Tag Archive | "London"

5 ways to luxe up the London experience

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5 ways to luxe up the London experience

Posted on 18 April 2018 by Chris Ford

Life can’t all be about penny-pinching and everyone deserves to live like a VIP sometimes. So we’ve taken these five quintessentially London experiences and shown you how to do them in style rather than slumming it with the hoi polloi.


Hospitality at Twickenham rugby game

Going to a football or rugby game in London is always great, with an amazing atmosphere but experiencing a game in a hospitality suite is something else entirely! Twickenham is the historical home of England rugby and Twickenham hospitality packages have a great mix to suit all tastes and budgets with dining options ranging from street food to a sit down four course meal as well as prime seats for the big game.

Private box at The Globe Theatre 

A reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse most famous for its links to Shakespeare sits on London’s Southbank. If there’s a gang of you, consider living it up Elizabethan style by renting out a Gentlemen’s Room – exclusive seating for up to ten guests. First you’ll dine in the Swan Restaurant before watching a performance in the Globe, along with complimentary programmes, cushions and blankets. There are more treats in the interval and you can chat about the play afterwards, enjoying a nightcap at a reserved area in the bar. Bravo!

Luxury limo tour of the sights 

If it’s London itself you want to see how about a private limo tour of the city?

Take in all the sites in the comfort of your own private car, 24-7 Limos say they can cover most of the major London sites within an hour all while sitting back with a chilled glass of champagne! Beats a blustery open top bus!

Private pod on the London Eye

A relatively new addition to the London skyline but already an iconic one, the London Eye is a giant ferris wheel sitting just off the river Thames.  From your private pod you can take in a panoramic view of the immense London cityscape. With fully customisable packages from birthdays, team building to weddings, the people from The London eye can even arrange a proposal capsule complete with photographer to capture the moment!


Luxury sleepover at London Zoo

Fancy sleeping with the lions?  Well you can sleep metres away from them if you take up London Zoos luxury sleepover experience. Included in the experience is a private guided afterhours tour of the zoo as well as amazing animal feeding experiences. Also included with your stay is a two course dinner and even breakfast in the morning!




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Makers Mark Whiskey Cocktail ‘The Road Less Travelled’

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Makers Mark Whiskey Cocktail ‘The Road Less Travelled’

Posted on 22 November 2017 by Chris Ford



Last week I had a lovely evening at The Athenaeum Hotel THE BAR with Makers Mark Whiskey UK ambassador  Amanda Humphrey learning about the history of the brand.


It was a really interesting evening in a stunning venue, and fascinating to learn how Maker’s Mark still employ a very old-school approach to their business despite the size of the brand. Each bottle is hand-dipped in their signature red wax and the labels are still printed and cut the same way they have always been despite the obvious advances in technology.  This makes owning a bottle that little bit more special, now I know this.

The bar staff at The Athenaeum Hotel held a competition to come up with a new cocktail to showcase Maker’s Mark’s latest expression Makers 46. We tried the winning cocktail on the night, which was amazing! Here’s the winning recipe for that cocktail ‘The Road Less Travelled’ for you to make at home if you can’t make it to The Athenaeum to try it in person.



The Road Less Travelled


20ml Maker’s 46

20ml Mancino Chinato

20ml Rinomato Aperitivo

5ml Maraschino

2 dashes of aromatic bitters

4 dashes of rhubarb bitters



Stir all the ingredients, strain into a ginza rocks

glass over a chunk of ice and garnish with an

orange twist.


‘The Road Less Travelled’ cocktail which is available now for £15 at THE BAR at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

You can buy some Makers 46 here.

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Whisky Tasting at Milroys of Soho with The Quarry

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Whisky Tasting at Milroys of Soho with The Quarry

Posted on 22 February 2017 by Chris Ford

In the office here we love whisky and we love pretty much anything HBO does.
From the Sopranos to Game of Thrones and The Wire they know how to put together a drama so we of course said a big YES PLEASE when HBO invited us down to whisky bar Milroy’s of Soho for a evening of whisky tasting to celebrate the DVD / Blu-Ray release of HBO’s latest show Quarry.

You may ask what does this have to do with the show? Well the main character, a Vietnam vet, is rather partial to a drop hence the theme of the evening.
Milroy’s of Soho was founded over fifty years ago by John ‘Jack’ Milroy in 1964. Now it’s owned and run by whisky lover Martyn Simpson, who would be our guide for the evening ahead.
I confess I’m no expert in whisky. I like what I like and am constantly learning, So I think what I liked most about Martyn’s approach to the tasting was he made clear there was no right or wrong answer for what makes a great whisky – it’s all down to personal taste.
He for example said he doesn’t get on with the Jack Daniels range which I have always quite liked, especially the Single Barrel, our tastes are constantly developing and changing. Martyn himself started off drinking Bells in his youth.

So here’s everything we tried:
Kavalan, a port cask finished single malt from Taiwan (the closest Martyn could get to Vietnam explaining that while Vietnam do make whisky it really isn’t very good!)
Next we moved on to Kentucky USA via Blanton’s single barrel bourbon, notable by the model horse on the bottle cap, because the distillery is next to a racecourse.
Then to the familiar grounds of Scotland we tried the Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Gran Reserva – a notable change of pace from the bourbon and most enjoyable it was too. I think this was my second favourite of the evening.
European Bourbon Rye Association – cask strength, single barrel bourbon rye, this one was a bit too strong for me, maybe one day I will grow to appreciate it but I think most of the room was in agreement with me.
We finished back in Kentucky with a with a sour mash from Michter’s called, possibly my favourite of the evening. In fact I think I shall be seeking out a bottle of this one!

If you are looking to experience something like this yourself Milroy’s have regular tastings in their shop upstairs and also the excellent basement bar where this tasting took place. The staff are all very knowledgeable and have a passion for what they do, a rare thing indeed.

Milroys of Soho can be found at 3 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4NX
A bit about Quarry

Quarry stars Logan Marshall-Green as Max Conway is a disillusioned Vietnam War veteran who returns home to Memphis in 1972, only to find rejection by his loved ones and demonised by the public. With whisky only friend he is approached by a mysterious man known only as The Broker, he is drawn into a network of killing and corruption that spans the length of the Mississippi River.

Quarry is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray and having watched it this weekend I can thoroughly recommend it.

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Review – The London Steakhouse Co

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Review – The London Steakhouse Co

Posted on 17 October 2016 by Chris Ford

As a steak lover I thought I’d tried most of the well-known steak houses in the city of London, where our office is based.

But one I hadn’t been to was The London Steakhouse Co’s on Middlesex Street.

London Steakhouse Co

So when I was asked along to try their newly refurbished restaurant I had a mixture of excitement and curiosity.

Why? well the London Steakhouse Co is owned by Marco Pierre White and surprisingly one of only two restaurants he owns anywhere. I also  wondered if this was this going to be a celebrity style front? All showbiz and no substance? That’s what I was interested to find out.


London Steakhouse Co

As soon as we arrived, it didn’t feel that way. For a start the steakhouse doesn’t trade off on Marcos name. The website mentions he’s involved but you wouldn’t know it when you enter the dining room.

Inside, it was welcoming straight away; the décor managed to be both high-end and relaxed at the same time. We were taken to a comfortable, private table and Anastas, who looked after us for the evening, presented us with the wine menu pointing out a few suggestions, based on what we’d be ordering off the menu.

London Steakhouse Co

For starters I had the beef short ribs with coleslaw and barbecue sauce which was absolutely divine, while my partner Kate had the special of the day, a beetroot salad with goats cheese and caramelised walnuts, which looked equally tasty which she quickly confirmed.

For our main course feeling like a challenge I opted for the 14oz Ribeye while Kate asked the waiter for his suggestion on a non-fatty cut. Anastas took the time to explain the different cuts and recommended the rump to her. Like most steakhouses, sides aren’t included with the meal as standard so I ordered some chips and creamed spinach with my steak while Kate went for fries and seasonal veg.

London Steakhouse Co

My steak was out of this world! The ribeye melted in the mouth with the fat rendered just perfectly ensuring every bite was an absolute pleasure. My chips where crispy and the spinach nice and creamy as expected but the real highlight of the sides was the seasonal veg, which were quite possibly the best green beans I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t really even like green beans normally, but these were amazing!

London Steakhouse Co

When the dessert menu came we weren’t sure if there was room but when I saw the chocolate truffle cake on the menu, I caved – and I was glad I did. Kate went for an equally delicious Crème brûlée rounding off honestly one of the best meals we’d had in a long time.

In conclusion this is no theme restaurant or chain trading on a celeb chef’s reputation. The London Steakhouse Co is a real find and I shall be back.


Address: 109-117 Middlesex St, London E1 7JF
Phone    020 7247 5050












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Just Eat Food Festival comes to London!

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Just Eat Food Festival comes to London!

Posted on 18 July 2016 by Chris Ford

The Just Eat Food Festival is a 3-day outdoor Food Fest in the heart of London’s Shoreditch this summer. With a weekend of cuisine from some of the UK’s top restaurants, plus a lineup of live entertainment and music we are really excited and if you live in London you should be too!


The festival itself is completely free to get in including all entertainment– if you fancy sampling the tasty food on offer you can buy tokens which are valid at all the food stalls.



Image_15 (1)


Friday 22 July 5pm – 11pm
Saturday 23 July 12pm – 11pm
Sunday 24th July 12pm – 9pm

Getting here
Located in the heart of Shoreditch at the join of Great Eastern Street and Old Street. Red Market, London, EC1V 9LA

Nearest stations
Old Street station – 4 minute walk
Shoreditch High Street station – 6 minute walk
Liverpool Street station – 10 minute walk


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Nightkey – The Key To London Nightlife

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Nightkey – The Key To London Nightlife

Posted on 26 November 2014 by Chris Ford

Recently launched is this interesting concept called Nightkey, a members club for London’s cocktail lovers.
Members can enjoy a 30% discount off of some of Londons most uniuqe cocktails bars, and with the cost of living in London increasing at a rapid pace this seems like a great idea.


NightKey has launched with 20 partner bars including the W Hotel, Marks Bar at Hixter, Beach Blanket Babylon and 5CC each bringing multiple locations accross the city.

Co-Founder Phil Jacobs said ” The people we appeal to like trying out cool new places and appreciate well made drinks, they don’t necessarily want to spend £10-£15 on a after work drink”


You can get your very own Nightkey by visting www.nightkey.co.uk , founding membership closes at the end of 2014.
Founding members receive 3 months free membership to Nightkey with a reduced £39 membership afterwards.



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The Moretti Gran Tour

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The Moretti Gran Tour

Posted on 18 November 2014 by Chris Ford

Moretti Gran Tour

Last week I popped down to the Moretti Gran Tour, a Italian food festival organised by Italys favourite beer Morerri.
Each and every vendor at the event was specially selected for their philosophy of using traditional and authentic Italian ingredients, techniques and recipes from different corners of the country.

Birra Moretti is a smooth refreshing lager type beer which doesn’t overwhelm the palte  while still  maintaining a good flavour profile and one of my favourite lagers so an ideal choice really to showcase the foods on offer, here are the foods I enjoyed the most


Cooking Cooks
The Cooking Cooks bring their dream of fresh pasta and Italian home-style cooking to events using traditional recipies whilst giving them a hint of a update, for the Gran Tour they produced a stunning Chocalate flavoured tortalini stuff with venison and beetroot finished in a butter and brandy sauce, this was absolutely amazing! … to top it all off they are lovely people too! Cooking Cooks do not currently have a regular pitch or restaurant but tell me they are looking for opportunities so watch this space.




Pasta E Basta
After 8 years in Londons busiest kitchens Fabrizio started Pasta e Basta to bring authentic Italian food to the streets of London.
Fabrizio made us some gorgous Gnocchi two ways, one with red wine and beef brasato and the other with pumpkin and a crema di taleggio and cavolo nero.





Gelupo produces authentic Italian gelato using ingrediants mainly sourced from Italy, and every batch is churned out in traditional cattabriga machines.
Gelupo served us up fresh Panetone with a choice of 8 flavours of gelato! , it was very hard to pick !




Pizza Pilgrims
Thom and James Elliot gained the knowledge of Italian food by touring different regions of Italy, they now serve what I think are the best pizzas in London and I’m a regular vistor to their soho branch.
The pizza they served up though was new to me, Mushroom and trufle oil … and it was simply divine!




Generations of Giacomo Bias family have been involved in authentic Italian food, with their famous charcuterie being from La Corte dei Neri, a small farm outside Parma.
Gurmetti made us Torta Fritta which I think was the most interesting in terms of something new, they put what seems a regular looking piece of pastry into the fryer and it comes out a fluffy pillow of delight, topped with a fresh shaving of a fatty ( but delicious ) meat… this was was unexpectedly good.





Mortari Brothers, Edoardo and Michelle, moved to the UK in 2005 to create a new way for people to eat and drink by creating a half restaurant half coffee shop environment.
On the evening Arancina served us what I can only describe as like a ball of rice molded around a filling then deep fried, two varieties were on offer Chicken and a Ricotta and spinach both were great Yes I had both :-)




Many thanks to Moretti for inviting us along and I hope some of you took my advise on a earlier post and went along, lets hope the next Grand Tour from Moretti isn’t far off Cheers!


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Barber & Parlour , London

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Barber & Parlour , London

Posted on 03 November 2014 by Chris Ford

I don’t know about you but getting my hair cut isn’t something I enjoy, it just always seems a hassle that has to be done but I’d rather it wasn’t as boring and dull.
Barber & Parlour in a way have made that happen, Up until now based in Shorditch house but now they have moved this is stunning three level building at 64-66 Redchurch street in the heart of Shorditch. Barber and Parlour allows you to eat, drink, and socialise while being primped, primed and groomed to perfection.

On the ground level there is the mens barbours , café and small shop, downstairs the Electric Cinema and upstairs the ladies saloon.
While you are downstairs getting your hair trimmed your girlfriend can be upstairs in the ladies salon doing the same, then once you are done meet back downstairs for a drink and a bite to eat, maybe catch a movie in the basement cinema? Yes this place really is somewhere you can spend all day.
Last week I went down for a trim and to take a look around and came away truly impressed.
Prices are at the mid to higher end for men’s barbering but the skill and attention to detail shown by Pappy my barber for the day was second to none and while a little more than I usually pay, the service and environment are top notch, and you can even have a beer while your hair is being cut (yes of course I did!) I will certainly be back for my next trim at Barber & Parlour.



Here’s an example of some of the different services the barbers offer :

The Neville express facial 30 minutes £35.00
Facial cleanse and exfoliation using hot towel. This treatment focuses on using the Neville grooming range to enhance the skins natural appearance when time is of the essence.

Quick beard trim and condition 30 minutes £15.00
A quick tidy using scissors and clippers to get the best out of your beard and moustache. Using their new beard grooming oil and moustache wax to finish.

Wash and style 30 minutes £20.00
To clean, dry and style the hair to feel fresh and look your best.

Quick tidy up 30 minutes £30.00
A quick trim on the back and sides between haircuts to look sharp.


NEVILLE Barber(1)


What Else?
I didn’t have time to try the food but taking a look at the menu the café seems a great place to grab a light bite, have a beer and meet friends before going to the excellent Electric Cinema downstairs in the basement. Being a movie buff I was especially impressed by this, each seat is a armchair and extremely comfy, with straight facing seats costing £18.00 ( about average for central London) the side angled armchairs are a bargain £8 each!! I will certainly be popping down to catch a movie after my next trim.
Barber & Parlour are located at 64-66 Redchurch street very close to Shoreditch Station and are open now, if you would like to see one of the barbers it is advised to book ahead.




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Moretti Gran Tour- Italian Pop Up Festival

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Moretti Gran Tour- Italian Pop Up Festival

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Chris Ford

Following the successful sell out of the Moretti Gran Tour summer sessions,my favourite Italian beer brand  are back by popular demand and will be hosting The Winter Edition for 3 nights only this November in London.


Join Moretti on a journey across Italy discovering the different regions and tasting their unique speciality cuisine on the Moretti Gran Tour. The tour will guide you through Italian regions including Naples, Lombardy, Puglia and Sicily as you experience their traditional methods and try their signature dishes.


The Lofts, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PC, will be transformed into a celebration of authentic Italian food in the Moretti Street Food Market, where some of the UK’s leading Italian street food vendors will be showcasing their winter themed menus designed especially to complement Birra Moretti. Vendors include Pizza Pilgrims, Roasticini, Forza Win and Gelupo each serving their Italian specialities, along of course with  Birra Moretti  at the bar to perfectly complement each dish, life doesn’t get much better!

For your £10 entry you’ll receive a Birra Moretti along with two plates of food and a Gelato as well as access to all master classes. Plus you’ll be able to purchase additional plates of food and Birra Moretti if you would like a wider taste of Italy.

Also a great atmosphere provided by The Book Club resident DJ Jimmy Plates. Come along and enjoy great beer, great food and great company I will see you there!

Book tickets here

Dates:  Thursday 6th, 7th, & 8th November 2014  at The Lofts, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PC


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Heineken | The Pop-up City Lounge

Posted on 24 September 2014 by Chris Ford

Heineken has unveiled a premium, design-focused lounge bar at the London Design Festival.

The ‘Pop-up City Lounge’ is the second edition in the brand’s ‘Open Design Exploration’ series and was created by twenty young designers from across the globe, crafted in response to suggestions of what the ultimate lounge bar should be from tens of thousands of consumers, who shared inspirational images on Instagram.


The lounge offers Heineken of course but also Heineken based cocktails paired with food in a cool modern setting.

Hidden behind the industrial, corrugated iron shell of two forty-foot shipping containers, the ‘Pop-Up City Lounge’ is an space full of cutting-edge design features created to optimize the nightlife experience. The lounge as in London last week and now embarks on a tour of global nightlife hotspots.


What happens when you crowdsource thousands of ideas on what makes the perfect lounge bar and give twenty experimental young designers the total freedom to create one from scratch… inside two giant shipping containers? well check out this great video Heineken have put together and find out

for more info on the project and other design project Heineken is working check out their microsite


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