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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

‘Travel Through Time’ Afternoon Tea at Chelsea Harbour Hotel

The Chelsea Harbour Hotel has launched this month a Travel Through Time Afternoon Tea in collaboration with Whittard of Chelsea. The new afternoon tea will be taking guests on a time travel journey from its advent in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford through to the present day.

Travel Through Time includes a selection of sandwiches and desserts from various periods throughout history. The delicious menu includes finger sandwiches filled with classic and contemporary delights such as salmon and cucumber, a modern twist on the quintessential cucumber sandwich created in the 1700s, coronation chicken, a sandwich created in 1953 specifically for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and brie and purple piccalilli, a quirky take on the classic British teatime treat.

The desserts also follow the same theme and guests should expect sweets such as flummery, a traditional jelly-like dessert made from oatmeal and originating from 1623 with a delicious rhubarb twist, passionfruit and berry egg, a creamy passionfruit mousse topped with a seasonal berry selection and inspired by the 1885 Fabergé egg, and a chocolate rainbow cake fashioned in the shape of the gnomon of a sundial pointing to four o’clock, the traditional time to enjoy afternoon tea.

The food will be served on a bespoke, time machine-inspired afternoon tea stand, completed with dry ice, which makes for a truly magical experience. The Travel Through Time Afternoon Tea at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel costs £28 per person or £38 with a glass of champagne and will be available on an ongoing basis.

Located in the heart of Chelsea, The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a luxurious, five-star hotel that boasts panoramic views over Chelsea Harbour Marina and the River Thames. The hotel’s harbourside restaurant, Chelsea Riverside Brasserie is perfect for indoor and alfresco dining while taking in the stunning views.

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Flinders Lane Mixes Local with Global

Flinders Lane was introduced to Stamford by seasoned restaurateurs Chris Rendell and Chris McPherson, offering locals and visitors a striking restaurant influenced by the multi-cultural homeland of the owners – Melbourne, Australia. It takes up ground floor residence in the newly erected Summer House Luxury Apartments, leaving its mark on the city with its land and sea menu, innovative global cocktails, and eclectic décor.

The restaurant has a high ceiling and industrial design, softened by hardwood flooring, wall panels, and room dividers that overflow with greenery. Large dome pendant chandeliers emit a warm glow throughout the space and an active display kitchen with counter seating fills the room with a palpable energy.

The menu reflects today’s international food culture, featuring Southeast Asian influences and French-inspired techniques. Shishito Peppers are slightly blistered and dusted with seven spice and sea salt; Chicken San Choi Bau lettuce cups are filled with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts: House Made Pork Sausage is wrapped in a flaky, buttery pastry and served with a bold sambal mayo; Diver Caught Scallops are pan-seared and topped with a chili-cashew relish, hijiki, and pea shoots; Handmade Tagliatelle is swathed in braised Australian lamb shoulder, tomato, and gremolata: and the Coconut Curry Laksa is a culinary journey along the spice route, brimming with shrimp, crab, rice noodles, poached chicken, and Thai basil.

The 80 seat restaurant also includes a bar and an adjacent high top and banquette seating. Global cocktails, such as Melbourne CBD shaken with vodka, plum, and elderflower; Born in Brunswick made with rye, apple, and sparkling wine; Spiced Carrot Margarita with chili infused tequila, ancho reyes chili liqueur, cardamom, and lime; and a hot Moon Over Mayumi with chai, rum, and sherry, stay true to the restaurant’s international attitude.

The kitchen is under the direction of Chef Brad Stewart, who worked in high-end hotels and resorts all around the world.

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The Castle Inn Re-Opens

The Castle Inn in West Lulworth has been reopened by Butcombe Brewery, part of the Liberation Group, after undertaking a three month long refurbishment. Ahead of the Easter Weekend, the traditional pub with rooms re-opened on Sunday, the 25th of March to eager visitors and locals.

As part of the renovation programme, Castle Inn’s interior has been brought to life with bright, contemporary fabrics and eye-catching feature walls, designed to reflect the relaxed elegance associated with Butcombe’s estate. Its 16th century feel and history has been retained wherever possible in the building’s architecture.

The restaurant now offers a daily-changing market menu that focuses on grill and seafood dishes, showcasing the fresh Dorset produce that is sourced from within 30 miles. In charge of the kitchen will be Ashley Walcott, who previously worked at the Fat Duck in Bray under Heston Blumenthal.

For guests that wish to book a room, there are now 12 boutique ensuite bedrooms available, each individually designed with quirky furniture. Prices for a room start from £89 per night.

“The Castle Inn is our flagship pub in Dorset, and quite rightly a local favourite, so we knew we had to preserve its distinct character and heritage during the renovation. The team has worked tirelessly to get the site up and running ahead of what we hope will be a busy Easter weekend. The results of the refurbishment are fantastic. We’ve created a gorgeous, high quality site which fits perfectly with the surrounding countryside and coastline. We’re looking forward to welcoming The Castle’s strong, local following as well as new visitors over the coming weeks,” said Jayson Perfect, Managing Director at Butcombe Pubs and Inns.

The Castle Inn was acquired by the Liberation Group in October 2017. This pub is just a short walk from some of Dorset’s key landmarks including Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, situated on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site and surrounded by the Isle of Purbeck countryside. In addition, the pub will also retain its dog-friendly reputation.

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Pizza Express Relaunches Its App

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

The new PizzaExpress App has been relaunched and it is available for download on iTunes and Google Play starting today. To make customers’ restaurant experiences even better, the chain will also be offering a free classic pizza for every download.

PizzaExpress conducted extensive customer research to make sure that the updated app reflects customer needs and wants. It will allow users to pay for their meal at the table, making waiting for the bill a thing of the past. In addition, at launch, the app will allow customers to find their nearest restaurant, book a table and stay up to date on bespoke customer rewards.

The chain pizzeria will be rolling out new features throughout the year, including the introduction of the click and collect functionality in late spring and the augmented-reality features in summer.

Those that have previously downloaded the original PizzaExpress app will be able to switch to the new one by updating their old app. Those who have the first PizzaExpress app on their phone will be automatically migrated to the new one.

“We are always looking at ways we can improve our customers’ experiences and our new app will do just that. The ‘pay at table’ function is perfect for those who are short on time. By listening to our customers, we’ve understood what’s important to them and are introducing a more personalised service, including bespoke rewards. We are very excited about new initiatives that we’ll be unveiling later this year and we’re looking forward to a strong launch. After all, one of our delicious pizzas for free is quite an incentive,” said Timothy Love, Senior Marketing Manager at PizzaExpress.

With the app having been made available today, don’t forget to download it and go collect your free classic pizza!

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Trinity Leeds Celebrates Five Years

Landsec’s Trinity Leeds celebrated its fifth anniversary on the 21st of March. Trinity opened in 2013, following Landsec’s decision to regenerate two 1970s shopping arcades in Leeds city centre. Since then, it has set the benchmark for shopping centres in the 21st century, having established a reputation as a launching pad for new retail innovations and leisure concepts.

Currently, Trinity Leeds plays an important role in the economic success of Leeds, supporting over 5,400 jobs and generating nearly £150 million in economic output each year.

The key firsts introduced by Landsec at Trinity Leeds include Trinity Kitchen, a world first street food dining concept that curates the very best culinary experiences from leading established and emerging restaurateurs. It contains eight permanent restaurants and a rolling cast of five leading street food pop-ups. D&D, the international restaurant group, launched its first two restaurants outside of London at Trinity Leeds: Angelica and Crafthouse. Jewellery and accessories retailer Lovisa and premium cinema brand Everyman Cinemas chose Trinity Leeds as their first location in the north of England.

“Trinity has had an incredible impact, both as an engine for local economic success and as a pace setter for innovation and evolution in the retail and leisure sector. We continue to work in collaboration with our brands to deliver the best in class experience for our customers and engage with shoppers to ensure their feedback drives continuous improvement. We’re very proud of the many thousands of jobs Trinity supports and the huge role it plays in boosting Leeds’ reputation as a city that is recognized globally as a fantastic place to live, work and visit. What’s more exciting is that we are by no means finished. We’re progressing a number of innovative initiatives at Trinity right now which will ensure that this magnificent scheme continues to set new records for many years to come,” commented Rob Jewell, Portfolio Director at Landsec.

Interesting facts about Trinity Leeds include: the chopping centre is the size of 13 football pitches, the centre’s famous glass dome has the strength to support ten elephants, and 68 new brands have come to Trinity Leeds since it opened.

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Flavoured Organic Protein

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

The Organic Protein Company has made available two new all-natural flavoured organic whey protein products: Raw Cacao & Maca and Raspberry & Baobab. Both of them can be found in 400g pouches or as the new 25g single serving sachets.

The new products perfectly fit into the company’s multiple award-winning pure unflavoured organic whey powder range launched in 2014. They are all available on Amazon UK, Ocado, Whole Foods, and in more than 200 independent health stores nationwide.

The company has also decided to rebrand its packaging which will communicate better the brand’s values of ethical sourcing and transparency. “It will also reflect the growing demand from people seeking extra protein for health and wellness reasons,” added Managing Director Daniel Whitehead.

The Raw Cacao & Maca Organic Whey Powder contains raw cacao, raw maca, a dash of unrefined coconut sugar and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt, while the Raspberry & Baobab Organic Whey Powder contains freeze dried organic raspberries, baobab and a dash of unrefined coconut sugar. The two products have no artificial flavours added or anything else that is not stated on the label.

“The Organic Protein Company has always chosen to be transparent about what’s in its protein powder, stating on the pack where every ingredient its sourced, along with a link to independent lab test certificates on its website, to reassure customers that the nutritional information on the packs is correct. We have independent lab test certificates available for our nutritional profiles. By holding itself up to scrutiny The Organic Protein Company is committed to deepening the trust it has built with its customers since its launch in 2014,” explained Daniel.

For every pack sold, the company will donate 25p to Compassion in World Farming, collaboration that started at launch in 2014.

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Modernist Pizza Book

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, the duo behind the award-winning Modernist Bread book, have announced the subject and the name of their next book: Modernist Pizza. The announcement was made during an event at Modernist Cuisine Gallery in The Forum Shops and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Modernist Pizza will include multiple volumes and will include traditional and innovative recipes for pizzas found around the world. It will explore topics such as science, history, equipment, techniques, and the people that made pizza so loved.

Currently, the two authors are working with the Modernist Cuisine team, conducting extensive research and testing long-held-pizza-making-beliefs. The ultimate goal is to produce the most comprehensive pizza cookbook in the world. Although this topic has started being explores while writing Modernist Bread, the team felt that there was much more left to discover about pizza.

“Despite its ubiquity, there’s still a lot to learn about the planet’s most popular food and our hope is that Modernist Pizza will deliver the story of pizza as it’s never been told before,” said Nathan Myhrvold.

Modernist Pizza is being published by The Cooking Lab, Myhrvold’s in-house publishing department and producer of the award winning books Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (2011), Modernist Cuisine at Home (2012), The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (2013), and Modernist Bread (2017). The publication date for Modernist Pizza has not been confirmed yet.

Head chef and co-author Francisco Migoya will be coming to London in May to deliver two talks at the British Library as part of a special food series. On the 4th of May, Francisco will present a revolutionary new understanding of bread, one of the most important staples of human diet, while on the 8th of May he will participate in a panel discussion chaired by New Scientist’s Catherine de Lange about the relationships between taste and technology, tradition and modernity in food.

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The Best Hot Cross Buns of 2018

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

BBC Good Food, the UK’s number one food media brand, has revealed the results of its Hot Cross Buns Taste Test. The expert panel blind-tasted 21 hot cross buns from the UK’s leading retailers and can now tell us the five best buys in two categories: traditional and alternative.

The winner in the traditional category was the extra fruity hot cross bun from Morrisons, costing £1 for a pack of four. “They tasted almost like Christmas. They’re incredibly buttery too and have a slightly savoury dough to balance the sweetness of the fruit. Plus, they’re great value for money; the right choice for traditionalists,” commented the judges.

M&S salted caramel & chocolate hot cross buns, priced at £1.70 for four, came out on top in the alternative category. “If you’re put off the thought of hot cross buns because you’re not a fan of dried fruit, this salted caramel and chocolate twist is a very welcome break from the norm. With chunks of chocolate, salted caramel fudge and toffee pieces, you don’t need to add anything else – they’re so tasty on their own,” said the judges.

The runner up in the traditional category was Lidl Deluxe hot cross buns, priced at 99p for four, while highly commended were M&S luxury hot cross buns, costing £1.70 for four. In the alternative category, Co-op’s toffee and chocolate hot cross buns, priced at £1.25 for nine, came second and Lidl Deluxe apple and cinnamon hot cross buns, priced at 99p for four, were highly commended.

For those who would like to make their own Easter bakes, BBC Good Food’s March issue is on sale at £4.50 with over 75 recipes and a cover that features a gorgeous Chocolate Easter cake topped with chocolate eggs.

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Redemption Bar Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Redemption Bar, London’s only vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free and alcohol-free restaurant brand, has launched a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise £300,000, which will go towards the opening of two new sites, one in Covent Garden and one at Southbank Place.

The healthy hospitality brand was established by former Brand Director of Virgin, Catherine Salway and New Zealand Restaurateur and Raw Vegan Chef, Andrea Waters. The aim of it is to provide diners with the opportunity to ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’. The entrepreneurial duo wanted to prove that socialising with friends didn’t have to be at the expense of your health, serving delicious plant-based, vegan and gluten-free food, refined sugar-free raw desserts as well as booze-free cocktails, wine and beer.

“We are on the cusp of a really exciting growth plan – as well as launching two new sites in central London we are very optimistic about ethical franchising across the globe. The brilliant thing about crowdfunding is that the customers who’ve made us successful can get involved in this next stage,” commented co-founder Catherine Salway.

Redemption Bar started as a series of pop-ups that proved so popular that the duo opened their first site in Notting Hill in August 2015. Following the success of it, Catherine and Andrea opened a second site in Shoreditch in January 2016, which broke even within the first three months of opening and now generates a 10% net profit per week.

Those that wish to invest in the campaign will benefit from a range of rewards, including free drinks when dining at Redemption Bar, chef tasting events, workshops, and 50% off the bill when dining at any of the Redemption Bar locations. The link to the crowdfunding page can be found here:

Catherine and Andrea have also been working on their first cookbook, ‘Redemption Bar: Cocktails & Canapes’ which will be available worldwide from September 2018. Redemption Bar also has its very own detox tea and detoxifying candles available to purchase from its sites.

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Preoday Helps CockaDoodleMoo Start a Delivery Service

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

CockaDoodleMoo has launched its first online and mobile ordering service. Thanks to the help of Preoday’s technology platform, followers of the restaurant can now place an order for collection or delivery via the new app or by visiting the CockaDoodleMoo website.

“As much as we love people eating in branch, we are aware that is not always easy for everyone to get in to see us. We are all about our followers and #MooToYou offers our comforting and honest food to local fans when and where it is most convenient for them. To ensure that our delivery and collection service matches the quality of our in-house experience, we have spent a great amount of time researching and testing everything, from the packaging to our heated delivery bags, to ensure food arrives presented to the highest standard. We hope our followers will love the option and ease of pre-ordering their food for collection, or having it delivered to the comfort of their own home,” commented Henry Yau, Managing Director at CockaDoodleMoo.

The eatery, which specialises in delicious meats, including smoked rib platters and stacked burgers, has now introduced he delivery service at its Stockport branch and is planning to extend the offering to its Rochdale branch in April. The third site at Altrincham that is due to open in May this year will also benefit from this delivery service.

“We love working with adventurous and ambitious businesses like CockaDoodleMoo. This is a company with a strong vision and an ambition to drive forward. With the technology up and running, it will be interesting to see how the data it gathers can influence other areas of the business; marketing for example. And, with the option to add extra services such as table booking, we can’t wait to see how the technology evolves over the coming year,” added Nick Hucker, Head of Business Development at Preoday.

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