Nifty Fifty

The most recent issue of Observer Food Monthly was a great way to reflect on some of the amazing places and people I’ve met through work that have also made it into the The OFM 50, 2014

Here’s just a handful:

#19: High-rise dining, and the view from Sushisamba on the 38th floor of Heron Tower

#21: Claude Bosi’s power lunch at Hibiscus

#24: Aged basmati rice from Arun Kapil’s Green Saffron

#30: Wild Muntjac biryani at Gymkhana

#36: Mayfields and their artful dishes such as octopus, smoked eel dashi, and green asparagus

#39: Gochuchang, here with radishes and sesame at The Clove Club

#49: Alessandro Palazzi at Dukes Bar

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

Tapas time

Apologies, it’s been a while… So without further ado, let’s kick off with a couple of new tapas openings, courtesy of Time Out London – ideal for all the fine weather we’re having this summer… not.

Donostia

Donostia tapas, MaryleboneCod cheeks in Pil-Pil sauce, Donostia tapas, MaryleboneThe first is Donostia, a smart ‘Basque-inspired’ restaurant/bar on Seymour Place, Marylebone and headed up by chef, Tomasz Baranski, formerly at Barrafina in Soho. The smart marble bar counter is where all the action is, facing the busy open kitchen. There are plenty of small plate delights as well as larger dishes such as the regional delicacy, cod cheeks in pil pil sauce, above.

The Fat of the Land

Fat of the Land, Marylebone

Coca de recapta, Fat of the Land, MaryleboneThe second on my shotlist was the curiously named The Fat of the Land on New Cavendish Street, Marylebone. (Is the area turning into tapas central?) A modern twist on Catalan-inspired tapas is what’s going on here, such as the coca de recapta (flatbread with roasted vegetables), above. Downstairs sports a buzzing bar counter and rustic wooden tables, while upstairs it gets all sophisticated with oak furniture and stylish lighting.

So, two worth checking out for when the sun comes out this summer… eventually.

The Maestro

A touch of glamour at a recent cocktail, interiors and portrait shoot at Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club, London.

The barman in question was Salvatore Calabrese, one of the world’s leading cocktail experts and affectionately known as The Maestro. The bar boasts his amazing collection of vintage spirits including cognacs dating as far back as 1805. One of his vintage cocktails will set you back anything from a few hundred quid to two and a half grand, so you’ll either need deep pockets or a lucky hand at the gaming table.

Pictured here, not quite as bling as one of his vintage cocktails but equally sophisticated, is one of my favourites, an Old Fashioned – a classic cocktail of whisky with Angostura and sugar.