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Seven hotel restaurants, seven set menus at an affordable price. Sounds like a decent challenge? Then make your way to Bangkok, where seven downtown hotels are taking part in the Taste It All festival.
Taste It All is an annual festival, that used to take place on just one day, but this year – with “Imperial Delight” as the theme – it has been extended through 30 November.
The seven restaurants taking part are:
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas in Bali opened a signature Chinese restaurant called Table8 last June. It serves high-end Cantonese and Szechuan delicacies and is beautifully designed, but what will leave guests saucer-eyed is, of all things, the tea service. If tea doesn’t sound that exciting to you, perhaps you’ve been spending too much time with the Brits, and perhaps you’ve never been poured a cup by a Kung Fu Tea Master.
Called “The Art of Tea,” it is as much a performance as it is practical. When a guest orders the signature flower tea, it is served by a Kung Fu Tea Master, who has, according to the Mulia, spent months in China learning traditional kung fu moves and a year practicing the pouring routine before performing it live in the restaurant.
He was the beautifully understated world-class chef. She was the equally lauded chef at a top London hotel. Together, they came together for the good of the people – coming to the capital for one night only, on Monday 10 November.
Yes, on 10 November Hélène Darroze is lending her kitchen at The Connaught to Massimo Bottura, who, along with the team he’s bringing over, will serve an eight-course menu taking all the best bits from Osteria Francescana, his restaurant in Modena.
If you haven’t heard of it, you should have – it’s twice been ranked the third best restaurant in the world. Luckily for Londoners, the Connaught is one of Bottura’s favorite hotels – hence the collaboration.
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Wine / Celebrity Scoop / Barcelona Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / → All Tags
Question: What do you get the person who has everything? (This is the question which possibly, probably foxed Brad Pitt as he debated whether to go to a certain celebrity wedding.)
Answer: A ticket to Barcelona for a meal at Hotel Arts. (Shame Brad didn't think of this, he might have got a Venetian holiday out of it.)
Why? Because it’s truffle season, and the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Enoteca, is running a special white truffle tasting menu throughout November. It’s not just special because it involves white truffles – the dishes come with wine pairings, and those wines include the award-winning Miraval rosé. Not familiar with said rosé? It’s from Brangelina’s estate in Provence, and is not publicly for sale. Enough said.
Hotel packages are, of course, only worth doing if they’re really good value for money. And hotel packages, of course, are notorious for not providing good value for money. But here’s one that is.
The very specific Taste of the Bay Winter 2014/2015 package at the trendy Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall costs £249 per person (in a double room) for three nights. For that you get a room and breakfast, two dinners and a lunch.
But this isn’t just any old dinner. Cornwall is these days one of the top places in the UK for food, and Watergate Bay is one of the county’s foodie hubs – Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen is on site, the Beach Hut is famous for being a hut on a beach that serves upmarket, organic food, and the hotel has just opened a third restaurant, Zacry’s, which “combines Cornish attitude with a classic brasserie”.
Here’s what you should be paying, were you to take all those things on the package separately:
Frank's Bar, pre Japanese makeover
What’s better than a pop-up restaurant? A Michelin starred pop-up restaurant. So book your tickets to Barcelona, where the Hotel Arts is bringing over Kabuki – a highly rated Japanese restaurant, and not just by the Michelin men – for a week from 13-19 October.
Checf Ricardo Sanz already has Kabukis in Madrid (two branches, including the Hotel Wellington) and Tenerife (at the Ritz-Carlton), and next week he’ll be at Frank’s Bar at the Arts. Expect Michelin-worthy sushi, sashimi and salads from the bar-turned-sushi-counter; sake pairings guided by Kabuki’s own sake consultant; and a selection of Kabuki’s “Asian cocktails”. The décor of the bar will also get a Japanese feel.
For those moments when you need to socialize and detox, there’s a genteel catch up over a cup of tea… and then there’s Tanya’s Café at MyHotel Chelsea, which opened in August serving raw food and superfood cocktails.
We popped in last week for post-work drinks. First surprise: it was buzzing. And the clientele didn’t seem to be hotel guests either, but locals – particularly slender, clear-skinned, unbelievably young posh locals – think Cara Delevigne-types (Cara lives nearby in Belgravia).
Second surprise: it was expensive. £10.50 for a cocktail is fine, but a plate of chips & dips for £17.50? Nope. Also, surprisingly, there were only snack-style platters available in the evening – the proper meals are daytime only.
Third surprise: lawd, it was good. Here’s what we tried:
Yesterday, we told you how to find Chicken Shop, the new underground restaurant at the Hoxton Holborn. Today, we’re talking what to order (apologies in advance for the photos, it's very, very dark underground).
In a way, there’s not much advice to give, because the menu at Chicken Shop is limited. Very limited – your options for your main course are:
· A quarter chicken (£4.50)
· A half chicken (£8.50)
· A whole chicken (£15)
To jazz it up, there are sides, which all cost £4. These are:
· Crinkle cut fries
· Corn on the cob
· Butter lettuce and avocado salad
There’s no wine list – your choices are “house”, “decent” or “good” – by the glass or jug. There are four beers on draught, and four (plus a cider) in bottles. Food is served on enamel plates, wine in battered jugs. The whole thing sounds overly simple, and it is. But it is one of the best overly simple meals you’ll have had in ages.
The chicken is free range, from a named farm (Banham’s) in Norfolk. It’s marinated overnight, steamed, then stuck on a rotisserie spit and cooked over charcoal. They chop it up with machetes at the open-plan kitchen, hurl on some extra seasoning as they plate up, and bam, it’s on the way to your table. This is very fast (almost too fast) restaurant food – ours arrived within a couple of minutes of ordering.
When we visited the Selfie Spot at the Grande Bretagne in Athens the week before last, we remembered the other hotel bar with truly jaw-dropping Acropolis views (as opposed to other hotels which pretty much all have a glimpse of the Acropolis): the Galaxy Bar at the Hilton Athens. So, with a couple of hours to spare in Athens last week, we headed over.
The Hilton is back a bit from the center of Athens – out by the Byzantine Museum, around a 10-15 minute walk from Syntagma Square. But what it lacks in ease of location, it makes up for in views – because thanks to the low-rise buildings all around it, it has a straight on view of the Parthenon. It is extraordinary.
Sadly, we tell you this from memory, because on arrival we discovered the Galaxy Bar isn’t open all day, like the GB roof terrace; it opens at 6pm. Instead, we settled at Aethrion Lounge on the ground floor for some lunch and drinks.
We suggest you don’t follow our example.
You might have heard of Chicken Shop, the ever so trendy (but tiny) restaurant chain owned by the people behind Soho House. You might have heard that its fourth London outpost opened this weekend in the Hoxton Holborn. You might pop along to the Hox, and stride confidently past the people flooding the open-plan bar and lobby area, towards the restaurant at the back.
“Is this the Chicken Shop?” you might ask the perfectly made up, beautifully dressed ladies looking you quizzically up and down at the restaurant entrance. And they will say: no.
You see, the restaurant in the lobby is Hubbard & Bell, “dishing up Brooklyn grill style grub”, as the website says. Chicken Shop, on the other hand, is an underground restaurant. As in, it’s actually underground. And unmarked. And the closest to a secret restaurant you will get in the London hotel scene.
Fall is around the corner for London: the air is crisp and leaves have started to color. Sofitel St. James is using the change of seasons to make sure you eat your vegetables (better be healthy for when temperatures inevitably drop), drink some of them (because anything goes into cocktails these days) and while you’re at it, look at some outsized, shiny sculpture versions by French artist Patrick Laroche too.
Above is a shot from the hotel’s lobby off of Waterloo Place, around which you’ll find a number of Laroche’s art displayed as part of an exhibit called, as expected, “Vegetables”. Brightly colored and very shiny, they are at the hotel until the end of October.
Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel Restaurants / Viva Vegas / South Beach Hotels / Miami Beach Hotels / Miami Hotels / Michael Mina / Morimoto / → All Tags
Miami and Las Vegas have become sister cities of a sort. Both are well-known for their robust hotel scenes, their penchant for partying, their "less is more" credo when it comes to clothing and their general love of excess.
More recently, we've been seeing an influx of South Beach in Sin City, thanks to the opening of the SLS Las Vegas and the Delano Las Vegas. But now, Vegas is sending off something to Miami--Michael Mina's StripSteak restaurant.
Stripsteak can be found in Vegas at Mandalay Bay, where the Delano Las Vegas also lives, but Mina plans on spinning off StripSteak Miami at The Fontainebleau sometime this fall. Mina already operates the Michael Mina 74 restaurant at the resort so he's already familiar with the property. StripSteak will replace Gotham Steak restaurant. We'll keep you updated on the opening date. In the meantime, peruse the StripSteak Vegas menu for a hint of what's to come. We'll take the 10oz filet mignon, the truffle mac n' cheese and one, make that two, orders of the potato gratin please.