Tuesday, 29 May 2012

London: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon- 'Sweet Tea' for Afternoontea.co.uk

Kate: Located in the cosmopolitan Covent Garden you will find the highly desirable L'Atelier restaurant, and elegant La Salon Bar. These credits to London are operated by the critically acclaimed French chief Joel Robuchon.
The full extent of Joel Robuchon's talents have been recognised by numerous prestigious sources. In the late 1980's Joel was voted 'Chef of the Century' by Gault Millau guide. Joel's restaurants can be found across the globe, locations include New York, Paris and Tokyo. These restaurants have all been subjected to the same level of praise that Joel Robuchon himself has received. Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants, that meet the very highest standards in food, drink and ambience; Joel Robuchon's restaurants have acquired 25 of these awards. This is more then any other chief worldwide.
The high standards that are met in Joel Robuchon's restaurants are extended to La Salon Bar's drinks and afternoon teas. La Salon bar is located on the top floor of L'Atelier; the bar is intimate, modern and stylish with bold red and black decor making this an ideal location for pre or after dinner drinks. The real treasure of this bar though, is the enchanted secluded outdoor terrace which can be found through the sweeping doors.

Chelsie: In light of this highly extensive and indeed impressive background, imagine how delighted Kate and I were when Afternoontea.co.uk told us we would be visiting La Salon Bar to sample their 'Sweet Tea' menu!The 'Sweet Tea' menu is brand new and exclusive to La Salon Bar, and offers guests a completely different take on traditional afternoon tea. The menu was created to offer guests something really special, so naturally extensive preparation has taken place to ensure only the creme de le creme is served. La Salon Bar's new and highly talented young pastry chief called Joakim, has personally designed and created the three mouthwatering French pastries on the 'Sweet Tea Menu': 'Framboise Cuux'- a raspberry macaroon filled with pistachio cream, 'Le Dome'- a chocolate dome with coconut mousse and toffee bearovois and 'Le Citron'- a lemon and lime short bread tart.  In light of London's high profile social calendar the 'Sweet Tea' menu for two comes with a jug of freshly made British Pimms to share.

Wide eyed and extremely excited Kate and I decided in light of the gorgeous British weather to indulge in our 'Sweet Tea' menu on the terrace. The second we stepped into La Salon Bar the service was faultless, we were shown to our table, which was immaculately presented and provided with a sufficient briefing of what the 'Sweet Tea' menu would entail.
Kate: The 'Sweet Tea' began with our choice of tea (fine loose leaf) or a non alcoholic alternative including smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The menu offered us an extensive range of choice, and with every option sounding divine making my drink selection was a somewhat difficult task! After much deliberation I decided to try the 'Jasmine Pearls' tea which had a power aroma to it and strong taste. Chelsie selected a smoothie which was comprised of carrot juice, vanilla ice cream and fresh mint leaves, which was refreshing. I must mention that the drinks were beautifully presented, with my tea I was even given a delicate chocolate toffee alongside a choice of white or brown sugar and Chelsie's smoothie was garnished to perfection. The waiter delighted us after serving our first round of drinks by telling us that throughout the 'Sweet Tea' drinks are bottomless, and guests are allowed to flip between choices (hot drink or non alcoholic).
In no time at all our waiter returned to our table with the first item on the 'Sweet Tea' menu a palate cleanser, 'Le Mango'- a mango coulis and mousse of mango, joconde biscuit and exotic sorbet with a delicate chocolate on top. This was absolutely divine, and incredibly refreshing with vibrant and bold colours and a taste that made you feel as if you were in the Caribbean and the mango had just been taken off the tree especially for you! This really got our taste buds going, and left us eagerly anticipating the French pastries.

Chelsie: The French pastries arrived on a large, white squared plate allowing the beauty of the pastries to be maximised. It was difficult to decide which one to indulge in first, but being the massive macaroon fan that I am I decided to go with the 'Framboise Couxx'. It was love at first bite! I was actually speechless with the taste, the flavours were so intense I have honestly never tasted anything quite like it before.

The whirlwind of flavour continued with 'Le Dome' and 'Le Citron', we particularly enjoyed how each pastry tasted so very different yet complimented one another perfectly. I cannot express to you all enough just how delightful sitting out in the terrace was with the sunlight pouring through enjoying heaven sent pastries.Feeling incredibly naughty after our delicious pastries we were treated to the final stage of the 'Sweet Tea' menu, the jug of British Pimms! For those viewers who have not heard of Pimms, Pimms is widely regarded as an up market traditonal British summer drink. Our jug of Pimms contained the complete works (fresh strawberries, cucumber and mint) and was incredibly refreshing. This final touch really completed our perfect 'Sweet Tea' experience.Kate and I cannot recommended the 'Sweet Tea' menu enough! If you are looking for something a little bit different, great tasting food, great service in a prime London location look no further. This would be perfect for a birthday treat, intimate meetings with friends or just because you deserve a little indulgence!

The 'Sweet Tea' Menu will be available from Monday 28th July, La Salon Bar caters for every dietary requirement and is incredibly flexible however notice of this must ideally be given when booking or ASAP.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

HAVE YOU HEARD?: Alex Monroe Afternoon Tea at The Goring, London.

Kate: The Goring is widely regarded as one of the very best hotel's in the city of London. The Goring is located adjacent to Buckingham Palace and within easy walking distance of the Royal Parks, bringing some of London's most iconic sights to your hotel door.

This beautiful 5 star hotel, is the only hotel in London that is still owned and managed by its founding family, giving the hotel I feel a certain charm to it. The Goring unlike many other top London hotels is imitate in size size, with just 69 rooms and suites, but offers its guests a level of personalised attention that is difficult to match.

To put it simply The Goring is the perfect hotel for those guests looking to experience something quintessentially English.In light of the above it is of no surprise that Kate Middleton one of the United Kingdom's sweethearts and fashion icons chose to spend the night here before her Royal wedding to Prince William.

In May 2012, iconic British jewellery designer Alex Monroe joined forces with The Goring to combine timeless jewellery and afternoon tea. We would like to share with you all, the exclusive Goring Shrimp necklace and Alex Monroe themed afternoon tea!

Chelsie : Kate and I just love to find afternoon tea's with a difference, and this one certainly comes with a shrimpy twist to it! I am assuming that like myself everybody likes to feel special, and be amongst the very first to own something that little bit different, something that would catch people's eyes and at The Goring for a limited time this is very achievable. Alex Monroe's cute, hand made silver shrimp plated with rose gold with two black pearls for eyes with its own chain is just that! When I first saw the little shrimp, I was instantly drawn to it, and wished I could go into a hotel like The Goring and purchase such a beautiful necklace- Just think of the memories that would be attached to it!

Alex Monroe

Despite my instant love for the necklace I was curious as to why a shrimp should be selected to base the design on. I discovered that the Shrimp actually pays homage to Alex Monroe's childhood memories of the perfect afternoon tea, he explains; “As a little boy I would run wild in the Suffolk countryside accompanied by my brothers and a dog called Sheba and buy huge bags of shrimp from the fishermen and sail them home for tea which consisted of a huge pot of tea and crusty white bread smothered with cool butter. These teas would last all afternoon until the sun sank below the high walls. So The Goring Shrimp will always remind me of Spring afternoons lazing in the walled garden at the Old Parsonage. And of drinking tea of course. The Goring shrimp is a very likeable little chap; there is a great sense of fun about him and a tiny touch of nostalgia. I almost feel guilty that my mouth waters when I see him!” What beautiful memories! That is certainly enough of a justification for me as to why this Shrimp necklace is so desirable.

Kate: The afternoon tea offered in this limited edition period at The Goring is as to be expected classically English. Guests will enjoy an array of delicate finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and of course the highly desirable selection of delicate pasteries. This is all accompanied by your choice of tea and the unmatchable ambience of The Goring.

The Afternoon tea on its own is surely a wonderful experience, but for those of you like ourselves that are hooked on Alex Monroe's little shrimp friend, you can select an afternoon tea that includes him. Your very own little shrimp necklace will be hand delivered to you at your table as you enjoy your afternoon tea. The combination of The Goring Hotel, delicious British Afternoon Tea and a unique limited edition necklace is simply an unforgettable once in a lifetime memory!

Alex Monroe Afternoon tea including the Goring Shrimp necklace is priced at £195 pounds per person

Tea without the shrimp is £35pounds per person
Bookings are available from the 1st May, at www.thegoring.com
The shrimp necklace, will be available to buy from June on www.alexmonroe.com
(shrimp necklace priced at £165)

Alex Monroe Afternoon Tea will be available from 1st May 2012.

Afternoon Tea at the Goring is served daily from 3.30pm – 4.30pm in the sunny Terrace overlooking The Goring's beautiful gardens, or in the warm and inviting Lounge.

To book please call +44 (0) 20 7396 9000

Monday, 21 May 2012

‘Ginbilee’ Celebrations With Bombay Sapphire.

Bombay Sapphire and The Rib Room Bar and Restaurant Launch: 'Ginbilee' Masterclasses To Celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee 
May- June 2012

Chelsie: All across London the warm up celebrations for the Queen's Jubilee have begun! the Rib Room in the Jumeirah Carlton hotel, which has recently undergone a complete restoration are holding an unmissable Gin Masterclass rather fittingly called the 'Ginbilee'.

This masterclass is in collaboration with the iconic gin Bombay Sapphire, which is a personal favourite of mine. The masterclass is led by brand ambassador Sam Carter who's knowledge of the brand is admirable. The class begins with guests being given mouth watering canapes, which were delicious, and really showed the culinary talent of the rib room. Following this, there is a brief overview of both the history of Gin and Bombay Sapphire. In this guests are given a hands on insight into the time and preparation that Bombay Sapphire put in to ensuring the finest quality in every bottle they produce. Then the gin drinking begins! Guests are introduced to five unique gin cocktails, each reinventing the classic gin and tonic. The final stage of the masterclass allows guests to go behind the bar, and let their imagination flow as they create there very own signature gin cocktail!

If all of this was not enough, each guest is given their very own goodie bag to take home! If you thought you knew Gin, you better think again!

Kate: Prior to the 'Ginbilee' masterclass, unlike Chelsie I had never tried gin before. I had wrongly been under the impression that gin was more suited to the older male audience! I am therefore delighted I attended this masterclass and got to see how enjoyable gin can be.

The masterclass started at 2.30, we were shown to our seats at the bar and began to eye up the wide range of ingredients we could include in our very own gin cocktails (maybe fresh strawberry's?). We were warmly welcomed by Sam Carter (the brand ambassador) and given a refreshing iced water as he asked us about our experiences with gin. In no time at all the bar began to fill up with eager guests, the age range varied from early 20's to late 40's but regardless of this the atmosphere became light and fun. Sam began by making us all our very first gin and cocktail, the classic perhaps even unmatchable as was widely remarked in the class: Gin and tonic.

The gin and tonic was distinctive, with a refreshing kick to it. It was then the perfectly timed and seemingly never ending array of rich canapes arrived. The food was divine, with a wide range of options including duck foie-gras, smoked salmon croquets and lobster spring rolls. Our favourite items undoubtedly were the smoked salmon and roast beef in a miniature Yorkshire pudding.

Bombay botanicals

The next stage began with Sam providing us an interesting, and sufficient overview of the history of Gin. It was interesting as both a non Gin drinker, and Gin drinker to discover gin's extensive history. For those of you are are not aware, Gin's origins began in the middle ages with Italian monks, when they were attempting to develop medicines! Despite this it is actually the Dutch that are widely accredited with Gin's invention. This link that Gin has to the Dutch continued when the English troops fighting in Holland against the Spanish in the Eighty Years War discovered the drink and its calming effects before going to battle. It is here the term 'Dutch Courage' originated from,

The focus then shifted to Bombay Sapphire and its relationship with Gin. It was clear that from Bombay Sapphire's onset innovation and imagination are key in its production. We were told about the differing ways Gin is produced, and how Bombay Sapphire gin is distilled and why this is the case. We were also treated to a very hands on, and dare I say smells on demonstration of the various raw ingredients that can be used in the different Gin produced. The ingredients came from all over the world ranging from sunny Spain to the exotic Morocco, with each having there own distinct smell and taste. This really changed my perception of Gin, and I can honestly say after hearing what Sam had to say about the Bombay Sapphire it was inspiring to hear the great care and attention taken in each bottle produced. 

Chelsie: The next stage of the masterclass was the eagerly anticipated gin drinking! The gin cocktails that we sampled were really special. Bombay Sapphire especially for the 'Ginbilee' celebrations invited David Carter, internationally acclaimed interior designer and owner of boutique East London hotel 40 winks; Fiona Leahy, creative event designer and producer; Robbie Honey, globally acclaimed florist; Anna Bullus, award-winning product designer and Rhea Thierstein admired art director, set designer and prop stylist to unleash their creative talents and create their very own take on the timeless Gin and Tonic. 
I really had no idea what to expect, but I was excited! The first cocktail we sampled, freshly made in front of us was the 'Orange Blossom' by Robbie Honey. The drink combines orange blossom honey and Fever-Tree lemon tonic water; which gave the cocktail a beautiful summery smell with an intense citrus flavour. Next up we tried the 'Last Rasp' by David Carter, this cocktail contained as the name would suggest crushed raspberries and fresh basil leaves. This was my favourite gin cocktail, and the taste was perfectly balanced! 

'Diamond Rose' by Fiona Leahy was our next cocktail, with a touch of delicate rosewater, slices of lemon and clapped mint this pretty fairy tale cocktail was ready to be sampled. This cocktail was very sweet, and defiantly for those with a sweet tooth! This was followed by Anna Bullus's 'Souchong Fizz' which combined Lapsang Souchong Tea syrup and lemon to create the perfect cocktail for you tea-lovers out there! 

The fifth and final cocktail by Rhea Thierstein was a complete surprise. Sam before creating the cocktail explained that the chunks of grapefruit he was putting in and mixing with vanilla sugar syrup would taste just like chocolate. I was somewhat dubious about this, but I was wrong! It tasted just like chocolate, and I really enjoyed the novelty of trying a cocktail that bought out such unexpected flavours and tastes considering the initial ingredients! 

Each cocktail looked beautiful, and was made within a suitable time period, meaning we could sip and exchange thoughts and ideas on the different cocktail with one another. 

Feeling slightly lightheaded we were then allowed to go behind the bar and create our very own cocktail! I was delighted to be standing behind such a vast and impressive bar, and in light of the wide range of ingredients pondered briefly on what my cocktail would contain.

My creation was simple, but satisfying- a strawberry and vanilla infused gin and tonic with some additional strawberries for garnish- Perfecto! Who says that something simple cannot taste oh so yummy? I am very proud of my creation, and those that sampled my cocktail really enjoyed it!

Kate: Chelsie and I both really enjoyed sampling the cocktails, but without doubt our favourite part was going behind the bar. Sam gave his full attention to me, and was full of helpful hints and ideas for my very own cocktail! It was so much fun behind the bar, trying to get the right amount of ingredients, and getting the full scoop of ice inside the glasses.

Coincidentally I asked Sam about the choice of glasses out of shire curiosity and learnt the following: The glasses are Spanish by origin, and the shape is designed to allow the full aroma of the gin cocktail to be fully enabled because according to researchers up to 80% of the flavours we taste come from what we smell. I really enjoyed that this masterclass was both fun and informative at the same time.

Unfortunately I am not as creative as the hand picked five, but I did give it my best efforts combining one of my favourite fruits blueberries, with vanilla to the gin and tonic with some lemon garnish to create my very own 'Blueberry Dream' cocktail.

When we had all finished making our cocktails, we all tried each others which was a nice touch, and has certainly given me some ideas for other gin cocktails I will be making at my next party! The masterclass sadly had finished, and we were all presented with our very own goodie bags.

The goodie bags were beyond generous with our very own bottle of Bombay Sapphire, complete with three tonics and some delicious white chocolate truffles. The perfect ending to a perfect class!

Kate and Chelsie's Quick Guide To Bombay Sapphire's 'Ginbilee': To put it simply this masterclass is first class! Regardless of your age, gender or even Gin experience this class is hands on dynamic and offers something completely unique to its guests. It must be mentioned that Sam Carter really excels in this masterclass, his knowledge and enthusiasm is contagious and creates a great atmosphere! This masterclass would be perfect to enjoy with friends (as we did), a birthday treat, hen party or even work function. 

The Bombay Sapphire ‘Ginbilee’ masterclasses will be held on Saturday 26 May from 2.30pm- 5.00pm (max. 10-12 people per class). If however you are unable to attend the masterclass fear not, The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant will also be serving the specially created Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic infusions for a month prior to the Jubilee weekend, priced at just £13.50 each.