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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Fruity New Pudding Gins from Hedgepig

Just in time for Christmas, the team behind Pinkster gin has launched two new flavours of their small batch, fruit gin liqueur, Hedgepig. Cambridge Gage, a member of the plum family, and Glorious Gooseberry join the existing Wild Bullace & Quince and Rampant Raspberry drinks.

Made using fruit grown in local orchards or foraged from the East Anglian hedgerows, the liqueurs accompany cheese and desserts especially well. Sugar levels are lower than many other fruit gin liqueurs, whilst the ABVs are higher.

“In our mind, Hedgepig is the definitive pudding gin and a quirky alternative to port or sweet wine at the end of an evening. Or a festive long lunch perhaps. All the fruit is locally sourced from our Cambridge HQ and it’s been well worth the effort rummaging around on our hands and knees to find the perfect ingredient,” said Founder, Stephen Marsh.

In a new charitable partnership, 50p from every bottle sale across the range will be donated to The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Founded in 1982, the charity offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs. Patrons include Ann Widdecombe, Ben Fogle, and Twiggy.

“The plight of the hedgehog makes for desperate reading. In rural areas, numbers have fallen by half over the past two decades. These snuffly little fellows have a special place in people’s appreciation of nature and as a business rooted in the countryside, we’re delighted to be supporting the fine work of the unsung heroes at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Every little counts,” added Marsh.

All the Hedgepig Liqueurs are available to purchase online from www.fruityhedgepig.com

Cambridge Gage 50cl, 28% ABV RRP: £36.00    20cl: £16.00

Glorious Gooseberry 50cl, 27% ABV RRP: £36.00   20cl: £16.00

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Peakz Stocks in Circle K Stores and Google HQ, Ireland

Peakz, the simply delicious ‘must-have’ for die-hard vegan chocolate fans are proud to announce they are now being stocked in over 132 Circle K (formally known as Topaz) stores and in Google’s HQ.

Now Irish residents and visitors will be able to get their hands of Peakz Caramel Crunchy Chocolate Squares, which is made from a delicate blend of caramel and chocolate, followed by a hint of sea salt to perfectly balance the flavours together on the palate, and Google employees can snack on all three flavours during working hours.

Vegan co-founders, Aalya and Linnea launched Peakz in 2017 as a way of shedding light on the effects of climate change and its impact on biodiversity across the world through their delicious, nutritious and wholegrain snacks, with Nanook – a young polar bear, whose adventures are a driving force behind the brand.

Each square is packed with Iron and B12, made without any palm oil or GMO ingredients, are free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and are a perfect pick-me-up for any time of the day.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Circle K as part of our launch in Ireland. There is real focus on making healthier snacks more accessible in this market and our Crunchy Chocolate Squares fill the gap perfectly by offering an indulgent vegan friendly chocolate treat at your local Circle K forecourt,” Peakz co-founder Aalya commented.

“Circle K is a game changer for convenience retail- we could not be more pleased to be launching with their new rebranded stores,” Peakz co-founder Linnea added.

Peakz, conceptualised in 2015 but officialy launched in 2017 by vegan co-founders Aalya and Linnea are Crunchy Chocolate Squares, which come in three delicious flavours and follows the adventures of a young polar bear named Nanook; a driving force behind the brand, as they shed light on the effects of climate change and its impact on biodiversity across the world.

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Thai Restaurants Launch in Soho

Reinvented Thai food will be hitting the streets of Soho this December in the form of new restaurants, Wild Rice and Mamasan. Wild Rice will be the ground floor restaurant focusing the menu on small plates to share, showcasing traditional, bold and vibrant Thai flavours, paired with seasonal British ingredients to create reinventions of classic dishes. The underground basement casual concept will be Mamasan, offering street food dishes such as Thai fried chicken and bubble tea alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.

The Wild Rice interiors will feature an entire wall of windows inspired by the richly coloured timber buildings that are ubiquitous with the old town of Bangkok. The Mamasan décor will be themed on Chinatown in Thailand, with lanterns, neon signs and colourful lights for a vibrant but mysterious atmosphere.

Wild Rice and Mamasan are the first restaurants from the young Thai duo, which was conceived from their love of trying new things and believing that tradition is ever changing and being constantly recreated. The Wild Rice menu features authentic Thai dishes passed through family generations that have been reinvigorated and refreshed. Dishes will change seasonally and be ever changing on the menu with lots of healthy options. Wild Rice will cater for all dietary requirements including offering vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as gluten and dairy free alternatives.

Dishes include:

Goi Pla Thai Ceviche 

raw seabass, lime, red chilli, fish sauce, toasted rice 

‘Yum’ Chargrilled Beef Salad 

grilled beef, garlic, cherry tomatoes, fish sauce, red chilli, lime 

Pulled Chicken Leg ‘Khao Soi’ Soup 

turmeric, shallot, galangal, coconut 

Plaa Salmon 

Salmon sashimi, chilli, lime leaf, lemongrass, lime 

Thai Avocado Salad 

avocado, courgette, garlic and lime dressing 

Pad Thai Woonsen in Claypot 

Vermicelli, beansprout, carrot, peanut, tamarind 

Mamasan offers casual dining with an innovative drinks list in the downstairs Soho space inspired by the Yaowarat Thai bars in Bangkok. The signature dish will be their Southern Thai Fried Chicken, available as wings or boneless thighs marinated in various Thai spices such as coriander root, garlic and soy sauce and topped with crispy shallots. On the side guests can order the Crispy Fries dusted with Thai seasoning such as the Spicy Larb Fries with toasted rice, lime and chilli.

Wild Rice can hold a maximum of 36 covers seated and Mamasan can seat 25. Both restaurants will open on 3rd December for a two-week soft launch period where guests will receive 20% off the food bill. The restaurant will fully open from 1st December, six days a week and Mamasan dishes will also be able to order for takeaway.

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Onima Launches New Lunchtime Offering

Just weeks after opening, Onima in Mayfair is already creating waves with its incredible décor, superlative menu and impeccable service.

Offering a complete lifestyle experience, this gorgeous townhouse is now becoming a firm favourite amongst those looking for a very different lunchtime experience, be they local workers and residents or visitors to the capital.

Now as Onima unveils its exceptional new set lunch menu, its reputation for stylish daytime dining looks set to grow. With the daylight flooding in through the full height windows, leave your cares
behind, sink into one of the comfortable velvet-clad armchairs or sofas and enjoy an aperitif before heading to your table.

Here you can choose from a set menu featuring an array of dishes all infused with Onima’s signature amalgam of Mediterranean and Asian flavours. Start with some warm “Saganaki” cheese with lemon purée & crispy salad or perhaps zucchini & aubergine fritters with tzatziki. Mains include favourites such as slow cooked rabbit with green olives & capers and roasted seabass with aubergine purée & sautéed Italian chicory. Finish with some baklava with pistachio cream & vanilla ice cream and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported back to whitewashed, sea-splashed, sun-dappled Mykonos!

Served Monday to Friday from 12pm to 3pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 3.30pm, Onima’s set lunch is priced at £32 for two courses or £38 for three; the full a la carte menu is also available.

2 Courses £32
3 Courses £38

Starter

Warm “Saganaki” cheese, lemon puree and crispy salad

Melanzano Salata

Zucchini and Aubergine fritters with tzatziki
Greek salad with DOP feta cheese

Mains

Roasted corn-fed baby chicken marinated with miso sauce
Roasted seabass with aubergines puree and sautéed Italian chicory

Tonnarelli cacio e pepe

Rigatoni pasta with lamb ragout and pecorino cheese
Slow cook rabbit with green olive and capers

Dessert

Tiramisú with coffee mousse and caffé latte ice cream
Baklava with pistachio cream and vanilla ice cream

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Glen Moray Launch New Whisky

The team at Glen Moray Single Malt Whisky has launched Glen Moray Fired Oak Cask 10- Year-Old Single Malt Whisky as they continue to develop their ‘Gateway to Flavour’ by adding an American twist to their single malt whisky and producing a whisky which is intensely sweet and smooth.

Master Distiller, Graham Coull was inspired to created Glen Moray Fired Oak Single Malt Whisky by the increase in popularity of American Bourbon and the success of the sweeter flavour within the drinks market. One of the key elements for producing American Bourbon is that the spirit has to be aged in a new charred (virgin) oak cask which gives the resulting spirit a sweeter flavour.

Glen Moray Fired Oak is a Single Malt Whisky matured for 10 years in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in heavily charred American Oak casks, resulting in a whisky which is sublimely smooth with intense spice and toasted vanilla flavour. Graham has used a 2008 vintage Glen Moray Elgin Classic as the basis of the new spirit.

The attention to detail is imperative. Graham Coull has worked closely with the distillery’s cooperage to source the finest new American Oak barrels for finishing, as the consistency and security of the supply of casks is very important.  Once this meticulous process has taken place the clock is ticking as any delays in transport and shipping can affect the impact the cask can have on the spirit.

Graham then selects the precise firing regime to achieve exactly the right level of char to impart intense flavour and colour to the whisky. As Glen Moray’s wood finished expressions are growing in popularity, Graham is working at least two years ahead to ensure that the distillery can satisfy the growth in demand.

“Fired Oak is all about enhancing flavours rather than adding different character. The Virgin Oak intensifies the existing vanilla and spice flavours which have come from the ex-Bourbon barrels.  Two elements are key – quality of cask and timing, both are crucial to obtaining just the right flavour infusion. To create a balance I have selected Virgin Oak casks with differing lengths of finish to ensure that the final whisky is consistent,” commented Graham.

Over the final maturation period, the spirit slowly changes, the colour deepens and the taste profile takes on intense notes of vanilla sweetness and smokiness from the oak. Only when it reaches its peak, after 10 months, is it ready to be bottled and enjoyed.

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A Festive Toymaker’s Workshop at German Gymnasium

German Gymnasium will transform its terrace into a magical toymaker’s workshop in partnership with über-cool gin brand, Monkey 47 this winter. Complete with warming cocktails, hearty German fare and a festive ambience, the terrace launches Friday 23rd November and runs until the end of January 2019.

The terrace will feature cosy wooden huts taking inspiration from Christmas Markets of the motherland and adorned with winter foliage, twinkling fairy lights, warming throws and vintage toys.
For some winter warmers, the cocktail menu features bold and flavoursome serves including a hot Mulled Monkey Magic with Monkey 47, Pinot Noir, house chinato, cinnamon, oranges and vanilla, and Doll’s House Midnight Delight, mixing Monkey 47, Reisling, lemon, pineapple, Jagermeister Manifest, ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

Adding to the experience, Executive Chef Bjoern Wassmuth’s terrace menu focusses on popular German winter classics such as Roasted fresh chestnuts and a selection of Germany’s favourite sausages, including Currywurst and Bratwurst. Those looking to further indulge in the festivities can opt for luxurious dishes including oysters and caviar.

Formerly a fully functioning gym and the venue for the first National Olympic Games in 1866, German Gymnasium by D&D London opened in King’s Cross in November 2015. Offering a stunning all-day Grand Café, a sophisticated first floor restaurant, two bars and an outdoor terrace, enjoy the Mittel- European inspired menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner and late night glamour at the chic Meister Bar.

Monkey 47 is a Schwarzwald dry gin distilled in the Black Forest of Germany using a recipe inspired British Commander Montgomery “Monty” Collins and named after Max, a monkey he sponsored in Berlin Zoo after World War II. It contains 47 botanicals which combine exotic spices with native plants found in the Black Forest and is bottled at 47% ABV.

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Laura Ashley The Tea Room Opens in Coventry

Following the success of Laura Ashley The Tea Room in Solihull and Burnham, the company has today announced the opening of Laura Ashley The Tea Room at The Chace Hotel, Coventry.

The new Laura Ashley The Tea Room at The Chace Hotel on London Road, Coventry, is tastefully decorated in signature Laura Ashley style, featuring selected products from Laura Ashley’s home furnishing and accessories ranges.

Laura Ashley’s striking Belvedere Midnight wallpaper is complemented by Pale Silver and Pistachio painted walls in this contemporary space filled with fresh green hues and accents of blue. The Tea Room overlooks the hotel’s landscaped gardens, and ample free parking is available for visitors.

Guests can expect traditional afternoon tea favourites, including a selection of freshly made finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and fruit preserves, and irresistible cakes and pastries. Updated regularly, the sweet selection is created using seasonal produce by dedicated Pastry Chef, Chris Murrow. Prices start from £20 per person and guests can opt for Prosecco or Champagne with their afternoon tea.

Laura Ashley The Tea Room is open from 12 noon until 4pm. To book visit www.lauraashleythetearoom.com or call 02476 303 398.

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Steak House Chain Launches The “Brexit Burger”

To help Britons count down to the Brexit Deadline, Steakout will be offering a Brexit Burger and French fries for just £12.95.

The Brexit Burger will be a delicious topsy-turvy concoction of cultures with a perfectly cooked British beef patty, smothered in neutral Swiss cheese, Steakout’s own burger sauce, some Spanish Lettuce and wrapped in a warm “soft” French-inspired brioche bun. The Brexit Burger will be available until Brexit Deadline of 29th March 2019.

“I’m actually apolitical but I thought it was time to push some fun at this crazy situation. I’m a proud Briton but I can’t wait for all this uncertainly to be over – In the meantime, let’s all relax and have a upside down politically topsy-turvey burger,” said Steakout founder Kaysor Ali.

Steakout is a  casual dining steak chain with 10 branches across the UK in Norbury, Tooting, Harrow, Luton, Leicester, Slough, Southall, Stratford, Blackburn and Cardiff.

Steakout opened in 2008, serving sizzling steaks in an informal environment.  “Our secret barbeque style sauces are part of what make our food special. Menu development is very important to us and we’re constantly refining our offering,” said Ali.

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ASK Italian’s Christmas Transformation

In the lead up to Christmas, ASK Italian has transformed its Spice Quay, Butler’s Wharf restaurant into a magical alpine forest, bringing the wintery magic of the Alps directly to South Bank for all to enjoy. The restaurant has been decked out, complete with pine trees, fairy lighting and a snowy finish – the perfect Christmas setting to be enjoyed from now until January 2019.

Upon arrival at the waterfront wonderland, visitors will be given the chance to walk through the enchanted alpine forest, laced with snow-covered pine trees and fairy lights. Situated amongst the festive ferns, guests can opt to sip a cocktail in the comfort of one of the swing chair snugs adorned with a festive wreath – they even light up at night – making them extra instagrammable against the backdrop of tower bridge.

For those wanting to continue the festivities inside, customers are now able to book the indoor Alpine Snug area, complete with a fairy light canopy and bookable for up to 14 people. Exclusive to the Alpine Snug, diners can opt to request the giant half metre sharing fondue*to enjoy with loved ones for an authentic Italian dining experience.

Guests who book the exclusive area, will love the celebrational Italian touches at their chalet-style dinner table, complete with faux-fur throws, and delicate table finishes such as pine cones and candles.  The area will be available to book throughout December and January, and for those wanting to create an intimate Italian style dining experience – visitors can pre-book the entire area for to enjoy the festivities with their fellow merrymakers.

Whether opting to pre-book the Alpine Snug or dining in the main restaurant, the new festive menu options are available a la carte or as themed set menus which start at £19.95/head and include a glass of prosecco to enjoy upon arrival. New dishes include the PRIMA PIZZA NATALE, a mix of pulled pork belly porchetta, roquito pepper pearls, spinach and mozzarella on a tomato base, and MEATBALLS PICCANTE GRANDE – pork and beef meatballs baked on Italian bread in a spicy tomato sauce topped with mozzarella and mascarpone.

Delectable desserts include THE GOLDEN MARSHMELLOW CONE drizzled in shimmery sour cherry sauce over a marshmallow peak filled milk chocolate cone. Christmas favourite SNOWBALL GNOCCHI will once again grace the menu, in the form of baked Nutella filled gnocchi dipped into milk chocolate sauce which can be dunked into white chocolate curls.

General bookings in the restaurant can be made online (askitalian.co.uk/restaurant/London-spice-quay) or direct with the restaurant on 020 3092 0201 and for the exclusive area and fondue set, customers should contact christmas@askitalian.co.uk

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Splendid Hospitality Group Appoints General Manager for Hotel Indigo York

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Splendid Hospitality Group has appointed Simon Grace as General Manager for the 103-guest bedroom Hotel Indigo York.

“I wanted to work for a fantastic brand and a fantastic company, hence choosing Indigo York and Splendid Hospitality. The appeal of the job role was for my development and the next chapter in my career, of working within a competitive market, developing my revenue management skills, networking skills, and to take the hotel to No.1 in York and succeed within IHG,” said Simon about his appointment.

Simon joins the quirky hotel from Mercure Wetherby Hotel, where he worked as General Manager for three years following his departure from the Operations Manager position at Mercure Leeds Parkway. Simon also brings with him an educational background in hospitality, with a degree in Hotel and Catering Management from Huddersfield University.

In his new role at Hotel Indigo York, Simon will be responsible for managing the day to day running of the four-star hotel, offering a hands-on approach to both staff and guests.

“We are very excited that Simon has joined the Splendid Family, and he will be a great asset to Hotel Indigo York. He already has excellent experience in the hotel management sector and we can’t wait to see him develop both the hotel and his own skills with Splendid,” added Stuart Bailey, CEO of Splendid Hospitality Group.

Hotel Indigo York, is a 103-bedroom hotel situated in the historic district of Walmgate, offering unique interior design inspired by the city’s chocolate heritage and rich history. Facilities include restaurant No.88 Walmgate, offering local dining and drinks, a gym, and The Chocolate Box, a quirky meetings and events space.

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