I don’t know about you but it feels like after much excitement about sunshine, we had about five minutes of summer and then it was gone. Already the schools are back, there’s dew on the grounds in the morning and the days of barbecues and G&Ts feel numbered. Then again, that means we get back to red wine, game and plenty of excuses to use food and drink to cheer ourselves up now the summer’s gone.
August was a busy month at Eat with Ellen HQ – I helped judge the Quality Food Awards (oh yes, that requires a LOT of eating), took my first visit to Chapel Down Winery in Kent (if you haven’t been, definitely take a day trip there) and celebrated my own wedding anniversary with (yes, you guessed it), a meal out and a few days away with Mr Ellen.
But enough about that – on to September’s food news. Just in case you’re feeling a bit blue at the return of school, work, routine, here’s my pick of new launches and indulgent treats to help you keep your pecker up.
German break-dancers, Hasselhoff karaoke, Bratwurst-eating challenges. What more could you ask for? It’s all on offer at the Shoreditch “Anti-Oktoberfest” which arrives in London on September 22nd and runs on several dates until October 6th.
It takes place at Last Days of Shoreditch and definitely isn’t a traditional Oktoberfest, so get prepared for what the organisers describe as a “spectacular, fully-immersive experience”.
But don’t worry, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunity for Bratwurst and weissbier – plus a whole lot more.
Last Days of Shoreditch, 288 Old St, London EC1V 9LA. Nearest station – Old Street
If it’s something a little more elegant you’re looking for, you need to get yourself to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge for an opera-themed afternoon tea.
The hotel is putting on its Opera Afternoon Tea to celebrate the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics.
Available from Saturday, September 30th to Sunday, November 19th, the special afternoon tea will include a selection of savouries and pastries inspired by the opera houses and cities featured in the V&A exhibition, from mini croissants to bruschetta and cured salmon on pumpernickel bread, plus homemade scones, Earl Grey tea and prune crumble tart, panna cotta and chocolate and praline gateau.
Guests who opt for the cocktail afternoon tea will also get a Don Giovanni cocktail made with Mozart chocolate liqueur, amaretto and fresh cream as well as a ticket to Opera: Passion, Power and Politics and a mini MP3 player preloaded with arias from the seven different operas to listen to whilst they indulge and take home too.
The Opera Afternoon Tea will be served daily in the Chinoiserie lounge at Jumeirah Carlton Tower from 3pm to 6pm. It costs £45 per person or £55 including a Don Giovanni cocktail, ticket to Opera: Passion, Power and Politics at the V&A and mini MP3 player preloaded with opera music.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, 1 Cadogan Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 9PY. Nearest stations – Knightsbridge, Sloane Square
To mark 10 years, Michelin-starred restaurant Texture will host a series of one-off collaborative dinners with chefs across the month of September. With five Michelin stars between them, the series is set to be a celebration to remember. Texture’s Chef Patron and Owner Aggi Sverrisson has teamed up with five of the UK’s most talented chefs: Raymond Blanc OBE of two Michelin-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Vivek Singh of The Cinnamon Collection, Arnaud Bignon of two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse and Michelin-awarded Ollie Dabbous of Henrietta. Texture will also play host to a special dinner with Gaia Gaja of Gaja Winery to celebrate a decade of paired wines and dishes.
Each gastronomic experience will fuse Aggi’s signature modern European food, Scandinavian influences and Icelandic produce with the guest chef’s individual flair. Texture’s Master Sommelier, Clement Robert, will expertly pair wines to each course.
If you’re a fan of Macellaio RC, you’ll be pleased to know the Italian steak experts are opening a fourth venue in London on Northcote Road. This one will be a little bit different, with an emphasis on Italian wines hand-picked by founder Roberto Costa, so you’ll be able to get your hands on a whole array from Italian winemakers.
Don’t worry, like the other Macellaio RC restaurants, the Clapham site will combine restaurant and butcher with its renowned Fassona beef, butchered and dry-aged on-site. The Clapham site follows sister restaurants in South Kensington, Exmouth Market and Union Street and will be open daily for lunch (12-3pm) and dinner (6-11pm).
Macellaio RC – Northcote Road, 124 Northcote Road, Clapham, London, SW11 6QU. Nearest stations – Clapham South, Wandsworth Common
Who needs cheering up? This will do the trick. Australian doughnut brand Doughnut Time is launching in the UK next month. Slap bang on Shaftesbury Avenue, the store will serve up fresh, hand-created artisan doughnuts with a range of inventive toppings including retro British flavours put together especially for the opening, like ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Shawty it’s Sherbert Day’ have been created. New doughnuts will be added on a weekly basis and the menu will be topped up with Aussie best- sellers including the ‘Love at First Bite’.
There will also be plenty of vegan and gluten free options so nobody has to miss out.
Prices start at £4 each and they’re available in boxes of one, four and six, so you would share the love or just keep them to yourself. This will be their first location outside Australia and I’m fairly sure will perk up anyone who’s having a bad day – or month.
Cracker Drinks Co have created a new line of impressively tasty fruit-based drinks. that can be drunk on their own or as mixers with something more cheeky. Made in small batches in the UK, the brand’s distinctive flavour profiles are created using unique fruit juice blends. The Cracker Drinks Co prides itself on listening to its customers, so when their research revealed that more of us are refusing to compromise on taste and would like more adventurous flavours (but want NO added sugar, or any kind of sweeteners to achieve it) they instructed their blending team to create the very best drinks they could. The result is four fabulous flavours – Mango & Passion Fruit; Pineapple, Coconut & Lime; Apple, Mint & Lime; and Still Cloudy Lemonade. What’s more, a 200ml glass of Crafted® even counts as 1 of your 5 a day!