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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Kookoo Restaurant Surbiton Shortlisted for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant Award

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Kookoo Restaurant in Surbiton has been nominated for two awards: the Best Middle Eastern Restaurant and the Best Restaurant in the South East. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Manchester Hilton on Monday, the 5th of March 2018.

Organised by the Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which represents the country’s 30,000 ethnic restaurants, the awards are open to Bangladeshi, Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants and takeaways.

The newly opened Kookoo is a small family run restaurant, developed by the experienced restaurateur Kamran Abtahi. The authentic, fun, and friendly concept has been open for only one month.

“It’s an honour to be nominated for such prestigious accolades so soon after opening. We really didn’t expect it.” adding, “We’re thrilled our new menu has been so well received and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with bookings. Word of mouth spreads so quickly around Surbiton and Kingston about good food. It’s great for our dedicated team who spend a lot of time creating authentic flavours and we’re thankful to our loyal customers who voted for us. Offering a modern menu with gluten-free options has really helped us to stand out,” said Kamran.

One of the judges of the awards said about Kookoo that it is “an impressive Persian restaurant, building on classic Middle Eastern dishes with a modern approach. You can taste that the dishes have been authentically marinated and prepared with love. This is as good as any central London Persian restaurant I’ve eaten at”.

Kookoo will be joining the nation’s other top restaurants, including its London counterparts. Abtahi has previously spent time working at successful Persian restaurants The Piano in Chiswick and Doost, Persian Grill in Kennington, therefore Kookoo looks set to become the go to Persian restaurant in south-west London.

Kookoo restaurant serves a menu of authentic Persian dishes inspired by the family recipes of the Nejad family. The restaurant offers a takeaway service to Surbiton, Kingston and Tolworth. Due to the increased popularity since launch we recommend booking as the dining room is often fully booked a week ahead.

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Royal Lancaster London One of the Top 100 Companies to Work for

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Royal Lancaster London has been awarded by The Sunday Times a place in its ‘Top 100 companies to Work For’ for the third year in a row. The list consists of businesses that display the highest standards of team engagement, proving that the Hyde Park hotel has one of the happiest staff in hospitality.

Despite going through an extensive £80 million refurbishment, Royal Lancaster London managed to retain its place in the nationwide poll. Throughout the renovations, the hotel stayed open, which brought with it many challenges on a daily basis.

“We are all thrilled to have maintained a happy team of colleagues and guests throughout the past year. Many hotels close with the pressure of an all-encompassing refurbishment. We chose to keep our doors open and throughout it all our staff is still among the happiest in hospitality. It’s an incredible feeling to see our hard work paying off,” said Sally Beck, General Manager at the Royal Lancaster London.

The key to obtaining an inclusive mentality, such as a positive approach to work-life balance and a no-blame culture, is internal initiatives. The hotel adopts an inverted hierarchy, which involves the reversal of traditional management practices, meaning that colleagues are able to use their voice and are heard as soon as internal issues arise.

Royal Lancaster London achieved this accolade due to the wonderful work of the hotel’s numerous taskforce. Colleagues are rewarded with wellness days and annual awards parties for being actively involved in making the hotel a better and happier place day after day.

Located on the boundary of Hyde Park, Royal Lancaster London had recently completed its £80 million refurbishment, which included the lobby, all 411 guestrooms and suites, the brand new Hyde Lobby Bar and reception lobby for the Nine Kings banqueting space.

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Galvin La Chapelle One of the Best French Restaurants in London

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Diners from Bookatable have voted Galvin La Chapelle among the top 10 French Restaurants in London and one of the top 50 Restaurants in London. Known as one of the capital’s ‘most romantic restaurants’, Galvin La Chapelle offers guest Michelin star quality food in a beautiful setting inside the old chapel.

“We are delighted to have been voted a firm favourite by diners for the 2018 Bookatable Diners Awards. To be included in not only the Top 10 French Restaurants, but also the Top 50 Restaurants in London makes us proud to be in the hospitality industry, and is a testament to the hard work we and the team put into the business,” says co-owner and Chef Patron Jeff Galvin.

Apart from sitting in the top 10 French Restaurants alongside other French greats such as Roux at The Landau and Cigalon, Galvin Restaurants has been receiving many more accolades in recent months. Galvin La Chapelle, together with Galvin HOP, have been named in TimeOut’s Recommended list for 2017. Galvin Green Man has also been awarded a 2AA Rosettes by the AA Restaurant Guide.

Galvin Restaurants is a family run collection of French restaurants founded in 2005 by Michelin-starred chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. Each of their restaurants is unique, but they all share a common theme; the desire to offer high quality cuisine, served in luxurious surroundings by warm, hospitable and professional front of house. The Galvin USP is ‘Family’ and the presence of Chris and Jeff in their own restaurants.

The group includes the following restaurants: Galvin La Chapelle, Galvin HOP: A Pub Deluxe, Galvin at The Athenaeum, and Galvin at Windows in London, Galvin Green Man in Essex, Galvin at Centurion Club in St Albans, The Pompadour by Galvin and Galvin Brasserie de Luxe in Edinburgh, and Demoiselle by Galvin and Galvin Dubai in Dubai.

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Double Tree by Hilton Swindon Launches Cocktail Menu

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DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon has launched a fresh range of premium cocktails called London Road Cocktails. With this opportunity, the hotel would like to invite the Swindon residents to come and enjoy their new cocktail menu in a sophisticated setting.

The London Road Cocktails menu has been carefully curated and refined by expert mixologists who took a new spin on the classics and used subtle flavour combinations served in a delightful jam jar format. Each drink has been created with passion and a respect for the true heritage of the ‘cocktail,’ which traces back to 18th Century London.

“Recently launched, these drinks have had a fantastic response. They look and taste great, and at just £5.95, they won’t break the bank,” said Adam Flint, general manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon.

The new menu includes three classic mixes: Mojito, Cosmo, and Singapore Sling. Mojito is zingy and fresh with an initial hit of sharp lime that is balanced by sweet notes of brown sugar and white rum. The cool mint rounds the flavour of this cocktail and gives it a perfect balance of flavours, just as a classic Mojito should. Cosmo balances a delicate palette of both sweet and tart flavours, providing a sophisticated and elegant cocktail. Flavours of sweet orange are rounded by the pure taste of vodka and then balanced by bitter cranberry juice and tart lime. The sweet pineapple, orange and cherry flavours give Singapore Sling a beautiful, light and sweet flavour that is quickly balanced by the zingy lime, bitters and delicate botanicals of London Dry Gin. This cocktail is a balanced and cooling drink worthy of a summer evening tipple or daytime drink.

DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon provides guests with everything needed for a relaxing escape. 171 luxe bedrooms all feature air conditioning, coffee machines and en-suite bathrooms to ensure total comfort. It is located in the picturesque countryside of Wiltshire and just a short drive from Swindon Town Centre.

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Taste of London Festival

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Taste of London, the capital’s ultimate culinary celebration, will be delighting the public with the world’s best chefs, the latest and greatest most exciting restaurants, the best gourmet producers to Regent’s Park, and unique culinary experiences. Taking place from the 13th until the 17th of June, this year’s edition is set to be the best one so far.

Over the five day duration of the festival, 40 of the most exciting restaurants from London’s thriving scene can be found in Regent’s Park. First timers at the festival include Amalfi-inspired Italian Sorella, Mexican taco restaurant Breddos Tacos and Mexican Taqueria El Pastor, Portuguese sensation Bar Douro, West African Ikoyi.

The Fire Pit will welcome an amazing line-up of chefs demonstrating their skill in unlocking incredible flavour over fire. For the Opening Night of the festival, open flame cooking vanguard Niklas Ekstedt (Ekstedt, Sweden) is set to co-host the feature alongside festival favourite DJ BBQ. Other chefs that will cook over the fire are Josh Katz (Berber & Q), Lee Tiernan (Black Axe Mangal), Pip Lacey (Hicce), Leandro Carreira (Londrino), Oliver Gladwin (Rabbit/The Shed), Andy Oliver (Som Saa) and David Carter(SMOKESTAK).

The impressive restaurant line-up includes: Japanese inspired London mainstay ROKA, Anglo-indian showstopper Kricket, seasonal and inventive dishes from Salon, Sri Lankan Soho hot spot Hopper’s, modern French restaurant Gascon, and Duddell’s Cantonese and dim sum dishes from Hong Kong will offer a version of their Michelin-starred cuisine to the festival. Taiwanese restaurant BAO will be bringing their famous buns too, alongside a first from the Shard’s Hutong offering Northern Chinese cuisine, next to stylish Italian dishes from Mayfair restaurant Sartoria.

Tickets will go on sale on the 6th of March and can be purchased from here:

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Fischer’s Sunday Lunch for Mother’s Day

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People can now enjoy a Michelin star Sunday Lunch at Fischer’s at Baslow Hall with their new offering that arrived just in time for Mother’s Day. The restaurant promises to offer a gourmet dining experience perfect for the last day of the weekend.

Fischer’s Sunday Lunch menu was created by award winning Head Chef Rupert Rowley and it combines fresh, seasonal British ingredients with modern techniques and European influences. It features imaginative fish and vegetable-centric dishes, so that all customers, no matter their food preference, can fully enjoy the experience. Those who want to stay true to the traditions have perfectly cooked beef and Yorkshire puddings on offer. A wine list was also designed to pair with the cuisine.

The new Sunday Lunch menu will be changing according to the season so that it can take full advantage of local Derbyshire produce and daily harvest from Fischer’s very own kitchen garden. Grass-fed Derbyshire Beef, fresh fish and seafood from Paignton Devon, pears and Yorkshire forced rhubarb grown in the hall grounds, and homemade ice cream and sorbet are all celebrating local and home-grown produce.

Some of the starters featured on the menu include Sea Bass Carpaccio with beetroot and parsley mayonnaise; Risotto of Mushroom with tarragon and truffle mascarpone; and Twice Baked Goats Cheese Soufflé with celeriac and poached pear. The mains available include Sirloin of dry aged Derbyshire Beef with Yorkshire pudding, onion puree, and red wine sauce; Parsnip and Cumin Tarte with onion and apple; and Pan Fried Cod with cauliflower cheese and mussels. At the end of the meal you can also enjoy a dessert such as the Rhubarb Fool with English custard and rhubarb sorbet, the Earl Grey Panna Cotta with Prune Armagnac ice cream and madeleines, and the Chocolate Crèmeux with hazelnuts and salted caramel ice cream.

The beautiful setting of a grade II listed manor within five acres of country house gardens will enhance the experience and allow you to have a pre or post lunch stroll. Afterwards, you can retire to the dining room’s adjacent lounge for a coffee, tea, or a glass of wine in front of an open fire.

The Sunday Lunch menu is available from 12 noon, with the last arrival at 1.30pm and it will cost £38 for two courses, £48 for three courses, and £4.75 for additional coffee and petit fours.

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The Glen Scotia Grand Tour to Start in March

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The Glen Scotia Grand Tour, organised by the award winning distiller Glen Scotia, will enable whisky fans around the world to have a taste of Campbeltown, Scotland’s smallest Scotch-producing region. The tour will start in London in March before moving to other countries, including the U.S.

Whisky lovers will be fully immersed in the Campbeltown environment via an interactive pop-up event reproducing the sights of the Glen Scotia distillery and the seaside town. The event will start with whisky-based cocktails and canapes, followed by a tasting experience of expressions from the independent distiller.

The Victorian themed room highlights the classic style of the era, with furniture and artefacts creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. The dunnage warehouse features original whisky barrels from the Glen Scotia Distillery and will sample drams straight from the cask. During the experience, attendees will be transported to the coastal town through virtual projections which will light up the surrounding walls.

“Glen Scotia had been quietly producing exceptional single malts for more than 150 years and the Grand Tour is part of our ongoing strategy to put this special Campbeltown single malt whisky firmly on the map,” said Scott Dickson, Marketing Manager at Loch Lomond Group. “This global experiential activation represents a major investment for Glen Scotia, and will increase visibility of the brand in markets worldwide. Campbeltown is known for producing some of the finest single malt whiskies and we are excited for consumers to experience the region for themselves.”

The Glen Scotia Grand Tour will take place from the 15th until the 17th of March 2018 at the Wine Pantry in Borough Market, London. One session lasts for 60 minutes and attendees must be older than 18 years old. As well as learning about Glen Scotia’s history and whiskies, those who attend will be in with a chance to win a trip to the distillery in Campbeltown.

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Shortlist for ACE Best Product Awards

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The shortlist for the 15th edition of the ACE Best Product Awards has just been revealed by the Association for Cultural Enterprises. This year sees 146 entries in 17 categories, from Best Range to Best Guide Book alongside Best Café and Best Shop, with nominees ranging from national to local teams, from the Natural History Museum to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The awards celebrate quality, innovation and creativity in cultural retail through products, publication, shops and cafés, with a judging panel made up of industry experts. Cultural organisations’ retail offerings and services are needed to bring vital income to national treasures by relying on unique brand identities and quality designs, cultural institutions remain top of their game to compete with high street offerings.

“The entries this year have shown strength in all areas. It’s clear that retail teams within the sector are full steam ahead in considering in-store customers as well as those who shop from afar in product development and choices,” said Jill Fenwick, Managing Director, Association for Cultural Enterprises.

The ACE Best Product Awards will take place on Thursday, the 1st of March 2018 in Brighton at the Annual ACE Conference and Trade Show.

Best Product (under £1 million): Wrexham Museum ‘The Action Dog’, Sir John Soane’s Museum ‘Adam Nathaniel Furman 1st Floor Mug’, National Museum of the Royal Navy ‘Ernie the Knitted Sailor’.

Best Product (over £1 million): Imperial War Museums ‘IWM Spitfire Pilot Watch’, National Trust ‘Virginia’s Books Scarf – Emerald’, Tate ‘A Bigger Splash Beach Bag’.

Best General Publication (under £1 million): Sir John Soane’s Museum ‘Sir John Soane’s Greatest Treasure: The Sarcophagus of Seti I’, The Charterhouse ‘Revealing The Charterhouse: The Making of a London Landmark’, Wellcome Collection ‘Sound by Bella Bathurst’.

Best Café: The Hepworth Wakefield Café, Edinburgh Castle Tearooms.

Best Shop: BALTIC, British Library.

Full list available here:

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Jusu Brothers Treats Mothers on Mother’s Day

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Jusu Brothers, the Notting Hill based restaurant, is planning a surprise for all the mothers out there. It will be offering a free delectable French Toast and a pink latte for all the mums throughout the Mother’s Day weekend. The offer can only be used when ordering a second main meal from the brunch or all day menu and customers will need to sign up to the mailing list in order to be eligible.

“The JUSU Brothers juice menu goes far beyond your typical kale fare,” says Partner, Joy Diter. “We worked hard to create unique blends that span from fruity fusions like the Ishiban to more adventurous options such as the Kyoto Drift – a combination of red pepper, lemon and apple, which gives you a great infusion of energy to start the day. All the juice names derive from the Japanese language and reflect our passion for authenticity.”

The All Day Breakfast menu offers choices such as the Avo Don, a walnut bread topped with fresh avocado, antioxidant-rich Red and Yellow Bowls with toppings such as bee pollen, agave and home-made granola, and French Toast made with soya milk, cinnamon, coconut oil and coconut sugar.

The Mains menu champions JUSU Brother’s signature dishes, the Kale Salad and Okonomiyaki, an egg and cabbage cake with basmati rice, mushrooms, roasted with an okonomi sauce, and is accompanied by fresh-off-the-field juices. Also available are delicious vegan options such as the Maca Porridge made with buckwheat, Vegan Sushi and delectable bRAWnies (raw brownies).

Jusu Brothers was established by a collective of creatives from around the world that gathered together their passion for nutritious, healthy food, and Japanese culture. It is a celebration of natural and authentic ingredient, where the best produce is served. Jusu Brothers is a space where great food and great company come together.

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The Blind Pig Launches Cocktail Menu

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The Blind Pig, Jason Atherton’s flagship bar, will be launching the next chapter in the series of cocktails inspired by children’s literature for the World Book Day on the 1st of March. Eight new cocktails have been added to the menu and four classics now include a food element. Guests have the chance to reminisce over their childhood memories with the help of clever flavours and unique presentations.

The menu was designed by The Social Company’s Group Bar Manager Jay Doy, along with the team, and it is based on the smart storylines of Britain’s cherished children’s novels. New additions include the ABC Fizz, priced at £11, a visually striking drink inspired by Peter Rabbit and Chef Jason Atherton’s ‘Social Sweets’ cookbook. The cocktail uses ingredients associated with savoury dishes, but which are high in natural sugars and sweetness, including carrot and golden beetroot juice, celery sugar, fennel vermouth, apple soda, egg white and citrus with Remy Martin’s 1738 cognac.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired 5-a-Day (£11) cocktail made from the five fruits from the story (apple, strawberry, pear, orange and plum), with Patron tequila, lime cordial and Sekfords newest ‘Tequila mixer’, served in a highball glass and garnished with a gummy Caterpillar sweet. Augustus’s Chocolate River Punch (£12) is made with Bulleit bourbon, chocolate liqueur, Agricolrhum, fudge, Choco bitters and chocolate milk, served in a glass milk carton with the customer’s own edible golden ticket.

The savoury Fowl Play (£10.50) has been inspired by Beatrix Potter’ s Jemima Puddle-Duck and is made with Duck fat washed Aylsbury Duck vodka, along with ingredients more commonly associated with cooking duck dishes such as honey, orange and thyme. Dedicated to J.R.R Tolkien’s the Hobbit, the Shire Brew (£11) is a ‘spiked’ cider with Johnnie walker gold label, berry and meadowsweet, while the Harry Potter offering is a pre-batch bottle of Best Bottle Butter-Bitter (£12) served with butterscotch beans.

The most expensive cocktail on the list is The Tiger’s Tea Party (£28.50), which is an extravagant cocktail take on tea- for-2, in a glass teapot with a mini bottle of Moet champagne and a cake selection on the side. The cocktail is made with Bird’s ‘Pisco’, Nikki tigers milk, cilantro Falernum, pineapple and jalapeno liqueur.

The ‘Long and Short Great British Tails’ menu will be accompanied by artwork that will capture the essence of every story. Overall, the menu is a nostalgic celebration of iconic British literature, set to reconfirm the bar’s position as a front-runner in London’s cocktail bar scene.

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