Forget boring quinoa! For me, a hearty weekend brunch has got to come with baked beans. Heinz Beanz have been satisfying British appetites for over 100 years and, this year, marks the 50th anniversary since the ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ advertising slogan was first coined.
This spring, Heinz are celebrating 50 years of its Beanz slogan by launching a pop-up bar in London’s iconic Selfridges department store. The counter will be serving Beanz with a modern twist, including with crispy bacon, with smoked ham hock or scrambled egg. There will also be the chance to opt for an additional cheddar cheese topping.
Meanwhile, Heinz is also launching a limited edition can to mark the anniversary. The commemorative design will only be on sale in Selfridges, featuring different iterations of the Beanz Meanz Heinz slogans, such as Beanz Meanz… Yummz, Famz, Chatz, Spudz, Eggz, Morningz and Brekkiez. Meanwhile, Beanz fans will also have the opportunity to buy 50 collectable cans numbered individually and personally signed by copywriter Maurice Drake, who came up with the slogan in 1967. Proceeds of the cans will go to The Ideas Foundation, a charity which identifies and nurtures creatively gifted 13-19 year olds, as well as working to increase diversity in the creative industries.
- The Beanz Meanz Heinz Pop-Up Bar is open from 27 March – 23 April 2017 at the food hall in Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1A 1AB. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. Opening hours Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 11.30am-6pm. For more information, visit Selfridges website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.
The Langham Hotel is one of the capital’s most established luxury accommodations, having been housing visitors to London since the 1860s. The hotel’s Palm Court has been serving Afternoon Tea since 1865 and remains a popular destination for foodies seeking their scone fix today. However, cakes aside, the Palm Court also offers regular dining featuring British and international cuisine, which I recently experienced.
With a relative visiting from the United States, we booked a table at the Palm Court for an evening of fine dining. When we first arrived, I was struck by how intimate the venue felt – it was a lot smaller than I anticipated, but in a good way. The selection of armchairs and sofas looked comfortable and inviting, while the Art Deco interiors was certainly to my taste. Adding to the atmosphere and a total surprise to my group was the live jazz performances, which happens every weekend.
We were shown to a cosy table for three with our own individual armchair, which was lovely to sit on. For those looking for good value fine dining, I can highly recommend going for the set menu, as we did. Three courses and a glass of bubbles for £35 per person. We kicked off proceedings with a flute each of Barbameto Prosecco Millesimato, which was light and not too sweet.
The set menu had a choice of three starters, so I opted for the Isle of Wight tomato salad with burrata and garlic croutons. The portion of burrata was particularly generous and incredibly creamy. Meanwhile, my companions opted for the classic chilled vichyssoise with crème fraîche and chives – another smooth creation which they said was delectable.
Being a pescatarian, I only had one option for mains on the set menu, another cheese-based offering – Buffalo ricotta and spinach ravioli with sauce ‘antiboise’. The ricotta wasn’t too over-powering and the dish had elements of sweet and savoury flavours which actually worked really well. Meanwhile, one of my family chose the Guinea-fowl supreme, served with summer savory and ‘petits pois francaise’, which they heralded as a delicious dish.
Finally, my favourite course – dessert – that I always hope to have room for, but sometimes have to forgo. Fortunately, my visit to the Palm Court was not one of those times so I ordered the Langham chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis and caramelia pearl, which was served with strawberries. Unlike so many other chocolate mousses, this wasn’t too rich and was surprisingly light, partially helped by the fruity accompaniment.
Overall, we had a superb evening. The food was enjoyable and well presented, with the set menu offering a great option for good value fine dining. The service was fabulous and the live music really added to the atmosphere. I was in awe of the stunning interiors which gave me plenty to hold my gaze during the meal. I’m planning a return visit for their famous afternoon tea.
- Palm Court at The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent street, Marylebone, W1B 1JA. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Regent’s Park. For booking, visit The Palm Court’s website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
January 25 is an annual celebration for Scots to mark poet Robert Burns’ birthday. Traditionally, a meal is hosted to celebrate the life and poetry of Robbie, with soup, haggis, tatties, neeps and lots of whisky being consumed. With a host of Scots living in London, it’s no surprise there’s plenty of Burns’ Nights events on in the capital. Here’s some of the events on around town.
- Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (23 – 27 January)
Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events. Kicking things off is a Haggis Making Masterclass (23 January), followed by Whisky and Beer Pairing Masterclass (24 and 27 January). On Burns’ Night itself, both branches of the restaurant will be offering a special Burns Set Menu, including a suitably Scottish host to address the haggis and the option of washing down each course with a specially paired whisky. There will also be Burns’ specials on the menu all week, including Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, a Burns Whisky Flight and a Bobby Burns Whisky Cocktail.
– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website.
- Whisky 101 : Siren Of The Glen @ The Gallery (24 January)
The Gallery are kicking off Burns’ celebrations one night early with an evening of whisky and beer pairing. Siren Craft Beer Co. and The Glenlivet. Guests will be able to get educated while sampling the good stuff. 7pm-11pm. Tickets: £20 (include four flights of whisky samples, four samples of beer and food pairings).
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to be a chocoholic. So fans of the sweet stuff may be a tad excited to hear about a special pop-up coming to London this festive season.
Italian chocolatier Ferrero Rocher are launching a pop-up dessert destination at St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden. Opening on 1 December 2016 for just 10 days, guests will be able to explore the after-dinner chocolate in a multi-layered dining experience at Dolce.
Customers will savour a tasting plate of five mini hand-crafted desserts curated by Cuisson head chef and director Paul Hannagen. Then to finish will be a classic Ferrero Rocher with its smooth combination of chocolate and hazelnut.
- Dolce by Ferrero Rocher, 21 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden, WC2E 9AB. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. Open from 1-11pm. Sessions last 45 minutes: £10 for walk-ins and £15 for pre-booked slots (includes a glass of Prosecco). For more information, visit the Dolce by Ferrero Rocher website.
For a guide to what’s on in London this December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
For listings of London’s pop-up ice rinks this festive season, click here.
Aquum has been one of Clapham’s late-night staples since it opened back in 2007. However, with nightlife appetites evolving in recent years and becoming more food orientated, it’s time to roll with the changes. Last week, I was invited to the re-launch of the Clapham High Street venue, which has added to new dining element to its drinking and dancing hotspot.
Aquum has had a makeover in both its design and its format, with the addition of a restaurant making it a more versatile day-to-night destination. Taking over the kitchen is Head Chef Anastasios Tologlou (previously at Medlar, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Coloniales Huerta in Valencia), who has conceived a menu inspired by his Greek roots and his experience in some of the world’s top restaurants. The new menu features a variety of light dishes, sharing plates and mains. During the evening, we tried some delicious tasters, such as the Razor Clam and Black Eyed Bean Salad and the particularly fun Halloumi Martini – described as a ‘modern twist on the classic Cypriot dish’, featuring grilled Halloumi cheese soaked in a herb essence.
While Aquum hopes to attract a wider audience for its restaurant, it will continue to stay open late on weekends for DJs taking to the decks. The venue’s mixologists have created a new menu, full of original cocktails and twists on some old classics. We started with some Kir Noirs (Pinot Noir syrup, cherry syrup and Mercier Champagne), which were refreshing and subtly sweet. Next up, was the very girlie-named Twinkle, which appealed to me because of its elderflower ingredient – which has been having a resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years and is one of my favourite flavours. Served in a martini glass, the combination of Elderflower cordial, Eristoff vodka and Mercier Champagne managed to taste both strong and light at the same time. A few of those and you’d be well on your way to a good night out!
Aside from the new eating dimension, the venue has also had a design makeover. Aquum is now spread across four levels, with a second bar and private dining/events space available. The white leather seating has been stripped out for a more contemporary stone and dark leather seating. Many of the nightlife venues on Clapham High Street have been looking rather tired of late, so it’s great to see one of them taking a new approach. Both the drinks and food I sampled so far were different and delicious, so I look forward to returning in future for a weekend which will start with dinner and end with dancing.
- Aquum, 68-70 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL. Nearest stations: Clapham North, Clapham High Street or Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Aquum website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Chocolate… it’s one of those foods most of us just can’t live without. With National Chocolate Week coming up soon (10-16 October 2016), what better excuse than to delight your sweet tooth with some of the finest cocoa treats.
For those who like their chocolate with a bit of a kick, acclaimed London restaurant The Cinnamon Club is devising a special menu to mark NCW. The Westminster eaterie’s Executive Chef Vivek Singh has teamed up with master chocolatier Paul A Young to create a taste adventure. Three unique chocolates represent a starter, main and dessert. To start, bite into the Lime Pickle Caramel with single origin 64% Madagascan dark chocolate, sea salted caramel, The Cinnamon Club’s lime pickle and a gold leaf flourish. Moving on, the Cumin & Almond Truffle features bitter 66% Grand Cru dark chocolate, sweet almond puree, cumin, coriander seed and is coated with toasted naan crumbs. And to finish, the Paan Truffle includes paan, tobacco, rose petal preserve, condensed milk, peppermint and white chocolate with rose petals. For those with a bigger choco-tite, there will also be a limited-edition dessert of dark chocolate paan and caramel muri bar served with carrot halwa and clover ice cream.
This special menu will be available at the Indian fine dining destination from 10-30 October 2016. Guests who order the Chocolate Week dessert will also be given three Paul A Young truffles to take home.
Meanwhile, Vivek and Paul will also be presenting a collaborative demonstration at The Chocolate Show at Kensington Olympia on 14 October at 5pm. The three-day event will feature talks, demonstrations and interactive workshops from acclaimed chocolatiers and chefs.
- The Cinnamon Club, Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, Westminster, SW1P 3BU. Nearest station: St James, Victoria or Westminster. For more information, visit the Cinnamon Club website or tel: 020 7222 2555.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.
This September, why not celebrate the best of Italy with a festival of food and music? The historic Devonshire Square in the City of London is hosting the ‘Italia, Amore Mio’ festival from 26 – 30 September 2016. As well as giving visitors the chance to sample delicious Italian food and have their ears delighted by the country’s music, there will also be the opportunity to donate to the Italian Red Cross’ Earthquake appeal.
The festival will bring together the rich gastronomical treats from eight Italian regions, with authentic delicacies rarely found outside the country. Inside the inflatable, pop-up Duomo delle Delicatezze (Dome of delicacies) will be a variety of dishes from Sardinia, Sicily, Campania, Liguria, Apulia, Calabria, Tuscany and Lazio. Visitors will have the choice of 20 different kinds of homemade lasagna, specialty chocolate, liquors made from lemons, the finest caught tuna, and organic cheeses, among many others.
Meanwhile, Italian music will fill the air during lunchtime concerts. Artists include internationally acclaimed tenor Yuri Sabatini, swing singer Chris Vinante with the Tony P. Riccio Trio, dramatic tenor Yannis Hadjopulos, and a tribute to the iconic Italian singer Mina by vocalist Laura Araldo.
Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square, said: ‘We have a unique opportunity to celebrate the vibrant Italian culture through its foods and arts, with a wide array of delicacies under the Duomo delle Delicatezze. Italy has such a diverse range of traditional foods from pastas to cheeses to local beverages, it is a great opportunity to house them under one roof in the heart of London in Devonshire Square’s historic setting. We are also humbled to be in a position to use this event to raise money to give a charitable donation to those in Italy who were affected by the recent earthquake.’
- The Italia, Amore Mio festival takes place from 26 – 30 September 2016, daily from 11am-8pm. At Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.
This year marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl. And what better way to pay tribute to the legendary children’s author than by bringing two of his most memorable characters to life. Coming to London this autumn is gruesome, immersive theatrical dining experience Dinners At The Twits.
Located deep in The Vaults below Waterloo train station, guests will be treated to 90 minutes of entertainment from the worst hosts ever. Les Enfants Terribles, the company behind last year’s immersive hit show Alice’s Adventures Underground, have teamed up with real-life Willy Wonkas, food and drink wizards Bompas & Parr to create a unique evening experience.
Upon arrival, diners will be greeted with a potent cocktail using ingredients from Mr Twit’s garden. Chose between The Terrible Shrinks (Roly Poly Bird berry and orange vodka topped with soda, garnished with a scented helium balloon) or The Twits Garden Spritz (wild nettle and thistle-infused Aperol, wild strawberry vermouth, prosecco and soda, garnished with nettles and thistles).
Guests will then take their seats with Mr and Mrs Twit at their chaotic table for a special menu conceived by Bompas & Parr. The banquet will include Wormery LIVE, Glowing Hug Tight Glue, Treasures of the Compost Heap, Bird Pie – Your Night of a Thousand Claws and Bloater Paste. To finish, you can chomp on Mr Twit’s Beardy Bar, special chocolates created specially for Dinner At The Twits. Chocolatiers Rococo Chocolates have conceived a wonderous mix of their own milk chocolate with cereal, banana, yoghurt, lapsang souchong tea and honey.
Meanwhile, you’ll be able to wash it down with half a bottle of bag-in-box wine from St. John Wines and Mr Twit’s Odious Ale – a bespoke brew by East London’s 40FT Brewery using the native yeast from Roald Dahl’s actual writing chair.
After the theatrical dinner, guests are invited to relax in the Muggle-Wumps’ Downside Up Cocktail Cavern in The Vaults for deliciously bizarre concoctions. The Cocktail Cavern will be open to all, so members of the public too scared to experience the gruesome meal can enjoy a flavour of The Twits’ world.
- Dinner At The Twits runs from 4 September – 30 October 2016. The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. Minimum age 14+. Tickets: £80-£110 (feature a 90 minute show, arrival cocktail, banquet with wine, box of chocolates and hot beverage). Timings: Tues-Sat evenings: 6pm, 7.15pm and 8.30pm, Sat matinees: 12pm, 1.15pm and 2.30pm . Sundays 12pm, 1.15pm, 2.30pm and 3.45pm. For booking, visit The Twits dinner website.
- The Muggle-Wumps’ Downside Up Cocktail Cavern is open to the general public from 6pm-late Tues-Sat and has free entry.
To find out what is on in London in September, click here.
Love wine? Fancy knowing more about it? Well one of London’s best independent wine merchants are creating exclusive evenings so you can get more intimate with the mighty grape. Every month, Humble Grape will be hosting a bespoke wine dinner in the private dining rooms of their Battersea and Fleet Street bars. Guests will have the chance to sample their many artisan wines and find out the stories behind them.
Humble Grape will kick off the series of dinners at the end of August by exploring the Chilean Millaman wines from the Andes Mountains. In September, they will travel east to South Africa as specialist winemaker Francois Haasbroek, of Blackwater Wines from Cape Town pays a visit. Then things get more adventurous in October with the Blind Challenge event which will give guests an opportunity to sample unknown and otherwise unavailable wines.
On 30th and 31st August, the Golden Ticket wine winner will feature seven newly imported Chilean wines from Millaman family vineyards. The wines include a Sauvignon Blanc aperitif, full-bodied Chardonnays, a Pinor Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Limited Reserve 2014 Malbec, among others. Accompanying the drinks will be sharing platters of charcuterie, cheese and vegetables.
A week later on 6th and 8th September, artisanal wine producer, Francois Haasbroek will be taking guests on a journey from grape to glass. His top five artisanal wines from the Cape Region will be sampled alongside a bespoke four-course meal with a South African twist.
Finally, on 25th and 26th October, the Blind Wine Tasting will test your senses to new heights. Explore a range of flavours and scents as hidden bottles are served. Guests will be guided thorough eight unique wines, including from the Blanc blend to Pinot Noir, in a multi-sensory trail. Accompanying the wine exploration will be a delicious four-course meal.
- Humble Grape is located at 2 Battersea Rise, Battersea, SW11 1ED (Nearest station: Clapham Junction) and 1 St. Bride’s Passage, City of London, EC4Y 8EJ (Nearest station: City Thameslink or Blackfriars). Tickets from the Wine Dinners range from £50-£100pp. For more information, visit the Humble Grape website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.