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Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Posted on 17 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Churchill‘ the new film starring Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson covers the story of Winston Churchill around the time leading upto D-day and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort. To celebrate the release we were recently invited to a cigar masterclass with Edgar Zavoronkovs , cigar sommelier for ‘The Den’ a soho cocktail bar with ajoining Cuban cigar humidor and sampling lounge.  After the event we took the oppertunity to pick Edgars brain on a few cigar basics.

Edgar Zavoronkovs – humidor sommelier at The Den, Wardour Street.

If I were new to cigars what would be a good first introduction?

All depends on your personal taste. If you not smoker at all (like cigarettes, pipe, etc) there would be good to start with something light, like R&J or something very classic, like Partagas D4 or any Cohiba Siglo expressions

What difference do the different types of cutter make to cigars?

There is 3 main types of cigar cuts. Straight Cut/ V-cut/ Punch. Depends on the cut there is the way how smoke will build and concentrate on the pallet. Straight cut will be smoother, V cut will be in the in the middle and punch will concentrate all the smoke in one point.

New world (or non Cuban) cigars often come in cellophane wrappers, when I’m storing them should the wrapper stay on or be removed?

It’s absolutely  no difference, how you store them(in cellophane or not) as long as humidor is kept in the right condition and maintained regularly.

What is the best drink to accompany a Cuban cigar to complement the flavour?

Depends on timing. Champagne will help to clean the pallet during the smoke. Sweet juices, like pineapple will smother the strong cigar taste, sour cocktails will refresh the taste and whiskey or brandy can definitely compliment the cigar.

Enjoying a Old Fashioned and Cuban Cigar at The Den, 100 Wardour Street

What is the best way to light my cigar?

There is no best way. As long as the foot of the cigar is lighted correctly and evenly, it will guarantee the smooth smoke. Just don’t use petrol lighters, just neutral gas/ fire.

How long do cigars improve for as they age and do they ever get to a point where they deteriorate?

Cigar age very well and can develop in different way, not always the best, but it’s always beneficial to age cigars. Also, mould can build up, but it’s just indicator, how humidor is maintained and it’s absolutely ok.  It can be removed with old shaving brush.

Why do some cigars age better than others?

Cigar taste is very personal. But’s in general it’s all about quality of Tabaco leaves.

What do I need to do to store my cigars correctly why do they need to be humidified?

Basic humidor (around £75) will do the trick for 15-25 cigars. As long as the right humidity level is there.

How is it that different cigar brands can taste so different when they are all made of tobacco grown in the same area?

It’s all about strength of the leaves and age of cigar leaves.

Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

What is your favourite cigar and why?

I’m the big fan of Vegas Robaina. It’s the only independent Cuban brand and they are more light-medium body and guarantee creamy, chocolate-vanilla smoke.

What is your favourite vitola?

I will go for COhiba esplenditos.

Apart from Cuba, what country grows the best tobacco in your opinion?

Davidoff is pretty good, because they use Wrapper/ Binder and Filler from different regions.

Where have all the skinny cigars gone?

They all still there on the market. Basicaly Cohiba Lanceros is a skinny one and this is how the Cohiba brand starts.

The film ‘Churchill’ is about to be released, Churchill was a famous cigar smoker what brand of cigars did Churchill smoke?

Churchill used to smoke a lot of cigars, but all of them were very properly hand-rolled cigars. He liked large Maduros cigars particularly, but he never used to smoke them more than halfway down for some reason! Romeo y Julieta, La Aroma de Cuba and Camacho (pre-revolution brands) were also his favourites. He would receive cigars direct from the President of Cuba.

CHURCHILL IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD NOW COURTESY OF LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT

COMPETITION – Win one of three sets of Signed Churchill Poster and DVD by Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson

just shoot us a email to enterthecomp@gmail.com and tell us Churchills surname.

Three winners will be picked at random from all entries recieved by Monday 30th October 2017 at 9am.

The Den – modern Soho meets old school drinking den with a classic grassroots soundtrack and stay all night vibe. Sample laid back cocktails, live music sessions and for cigar aficionados, a straight out of Havana hideaway with hand rolled cigar selection and humidor.

http://www.thedenwardour.com/

The Den, 100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TN

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BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

Posted on 04 October 2017 by Chris Ford

BrewDog are I think most will agree  have played a massive part in bringing craft beer to the mainstream and that’s certainly true for me, my first proper craft beer was their flagship ‘Punk IPA’ and I haven’t looked back since.

Saying that I’m still far from a expert when it comes to beer which is why I welcome this new book from the guys behind BrewDog  ‘Craft Beer For The People’ aims to cover everything from how beer is made looking at the ingredients and decisions brewers make to how to understand the different styles, how to cook with and match beers with food and even how to brew your own!

To celebrate the launch we have two copies of the book to give away, if you fancy one just drop us a email at enterthecomp@gmail.com  we will pick two lucky readers at random to win.*

Craft Beer For The People is available from November 5th and you can grab yours here.

 

*Competition closes on Monday 9th Oct at 9am when two winners will be selected at random to win.  Open to UK residents only.

 

 

 

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Magic Roundabout – 26.10.2016-52

Magic Roundabout returns to Old Street

Posted on 04 October 2017 by Chris Ford

After its great success in the summer  London’s Old street welcomes backs  the Magic Roundabout for some winter fun.

Stepping through Old Street tube station you’ll take the stairs through Time and Space and pop up into a homage to the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The brand new themed areas include a version of Woodstock with some serious flower power and a 1970s Playboy lounge, complete with sheepskins and log fire. The Main Bar will be an all-out 80s disco with futuristic art and palm trees and finally, the VIP Area will take you right back to the early 90s that was my era but I’m not sure I want to embrace or forget it!

The winter relaunch also welcomes Smokin’ Lotus who use old family recipes as inspiration for their BBQ menu. Smokin’ Lotus was voted no 42 in Time Out’s top 50 street food traders 2017 so Im certainly looking forward to trying some bbq goodness from these guys!

Other street food offerings include the return of  Skins and the amazing Burger Bear.

Throughout Autumn and winter the venue will play host to a huge range of events, highlights include an immersive Halloween party on 28th October in collaboration with Budweiser, a Liquid D&B party from Sine with Commix headlining on 4th November and the  Wasted Chic Christmas Market on 5th December.

For more info on the Magic Roudabout  head over to www.magicroundabout.co

 

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Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

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Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

Posted on 02 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Confession. I’m not much of a gambler. In fact even fruit machines confuse me! Which is why when Grosvenor Casinos asked if I fancied popping down to experience some of their Christmas casino offerings I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Thankfully, the moment we walked in staff were welcoming and only too happy to guide us where to go and the dos and don’ts of the casino, so even a beginner like me couldn’t get lost. I went from a little scared to completely at ease in a matter of seconds, a great first impression.

The casino itself is a buzzing hive of activity, flashing lights surround you, with sections for slots, roulette and black jack tables scattered around as well as several bars to either celebrate your win (or drown your sorrows!)

Food and Drink

I think what surprised me the most having never been to a casino was that  Grosvenor have a fully-fledged restaurant menu as well as several bars in their casinos I’m not sure if people come to the casino just to have a steak and a cocktail but you can certainly do just that! For Christmas Grosvenor Casinos have a special party menu which will  be launched from November, which includes starters such as Prawn Cocktail With Marie Rose Sauce, On Crisp Iceberg Lettuce, Topped With Smoked Salmon And Chives, or mains such as Roast Turkey Breast Served With A Cranberry Thyme And Smoked Bacon Stuffing And Pigs In Blankets. Also on offer are a selection of desserts including Raspberry And Hazelnut Meringue Roulade On Raspberry Sauce. You can pick from the set menu or create your own package with options including Festive Fork Buffets or Vegetarian Festive Sharing Platters.

 

How To gamble?

The main reason we came here was of course to learn how to gamble and Grosvenor are obviously keen for you to do just that. They have come up with the great idea of holding some gaming how-to sessions, where as a group – such as an office Christmas party or a group of friends – can learn with the help of one of their experienced croupiers the art of black jack or roulette.

Using practice chips but on a real table we had the ability to grasp the basics of the games while the croupier would give us pointers and tips along the way. I did this with a small group of people I’d never met before and it really was a real fun friendly environment we had a great time getting to know each other and laughing at each other’s bad bets. I could imagine this being a fantastic team building event – don’t chat to Roger in accounts much?  Well after 30 mins learning blackjack maybe he could be your new best mate!

The Real Deal

Once we had learnt the basics we were given £10 in real chips to go and try our luck on the main tables. I chose to give roulette a go. My first observation was in a real game situation its very fast-paced, lots of serious players laying down bets, despite this the croupier managed to find time to advise me on the bet I had placed and help with a few minor queries I had during my time at the table. I will be honest I have no idea how she was able to multitask with all that was going on but the atmosphere even on the real table remained friendly and fun.  I certainly enjoyed myself and managed to walk away with £60 in winnings! Not bad at all for a beginner I thought.

I will definitely recommend giving the casino experience a go as a Christmas gift or for a team night out, casinos don’t have to be scary places and I left Grosvenor vowing to return very soon.

 

Experience packages start at £20 per person.  More information can be found here: http://www.grosvenorcasinoslondon.com/experience-packages/

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Back of the net with Beko

Back of the net with Beko

Posted on 07 September 2017 by Guest Post

Professional footballers make the ideal ambassadors to have on board if you’re looking to promote healthy eating, which is exactly what Beko is doing with its new range of electrical gizmos. And, far from being just another white goods manufacturer, the Turkish company is really trying to innovate with its stylish range of new kitchen gadgets, including some nifty blenders that are tailor-made for serving up a fresh batch of nutrition whenever you need it.

Bekos Vacuum Blender

Beko’s latest vacuum blender, in particular, looks interesting as does the Slow Juicer that delivers premium goodness, just as long as you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind waiting a bit. At IFA we also enjoyed the quality cups of Joe that were produced by Beko’s natty new fully automatic Expresso machine that boasts Internet of Things connectivity.

However, the innovative angle is present across the range of products, with new developments in its cooling and refrigeration appliances that offer a neat slant on keeping things fresh. Meanwhile, Beko’s take on washing machines and tumble dryers brings with it many new features. There’s an AirTherapy model for starters, which is the world’s first washing machine with warm air circulation that benefits from ready-to-go features that’ll have you wearing clean ‘n’ fresh strides in record time,

Beko also reckons it’s got the world’s faster washer dryers in its portfolio in the shape of the Ultrafast range, while IonGuard models deliver what Beko claims is its freshest ever tumble-dried clothes thanks to its built-in IonGuard steam therapy. Oh, and there’s even a new dishwasher range that features AutoDosing technology, which optimises detergent dosage based on the consumers’ programme selection. As a result, the company says owners can expect more efficiency and better financial savings.

Beko launched its shiny new collection in a global initiative that’s been dubbed ‘Eat Like a Pro’, in partnership with FC Barcelona and chose IFA, Europe’s mega trade show, to showcase the latest kitchen gadgets. With child obesity levels on the increase Beko has made a smart move by enlisting the help of one-time FC Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert to encourage healthy eating among the young, while the company has also enlisted the services of Ella Mills, aka Deliciously Ella, the high-profile food blogger who changed her life after a period of illness by deciding that nutrition and healthy eating could get her back on track.

Beko’s affiliation with FC Barcelona also means that it’s potentially well-placed to get you closer to the game itself. Indeed, at IFA the Beko booth had a wheel of fortune setup that gave visitors the chance to win match tickets. Or a blender. Or, in the majority of cases, a freshly made smoothie creation from one of the celebrity chefs they had on hand. And, while nobody on press day appeared to win match day tickets, the smoothies were mighty fine and highlighted what you can do with a decent blender and a fistful of nutritious raw ingredients.

Patrick Kluivert is certainly a fan of the blended treats. “For me to play at the top of my game for more than 15 years, healthy eating and nutrition was so important,” he said before journalists were let loose on a dazzling array of mashed up fruit and veg juices. ”I have passed all of this down to my children today and the Beko global initiative of Eat Like a Pro can inspire families and children all around the world to eat healthier food.”

The healthy angle being promoted by Beko is underlined by company CEO, Hakan Bulgurlu, “Childhood obesity is truly a global issue,” he commented. “If current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese under-5s will reach 70 million by 2025. At Beko, we believe we can help tackle this crisis in two important ways: by our innovative technologies that make healthy eating easier; and by generating excitement amongst children to eat healthily. Our Eat Like a Pro initiative aims to make healthy food enticing to children throughout the world, helping them eat what their heroes eat. Our aim is simple, to help reduce childhood obesity through prevention and education”

 

The full campaign will be rolled out globally from January 2018, and will engage with families, schools, communities and homes around the world to rethink their food choices, and ‘Eat Like A Pro’.

 

Words and images Rob Clymo @theclymobrief

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Pawno gets UK release date

Pawno gets UK release date

Posted on 31 August 2017 by Chris Ford

Pawno l Paul Ireland’s debut Australian comedy-drama  finally been given a uk release date of 20th October.

Pawno  takes place in a dusty pawnbrokers in the heart of Footscray, an inner-western suburb of Melbourne, where world-weary owner Les Underwood watches as the lives of people who come through his doors collide, change and unravel. From blossoming romance to desperate last gambles,  these twelve individuals stories represent the best and the worst of one day in the life of a Melbourne pawnbrokers.

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Rising Young Actors

Rising Young Actors

Posted on 24 July 2017 by Chris Ford

To mark the Blu-ray™ and DVD release of Jason Blum’s Get Out on 24th July starring Daniel Kaluuya, we take a look at the UK landscape of the young, diverse British actors who are similarly starting to make real waves in film and television.

Daniel Kaluuya

On a path that has seen him professionally acting since the age of 17, Daniel Kaluuya’s career is definitely on the rise.

In Get Out we see Daniel playing the part of Chris Washington, a young African-American man who’s been invited by his white girlfriend Rose to meet her family at their upstate home out of the city.  At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

Daniel’s past roles include Black Mirror, Sicario and Kick-Ass 2, his performance in Get Out has caught the eye of many, with the Guardian calling it “Understated and layered”. With upcoming performances in Marvel’s Black Panther and Steve McQueen’s Widows to look forward to – the only way is up for Daniel.

 

Riz Ahmed

A couple of years ago you’d have been forgiven for not recognising the name Riz Ahmed – now that’s not the case! His performance as Nasir “Naz” Khan in HBO mini-series The Night Of quickly propelled him to become one of Britain’s most sought after actors. Since then, he’s featured in film and television’s biggest productions including Rogue One and Netflix’s The OA and HBO’s Girls.

 

John Boyega

Sticking with Star Wars, another actor whose breakthrough came from the George Lucas intergalactic franchise is John Boyega. London born Boyega first burst onto the scene with his performance in Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block as Moses. Since then, after a reported 7 month audition process Boyega is now a leading man in the Star Wars Universe playing the role of Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and forthcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

 

Babou Ceesay

Babou Ceesay is most notably known for his recent role as Marcus in the new series Guerilla, a brutal depiction of 1970’s Britain. Recently in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, Babou revealed how theatre productions shape the way he acts, saying “theatre has a profound impact on the work I do now. Repeating a performance, night after night, starts to give you some grounding.” Babou has also starred in some of Britain’s biggest shows on television including Law & Order: UK, Luther and Casualty.

 

Jordan Stephens 

London-born Jordan Stephens is not only a successful musician, but is also a very much up-and-coming star. The Rizzle Kicks front man has recently starred alongside Ella Purnell in road trip movie Access All Areas – previous work includes a cameo role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to which he described as “one of the most intimidating experiences of his life”. Other work includes E4’s Glue and drama series The Last Panthers.

 

Take home GET OUT, available on available on Blu-Ray™ and DVD on the 24th July

 

 

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PRISON BREAK S5 DVD O-RING FINAL 3D PACKSHOT

New Prison Break Release – Exclusive clip

Posted on 29 June 2017 by Chris Ford

Inconic tv show “Prison Break” returned recently as a special one off  event series and Monday the whole thing is out on DVD and Blu-ray ,to get you in the mood the guys behind the series have given us this exclusive clip from the sets bonus content entitled  ‘A Hero’s Journey’ featuring series star and chief  Wentworth Miller

Prison Break Series 5 and a special collectors  boxset (featuring all 5 seasons)  is out next Monday on DVD and Blu-Ray

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Silver Lining Service – Marriott County Hall

Silver Lining Service – Marriott County Hall

Posted on 27 June 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week we were invited to the launch of the London Marriott County Hall’s new Silver Lining Service, enlisting a Meteorologist the hotel now offers a weather reactive service at their 5* hotel by Westminster bridge.

 

So what does all this mean?

Marriott have enlisted the help of Senior Meteorologist Kirsty McCabe, who currently presents on Sky News. Kirsty will be presiding over local weather matters, helping hotel guests get the most out of their stay— come rain or shine.

With Kirsty’s help the hotel has launched its Silver Lining Package – a weather reactive service for guests staying in their 12 premier suites, meaning that the rooms will respond, in real time, to the conditions outside.  A little cloudy? A light therapy lamp will be on the bedside table. Things turn a bit windy? A hair stylist will be on hand to make sure you look your best for the evening ahead. A downpour? Wellies and raincoats will be at the suite door. Sun’s blazing? Find a selection of luxury skincare already in the bathroom.  So you get the idea, you don’t have to worry about the weather the hotel anticipates your needs to help you enjoy your stay in London no matter what the weather. And as a Londoner myself I know full well that our weather is far from predictable so good to have the professionals on board to help out!

So while we were there Marriott kindly let us stay in one of their rooms for the night so we can experience a bit of what the hotel has to offer and the Silver Lining Package. Last Monday was a scorcher so the room should reflect that right?  Well when we entered the room we were greeted with a weather care package including some sun cream and moisturiser for the sunny day ahead oh and an umbrella because its London and you never know right? To top it off ice, gin and tonic was left on the desk  – a perfect sunny day drink and a lovely greeting as we entered the room.

The whole hotel was recently refurbished late last year and they have really gone to town on instilling the London theme throughout the room and the hotel itself.

From the artwork on the walls subtly themed on areas of London to the wallpaper in the room featuring a lovely map of the whole city. Even the TV cabinet had the shape of the River Thames running through it.  A lot of effort has been made to make your stay special and I’m sure tourists would love these little touches.  Even as a Londoner I couldn’t help but smile – even the hallway had bowler hat wallpaper!

The Hotel itself is located just by Westminster Bridge so as you can imagine the views from the window were pretty spectacular. I’m not sure my photo does it justice but waking up to Big Ben outside your window is pretty special indeed.

View from our room, amazing!

One thing we noticed was the friendliness of the staff and I mean all the staff. Everything happens with a smile and nothing is too much trouble.

Check out this video of the barmen – I ordered an Old Fashioned and the barman infused the drink with smoke. I have never seen this before and drunk many Old Fashioneds in many a bar and hotel, I was really impressed.

We went through the menu and also had the most amazing gin and tonic and my girlfriend loved one called the Mary Poppins. It tasted like chocolate and that was good enough for her.

 

After a few drinks we decided to head back to the room and order some room service – when you have an amazing room and view like that, why go out for dinner?

The room service comes from the hotels restaurant Gillray’s Steakhouse so the obvious move for me was to try the steak which was amazing, my girlfriend went for the fish and chips which was really good too but I could see a bit of steak envy in her eyes.

Staying in our Big Ben view room we also had access to the newly renovated M-Club Lounge – a bit like a airport lounge in the hotel with snacks, drinks and computer access along with another stunning view of Westminster and Big Ben, pretty cool to say the least.

We had a lovely stay at the Mariott County Hall and felt thoroughly looked after throughout. Consider us impressed.

Full details of the Sliver Lining service and the hotel in general can be found on their website  www.marriottcountyhall.com

 

 

 

 

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Bottomless Brunch at Greenwood, Victoria

Bottomless Brunch at Greenwood, Victoria

Posted on 21 June 2017 by Chris Ford

Yes, we’ve done it again. Another bottomless brunch was visited last weekend and this one was a cracker!

Greenwood is located just over the road from Victoria Station. It’s an area I’ve been to many times wondering where’s good to eat so was really keen to try Greenwoods bottomless brunch and see how it stacked up.

A modern glass building, you walk in to an open plan dining area with the bar in the middle and a in-house men’s barbers to the left. Strange. But I can totally see myself getting a haircut then a spot of lunch!

First the details, all brunches are different and this one is a special Sunday brunch menu (two courses £20 and three courses £25) with the option to go bottomless on select drinks for an extra £15, the drinks being Prosecco, Mimosa, Bloody Marys or wine.

 

The brunch menu is quite varied and not all typical breakfast items, for starters I went for the eggs royale and my girlfriend opted for the Stuffed Jalapenos with sour cream.  Both were fantastic and pretty filling on their own, but we had to prepare ourselves as there were two more courses to go!

For our main course we both went for non breakfast type dishes, I had the Shorthorn double cheeseburger which was cooked perfectly with an interesting addition of a deep-fried pickle this burger was on top form for me.

My girlfriend went for the white wine and garlic Cornish mussels with french fries and although my burger was very good I was a tiny bith jealous. Its not everyday you see mussels on a brunch menu and these were deliscious!

Dessert time came and I’m not going to lie we were both pretty full from the first two courses, but that chocolate brownie and peanut butter sundae had our names written all over it, I just wish I had the will and space to have finished it as it was divine !

All the while we of course enjoyed the bottomless drinks. The Bloody Marys were lovely and spicy, which strangely worked quite well on the sunny day we had and were really refreshing.  My girlfriend opted for the prosecco and I don’t think either of our glasses were ever empty with constant top ups and refills throughout our relaxed two hour brunch.

My conclusion? Greenwood is another worthy addition to the ever growing bottomless brunch’s popping up in London and somewhere I will certainly return to again (maybe even for a trim!)

Greenwood

www.greenwoodlondon.com

Nearest Tube – Victoria

 

*We were offered a complimentary meal in exchange for an unbiased review and all the thoughts remain our own.

 

 

 

 

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