As South Kensington restaurant La Brasserie offers lessons in Bloody Mary making, we explore the history of this hair-of-the-dog drink
TIPPLE & FARE - Food, drink and fine dining
Pompous “drinks scientist’s” claims of discovering how to make “the perfect gin and tonic” are utter tosh
Isn’t it time for Theresa May to laud British boozers? This week, our Home Secretary attended an event celebrating the culture of curry. In her speech, she ridiculously stated that Indian restaurants are more important to the British economy than public houses.
Bartenders flock to attend “open bars” There’s a new culture in London amongst the bartending community. It’s called the “open bar”.
Mayfair’s The Punchbowl gets a makeover
Blogger Jack Monroe returns to our pages Not content with having featured as our Wally of the Week once, the acid tongued food and politics blogger Jack Monroe has again made an utter fool of herself in launching a tirade mocking the death of David Cameron’s son, Ivan.
Was a Blackpool hotel wrong to fine a couple £100 after they left a negative review about their stay?
The Steeple Times asks Konik’s Tail Vodka founder Pleurat Shabani: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
TripAdvisor and the wives of former ambassadors do not mix Champagne loving Lady Meyer is a woman who should have known better.
£8 million mansion with the only Cotswold drawn spring water comes to the market They say: “Where there’s a well, there’s water” and whoever is prepared to part with some £8,000,000 could get an awful lot of that if they bought Alderley House at Alderley, near Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.
The revitalisation of The Yew Tree Inn at Highclere has put this country pub firmly back on the culinary radar
Matthew Steeples explores the story behind Konik’s Tail vodka Kosovo born Pleurat Shabani came to London in the early 1990s and has progressed from working in an Angus Steakhouse to owning a much loved vodka brand that is stocked in some of the city’s finest establishments.
Matthew Steeples spends an evening at Clubino in Kensington If The Talented Mr Ripley’s Dickie Greenleaf and his sidekick Tom Ripley were to have visited London, they’d have felt at home at Clubino, a piano and jazz bar underneath Kensington’s Baglioni Hotel.
Businessman Rupert James shares his views on the problems at Tesco Jack Cohen founded Tesco; his wife was called Tessa Cohen. That is where the name comes from. It grew far too quickly and it has become too big. Now this behemoth is unsurprisingly reaping what it has sown.
Claire Douglass continues her meal in Wisconsin with a main course of Chicken Divan Last time I delighted you with a starter of ‘Seven Layer Salad’ and now I’m going to move on to a Wisconsin main, the legendary ‘Chicken Divan’.
Restaurateur Gavin Rankin shares his views on summer in Mayfair August, in Mayfair, used never to be the high spot of a restaurant’s year. Tumbleweed blew about and disheveled restaurateurs roamed the streets, avoiding eye contact, and scouring the pavements for loose change.
David Beckham and Guy Ritchie launch new whisky with Diageo
Does Rolf Harris a right to complain about what he’s being fed in prison?
Claire Douglass regrets beginning a meal in Wisconsin with a ‘Seven Layer Salad’ Though I have gnawed on iguana in Panama, meat I dared not ask the origin of off street carts in various Asian countries, swampy ‘gator in the South of the United States, frogs, snails and offal of various kinds, I have only experienced culinary culture shock in one place: Wisconsin.
Shrimpy’s: A ridiculous restaurant that refuses to take cash Shrimpy’s on London’s Regent’s Canal has become the first cashless restaurant in the UK and whilst we have no objection to people using apps and cards to pay for their purchases, banning payment with real, solid money is just ridiculous.
As Julian Assange reportedly is to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, he also offers himself as a lunch date there for £30,000 This morning, yet more police officers have gathered outside the Embassy of Ecuador in Hans Crescent after it has been reported that Julian Assange is about to hand himself in. If this rumour proves true, bidders in an online auction could be very disappointed.
The Steeple Times asks The Nth Degree Club’s founder Robert Walton MBE: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Wellesley lands itself in a Twitter storm Social media can do a business a great deal of good but if not used carefully, it can equally do immense damage. The Wellesley Hotel on Knightsbridge has provided an example of the latter in the wake of the scandal over them charging the ludicrous sum of £75 for three small bottles of mineral water.
Matthew Steeples examines London venues charging the most for mineral water A 500ml bottle of San Pellegrino will set you back just 63p in Tesco. At The Wellesley in Knightbridge, however, a customer, Edward Heaton, was left somewhat shocked when he got a bill of £75 for three bottles on 17th July.
Ross Burden passes away aged just 47 Antipodean television chef Ross Burden “died peacefully” on the 17th July aged just 47.
Uber pulls off another great promotional stunt When London’s black cab drivers protested against Uber in June, the result was to cause an an upward spike of 850% in sign-ups for their app. Yesterday, the San Francisco based company pulled off another clever marketing stunt in hiring ice cream vans to deliver ice creams to their customers on the hottest day of the year.
Bastille Day at La Brasserie was a jolly affair The 14th July is to the French what 4th July is to Americans. It’s a day to celebrate and at London’s first all day brasserie, La Brasserie, Bastille Day is taken very seriously.
Matthew Steeples samples a menu inspired by Monty Python at The Rib Room Michele Caggianese, the manger of The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a man who can be relied upon to come up with clever marketing ideas and in his latest menu offering he’s created something that enables diners to “taste The Meaning of Life”
The Steeple Times asks Paul Hammond of wine investment company IG Wines: “What’s on your mantelpiece?” The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? Work dynamically, innovate, always be prepared to learn new things and be openminded. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Go hard, then go home sobberish.
Matthew Steeples reviews Toto’s in Knightsbridge, London It takes something for me to be impressed with a restaurant but after three visits to the newly reopened Toto’s in Knightsbridge, I will boldly declare that I believe it to be the best opening of 2014
EXCLUSIVE: Antonio Carluccio involved in car crash in Walton Street, Chelsea At 5.30pm today, the well-known chef Antonio Carluccio was involved in a car crash in London’s Walton Street in his Mercedes-Benz.
A photo montage from the Nth Degree Club’s cocktail party at The Luggage Room
With the season for rosé upon us, here we make our suggestion for an “affordable luxury everyday choice” Easter has marked a turning point – for now – in terms of the weather in the UK and after such a soggy winter, now is the time to make the most of the sunshine. With this comes a change in the drinking habits of many and for a large number, it marks the time to start drinking rosé again.
Gillray’s to host a butchery demonstration with O’Shea’s On Tuesday 6th May, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar at the London Marriott County Hall will host an evening named “Meat the Butcher”.
Karol Rybicki of The Sanderson wins La Brasserie’s first inter-bar cocktail competition On Sunday evening La Brasserie in Brompton Cross, South Kensington hosted their first inter-bar cocktail competition. The winner was Karol Rybicki of The Sanderson.
A review of Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar James Gillray (1756 – 1815) was a Chelsea born caricaturist and printmaker and is most famous for his satires against George III. In naming their restaurant after him, the Marriott County Hall has firmly pinned themselves to honouring his spirit and life.
A Bactrian camel named Jeffrey who loves a pint When we heard about a beer loving Bactrian camel named Jeffrey, we just had to make an image of him our Picture of the Week.
A visit from the fire brigade spoils lunch at Côte Sloane Square Côte on Sloane Square offers a more affordable offering than many of its neighbours. Today, Saturday 22nd March, though, diners got more than they bargained for when the restaurant had a visit from the fire brigade.
A round up of the moves of the newsworthy in the world of hospitality Too expensive to run? Financier Adrian Burford once told a court: “I make no apology for being quite expensive to run”. He invested some £1.1 million buying shares in the Sushinho Japanese-Mexican restaurant on the Kings Road. The company’s website now states: “We are sorry to inform you that our restaurants have closed” and their former premises are up for rent for £185,000 per annum through Miles Commercial. Plainly Burford’s mantra wasn’t that appealing. An institution that should have been The Brompton Bar & Grill should have become a Knightsbridge institution but sadly it closes on Friday, 21st March. Owner Francois O’Neill and his…
A new interpretation of the pancake You can always rely on the team at the Belgraves hotel to come up with innovative marketing ideas and in their creation for Pancake Day, they’ve excelled again.
Lord Brocket scores a success with his sausages Lord Brocket is a man best known for having buried his Ferraris in his garden. They were far from bangers but the insurance fraud that followed resulted in him being jailed for fraud for five years. Now, Lord Brocket is involved with another kind of banger: the humble British sausage.
Chelsea is an area where restaurateurs will increasingly struggle Daphne’s restaurant in Brompton Cross’ Draycott Avenue suffered substantial fire damage on Tuesday this week. Given Richard Caring being its owner, we doubt it’ll be closed for long but if you look around Chelsea, you’ll find many premises that are either shut or for sale.
Nigel Evans MP reviews The Swan with Two Necks at Pendleton in Lancashire An old working farmhouse dating from 1772 that doubles up as the local tap for hardworking farming families and Clitheroe dwellers, has become, 240 years later, the Camra ‘best pub of Britain’.
Victoria Casewell-Lunn revisits The Ivy The Ivy was arguably London’s most famous restaurant of the nineties and noughties. Bought by iconic restaurateurs Jeremy King and Christopher Corbin in 1990, it became a playground for the rich and famous. Getting a table was almost an art form unless, of course, you were rich and famous and had their ‘special’ number.
Sophie Michell’s unbeatable burger It’s hard to get a burger right and each and every one of us has a particular way we like them served. Sophie Michell, executive chef at the Belgraves – A Thompson Hotel, is a lady who understands this and one whose version is amongst the best I’ve tried.
20 questions with Jamie Hazeel and Lalie Jacout, the duo behind The Wandering Chef The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? J: I set myself mad challenges and put myself in ridiculous positions so I don’t get lazy or complacent. Working with Lalie seems pretty true to form. L: Professionally speaking, a desire to create eating experiences I would actually want to go to. Privately, I couldn’t possible say.
Oliver Estreich selects his five favourite hotel bars in New York Oliver Estreich, the founder of the well-known social network theNativeSociety, is the man about town to know in New York. Here, he selects five of his favourite hotel bars
La Brasserie embraces the onesie On Monday, La Brasserie in Brompton Cross will give a main course on the house to all customers who come to dinner in a onesie.
A selection of drinks preferred by cocktail maestros Bartenders are particular sorts. The Mojito is a drink that annoys many as it takes a long time to make and consequently is a real hassle in a busy bar. Ask for one at your peril on a Friday night.
A review of Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider Michael Riemenschneider is nothing but persistent. This Swiss-born chef first contacted me over a year ago whilst looking for a restaurant site and since then his enthusiastic use of Facebook as a communication tool kept us in touch. With the opening of his first eponoymous restaurant – Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider – he now has the opportunity to share his vision with the wider world.
Offers for Londoner’s during the London Underground strikes Lobster-faced Bob Crow likes the high-life but it’s doubtful he’d be welcomed in any bar or restaurant in Central London today. Business for some may well be down due to commuters deciding to stay home, but equally many might feel like indulging after the struggle of fighting there way to get buses and taxis.
Alcohol giant Diageo reports on a disappointing year The drinks titan Diageo have blamed the Chinese government cracking down on the gifting of expensive whiskies to officials, a fall in demand for the Chinese spirit Baiju and beer drinkers trading down to cheaper brands in Nigeria and Thailand for a disappointing set of results.
Happiness and gin are interconnected It’s officially true: Happiness and gin go together.
Steffen Timm recounts an evening enjoying rum and cigars at London’s Bulgari Hotel I recently had the pleasure of joining a rum and cigar tasting at the newly opened Edward Sahakian Cigar Shop and Sampling Lounge that is hidden away at the back of the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.
Belgraves offers 15 different champagnes by the glass Champagne Diet author Lady Joan Oliphant Fraser will be delighted. Each Saturday and Sunday, the Belgraves hotel in Chesham Place, London is offering an impressive choice of 15 of their 25 champagnes by the glass.
Restaurant openings and closings in Chelsea this month
Cocktails to lift the spirits this January Whilst many are no doubt detoxing this January, others are getting back into action and enjoying food and drinks. To lift your spirits, we’ve selected half a dozen of the best cocktails currently on offer in some of our favourite London bars.
Sir Roger Moore’s attempts to ban foie gras are wrong I personally don’t have a great liking for foie gras. The texture and richness of it is often overwhelming and for me, there are many other “ultimate luxuries” I’d choose first. The campaigns of Sir Roger Moore and others, however, to ban this delicacy are not something I support and are frankly just ridiculous.
Wear a crown to Brasserie Zédel on the 6th January and get a free meal on the house Both most worthily awarded OBE’s in the New Year Honours List, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King would appear towards the top of any list of the best restaurateurs in London. Always innovative and true trendsetters, with their latest promotion at Brasserie Zédel, this fine duo have come up with another clever marketing idea.
20 questions with food writer and car collector Morgan Murphy The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? Bourbon and bacon, which is, by the way, the title of my next book coming out from Time Inc. next year. No, it’s not a diet book. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? “Life is too short to be boring”. Also: “Don’t eat food from a box.”
Our tribute to Martin Miller We learnt yesterday via Facebook that the founder of Martin Miller’s Gin and Miller’s Antiques Guides, Martin Miller, had died. Like many others, we were shocked and astounded by this terrible news.
The perfect spot to say goodbye to 2013 Struggling for ideas as to what to do on New Year’s Eve in Central London? If so, La Brasserie is offering a 6-course dinner with music by DJ Chris Sullivan for just £69.
A review of Patty & Bun in W1 Burger lovers are spoilt for choice in Central London but undoubtedly one of the best offerings we’ve tried this year has to be Patty & Bun close to Selfridges in W1.
The world’s most expensive and frankly most vulgar Christmas pudding Christmas is meant to be about religion and families but with the announcement that the website VeryFirstTo is marketing a Christmas pudding for £23,500, we must say we were quite appalled.
The worst named restaurants in the world When opening a restaurant, some restaurateurs opt to name their businesses after a street whilst others use their surname or a historic figure. Here, however, we list a selection of ten of the most bizarre and ridculous that we’ve come across
Fred Sculthorp tests Tesco’s Everyday Value Chardonnay Growing older, one is almost always inclined to question what legacy one will leave. This is a particular dilemma for someone who has journeyed through life being fortunate enough to have tasted some of the finest wines on offer. As one who critiques rather than makes, what flaming torch am I to pass on to those who follow me? This thought burdens me daily as I browse the wine shelves of my local supermarket.
20 questions with winemaker Carlo Mondavi The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? The continued belief that we can make wine that sits along side the finest in the world. The belief that we can strive for excellence and no matter how far we have come, the truth is that we have really just begun. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Making good wine is a skill, fine wine is an art.
Champagne at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland available for upto £2,000 a bottle Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park opens to the public today. By far from a cheap outing, with tickets costing upto £14.50 per ride, this isn’t an event for the financially limited but we must admit we were surprised to see champagne priced at £2,000 per bottle.
A review of Princi in Soho Alan Yau OBE is a restaurateur who opts to have bouncers outside his restaurants. On Tuesday evening in the company of two foodie friends, I had the misfortune as to learn why.
Chelsea institution Choys closes it doors after 61 years in business Choys restaurant opened on the Kings Road in 1952 and closed for the final time earlier this month. Its passing marks yet another death knell for what gives Chelsea its character.
Angelus becomes first restaurant to sign the NFU’s ‘Back British Farming Charter’ Situated next to the stables owned by Richard and Basia Briggs, Angelus is a French restaurant housed within what was a traditional British public house.
L’Enclume’s Simon Rogan to take the helm at Claridge’s Gordon Ramsay burnt his bridges at Claridge’s after twelve years at the helm in February this year and now, today, his replacement has been announced. Simon Rogan, whose two Michelin starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, will take the helm from spring 2014 and “lead the way for a new dining direction” at a hotel that is often referred to as an “annexe to Buckingham Palace”.
Review: The Lyric in Soho Soho is an area that one associates with the likes of pornographer Paul Raymond, gambling addict ‘Soho Pam’ and the legendarily rude landlord Norman Balon. Discovering The Lyric in Great Windmill Street, therefore, was a refreshing revelation.
20 questions with restaurateur Max Sali of Pimlico Road’s Tinello The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? It’s always been the dream of my brother and I to have a restaurant. Being understanding of customers is our guiding force. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? My father said I should never talk about football, women and politics. They are taken rather personally.
Items that will delight those who like to drink at home Many readers of The Steeple Times are well known drinking aficionados. As a result, we thought it time to share five of the best items that will further improve your tippling pleasures
20 questions with restaurateur Tony Kitous The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? I was told in life: “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Always believe in what you do. Never give up.
A review of Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington Tony Kitous is a rising star in the restaurant world. He began with three restaurants named Levant, Pasha and Kenza and more recently set up Comptoir Libanais. Translated “Lebanese counter”, there are now five of these “affordable and easy” canteens and three more are opening shortly including one in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square.
A survey by Wetherell reveals the effect proximity to a restaurant can have on property prices Traditionally properties above or next to pubs and restaurants have been cheaper because of the noise and smells they tend to generate. A newly published survey commissioned by Mayfair estate agent Peter Wetherell with input from Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings, however, surprisingly reveals that in some cases this isn’t always true.
As Jack Monroe speaks at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference, she continues to rant and again makes an utter fool of herself Is there anything that “food-and-politics-gob” Jack Monroe can do gracefully? It seems not. Today, she’s speaking at the Conservative Party conference at a fringe meeting on food banks and, naturally, this foul mouthed freelance writer had to use the run-up to the occasion to let out a rant.
As ‘Downton Abbey’ returns tonight, we raise a glass to its official unofficial drinking game Downton Abbey, a show that many have mixed views about, returns tonight. The nation will no doubt be gripped and though we hope Julian Fellowes has ironed out the historical inaccuracies and corrected the strangely informal relations between the master and his servants, we bet it’ll be another success. In preparation, we share with you a game that you might wish to play in accompaniment from 9pm tonight named Downton the Hatch!
Tesco place a “Back to School” banner above an alcohol display in Swansea Shoppers at Tesco in Fforestfach, Wales were controversially confronted by a display of gin, vodka and whisky complete with a “Back to School” sign in recent days.
A review of L’Art du Fromage: paradise for cheese lovers With the autumn upon us and winter drawing ever closer, many have started to think about the mountains and skiing. On Facebook this week, I noticed a post by a friend who asked: “Who is keen to start planning a skiing holiday?” and it got me thinking about a restaurant I visited earlier this year, L’Art du Fromage in Langton Street, Chelsea.
An image of John Kerry dining with Bashar al-Assad in February 2009 surfaces John Kerry is a man who should be more careful about who he gets snapped with. As Chamberlain learnt to his peril after visiting Hitler in 1938, it is best not to consort with tyrannical leaders and it is better still not to be photographed with them.
Chef Jamie Oliver thanks The Steeple Times copying in his 3 million Twitter followers After the firestorm of comments today about this morning’s feature on Jamie Oliver’s remarks about food poverty and an article by a woman who describes herself as a ““freelance food-and-politics-gob”, we were delighted to receive a reply from the great man himself.
Jamie Oliver is right in his comments about the food choices of the poor Jamie Oliver made some comments about food poverty in recent days. Naturally, the left wing sorts jumped on his being worth £150 million and completely out of touch. He is right and they are wrong.
Creating a meal for 30p whilst helping to eliminate food waste On the blog that preceded ‘The Steeple Times’, Matthew Steeples wrote this article in December 2011. We republish it here given the response we’ve had to our article on food poverty and the comments of Jamie Oliver and Jack Monroe.
Despite “Dragons’ Den” deal between Peter Jones and “Texas Joe” Walters falling apart, Texas Joe’s still does deal with Sainsbury’s Last week on the BBC series Dragons’ Den, an unusual thing happened: a self-styled ‘dragon’ invested more than an individual was pitching for. In the time since, the whole deal, it has been revealed, collapsed.
20 questions with Xero Vodka founder William Seth-Smith The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? I try never to turn down adventure for the sake of easy apathy. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Those that mind don’t matter and those than matter don’t mind.
Matthew Steeples suggests TripAdvisor needs to reform its ways I’ve written about the ‘Trippies’ (those who write reviews on TripAdvisor) before and just like the ‘Groupies’ (voucher loving Groupon users), I’ve had direct experience of their type. They’re an accursed nuisance.
Has booze baron Vijay Mallya met his match? The Indian tycoon and self-proclaimed “King of Good Times” Vijay Mallya has long been lauded as a mammoth success story but finally, as he faces potential prosecution for alleged non-payment of taxes, it seems as if he may have lost his Midas touch.
Diners flock to ‘The Throttler’s Table’ at Scott’s Last week The Sun revealed that Scott’s in Mayfair has been “inundated with requests” for the table where Charles Saatchi (allegedly) throttled Nigella Lawson.
Steffen Timm takes a tour of Stockholm’s best haunts for cigar lovers Stockholm is regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. In fact, there is something magical about it, in particularly during the early summer, when the parks and public spaces along the water are filled with locals who seem to praise every second of sunlight after a long, cold and dark winter.
20 questions with Marcus Schelbert, food and beverage duty manager of Belgraves – A Thompson Hotel The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? My friends, my family and my passion for my work, drinks and food. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? “Don’t talk, just do it as it could be the last day of your life”.
Jessica Naylor reviews eShisha’s range of sisha sticks ‘Shisha Pens’ are taking London by storm. With no nicotine, tar or tobacco, these 100% water vapour based ‘shisha sticks’ have fast become this summer’s most sought after accessory and in my view eShisha are the best out there.
A review of Covent Garden’s Loch Fyne Restaurant In May 2004, the car park of the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Clachan in Argyll, Scotland became famous after Gordon Brown and John Prescott met there to discuss and agree who would be Tony Blair’s successor.
20 questions with businessman, restaurateur and philanthropist Derek Taylor The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? Never give up on your dreams. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Do as you would be done by.
20 questions with chocolatier Amelia Rope The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force? Drive and determination. “Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours? Keep it simple, remain focused and go for it.
Matthew Steeples answers food writer Jamie Cotter-Craig’s questions I’m used to asking questions. So far, I’ve done over a hundred “What’s on your mantelpiece?” interviews with people ranging from champion jockey Frankie Dettori to hedge fund titan Alan Miller via glamour model Leah Newman and author Kathy Lette.
The brass of Chelsea Though the characters of Chelsea are changing, the murky world beneath its privileged surface will never disappear.
A review of the Co-operative’s own brand Valpolicella 2011 wine by history student Fred Sculthorp To purchase a wine is to engage in the very drama of winemaking. It is to queue in anticipation, to buy a ticket to the show.