I attended a blogger event a couple of nights ago hosted by two of Central St Giles eateries, Cabana Brasilian Barbeque and Union Jacks. It was cool to see two restaurants literally only steps away from each other coming together to promote an attractive but otherwise kinda dead urban space (once all those offices and flats are filled it should be a different story – and there’s talk of a street market coming to the St Giles piazza too).
I’d already reviewed both restaurants (Cabana here, Union Jacks here and here). And, obviously, I was impressed enough to return to both. I’d be happy to plunk down my own money at either place in the future as well.
At Cabana, a small group of us learned how to make caipirinhas. Easy! And the thirst quenching reward of drinking a fresh one far outweighs any effort to mix it. We sampled some of the items from the menu too. I liked everything and enjoyed getting to try a few things that I hadn’t during my previous visit. I found the cochinhas to be especially tasty.
At Union Jacks, we were treated to flute after flute of England’s own Chapel Down vineyard’s sparkling wines along with a variety of items from the UJ menu. Delightful. The highlight of the whole evening was a spirted “how to” session from Union Jacks co-creator and head chef, Chris Bianco (the other half of the UJ equation is Jamie Oliver). American pizza dough maestro Bianco showed us the behind the scenes steps taken to make a wood fired oven baked flat (his and Jamies’ British take on pizzas) at the restaurant.
Bianco’s passion for and zen like approach to making the perfect pizza dough shined through as did a sense that this man truly loves doing what he seems to do best. In all honestly, I ventured out for some free food and drink with the hopes of maybe learning a bit more about the London restaurant scene; I came home feeling inspired and reinvigorated. Thanks Chris Bianco!