Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cocktail masterclass, Harvey Nichols Manchester Second floor

Cocktail masterclass, Harvey Nichols Manchester Second floor

 Katie: In June 2011, Chelsie and I attended A cocktail Masterclass in Harvey Nichols Manchester (City Centre). Harvey Nichols for those viewers that are not aware is a large luxury department store, the flagship store is based in London, Knightsbridge but you never know who you might see in its Manchester branch. 

The class began at 10am, and we were greeted with special reservation place cards, and a flute of orange juice and champagne. Our bartender gave us a brief overview before we began creating cocktails. This class was very hands on, we made the drinks ourselves alongside the bartender, this including pouring the correct amounts (!) and mixing. The first cocktail we made was called an English Breakfast Cocktail. This cocktail is a little 'different' as it contains gin and marmalade, an interesting combination!

This cocktail class is very different to the one in London, but still good the cocktails where lovely and I enjoyed each one, the group we had in our class where all a great laugh and I got the feeling every one enjoyed it, there is quite a difference in price as the Manchester one was £28 and its 100% worth this price, there isn't much left to say other than it was a nice morning and great fun! but I would definitely suggest doing the one in london if you can . 

Harvey Nichols, Manchester (City Center) Cocktail Masterclass Guide Ranking

Chelsie and I did enjoy this cocktail masterclass, it was good fun. We left a little tipsy to say the very least, but the class did lack attention to detail for example we had requested the recipes to replicate the cocktails we had learnt, and despite promises were not given them which was annoying. However we would say this cocktail class was reasonable value for money and a nice introduction to making cocktails.

Staff 7/10 Staff 5/10

Setting 7/10 Setting 7/10

Drinks 9/10 Drink 8/10

Overall 8/10 Overall 6.5/10

Chelsie Katie

Cocktail Masterclass, Harvey Nichols London Fifth Floor Bar.

WOW! Is the word we would use to describe the Harvey Nichols Cocktail Masterclass, we loved every minute. The Class begins at 10am, you are advised to arrive 15 minutes beforehand for an on time start. On both occasions that we have attended, we have been impressed with not only the beauty of the bar, and how immaculate the room looks but the attention to detail given in terms of the lovely pastries and choices of fruit juices, teas or coffees waiting for you.

Guests to the class then take their seats around the bar, and are told literally everything you could ever wish to know about cocktail making; from the correct choice of ingredients (very important!), to the correct equipment and even how to drink a cocktail. The class is great fun, lighthearted with lots of sampling along the way!

Unlike the Masterclass in Manchester that we attended each guest is given a print out to take home with instructions on how to make the cocktails at home, a very neat touch. The passion that Stani Visciano (runs the class) puts into not only the cocktail's he is creating but making sure you are having a good time is what makes the class. The best bit of the class by far is when you go behind the bar and make your own drinks! The choice of selection is vast, and it would seem you are allowed to make near enough anything! Guests are then given lunch (included in price) next door in the restaurant. The atmosphere that is built up though out the class, combined with feeling slightly tipsy makes this a great experience!

To finish the course you are taken to the fifth floor restaurant for a superb meal, (which also offers a vegetarian option) and your very own completion certificate! Each weekend has a different theme so you can always do a different one, we're already looking into the next class.

 I have recommended this to family, friends and friends of friends and all of them, even those that are not particularly into drinking have enjoyed this Class!

Great fun! We cannot recommended this class enough! The quality in all respects is second to none, this would be perfect for Birthday celebrations or just a great day out in London. 

This masterclass really is worth the money! with a lovely breakfast to start then on to the cocktail class. Stani Visciano really makes the class, with his great humour and knowledge really makes for a great experience.

Tickets are priced £60 per person, including tasting and lunch, to book your place (or places), or for further reservation enquiries, please contact the Fifth Floor Restaurant on 020 7235 5250 or email reception@harveynichols.com.

For private Master Class enquiries, please contact Novella Alessandrini on 020 7201 8786 or email na@harveynichols.com.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

London: Yo Sushi Masterclass: Rice and Rolls!

Katie: For those viewers that are avid sushi fans like myself this review is for you! I discovered my love for sushi in Hong Kong (2007). Initially the prospect of raw fish was a somewhat daunting prospect however sushi is not just raw fish, but can also be vegetables and cooked dishes. The closet to the sushi I experienced in Hong Kong can be found at any Yo Sushi store.

The Yo!Sushi masterclass: Rice and Rolls, begun at 10am in London Soho, we were welcomed to our booth and given a green tea to enjoy while the other guests arrived. The primary components required for creating your very own sushi (rolling matt, fresh rice, fillers and mayonnaise) were already waiting for us, alongside our very own chiefs hat! The course began with our sushi chief explaining a little bit about the history of sushi, before being shown a step buy step break down of exactly how to make the sushi. We were shown how to make maki, inside out roles and hand rolls this was all done very professionally but also with a comic air.

We were then let loose, and began to create our own sushi! We were given highly important tips throughout our personal sushi development to help us roll, which although sounds simple is rather difficult assuming you would like it to look appetising! Our chief was very attentive, and wiling to answer any questions we had and also in my case re demonstrating how to roll... Our chief also showed us how to cut the sushi, and offered us some additional tips on how to enjoy our sushi. If like myself you had been previously afraid of wasabi (green, very hot stuff!) don't be. Put a little in your soy sauce, mix and try with your sushi- It's amazing, I promise.

Chelsie: The course was great fun! Very hands on, very funny! In my case some of the ingredients that had been selected for me to put within my sushi I did not like, these were instantly replaced with something I did like which was very nice of them. We were also treated to a demonstration how to cut fish, which provided a novel outlook into the care and attention needed for the best sushi experience.

Our chief also told us about the products we were using, how Yo! Sushi is ethical in the fish it uses for its store, and how fresh and vigorous the stands of food are maintained in each and every restaurant. This is a refreshing prospect if like me, you care about the environment and the quality of food you enjoy.

Katie: The course lasted three hours, and we were allowed to keep everything we made. After the sushi making itself we were given a set lunch, and had all the time we could want to enjoy it! After the class we were given a personal certificate of completion, brand new sushi rolling mat and a break down of the sushi we had made and instructions how to replicate.

Although Chelsie and I enjoyed the class, the class is very pricey and we would not say this is great value for money. That argued the class was good fun, and we have been able to replicate the sushi we made after this class. We would suggest if you are a big sushi fan, go and you will enjoy it, but if sushi is not a big passion and you are simply curious sample the Yo! Sushi food at one of their stores first before going on this masterclass.

YOSushi Courses :
Sushi School - Rice & Rolls 

Always fancied becoming a sushi master? Then book a place on our 3 hour Sushi School (10am-1pm) course which allows you to learn about rice, fish and nori as well as roll your own world famous Inside Out Rolls and makis! Perfect if you're organising a private event such as a birthday party or your company Christmas party, but also great if you just fancy treating yourself or your buddy to a unique experience.

Sushi School - Mini Ninjas (for children aged between 6-10 years old)

Calling all sushi loving parents - fancy treating your kids to something completely different? Then book your child a place on our popular 'Sushi School Mini Ninja' class.

NEW! Sushi & Sake Experience
Calling all sushi & sake lovers:

Book your place on our popular 'YO! Sushi & Sake Experience' session at YO! Sushi Oxford Street for a unique tasting experience.

Sushi School - Fish!
Want to learn how to cut fish expertly? Then sharpen up your fish cutting skills with our exciting new Sushi School - fish! course at YO! Sushi Farringdon.
Call 0844 499 5222 for more details

Our class was the Rice & Rolls and was done at the Poland Street (Soho) branch

The Ritz, Paris- J'adore Paris, j'adore Afternoon Tea!

Katie: This year in honour of my Birthday celebrations Chelsie and I went to Paris. As an additional birthday treat (as if being in Paris was not enough!) we indulged in Afternoon Tea at the Luxurious Ritz!

When we arrived at the Ritz, there is an instant reminder of just how exclusive this hotel is with tourists taking pictures outside by the doors, however inside the Ritz the atmosphere is very chilled but again with the decor your continually reminded of exactly where you are. The usher asked us if we would like to dine inside or outside, and to this day we are glad to have selected inside, because around the walls are pictures of celebrities who had stayed at this hotel. That might not sound too impressive but to see pictures of icons such as Coco Channel, Charlie Chaplin and Gandhi around the walls is really something.

The Afternoon Tea was very simplistic in terms of what was on offer, as you can see from the pictures but the quality in terms of attention to detail and taste was anything but simple. The Afternoon Tea has quite a different feel to others we have enjoyed in the UK as this Tea felt much more secluded it was just us, the tea and happy memories.

Chelsie : I have a dream and that dream is to stay at the Ritz in Paris ! tho that is not possible on my budget Afternoon tea is good enough, and what a wonderful experience it was, the Hotel itsself makes you feel so comfortable and at ease typical perisian style. Paris being my favourite city just oozes sophistication and charm and The Ritz just adds to the magic !

Being that is was Katie's Birthday we planned the afternoon tea as part of the celebrations, and how lovely it was to be seated in such luxurious surrounding's and the glamour that the Ritz adds, looking at the pictures around you, you cant help but be mesmerised by the many famous names that have stayed, and for all the fashion lovers out there non other than the lady herself Coco Chanel ! I enjoyed everything about the experience; the food the service- all superb cannot recommend enough.

Katie: What I really enjoyed about this experience was how relaxed the atmosphere was, it gave us the opportunity to turn off for an hour or so, just talk and enjoy fine food. After the Tea Chelsie and I went to explore around the hotel, and stayed for some time in the garden of the hotel with a beautiful fountain. In some cases, in hotels such as these it can sometimes feel that you do not belong in this world, and as soon as you have paid you are expected to make a prompt exit, but not here you have all the time in the world.

We both really enjoyed this afternoon tea, and would consider this Tea as a classic. For viewers that have never experienced afternoon tea this would be a good starter, and for those of you who enjoy quality found and surroundings at their own pace.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Berkeley,Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea

Katie: This review is a little different too the other reviews we have posted, as although Chelsie and I have both done the Afternoon Tea we did it on separate occasions. I attended this afternoon tea for my mothers birthday in June (2011) and Chelsie in May (2011). We would both like to mention early on that this tea was exceptional, and certainly in my case the best tea I have been too.

The Berkeley is located not far from arguably the best shops in London both Harrods and Harvey Nichols, with this in mind could you think of a better location to hold a fashion afternoon tea such as Prêt-à-Portea? This tea combines both traditional tea with a range of finger snacks and cakes that are inspired by the seasons fashion trend, and like fashion the tea's selection changes every six months. The season that both Chelsie and I attended had this dreamy collection; A peach sponge cake purse with chocolate crocodile print (Victoria Beckham), a raspberry and lychee jumpsuit adorned with an over-sized chocolate flower belt (Marc Jacobs); and a vanilla bikini biscuit with navy icing and white bow (Miu Miu). If that doesn't sound fashionable enough, the Afternoon Tea is all served on Paul Smith chinaware!

As Previously mentioned I attended the Prêt-à-Portea for my mother's birthday and before hand sent an email to the staff at the Berkeley. I was genuinely touched at the effort the staff made to make sure my mother and I were content, and just before leaving a special plate with a candle was created without any additional charge and presented to her. This made her day, and it made mine.

Chelsie: At this afternoon tea unlike many of the others I have attended we were given 'top ups' in all areas which included sandwiches, snacks and cakes throughout the tea without any additional fee, this was all done with a smile by the staff and we were even allowed to take some home. Not only was the food amazing quality but it is really good value for money. The peach sponge cake purse with chocolate crocodile print (Victoria Beckham) was delicious !

This Afternoon Tea is Amazing! 5 Stars! We would defiantly recommend this Afternoon Tea, it is ideal for Birthday's with loved ones as we can both personally testify. This Afternoon Tea would be in the quirky and modern category.

£37.50 per person 

Champagne Prêt-à-Portea 
£47.50 per person 

Includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne. 
Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea 
£54.50 per person 

Includes a glass of Billecart-Salmon Rosé, Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut, Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle. 
All served on fine-bone china by Paul Smith for Thomas Goode 

ReservationsFor Prêt-à-Portea reservations and delivery service , please call +44 (0)20 7107 8866. Please place your order minimum 3 days in advance. 

We are delighted to accommodate nut or gluten free alternatives with 24 hours notice. Please mention any dietary requirements at time of reservation. 
Address: The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, Wilton Place, London SW1X 7R


New York, Must Try ... Magnolia Bakery!!

Hi Guys! we just had to share this with you all, if like us you are BIG fans of cupcakes then you are going to LOVE this post! Magnolia Bakery is home to quite possibly the best cupcake's I have ever tasted. Chelsie had previously told me about the amazing cupcakes, but nothing prepared me for how enjoyable the first bite would be!

We visited the store located ten minutes from Central Park, and selected vanilla cupcakes from the vast array. The Bakery for those that are interested does not only do cupcakes (although cupcakes tend to be the signature) but also pies, cookies, bars and cakes! Sadly we did not get the chance to sample these so we cannot share with you our experience, but next time!! The cupcakes are priced at $3 each for classics (vanilla and chocolate) and $3.50 for specialities ( Red Velvet, Devils Food, Lemon and Caramel to name but a few)- and worth every cent!!

Unfortunately Magnolia Bakery cupcakes are only available at the moment in America and Dubai.. We are hoping they make it over to Europe Soon! If you like us live in Europe check out there cook book sold on Amazon its a great recipe book and why not try making your own cupcakes ! The FlagShip Magnolias is at 401 Bleecker St, New York its definitely worth a visit ! its in a lovely little place with fantastic old book shops

New York Store Locations:, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, Columbus Avenue , Bloomingdale's , Bleecker Street (Flag Ship)

Dubai: Dubai mall

Pierre Herme Macarons

I may not be French but I like to think I know a thing or two about Macarons, having been to many different parts of France I have tried my fair share of Macarons and have the waistline to prove this.

These tasty bites are nothing short of little bites of heaven . Pierre Herme Macarons are im my opinion the best around, forget Laduree these are the ones to go for, the flavours in each are mouth watering my favourites being the lemon, pistachio and the unbelievably delicious Creme brulee, its a must try trust me on this. Not living in Paris I have to get my fix from London yes they have a store In London! Check out there stores in Knightsbridge or Selfidges... but If you are lucky enough to be in Paris then choose these macarons I promise you will not be disappointed. A word of caution they are rather pricey but worth every penny.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sex and The City Afternoon Tea, Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill

The Hyatt Regency, The Churchill is located in the Marylebone area of London. It is very close to the private members club 'Home House', and is perfectly located for fellow shopaholics being a mere five minutes from the department store Selfridges (defiantly worth a look, and don't forget to check out 'The Wonder Room' on the ground floor) and easy walking distance from both Oxford Street and Bond Street.

This Afternoon Tea embraces Sex and The City breaking away completely from the traditional icons of afternoon Tea such as sandwiches and scones and instead favouring astrami on rye, New York bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese (Simply Dreamy- Promise!), mini burgers (named after Jack Berger one of Carrie's boyfriends) and mini New York hot dogs with mustard.

Now on to the top row, which was mine and Chelsie's favourite part: In honour of Carrie, a strawberry-flavoured chocolate pink stiletto (which tasted as good as it looked!); for Charlotte, a pink strawberry cupcake; for Samantha an appletini jelly in a mini martini glass and for Miranda a glazed doughnut! This Afternoon Tea also included a Flirtini cocktail (champagne, vodka and pineapple juice) which happens to be a hit with not only the Sex and City Girls but myself and Chelsie.

Chelsie: A special note must be made that although the tea was missing many of the iconic symbols we have been accustomed with, tea was still an integral part of this! The Tea selection included special teas that reflected the personality of each of the girls, however we decided that we would go with a jasmine flowering tea. This tea is especially novel because inside the tea pot contains a beautiful flower which opens up with the increased heat. I really enjoyed this afternoon tea, although highly indulgent the quality of food and attention to detail paid in terms of maintaining the theme really paid of.

"Sex and the City Par-Tea” will be served Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 3:00pm and 6:00pm. This special afternoon tea is available at £36 per person and £45 per person including a Flirtini cocktail and is available for parties of up to 6 people

For More Information Click here to book


Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7299 2037

Bonfire Night Explosive Afternoon Tea at Royal Horseguards, London

For those readers that are not aware in England every year on the fifth of November the whole country celebrates the infamous Guy Fawkles failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The Royal Horseguards Hotel this year (2011) held a special Afternoon Tea in honour of this event. This charming hotel is located in central London, with the nearest tube station being Charing Cross and it's also just a short walk from some of London's most popular destinations Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Horseguards Hotel oozes traditional British charm, and is everything you would expect visually from a five-star hotel. Chelsie and I were shown through to the Lounge where we sat in front of a large log fire; a cosy setting to avoid the bitter cold English November Nights. The staff throughout the tea were very attentive, and highly humours in light of some misbehaving sparklers for our TNT chocolate bombs!

Chelsie: This special Guy Fawkes inspired afternoon tea at the five-star Royal Horseguards hotel was fantastic! I Really enjoyed this afternoon tea having done many classic afternoon teas its always fun to have a change, So this bonfire night instead of spending the night out in the cold, delicious food by a roaring fire seemed a much better game plan.

Katie: The Bonfire Night Afternoon Tea included all aspects of the traditional afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and choice of tea's!) but ALSO featured these cheeky extra's ; A hot chocolate shot with toasted marshmallow, TNT exploding white chocolate and chilli ganache truffles bombs complete with a fuse made from a noodle, Gunpowder tea infused macaroons, roasted chestnut mini cupcakes, mini toffee apple lollies and mulled wine jelly!

'Remember remember the fifth of November gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot....

Traditional Afternoon Tea in The Lounge is served daily, 

3pm - 6pm

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Shelbourne, Afternoon Tea Dublin

Katie: It is in Dublin; Chelsie and I enjoyed our first afternoon tea of 2012, just eight days into it! I will begin by providing you with some background history on one of Dublin's Finest Hotels, and then onto a truly Irish take of Afternoon Tea!!
The Shelbourne is a five star hotel, located roughly ten minutes (by foot) from the city centre, I was told by the friendly staff about the role this hotel has played in the countries history to name but one example the Irish Constitution was drafted here! The hotel has also welcomed in its past prestigious celebrity guests.

The Afternoon Tea experience begins with a well dressed doorman welcoming you to the hotel, the Tea takes place in the Saddle Room, this room is not obvious in terms of a visible sign nor particularly grand in comparison to other hotels but the atmosphere of luxury I believe is firmly maintained. In our experience the service was prompt, polite but not over whelming making guests feel inadequate in such an environment.

Chelsie : The elegant space with its high-ceiling and beautiful chandeliers added with big window's illuminate the Lord Mayor's Lounge the sunlight that streams from its windows overlooking St. Stephen's Green really sets a warm cosy feel, if your escaping the weather or need a place to re-energised after a day shopping or site seeing this is a perfect place to take a rest, after escaping the rain we headed inside, the piano really adds a nice setting to escape the busy city for a few hours.
The Afternoon Tea is comprised of traditional sandwiches, it is also worth me noting at this stage Katie does not like Egg Sandwiches and staff were more then willing to accommodate this by providing additional sandwiches so do not be afraid to ask in these cases. The tea also included a combination of traditional scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a tasty top row of finger cakes. Katie and I disagree on our favourite cake, mine being the chocolate cup (pictured far left top row) and Katie's being the rhubarb cup (pictured middle top row)....

Chelsie and I mutually agree this Afternoon would be regarded as a 'Classic' Afternoon Tea, It would also be a lovely introductory Afternoon Tea for those viewers who have never experienced Afternoon Tea.