Category Archives: Wine

Brasserie Chavot: Epic Flavour and Subtle Finesse in Mayfair

Contemporary French cuisine made with quality ingredients sourced from the British Isles and France? It’s a gorgeous idea – especially when executed by a capable chef such as Eric Chavot. A recent opportunity to taste my way through much of the menu at Brasserie Chavot proved a veritable feast of epic flavour and subtle finesse. Continue reading

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Faroes and Away: Koks Restaurant and Its New Nordic Kitchen

One especially delicious ‘just go’ reason to visit the Faroe Islands is the opportunity to dine at Koks restaurant. Located at Hotel Foroyar with sweeping views over the town of Torshavn and across the bay to the island of Nolsoy, the restaurant features haute cuisine dishes “designed to delight guests with the essence of Faroese culinary heritage” using ingredients almost exclusively sourced locally. For English speakers, the restaurant’s name might sound a bit unappetising, but don’t let that put you off … or expect anything salacious. It simply means “cooks” and is apt enough given the magic done there. Continue reading

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Get it Fast and Fresh at Vapiano Soho

Not the first (and probably not the last) Vapiano outlet to open in London, but the new Wardour Street location of this global restaurant group with its fast casual take on serving freshly made Italian cuisine was worthy of a visit and my recommendation. Continue reading

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy. Continue reading

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New Restaurant Review: INK, Bethnal Green

Definitely one of the most inventive and satisfying meals of the year, my dinner at newly opened INK was a sheer delight. Continue reading

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Restaurant Review: Granger & Co Clerkenwell

I had a lot of fun during my recent visit to Granger & Co Clerkenwell. Aussie restauranteur Bill Granger’s latest restaurant in a selective global portfolio – which includes a well established eatery in Notting Hill along with outlets in Sydney, Tokyo, and Hawaii – features a playfully palate pleasing menu served in a comfortable and lavishly spacious dining room. Here are a few highlights from my dinner. Continue reading

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4 Foodie Festivals in Italy This Summer (OneTravel)

Anytime is a good time to visit Italy, especially if you are a foodie! And this summer promises a delicious array of events for folks keen to have as many gourmet experiences as possible during their Italian vacation. Here’s a … Continue reading

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Eat Basel: A Tale of Two Surprise Menus

Luckily for me, eating well in Basel is a straightforward matter. Eating well and cheaply is another story all together. But affordable options can be found. Here’s the scoop on two “surprise” dinners I had while in Basel: one a rather upscale affair, the other decidedly low brow and mercifully low priced. I’ve also listed a few other quality venues for food and drink that I came across during my Basel city break. Continue reading

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Win a Discover the Origin Hamper Worth £60 Filled with Quality Food and Wine from Across Europe

Over the past few years I’ve been “discovering the origin” of five of Europe’s yummiest creations: Bourgogne Wines, Parma Ham, Douro Wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, and Port, five fine foods and wines with Protected Designation of Origin status. It’s been a lot of fun and definitely one of the most delicious topics I’ve ever written about. To celebrate the arrival of summer, a time for picnics and dining alfresco, I’ve teamed up with Discover the Origin to share more than just my words and offer one lucky reader a hamper full of exquisite products for free. Keep reading to find out how to play for a chance to win. Continue reading

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy. Continue reading

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Check Out Mikael Jonsson’s New Tartine Menu at Antidote Wine Bar

Under the guidance of Hedone’s Head Chef Mikael Jonsson (who’s been overseeing the menu at Antidote since it reopened earlier this year), the bar has introduced a new tartine menu available from noon to 5pm. Items are priced between £5 and £7.50 and can be had alongside a glass of house wine for an added three quid. Continue reading

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy. Continue reading

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy. RHS Chelsea Flower Show Did you … Continue reading

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Win a Mixed Case of Codorníu Cava Limited Edition Bottles

Heard about the Cava Revolution? Well, here’s a revolutionary idea – a chance to win a mixed case of Codorníu Cava Limited Edition bottles for free! Continue reading

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Pizza Union, Super Fast and Budget Friendly Pizza in Spitalfields

Kemey and I dropped by for a midweek early evening dinner at new(ish)ly opened Pizza Union near Liverpool Street for a taste of its “fire-baked” and “super fast” stone oven pizzas. And? We were pleased with this all day pizza bar’s no nonsense approach to offering customers something tasty and quick at a great price. Continue reading

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Win Dinner for Two at The Portman Pub & Restaurant – Courtesy of Zomato

Looking for a great night out in Central London? The Portman Pub & Restaurant near Marble Arch features a lively pub downstairs with a more subdued tablecloth serviced restaurant upstairs – not to mention an excellent menu and wine list. And thanks to a team up with online restaurant discover guide, Zomato, I’m offering one lucky reader the chance to enjoy a free dinner for two at this fine Marylebone gastropub. Continue reading

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RAW, the Artisan Wine Fair, Returns to London – 18 and 19 May

RAW – the Artisan Wine Fair – is a two-day celebration of some of the best wine talent in the world. Featuring over 150 growers, RAW is one of the most exciting collections of fine, natural, organic and biodynamic wine artisans ever to come together in the capital. Their wines are pure, kind to the planet, very possibly better for your health and best of all they’re absolutely delicious. Continue reading

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Discover The Douro (Great British Chefs)

Chris Osburn takes us on his journey of discovery in the Portuguese regions of Porto and the Douro Valley. The trip has clearly changed his views on Port as well as all wines from those areas he visited. Continue reading

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Codorníu Cava + Jose Pizarro and Ashika Mathews at Portobello Road Market – Saturday 10 May

The bright and bubbly folks behind Codorníu Cava “hitting the markets of Britain” with their Codorníu Cava Revolution to “spread the Cava love and bring the soul and vibrancy of Barcelona’s famous market – La Boqueria – to the UK.” This Saturday (10 May) they’ll be at Notting Hill’s Portobello Market from 8am to 7pm. Joining the Codorníu team will be wine expert Ashika Mathews as well as chef José Pizarro, who’ll be pairing the sparkling wine with his own tasty Spanish creations. Continue reading

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Win a Bijoux Afternoon Tea for Two at The Langham London

London’s historic home of the afternoon tea, The Langham London, is preparing once again to launch its annual Bijoux Afternoon Tea with Champagne Laurent-Perrier. To be served in the refined and elegant setting of the hotel’s Palm Court, the specially themed “Summer Season” tea will be available from 15 May to 6 July and priced at £52 per person (£65 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut). But guess what? Here’s a chance for one lucky reader to win tea for two for the price of a tweet. Continue reading

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Infinity Brunch at Aqua Kyoto

Upscale and great value in an elegant and easy to reach locale, the Infinity Brunch at swish Soho eatery, Aqua Kyoto, would be a wise addition to your bucket list of must-do London brunches. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Até Logo

If you’re into engaging with friendly salt-of-the-earth folks in a beautiful and largely rural setting, Portugal should be at the top of your list of destinations. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Herdade da Malhadinha Nova

My Portuguese adventure coming to a close, I was left with only one more night to savour before flying back to Blighty. Good thing my last night was in an absolutely fantastic setting! Otherwise, I might have started to doubt for a second the hospitality show to me throughout this lovely little country as well as the foodie expertise that’d gone into the execution of my Festival of Food itinerary. As the trip unfolded though, I never once questioned the restorative benefits of my adeptly planned week-long ramble through Portugal. Indeed, I arrived back home eager to share the stories of my time abroad. The story I’m sharing today is one of a luxury homestead that’s an easily recommendable destination: Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Evocative Evora

Leaving the Almojanda farm, I hit the open road for an afternoon in UNESCO World Heritage city of Evora. The hour and a half drive was pure scenic joy. I’d been to Evora before years ago and getting to go back there was a treat – and something I’d be happy to repeat several times over. Indeed, when talking with the Sunvil folks about the design of my Festival of Food itinerary I specified that I was especially keen to stop in Evora. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Eggs-cellent Time in Portalegre

Next on my Portugal Please road trip itinerary was the southern and sunny region of Alentejo where the appetising promise to “road test” the new Festival of Food offering from British tour operator, Sunvil, lay ahead. First stop in this gorgeous land of cork farms and vineyards … of ancient Moorish ramparts and prim churches hiding grandiose interiors … was the hilltop border town of Portalgre where I arrived just in time to attend the annual and eggy Feira de Doçaria Conventual for a taste of traditional sweets from the region and more. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Coimbra

Capital of Portugal during the Middle Ages with a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site university established in 1290 (making it the fifth oldest in the world), Coimbra is a city steeped in age old tradition yet imbued with a youthful spirit. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Suckling Pig Paradise, Bairrada

From Aveiro, I drove south to the town of Mealhada for a meal that had me squealing with piggy delight. Mealhada and its region of Bairrada (still within the greater region of Centro) seem to be the suckling pig capital of the world, where the main drag through town is lined with restaurant after restaurant boasting leitão à Bairrada (as suckling pig is called there). For my feast, I paid a visit to one of the most popular and best established eateries, the rather prosaically named Restaurante Típico da Bairrada. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Charming and Cheeky Aveiro

Know as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is an attractive little coastal canal-crossed town in the Centro region of Portugal. I spent a couple of days in this part of the country, marvelling at how awesome the region was yet how largely undiscovered by tourists it seemed to be. Pretty, walkable and full of lovely shops, bars and restaurants, Aveiro was a particularly fine place for my introduction to the area. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Amarante Quickie

Halfway between Provesende and Porto (or at least that’s how it seemed riding around in the press trip van), is Amarante. Like so many of the places I visited in Portugal, Amarante was sweet, cosy and somewhat kitsch without ever crossing over into being twee or cloying. With the others in my party needing to catch and flight (and me with a tight road trip itinerary of my own), I was really only in Amarante long enough for a short walk and (of course) a tasty snack. However, I saw enough to know I would love to return and reckon if you’re thinking about visiting Porto or the Douro Valley, you’d be wise to consider a stop in Amarante too. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Morgadio da Calçada

Situated atop a plateau yielding (yet more) beautiful panoramic views of the Douro River and its undulant valley, the tiny ancient village of Provesende was my final stop in the area. Here I took a quick wander round the village and a proper snoop inside 17th century mansion (with contemporary accommodations) Morgadio da Calçada. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Even More Douro Valley Quintas

No, I didn’t just lounge around at a couple of scenically situated hotels while in the Douro (although, that would be a terrifically recuperative way to spend one’s time). When I wasn’t enjoying my stay in the luxury laps of Quinta do Vallado and Quinta Nova, I was bopping all over the rest of the valley trying to visit as many different vineyards as possible – and loving every minute of it. Here are a few brief notes about the rest of the Douro Valley quintas I visited, including Quinta do Crasto, Quinta da Pacheca, Quinta do Panascal and Quinta do Seixo. Continue reading

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Portugal Please:  Quinta Novo de Nossa Senhora do Carmo

A lovingly restored 18th century manor cum 21st century four star hotel and the centrepiece of a lofty patchwork of vineyards rolling down to the Douro River: Quinta Novo de Nossa Senhora do Carmo was my home for a night. Leaving Vallado for a full-on day of winery visits around the Douro, my second evening in this idyllic valley wound down in equal parts elegance and comfort. Continue reading

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Portugal Please:  Sniffing Around Quinta do Vallado

After a quick sightseeing jaunt and overnight stay in Porto, I was off to the Douro Valley for a few days of scenic sipping. My first night there, I had the ultra-luxe pleasure of spending some time – and a very restful night – at Quinta do Vallado. To put it plainly, I loved everything about this place. It hurt a little to have to leave and I’m aching to return for another chance to admire in situ this wine hotel’s blend of tradition with modern design; savour more of its homey food; and, of course, enjoy its fabulous wines. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Porto

My Portugal Please tour commenced in the compact and cosy city of Porto, which proved to be an excellent gateway to the Douro Valley and a fine place to visit in and of itself. If you’re looking for somewhere to visit for a city break, Porto is only a two hour flight away from London with plenty to see and do and eat and drink and browse and buy. Here are some highlight from my all too brief time there. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Wão. What a Trip!

Does it ever seem like far too many folks are stuck in the same tired rut of a far too well beaten path, only hitting a few main sites in a short selection of only a few Western European countries – namely Spain, France, and Italy – and never realising that there’s so much more to explore just as close, just as scenic, just as steeped in tradition … and often accessible at far greater value than most of the EU? Not you and me though. We’re going to Portugal! Continue reading

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