It’s that time again – when I pack you full of ideas of food-focused places to go, things to try, and escapes you can take. I promise you I’ve tried to steer clear of the ‘C’ word (Christmas, not anything else!) but inevitably there’s one thing in here that is about planning for the festive season. After all, it’s not that far away! But don’t worry, plenty more to keep you busy until the chaos of Christmas arrives.
Bourne & Hollingsworth
If you’re after something a bit different this month, Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell might have just the thing. They’ve got a few special events on, from a vintage-themed champagne banquet to Christmas-themed cookery classes.
On Monday, November 14, join them for ‘The Art of Ruinart’ evening, organised in collaboration with Ruinart Champagne. Tucked up in the Greenhouse, you’ll be guided by the Maison’s ambassador through the history of Ruinart Champagne, the world’s oldest champagne house, over a five-course banquet.Tickets are priced at £125 and include five courses plus five paired vintage wines and champagnes.
If you’d prefer to do the cooking yourself, get yourself down to the B&H Kitchen for one of their autumnal cooking classes. Led by chef Adam Gray, they include Food Styling, Cocktails and Canapés, Christmas Baking and The Perfect Christmas Dinner. Courses range from £60 – £120 and take place every Wednesday evening and Saturday day.
42 Northampton Rd, London EC1R 0HU. Nearest station – Farringdon
Temple & Sons
On November 21 The Social Company and Jason Atherton will open Temple & Sons, a new City grill restaurant and bar, next to the iconic Tower 42. The name is a nod to the history of Tower 42 and the venue itself will contrast the high-rise fine dining at sister restaurant City Social, with a more casual approach on offer.
Temple & Sons will be set across two floors, each offering a different dining experience. An all-day deli and bar inspired by a traditional British grocery store on the ground floor, serving snacks and small plates. And by night it will become a cocktail bar with carbonated cocktails canned on site, plus tipples served in milk cartons and sardine cans, inspired by traditional British provisions.
Upstairs is a grill restaurant serving dishes designed for family-style dining, with grilled fish, meat and poultry served whole or in large cuts, all followed by a range of British-inspired puddings.
22 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ. Nearest stations – Liverpool Street, Bank
If you’re into somewhere with a big drinks list from gin and wine through to cocktail, you might be pleased to hear that Balls Brothers are expanding with three new venues – brand new Austin Friars and Shoe Lane in the city plus the recently-revamped Hay’s Galleria.
Each one boasts a ‘wine kitchen’ with extensive wine list, as well as ‘immersive experiences’, masterclasses, spirits and great food. Oh, and you’ll be able to explore a full list of gin cocktail as well as trying food for every palate from Gorgonzola gnocchi with spinach, white wine sauce and toasted pine nuts to roasted pork belly with cauliflower purée, pak choi and soy plum sauce.
All three venues will be hosting gin, fortified wine and whiskey masterclasses and tastings in the form of ‘immersive experiences’ where you’ll select your ingredients from on-site botanical herb gardens, along with blind tastings and gin infusions complete with nibbles. For more information, visit http://www.ballsbrothers.co.uk/.
Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea at Balthazar
Afternoon tea is everywhere these days. It’s not enough to just serve up some scones and macaroons on a tiered stand – you’ve got to do something a bit different to make your mark. And that’s what Balthazar is doing with its Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea. They’ve done it before but this time, in honour of the 25th anniversary of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, you can try the “Party Edition” – a treat of striking cakes, macaroons, financiers, shortbread and mousses created by Balthazar’s head pastry chef Régis Beauregard. They’ll include creations like a pair of “Hollywood Red Gloss” lips, blueberry & lemon “Smokey Eye Mascara”, and champagne-infused Rhubarb “Shimmer Brick”. And don’t worry, if it’s scones you want you get some of those too.
If you’re after a little tipple Balthazar’s bar manager Brian Silva has created “Bobbi’s Sparkle”, a mix of Sipsmith gin, elderflower, lemon and champagne or you can stick to Gyéjacquot Brut NV.
If you want the products themselves, you can choose three or more of your favourite products from the Afternoon Tea, and receive them in a complimentary Party Pouch. All 5 products are available for £140. On top of this, customers who book the afternoon tea will also get an invitation for a personalised ‘How To’ make-up lesson at all Bobbi Brown London Studios.
The Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea – The Party Edition at Balthazar will run every day until the end of February. It’s £27.50 for the Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea, and £37.50 for the Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea with a Bobbi’s Sparkle or a glass of Gyéjacquot Brut NV Champagne. For more information visit www.balthazarlondon.com
4-6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ. Nearest stations – Covent Garden or Leicester Square
Rib Room Bar & Terrace
I know, I promised not to talk too much about ‘festive’ stuff, but at the end of this month you can get yourself in the Christmas spirit with the Scottish Winter Terrace at The Rib Room Bar and Terrace, a seasonal pop-up featuring the best of Scottish produce and cocktails and whiskies curated by William Grant & Sons UK, all set against the backdrop of Scottish-inspired décor.
The menu of light bites will put a modern twist on classic Scottish dishes using some of the country’s finest produce, like Kedgeree and Arbroath smokies fish cakes with curried egg yolk dressing; Haggis and lamb neck fritters with winter spiced bramble jam; and “Cock-a-leekie” pasties served with sweet cured bacon and Scotch whisky jam.
If you’re a whisky fan you’ll love it, with the chance to try small batch, rare and aged whiskies, including Glenfiddich 18-year-old and 40-year-old single malts and The Balvenie 30-year-old and 40-year-old single malts. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is a selection of festive cocktails on offer.
The Scottish Winter Terrace at The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant will be open daily from 12pm from 20 November 2016 to 25 January 2017. For more information or to reserve a table, call 020 7858 7250 or visit www.theribroom.co.uk.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Cadogan Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 9PY. Nearest stations – Knightsbridge, Sloane Square
Ginger & Parsley
We’re all a bit busy, and Michelle Le Goff might have come up with the answer. She launched Ginger & Parsley, which provides premium frozen meals for adults and children, in September after leaving her job in the City. The big aim is to produce gourmet and healthy meals for busy people – single or families – in London. And in November, she’s launching a range of meals targeting new mums who need to replenish their body with nutrition-rich food.
Michelle wants to take away the hassle of planning, shopping and cooking, yet still providing you with quality meals. Ginger & Parsley meals use quality ingredients like free-range corn-fed chicken, grass-fed lamb & beef and organic vegetables. Once they’re cooked they’re frozen in a blast chiller then delivered directly to your home. They’re only operating in a limited number of London areas to begin with but you can check where on the website: www.gingerparsley.com.
If you’re in search of a new gin (because who isn’t always looking for new gin?!) you might want to try Eden Mill. Creators of beer, whisky and gin, they’re seeking to revive the lost art of distilling and brewing in St Andrews, Scotland. Eden Mill is introducing four gin ranges – Love Gin, Oak Gin, Hop Gin and Golf Gin – retailing exclusively at John Lewis stores for £35 a bottle.
Using handpicked botanicals from local fields, forests and coasts near the River Eden and Eden Estuary, they’re marrying modern techniques with traditional methods to make the best of the best. Eden Mill is available in select John Lewis stores for £35 a bottle, or can be ordered online via the Eden Mill website: http://www.edenmill.com/gin/.