure-footed as they are swift, the models come with a super-slick eight-speed auto box and rear-wheel-bias allwheel-drive system for optimum traction whatever the terrain. Eye-catching, with ample kerb appeal, both coupé and convertible models have plenty character-defining and practical features. The coupé’s double-bubble contour roof is reminiscent of classic racing cars. Passengers in the convertible version are protected from the elements by a multi-layer, super-tough soft-top which opens and closes in 15 seconds at the touch of a button, and can be deployed at speeds of up to 31mph. The soft-top stows away flat under a high-quality cover whose surface structure matches that of the instrument panel, door and side-panel trim. Signature M design features point to top-level performance across both models, including a grille, which features the black double bars familiar from other M models and displays the ‘M8’ logo in gloss black. Both cars have a grille surround and model lettering also in the same finish. All new BMW M8 models are fitted as standard with Adaptive LED headlights, while the optional BMW Laserlight with Selective Beam can be identified by blue accents inside the twin headlights. The optional M Carbon exterior package includes inlays for the front air intakes, exterior mirror caps, M gills in the side panels, plus a rear diffuser in black. A notch in the centre of the spoiler mirrors the double-bubble contour of the roof. The Competition models ride on 20-inch, forged M light-alloy wheels in a bi-colour, star-spoke design as standard, fitted with 275/35
R 20 tyres at the front and 285/35 R 20 tyres at the rear. Slip inside the cabin to discover newly designed sports seats with perforated 3D quilting, pronounced side bolsters, clearly defined shoulder areas and integral head restraints with illuminated model badges. Soft full-Merino leather trim is standard, and both cars come exclusively with bi-colour leather/Alcantara trim. Comprehensively equipped, as you’d expect, the models’ highlights include a new control system which enables the driver to tailor the car’s set-up to personal preferences and the situation at hand. BMW’s Comfort Access system, telephony with wireless charging, the BMW Display Key, Adaptive LED headlights and ambient lighting are all included as standard. There is also the option of BMW Laserlight with BMW Selective Beam, which generates a high-beam range of up to 600 metres. As well as boasting a BMW Head-Up Display with M-specific readouts, the new M8 Competition models also come with Driving Assistant and Parking-Assistant Plus as standard, while an array of further driver-assistance systems are available as options. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional – including navigation system and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant – is also standard equipment and provides full access to the latest digital services from BMW Connected and BMW ConnectedDrive. Performance-wise, there’s an M Mode button which can be used to alter both the responses of the driver-assistance systems and the information shown in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display. M Mode allows the driver to activate ROAD, SPORT and a TRACK setting. Changing the mode alters the information presented to the driver on the screens, while the safety-enhancing interventions by the driver assistance systems – such as active braking or steering inputs – are reduced to a bare minimum or deactivated altogether. The all-new BMW M8 Coupé and Convertible are on sale from now with prices starting from £123,435 OTR.
NEW DISCOVERY SPORT HAILED AS THE WORLD’S MOST VERSATILE COMPACT 5+2 SUV, LAND ROVER’S NEW DISCOVERY SPORT IS BEING SNAPPED UP BY THOSE WHO DESIRE A STYLISH, PREMIUM, TOUGH AND VERSATILE VEHICLE, EQUALLY PERFECT FOR FAMILY OR FARM LIFE. With even more cabin and storage room and a host of upgrades and state-of-theart tech, the new Land Rover model’s set to snatch even more awards than its predecessor, of which almost 100,000 models were sold in the UK alone. As Rawdon Glover, JLR MD says: ‘The new model combines everything the Discovery family of vehicles embodies, with a greater focus on modern life – whether through the new electrified 48-volt MHEV or PHEV powertrains, the latest technologies that keep you connected at all times, or the durable materials used throughout the cabin. The result is a compact seven-seat SUV that caters for every family, in every eventuality.’ Viewed on arrival, there’s no doubting the Discovery has presence and is pleasingly proportioned. A compact yet spacious SUV with room for seven, it is tall, wide and imposing, and frankly looks like it means business. Little can trounce the Discovery off road – possibly only the hardcore, just-launched new Land Rover Defender – and the clues to this capability are there: a high stance affording plenty of ground clearance, ‘command’ driving position to give the best views ahead for
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safety, and rock-solid construction. New exterior enhancements include signature LED headlamps at the front and rear, alongside an updated front grille and bumpers. Slip inside and it’s immediately evident the cabin has been given a more luxury look and feel than ever before. The spacious, comfortable and quiet interior has been transformed with a completely new infotainment interface and the latest in connectivity, plus a more flexible seating arrangement with up to 24 combinations. Trim-wise, the new Discovery Sport is available in Discovery Sport, S, SE and HSE versions, in addition to the R-Dynamic variants that mark themselves out with unique bumpers, Shadow Atlas script on the bonnet and tailgate, and use of body colour on the side sills and wheel arches. Inside, branded tread plates further differentiate it from the core model. Out on the road, for a vehicle of its dimensions, it rides lightly. The new body is 13 per cent stiffer than before and this, together with rigidly-mounted subframes that reduce noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin, ensures maximum safety in the event of a collision. Agile, smooth, sure-
footed and engaging, the new Discovery Sport is a pleasing and dynamic drive whatever the terrain. Available across the range of four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, the mild hybrid delivers CO2 emissions from as low as 144g/km CO2 (NEDC equivalent) and fuel economy up to 40.9mpg (6.9l/100km) (based on WLTP test procedure). An even more efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) variant has also now joined the range. Safety-wise, Land Rover has fitted this new model with tech treats such as a ‘smart rear-view mirror’ that transforms into a video screen at the flick of a switch to display what is behind the vehicle in crisp high-definition. There’s also a system which helps drivers navigate high city-centre kerbs or tackle rough terrain by projecting camera imagery that offers a virtual 180-degree view beneath the vehicle onto the touchscreen – we appreciated this feature on test when traversing huge pothole-compromised forest tracks. The new model boasts a wading depth of 600mm, All-Wheel Drive and a second-generation Active Driveline system (engine output dependent). Terrain Response 2 automatically detects the surface and adjusts the torque delivery to best suit the conditions, while Advanced Tow Assist makes reversing with a trailer (up to 2,500kg) more intuitive and safer than ever. There is a reversing camera as standard on all models, alongside a suite of available advanced driver-assistance systems. This includes optional Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, which centres the vehicle in the lane based on road markings as well as maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Standard safety features include Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Driver Condition Monitor. Others highlights include the wireless charging pad, enabling you to just place your iPhone on the area for a quick battery-boost. And the handy 4G WiFi hotspot and USB and 12-volt connectivity points on every row, which ensure your passengers also remain charged and connected. For regular drivers of the new Discovery Sport, Smart Settings uses artificial-intelligence algorithms to learn driver preferences, adjusting massage and seat positions, music and climate settings and steering column positioning to suit each driver. This new Discover Sport ticks so many boxes – it’s hard to imagine another model coming close. The perfect vehicle for busy families, it’s safe, spacious, tough, capable and great to drive.
BENTLEY’S FINAL MULSANNE T HE I C ONI C M ULS A N NE ’ S PR OD UC TION ENDS T HIS SPR IN G WIT H A FINA L G RA ND FLO URI S H : T HE LA U NCH OF TH E EXQUISITE 6.75 ED IT ION B Y MU LLI N E R, OF WH IC H ON LY 30 EXAMP L ES WILL B E MA DE. SU CH R A R ITY IS GUA RAN T E E D TO M A KE I T ON E OF THE MOST SOUG HT AF TER CA R S OF THE YE AR – AN D A N E XC E LL E N T INVEST MEN T B UY F OR T HE FUT UR E.
This model is inspired by, and takes its name from, the legendary 6¾-litre engine, which this year celebrates its 60th year in continuous production. It will be based on the existing 530 bhp, 1100 Nm Mulsanne Speed, which Bentley hails as the most driver-focused ultraluxury sedan ever created. A masterclass in design and craftsmanship, the model has many distinctive and characterful features, including miniature versions of the engine-oil cap on the ventilation controls, a unique 6.75 Edition motif stitched onto the plush seats, and chromecrafted badge form for exterior and engine-bay embellishment. This same logo will even be projected by the car’s LED welcome lamps. The faces of the clock and minor gauges will feature schematic cutaway drawings of the engine itself and glossy black brightware will accentuate the individual customer’s choice of paintwork, artfully contrasting with headlamps and tail lamps wrapped in bright chrome. Dark tint treatments to the Flying B bonnet mascot, Mulliner Serenity radiator grille and exhaust finishers bring definition to the front of the car, while the 21-inch, five-spoke Mulsanne Speed wheel will feature a unique bright-machined finish with glossy black pockets. The distinctive touches don’t stop there… Under the bonnet, the
engine intake manifold will be finished in black, in lieu of the traditional silver, and the Engine Number Plaque – traditionally signed by the craftsman that built the engine – will be signed by Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark. Slip inside the sumptuous cabin to discover more unique features. Inside the cabin soft hides come in a choice of imperial blue, beluga, fireglow and Newmarket tan, with accents in silver. The centre console stack and rear-cabin console will be finished in silver-painted veneer, with a unique metal commemorative plaque fitted to the front console. Fascias and waistrails will be finished in high-gloss Grand Black, with the latter also featuring inserts in Dark Engine Spin Aluminium. Bentley’s flagship Mulsanne really set the benchmark in the luxury sector when it first appeared in 1980. Designed, engineered and hand-built in Crewe, England, the Mulsanne’s 6¾-litre engine is also the world’s longest-serving V8 of its type in continuous production. The powerful engine was first used in the 1959 Bentley S2 and although it has been re-designed many times over the decades, the basic principles and dimensions that have defined the engine for six decades remain the same.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
TOWN AND COUNTRY: LEXUS NX 300H Slip inside the NX and the attention to aesthetics continues, but what’s particularly appealing is how cleverly the cabin has been designed to please the eye yet be practical too. There’s nothing superfluous, everything makes sense and is ergonomically sound. The seats are butter-soft and come in a choice of cream and ochre or the favourite white, black and dark-rose scheme. The dash curves and has a soft, premium touch, and there’s absolutely no doubting this is a quality car. The NX comes with a 4.2-inch TFT LCD full-colour multi-information display, centrally positioned in the instrument cluster, with ambient illumination linked to the Drive Mode Select switch, changing colour for each mode. If you opt for the Sport and Takumi model NXs, you’ll even enjoy a welcoming light sequence, which is all part of the brand’s great attention to detail. When you approach the car, carrying the key, the door handles are automatically illuminated, along with the Remote Touch Interface inside the car. As you’d expect from Lexus, the NX is tech-rich. We particularly appreciated the wireless charging tray to enable our iPhones to be topped up, and the excellent 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor which made everything around the car perfectly visible – so handy for maneuvering in tight and awkwardly angled spaces on and off-road. The highestspec models come with a head-up-display too. The cabin is spacious front and rear – and has more headroom than you’d anticipate given its sporty lines; there’s more knee room than in many large SUV models on the market, too. Visibility is good as well. On a long trip from London to the countryside it proved a super-comfortable ride and engaging drive. There’s very little road, wind or engine noise, and the boot is large and practical – able to stow a generous 475 litres – wide enough for even golf bags to be carried sideways, and comes with a power tailgate for ease of loading. For the safety conscious, Lexus has packed the NX with a veritable arsenal of parking, anti-collision and other safety features – as standard throughout the range. In what it calls the Lexus Safety System+ there are a Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam/ Adaptive High-beam System, Lane Keep Assist with Sway Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition. Intelligent Parking Sensors are also available. Out on the road, the car drives as dynamically as it looks. High body rigidity, Adaptive Variable Suspension and Drive Mode Select deliver smooth, stable and agile performance. The NX 300h uses a proven Lexus Hybrid Drive system featuring a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, a generator, electric motor and hybrid battery with a sophisticated HV control unit developed specifically for the model. Total system output is 195bhp/145kW; combined cycle fuel consumption is from 35.7 to 37.6mpg; and CO2 emissions are from 137g/km. The Lexus NX is without doubt one of the most stylish, high-quality and great to drive SUVs we’ve reviewed – it’s highly recommended.
A MA STER CL A SS OF MUSCU LA R A ND P UR P OSEF UL SU V D ESIG N, THE LEXUS NX SERVES MOR E KER B A P P EA L THA N MOST IN IT S PR EMIUM CR OSSO VE R C LA SS. ITS HA ND SOME L OOKS – COUP L ED WITH D YNA MIC P ER F OR MA NCE, AL L-WHEEL C A PA BIL ITY, A N A MP L E HELP ING OF TECH AN D LU XURY F INISHES THR OU GH OUT – H AVE EN TICED CA R B U YER S WOR LD WID E. TH ESE IN CL UDE TH OSE WAN TING A VEHICL E WITH ECO CR EDENT IA L S T OO, WH O A P P R EC IAT E T HE SMOO TH A ND EFF ICIENT P ETR OL -ELECT R IC, SEL F- C HA R GIN G HYB R ID P OWERT R AIN A ND AN EC O D R IVIN G INDIC ATO R .
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KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW
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PRE-CORONAVIRUS SIMPLE JOYS, , RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, MADCAP 10-COURSE MENUS, COSY STAYCATIONS AND FAR FLUNG ADVENTURES AND THE USUAL NEWS...
Published on May 13, 2020
PRE-CORONAVIRUS SIMPLE JOYS, , RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, MADCAP 10-COURSE MENUS, COSY STAYCATIONS AND FAR FLUNG ADVENTURES AND THE USUAL NEWS...