Category Archives: Food & Drink

Gordon Ramsay London House Battersea review

gordon ramsay london house battersea square
The bar staff at London House had designed some wonderful cocktails which were a perfect start to the evening

Any business owner will tell you that it’s vital to get the local residents on side right from the very beginning to ensure success.

And Gordon Ramsay did just that with the newest restaurant in his empire, London House in Battersea Square.

Officially opening on Tuesday 4 February, London House treated local residents to its modern European cooking and fine wines for three days over the weekend beforehand.

This gave the restaurant’s managers the chance to woo the locals but also to give the front of house and kitchen staff a chance to iron out any last minute hiccups before the paying customers – and restaurant critics – descended. Continue reading Gordon Ramsay London House Battersea review

So it turns out I like drinking – just for its own sake. Who’d have imagined that?

SBwine

Well – I did it.  An entire January’s-worth of alcoholic abstinence.

And yes, it was a VERY long month.

But the surprising discovery for me is not only that I have far greater reserves of willpower than anyone, including myself, suspected, but that I actually like drinking – just because I like the taste.

I like the taste of it and the smell of it and I love the excitement and pleasure I feel when I find myself drinking a particularly lovely pint of ale or a fabulously tasty glass of wine.

But I don’t drink for confidence, which I suspected I might, and which I know is a reason for people I know to head straight to the bar or have a few ‘sharpeners’ beforehand. I had absolutely no problem walking into intimidating rooms full of complete strangers and introducing myself and doing all the mingling and chatting that you normally do armed with a fortifying glass of something. Continue reading So it turns out I like drinking – just for its own sake. Who’d have imagined that?

TGI Fridays Karen Forrester on how she turned the company around

karen forrester interview TGI Fridays

Under Karen Forrester, the TGI Friday’s restaurant chain has undergone a big recovery – and it all began with a fire that gutted one of its flagship sites.

While most bosses would consider this an unmitigated disaster, Forrester saw the destruction of TGI Friday’s restaurant in Birmingham as a chance to start again. Continue reading TGI Fridays Karen Forrester on how she turned the company around

So it’s a bar – which doesn’t sell alcohol. Can this be a good thing?

redemption bar notting hill

Visitors to Redemption, tucked away in the unfashionable corner of London between Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove, first have to walk past an array of Notting Hill’s pubs and wine bars, packed with Bright Young Things knocking back the very latest in alcohol trends, from finely-crafted cocktails to locally-distilled artisan gin.

Those who ignore such delights and cross the bridge over the railway tracks, find themselves in a different world altogether – low rise seventies-style flats overlooking a row of extremely untrendy shops; a bookmakers, a kebab shop and in the middle, Redemption.

It is almost empty when I arrive at 6.30 on a Saturday evening, but within the hour every one of its five or so tables is occupied, by couples and groups of friends, and the two-strong waiting staff are cheerfully rushing around with orders. Continue reading So it’s a bar – which doesn’t sell alcohol. Can this be a good thing?

Dryathlon or Dry January: worth trying once

drythlon worth trying

My friends in the drinks industry won’t thank me, but I’ve joined the growing ranks of those who have sworn off booze for January.

Swearing seems to be the appropriate word too, as it’s what I’ve felt like doing every one of the 20 or so times during the last two – is it only two?! – days when I’ve remembered what it is I can’t have anymore.

There are many reasons not to do it, namely that drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily bad for you and can even be beneficial, or that it’s better to have a couple of alcohol-free days every week throughout the year rather than go cold turkey for a month and then go bonkers in bars for the rest of 2014.

What attracted me to the idea in the first place was, like with most people, the thought of the weight I’d lose and the money I’d save, both typical but perfectly laudable New Year’s resolutions.

But the main thing that tipped me over the edge onto a month of total and utter sobriety was my reaction to the prospect, the closer it became. Continue reading Dryathlon or Dry January: worth trying once