Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition: Scarcity-Waste at Somerset House

Lasse Bak Mejlvang (Denmark), Smokey Mountain. Location- Manila, Philippines
Lasse Bak Mejlvang (Denmark), Smokey Mountain. Location- Manila, Philippines

Syngenta Photography Award winners have been announced and their works are now on show in an exhibition at Somerset House centred round the themes of scarcity and waste.

The show is a freebie and certainly worth checking out. Subject matter is rather a bummer but important to consider (do “we” in the “rich world” really have any idea what happens to our trash once it’s tossed in the bin and out of sight?) and thoughtfully exhibited through especially engaging photography. Viewers should leave the exhibition with at least a glimmer of hope for a more equitable future with less careless use of resources as recent initiatives dealing with the dire consequences of scarcity and attempting to reduce waste significantly are highlighted throughout.

Particularly engaging pieces in the show include Camille Michel’s images of material “abandonment” in Greenland; Richard Allenby-Pratt’s photos documenting the waste and mind-boggling scale of rapid development in the UAE; and Lasse Bak Mejlvang’s captures of daily life in Manilas Smokey Mountain community built in and around a city landfill.

Syngenta Photography Award 2015: Scarcity-Waste is open to the public now and runs until 10 April at East Wing Galleries, Somerset House, WC2R 1LA. Admission is Free. Find out more at scarcitywaste.syngentaphoto.com.

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Get Lucky Riding with Addison Lee over St Patrick’s Day Weekend

LUCKY10

To celebrate its Irish roots, Addison Lee – Europe’s largest minicab company – is offering £10 off journeys this St Patrick’s Day weekend. There’s no need to search for any pot at the end of the rainbow, simply use this code: LUCKY10 to tap into the savings. The codes is available to customers from 7am Sunday 15 March to 7am 16 March, and valid for postcodes around the St Patrick’s Day Parade area (WC2, SW1, W1).

You’ll need the luck of the Irish to get around London on public transport this Sunday as 150,000 people are set to descend on the capital to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. To ensure the only headaches that need to be dealt with are those the following morning, Addison Lee has created a celebratory promo code, LUCKY10, to help Londoners get around town.

To celebrate its Irish roots, Addison Lee is offering the code to customers travelling to or from postcodes around the St Patrick’s Day Parade at Trafalgar Square (WC2, SW1 and W1). The code is valid on Sunday 15th March and redeemable once per customer.

Now in its 14th year, the St Patrick’s Day Parade sees a host of fantastic floats, merry marching bands and traditional Irish dancers make their way down Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square from 12pm on Sunday 15th March.

T&C

The LUCKY10 code can be redeemed via app and website bookings only and is only valid if pick up or drop off is in postcodes WC2, SW1 and W1.
Offer is available for card booking and standard cars only, not cash.
Timings: 7am 15 March to 7am 16 March 2015.

Find out more at addisonlee.com.

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Win a Night Out in Notting Hill with Yelp and Bubbleology

Win a Night Out in Notting Hill with Yelp and Bubbleology

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

As mentioned a few days back, I’m doin’ the cahoots boogie with Yelp London in a masterfully orchestrated effort to help slide a side of super fun your way. First up on the Yelping with tikichris agenda is the chance for you and a guest to join us Friday 27 March at Bubbleology in Notting Hill for an exclusive “After Dark” tasting. Keep reading to find out how to win a place at the party.

Yelp’s Afterhours Bubble Tea event takes place Friday 27 March from 6.30pm at the Bubbleology “lab” near the Notting Hill Gate Tube station for a night of sweets, treats and teas. Bubbleology will provide plenty of samples of all their most popular flavours as well as three “Alcoholic” bubble tea concoctions not sold in shops.

The guest list over on the Yelp page dedicated to this event is full up with RSVP hopefuls. But check it out! I can get two tikichris readers with a guest each on the list. Pop!

To be in with a chance to win a spot for you and a guest at the Yelp After Dark Bubble Tea event, simply tweet the following:

RT to win a spot +1 at @yelplondon’s #AfterDarkBubbleTea party with @tikichris at @Bubbleology in #NottingHill: http://bit.ly/18e2Edx

Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick two winners at random on Tuesday 17 March at 5.30pm BST. Each winner will be invited along with a guest to attend the After Dark Bubble Tea party at Bubbleology Notting Hill hosted by Yelp London on Friday 27 March from 6.30pm. You will need to be of legal drinking age with valid ID to be able to drink alcoholic beverages. Good luck.

About Bubbleology

Bubbleology is a sensational British brand that has taken the high streets of London by storm. The products are delicious, with the environment vibrant and fun. The essence of Bubbleology is all about invention and creativity, and customers are encouraged to be their own mixologist and customise their flavours in store. Each of Bubbleology’s locations is designed in a quirky, laboratory style, which perfectly represents the brand’s true innovative nature.

Bubbleology Notting Hill is located at 45 Pembridge Road, W11 3HG.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Soho

LDP 2015.03.12 - Soho

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Shackfuyu: Japanese Fun Food Pops Up in Soho

Shackfuyu - DSC06371

The izakaya good times keep rolling with another Bone Daddies opening in Central London. This one, Shackfuyu, is a pop-up in a failed pizzeria on Soho’s Old Compton Street. Is it worth a visit? Here’s a nuanced take on the Nippon inspired nosh I tried there last week.

Shackfuyu’s menu provides a delectably fun read but skews toward the expensive side of a casual dining. £2.50 each for the tasty but tiny yellowtail sashimi tostado with avocado shiso seemed especially egregiously priced. That said, if prices at most Zone 1 restaurants don’t make you wince these days, you should disregard completely such a critique. Also, if you’re apt to congregate often in Central London with a group of avid foodies keen to sample a range of treats over a few drinks, you probably wouldn’t find the Shackfuyu damage to be all that upsetting or unusually expensive. 

 Poor folk grumbling out of my system, the things I loved about my Shackfuyu visit were many. First off and as at Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns, the mostly heavy metal soundtrack in the background was total ear candy for me. Walking into a restaurant right as Judas Priest’s Breakin’ the Law began to play made my meal seem chopstick-clenchingly epic. Yeah! Unlike other Bone Daddies joints though, the music was at a level low enough to actually be able to hold a coherent conversation. Cheers. 

 Booth seating was comfy. Service was swift and friendly. 

 As for the food, the USDA beef picanha with kimchee tare butter (200g, £12.50) came excessively recommended. It was good but not nearly as memorably delish as humbler and cheaper dishes like the ultra yummy beef hot stone rice with goma tare and chilli (£7.20) and the miso aubergine with bubu arare (£5.80). My meal ended well with French toast and green tea soft serve ice cream (£6). 

Probably what I liked most about my visit was getting to try Koshihikari Echigo Beer (500ml bottle, £10.20) for the first time. Beer snobs who go nuts for mega ales might not see the point of this crisp and delicate rice beer (and yeah ten quid seems like a lot for beer, even 500ml of it), but I reckon it paired super well with Japanese flavours and certainly went down easy. 

 Shackfuyu is located at 14a Old Compton Street, W1D 4TJ. Find out more at bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu.

   

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6 Blogs to Read Before You Visit Lima (OneTravel)

Lima, Peru

From being home to what currently is considered to be the world’s hippest cuisine to its role as a Gateway to the majestic Andes and amazing sights such as Machu Picchu, Lima is an awesome destination.

Here’s a look at a few local blogs offering insight to help you make the most of your visit.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Hollow Bodied/Cloud Reflections

LDP 2015.03.11 - Hollow Bodied

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Good Stuff

Morty & Bobs' - DSC_5028

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.

Morty & Bob’s Pop-Up at the Hat & Tun

Oh man, the press launch for Morty & Bob’s pop-up at Clerkenwell’s cosy Hat & Tun was super cheesy. And that’s a good thing! M&B do toasties right. The pop-up commences on Wednesday 18 March and will run 5.30pm to 9pm on the 18th, 19th and 20th and then the following week on the 25th, 26th and 27th. Punters will have a choice of three grilled cheese sandwiches: The Straight-up (signature grilled cheese with mixed onions, £5); Mushroom & Truffle (grilled cheese with sautéed mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil, £6 – add bacon for £1 extra); and The Hock (grilled cheese with smoked ham hock, M&B relish and English mustard, £7). Which is best? I reckon it’s a toss up between The Straight-up and the Mushroom & Truffle.

Freekeh from Merchant Gourmet

An ancient grain soon to hit your supermarket shelf, freekeh is lightly roasted green wheat popular in the Middle East. I’ve had a sneak peek of Merchant Gourmet’s easy to serve (and to digest) freekeh. It’s yummy. Keep an eye out for it.

Green & Black’s Organic Thin

Green & Black’s has launched a new “thin” bar (only 8” thick) made of organic Trinitario cocoa beans and Fairtrade ingredients in four flavours. I really liked the salted caramel.

Grow for Flavour by James Wong

James Wong’s book Grow for Flavour is out now. I crashed the launch party at The Sanderson and was impressed with the tips James shared that I came across flipping through his book.

Posted in Books, Celebrities, Chocolate, Drink, Food, Good Stuff, pubs, restaurants, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanese Tapas and More at Lazeez, Duke Street

Lazeez Lebanese Tapas - DSC_5016

One of the tastiest lunches I’ve had in quite some while was recently enjoyed at the few months old Lazeez restaurant on Duke Street across from Selfridges.

Far from reinventing the wheel or redefining what’s already well established, Lazeez offers a delicious range of classic Middle Eastern dishes made to share and prepared with fresh ingredients. What a refreshing concept!

Items I loved during my meal include a freshly made lemon and mint juice (£3.45); fried aubergine (with butter and topped with cheese, £5.50); kellaj (charcoal grilled Lebanese bread filled with halloumi and mint, £5.50); lamb
meatballs (with tomato sauce, £5.95); and chicken livers (with lemon sauce, coriander and pomegranate sauce, £6.75). Falafel and hummus were both top notch as well – as yummy as one would hope from a Lebanese restaurant.

I was happy to wind down my mini-feast with a double espresso of illy (£2.75) served with some complimentary baklava.

As mentioned, I was there for lunch, during the week … and pretty much had the place to myself. I reckon with the cocktail bar, offer of Lebanese beer and wine, and the shisha the atmosphere is different in the evening. My guess is service would remain prompt and friendly, the dining area would be just as impeccably clean and the food still would hit the spot.

Lazeez is located at 29 Duke Street, W1U 1LH. Find out more at lazeeztapas.co.uk.

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Kimonoé Kyoto at Atomica Gallery

kimonoe Kyoto illustration by Illustated Moodboard, installation by Create Mood

New to the Atomica Gallery Soho from March 9th, Kimonoé seeks to weave together the threads of ceremonial Japanese fashion with modern utility to find a place for a new breed of kimono in fast-paced, multi-cultural London. In artist Tomo Shinya’s debut show, contemporary luxury and traditional elegance are the bywords. Maddie Salters shares her experience from a recent Kimonoé presentation at the gallery.

Called Kimonoé, the é is representative of dialectical speech in Kyoto, kimono’s stronghold in Japan. Still used by refined Geisha, the é sound is a soft but dignified to the Japanese ear, exuding inner strength. Upon entering the gallery, a small look book of Shinya’s work, tied in silk, is offered. The pages portray women sitting portraiture style, their faces shaded so that they might represent the everywoman, their forceful profiles in contrast to the gentle drapes and delicate folds of the modernized kimono they wear, echoing this principal of é.

The Atomica Gallery welcomes guests into an intimate space where it is easy to reckon how white-washed walls can transform to fit any theme. For Kimonoé, blue tiles have been set out across the floor, creating an urban pond on which lilies float, their origami petals printed over in the daily news. Playful paper curls and flowers around the gallery harken to the colourful traditions of the Japanese Tanabata festival, and clash with childish fancy against the sobriety and ritual patterns of Shinya’s work.

Perhaps that is because, for Shinya, it is about childhood. Having launched her brand in 2011, her clothes were inspired by growing up in a family of textile manufacturers. Exposed to the plight of tourists and Japanese youth who continually desire to clothe themselves in the rich history and resplendent patterns of kimono, but find the difficult folds, multiple layers, and expensive fabrics too treacherous to navigate, Tomo combined her passion for the family trade with her desire to find a place for it among the collective consciousness of her new home in London. Hanging in racks along the walls of the gallery is her dream realized.

The luxury kimono are shorter than the traditional style, and instead of thick obe belts, they come with stylish waist slings. High quality wool and silks come in dark, rough blends for winter warmth, and light, springlike bolts of vibrant, floral fabric for more show-stopping pieces. The outer fabrics of each piece are each selected by Shinya from manufacturers in Japan, and the contrasting inner lining is hand-dyed in a colour of her choosing, intended to best compliment her initial pick. Each kimono robe is hand-made overseas, and each is an individual, bespoke piece. Incredibly versatile, this crossing-over of vintage motifs with progressive form and flow caters to London’s need for speed and style.

But are they really ready to hit the city streets?

Shinya thinks the answer is yes. “They’re very wearable,” she insists, “And you can wear them with anything, from converse to high heels.”

Proving her own point, the artist-du-jour wore a professional, woolen black kimono with punchy pink lining over a formal cocktail dress, which was stylish on her. Her on-the-rack designs range from bohemian bold, to very romantic, to quirky. “The quirkiest we have uses a tartan pattern,” she confesses, “I like to think about what’s popular overseas when I make my selections…” just so long, she assures, as they don’t deviate too completely from the Japanese aesthetic. Her kimono keep their long, narrow collars, their playful juxtaposition of colours, and their flowing sleeves, proving that she has indeed managed to create something modern women will want to wear while still honouring her roots with hard work and progress.

Complimenting her theme, the gallery’s art installation by Charlie Roberts shows women in various stages of their day, going about activities ranging from business to leisure, sport to play. The quirky watercolours form an idea of where you might wear one of Shinya’s kimono, and what type of woman might do so: namely anyone, anywhere. With a strong focus on female friendship and bonding, it brings a sense of femininity and versatility to the exhibit.

The event was sponsored by another company fond of cross-overs, Rebel Drinks, whose blend of Japanese matcha tea with the modern-day health food king, coconut water, proved a great refresher while browsing the wares.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Kimonoé, and I don’t think that’s just the punch talking. The juxtaposition of the forbidden world of kimono that I as a foreigner (and a modern women) might never otherwise experience is broken wide open. Set up against a backdrop of women driving, primping, and just hanging out, Kimonoé dares us to challenge our ideas of fashion and dive into the unknown with relish. There were a few kimono on display that I myself wanted to wear, to dinner, to the park, and beyond- easy statement pieces with enough artful impact to really qualify as something special.

Check out Kimonoé for yourself at kimonoe-kyoto.com, or visit the the Atomica Gallery at 7 Green’s Court, W1F 0HQ. All pieces are for sale. Find out more about the gallery at atomicagallery.com.

Written by Maddie Salters, a native New Yorker who has lived abroad for half of her life – from cities spanning Montreal to Osaka. While there’s still a lot on her “to trek” list, she has currently landed with both feet firmly in London. As a seasoned travel writer and cultural essayist, you can find her work on TripAdvisor, and in print in Wanderlust Magazine and other international publications.

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London Daily Photo: Bethnal Green Road

LDP 2015.03.10 - Bethnal Green Road

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The 5 Best New York Pizzerias Outside of The City (OneTravel)

NY State Pizza

Do you “heart” New York pizza? What if I told you some of the tastiest pies are actually baked beyond the bridges and tunnels of New York City? Foodies worth their crust know that you can head upstate or out to Long Island, and still get a fantastic slice.

Have a look at this list of some of New York State’s best pizzerias.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Monday Morning

LDP 2015.03.09 - Monday Morning

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Tequila with Zing

World of Zing Flavoured Salt - DSC_5009

Okay, I’ll try to keep this post on message, but the info is kind of all over the place. So, if the text gets a bit unwieldy, just keep these points in mind: World of Zing’s new range of Flavoured Salts is delicious; the salts pair especially well with Tequila Ocho – the world’s first single field (and still only?) premium tequila – for a most flavoursome margarita, and a fine bar for enjoying said cocktails is El Nivel near Covent Garden. Oh yeah, one more thing: World of Zing and Tequila have teamed up to launch a bottled Persian Lime and Nori Margarita cocktail. It’s yet to hit the market, but based on the sips I took a tasting a few weeks back, I can confirm it’s a lip smacker that’s well worth a wait. I reckon it’d make a terrific thirst quencher served just about anywhere you hanker to have it.

WoZ’s new flavoured salts come in ten flavours. The base is Breton sea salt. Highlights include hibiscus, Mexican cactus, and smoked apple wood. WoZ sells ‘em for £1.85/100g packet.

I had a taste of the range at El Nivel, a comfortable and decidedly non-kitsch setting (located above – and associated with – La Perla restaurant) for enjoying tequila, mezcal and cocktails paired with Mexican tapas. I’ll be back. And when I do, I’ll be apt to ask for some more “vintage” Tequila Ocho (always associated with the aforementioned restaurant).

Similar to wine labeling, Ocho’s “Tequila vintage” signifies the exact year or harvest and location of the Agave plants that the spirit was derived from, underscoring the relationship between the terroir and raw materials that’s fundamental to its small batch, artisanal production.

Bringing all WoZ and Ocho together in one gorgeous is the soon to be released aged and bottled Persian Lime and Nori Margarita. I frickin’ loved this stuff – such an ideal blend. You can preorder a 500ml bottle of this gorgeous mix for £24.95 online at worldofzing.com while shopping for flavoured salts and all sort of treats.

Find out more about Tequila Ocho at ochotequila.com.

El Nivel is located at 28 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS. Visit the bar online at elnivel.co.uk.

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Yelp + tikichris? Big Fun to Come!

Yelp

Hey folks, this is just a quick post to let y’all know I’m teaming up with Yelp London to cohost a series of special events, offers, freebies and more.

Essentially, I’m catching a ride with the popular crowd sourcing review site to highlight some of my favourite places around town and also share with you lovely readers info about awesome Yelp happenings that I reckon would be of interest to you but might not be on your radar.

Alex (Yelp London’s community director) and crew organise really awesome things for active Yelpers. And I’m aiming to do the same for tikichris fans. So, be on the lookout for free treats and VIP access at some of London’s most amazing London venues, compliments of Yelp and this humble little blog.

Stay tuned and thanks!

Posted in Discounts and Special Offers, London, Yelping with tikichris | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Daily Photo: (F)OY(L)ES

LDP 2015.03.08 - (F)OY(L)ES

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Bar Termini: Best Thing to Happen to Soho in Ages?

Bar Termini - DSC_4975

Been to Bar Termini yet? If yes, give this review a quick skim, nod in agreement, and head back over to this understated and stylish bolthole of good taste. I’ll see ya there (and probably soon)! But if you haven’t been so fortunate, have a read why I reckon the bar is one of the best spots to open in Soho in a long time. Then make plans to get over there ASAP … and if you’re hoping to drop by in the evening, spare yourself any disappointment and book a table first.

Whether you’re passing near Old Compton Street in the early morning in need of a quick shot of espresso (for a mere quid) or you’re looking for a cosy place to sip sophisticated cocktails well into the night – with a delectable assortment of other reasons to drop by stretching across the rest of the day – this tiny (seats 25) bar brought to you by cocktail mastermind Tony Conigliaro (of The Bar with No Name fame) and extreme espresso geek Marco Arrigo (Head of Quality at illy Coffee) is an ideal setting.

First off the coffee is pulled perfectly – with more barman confidence than barista flair. And if you’re one to poo-poo illy over more hipster-centric cups, you’re missing out on some of the best-blended and most balanced coffee on the market.

Food is amazing too – as long as you realise the snack menu really is just that. The short list of small dishes is there to keep you going until you can have a full meal, augment your drinking, or whet your appetite for further foodie endeavors. That said everything I’ve nibbled while there was gorgeous. Allow me to rave particularly about the Pomodoro Tartare (£6), a super savoury tomato “tartare” (don’t worry, it’s vegetarian) served with Mucchino cheese and fresh basil. The bar does a good range of Italian cheeses and cured meats as well (have the coppa). Mercifully, Termini does a £1 mini-panini too.

So with the 10g Espresso al Bar and the mini-panini, you can slide in and out in a jiffy, feeling fairly satiated for only £2.

Boozier offerings impress immensely. I dare you to come across a more considered list of aperitifs in this town. I loved the Terroir (distillates of flint, clay, and lichen, £8) cocktail and am longing to return for a more thorough investigation of the bottle aged Negroni.

I don’t think there’s a drink over £8 at the moment. A Peroni (250ml) sets you back £3. There’s a quality but very limited selection of wines.

Service is old school and on the ball. Staff wears white jackets come dusk.

Efficient, elegant, and easy on the budget (for Soho these days anyway), Bar Termini is located at 7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE. Find out more at bar-termini.com.

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On Safari with Chef Chavot (Great British Chefs)

Chef Eric Chavot at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Do you know what’s better than going on safari at one of South Africa’s most luxurious private game reserves? Going on safari at one of South Africa’s most luxurious private game reserves. Then heading back to the reserve’s award winning and eco friendly lodge for a multi-course dinner prepared by a Michelin star chef and presented in the lodge’s wine cellar, stacked deep in bottles from a ‘who’s who’ assortment of some of South Africa’s most renowned wineries. Such was my life all too briefly during a ‘pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming’ press trip to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve near (as in across the Sand River from) world famous Kruger National Park.

I had been invited to Sabi Sabi to tag along with London-based chef, Eric Chavot and write about him implementing a new consultant chef partnership at the reserve’s legendary Earth Lodge. Legendary?

Read my complete post at Great British Chefs.

Posted in Drink, Food, London, Luxury, restaurants, South Africa, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

March Issue of UK Cigar Scene Out Now

Ranald MacDonald

The third issue of the monthly UK Cigar Scene Magazine is now online and ready for download. Each issue of UK Cigar Scene is free to download and includes a video interview with a key cigar personality along with news of events, gossip, and more stogie related info celebrating the specialists, their staff and the many personalities who enjoy a fine cigar here “in one of the world’s most energetic cigar scenes.”

The magazine is the creation of proprietor and editor (and my long time acquaintance), Nic Wing, with the March issue featuring an interview with Ranald MacDonald, whose Boisdale restaurant was London’s first cigar bar one of the world’s leading experts on Cuban cigars. As with previous issues, I was pleased to do the photography for the interview.

Have a look at ukcigarscene.com.

Posted in Freebies, interview, London, Luxury, Shopping, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: Bethnal Green Road

LDP 2015.03.07 - Bethnal Green Road

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Have a Happy Holi Reading These Great India Blogs (OneTravel)

Holi

Happy Holi everyone!

The ancient Hindu religious festival welcoming spring continues to gain popularity around the world. For some especially vibrant writing about this celebration known as the festival of colours or the festival of love, have a look at these four fantastic Indian blogs.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Turville Street

LDP 2015.03.06 - Turville Street

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Could Your Pooch be a PiCKUP Ninja? #chocninja

Could Your Pooch be a PiCKUP Ninja? #chocninja

As Crufts 2015 opens its doors today with parades of perfectly pampered pooches, another dog competition is launching nationwide, and anyone can get involved. Yes, that’s right, the hunt is on across the UK for the final canine contestant to take part in PiCKUP’s Dogs that Demand Respect/Ninja Apprentice Championships. PiCKUP biscuits contain chocolate so sacred they have to be protected by their very own Ninja Chihuahua, who is now searching high and low for the right dog to help with this crucial task.

Competition for the ninja apprenticeship is fierce as research reveals that three quarters of all dog owners claim that their dog has special skills, and 66% of Londoners believe that their canine is more intuitive than their human partner! Does your dog have the right stuff to protect PiCKUP’s crisp and chocolaty biscuits and defend them with ninja honour?

Watch the below video and visit PiCKUP’s Facebook page to find out more.

Has Britain gone to the dogs?

Recent research conducted for PiCKUP revealed some decidedly doggone facts about Brits and their love of dogs (and disdain for other humans). Check it out:

• 70% of British adults, and 76% of Scottish adults, would trust a fictional dog over a current political leader;
• Of the ‘most trustworthy’ candidates, 35% chose Lassie, 35% chose Gromit, 14% chose David Cameron, 7% chose Ed Miliband, 6% chose Nigel Farage and 3% chose Nick Clegg;
• 73% of dog owners believe their dogs do have ‘special skills’;
• 66% of Londoners think their dog is more intuitive than their partner.

The research was carried out online by TNS via the CAWIOmnibus “OnLine Bus” between 10 – 12 February 2015 amongst a panel resulting in 1000 adults GB Adults aged 16-64. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

Ninja Biscuits?

By the way, have you tried PiCKUP’s new Black ‘N’ White biscuits? I’ll let you guess what other brand of cookies these treats most resemble (but are much tastier than). Personally, I think they’re delish (though I might still prefer the Classic milk chocolate PiCKUP in all honesty. Find them at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and independent shops across the UK.

Discover plenty more yummy fun at pickupbiscuits.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Street Strider

LDP 2015.03.05 - Street Strider

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Good Stuff

Lion Dance at Shikumen - DSC_4880

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.

Ceru

This Levantine pop-up located in Fitzrovia offers a great range of Mediterranean and Middle East inspired dishes. Items I loved during a recent launch party include pancar (roast beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and pistachio nuts) and a gorgeous and tender slow roasted lamb shoulder with shawarma spices, fresh pomegranate and pistachio dressing. Ceru’s ice cream baklava (pistachio ice cream, roast nut brittle, and burnt honey caramel) was even yummier than it sounds. I’m not sure how long these folks plan to stay put. So the best advice I can give is to get there soon.

Shikumen

It seems like ages ago now, but I had a delicious fun at the Chinese New Year launch party at Shikumen restaurant. Shikumen has two locations in London: one at the Dorsett Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush (where I had such a good time) and another in Ealing. Go for the crispy aromatic duck!

Smoked Salmon Bacon - DSC06349

Smoked Salmon Bacon

Worth cooking up for the aroma alone, new to the market smoked salmon bacon from Simple Salmon is made from 100% premium Scottish Atlantic salmon. My sample rashers disappeared quick. I would be keen to devour again! Get it at Whole Foods Market and online via Ocado.

Tonino Lamborghini Vodka

With a fancy bottle, snazzy and immediately recognisable logo, and hefty price tag to match, Tonino Lamborghini Vodka is the ultimate wow factor spirit. I had a taste recently at The Westbury’s super swank Club No 41 which is one of very few places in the world where you can try this premium triple distilled vodka. In London at the moment you can find Tonino Lamborghini Vodka at Funky Buddha, Dstrkt, and Beauchamp Bar as well.

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7 Exciting Events Announced in Tahiti for 2015 (OneTravel)

Tahiti

As if you needed to come up with an excuse to visit Tahiti, a range of exciting events has been announced for the island chain, providing visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in Tahitian culture and to celebrate, spectate and participate in a variety of festivities making the most of this Polynesian paradise.

Highlights of the 2015 calendar include the following events …

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Denmark Street Reflections

LDP 2015.03.04 - Denmark Street Reflections

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Interview with Chris Osburn (Artsper)

Artsper Interview

Contemporary art site, Artsper, got in touch recently to see if I was up for an interview? Gab about art, photography, London and my humble self? Sure!

American expatriate living in London Chris Osburn has created his own Lifestyle blog in 2006 called tikichris. In tikichris you will find information about travels, culture and lifestyle and also some articles about photography his other passion. Artsper wanted to know more.

Read the complete interview at Artsper.

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London Daily Photo: High Viz Breakfast

LDP 2015.03.03 - High Viz Breakfast

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Perfect Pies + Great Gins at Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

Punch Tavern - DSC06299

So this week is British Pie Week, with pubs and eateries that serve the traditional dish doing up special pie menus and such to capitalise on the occasion. I think marketing initiatives like this are kind of silly and a little bit annoying. But hey, I love pie as much as the next guy and reckon early March is as good a time as any to indulge in this heartiest of dishes. Besides, making mention of the week is a perfect excuse to talk about one of my favourite pubs – Punch Tavern – and to rave about its award winning pies.

Not my first (or last) time to dine at Punch, I recently paid a visit to see if this 118 year old Fleet Street mainstay still lived up to the 2014 Great Taste awards it had won for its pies. I can vouch for the cauliflower cheese pie (£11) and the steak and Doom Bar Ale pie (£13) – both served with ample and satisfying mash, veg and gravy. Puds are ace here too – love the sticky toffee pudding (£4.50).

Another smart date to write about Punch would be during Gin Week (assuming there is such a block of days in the calendar) as the tavern has a fantastic list of gins – close to 50 varieties actually, served in a 50ml measure with fever tree tonic in Copa Glass from £5 to £10. Back to the vouching, the Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin with added ginger beer kick is a flavourfully refreshing drink, while a G&T made with Boodles (allegedly Winston Churchill’s preferred gin) was an especially delicious cocktail.

And another great reason for you to read this post is that (to the best of my knowledge), Punch is still running its 25% discount for customers mentioning the tikichris special that I sorted out with the pub last year.

Punch Tavern is located at 99 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1DE. Find out more at punchtavern.com.

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London Daily Photo: Pellicci

LDP 2015.03.02 - Pellicci

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Review: Mark Little #SecretMeetings at the Museum of Comedy

Mark Little

I had a hoot this past Thursday night attending one of Mark Little’s so called (and duly hashtagged) #SecretMeetings at the Museum of Comedy. The Olivier award winning comedian had his small audience of “comrades” in stitches for most of the show with astute and politically charged observations presented in a madcap if thoughtful manner with an ample dose of off the cuff and self effacing improv alongside plenty of zany antics ensuring nothing was taken too seriously.

Mark’s next “meeting” convenes this Thursday evening, followed by more shows every Thursday through March. Tickets cost £10 (£7.50 for concessions), which is superb value for the amount of hilarity you can expect.

The Museum of Comedy is located at The Undercroft, St Georges Church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2SR. For more information and to book tickets, go to museumofcomedy.com.

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Bah Bah Persian Pop-up at The King & Co

Bah Bah

Usually, Leila Dukes would start a post with some sort of a preamble. But in the case of the Bah Bah Persian pop-up at Clapham pub, The King & Co, Leila’s so excited that she’s going to cut to the chase – the quicker you get the message that you must go as soon as possible to Bah Bah, the better! It’s only on until the end of March so time really is of the essence.

For those of you who don’t know, “bah bah” is what Persians say when something is especially appetizing; it’s the equivalent of “mmm” or “yummy” and a very apt name for the cooking from Bah Bah’s founder and head chef James Nicholson.

Like me, James has an Iranian mother and grew up on Persian food. Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine is finally starting to get the recognition and reputation it deserves which is brilliant. James is flying the flag in an innovative way; as he pointed out, you can get excellent Persian food in London if you know where to look, but never in a pub! Or in Clapham!

The King & Co is a relatively new independent freehouse, launched in September 2014. It’s a great place with a diverse selection of craft beers and interesting food; the pub hosts lots of different kitchen residencies. After Bah Bah there is word of a Ghanaian pop-up moving in.

The food served by the Bah Bah team definitely has a bit of a British accent; it is a more modern adaptation of traditional Persian dishes, often done in a very clever way.

If you go to an old-school Persian place you will be served huge mountains of buttery saffron rice and vast platters of chelo kabob with bread the size of tablecloths.

James and his team have a more refined approach and serve small plates inspired by classic bright, fragrant Persian flavours.

The best small plates are the kufteh (lamb and dried fruit meatballs with pomegranate and pistachios) – addictively moreish and juicy. The kookoo sabzi(a sort of frittata loaded with herbs, walnuts and barberries) is really good, as is the bademjan (smoked aubergine with yoghurt) – although I do think James should use the traditional kashk (whey) instead of yoghurt for the distinctive tangy flavour.

Pirashki, crepes filled with spiced beef, was new to me. James said the dish is actually Russian in origin (quite a few Persian dishes are originally from Russia, such as salad olivieh, a rich potato salad) and that this was a family favourite. I thought they were a little on the oily side but my partner in crime gobbled them up.

Bah Bah’s showstopper is the ghormeh sabzi, a hearty khoresh (slow cooked stew) I was practically raised on, made with small pieces of meat, kidney beans, dried limes and masses of herbs (usually a mix of parsley, fenugreek, chives and others) – it’s always served with fluffy basmati rice. James’s version is one of the best I’ve ever had; he uses beef shin with roasted bone marrow which gives an amazing unctuousness. So inspired to use this cut rather than the more typical lamb neck – it’s rich, full of flavour without being overly fatty, and perfect in a slow cooked dish like this. I am simultaneously thankful to James for giving me the idea, and kicking myself for not thinking of it first!
Luckily there are still a few weeks left before Bah Bah moves on to new pastures – James is considering a few opportunities for the future and is definitely one to watch.

I will be back again soon for more of that incredible ghormeh sabzi and to try the regularly changing specials such as roast quail, which had sadly sold out when we were there. The team is planning specials for Nowruz (Persian New Year aka the first day of spring), which will be an excellent time to visit.

Nush-e-jan!

Bah Bah’s residency at The King & Co ends Sunday 29 March 2015. The King & Co is located at 100 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7BZ. Find out more at thekingandco.uk.

Written by Leila Dukes. For Leila, “food is always connected to history, influenced by previous generations, different countries and customs, friends & family … it’s about learning, teaching, sharing, and celebrating. This review also appears on her blog, Swallower of Lives.

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London Daily Photo: Morning Team

LDP 2015.03.01 - Morning Team

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4 of the World’s Weirdest Museums (OneTravel)

Weird Museums

The Met? Meh. The Louvre? Over it. And the Smithsonian? So what, son!

Here’s a set of quirky and much more creatively curated museums for your consideration.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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