Monday, 3 April 2017

Patrón Secret Dining Society, London

Last  week was quite full-on with work and blogging, but I couldn't resist a very special invitation which included food and tequila.  I didn't turn it down! Niamh, fellow Uber blogger and almost-neighbour - she lives about fifteen minutes of walking from me, not quite 'next door,' but at a walkable distance -  invited me as her "plus one" to this exciting and inspiring event by Patrón.

Patrón produces luxury tequila which is made 100 percent from the highest-quality, hand-harvested Weber Blue Agave and traditional distillation.  Care, quality, and innovation are high on the agenda for
Patrón .

The event took place at the fabulous MC Motors (Castle Gibson) in East London - a fantastic location where many television series and commercials have been filmed and which is still in high demand for being such a unique space.
Patrón put together an evening showcasing the low-waste mindset of cooking and cocktail-making. In the kitchen for the Patrón Secret Dining Society was Chef Douglas McMaster from the first zero-waste restaurant, Silo in Brighton, and the famed cocktail philosopher Iain Griffiths of Mr. Lyan - what a great team.  The dishes and cocktails resonate the ethos “waste is a failure of the imagination” by Chef Douglas McMaster.

 Above: left Iain Griffiths of Mr. Lyan - right: Chef Douglas McMaster of Silo

It was a delicious and entertaining evening with a live set by DJ Felix Martin.  I felt very inspired by the innovative cocktails and also amazed by the plant-based menu  - I didn't miss having a steak on my plate that night, and that's a new experience for me.

Patrón Secret Dining Society  - London

trio of fermented artichoke, seaweed kraut and Silo spicy kimchi
Dinner started with Silo’s  warm sourdough, and a delicious home-churned butter seasoned with lava salt, accompany by a trio of fermented artichoke, seaweed kraut and Silo quite spicy ( I like it) kimchi. Drink to match was Patrón Reposado tequila cocktail of clear tomatoes and umami vinegar clarified with milk.

tequila cocktail of clear tomatoes and umami vinegar clarified with milk

Next was a delightful carrot dish oven-baked in lemon-waste compost with soft curds and whey created from steamed milk waste from Silo restaurant.  Drink to match was with a light sherry serve of Patrón  XO Cafe, pine needles, apple pulp, sesame and oxidised wine.

  The third course was king oyster mushrooms with pickled celeriac and rosemary, matched with a fat-washed Patrón Anejo Tequila cocktail with cured meat ends and cheese ring, topped with sparkling wine.



 Dessert was sea buckthorn and brown butter paired with Patrón  Silver tequila, cucumber seeds and kombucha cocktail which each guest mix themselves at the table.

More about this events: Patrón

Patrón Secret Dining Society calendar:

Paris – 27th April
Madrid – 29th June
Israel – 25th June
Edinburgh – November 
South Africa – September 

Disclosure: I was a guest at this dinner. All views are my own.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Basque brunch at Eneko, London

Eneko at One Aldwych

Last year one of the best meals I ate was at Eneko by three Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa whose culinary inspiration comes from his hometown of Bilbao, with this in mind Chef Eneko has created one of London’s first and finest  Basque brunches.  Having just got back from the Basque Country myself, where I ate my weight in food and more, I was elated to sample more of this fabulous cuisine back home.  I loved Eneko the first time, read here,  but would I still love it the second time round?

It's an exciting menu with some of the dishes from the main menu and some new intriguing and stimulating dishes.  The kind of menu that makes you want to discover more and taste Basque cuisine.

The brunch menu at Eneko at One Aldwych is divided by four Basque culinary styles – Euskal Azoka (street food), Gallinero (eggs), Txoko (classics) and Asador (grill).

You can choose a la carte or tasting menu which consists of 5 dishes, tea and coffee at £50/head plus drinks.

We decided to go a la carte with three courses and bottle of delicious bottle of Cava Mas Macia from Penedes, a fresh, creamy and lively  Cava with intricate flavours of stone fruits, apple and some nutty, yeasty notes. Good acidity and a long, savoury finish.

The wine list is made up entirely by Spanish wines including four from Eneko’s family winery, Gorka Izagirre.

Food options are intended to be mixed, matched and share.  There's something for everyone. Brunch at Eneko at One Aldwych is available every weekend. Great way to spend with family and friends around the table, with good food, drinks, excellent and knowledgeable service.  The place is casual and yet elegant.

Our meal was delicious, and we lingered over the food not wanting the brunch ever to finish, but eventually it did.   Yes, I still love this place! 

Brunch at Eneko

Golden Mary / Spiced vodka, golden tomato juice, celery foam

 Oxtail on Milk Bread / Slow-cooked oxtail, Idiazabal cheese  and
Cerdito Caliente “Hot Hog” / Iberico ham, mushroom duxelle, Basque muffin

Egg Yolks Tempura - intense vegetable confit and the most incredible  bright yolk

Egg Yolks Tempura / Creamy potatoes, confit vegetables

Txuleta / Basque-style  juicy and tender prime rib of beef, excellent spring onion salad and skinny fries

Salted caramel mousse, cookie crumble - great textures every bit as delicious as the description!

Pineapple sorbet and foam, sweet celery ribbons - intriguing, refreshing and tasty

Saturday 11.30am-2.30pm
Sunday  11.30am-3.30pm
Book : or call +44 (0)20 7300 0300
Walk-ins are also welcome.

Eneko at One Aldwych
One Aldwych
London WC2B 4BZ
T: 020 7300 0300

Disclosure: I was a guest of Eneko at One Aldwych. All views are my own. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Learning about Cognac

About two weeks ago I attended an event at The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden,  London. It was a very insightful event where I learnt  a lot about Cognac!

Cognac is a type of distilled brandy. It got its name from the French town of Cognac, which is part of wine growing region within the French Departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime. For a distilled brandy to be labelled as Cognac, there are specific requirements that should be met during its production process.

Cognac must be made from certain grapes. One of the most used grapes is Ugni Blanc, which is also known as Saint-Emilion. The brandy must also be distilled twice using copper pot stills. Then it is aged for at least two years inside a French oak barrel from Troncais or Limousin.

Cognac ages in the same manner as wine and whiskies when placed in barrels. However,  many cognacs are aged longer than the minimum requirement for alcoholic beverages. This drinks is also known as the kings of spirits.

Types of Cognac

VS- designed to be mixed - it makes fantastic cocktails  hints of oak and vanilla,  its young minimum aged 2 years. Every house have their own secret recipe/blend. 
VSOP - better quality, versatile and affordable, aged longer in barrels . it's smother and has a longer finish. Hints of orange and apricot. Best served on ice. 
XO - to be drunk on its' own, smoother, smokier, fruity, woody mushroom notes.

How to Taste Cognac

Ideal Temperature for Cognac

Cognac must be drunk at normal room temperature. If it is below room temperature, you should take the bottle out for at least an hour before drinking it. Or you can pour it into a glass, and hold the glass with the palm to bring it to room temperature.

Glass for Drinking Cognac

The recommended glass for cognac is a tulip glass sniffer that features a wide bowl and a narrower top. This might be changing with time...

Cognac Labels

The label on the bottle will indicate the producer, rating, and alcohol content of the cognac. Some of the ratings are VSOP, VS, Napoleon, and XO. The label can also indicate whether the cognac is Grande Champagne Cognac or Fine Cognac. 

Colour of the Cognac

Cognac comes in different colours. It may be copper, golden amber, orange-brown, bronze, or mahogany.  The colour doesn't dictate the age or quality of cognac.

Scent of the Cognac

Scent or the nose of the cognac indicates its flavour. You can determine the scent by swirling the cognac very slowly in the brandy glass, and then sniff the aromas from it. The distilled brandy can have scents of cigar, oranges, apricots, vanilla, and spices, just to name a few.


To drink cognac, you should first take a slow sip to allow the alcohol beverage remain in your mouth for several seconds before you drink it. After you swallow the cognac, you will be able to determine the different flavours it holds. Keep in mind that the profile often differs from the scent. The distilled brandy can taste fruity, woody, chocolate, leather, or gingerbread. You can determine the length of the cognac by determining how long the taste lingers on the tongue and mouth after swallowing it.

Should You Mix or Add Ice to Cognac?

After opening the bottle, it is recommended that you drink cognac straight first. That way you will be able to appreciate the maker’s artistry in blending and ageing the distilled brandy. You should also use a tulip glass and drink it at room temperature to truly enjoy its taste.

However, there are some people who drink cognac with ice or water. Before you try mixing cognac, it is best that you first taste it straight.

There are some excellent cocktails to be made from Cognac. On this particular evening we had  a good easy drinking cocktail : Cognac, Tonic and dehydrated orange.
Cognac, Tonic and dehydrated orange.

'The Whisky Exchange runs a series of excellent whisky and fine spirit tastings. They are extremely popular and give whisky and spirit lovers the chance to meet the people responsible for making their favourite drams. Many of its tastings are whisky based, but it also covers a wide range of other drinks and spirits, including rum, gin, vermouth and Tequila.
Its masterclasses are hosted by the biggest names in the industry, with master blenders and distillers flying in specially for the event'

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X
 Disclosure:  I was a guest at this event. All views are my own.

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