In preparation for Halloween 2014, FoodGoblin is hosting a spooky competition with Beefeater Gin in honour of that, most classic of cocktails; the gin Martini.
How to enter:
Submit your best Halloween themed gin Martini (including the name of your spooky drink) via the FoodGoblin Twitter, Facebook or in the comments space below using the hashtag #MurderAMartini.
The best entry will win both fabulous prizes and feature on the FoodGoblin Drinks page.
Facebook post link: www.facebook.com/foodgoblin
- A 70cl bottle of Beefeater London Dry Gin (the world's most awarded gin, dontcha know) &...
- A copy of Make Mine a Martini book by Katy Plunkett-Hogge, hot of the press. This collection of 80 cocktails and 50 canapes is a chic little guide to drinks, eats and planning the perfect party.
Midnight, Friday 31st October.
You must be aged 18 and over to enter and based in the UK. The winning contest will be required to provide ID online, prior to receiving the prize.
So, Goblins, go and get ghoulish! #MurderAMartini
Pondicherry: a former French colony in India and a unique cultural, architectural amalgam of these two seemingly disparate motherlands. As well as being incredibly interesting and beautiful, the region also holds the plus of being that, most important of things, delicious. Its only downside is its sad distance from us here in London. So, you can imagine my pleasure in discovering a place here in my native town possessing all of its virtues.
La Porte des Indes is a classical Indo-French restaurant near Marble Arch, inspired by the food of Pondicherry. Set in a former Edwardian ballroom, this beautiful marble-clad space displays a grand selection of Indian artefacts and a 40ft waterfall, ringed with palms, which plunges to a basement level, complete with colonial themed jungle bar. Exotic plants and flowers droop from every wall and surface and walking through this impressive space feels almost like a stroll into 19th century India.
Murgh malai kebab of juicy chicken, grilled in a tandoor, was flavoursome and even better when dipped in a sauce of green herbs. A highlight of the evening came with the mains; poulet rouge, butter chicken cooked with yoghurt and a refined blend of spices that danced (ever so delicately) in the mouth and ended creamily. La Porte des Indes take on saag paneer was also excellent; it’s only of my staples in India and I judge establishments tremendously on it. Never was this place’s fusion more evident than in a final dish of French trimmed lamb chops, marinated in garam masala and served pink. Fine, indeed.
I even managed to enjoy the desserts; a rare thing for me in an Indian restaurant. Commonly I find them hideously sweet but Chef Mehernosh Mody managed to produce three tasting desserts; 2 of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The entire experience was underpinned by professional service and quaffable wine. We tried their Blue Elephant Cuvee Royale Thaie, a Riesling-esque white made especially for La Porte des Indes in Alsace.
For a dining experience a far cry away from your average vindaloo or even your average French bistro, I recommend this place. La Porte des Indes: wonderful food, exquisite surroundings and true colonial spirit.
32 Bryanston St, London W1H 7EG
020 7224 0055
Whilst the Oxford Street area of London has a number of fabulous, destination restaurants to sit in and scoff, sometimes I feel a lack of places that are more casual and not ‘dirty food’; somewhere where I can head to relax, to eat food that won’t immediately plaster to my thighs and not feel like the waiter is lurking over my shoulder in a bid to turn the table before the last forkful of cheesecake has passed my lips. Drunch is a good pick for this.
It sits on Woodstock Street, near Bond Street Underground stop, and has a small menu of healthy, seasonal dishes. I popped in the other week for a leisurely Sunday lunch and tried out a number of their dishes. First up came a salad with balsamic coated fillet steak, served medium rare and flavoured with chilli and garlic, and a dish of seared tuna with sesame and mixed leaves. Both were seasoned well and the tuna was super juicy. I also enjoyed a crispy duck salad with Chinese vegetables and bok choi – the right amount of soy and well textured duck. A main of salmon teriyaki was especially delicious– the teriyaki sauce was sticky and thick, and the salmon came cooked medium, as it should. All these dishes are focused and simple; words that somewhat define the Drunch food offering. This is a good thing.
Alongside their food offering, Drunch has a number of pages in its menu dedicated solely to its smoothies, fresh juices and cold/hot teas – all of which are excellent.
Next time you’re laden with shopping bags and cursing the Oxford Street crush, take a walk down this side street and check out this little spot – for a girls, leisurely lunch, it’s a no brainer.
1 Woodstock St,, London W1C 2AA
020 7495 2020
The brains behind hot Shoreditch bar Reverend RW Simpson, Blitz Party and Prohibition have continued in their streak of exciting, tremendously cool venues and have launched a new gem in Clerkenwell, the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings. Don’t let the name confuse you – this new venture is no tedious office or miscellaneous functional building, but an exciting striking all-day brasserie and bar that aims to combine the best bits of the brands offerings under one architecturally striking roof. If Reverend is tattered, living room chic, B&H buildings beam minimalist Italian glamour.
Cider’s not been something I’ve considered much. I pick it up occasionally in the summer to sip cursorily and disregard until the sun’s back out. I’ve certainly never considered it in the same league as wine or even beer, nor as something possessing a myriad of forms. However, this outlook was recently adjusted, and not inconsiderably, at an event hosted by Geronimo Inns. At their Fentiman Arms gastro pub, Oval, they paired 10 courses of food with some extraordinary cyders by Aspall, with the aim of educating attendees about cyder’s true diversity and range.
Leeds seems to be undergoing somewhat of a regeneration at the minute. With the new Trinity Centre and countless new restaurants and bars springing up, Leeds I dare say is becoming exciting again. There’s a new (ish guy) in town. Opened just a few months and sitting in La Senza’s old, high-street spot is Byron. The ever popular London chain has set up shop in Leeds. It’s out with the old nylon panties and in with a spanking new burger joint.
Byron’s menu is simple, a range of nibbles to start and 8 burgers (if you include veggie and chicken). Byron’s focus is on doing a simple thing well. This should be lauded. They say variety is the spice of life - however a line must be drawn. Endless variations on what is essentially brilliant in its simplicity get on my la Senza padded tits. However, Byron do offer a special patty every few months or so to maintain that spice of life. I came down specially to try Byron’s new flavour of the month, ‘The Shady’; their standard 6 oz patty, cooked as you like, accompanied with pickle relish and crispy cheese, American cheese, onion and ketchup.
If, like me, at times the green fields beyond London call to you and a vacation from sweaty Oxford Street beckons, I know just the place. Head north of London; head out along the West Way past Harrow and into the green wilds. Admittedly, ‘wilds’ may be too dramatic a word to describe the polite and rolling hills of rural Buckinghamshire, but do allow me this one small extravagance. In a terribly English village called Great Missenden you’ll find Peterley Manor Farm. The Brill family have farmed this estate for 4 generations, producing fruit, vegetables and Christmas trees. The farm has a farm shop that manages to be both quaint and sizable. Excellent cheese, vegetables, meats and many other delights are sold there – it makes for a merry potter. However, the topic of my post is not this dear shop, its plant nursery, nor even its orderly rows of pick-your-own. For nestled on the farm estate is the real reason I’ll continue spurning the Big Smoke to face these Buckinghamshire wilds.
In a striking converted yurt erected amidst rows of pick-your-own berries and ringed by bales of hay, is the Wild Strawberry Café. This surprising enterprise, quite at odd with its surroundings, is run by eldest Brill daughter, Katy, recently returned to the family fold from a successful career as a private chef for the world’s rich and famous. Having cooked alongside this girl for many years, in my days of teaching cookery classes, I can vouch for both her talent and passion for truly stunning produce.
This year's stars for London are:
Restaurant Gordon Ramsey - Kensington/Chelsea
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester - Mayfair
Ledbury - Kensington
Marcus - Belgravia
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal -Hyde Park and Knightsbridge
Sketch - Mayfair
Helene Darroze at the Connaught - Mayfair
Le Gavroche - Mayfair
Square - Mayfair
Greenhouse - Mayfair
Hibiscus - Mayfair
(N) = New stars
Pied a Terre - Bloomsbury
Hakkasan Hanway Place - Bloomsbury
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs - Bloomsbury (N)
Dabbous - Bloomsbury
Club Gascon - City of London
City Social - City of London (N)
HKK - Shoreditch
Clove Club - Shoreditch (N)
Harwood Arms - Fulham
River Cafe - Hammersmith
La Trompette - Chiswick
Hedone - Chiswick
St John - Clerkenwell
Angler - Finsbury
Outlaws at the Capital - Chelsea
Rasoi - Chelsea
Launceston Place - Kensington
Kitchen W8 - Kensington
The Glasshouse - Kew
Story - Bermondsey
Galvin La Chapelle - Spitalfields
Chez Bruce - Wandsworth
Petrus - Belgravia
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction - Belgravia
Amaya - Belgravia
Fera at Claridges - Mayfair (N)
Alyn Williams at The Westbury - Mayfair
Murano - Mayfair
Galvin at Windows - Mayfair
Benares - Mayfair
Tamarind - Mayfair
Kai - Mayfair
Wild Honey - Mayfair
Brasserie Chavot - Mayfair
Gymkhana - Mayfair (N)
Pollen Street Social - Mayfair
Hakkasan Mayfair- Mayfair
Umu - Mayfair
Maze - Mayfair
Locanda Locatelli - Regents Park and Marylebone
Texture - Regents Park and Marylebone
L'Autre Pied - Regents Park and Marylebone
Lima - Regents Park and Marylebone
Trishna- Regents Park and Marylebone
Seven Park Place - Regents Park and Marylebone
Yauatcha - Regents Park and Marylebone
Arbutus - Soho
Social Eating House - Soho
Barrafina - Soho (N)
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Strand and Covent Garden
Quilon - Victoria
Loss of Stars:
Chapter One - Farnborough
Medlar - Chelsea
Tom Aitkens (Closed) - Chelsea
Viajante (Closed) - Bethnal Green
Aspleys (Closed) - Belgravia
Bo London (Closed) - Mayfair
Nobu - Mayfair
Nobu Berkeley - Mayfair
One Leicester Square (Closed) - Soho
Sous vide: the technique and gadget that has come to grace today’s menus and modern kitchens. For those of you unfamiliar with this, sous vide is the process of taking food, sealing it (seasoned or not) in a vacuum pack and poaching it in a water bath until succulent and perfect. Control is the key; it allows the cook minute control over temperature, thus texture and degree of cooking. It’s also bloody practical – you can pop as many vacuum bags in the bath as will fit and it’s almost impossible to overcook them.
But what home cook actually owns one of these? The kit is expensive and relatively cumbersome. The closest we can come to trying sous vide food much of the time is at the tables of fine dining establishments (or in mass catering, actually). However much I’d like this – it’s hardly reality.