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Foodie talks, music, comedy and more as Live At Zédel launches

Live At Zédel

Gizzi Erskine and Grace Dent will be among the names appearing at Live At Zédel

The Zédel building in Piccadilly is a pretty special place. It comprises of the Brasserie, Crazy Coqs and Bar Américain – located in the former basement of the Regent Palace Hotel, which stood on the site until 2016. The three venues feature the stunning, original Art Deco interiors designed by Oliver Percy Bernard in the 1930s, making you feel like you have stepped into an Agatha Christie novel set on a luxurious cruise liner. While many people know of the Zédel building as a place to eat or drink, it’s soon to be a new hotspot for West End arts events.

Launching this month, ‘Live At Zédel’ will host a series of events, featuring music, theatre, comedy and literature. Londoners of all ages will find a place to whet their cultural appetite – whatever their interests – at evenings in the Brasserie and Crazy Coqs spaces. The bill will include a diverse range of established and upcoming talent, with names such as Doc Brown, Grayson Perry and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

This week (21-24 September 2016) will be themed Food Week, with Gizzi Erskine, Grace Dent, Levi Roots and Jay Rayner sharing their foodie knowledge.

Acclaimed songwriter Scott Alan has been appointed Artistic Director in Residence for the Autumn season. He will bring a host of musical theatre talent to Zédel, including Shoshana Bean, Rachel Tucker, Mark Shenton and Julie Atherton. Meanwhile, a host of music acts from across the genres will also perform, such as Maria Friedman, Sam Smith’s pianist Reuben James, singer-songwriter Jono McCleery, X Factor winner Matt Cardle, drag super-group DENIM, La Voix and Crazy Coqs’ favourite Miss Hope Springs.

Diners at the Brasserie can head upstairs to the Crazy Coqs for some post-meal jazz at the ‘After Hours’ and ‘The Early Late Show’. However, if comedy floats your boat, Girl power troupe Birthday Girls, Theatre With Legs, the Althea Theatre’s new show Double Trouble, and Dolls Eye Theatre’s Might Never Happen will also be performing.

  • Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs or Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Matinee times: 3-6pm, early evening: 7pm, evening: 9pm, late night: 11pm. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

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Ten Room at Hotel Café Royal review: Heavenly dessert in an expansive Art Deco dining room

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Raspberry Ripple Chocolate Mousse at Ten Room at the Hotel Café Royal

The Hotel Café Royal is an iconic venue in London’s West End, having been reopened as a five-star hotel in 2012. As you would expect, the hotel features several dining and drinking options, including Ten Room, its informal all-day dining location. Recently, I ventured along with a close pal for a celebratory dinner, booking a set menu through its website.

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Cheers! A champagne cocktail

Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by an expansive dining room overlooked by an atrium balcony. While I liked the Art Deco feel of the place, it felt somewhat too lofty a space so lacked cosiness. On the night in question, the restaurant was rather quiet, with only a few other couples dining. We were shown to a small table for two – perhaps a bit too small as it was a bit of a squeeze for all our glasses and dishes during the meal, but very comfortable leather seating.

To begin, I ordered a champagne cocktail as an apéritif which was a generous size and mixed with fruit so was refreshing for the palette. I was in the mood for soup, so started with the Red Pepper Soup with Tomato and Basil, while my friend had the Salmon Rilette, Crispy Quail’s Egg, Potato and Mustard. My soup was comforting and warm, with flavours just the right subtlety as I was wary of the pepper being overpowering. I tried a bit of my friend’s Salmon and it tasted lovely, making me wish I had ordered that instead.

For mains, I opted for the Artichoke and Truffle Risotto which was nice enough but I would have preferred more flavour. I find I can get bored with Risotto after a while so perhaps I should stop ordering it in restaurants. I somewhat envied my pal’s choice of Seared Cod with Broccoli, Anchovies and Chili, which she enjoyed, saying the Chili gave a good kick to usually plain taste of Cod.

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Salmon Rilette, Crispy Quail’s Egg, Potato and Mustard

Admittedly, both of us found the dessert the highlight of our meal and reminded us of our schooldays. We both decided on the Raspberry Ripple Chocolate Mousse which was absolutely heavenly. I loved raspberry ripple ice cream as a kid and for some inexplicable reason had forgotten its existence over the past decade or so. The sweet raspberry flavour cutting through the chocolate was divine and had us both in raptures.

The service throughout was good – friendly with just the right balance of attentiveness. Overall, the meal was fairly good although I expected more. My starter and main were nice enough, but the dessert and the service were really what made the meal.

  • Ten Room, Hotel Cafe Royal, 68 Regent Street, Soho, W1B 4DY. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Ten Room website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Artichoke and truffle risotto

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Square Meal
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Hard Rock Cafe celebrates 45th birthday as Hard Rock Couture comes to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Hard Rock Couture

Katy Perry’s red dress (left) and Madonna’s yellow coat from Dick Tracy (right) will be on show in the Hard Rock Couture exhibition

Hard Rock Cafe are internationally renowned for their all-American cuisine… and their stunning collection of pop and rock memorabilia. With the original Hard Rock Cafe in London celebrating their 45th birthday this year, what better way to mark it than to bring some of the chain’s best rock couture to the city where it all began.

Starting this winter, Hard Rock Cafe are bringing their unique fashion collection to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! for a special exhibition. ‘Hard Rock Couture’ will feature striking items worn by pop legends from past and present, including Elvis Presley, Madonna, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and more. Among the items on show includes a feathered Dior jacket worn by The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, a yellow coat worn by Madonna in Dick Tracy and McCartney’s suit made by The Beatles’ tailor.

Narissa O’Moore, Hard Rock’s European Marketing Manager said: ‘This is the first of many exciting activities we have planned to celebrate 45 years of Hard Rock. We scoured our 78,000 piece collection to pull together a collection that will truly wow our guests. The collection showcases a unique part of music and indeed fashion history and gives fans an opportunity to see that history first-hand.’

  • Hard Rock Couture will be on display at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not from 3 February – 15 June 2016. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, 1 Piccadilly Circus, Soho, W1J 0DA. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Free entry to exhibition with all Ripley’s tickets. To book tickets in advance and save up to 25%, visit Ripleys London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley review: Handmade pastries and brilliant service in a stunning setting

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Time for tea: Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley is served traditionally in silverware and china

The Wolseley has only been open since 2003, but has steadily become an institution on the London dining scene. I’ve wanted to go for years and have heard many friends raving about dinners and brunches. I finally went for Afternoon Tea with a friend recently and thankfully was as good as I hoped.

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Three tiers of delicious! Sandwiches, scones and desserts

The building itself features an impressive façade which really stands out on Piccadilly. It was originally a car showroom, Wolseley Motors Ltd, when it was built in the early 1920s, with the architect William Curtis Green taking inspiration from Venetian and Florentine design. Unfortunately, the car business didn’t last long and the building was taken over by Barclays Bank in 1927.

The Wolseley is described as a ‘café-restaurant in the grand European tradition’ and upon walking in, it did remind me of some of the grand cafes in Paris and Budapest I have been in. High ceilings, sweeping staircases, large windows and marble made for a dramatic setting.

I visited recently with a friend for a belated birthday celebration on a Friday afternoon. We were seated at a lovely black wood and marble table, which just about had enough room for our numerous plates and cups we would accumulate during our setting.

When we booked, there were various options of Afternoon Tea, depending on your appetite and if you wanted to add some fizz. We initially decided on the traditional Afternoon Tea (£23.75), before ‘upgrading’ it to The Wolseley Champagne Tea at £33.50 per person when we arrived.

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Yum! Battenberg, Cherry & Pistachio Cake, Rhubarb Tart, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Éclair and Vanilla Cheesecake

We decided to have the champagne first – perhaps unwise on an empty stomach – which was light and refreshing. For tea, they have a wide choice as you would expect, including their own blend, with myself plumping for Earl Grey. The tea was presented in sterling silver teapots and brewed with tea-leaves, so you’re able to fully taste the flavour and aroma of the tea.

When it came to the food, we were presented with a three-tiered cake stand featuring assorted finger sandwiches, fresh fruit scones and a selection of pastries – all made on site. On the day in question we visited, the desserts were Battenberg, Cherry & Pistachio Cake, Rhubarb Tart, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Éclair and Vanilla Cheesecake, which were all delicious and presented beautifully. The scones were probably my favourite and I liked the little touches of the silver serving spoons for the clotted cream and jam actually embossed for their purpose. As I’m a pescatarian, I warned The Wolseley ahead of time about my dietary requirements so they were able to give me a good selection of non-meat sandwiches.

As we expected, the service was top-notch. our waiter was very attentive, giving us refills of tea and sandwiches. We were rather leisurely as we paced ourselves with such a lot of food and didn’t feel under pressure to move on. Overall, the food, service and setting were brilliant and I highly recommend it. For those looking for a traditional English afternoon tea, I think you’d be hard pressed to find better.

  • The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, St James, W1J 9EB. Nearest station: Green Park. Afternoon Tea is served from 3-6.30pm Mon-Fri, 3.30-5.30pm Sat and 3.30-6.30pm Sun. For more information and booking, visit The Wolseley website.

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Terrace Grill and Bar Review: Luxury dining and locally-sourced food in the heart of the West End

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I feel like fish tonight: Grilled Whole Sea Trout with new potatoes and watercress salad at Terrace Grill and Bar, Piccadilly

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Sipping a pot of peppermint tea and looking out over Piccadilly

To this day, Piccadilly is one of the most iconic and sought-after addresses in London. While it’s home to many of the capital’s most famous and lavish hotels, it’s (wrongly) not always recognised for its restaurants. One reason some may not have heard of Terrace Grill and Bar, is because it’s buried in Le Méridien Piccadilly. So last weekend, I sought to find out if it was the hotel’s hidden treasure…

Walking through the revolving doors of the Regency-style hotel, we immediately noticed the chic and contemporary interiors which continued throughout the hotel. We were guided towards the lifts by a helpful concierge and went up to the 2nd floor. On the night in question we visit, a majority of the lights were off for Earth Hour so the first 45 minutes of our evening was via candlelight and very atmospheric indeed. However, when the lights did come back on, they were warm and low, continuing the cosy ambiance. Although we dined when it was already dark outside, I can imagine the restaurant, with its glass ceiling and walls overlooking Piccadilly, would be an amazing space to eat breakfast or lunch in.

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Light and airy: The Terrace Grill & Bar is located on the 2nd floor overlooking Piccadilly

We had booked a TopTable deal for three courses and a glass of Dembies sparkling wine for £25 which was very good value for such high quality of food. Our party of three all ended up starting with the Smoked Haddock Soup, which came with some hot, fresh focaccia-style bread which were a delicious combination together. For the main, I opted for the Grilled Whole Sea Trout, which came served with new potatoes and a watercress salad. The fish was succulent and delicious, if a tad bony. Under this offer, my carnivore friend was able to order a Grilled Rump of Red Poll Beef, which she throughly enjoyed. To finish, I opted for a Bread and Butter Pudding, which was a perfect sized portion after such a large meal. It was light, but filling. After all our food, we ended our evening with a pot each of peppermint tea because we’re were feeling thoroughly full.

Throughout the meal, we were attended to by two friendly, female waitresses. We didn’t have to wait long for our food and didn’t feel under pressure to leave when we were the last ones in the restaurant. The venue itself was quite unique to London – like you’re in a large conservatory so there is lots of room and air. I would highly recommend the restaurant for a special occasion or if you fancy treating yourself. I would particularly suggest going for lunch or a light summer evening so you can fully appreciate the space. I also would like to try the adjoining Gin Bar, with their very appealing looking armchairs and cocktail menu.

  • Terrace Grill and Bar at Le Méridien Piccadilly, 21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH. Tel: 020 7851 3085. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park. For more information and booking, visit the Terrace Grill & Bar website.
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Proper British grub: Bread and butter pudding

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Brumus restaurant at the Haymarket Hotel review: Hearty British grub with a bit of Italian

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Colourful and contemporary: The interior of Brumus restaurant at the Haymarket Hotel

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Georgian splendour: The Haymarket Hotel from Suffolk Place

Tucked on the corner of Haymarket and Suffolk Place in St James, I am ashamed to admit I have never noticed the Haymarket Hotel, despite having walked past countless times over the year. The hotel is a lovely, white Georgian building situated next to the Theatre Royal Haymarket with its banners and show lights, which in retrospect probably distracted me so I didn’t notice the hotel.

When booking a restaurant for my sister’s birthday this week, I went to TopTable, as I often do. I always looks for a combination of good reviews from other diners and a meal deal, so as a family we end up at a high-quality restaurant with more moderate prices. I was immediately sold on Brumus’s good reviews and the brilliant £19.95 three course and Prosecco deal they currently have on.

The building is very easy to find and we ended up entering through the hotel reception on Suffolk Place – which is chic, glamorous and full of contemporary artwork. The restaurant itself has a very unique interior with cerise and magenta walls, metal umbrella-style lamps and comfortable chairs with different dog motifs on the back. Immediately upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly staff who took our coats and put them in a vintage wardrobe by the front door – a nice touch. With the background music and setting, I found the restaurant had the right amount of luxury and style, but without the pretension you get in other hotel restaurants.

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Delicious: Halloumi and peach salad with rocket to start (left)
and vegetable parcels with spinach (right)

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Quirky: The lighting consisted of metal umbrella ‘chandeliers’ which gave a cosy, candlelight feel to the restaurant

Three of our party opted for the TopTable deal, but the remaining two decided to order straight off the à la carte menu, which I would describe as Anglo-Italian. For starters, I ordered a grilled halloumi and peach salad with rocket and sherry vinaigrette. I love salads which include fruit and rarely find them on menus. The combination of halloumi, rocket and the peach were delicious. I ate the lot pretty quickly and could have easily ordered another one, it was so good. For main course, I was torn between the rock cod and braised fennel or the vegetable parcel with goat’s cheese, spinach and red petter sauce, eventually plumping for the latter. It was a good decision, the vegetables inside the parcel were cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth, the pastry was exactly the right consistency you’d expect from a pie and spinach is always a winner in my eyes. Pudding aside, because that’s always a bit naughty, I felt like I’d eaten a really healthy meal, that also tasted delicious. The dessert was a raspberry and blackberry mille-feuille – a sort of fruit and cream sandwich between a pastry wafer, topped with raspberry coulis, which was also delicious.

Overall, the Brumus had it all – I loved the design and setting, the service was friendly and excellent, the food was delicious and at £19.95 for the three-course, albeit limited choice menu, it was very good value for that standard of restaurant. I’ll definitely be going back. There is also a bar next door which looked tempting, but I will have to save that until another time.

  • Brumus is located at the Haymarket Hotel, 1 Suffolk Place, St James, SW1Y 4HX. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, visit their website.
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And to finish: Raspberry and blackberry mille-feuille with raspberry coulis

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