Another room with a view

Oblix at The ShardRoasted romano peppers

Around The City at the moment it’s all about dining with a view. First there last year was Duck & Waffle and Sushisamba by Liverpool Street, and now its the turn of Oblix on the 32nd floor of The Shard, which I shot for Time Out London.

A sister to Rainer Becker’s Zuma and Roka, Oblix is an homage to the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel which he launched in 1992.

Oblix is divided into two parts – the main restaurant with open kitchen and lounge bar which offers a daytime deli menu, weekend brunch and live music in the evening. The views from both are stunning, offering the spectacle of London’s greatest hits.

And for the moment at least, you can still just about wave to friends over at Duck & Waffle.

Oblix at The ShardSeared beef, lime, chilli, garlic & ginger dressing

Oblix at The ShardView of the open kitchen as you enter the restaurant

Oblix at The ShardL to R: Tower 42, Walkie Talkie, Cheesegrater behind, Heron Tower just visible, Gherkin

Oblix at The ShardSt Paul’s

Oblix at The ShardTower Bridge, Canary Wharf

Oblix at The ShardTrainspotting: the arterial railway out of London Bridge

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All signs point to luxury

IMG_4268Staying in Mayfair, a stone’s throw from The Playboy Club, but a world away in vibe, I had a recent job at The Dorchester Bar to photograph some signature cocktails from The Dorchester Collection hotels.

There’s something a bit surreal about a bar full of cocktails early on a sunny morning, but hey, they tasted damn fine and were a very civilised way to start the day.

groupV2Left to right: L’Aperitivo del Principe (Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan); Beverly Hills Peach Crusta (The Beverly Hills Hotel); Martinez (The Dorchester, London); Rose Royale (Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris); Swiss & Sweet (Le Richemond, Geneva); From Le Meurice With Love (Le Meurice, Paris)

IMG_4266The elegant and imposing frontage of The Dorcester on Park Lane

IMG_4270The Dorchester carpark is like a supercar showroom. Here a Bugatti Veyron flanked by a S-Class and a Roller

Bunny business

‘Playboy’ and ‘fine dining’ might not be the first word association you put together, but executive chef, Judy Joo is hoping to change all that. On a recent job for M&C Saatchi PR, I got to discover why.

A graduate from Columbia, Judy worked in finance for Morgan Stanley in New York and San Francisco before training at the French Culinary Institute in New York. And in London, she worked for Gordon Ramsey at Royal Hospital Road, Maze, Petrus and Claridge’s before hitting Iron Chef UK and is now a judge on the US version.

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Judy Joo – fierce in more ways that one

Judy’s menu includes American standards such as Caesar salad, oysters Rockerfeller, and steaks but also brings her Asian heritage to play with a range of Korean-influenced dishes.

While Playboy Club London is a private members club, The Dining Room is also open to the  public for lunch every day.

IMG_4134The Hef Burger made from Chilean Wagyu. Collect all eight custom tokens and get a free burger

IMG_4138Knickerbocker Glory

PlayboyClubLDN-0048Petit four chocolates featuring vintage Playboy covers

While the comfort food deluxe delivered on flavour I found the Korean-influenced dishes more interesting.

PlayboyClubLDN-0017The flavour-packed Chop Chop salad

PlayboyClubLDN-0002With a lighter filling than David Chang’s, Judy’s Bo Ssam Buns give him a run for his money

PlayboyClubLDN-0045The Spicy Broth lives up to its name and packs a hefty kick

Fishy business

It’s always a pleasure to shoot at The Capital Hotel where everyone’s so friendly and the atmosphere calm and collected.

And definitely no fishy business going on in the kitchen of Outlaw’s at The Capital where they get the most amazing seafood fresh up from Cornwall.

Pete Biggs is head chef, but I was lucky enough to catch up with Nathan Outlaw on one of his days up from Cornwall.

Lemon sole, crab, asparagus at Nathan Outlaw's at The Capital HotelLemon sole, crab, asparagus

Cod, hazelnut crust, mushrooms at Nathan Outlaw's at The Capital HotelCod, hazelnut crust, mushrooms

Into the heart of Borneo

And whence from Hong Kong to Borneo armed with a copy of Redmond O’Hanlon’s tale of his journey into the mountainous interior of the island with poet, James Fenton.

We on the other hand headed for the less adventurous and infinitely more comfortable option of Borneo-lite – a Shangri-La beach resort next to an orangutan sanctuary.

Pool/beachside R&R aside, we did manage to tear ourselves away from the lounger long enough to fit in an orangutan encouter, riverboat trip, rainforest canopy walk and a nighttime wildlife trek in the rain.

It was but a taster of the energy-sapping humidity, and soul-destroying onslaught of mosquitos of a true rainforest adventure, made easier to bear by the proximity of hotel pool less than an hour away. Oh, I do love the smell of DEET in the morning.

So, all in all, win, win.

And by strange coincidence, Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero documentary on William Wallace aired on BBC2 shortly after our return.

Borneo from the airFlying into Borneo

Borneo rainforestIn the rainforest canopy

A bigger splashA bigger splash – poolside R&R

Borneo sunsetAnother day, another glorious sunset

Salaam Bombay!

Guardian Travel, Sat 11 MayPublished in today’s travel section of The Guardian is Rosie Birkett‘s feature on the Irani cafe heritage of Mumbai, which you can also read online.

Beautifully evocative, wittily illuminating and above all warmly affectionate, Rosie’s piece perfectly encapsulates our wonderful trip around Mumbai back in late January with the guys from Dishoom.

Far be it for a photographer to moan about how their images are used, but here are the photos in all their glory.

Radio Restaurant, MumbaiThe wonderfully ruined Radio Cafe

Boman Kohinoor, Britannia & Co, MumbaiThe sprightly and sharply sarcastic Boman Kohinoor of Britannia & Co

Chicken berry pulao, Britannia & Co, MumbaiThe sumptuous chicken berry pulao, signature dish of Britannia & Co

Long time no see!

Easter holidays notwithstanding, it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

It’s only been a few weeks since I got back, but its like it never happened. So a v brief recap on a wet, (relatively) cold trip to Hong Kong before getting back to work matters.

Star Ferry, Hong KongThe historic Star Ferry still remains as an iconic trip down memory lane.

Wong Kar Wai, Avenue of Stars, Hong KongWong Kar Wai’s plaque on the Avenue of Stars – director of one of my favourite HK movies, In The Mood For Love.

Louis Vuitton, Hong KongHong Kong ain’t nothing without the big brand shopping…