Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: cocktails, cakes, Kelly Brook and the provinces
Giles Coren on the provinces
As Londoners, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t occasionally poke fun at the rest of the country from time-to-time. We’re also fairly used to hearing moans of London-bias being hurled towards politicians, transport chiefs and, um, restaurant critics. When a list of Coren’s top 50 restaurants was published in this Sunday’s Times, there was outrage (read: a lot of letters from outside the M25 - we assume they were letters, do they have email out there?) at the fact that 35 of them were in the capital. You can read the response that the notoriously loud-mouthed critic gave here, but it includes the statistics (we’re not sure where he got them) that “80 per cent of all new restaurants that open in the UK open in London, and... that 92% of the total national restaurant spend is in the capital”. That and a liberal use of the word provincial, obviously.
33 years after Leiths School of Food & Wine first opened its doors in Notting Hill, the internationally renowned cookery school is expanding - and going back to its roots at the same time. The main school is now located near Shepherd’s Bush, but Leiths Portobello is popping up for the foreseeable future on the doorstep of where it all began. Check out the website for details of the short courses they’ll be offering as of next year.
Want to go round Kelly Brook’s for dinner?
There’s few men who could decline that offer, even if she doesn’t know how to cook anything but a Big Breakfast. Well, now you can. Sort of. The vast bar and restaurant which she has collaborated on with the owners of Mayfair’s Mahiki opened in the City yesterday. Going by the name of Steam & Rye, it’s American-themed with a lot of steaks, a prohibition-style bar and a look modelled on Grand Central station. Well, Kelly does know a thing or two about modelling…
Rita’s is back
Dalston pop-up Rita’s was big last year when it made itself at home at Birthdays on Stoke Newington Road, serving US comfort food. The problem was, that home was temporary. After a momentary pop-off, the team have popped back and have opened a permanent restaurant on Mare Street this week. Look out for old favourites such as Southern Fried Chicken Rolls and their signature frozen margaritas alongside a much bigger menu than before.
New bars: cocktails & cakes
Detective agency bar Evans & Peel in Earls Court gained a sibling last night with the opening of Kench & Bibesy in Clerkenwell. There’s small plates, a sandwich menu and a basement bar making good use of bourbon and US cocktails. You might need a detective to find another new bar that’s arrived this week: The Cosy Kettle. Hidden beneath the Somerstown Coffee House, this not-just-another-speakeasy is finding its USP by matching up their cocktails with cakes.
Keeping up the booze and baked goods theme, vodka brand Grey Goose has announced unlikely plans to open a pop-up bakery on Shaftesbury Avenue next week. The Grey Goose Boulangerie will run from Thursday to Saturday, selling breads and cakes made from the same wheat used to make the vodka. There will be jams made from flavoured vodkas too, but that’s it in terms of alcohol. More on that particular gimmick here.
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