Category Archives: Reviews

HIX Mayfair review

Don’t let the crisp white linen, expert service and grandiose surroundings of Brown’s Hotel fool you – this restaurant is remarkably relaxed and welcoming.

Don’t let the crisp white linen, expert service and grandiose surroundings fool you – HIX is relaxed and welcoming.

Old school values are very much at home at Mark Hix’s funky Mayfair incarnation of traditional British cuisine. A silver trolley service nestles against wooden panelling, as Ionic columns jut up behind a traditional bar, yet the upholstery’s colour scheme is a bold purple and green, and Tracy Emin declares in pink neon ‘I love you more than I can love’ from her canvas above the fireplace. Diners might echo that same sentiment of love for Hix, after joyously feasting on his traditional menu that retains a playful touch of cool Britannia…

Read my full review for View London, including HIX’s dense slices of Albemarle smoked salmon, tender Scottish Kingairloch red deer with chanterelle mushrooms, and classic treacle tart.

> HIX Mayfair review

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Wilderness Festival: Food Matters

Wilderness Festival

Chefs and restaurants headline this summer’s festivals, as the Wilderness festival (12-14th August) in Cornbury Estate Deer Park, Oxfordshire, has started a new phenomena of putting festival food first.

Food is an essential part of any festival experience, but that usually involves over-cooked chips or a dodgy falafel wrap that doesn’t merit the 20 minute queue. Wilderness Festival are changing all that, however, as Michelin-stared chef, Skye Gyngell from Petersham Nurseries Café and Sam and Sam Clark from Spanish-inspired Moro restaurant will make their festival debuts and ‘headline’ two unique banqueting experiences.

Skye Gyngell, Petersham Nurseries Café

Chef Thomas Hunt will host a seasonal Friday night feast, with Moro cooking up the Saturday night banquet and Skye Gyngell creating a sumptuous Sunday afternoon feast. At £27 for three courses, wine and the most elegant table setting you’ll see at any festival – it’s much better than standing in that queue for the falafel. Moro’s menu, for example, will include tapas and mezze such as prawn ceviche, slow roast pork and chiparones squid. Main course will be a choice of charcoal grilled lamb or grilled aubergine with a rocket salad, with yoghurt cake and pistachios for dessert.

Since every farmer and his entrepreneurial dog seems to run a festival in his field these days, it’s refreshing to find an event that has a genuine point of difference. Curated by the organisers of Secret Garden Party and Lovebox, Wilderness knows a thing or two about how to make a festival feel both authentic and fun.

Sam and Sam Clark, Moro restaurant

The chefs are recognised as artists in their own right who deserve to be listed alongside the other big stars playing this weekend, including Anthony and the Johnsons, Gogol Bordello, Mercury Rev and Laura Marling, as well as featuring the London Folk Guild, a masked ball and a one off late night party ‘Where the wild things are,’ hosted by Secret Garden Party.

Wilderness festival is not all about the food, however, as this multi-arts festival also hosts biology classes, lecture on didactic farming poetry, theatre from the Old Vic, debates and talks, a Wilderness Spa, children’s entertainment, lake swimming, boating and hot tubs!

Tickets are still available from the Wilderness website, starting at £27.50 for one day and up to £120 for the weekend.

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Coffee on wheels

There has been a flurry of cycling cafés opening in East London of late. Inspired by the famous Tours around the world, I set three café head to head, latte to latte, to see who comes out victorious with the yellow jersey. Continue reading

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Bizarre Bazaar

Crocodiles tied to pieces of pink silk, men in floral dresses, and 1950’s swimsuits… Read more about my fancy dress experience of the Bizarre Bazaar here.

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The Stag: Review

Let’s face it: makeshift BBQ’s don’t work. 

The debacle goes something like this: you can’t be bothered to heave a full-size BBQ up onto Hampstead Heath, so you raid the corner shop for one of those disposable numbers instead. All disposable BBQs should really be disposed of immediately, however, you still waste 45 minutes trying to get the thing to light – whilst you and your friends cower around a tin foil container that’s half the size of your burger, trying to convince each other that it’s not that cold, really.

or

You could go to The Stag pub just off the heath, to enjoy locally sourced meat, ostentatiously classic desserts, and a BBQ beer garden that’s almost as beautiful as the heath itself…  Read more of my Stag review here.

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Cafe du Marche: Review

Venue Image

Behind an unmarked door, down a cobbled alleyway, just off a 14th-century square – you could be forgiven for missing Le Cafe du Marche, yet it’s only minutes from Farringdon Station and Clerkenwell Road. A double bassist and jazz pianist set the relaxed tone to the evening, whilst the restaurant’s classic French cuisine and expert service combine fine dining with friendliness. An unforgettable, five-star dining experience. Read more of my View London review here.

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dinings review

Whites walls, almost no windows – but it doesn’t matter. Dinings is the best sushi I’ve had in London; where else would you consume seared tuna that makes you question the boundaries of your own body, or crab tar-tar tacos that bring you back to reality with a wasabi-kicking crunch. Read my View London review here.

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Village East

We didn’t speak all night. I hadn’t seen the friend opposite me for eight years – but the food was too delicious to talk of anything else… click here for more of the Village East review.

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Rasa

Rasa Travancore, Stoke Newington

keralaWhen an establishment has two restaurants on the same road – both of which are full – you know you’re on to a good thing. I have tried to get into the vegetarian Rasa on two occasions now, but long queue has always meant that I’ve ended up at the carnivores’ Rasa across the road. I say ‘ended up’ like it was second best, but I soon forget my disappointment as the friendly waiters bring out an assortment of fantastical crunchy rice flour and black sesame snacks and pickles whilst I peruse the menu. Continue reading

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Dorian Grey

dorian smallMatthew Bourne’s staging of Oscar Wilde’s gothic fable, The Portrait of Dorian Grey, follows a young man who is rocketed into the upper echelons of the beautiful people, only to descend into amorality and murder. Bourne sets Wilde’s complex study of lust and ego in the world of fashion, yet his piece falls victim to its own superficiality through underdeveloped characters and an over dependence on referencing contemporary culture.  Continue reading

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