BRIXTON FLAVOURS FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL PUTS BRIXTON’S HIDDEN GEMS FIRMLY ON THE FOODIE MAP

Brand New Festival Lets People Taste Over 20 Brixton Restaurants & Pop-ups for a whole day

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An exciting day-long food and drink festival is coming to South London this autumn, on Sunday 26 October, to celebrate the delicious tastes and cultural delights of Brixton. Brixton Flavours – Brixton’s Food Festival, will bring together locals, Londoners and tourists alike to enjoy and revel in the warm atmosphere and diversity that is making Brixton a world renowned food and cultural destination. The headline sponsor for the event is OpenTable, the UK’s leading online restaurant bookings service.

Ritzy

With so many fantastic restaurants, bars and eateries to choose from, Brixton Flavours allows customers to taste as much as possible in one day. Brixton Flavours tickets can be purchased from as little as £15 with lots of extras. Ticket holders will get 15 Brixton Pounds (B£) to be spent in any of over 20 participating venues, with diverse cuisines from Brazilian to Mexican, Japanese to Dim Sum, French to Italian and Caribbean to Modern British. As well as OpenTable, the festival will be supported by Brixton Bid and local food blogger Miss South.

Additionally, only ticket holders will get a wristband allowing them to eat free samples and secret dishes at all participating restaurants letting people try new places and get out of their ‘food comfort zone’. There will be a fun filled carnival atmosphere with several local artists playing and adding to the day’s entertainment. Tickets for Brixton Flavours can be bought in advance via the website http://www.brixtonflavours.com (and a free Zinco Coconut Water or Alibi drink will be given out on the day to the first 250 people to buy a ticket online).

Oliver Mernick-Levene, Founder, Brixton Flavours commented: ‘I love Brixton and as a local resident and foodie, I was keen to help support the food and cultural scene, to help celebrate its diversity and bring people together over their passion of food, drink and music.”
He continued: “With so many cultures and different people populating the area, here in Brixton, eating and drinking are not just pastimes but a ‘way of life’. As such, the area has some of the best restaurants, bars and eateries in London. There are no lazy taste buds here and with one ticket you can try all the different flavours of Brixton. It’s an exciting day for us and we can’t wait to welcome people to the festival and make Brixton proud.”

The festival will include and cover Brixton Village, Market Row, ColdHarbour Lane, Atlantic Road and Windrush Sq, areas on Sunday 26 October From 11.00am – 7.30pm. It will see a host of new and firm favourite cafes, restaurants and craft shops taking part in this cool and exciting festival. All venues will be offering special discounts and secret new tapas style dishes to visitors and will also be offering delicious free samples to wristband wearers. From the original Brixton set to the newly arrived, the festival will play host to a really special day, which is set to be become an annual food and drink fixture in Londoners diaries.

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On the day visitors can also buy wristbands and Brixton Pounds (B£) from strategically located vending kiosks around Brixton Village and Market row and outside The Ritzy Picturehouse, in Windrush Square. Location maps will also be given out and downloadable as a guide to where all of the participating restaurants, venues and music locations will be throughout the day.

Mike Xenakis, Managing Director, OpenTable International, said: “With Brixton now at the epi-centre of the London food scene we’re excited to support this new food festival and the diverse selection of local restaurants that are putting the area firmly on the foodie map. The Brixton Flavours festival is a fantastic way to showcase the evolution of London dining at a local level, encompassing a fun carnival style atmosphere and friendly neighbourhood appeal.”

The restaurants on the day will include: Brindisa, Brixton Village Grill, Carioca, Casa Morita, Courtesan, Duck Egg Café, Etta’s seafood, FGB- Foccacia, Fish Wings & Tings, Ichiban, Jalisco, Kaff, Market House, Lounge Bar, Prince of Wales –POW, Satay Cocktail Bar, Senzala, Snugg, Sponge & Cream, The Ritzy Picturehouse, The Wine Parlour as well as the pop-up stalls, which will be positioned in Windrush Square.

Brindisa - Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Brindisa – Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Elly Foster, Chair/Non-Executive Director, from Brixton BID, said: “We are proud to be supporting Brixton Flavours festival and welcome people throughout London and further afield to enjoy and taste our wonderful food. Brixton is a Mecca for people who want to try all different cuisines in one area. We see the value in developing and maintaining the ethos and cultural diversity of community projects such as this, which help benefit local businesses and bring further awareness to the area we love and call home.”

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Delancey and Co set to open New York style Salt Beef and Smoked Salmon bar in London’s W1.

Opening its doors this Autumn in W1, Delancey&Co, a cool salt beef and smoked salmon bar, where New York tradition meets London style.

Delancey&Co takes its inspiration from the famed deli bars of Lower East Side New York, such as Katz Delicatessen and Russ & Daughters, but will modernise the approach bringing the salt-beef bar concept into the 21st century.

A first for the capital, Delancey&Co will give diners the chance to eat in or take away piled-high salt beef sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels and a few NYC-Jewish inspired delicacies, but in modern diner-style interiors featuring stool seating, marble counters with pop art and themed imagery adorning the walls.

From behind the self-service bar, carvers will pile up warm, melting salt beef on rye bread (or on beigels if you so chose) with lashings of mustard, or stack hand-carved smoked salmon on bagels (beigels) made by a traditional Jewish baker. There’ll be 6 different types of cream cheese, including pink horseradish and cracked black pepper and chilli, Reuben sandwiches (among other ‘signature’ sandwiches), cholla rolls, sweet and sour gherkins, Jewish penicillin (aka chicken soup) and a few other modernised NYC deli favourites – plus American beers and prosecco on tap to wash it all down.

Daniel Moosah, the brains behind Delancey&Co has spent years in New York and London researching the finest deli offerings, understanding traditional Jewish cooking methods and ethically sourcing the finest brisket and smoked salmon. His take on the traditional NY salt beef bar promises to be modern, light and a much-needed addition to the London fast food scene that is currently dominated by burgers, burritos and hot dogs.

A fussy eater with exacting standards. It is with this passion, experience and meticulous attention to detail that he intends to bring the very best salt beef, smoked salmon and a few surprises to London to shake up the up-market fast food scene.

I’m salivating just at the thought of some salt beef and mustard bagels coming my way soon.. hurry up Autumn, (still can’t say Fall!)

THE NEW NOODLE HOUSE ON THE BLOCK, WITH A SIDE OF SOUTH EAST ASIA FLAVOUR

The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue
The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue

It’s a rainy Monday evening, as I head towards Shaftesbury Avenue’s Cambridge Circus, to the newly opened Noodle House restaurant. Although it’s always hectic with tourists I love this area, it’s vibrant Soho, theatre land and China town make this district buzz even on a dark, wet night. Over the years I’ve found a few favourite restaurants in China town, my Uncle married a girl from Hong Kong, and most Saturday’s she would take me try out a new Dim Sum restaurant.

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So with the opening of The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue I was keen to try their new Asian fusion menu, and see what it has to offer Londoner’s. It’s conveniently located close to Leicester Square tube on Shaftesbury Avenue and great for a pre or post theatre supper. It’s also next door to Covent Garden a hip place to hang out afterwards for a few drinks or spot of late night shopping.

the_noodle_house,_london.kitchenTNH Calamari

The restaurant is quite empty when we arrive, but began to fill up as we settled in for the evening. The menu is essentially an Asian fusion menu covering dishes from China with Dim Sum to Thai dishes with the standard staple Chicken Satay, their tagline ‘Flavours of South East Asia.’
The interior is contemporary and stylish, and feels warm with its modern style wooden tables around the edge of the restaurant and a sprinkling of modern booths and open kitchen on the ground level. Downstairs is a hidden gem with an amazing bar area and stylish toilets (design wise I might have the bar upstairs).

The restaurant’s bolthole basement bar which holds a unique drinks list designed by creative Indonesian brothers, and Metro’s Young British Foodie winners, Platterform. Glass jars brimming with the beautiful Damask Rose, Goji Berry, Chrysanthemum, Lychee, Kaffir Lime and White Peony loose teas line the walls around the horseshoe-shaped bar where mixology masters blend, steep and brew them with exotic fruits and spices to create their own range of bespoke syrups and spirits. Apothecary bottles and jars of varying shapes and sizes – Spiced Tea Gin, Lapsang Souchong Rum, Star Anise and Kaffir Lime Gin, contain homemade concoctions that are exclusive to the noodle house. Their signature cocktail, Moonshadow, of Jasmine Lillet Blanc and vodka over frozen Jasmine and Hibiscus tea ice pops, don’t mind if I do!

We start with a shared selection of starters – Har Gou (King Prawn) steamed dumplings, Chicken satay sticks and peanut sauce, unfortunately the chicken sticks were overdone and therefore tough and the dumplings were too doughy we move onto the mains with more hope.

We opt to share again and go for a traditional thai green chicken curry with jasmine rice, steamed seabass wrapped in banana leaf with steamed greens and a mee gerong with prawns, chilli and pak choi.Pleasingly the mains are extremely good, with fresh ingredients and great flavours. The seabass is meaty fresh, no bones and steamed perfectly, with subtle hints of lemongrass and thai flavours. The mee gerong noodles were also very tasty with just the right amount of chilli and lots of succulent King prawns and pak choi. All very good but the piece de resistance was the thai green curry ,filled with marinated tender chicken pieces and aubergine, the curry sauce was moreish, so much so I couldn’t stop going back for one more spoonful.

Steamed Seabass wrapped in banana leaf Steamed Seabass wrapped in banana leaf

TNH Curries<

We also opt for some freshly squeezed juices and jasmine green tea, which are very good and are inspired by ancient teahouses, the restaurant uses a wide variety of hand-picked, single-estate, artisan produced teas, ethically-sourced directly from tea gardens across Asia by LuLin. Black teas, Oolong, Green and White teas, beautiful blooming teas and caffeine-free tisanes are all readily available in a total of 17 blends, seven of which are unique to the noodle house.

The influence of the teas delicate flavours can also be seen in select dishes on the menu as well as in innovative soft drinks and cocktails including the superfood-charged mocktail Dr Taja; a blend of Aloe Vera, ginger, lime, ginseng and oolong tea… I’m in!

I’d recommend this as a great respite during the week for lunch or dinner,the bar is definitely a great asset and worth thinking about for somewhere new to go for drinks as it’s quite funky and fun and service by the staff is good, nicely attentive and thoughtful, which is always appealing and stands out in a fast moving restaurant world

http://www.tnhlondon.com
Address: 117 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8AD
Telephone: 0203 725 5777

Sumptuous Secret Supper Club with Malaysian Chef Norman Musa

A secret supper club is always going to be a cool concept and I love the anticipation of where you’ll be eating and what the dishes will be that evening. I tend to build these type of nights up with schoolgirl excitement, it’s my new take on Christmas now that I know ‘Santa’ won’t be coming down the chimney.

I couldn’t wait to arrive at the location, we were told the night before to meet at Hackney Wick station. Although it’s the other side of London for me, I was hoping it would be worth the slep across town. I know … I’m very lazy and have the Londonite mantra,’that I do not cross London at the weekend’ … however, with the promise of great Malaysian delights it didn’t take much persuasion.

We arrive to be greeted by Chef Norman’s excellent staff and a special little helper one of the staff’s sons, offering us a tray of amuse bouche Malayasian treats, all very cute. The venue is Chef Norman’s private residence when he’s in London and it looks directly out onto the Olympic Park, uber cool.

There were a few different groups of people but everybody takes a seat and we start to mix in together as the first dish of the evening arrives. The menu is extensive with 7 different dishes of Malaysian noodles, the first, dish 1 is a Glass Noodle salad with shredded chicken, chilli, spring onions and soy sauce served cold. It’s completely delicious, so good I’m hard-pressed not to eat more .. but with 6 more dishes to come I’d better pace myself, right?

Ning's Glass Noodles

Ning’s Glass Noodles

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Next the ubiquitous spring rolls, ‘Popiah’ with glass noodles and shitake mushrooms, ok but not amazing, they quickly clear these two appetisers and start to bring the first of the Laksas. The apartment is a huge warehouse style open space – and we can happily watch Chef Norman chop, stir and talk through the dishes to his guests.

Coconut-based curry soup

Coconut-based curry soup


Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Dish 3 is a ‘Penang Assam Laksa’ Sour fish-based soup with thick rice noodles, shredded fish, finely sliced vegetables, cucumber, red chillies, pineapple, mint, lettuce and ginger and it’s soo very tasty. I tuck in and conversation stops around the table while we in-hale the delightful flavours. Moving swiftly on the dish gets taken away and dish 4 is placed in front of us, a coconut-based curry ‘Laksa Johor’, with toasted coconut, dried prawns, lemongrass, galangal, spices, vietnamese coriander, cucumber and freshly squeezed lime juice. I’m in food heaven so far.. some of my favourite ingredients in one dish!

My Secret Supper Buddies

My Secret Supper Buddies

Next on the menu dish 5 ‘Char Kuey Teow with Prawns’ this menu really is a marathon of noodles and laksas and I’m still trying to pace myself and not get too full too quickly, as I know the best is still to come. Thick rice noodles wok-fried with soy sauce, chilli sauce, beansprouts and King prawns – delish! I’m beginning to wilt but as dish 6 arrives I get my second wind, at the sight of some devine looking ‘Bihun Goreng Satay with chicken’ served in cool little takeaway boxes. This is a wok fried dish of vermicelli rice noodles cooked with Malay satay paste, egg, vegetables and chicken, a subtle taste with a peanut flavour it’s nice and light. Chef Norman talks us through the dish and the traditional Malayasian cooking style he uses, it’s good to know that he and his team are planning the launch of a new restaurant in London in 2014, Ning London. It will be launching off the back of these secret supper nights in London and their already successful venture in Manchester with Ning Manchester.

Our final Laksa of the evening dish 7 is a ‘Kari Laksa with chicken’ a coconut-based soup with vermicelli noodles, bean curd puffs, beansprouts and chicken. It a challenge but so tasty I just had to have seconds! Thankfully dessert dish 8 was light and cool – a ‘cendol’ which is a delicious sweet iced dessert made with lots of crushed ice in a glass, coconut milk, palm syrup and red beans with a ‘famous’ pandan-flavoured strands of green rice flour. Ah.. The End.

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

It’s all good and we roll home to South London with my girls – dreaming of the new Ning London and our next Laksa.

New kid on the Covent Garden block – Balthazar restaurant

Balthazar Restaurant, 4-6 Russell Street, London, WC2E 7BN – £60 per head (incl service).

Fresh off the boat from New York City is French restaurant Balthazar in Covent Garden, nestled in the heart of the bustling piazza and tourist central. It has long been a staple of downtown NYC, but was fast becoming a tourist destination to be avoided with hip New Yorkers. Let’s hope this won’t be the case with the London offering.

We can’t get a table until 9.30pm, on arrival this place is absolutely buzzing and still relatively packed three hours later, but then it’s new and even the celebs are keen to get in on the act. We spot Dexter Fletcher aka Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel, Guy Ricthie film and know we were probably lucky as mere mortals to get a table on a Saturday night!

The restaurant reminds me of  ‘La Coupole’ in Paris and  has a smart Parisienne cafe/ restaurant style to it, with beautiful mirrored walls, traditional dark wood tables and chairs and red leather banquette seating. There is a fresh seafood bar with everything from razor clams to scallops and lobster.  The menu has some tasty options and we decide on a traditional prawn cocktail with King prawns and an endive salad with lardons and poached egg. Not to be difficult but the poached egg arrives firmly cooked, I don’t think I’ve ever had a hard boiled poached egg so after a slightly embarrassing would you mind taking this back at £10 a plate I felt I could ask for this. A new salad and new poached egg arrives and it was very good, with the perfect French dressing, lardons and crunchy croutons – vive la France!

The wine list for an establishment such as Balthazar is extensive from the very expensive to the well priced and I liked that I wasn’t about to be fleeced – house wine starts at £4.50 per glass which for central London is a bargain. We chose the cheaper bottle of Touraine Allion at £25 a bottle, it was average and I wondered if we had opted for the £33 bottle of Touraine if it would have been slightly less acidic.

There is also a good choice of mains and something for every discerning palate, from confit of duck to fillet steak and many fish choices. After my recent disappointing spaghetti lobster I decided to try this dish again and it proved to be a  delight, with a lobster bisque sauce, fresh lobster meat and tail and al dente spaghetti, it was delicious. My dining companion chose a whole Dorade (seabass) and a side of spinach which was perfectly cooked.

For dessert I was tempted to my favourite creme brulee or tart tatin with butterscotch sauce, but had the chocolate profiteroles with freshly made choux pastry buns, filled with vanilla ice-cream and lashings of warm chocolate sauce, extremely good, but nothing replaces fresh cream with this classic dish in my opinion.

I enjoyed the buzz of the restaurant, the servers were extremely caring and friendly, which always adds to the appeal of a restaurant especially for central London. We also weren’t rushed or told we had a two hour time limit another bonus, I would recommend you go there with at least 4 people as this seemed to allow for more elbow room. We were slightly squished into our table with a table of four directly to our left and a table of two to our right, who could have listened and probably joined in our conversation if they had wanted.

http://www.balthazarlondon.com

Sunday Lunch on The Fulham Road anyone?

Spring is finally in the air in London town, and Sunday afternoon is one of my favourite days to stroll around to find a new haunt. Where better to peruse than the Fulham Road and check out the newly opened ‘ Goat’ formerly ‘The Goat in Boots’.

The restaurant scene in London has had an explosion of decent American inspired openings from Lobster and Burger to Gaspar’s in the city and now Goat, which is set to live up to the label. It has an urban almost New York feel to it and is something different for the Fulham Road residents, all steel tubes and metal grids, with contemporary wooden tables, it has a clean and modern feel. Upstairs there is a lounge/ bar with cosy seating areas, and a DJ every evening.

Service was excellent and the staff knew the menu quite well or were happy to ask the Chef if they didn’t, the menu is  relaxed New York Italian menu with, wood fired pizza and selection of fish and traditional Italian meats, as well as NYC favourites of truffled mac and cheese and peanut butter cheesecake.

My companion and I opt for a starter of ‘ homemade cured sliced beef with rocket and truffledwild mushroom dressing over a semolina crisp’ simply delicious and a good sharing dish for a starter £8

Homemade Sliced Cured Beef

Homemade Sliced Cured Beef

Grilled Monkfish with Parmigiano and rocket and parmesan salad with a carafe of  Pinot Grigio £19

Monkfish

An indulgent but creative Chocolate and caramel foam dessert with dessert wine £6

Chocolate salt caramel foam

A welcome addition to The Fulham Road usual haunts and a good mix of New York Italian food, I’ll be back for the truffle mac n cheese and peanut butter cheesecake

http://www.goatchelsea.com/

Photos to follow

Gramercy Terrace NYC debuts a new look menu with a nod to the American Classics

New York’s love affair with the Gramercy Terrace at Gramercy Park Hotel reignites with its re-opening this week. A (previously) well-kept secret for New Yorkers this iconic and original Manhattan rooftop garden dining space, will re-open after eight weeks of renovations. With a nostalgic nod to a classic, sophisticated and bohemian American style menu; Gramercy Terrace solidifies its reputation as the place to be year-round for a sky–view breakfast, power brunch or lunch and a destination must for international gourmands.

Gramercy Terrace

The newly refurbished dining space will now be under the direction of Chef Jeff Seizer, who has created an inspired brand-new American Classic cuisine menu, which will serve an à la carte comfort tastes made fresh to order.

Panckes with Peach Compote and Pecans with Strawberry daiquiri

A hand-crafted cocktail menu is available for breakfast, brunch, and lunch The Hemingway 75 and Strawberry daiquiri, add a fun and quirky twist on the traditional cocktails.

The newly renovated kitchen, which has doubled in size, will be operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group team, providing an enhanced culinary experience for all clientele. Gramercy Terrace will also debut world renowned Stumptown coffee bar coupled with hallmarks of Union Square Hospitality, attentive service and warm hospitality.

The Gramercy Terrace Experience

Capitalizing on the unique indoor – outdoor space, the refurbished décor serves to enhance the chic yet comfortable, charming garden feel. Where guests can take in breakfast under the sky and power brunch or lunch at a rooftop oasis.With its classic charm and Manhattan vibe, Gramercy Terrace’s retractable roof allows for alfresco dining all year-round. Its glamorous and artistic ambience provides the comfortable and intimate setting of a private home, amidst a world-renowned art collection, custom furniture and accents.

With an artisanal seasonal menu, Gramercy Terrace’s inspiration comes from classic American food: seasonal produce and regionally-sourced meats and fish.

Highlights of the American classic breakfast menu are: Chef Jeff’s baked eggs with asparagus, tarragon, spring onions or biscuit sandwich with house made sausage, folded egg and American cheese.

Or brunch/ lunch menu: Small: Wellfleet oysters, with hot sauce & pickled celery or lobster roll, with watermelon radish & grilled scallions and Large: mustard rub pulled pork, shrimp po boy.

 Soft Shell Crab Sandwich

Situated across from Gramercy Park in one of the most idyllic locations in the heart of New York City, Gramercy Terrace overlooks Lexington Avenue and Gramercy Park. This is the new must – try breakfast, lunch and brunch go to restaurant – where the elite of New York’s fashionista, artistic and socialite set will flock to see and be seen.