Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Spring Cocktails at The Lobby Bar, One Aldwych

First time I went at the One Aldwych was about three years ago; I met a few friends at The Lobby Bar, and we had a great time and fantastic cocktails. I am not sure why I haven't been back until last Tuesday.

I was invited to experience their new Spring cocktails and aperitives.
The One Aldwych is on of the few independent hotel in London it opened in 1998. The building history spans over a century. It started life as Newspaper Morning Post headquarters. The Lobby Bar was the heart of the building as the paper's Advertisement Hall and still features the original Austrian oak window panelling from that time.

The Lobby bar is the first area you see when entering this magnificent building. A very spacious and airy lobby and bar area with a fantastic menu offering the classics and seasonal drinks.  The room have enormous windows on both sides that let the light flowing in. Gigantic floral arrangements make the room very welcoming together with the knowledgeable and friendly staff.

As Spring has finally sprung a limited edition cocktail collection on the list under  High Spirits Cocktails, a  blend of botanical, bitter and sweet flavours that amazed me. We also had a couple of the drinks from the menu. We discovered Pedrino, a Premium alcoholic blend of tonic water and Pedro Ximenez - delicious and refreshing.

Flamingo: Americano Gancia, Limonecello liqueur, Lychee liqueur, lavender bitters topped with soda so pretty!

Old fashion
At the moment, the Spring menu is a delicious concoction of five well-crafted drinks with seasonal accents.  Priced at £13.50/cocktail  the limited edition Spring Aperitivos menu will be available from 1st April to 30th June 2016.

The list includes other cocktails as well as bar food.

Spring Sling
Amaro Montenegro, Merlet Apricot Brandy, Barolo Chinato Cocchi, orange and mandarin bitters, red currant, topped with soda water.  Served in a chilled sling glass.

Wild Spritz
Americano Gancia, Bloom Gin, rosemary, thyme and bergamot syrup, Angostura Bitters, topped up with Pedrino.  Served in a chilled coupette glass.

Americano Gancia, Limoncello, lychee liqueur, lavender bitters, topped with soda water.  Served in a chilled special coupette glass.

Honeycomb Bloom
Kamm & Sons, Haymans Sloe Gin infused with cardamom, Byrrh and a drop of Peychaud’s Bitters.  Served in a chilled glass bottle accompanied by a spritzer glass.

Bee Treat
Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Kamm & Sons, rose liqueur, Prucia Plum Liqueur and lavender bitters.  Served in a chilled snifter glass.

Still have to try the last two drinks on the list above - I will definitely be back soon. Highly recommended, such a central London location.

Lobby Bar Reservations:
Tel 020 7300 1070

Disclosure: I was a guest at  the Lobby Bar for review purposes. All views are my own.
Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

Square Meal The Lobby Bar - One Aldwych Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 2 May 2016

London, Shepherd Market Wine House

 Shepherd Market Wine House
 Shepherd Market Wine House

I haven't been to Shepherd Market for such a long time, and frankly  I can't remember last time I was in the area. I remember it was one of the first places I wondered around when I first arrived in London.  My dear friend and PR extraordinaire, Tracey invited me to visit her new client's venture, Shepherd Market Wine House. 

Shepherd Market's past is very colourful, full of famous and infamous stories and visitors. It's just hidden between Piccadilly and Curson Street. This small oasis in the middle of Mayfair is full of quaint pubs, independent shops and boutiques, and bijou restaurants. Walking around this part of town is pleasurable, and the architecture takes you back centuries.

Shepherd Market Wine House started its life as a successful pop-up end of last year for six weeks.  After refurbishment, it has now open as a firm neighbourhood spot to discover and enjoy wines from around the world. Try wines by the glass, which are very reasonably priced or buy bottles to drink at the venue or take away.  Also, the innovative Coravin system (see video below) enables customers to taste a small selection of fine and expensive wines by the glass, with wine list changing frequently.  This revolutionary new wine system enables the patrons to serve magnificent fine wines by the glass, so the customers can taste world’s most famous wines, without having to pay for a full bottle. Prices from £14 to £40/glass pending on the rare fine wine available at the time.

There are sittings at street level and basement - ideal for private tastings or small gatherings. The wine list with 20 wines, including sparkling and Champagne, are served by the glass with platters of cheese, olives, pate, terrines and charcuterie to share.
Tuesday Wine Club - wine tasting from £15

I visited the venue on a Tuesday when the first Tuesday Wine Club tasting 'Italian Island wines' presented by MW John Pepper took place. This place is seriously adorable and charming. Great wines for entry level and wine connoisseurs alike.  Outside tables will certainly be disputed over the Summer.  The charcuterie and cheese were of high quality. As for the service, it was very attentive. I am looking forward to return and discover more wines.  Prices: Bubbles from £8.75/glass (125ml), wines from £7/glass (175ml)
beautiful glasses at Shepherd Market Wine House

A video by Cooksister on How Coravin wine access system works:

Shepherd Market Wine House

Opening Times:
Monday–Saturday 11am–11pm  / Sundays 12noon–10pm

Address: 21-23 Shepherd Market, London, W1J 7PN 
Tel: 0207 499 8555                                                                               
Email:  (website under construction)
Closest tube station: Green Park

Twitter: @ShepMarketWine
Instagram: @shepherdmarketwinehouse 

Square Meal

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Something for the Weekend: Shellfish & Champagne

Long weekends are bliss. Perfect time to get together with family and friends, share some quality time. And why not catch up over some uncomplicated food and drink?  Indulge and linger over a glass of refreshing bubbly to ease slowly into a pleasant state of relaxation.

I can stress how much I enjoy getting together over a long lunch over the weekend and even more at  Bank Holidays - extra time to socialise and have fun - perfect recreation time.

Sometimes is nice to indulge in some high-quality champagne too and to celebrate  Spring, my chosen tipple this week is Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006. This Extra Brut dosage wine  (zero dosage = no added sugar) has a beautiful personality of Champenois Pinot Noir (75%), counterbalanced by the elegance and subtlety of the Côte des Blancs Chardonnay.
Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006
Its Golden yellow hue flowed gently into the glass and highlighted by a plentiful and lively bubbles. Fruity and elegant aromas with a biscuity finish. A sensorial experience accentuated by notes of buttery of pastry.

It's a beautifully refreshing wine with a mousse-like palate. A delicately refined champagne with a  finish is firm and rounded persistent.
Regarding food pairings, it again goes well with top quality fish and shellfish dishes, fine hams and light risottos, not too substantial or robust in flavours.

My suggestion for a meal  to match this beautiful champagne is seafood platter with an appetising sauce. This recipe is actually inspired by my food travels. This time is Barcelona, where they have Suquet de Peix, a Catalan fish stew which is made with picada, a nutty and light sauce. It's a deconstructed version of it.  I added brown crab meat to the sauce and used Brazil nuts; the Catalans used almonds - of course! In any case, it's delicious!
Shellfish Platter

Delightful Shellfish Platter & Crab Sauce Recipe 

drinks suggestion: Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006

500g Clams, scrubbed
500g Mussels, scrubbed
150g squid, cleaned and  cut into rings
250g white crab meat, already prepared
250g Freshwater prawns

1 cup of preferred nuts, toasted - I used Brazil Nuts
2 cloves of garlic
Handful of coriander (30g)
30g croutons (a handful)
4 tomatoes, grated or crushed
150g of brown crab meat
100ml Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

start with the crab sauce:
1) in a pestle and mortar, or food processor,  place the nuts, the peeled garlic and the coriander leaves. Pound and mix well. Add the olive oil, croutons and tomatoes. Pound more and mix well. Season to taste and add the lemon juice.  Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.  It's a thick sauce. Just before serving blend in the brown crab meat. Serve immediately. It makes about 500g.

Platter method:
1) Slowly simmer 1 cup (200ml)  dry white wine, 2 finely chopped shallots, 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), and 1 bay leaf in a big pot for 5 minutes.
2)Add the scrubbed clams, cover the pot, and turn the heat to high, cook for 5 minutes, shake the pan,  check if most of the shells have opened. If not, continue steaming until they do. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
3)In another pan start the process above but cooking the mussels for 3 minutes, until they all open. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
4) Cook the prawns, brush the prawns with a little olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper and garlic. Shallow fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink. Remove from the heat and reserve.
5)start to assemble the platter, as you like and see fit,  and at last cook, the squid pieces just need to be cooked for 30-40 seconds on a very high heat. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side and crusty bread.

The RRP for the Billecart-Salmon Vintage  2006 cuvĂ©e  from £62, a good price for a great vintage champagne. Harvey Nichols and The Good Wine Shop are good places to find Billecart-Salmon range, either in store or online.
Disclosure: I was sent a bottle of Billecart-Salmon to pair with on of my favourite dish. All views are my own.
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