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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Vegan Sri Lankan Pop Up Launches at Brixton Pound

Serendip Supper Club by Pol Boy, a monthly BYOB vegan Sri Lankan pop up, is launching at Brixton Pound Café on Saturday 2nd March. Serendip is an Old Persian name for Sri Lanka and also the etymological root of the word serendipity. It is said that serendipity is the hungry traveller’s strongest ally: many of their most memorable meals issue from the hands of generous strangers.

Serendip Supper Club is a space for strangers in London to discover the joys of Sri Lankan culture through the island’s food. The menu at Pol Boy’s Serendip Supper Club uses a mix of traditional family recipes and an amalgamation of flavours inspired by a British-Sri Lankan upbringing. The recipes do not rely on expensive ingredients because its heart and soul lies in the alchemy of flavour.

Highlights from the menu include heavily spiced curries featuring jackfruit and beetroot, tempered lentils, and chilli-laden sambols that certainly pack a punch. Watered down versions are unacceptable. At Serendip Supper Club you will find food that is unapologetically Sri Lankan in flavour.

Aside from the food, music is central element at Serendip Supper Club. The dining experience will be accompanied by an eclectic mix of sounds from all around the world, ranging from electronica, funk, jazz, soul, and more.

Serendip Supper Club will take place at Brixton Pound Cafe on Saturday 2nd March 2019 from 7:30pm onwards. In keeping with the values at Brixton Pound Café, there will be an allocation of pay-what-you-can spaces for the local community.

Serendip Supper Club Menu

Short Eats

Seeni Sambol Sando
Two slices of bread filled with flavours inspired by our British-Sri Lankan upbringing


Rice & Curry

Jackfruit Curry

Beetroot Curry

Tempered Lentils

Kaha Bath (Yellow Rice)

Gotu Kola


Chocolate Biscuit Pudding

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Newby Teas Box for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day why not show your mum how special she really is with a perfect cup of tea from Newby’s exclusive Dutch Roses Edition selection box? Whether it’s a reinvigorating tea to kick-start the day, or to enjoy a peaceful moment of tranquillity, Newby’s premium assortment of the finest whole-leaf green tea and tisanes is the perfect gift for mums who deserve the exceptional.

Inspired by the paintings of the Dutch Masters, the Dutch Roses Edition  selection box from Newby Teas is embellished with an exquisite floral-heart shaped design. Each box contains twenty of Newby’s premium Silken Pyramids which come wrapped in lustrous and colourful sachets for freshness and quality, allowing your Mum the perfect excuse to savour for days to come!

The Dutch Roses Edition brings together four of Newby’s finest flavours, expertly curated for their complementary mix of fresh, sweet and fragrant tastes: Hunan Green, Rooibos Orange, Jasmine Princess and Strawberry & Mango for a taste experience like no other.

Newby Teas’ Dutch Roses Edition selection box is priced at £22 and is available to buy via the Newby Teas website:

Newby Teas is the most awarded international brand in high-end luxury tea. The company is committed to the preservation not only of the character of tea itself, but also its history and culture.

 At Newby, quality is the number one priority. Using just the leaves of a single estate means standards can vary from year to year. That’s why only the finest leaves from a variety of tea gardens, picked at their most prime season, are selected. Expert tasters sample thousands of harvests, with their recommendations sent to founder and tea specialist, Mr Sethia. Only after he has personally tasted and approved each tea will it be ready to bear the Newby name.

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Air Quality Guidance for Food Companies

Working with leading air filtration expert Camfil, BRC Global Standards has launched important new air quality guidance for food manufacturers at the organisation’s Food Safety Europe Conference in London on February 12. Understanding Air Quality Requirements and Air Filter Specification in Food Production will assist managers during an air quality and filter specification risk assessment process.

“Until now there has been no real guidance to food production facilities about the levels of air quality required to ensure that food is safe or that the quality is up to standard. Camfil approached BRC Global Standards – a company that audits food companies around the world. There is now a new version of the BRC audit – Version 8. All food factories are audited to this standard which gives a company recognition that they are manufacturing food safely,” explained James Draycott, UK segment manager food & beverage at Camfil.

However, Camfil was concerned that air quality guidance in the BRC audit procedure was unclear. Mr Draycott added: “The standard to which the auditors were auditing included words like ‘sufficient’ and ‘adequate’. They left the decision of what to do very much in the hands of the food company based on them doing an internal risk assessment. Our argument was how can you expect a food company to do a risk assessment on a subject they know nothing about and still come up with a safe solution?”

Camfil and BRC Global decided the best way to resolve this was to produce a separate, standalone linked document to Version 8 of the standard that would go into the detail of air quality requirements of food factories and recent changes in filtration classification and testing standards.

“Essentially, we give guidance to the food companies on air filtration and air quality so they can carry out a risk assessment with the appropriate knowledge. The guidance also explains what efficiencies filters needed to be for certain food environments,” Mr Draycott said.

Understanding Air Quality Requirements and Air Filter Specification in Food Production includes sections on ISO16890, the standard for testing and classifying air filtration and EN16798 – 3: 2017: Energy performance of buildings. Ventilation for buildings; specifying filters; air filtration energy efficiency; and maintenance, condition and hygiene monitoring.

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KINDER Ice Cream Range Hits UK Aisles

KINDER fans’ dreams have come true as the brand launches two new ice cream ranges in the UK. The new creations contain distinctive ingredients to enjoy the unique KINDER product experience. An offer dedicated to families; great taste, small portions and complying with Unilever’s “Responsibly Made for Kids” guidelines; as well as a KINDER Bueno Ice Cream for a wider consumer audience.

KINDER Ice Cream Stick

Lovers of the popular KINDER products can now enjoy the unique KINDER experience. The KINDER Ice Cream Stick combines milk ice cream with fresh whole milk, covered with milk chocolate. The KINDER Ice Cream Stick is available individually as well as in a 10-piece multipack.

KINDER Ice Cream Sandwich

Like all KINDER products, the KINDER Ice Cream Sandwich relies on good ingredients. Creamy milk ice cream with 40 percent fresh whole milk layered between two delicious cookies made of five different cereals. KINDER Ice Cream Sandwich comes individually and in an 6-piece multipack for the whole family.

KINDER Bueno Ice Cream Cone

The famous KINDER Bueno refined hazelnut bar is now available as a cone. Unique hazelnut milk ice cream meets a core of milk chocolate sauce, embedded in a crunchy cone, topped with a thin layer of hazelnut cream made of Ferrero hazelnuts and topped with chocolate bits. The KINDER Bueno Ice Cream Cone comes individually and in a practical 4-piece multipack.

KINDER Joy Ice Cream

The iconic egg-shaped KINDER Joy is now available in Ice Cream. It contains delicious milk and chocolate ice creams in a scooping cup with an exciting surprise for the summer! The KINDER Joy Ice Cream comes individually.

The new KINDER ice creams will be available now in ASDA and on Ocado. Single packs will be available exclusively OOH, while the multipacks will be offered only for the in-home market.

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Mere from Monica & David Galetti

Nestled behind crisp white exteriors and the hustle and bustle of Charlotte Street is the peace and tranquility of Mere – the first restaurant from husband and wife team, Monica and David Galetti. Mere, the name of Monica’s mother and pronounced Mary, is a melting pot of cultural influences; mixing the classical French of David’s childhood with the exotic South Pacific and New Zealand from Samoan-born Monica.

The clean and concise menu is the work of chef proprietor, Monica who is now a familiar face and household name thanks to her work on MasterChef: The Professionals. Monica joined the BBC cooking competition as a judge in 2008 alongside Michel Roux Jnr. who at that point, was her chef proprietor at Le Gavroche. She spent 12 years in the two Michelin-starred kitchen, rising to senior sous chef, then Head chef at Le Gavroche des tropiques in Mauritius before setting up Mere in 2017.

The seasonal a la carte menu is constructed of six options per course and whilst her classical training is evident, there are nods throughout to Monica’s Samoan heritage and wider travels. Starters include: Octopus a la Plancha, Caper & Raisin Dressing, Potato and Piperade; Smoked Duck, Confit Gizzard, Almond Praline and Kumquats and the house favourite – Pumpkin Agnolotti, Mixed Mushroomsin a Marmite Emulsion. Main courses include: Cornish Cod, Black Curry, Pickled Celery, Hazelnut Dukka and Lovage Sauce; Pan Roasted Rose Veal, Glazed Sweetbread, Brown Butter Mash and Charred Hispi and Chestnut Puff, Caramalised Root Vegetables, Pickled Apple and Celeriac Sauce. And for dessert: Orange Marmalade Baked Alaska, Orange Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with a Bourbon Flambe, Blackberry Treacle Tart, Whipped Sour Cream, Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream or Hokey Pokey with Manjari Cremeux, Salted Toffee, Honeycomb Ice-cream and L&P Gel – a sparkling lemonade from New Zealand.

The wine list at Mere more than matches the high standards of the food thanks to co-founder and sommelier David. After spending 15 years at Le Gavroche curating their magnificent wine list, he has brought his skills home to Mere. With well known and loved wines from both Europe and further afield, as well as a reserve selection with distinct and unique vintages, there is something to suit all palates and budgets. David has also carefully hand-selected the premium spirits and liqueurs on offer at Mere, predominantly from France and New Zealand.

The beautiful interiors of Mere are the work of leading architecture and design company, Softroom. Playing with a colour palette of rich blues and greys and accents of deep yellow, the space is calm and welcoming. Mere is set over two floors, a ground level bar with sumptuous navy velvet sofas and dark marble tables, and a bright, airy basement restaurant flooded with natural light thanks to a large glass atrium. A traditional Samoan siapo or tapa cloth dominates the main dining room wall, designed and made especially for Mere by the artist and cousin of Monica, Solomon Daniel, in New Zealand.

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YO! Sushi Launches DNA Dining Experience

With New Year diet resolutions in full swing – or perhaps already out the window! -YO! Sushi is on a mission to prove that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to nutrition. The Japanese street food and sushi favourite has announced it’s first DNA dining concept, YO! Dinner, YO! Way.

As 2018 was the year veganism broke into the mainstream, a new report by YO! Sushi and The Future Laboratory looking at the future of food experience reveals the five food tribes to emerge in the next 5-10 years. One of which, ‘Personalists’, is the future tribe which believe everything is bespoke to the individual.

The focus is on customisation for ‘Personalists’, who embrace technology and science to track their wellness and use data to feed their diet choices. With the new tribe in mind, YO! has teamed up with genetic testing company DNAFit to bring the innovative approach of personalised health to casual dining.

From analysing each individual’s genetic science, DNAFit can determine the most suitable nutrition to feed your body. Uncover if you’re one of the 33% suffering from lactose- intolerance or if like 64% tested you require an intake of oily fish for more omega 3.

Diners looking to adapt their lifestyle and diet to best suit their genetic make-up, can complete a simple home-test before receiving a breakdown of their unique needs, potential food sensitivities and diet plan. Rather than jumping on the latest fad or celebrity diet bandwagon, diners will receive a tailored recommendation on what to eat at YO! in their Personalised Plate Plan designed in collaboration by DNAFit dieticians and YO! chefs.

With over 100 colourful dishes on YO!’s current menu, the restaurant is already a big player in variety eating. The extensive menu which includes some exciting new dishes, accommodates all intolerances and diets, whether you’re a die-hard vegan, lead a gluten-free life or are a parent to the fussiest of eaters.

The ‘Say YO! To The Future’ report commissioned by YO! and carried out by globally-renowned future foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, reveals how food will look in 10 years time and the trends and tribes contributing to the change. As the next generation become more educated on eating, and technology advances make personalisation an everyday luxury, the trend for personalised dining will quickly rise.

With nothing more personalised than DNA, YO! Dinner, YO! Way will offer an accurate insight into what to put on your plate. A limited number of spaces nationwide are available for the DNA dining experience – register your interest today for your chance to receive a complimentary DNAFit test and YO! dish.

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Wine and Dine this Valentine at Dakota Leeds

For those looking to impress their significant other this Valentine’s Day, Dakota Leeds has revealed its luxury Valentine’s menu, designed to make hearts soar.

Leeds lovers can enjoy a sublime six-course spread between 14th and 16th February in elegant, contemporary style. For £75pp, guests at Dakota’s Grill will be able to dine on steak tartare or oysters & ethically-sourced caviar, followed by choice of starter, champagne & rose sorbet, a choice of three mains, dessert, finishing off with petit fours and truffles.

Designed by international award-winning interior designer, Amanda Rosa, the hotel oozes luxury contemporary elegance with its dark colour palette, soft furnishing and low lighting. The hotel’s stunning bar and grill serves steaks cooked on hot coals, fresh fish and delectable delicious desserts, while its Salon Privé is one of Leeds’ most exclusive cocktail destinations, showcasing outstanding mixology and a venerable “liquid museum” of spirits. The hotel also offers its Afternoon Tea menu, which is presented on elegant stands and features a selection of quintessential sweet and savoury items, all handmade by the head chef.

Its 84-bedrooms include an ensuite rainfall shower, whilst its executive rooms and suites come with a complimentary stocked mini fridge for the perfect night in.
This Valentine’s Day, Dakota Leeds is also offering a hotel package, including dinner, bed and breakfast, complete with rose petals and champagne providing the ultimate romantic city centre getaway. Price £370.00 for two guests.

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Sting & Shaggy Announce UK Tour Dates

GRAMMY award winning duo Sting & Shaggy have announced an intimate run of dates in the UK, following the success of their Top 10 album 44/876. A series of intimate and exclusive shows will begin at London’s Camden Roundhouse this May 19th with additional dates in Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester. Tickets are on sale from Friday, February 15th at 9am at and

2018 saw Sting & Shaggy bring The 44/876 Tour to North America, South America and Eastern Europe. Hailed “one of the most anticipated concerts of the year” and “a reggae rock dance party that never lets up,” the show sees the pair collaborating on each other’s most celebrated hits such as “Every Breath You Take,” “Englishman In New York,” “Message In A Bottle,” “It Wasn’t Me,” “Mr. Boombastic” and “Angel”, as well as new hits from 44/876, which has just been awarded the 2019 GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album.

In Spring of 2018, Sting & Shaggy made UK headlines with a memorable performance of ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ at Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday celebration at the Royal Albert Hall. The track also featured on their collaborative Top Ten album release, dubbed “fantastically catchy” with “songs strong enough to fit anywhere into Sting’s impressive canon” in The Telegraph’s four-star review, and “a fine bromance” by The Guardian. The pair also performed the track live on BBC’s
The One Show, and in the latest series of Mrs. Browns Boys.

2018 also saw the release of “Skank Up (Oh Lawd)”, a further collaboration from Sting & Shaggy that featured dancehall music sensation Ding Dong. The pair’s latest music video, “Gotta Get Back My Baby” is available to watch here. 2019 will also soon see the release of the pair’s next single, ‘Just One Lifetime’.

Sting and Shaggy will be joined on The 44/876 Tour by Sting’s longtime collaborators Dominic Miller (guitar), Josh Freese (drums) and Rufus Miller (guitar), as well as Shaggy’s band members Melissa Musique (backing vocals), Gene Noble (backing vocals) and Kevon Webster (keyboards).


19 May 2019        London, U.K.            Roundhouse
22 May 2019        Newcastle, U.K.       O2 Academy Newcastle
24 May 2019        Birmingham, U.K.    O2 Academy Birmingham
25 May 2019        Manchester, U.K.     O2 Apollo Manchester

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Fentimans Launches ‘Love Yourself’ Campaign

This February, the premium drinks brand Fentimans are launching a “Love Yourself” campaign where they will be encouraging busy Londoners to be their own Valentine and take time out of their hectic lives to indulge themselves with Rose Lemonade cocktails, a new hairstyle and beautiful flowers.

It is traditional to give roses on Valentine’s Day to secret crushes and true loves, but this year Fentimans is turning tradition on its head and suggesting that instead of giving all our love away, we save a bit for ourselves. As part of their ‘Love Yourself’ campaign, Fentimans Rose Lemonade will be partnering with London’s finest blow dry salon, Duck & Dry and the luxury letter box flower company Bloom & Wild.

Exclusively for Valentine’s Day, Fentimans will be hosting the ‘Love Yourself’ drinks menus at Duck & Dry’s four salons across the capital. TV’s most recognisable bartender, Merlin Griffiths, will be behind the bar at the Oxford Circus Duck & Dry from 12pm-2pm, where he will be creating Rose Lemonade cocktails from the ‘Love Yourself’ menu. Drinks will include simply served Rose Lemonade, Rose Lemonade & Gin and Rose Spritz. The Rose Spritz is a refreshing aperitivo cocktail made with Fentimans Rose Lemonade.

In addition, an experiential activation is planned at the busy Paddington Station, where commuters will be sampled with Rose Lemonade. To build an element of personalisation, commuters will be presented with a valentine’s card that includes a Bloom & Wild discount code and a social media competition to win a year’s subscription of letter box flowers using the hashtag #LoveYourself.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for brands to have a point of view and offer a fresh perspective. The ‘Love Yourself’ campaign turns conventional Valentine’s Day marketing on its head, with a simple, yet motivating, personalised message,” commented Andrew Jackson, Fentimans Marketing Director.

Alongside the “Love Yourself” campaign, Fentimans have partnered with the casual dining restaurant Prezzo to create an exclusive English Rose cocktail; they are also running a Rose Spritz competition in the independent channel, where entrants have the opportunity to win a romantic trip to Rome.

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Atul Kochhar to Launch New Restaurant Kanishka

Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef in the world to receive a Michelin star, is set to launch Kanishka on Mayfair’s Maddox Street this March. His first venture with Tina English, another recognised innovator of London’s Indian dining scene, Kanishka aims to explore lesser known regions of Indian food, showcasing cuisine from the country’s more remote territories and borders.

Kochhar first hit the London spotlight upon winning a Michelin star at the acclaimed Tamarind of Mayfair in 2001. He left to open Benares in 2002, which was awarded its own Michelin star four years later. Now a celebrated restaurateur, television personality and cookery book author, Kochhar attributes his success to his use of regional Indian flavours alongside the best British produce, a practice which he will develop further in his latest venture.

Kanishka will showcase the cuisine of territories previously unexplored by London’s restaurants, particularly the Seven Sister States in the most easternmost region of India. Kochhar’s menu will explore the flavours, ingredients and cooking methods of the states, as well as the influences had on these by neighbouring countries such as Nepal, China, and Bangladesh. Using seasonal and locally sourced British produce where possible, signature starters will include the likes of Kachela Maas, a Sikkim inspired venison tartare with mustard oil mayonnaise, naan crouton and onions, with mains such as Samundri Khazana Alleppey, a dish ofpan seared seafood, Alleppey sauce and smoked cabbage poriyal. To finish, desserts will continue to showcase unique Indian flavours with the likes of a Chocolate rasmalai, a milk-based dessert popular in eastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Not to be overlooked, drinks will be a key element in Kanishka’s offering, with expert mixologists at the bar creating standout serves that make it a destination in its own right. Signature cocktails include the likes of the Roast Banana Old Fashioned, made from Tandoor roasted banana with cinnamon, orange and pecan bitters, maple, and the more savoury Ingrita, made from Mezcal served alongside a chilled lightly spiced tomato broth.

Meanwhile, ‘Kanishka’s World of Imagination’ puts the mixing in the hands of the drinker, allowing customers to create their own highball drink from a menu of herb and spice distillates, mixed with a choice of naturally flavoured tonic waters and their spirit of choice. For something stronger, Kanishka’s extensive whisky menu showcases over 50 types of whisky, with a unique selection sourced from India.

Named after King Kanishka, an emperor of the Kushan dynasty in the second century, Kanishka is inspired by the ruler’s use of Buddhist values, including kindness, fairness, honesty, humbleness and a sense of equality. These themes are explored through the interiors, designed by Fabled Studio with the aim of creating a nostalgic sense of ritual and tradition. Guests will be greeted by whimsical topiary elephants and an antique front door, whilst inside will feature verdant foliage against calming shades of blue and intricate beaded details. Split across the ground and basement floors, the 127-cover space includes a bar, a terrace at the front, and an intimate, 12-cover garden room downstairs.

Kochhar and English are delighted to be working together, bringing their wealth of knowledge in the Indian dining sector to the new site. Speaking of the opening, Kochhar says, “Kanishka is a very exciting project for us – it’s a great opportunity to continue to showcase Indian flavours alongside quality British produce, but also introduce London’s diners to the unique flavours of territories previously unexplored by Indian cuisine in the UK.”

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