Kansas Smitty’s Jazz – American Jazz Bar in the East End

Jun 11, 15 Kansas Smitty’s Jazz – American Jazz Bar in the East End

Posted by in All, Lifestyle, London

There’s a new joint in town, Kansas Smitty’s. As seems with most new openings nowadays, it’s in the East End, Broadway Market to be exact. Kansas Smitty’s styles itself as a Jazz and Julep bar. The place is named after its resident house band, an 8 piece ensemble of young and enthusiastic, not to mention fabulous jazz musicians. As a matter of fact, the idea of opening a place came about because the band was so successful playing at other venues that they decided they needed a home of their own. They found it in the basement of the “Off-Broadway”. It’s a tiny place with room for just about 60 people, not sure if that’s including the band or not! Kansan Smitty are all about enjoying the music. I’d say their style is swing with dash of blues thrown in the mix. They say they are “… a mash of jazz genres, the Kansas Smitty’s gritty musical style is influenced by the sounds of New York, New Orleans, Paris, and Havana….” Whatever you want to call it, it was food fun! Their aim is to get Jazz in the UK out of the ghetto of expensive clubs or gimmicky theme nights, “…they want to  open up this exciting and evolving genre of music to a new, young audience and start a new trend in the live music scene.” The bar was fun and open, I chatted with some of the band members while we were all waiting for pizza at Franco Manca’s across the street during their break and they were seriously such a lovely bunch of fellows. I almost forgot to mention the cocktail list. It’s all Juleps, there are about 8 – 10 different versions of the Mint Julep, some made with coffee, come made with scotch and even garnished with banana chips. It was good fun and another cool place to hang out in the East.   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Callooh Callay debut a new menu

Jun 10, 15 Callooh Callay debut a new menu

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

I remember when Callooh Callay first opened, back then I was living in Dalston before it was cool and Callooh Callay was one of the early ones to hit close to Kingsland Rd. I loved it but moved not long afterwards and so haven’t really been back in a few years. That is until I received an invitation in my inbox to come and check out their new food menu. Although they may have had nibbles in the past, they’ve now teamed up with local restaurant, 1oo Hoxton and Ziloufs to offer patrons more than just crisps and peanuts. The menu consists of various small plates that are Asian inspired. According to Callooh Callay, “Thai-trained Aussie chef Tim Yates and Francis Puyat, formerly of Nopi, have together delivered a concise sharing menu offering a clean, fresh take on Asian fusion and focusing on their combined passion and extensive experience with Thai and Vietnamese flavours in particular.” The idea of small plates is only natural as drinking in  a cocktail club is usually a shared experience (and when it’s not, well, let’s not go there right now…). Anyway, the evening I went we sampled various dishes from the menu along with a few signature cocktails from the list. We started with MSG Chicken Salt popcorn. I was completely mystified as to what that was but my friend, Jason, had lived in Sydney for a year so he was beyond excited to see Chicken Salt. At first I thought, weirdo, but upon popping a handful of this popcorn in my mouth, I was hooked. It’s very savoury and moreish, well, what do you expect from something flavoured with MSG?At least they’re not trying to hid it! I sampled a few other plates. The prawn toast consisted of fried wontons and the plumpest prawns, very tasty. I also had the soft shell crab roll, I love soft shell crab and it was cooked to crispy perfection. The boneless chicken wings that followed were salty sweet but perfect...

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The 3 Martini Lunch is Back!

Jun 02, 15 The 3 Martini Lunch is Back!

Posted by in All, Lifestyle, London

The 3 Martini lunch is making a comeback. Back in the good old days of business lunches that started at noon and carried on until dinner time, the 3 Martini lunch was a staple. Sadly, the spread of American style working hours and the need to always be working or to be  seen working (don’t ask me) seemed to take hold for quite some time. Happily, thanks to the influence of shows like Mad Men and probably the fact that the recession seems to be finally ending or at least abating in the City of London, the 3 Martini lunch is now making an appearance at  The Singer Tavern, a gastropub like venue, has in it’s basement a cool little cocktail bar, 5CC. The cocktail bar has come up with the 3 Martini lunch special, available upstairs in the Singer Tavern. The concept is simple- 3 Martinis BUT paired with specially selected small plates. The lunch is only available on Thursdays and Fridays between 12 -5 pm and by reservation only. One does have to keep up standards. There are two options, the first option is a choice of 3 martinis from a special martini menu which accompanies a main from the Singer food menu. The martinis go by names such as The Montgomery, The Sinatra (my favourite) and Lucky Luke. The second option is their set menu where they pair the martinis with food. I tried the set menu. The first course was The Montgomery (1.5 parts No. 3 Gin and 1 part Dolin Dry Vermouth) paired with Mushroom, pecorino and truffle toastie. The Monty, was very drinkable, smooth and crisp. Paired with the toastie, it was very umami-ish. I could have eaten another plate of those toasties easily. Next was The Sinatra (6 parts Dorothy Parker Gin, half part Tio Pepe Fino sherry and Raegans orange bitters) paired with Crispy duck & charred broccoli salad. So tasty both the martini and the salad. The duck salad was well balanced between salty and...

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Cocktails inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show at the Kensington Hotel

May 20, 15 Cocktails inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show at the Kensington Hotel

Posted by in Lifestyle

Everything is coming up roses this week (or at least flowery) as it’s the week of the Chelsea Flower Show. I visited the Kensington Hotel last night to sample the special cocktail they’ve created to celebrate all those stunning floral displays down the road. Their mixologist Alessandro Pizzoli has concocted the Lily of the Valley, a gin based cocktail served tall over ice. While we where there, Alessandro walked us through all the ingredients used including the homemade lavender sugar they use to give the drink an extra lift. The cocktail is served with seasonal edible flowers which I, of course, scoffed down along with the drink. I love eating edible flowers and the tastes are always surprising! The Kensington is also offering a floral themed menu to go along with Lily of the Valley signature cocktail. In keeping with the theme of the show, the menu features unique botanical dishes such as chanterelles with green dandelion and puntarella, spring chicken with elderflower, and bitter chocolate and rosewater delice. They also include wild fennel flowers and hand-foraged pennywort in other dishes. The Lily of the Valley costs £14.50 while the floral menu is priced at £24 for two courses and £30 for three. Both are available to enjoy from 15th until 31st May. For more information, visit the hotel website here. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Dining (literally) Up in the Air

Sep 24, 14 Dining (literally) Up in the Air

Posted by in Food and Wine, Lifestyle, London

Last weekend I was invited to a London in the Sky pop-up dining event at Canary Wharf. The event is part of the global Dinner in the Sky series with events in 43 countries.  The event in London took place over 10 days and featured 5 Michelin starred chefs cooking for guests high up in the sky. I was wondering how they were going to do it all in one hour but the evening that we were there, they pulled it off without a hitch. We had the pleasure of Executive Head Chef Xavier Boyer of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon cooking for us way up in the sky. Chef Xavier and his assistants managed to seamlessly serve up an amazing meal. Dinner started with a champagne aperitif on the ground courtesy of Taittinger. I have to say, I was needed a bit of Dutch courage before daring to let myself be buckled into my seat. The seats are very secure however. They’re like car bucket seats and your strapped in very securely. The open air dining platform has a centre area for the chefs and then ringed around it are 22 seats and NO floor. I was a bit unnerved, especially when we started to ascend but the ride up is so smooth as to be almost unnoticeable, except for the slight swaying of the platform on the way up. Once we arrived at our destination of 100 ft up, Chef Xavier and his team started dishing out our meal. The food was fantastic and the views were amazing. It really has to be one of the most unique dining experiences I’ve ever had. The wine was flowing along with the conversation and in between courses, Chef Xavier and his crew were happy to chat, pose for pics and even take pictures of us! Before we knew it, our hour was up and we were gently sent back to earth. It was a great night and if you get the chance to dine in...

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Seattle and San Digeo over the holidays

In a previous post, I told you all about the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card and all the wonderful things that you can use your Starpoints for – such as hotel stays, flights, experiences, merchandise,etc. Well, AmEx and Starwood decided to really show me what you can do with Starpoints and that’s how I ended up with 100,000 Starpoints to use on a destination of my choosing. My sister recently moved to Seattle and when I plugged in “Seattle” in the Starwood website, one of the hotels available was the W. There is a cool W here in Leicester Sq., which I’ve been to, so I knew I’d be in for a treat. I knew I wanted to visit Seattle but I thought if I’m going all the way to the West Coast, might as well make it worth my while. I went to university in San Diego and of course, there is a W in downtown San Diego. A quick search on the Starwood website and I was booked in for both hotels. 5 days in Seattle and 7 in San Diego – all courtesy of my Starpoints. I’d never been to Seattle so I really wasn’t sure what to expect other than rain and coffee but Seattle is a great city. Even though I arrived at Christmas time, there was still plenty to do in the city. The first thing we did was check into the W – located a few blocks from Pike’s Market and the main shopping district, it was in a great location. Walking in, I was wowed by the high ceilings and vast lounge, the ‘Living Room’ that all W’s have. This one had a fireplace that was centre stage in the Living Room and made for a cosy welcome whenever we returned to the hotel. Our room was on the 22nd floor and we had a great view of the cityscape as well as the sea at the end of the road. As I was...

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