All posts filed under: FOOD & DRINK

Fresh off the ice: Koori at L’Apogée Courchevel

If you’re going to get back on the slopes day after day, you need to get some real sustenance in. At L’Apogée Courchevel, it’ll be Japanese restaurant Koori (translates as “ice”) fuelling you up for the season. Amongst slick, slate grey interiors with marble countertops, you can enjoy indulgent but delicately prepared dishes such as black cod with miso sauce and salmon with daikon radish. That’s alongside the naturally popular choices of sushi and sashimi. And there’s plenty of Japanese tea and sake to help warm you up too. (Koori at L’Apogée Courchevel, France. lapogeecourchevel.com)

Gin up at The Ginstitute

Learn all you ever need to know about gin, from its medicinal origins to the modern day distillation methods and infusions that make it one of the most popular spirits in the world, during a three-hour lesson at the Ginstitute. Don’t worry, you certainly won’t be going thirsty – there are four drinks to get through, culminating in a creation of your very own blend which will be bottled up for you to take home along with a bottle of Portobello Road Gin. Your blend will also be filed away so you can drink safely in the knowledge that you can always reorder more when the stocks are running low. The experience costs £110 per person. The Portobello Star, 171 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY. theginstitute.com

Innovation Sensation: Indigo restaurant

Everyone loves surprises. If someone says they don’t, they just haven’t had one worthy of the admission. If you fancy testing out the theory, you’re onto a winner at Indigo. It has a fine showcase of seasonal British ingredients and it’s housed in a damn fine Edwardian building in the centre of London. But the astonishing revelation, after devouring the food, naturally? The menu is entirely gluten and dairy-free. Who would have thought it? But yes, it has been stealthily cut out of everything from the beer-battered fish and chips to the Amedei chocolate mousse without a dent in the flavour stakes. Impressive. Indigo, One Aldwych, Covent Garden, London WC2B 4BZ. onealdwych.com

The Ultimate Happy Meal at Verden

Eating until you’re full to bursting – that’s what Christmas meals are all about. But forego the tough prep work and round up your troops at Verden where an indulgent feast will be whipped up for your pleasure. Dishes are designed to be shared, with mains such as beef forerib, whole sea bass and honey-glazed ham being the crowning glory. If you can’t stop at just the one banquet, there’s a game feasting menu (sourced from the founder’s Lincolnshire farm) that runs until late January. £35 per person (groups of at least four or 12 required depending on menu). Verden, 181 Clarence Road, Hackney, London E5 8EE. verdenE5.com

Take Note: The Tastemaker – Kurt Zdesar

Being a restaurateur is tough work. A seasoned one knows that our appetites can’t be satiated for very long, so carving out a concept and identity that cuts through all the noise is crucial to survival. Someone who has managed this feat is Kurt Zdesar, a former director at Nobu and founder of dim sum chain Ping Pong and Nikkei restaurant Chotto Matte. His latest venture Bouillabaisse aims to highlight the best in sustainable seafood. Here, Zdesar shares more about what makes him tick. Memorable restaurants Central in Lima, Peru. “Chef Virgilio created a menu that took me on a culinary journey through Peru’s rich bio-diversity, a meal that genuinely inspired me and was unforgettable.” Gjelina in Santa Monica, California. “This place really struck a chord for me. It has a low-key yet electric, fun environment and has ethics about the food it serves. One of my favourite farm-to-table restaurants.” Chez Robert et Louise in Paris, France. “An institution that everyone must visit. This discreet little restaurant serves amazing steak which the butcher carves up …

May Fair Fares Well: May Fair Bar

Cocktails lovers ought to find themselves at the newly transformed May Fair Bar pronto, where they’ll be given an electric greeting at the neon blue-lit bar. The otherwise cool grey tones with glitzy mirror and glass finishes make it a lively spot to lounge about in, sipping on cocktails like Pear and Spice, a Belvedere vodka, pear, spiced honey syrup and Moët & Chandon mix. Failsafe small plates are available too – think Wagyu beef sliders and Tandoori king prawns. May Fair Bar, The May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8LT. themayfairhotel.co.uk

Fab babs: Le Bab

Forget all the associations you may have had for the high street kebab as come New Year, they’ll be going gourmet. And you won’t be able to resist. With a starry team of former Le Gavroche chefs in the kitchen, expect wild and eclectic kebabs from roe deer shish with damson and isot pepper jam to sharing size pig’s head with crackling and turnip and carrot slaw. You can even pair them with Sipsmith cocktails, fine French wines or craft beers. Better still, they’re open late into the night, so perfect for midnight jaunts. Le Bab, 2nd Floor, Kingly Court, Soho, London W1B 5PW. eatlebab.com

New kid on the block: Urban Coterie

Taking dining to new heights in Shoreditch is Searcys restaurant Urban Coterie, which opens on the 17th floor of the angular M by Montcalm hotel building. At the helm of the kitchen is chef Martin Zahumensky (formerly of Texture and Hibiscus) who will oversee a monthly changing menu of seasonal British dishes such as Brixham crab, apple and celeriac, and grilled monkfish with cockles, kale, rosemary and anchovy vinaigrette. Urban Coterie, M by Montcalm, 151-157 City Road, London EC1V 1JH. urbancoterie.co.uk

Time for choc-tails at Rivington Grill

Love chocolate? This is how you indulge. For a limited time only, you can spoil yourself with a multi-sensory experience that culminates in a chocolate-inspired jolly. Go behind the scenes at chocolate-maker MAST and see the cacao nibs being churned before your very eyes. Your appetite will go into overdrive. Thankfully, a two-course meal, chocolate-infused cocktail and trio of gin truffles awaits over at the Rivington Grill. And as you’re in Shoreditch, it’s only right you have the Hipster X, a chocolate-infused Woodford Reserve concoction. The experience costs £35 per person. Available until 6 January 2016. Rivington Grill, 28-30 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3DZ. rivingtonshoreditch.co.uk

Have a pizza this: Pizza Pilgrims

This street food favourite has added a new base to their shop offering. Now, ravenous locals in Clerkenwell can pick up one of their seriously moreish Neapolitan pizzas, or even slurp it, as ‘pizza soup’ is also available. Think tomato soup blended with all your favourite pizza ingredients alongside a dunking pizza dough roll. Delicious. And if you’re not in a rush, marvel at the pizza box artwork on the wall as you head for warmth downstairs. Pizza Pilgrims, 15 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QD. pizzapilgrims.co.uk