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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Celebrate National Fish and Chip Day with Vin & Tonic

Fish and chip fans can get their hands on a limited edition vinegary treat on Friday (June 7th) as Sarson’s, the original malt vinegar, has teamed up with Poppies chippy to reward fishy fans by giving away one hundred free Vin & Tonic cocktails.

This adult only treat has been created by the iconic vinegar brand to celebrate all that is great about the fantasticly flavoursome combination of chips and vinegar. Designed to perfectly pair with Brits’ favourite fishy dish, cocktail conoisseurs and fish and chip devotees can all enjoy notes of malt vinegar, capers and even mushy peas with this adventurous cocktail creation. The vinegar’s sharpness cuts through the oils from the fish and chips, perfectly complementing the classic British dish.

The creation of the ‘Vin and Tonic’ cocktail, inspired by the rise in vinegar-based cocktails or ‘shrubs’, is a toast to the time-honoured tradition of ‘Fish Fridays’. However for those who love a Fish Friday take-away any, or every day of the week, they can try their hand at making it in their own home. The all important recipe is below so get creative and don’t forget to add a dash of Sarson’s.

Vin & Tonic method:

  • 25ml Gin (London dry. Bombay, Tanqueray, Beefeater, etc)
  • 15ml Dry Vermouth (e.g. Martini dry)
  • 15-20ml Lemon Juice (for the post I feel ‘juice of half a lemon’ will be fine)
  • 25ml Sarson’s Shrub

Pour all ingredients over ice and then top with tonic. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

To make the shrub:

  • 250ml Sarson’s Malt Vinegar
  • 375ml water
  • 500g sugar
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • Zest of 4 lemons
  • 60g drained capers OR 200g of cooked peas

Bring the vinegar, water and sugar to the boil. Turn off the hob and put everything else into the vinegar mixture. Let it sit for at least 4 hours, up to a day. Strain everything out, and your shrub will stay fresh for 2-3 months.

The cocktail is available from Poppies Fish & Chips in their Soho and Spitalfields London locations throughout National Fish & Chips Day but be quick – there are only 100 being given away for free.

Sarson’s Malt Vinegar 250ml is available to buy from supermarkets nationwide for £0.99 RRP.

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100 Years of Hilton Exhibition Opens

The London Hilton on Park Lane, the first UK Hilton hotel, is opening an exhibition for guests and visitors as part of their 100 years of Hilton celebrations.

The exhibition showcases the iconic history of the hotel since opening in 1963 and explores the history Hilton as a brand and the London Hilton on Park Lane as an institution across the hospitality and London landscape.

A hotel of many firsts, founder Conrad Hilton himself commissioned what was the biggest post-war hotel build in Europe, standing at a majestic 28 floors. Conrad Hilton was noted upon opening the London Hilton on Park Lane as saying:

I have a great affection for London; for its great past, its exciting present and its limitless future potential…”

The hotel is known to have had a significant financial impact on the London economy, cited at around £7 million upon opening in 1963 and the hotel is proud to have helped redefine the UK’s event industry; one valued at an estimated £18.1 billion today.

Mr. Michael Shepherd, the longest serving General Manager of the London Hilton on Park Lane, commented: “In a city as globally significant and as popular as London, standing out isn’t easy or straightforward; for the Hilton to land here in the 1960’s and immediately set the standard was quite a feat. To still be going strong and remain one of this city’s great hospitality settings is fitting to the work of the hotel staff, and shows that the Hilton brand is still timeless and appealing to guests around the world today.

“As Hilton turns 100, the celebrations will look at the positive, world-altering impact Hilton continues to have on billions of lives and thousands of communities around the globe, pioneering new travel markets and bringing people and cultures together, while expanding new horizons and opportunities.”

The exhibition will be displayed in the lobby area, and is open for guests and visitors to enjoy from Tuesday 28th May to Sunday 2nd June.

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Andaz London Unveils New Lounge

Five-star lifestyle hotel Andaz London Liverpool Street appointed Ara Design International to redesign and revamp its lobby lounge experience. Inspired by the building’s history and Victorian heritage as well as the ever-evolving, artistic vibe of East London, the creative and vibrant space has been unveiled.

Originally built as the Great Eastern hotel, as one of the main railway hotels adjacent to Liverpool Street station, the refurbishment of this focal point in the hotel takes visitors on a ‘train journey’ through the old British Empire interpreted through the avant-garde local area. The entrance is inspired by the ornate aesthetic of a traditional Victorian station waiting room, with encaustic tiling, and a station bench.

The central lobby is reminiscent of a Saloon carriage, with dramatic curtains adorning the walls, and a reception desk detailed with rivets and metal banding. The exclusive back area of the Lounge takes on the identity of a Royal carriage, with stacked vintage trunks serving as a DJ stand and upholstered seating, reminiscent of Victorian carriage style seating.

The new lobby also features artwork that reflects the creativity of the neighborhood, including work by artist group Le Gun from the Royal College of Art, which provide a ‘Instagram moment’ for hotel guests and locals.  

Mario Flanagan, General Manager at Andaz London Liverpool Street says, “I am delighted by the new design of the hotel lounge, which really encapsulates the East London neighbourhood, whilst also paying homage to the building’s history and Victorian roots. The lounge will upgrade the entire hotel experience, setting the scene for our guests’ stays starting with a strong arrival and aiming to create a vibrant social hub at the heart of the hotel for our guests and locals alike.”

Harry Gregory, Director of Ara Design International says, “We were delighted to be appointed as the designers for the refurbishment of Andaz London Liverpool Street’s new lounge. With this being Hyatt’s first Andaz brand property, we understood the importance of creating a space which combines the heritage of the building whilst encapsulating the neighbourhood of the hotel’s area. We are pleased with the results and believe the space will be received extremely well by all.”

The striking lounge has an all day bar, serving coffees and evening cocktails, a DJ booth and relaxing seating arrangements providing a space for guests to meet, work or socialise away from the hustle of the city. The area will also serve as a space for pop-ups, a calendar of events and immersive experiences.

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Celebrating Edinburgh Gin Seaside

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

In a first for Chelsea in Bloom, Edinburgh Gin and John Lewis & Partners have unveiled a mesmerising gin-inspired flower display using a staggering 3,000 live blooms.

A competitive floral art show, Chelsea in Bloom sees shop fronts around the borough transformed with eye-catching, open-air installations.

A natural fit for this year’s theme of ‘under the sea’, Edinburgh Gin Seaside takes centre stage at Peter Jones & Partners; the first time the iconic store has participated in the competition.

Inspired by the Scottish shoreline and evocative of a bracing coastal walk, Edinburgh Gin Seaside is a popular choice in summertime gin & tonics and martinis. An Edinburgh Gin Seaside bar – located on the ground floor of Peter Jones – will offer the opportunity to taste the entire range.

Among the thousands of live flowers sculpted into tumbling waves, tropical fish and colourful corals are seaside botanicals – scurvy grass and ground ivy – both used in the distillation of the 43% ABV London Dry-style gin.

Two further striking window displays – including a ‘botanical garden’ and a ‘country garden’ – run in tandem to the Chelsea in Bloom installation, showcasing a range of popular products from the Edinburgh Gin range including Elderflower Gin Liqueur,  Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur, limited edition 1670, and the newly launched full-strength Rhubarb & Ginger Gin (40% ABV).

Alongside an official panel of judges, Chelsea in Bloom visitors are now invited to vote for their favourite display – – with one display set to win the ‘People’s Champion Award’.  

Neil Mowat, UK Marketing Director at Ian Macleod Distillers said:

“There’s a real synergy between gin distilling and floristry, with blooms and botanicals at the core of both crafts. The botanicals of Scotland’s East Coast were the inspiration behind Edinburgh Gin Seaside, making this year’s theme of ‘under the sea’ particularly fitting for us to work with John Lewis & Partners to bring Chelsea in Bloom its first gin-inspired display.”

Rachel Costello, Partner and Gift Food Buyer at John Lewis comments:

“We are delighted to be working with Edinburgh Gin for this year’s Chelsea in Bloom, to create a stunning “under the sea” inspired display. Customers can also visit the Edinburgh Gin Seaside bar on the ground floor of Peter Jonesto sample the delicious range during this year’s event, including the new Orange Blossom & Mandarin gin liqueur that’s exclusive to John Lewis & Partners.”

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Free dinner for Dads at The Petersham Restaurant

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 1 m read

What better way to say “Happy Father’s Day” than with a delicious meal out, and this year at The Petersham Restaurant in Richmond you can make your Dad feel extra special by treating him to a free three-course dinner. Available on Sunday 16th June for all tables of four after 4pm, you can celebrate Father’s Day in spectacular style with your Dad eating completely free.

With its unique floor-to-ceiling views of the most famous bend in the River Thames, the hotel’s elegant riverside restaurant offers the perfect setting to spend some quality time together as a family and to honour your Dad on his special day. Treat your food loving Dad to an exclusive Father’s Day menu carefully curated by The Petersham’s talented head chef Jean-Didier Gouges.

Menu highlights include delectable dishes such as Cured smoked salmon, Avruga caviar, shaved fennel, croutons and Roast Sirloin of Brechin beef, 28 days hung with Yorkshire pudding, carrots, parsnips and roast potatoes. To finish, Dads with a sweet tooth can opt from traditional favourites such as Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce, vanilla Chantilly cream and Apple crumble, clotted cream and cinnamon.

The Petersham’s Father’s Day ‘Free Dinner’ offer will be available on Sunday 16th June for any tables of four booked after 4pm. For every four guests, one Dad will go free. For a party of eight guests, two Dads go for free! For more information or to book a table, please visit:

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Research Found Gen Z Abandons Pubs and Clubs

BLACKBX, the Scottish start up that helps public venues turn their guest Wifi into a marketing platform, today released the results of new research into the habits of people in the UK going out pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants – having surveyed more than 2,000 British residents.

The report shows that the British public are stuck in a routine of going to the same places repeatedly, that Londoners are surprisingly sociable patrons, that young people are ditching the local pub (as well as clubs) and that venue owners must do more to entice new customers. The report also dispels the myth that people are more likely to leave a bad review that a good one.

Key findings include:

  • More than a third of Brits (38%) say they only try new venues to eat or drink less than once a year. The majority only try a new venue every six months or less
  • Half of respondents said that they only try new venues when given a prompt (eg. a promotional deal or recommendation) – yet 78% of people said that their favourite pub/bar puts little or no effort into marketing new deals and events 
  • Millennials are the most regular pub and club patrons – gen Zs are the least: 25-34yr olds are the most likely to have a pub they consider their ‘local’ (85%) vs just 46% of 18-24yr olds. 30% of 25-34yr olds say they regularly go to clubs, vs just 7% of 18-24yr olds
  • Despite its reputation for being an unsociable city, Londoners are far more likely to have a pub they consider their local (77% vs a national average of 57%) and are the second most likely to know their pub landlords and restaurant owners (47%) only behind Northern Ireland (50%). Londoners are also more likely to try new venues more often – 69% said they try a new venue every month or whenever a new venue opens
  • One in five people said they only go to their favourite venue on special occasions
  • Contrary to popular belief, people seem to be just as willing to leave online reviews for positive eating experiences as well as negative. 36% of people said they had reviewed their favourite restaurant, but roughly the same percentage (35%) had left an online review for their worst eating experience

BLACKBX also wanted to understand people’s experiences of connecting to guest wifi in these venues and their dependence on data. Related findings include:

  • 62% of people said they feel better when they are connected to public wifi, even if they have data remaining
  • 33% of women said they could go longer without sex than they could data
  • A quarter of men surveyed said they could forgo love and friendship for longer than data
  • More than half of respondents reported experiencing problems connecting to public wifi in the past – many reported problems with passwords not working (25%), not being able to find the right password (23%) and registration processes taking too long (22%)

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Chef Matt Healy Launches Third Gastropub

Award-winning chef Matt Healy has announced the launch of a gastropub in his hometown of Leeds – his third venture in the city in just a year. The 36-year-old chef and his team Seventh Course Ltd will take over the reins at The Beehive in Thorner, creating a completely new concept.

Matt and his team at Seventh Course have already seen huge success at their restaurants Matt Healy x The Foundry, which opened in the city’s South Bank area in May last year, and Grön Kafe in Oakwood, which opened in September.

The news comes after Matt Healy x The Foundry was named Best City Centre restaurant at the hotly-contested Oliver Awards. The restaurant also won Newcomer of the Year at the Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards, and was named Britain’s Best Roast Dinner.

Horsforth-born Matt said: “This is such an exciting time for us at Seventh Course and we’re so proud of the success our existing restaurants Matt Healy x The Foundry and Gron Kafe have achieved in a short time.

“We’ve been working on our business plan behind the scenes for several years now, and to see it come to fruition is fantastic. The people of Leeds have been so supportive, and it’s their feedback and encouragement that motivates us to keep pushing ourselves.

“We feel really passionately about contributing to the Leeds dining scene and continuing to push the boundaries to improve the offering for diners across the city.”

He added: “The Beehive is obviously a well-known name in north Leeds but we’ll be changing it up, shifting the concept towards a gastropub feel within a beautiful village pub, serving simple pub classics with a modern twist and hopefully creating a welcoming, friendly venue that will become a hub of the community. You’ll be able to catch up with mates over a pint or pop in for a nice meal with the family.”

The Beehive will re-open with the Seventh Course team at the helm this summer. Yorkshire-based Nanu Soda have been appointed to carry out the interior design.

Matt shot to fame in 2016 when he was runner-up in MasterChef: The Professionals – with two-Michelin-starred judge Marcus Wareing famously describing one of Matt’s sauces as ‘one of the best he had ever tasted’.

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Burgh Island Hotel Opens The Nettlefold Restaurant

The iconic Burgh Island Hotel is pleased to announce that it will be opening The Nettlefold Restaurant, named after the Hotel’s founder, theatre producer Archie Nettlefold. The hotly-anticipated seafood restaurant will use locally sourced produce and is now available to non-residents and guests from 14 May 2019. The opening of the restaurant is the latest initiative in the Island’s multi-million-pound refurbishment.

The Nettlefold will serve high-quality, locally sourced seafood, infused with a range of British, French and Asian inspired flavours, to the Hotel’s guests and visitors. The menu will reflect seasonal changes and will be varied to ensure that guests staying more than one night will have the opportunity to sample contrasting culinary themes, flavours and produce. A celebration of Devon’s coast, The Nettlefold will serve food sourced within 30 miles of the Island, including lobsters and scallops caught in Beesands some 10 miles away, kept fresh in the Island’s Mermaid Pool, as well seabass and sole caught from the day boats in Brixham 28 miles away.

Serving as an alternative to The Ballroom, the Hotel’s main restaurant, The Nettlefold will be led by Executive Head Chef Tim Hall, who has been at the Hotel for more than 15 years. Tim started his career at a Michelin star restaurant in Brittany, and he brings that level of culinary skill and expertise to his role at the Burgh Island Hotel.

New dishes announced include; sole veronique, a classical French dish of pan fried sole (landed in Brixham), with Vermouth butter sauce and white grapes fresh oysters from the estuaries’ of Devon and Cornwall served with grannysmith & wasabi, ginger, soy and spring onion or shallot vinaigrette smoked cod croquette, poached egg sourced locally from Cuckoo Farm, Modbury. There will also be plateaus de fruits de mer, dressed Brixham crab, oysters, Falmouth mussels, razor clams, clams and prawns and for dessert, apple tarte tatin- the classic French ‘apple pie’ made with British Bramley apples and served with Devonshire clotted cream.

The restaurant is a fitting homage to theatre producer Archie Nettlefold, who built the Burgh Island Hotel in 1929 as a retreat for his friends and London’s social elite. Nettlefold’s ‘Great White Palace’ was designed in accordance with modernist architectural principles and art-deco features, reflecting his theatrical taste. Burgh Island Hotel was widely considered ‘the best hotel west of the Ritz’and is considered one of the UK’s most iconic properties and one of the world’s most sought-after destinations.

The first phase of the hotel’s multi-million-pound refurbishment has just been completed. Staying faithful to the Hotel’s art deco heritage while delivering new standards of modern contemporary luxury, the renovations have included upgrading of all the public areas, as well as the gardens. Addition of further bedrooms and a Spa is planned for 2020. The highly skilled team of craftsmen and tradesmen working on the project are all local from the surrounding areas of South Devon, providing a major boost for the local economy.

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Brand New Street Food Vendors Arrive at Trinity Kitchen

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Five tasty new names – Yoi Fried ChickenThe Funky DuckYard DogsCMG Fish & Chips and Simply Strawberries – have now arrived at Trinity Kitchen.

Each bringing their own unique, mouth-watering dishes, the street food vendors are taking residency for the next nine weeks.

Yoi Fried Chicken is serving authentic Asian fried chicken with a fusion twist, from Japanese katsu burgers to Thai satay burgers with loaded fries.

Using one of the most popular ingredients in Chinese cooking, The Funky Duck combines fresh and succulent crispy duck with either hoi sin or sweet chilli sauce. Try their infamous duck fat potatoes for a great addition to the ultimate meal.

For a top dog, Yard Dogs is the place to go. Classic hot dog options include the ‘Porky,’ topped with caramelised onions, sauerkraut and gherkins, and the ‘Beefy’ smothered in chilli con carne, cheese and jalapeños. Other choices include a veggie hot dog and classic cheeseburger, all served with fries.

Fish fans can get their fix at CMG Fish and Chips. Known for their trademark fluffy batter, they’ve now introduced a new Thai red marinade option – guaranteed to add a kick to the traditional dish.

And finally, it’s all in the name – Simply Strawberries are serving ripe British strawberries topped with either melted Belgian chocolate or fresh cream, alongside their cream tea offering. It’s the perfect treat to get you in the mood for Wimbledon this summer.

Dan Wharton, Marketing Manager at Trinity Leeds, said: “We are delighted to bring five brand new street food vendors to Trinity Kitchen this summer. With an ever-growing food scene in Leeds, we want to bring something different and unique that our customers can’t experience elsewhere. 

“From duck wraps and hot dogs to fish and chips with a twist, each vendor has created a unique offering and we hope the new selection of fantastic street food is a hit with our visitors this summer.”

With a concept that is completely unique to Trinity Leeds, Trinity Kitchen rotates several new food retailers every few weeks, offering visitors a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars and street food vans.

The new arrivals will be at Trinity Kitchen trading alongside permanent outlets Chicago Rib Shack, Pho, Rola Wala, Tortilla, Doner Shack, Absurd Bird and Pizzaluxe

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Teapigs Launches New Range of Iced Teas

Teapigs has launched a new range of cold brew infusions, specially designed to brew quickly in cold water. The new range will be available online at on the 3rd June.  

Teapigs cold brew is a dead simple, all-natural way to pep up your water this summer! Three super light and refreshing flavours that’ll make glugging your way through your two litres a day a breeze.

Available in lychee & rosecucumber & apple and lemon, lime & ginger; simply pop one in your water bottle before you head out the door and… well, that’s it! No waiting for the kettle to boil, no added sugar, no sickly syrups.

LYCHEE & ROSE – The team at teapigs has taken on board your many, many requests for a rose tea, but as tea taster Louise was in a generous mood (and potentially midway through a lychee martini), they give you rose AND lychee. A gorgeously fruity yet floral combo to see you through all those long summer nights, bank holiday picnics and makeshift BBQs in the park.

how does it taste? Light, naturally sweet and a little flowery.

CUCUMBER & APPLE – Cucumber water is the absolute dream when it comes to cooling down in summer; but, for the days when you don’t feel like carrying a cucumber around in your bag, teapigs has got you covered with its invigorating cucumber & apple cold brew infusion. It’ll almost make your 8am commute feel like you’re spending the day in a dreamy spa… granted, you might need a lot of imagination for that one.

how does it taste? Light, fruity with a refreshing hint of cucumber.

LEMON, LIME & GINGER – A true classic – lemongrass, lime and ginger unite to create this light, citrusy infusion with a gingery kick. If you’re already a hard-core lemon & ginger fan, you’re going to LOVE it cold brewed. Refreshing yet bold, and a fab all-natural alternative to squash.  

how does it taste? Light, tangy and citrusy with a little gingery kick.

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