Franco’s, Mayfair serves jazz in the city

Lamb with seasonal vegetables

Oh, summer! Here you are. There’s a great deal to be said for long days. Yet, warm evenings are one of my favourite things.

Read my full review here:

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Shangri-La London launches new cocktail menu at Gŏng Bar


It’s October and we’re finally allowed to utter the C-word. Yes, it’s cocktail season and we’re ready to indulge. London’s Gōng Bar has taken this readiness to dizzying new heights. The bar’s new cocktail menu entitled A Miscellany of Inventions was unveiled just in time for the festive season.

It’s an acknowledgement of the incredible innovations that have impacted society and transformed the world we live in today. A total of 18 cocktails follow the journey of inventions which changed the course of humanity; an ambitious undertaking as well as an unusual one.

A Miscellany of Inventions is divided into five categories; floral and delicate, fruity and citrusy, bitter and sweet, punchy and long finish and non-alcoholic. My favourites of the menu included Director’s Cut (pictured above) which celebrates the birth of the motion picture. Served with buttered corn it combines Don Julio Blanco, elderflower and lime. Cooperman which is an aperitif with fruity notes honours the invention of the barrel; Nikka single-barrel Whisky, Ginjo sake infused Mastiha with melon and citrus make for a supreme cocktail.

The creation of the menu has been a labour of love for head bartender Christian Maspes and his team. He says of the new menu,

The cocktails bring to life inventions that have been real breakthroughs. It is hard to imagine the world we know today without screwdrivers and computers, and movies and guitars. Creating a new invention is like taking a leap of faith and being open to the possibilities and the same goes for the creation of a new cocktail. We really enjoyed bringing our ideas to life and we look forward to entertaining our guests with our unique creations.

For those with a more adventurous spirit there is also Look no Hands which celebrates the invention of the bicycle. The drink combines Copper Dog Whisky, triple sec, an IPA reduction and Fernet-Branca and is served complete with a bamboo bicycle.

If you’re Sober for October you might try La Dolce Vita which is one of the non-alcoholic options. With flavours of  coconut milk, halva, grapefruit and lime blended  to create a creamy and zesty finish it’s a fitting tribute to the creation of gelato.

As London begins to shift gear for the holiday season Gōng offers a fresh approach to the new season. Being the highest hotel bar in Western Europe, with unparalleled views across the city, it invites us to change rhythm in graceful refinement. Combined with Shangri-La’s exquisite hospitality it’s surely a call we must heed. Who would we be to resist?



Gōng Bar is located at: Level 52, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London SE1 9QU. For more information visit:

Nine dishes from around the world you cannot miss in London (and where I found them)

I keep thinking about what George Bernard Shaw said about food. “There is no love sincerer than the love of food”, said he. It’s a universally acknowledged love that certainly brings people together. Then there is this exceptional city we find ourselves living in; a multi-cultural hot pot that is renowned the world over. With that comes culinary influences from around the world shaping and re-shaping the landscape continuously. So, it’s fair then that many acclaimed chefs would showcase their cuisine here. I’m fortunate that I get to experience much of it in my line of work. So I want to share with you ten dishes from around the world that you cannot miss in London. Oh, and also where I found them.

Light Bites


Vietnamese prawn rice paper rolls

Gôi cuôn is a traditional Vietnamese spring roll filled with pork, vegetables, prawns and noodles wrapped in rice paper. In Vietnam they are always made fresh and served at room temperature. Head down to Bar 31 in St. Thomas Street in London Bridge to get a taste of these beautifully translucent snacks. The bar’s proximity to Borough Market means all of their produce is delivered fresh daily. Yes please!

Bar31 is located at: 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU


Japanese beef toban-yaki

Experience the traditional Japanese cooking method of toban-yaki which means to roast on ceramic plates. The dish consists of thinly sliced beef served with shiitake mushrooms in saké seasoned with citrus fruit or plums. Ukai in Notting Hill is a great place to experience this dish in all its glory. It arrives still sizzling in its ceramic dish.

Ukai is located at: 240 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LL


Basque Country rack of lamb

It’s raining Michelin stars in the Basque region; 19 restaurants share 28 stars. The region’s cuisine is based around rich local produce. Grilled lamb, cured meats and fresh fish take centre stage and you can go high or low without missing the spot. Where can you can get a taste of the region in London? Try the rustic rack of lamb served at Basque chef Eneko Axta’s London restaurant Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar. It’s served with a perfect sauce and there’s a great choice of side dishes to choose from.

Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar is located at: London WC2B 4BZ

Cornish Lobster

There was a time that we associated good sea food with tropical climes and far away places. Proof that good food needn’t travel far is at Ting at Shangri-La at the Shard. Taste the best of British sea food expertly cooked at Ting. Their direct links with Borough Market means everything on the menu is locally sourced and fresh.

Ting is located at: Level 35 of Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London.


Spanish paella

Socarrat  from the Spanish verb socarrar means to singe. As paella is traditionally cooked in a large shallow pan the singed rice crust is an essential part of paella-making and eating. Experience the best of socarrat paella made under the instruction of three Michelin starred, mohawk-sporting chef David Muñoz at Street XO London in Mayfair. Best of all, it’s on their £25 express lunch menu and served with roasted chicken wings and Japanese white sesame dressing for good measure.

StreetXO London is located at: 15 Old Burlington Street Mayfair London W1S 2JR

American mac ‘n cheese

Want to taste the great all-American classic Mac ‘n Cheese? Avenue on St. Jame’s has a great version on its A La Carte menu. Made with truffles, wild mushrooms and Westcombe Farmhouse Cheddar cheese it’s an absolute dream.

Avenue is located at: 7-9 St. James’ Street, London SW1A 1EE


Indian rabdi falooda

No list of London restaurants can be complete without an Indian dish in it. Get your authentic fix with the Indian favourite dessert rabdi falooda. Fitzrovia newcomer Lokhandwala has the most incredible version with goji berries and toffee sauce. What else? It’s served with chillie chocolate. Yikes!

Lokhandwala is located at: 93, Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 4PY

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British walnut whip

The great British childhood favourite, the walnut whip, gets a Michelin star makeover at Alyn Williams at The Westbury. If you enjoyed this whirly chocolate marshmallow confectionary as a child then you will definitely want to try this upgrade. Michelin-starred Alyn Williams has transformed this humble saccharin-loaded sweet in to a sophisticated signature dish; it’s a light as air dessert topped with edible gold leaf.

Alyn Williams is located at: 37 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2YF








A Very British Affair: Afternoon Tea at The Refinery Bankside Review

IMG_6631Think afternoon tea and you’d be forgiven for picturing a formal or even traditional affair. However, there’s no written convention that this is the only way to enjoy the quintessential British habit of drinking tea.

Read my full post in Seen in the City.