1. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-up-to-butlers-wharf-blackout/

    What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    If you ever wanted to experience a candelit dinner with stunning views of the Thames – with a twist, of course – then Butler’s Wharf Blackout could be the answer until September 15th. As a new addition to the capital’s annual hoorah (the Thames Festival), BWB is a collaboration with riverside restaurants Le Pont de La Tour, Cantina del Ponte, Blueprint Café and Butler’s Wharf Chophouse where they’ve all agreed to cut the lights after 8:30pm in honour of the history of the Thames (which is said to take its name from an ancient word meaning “dark water” ). But that’s not the twist; the pop-up 40-metre, 140-seat banqueting table is where we could be found on Saturday night, enjoying “swim & tonics” (G&T’s in a fishbowl bag), a delicious Crayfish & cherry tomato with basil starter from Cantina del Ponte, blackened pork with baby radish and black potato from the Blueprint Café (see what they did there?), and a kentish bramble syllabub with shortbread we could have eaten twice over from the Butler’s Wharf Chophouse. After the meal, we headed over to the pop-up bar Neon Noir to dance in the dark at the silent disco and get a load of more creative cocktails. It was the loveliest of evenings and a clever way to celebrate the river – so check out our pics below!

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  2. New Post: What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-la-forchetta-cocobamboo-and-dante-fried-chicken/

    What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken

    For all our food-filled escapades, it’s rare we’d be indulging three nights in a row – but that’s exactly what happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as we went Italian, Carribean/Brazilian and finally Soul Food American at a variety of spots in town you might just want to book:

    First stop, Friday : La Forchetta, Bethnal Green

    They’re not your typical Italian outlet and favour authenticity over bougie branding – so eating here on Friday night was a real treat. Portions are extremely generous too, considering the friendly pricing (desserts under £4 are a rarity nowadays) and the ambiance was cosy enough to make a good option for a date.

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    Info: www.laforchettabethnalgreenroad.co.uk

    2nd stop, Saturday: Coco Bamboo

    It’s hard to find a quality Caribbean restaurant in London that ticks all the boxes (top service, great food, decent location), but it seems this eclectic spot up North (which fuses Caribbean and Brazilian) wants to earn that title.  As our party exceeded six people Saturday night, our only option was the party menu, which gives you the choice of 2 or 3 courses featuring crab cakes, fritters, jerk chicken,  curry goat and traditional Brazilian dishes. Service was super attentive, and the dishes were beautifully presented but were a bit comme ci, comme ca for the charge (£23.50 got 3 courses) – but definitely worth considering for a night out with friends.

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    Info: www.cocobamboo.co.uk

    3rd stop, Sunday: Dante Fried Chicken at Death by Burrito

    Surprisingly, this was the first time we’ve been to DBB, but we weren’t here for the Mexican – we’d been invited to get a sneak preview of the brunch LA’s Dante Fried Chicken will be throwing this weekend, and we weren’t disappointed. Breakfast tacos, biscuits, grits-styled polenta and of course, the fried chicken were delicious – and topped off with a sweet potato pie, made this the perfect finale to a weekend of good eatin’.

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    Info: www.billetto.co.uk/en/events/dfctakeover

     

  3. New Post: What we’ve been up to… The Wild Game Co at The Endurance

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-the-wild-game-co-at-the-endurance/

    What we’ve been up to… The Wild Game Co at The Endurance

    TCé were invited to The Wild Game Co. at the Endurance pub, Soho – a three-month pop up serving the finest venison and game sourced from the Scottish Highlands.  Our dinner included:  venison tartare with hens egg, pear and walnut for starter (delicious), potted game, toast and cornichons (great combo), the royal stag burger with cheese and bacon in a brioche bun (intimidating, but tasty), the venison haunch steak with baby fondant potatoes and sprouts (modest, but two-thumbs up) , wrapped up with the bramble posset with honeycomb we could have enjoyed twice over.

    The Wild Game Co at The Endurance Pub

    They’ll be putting on a steak night every Tuesday where you can enjoy chips and steak for £12.50 if you fancy experiencing game yourself and check out our snaps from the evening, just HERE. For more info about the pop-up visit: www.theendurance.co.uk

     

  4. New Post: Somewhere You Should Go…Vista Bar

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-go-vista-bar/

    Somewhere You Should Go…Vista Bar

    It’s easy to think of Trafalgar Square as an area reserved for tourists and pigeons but near the museums and art galleries is The Trafalgar Hotel  which hides the beautiful Vista Bar, a stunning open air rooftop bar with views of the Square, Big Ben, London Eye and the Thames.

    As central London’s largest rooftop bar, if you’re for looking for somewhere a bit special  - perhaps for a date or celebration –  just take the lift up to the sixth floor and stop by for a drink. Fitting in with the impressive surroundings is a drinks menu which of course features champagne and cocktails (though the usual bar drinks are all available). My favourite was the Gin Mary, a Bloody Mary given an update with bacon (!) infused gin.  It gives it an extra kick that somehow works and makes you wonder why more drinks don’t have bacon added to them.

    It’s certainly not the cheapest bar in the capital but considering the location it is the perfect place if you’re looking for something special and areas can be hired making it great for a birthday celebration. As for  food, the menu is a relaxed mix of nibbly bits, salads and snacks perfect for picking and even includes caviar if you really want to go all out.

    Despite  the chilly winter months ahead,  Vista plans to cover the roof and put on extra heating for comfort, so it’ll be worth the visit – just note  it gets busy and is often used for private events – plus there’s a £5 entry charge after 4pm, though they do donate a £1 to charity.  (Words: Lucy Palmer) 

     

  5. Somewhere you should eat… Catch at Andaz Hotel

    The Cultural Exposé recently headed to Catch - a seafood restaurant that might have an inconspicuous entrance on Liverpool Street, but is a lavishly-styled eatery inside the Andaz Hotel with plenty of references to its speciality and even the mild aqua interior to match. Of course you won’t find dolphins taking your order (imagine that, eh?), but there’s no question that this is a spot that wants you to be fully immersed in enjoying the catch of the day.

    Joined by a pescetarian buddy, we worked our way through the compact and mid-priced menu which features what you’d usually expect from a seafood joint; oysters (we’ll get onto those later), fish and chips for the comfort-eaters, a few meat selections for the reluctant  and a variety of curious-sounding and experimental dishes, which suggests a chef who understands it never hurts to give  seabass and cod a bit of a kick.

    For our starters, the bouillabaisse was strong to taste, but well-balanced with fresh tomatoes, while the crab cakes had a thai twist and were livened up by the most subtle of coconut sauces. However, our favourite was the  seafood escabache, a refreshingly chilled assortment of crayfish, scallops, octopus, avocado and plum tomatoes, accented with lemon balm.

    It was also two-thumbs up for the mains, and where the autumn vegetable pie was the more homely offering, the eclectic ocean fish - with its combination of sea bass, cod, mussels and scallops - was a worthy special with an impeccable risotto.

     

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    Then came the oysters. In fairness, you’ve got to be into oysters to judge them and so it was a good thing we went for the oyster experience - a selection that’s partially-cooked and seasoned with your choice of yuzu gelée (a lemon and orange fusion from Japan), chorizo & sherry vinegar, tempura & sweet soy sauce or parmesan & horseradish.  The latter flavour was definitely the most distinctive, successfully masking the freshness and texture of such a unique delicacy.

    Two brilliant  and beautifully presented desserts wrapped up the meal; the classic lemon tart with the delicious mojito foam and a guilty madagascan manjari chocolate & praline cake, with pickled cherries. These were enjoyed with the remarkable Gavi di Gavi Nuovo Quadro - an extremely clean and light white wine, recommended by one of the many wonderful waitresses here.

    It was a very memorable feast - aren’t those the best? - and where it’d cost about  £120 with drinks for two people, it’s worth it for such great service and a quality effort in offering beautiful seafood in the heart of the city. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper) 

    Catch at Andaz Hotel, 40 Liverpool Street
    Tube: Liverpool Street station
    Price: (££££)£
    Further info: www.andazdining.com
     

  6. Somewhere you should eat….@ SIAM, Soho

    The @ symbol (or to give it its proper name, the ‘at symbol’) has had a number of uses in its 111-year lifetime. Originally conceived as accounting shorthand for ‘at the rate of’, with the arrival of email in the 1990s the humble @ came into worldwide(web) usage as an integral part of every email address. Since 2006 however, the sign has acquired a new prominence as the opening character of every Twitter username; other means of communication are old hat - these days Twitter is where it’s @.

    Don’t go looking for smart new Thai restaurant @SIAM on Twitter though; the username does exist, but it’s not them - in fact it’s one of the thousands of dormant accounts which include, frustratingly, @hughwright, an Evangelical Christian in the US who’s not tweeted since May last year. And not that you would, but don’t go looking for it in Siam either - you’d have a job to, as no such place exists, the Kingdom of Siam having become Thailand for good in 1949. Do however go looking for it on Frith Street, slap-bang in the heart of Soho, where you will find it, especially if what you’re looking for is some really very good Thai food at not-too-hideous prices…

    …To read the rest, click here to visit Hugh Wright’s blog, Twelvepointfivepercent.com - London Restaurant Reviews Of Real Discretion. 

    Follow Hugh on Twitter: @HRWright

     

  7. NEWS: Mythical “Minotaur” restaurant to pop-up at the Old Vic in October

    A pop-up restaurant inspired by dwelling of the mythical Greek creature Minotaur will be taking over the Old Vic tunnels in October.

    Dubbed “The Minotaur”, the unconventional dining experience will feature creative cuisine served up by world-class chefs, as well as an exhibition of inspired artwork and film.

    The event is a joint collaboration with Berlin caterers Kofler & Kompanie (Pret A Diner) and the Lazarides gallery and starts on October 10th, for two weeks.

    Tickets cost £75 (a percentage goes to the Old Vic Theatre Trust) and for more info, visit www.theminotaur.co.uk.

     

  8. (Source: addtoany.com)

     
  9. Here’s acclaimed head chef Josh Katz (middle-right, in black apron) and his team at Made In Camden, The Roundhouse.  Such a talented bunch judging by the eats - truly divine! Read our review here

     

  10. Somewhere you should eat…Sketches, Mayfair



    I love a good toilet. Always have. So imagine my delight when I visited Sketch for the first time back in 2005 and spent a penny. I was blown away – they are up there with the best I have ever seen. To reach them, you ascend a clinically white, curved staircase and are greeted by multiple ominous dinosaur egg structures – pods would probably be the best word. Each pod is filled with its very own soundscape – personal favourites being the round of applause and airport lounge announcements (I actually thought I could emerge in another place).

    They actually do food here too - and ever since restauranteur Mourad Mazouz opened Sketches doors to the London glitterati 9 years ago, it’s been catering for us vegetarians and meat eaters alike with creative and occasionally palate challenging cuisine. I opted for the Spring starter that consisted of asparagus, fresh peas, and an unusually icey poached egg in the centre – accompanied with a side of sorrel sorbet (bonkers- but good). Next up was Udon and Tofu in a Miso broth, a classy complex dish which sounded a bit dull on paper but the liquer was quite something, hitting perfect notes of citrus and spice.

    My fellow diner went for Lobster Bisque and halibut main (cooked to perfection). The dessert consisted of chocolate gateaux and sketch lemon. A little disappointing, particularly since the head chef is Pierre Gagnaire, (and we know the French are usually so good at puds). It’s not cheap, coming in at approximately £120 for two (3 courses and a bottle of wine). But you’re paying for more than the top end brasserie food. The atmosphere and surroundings are relaxed and quite friendly, there’s electronic music pumping in the background and a 360 degree video art installation playing around the dizzy heights of the dining room. There is also hand painted chairs by Julie Verhoeven. And lets not forget, those toilets as well. This is experience dining and the experience, as it happens, is quite good. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    Price: £££££

    For more information, visit www.sketch.uk.com