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Shikumen Launches Selection of Coloured Xiao Long Bao

Shikumen Bao

We are proud to announce the launch of the new selection of coloured Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) at Shikumen, Shepherd’s Bush.

Shikumen’s XLB, also known Shanghai dumplings, have fast become their signature dim sum dish following praise from critics across the board. Fay Maschler wrote “Xiao Long Bao are a test of the skill of a dumpling chef and here they were delicately pleated, surely at least 18 times, lusciously drenched in stock, superb.” Giles Coren; “I rolled the dumpling into a spoon, nipped it with my teeth and drank the hot, rich stock…the soup dumpling was delicious” and Tom Parker-Bowles; “the great xiao long bao, whose beautiful broth is only just contained by…miraculously thin pastry”.

Now guests at the Shanghainese restaurant can try a new selection of four naturally-coloured varieties with individual fillings:

Yellow (coloured with carrot); Chicken and Cheese filling
Green (coloured with spinach); Crab filling
Pink (coloured with beetroot); Szechuan Spicy Pork filling
Black (coloured with bamboo charcoal); Lobster and Truffle
Diners can order a 5-piece selection to try one of each colour including the original Xiao Long Bao with Minced Pork.

If you would like further information on Shikumen’s new offering
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

Coloured XLB & Pricing:
Yellow (coloured with carrot); Chicken and Cheese filling (£6.20)
Green (coloured with spinach); Crab filling (£7.80)
Pink (coloured with beetroot); Szechuan Spicy Pork filling (£6.20)
Black (coloured with bamboo charcoal); Lobster and Truffle (£8.80)
Diners can order a 5-piece selection of each colour (including the original Xiao Long Bao with Minced Pork) and this is priced at £12.80.

About Shikumen:
Shikumen is an affordable Chinese fine-dining restaurant with a large flagship located in the Dorsett Hotel on Shepherd’s Bush Green now in it’s second year of trading with a second smaller location in Ealing’s Hotel Xanadu.

Since opening Shikumen has received encouraging reviews online such as “(I) have been here three times now, what an amazing restaurant!…The duck is to die for, honestly the best Chinese in London”, “This is proper food, beautifully cooked, elegantly presented” and “If there is a better Chinese restaurant in this part of west London, I have yet to find it”.

Shikumen has also received positive praise from The Evening Standard (Fay Maschler), The Times (Giles Coren), The Financial Times (Nicolas Lander), The Mail on Sunday (Tom Parker-Bowles), Timeout (5 stars) and they have been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand award for outstanding food at a reasonable price.

Shikumen is so called after the traditional Shanghai stone house architecture of the 1940s whose stone gate houses were the gateway to the East. Ingredients are carefully sourced to bring diners produce of the highest quality served for exceptional value for money and you will see this reflected in the pricing of signature dishes such as Peking Duck carved at the table and served in two servings (whole £48.50 half £26.50) and the homemade dim sum such as Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (£5.20), Fried Dough Stick Cheung Fun (£4.50) and Cream Custard Bun (£3.80).

Shikumen Shepherd’s Bush Address:
Shikumen Shepherd’s Bush
Dorsett Hotel
58 Shepherd’s Bush Green
W12 8QE

Benihana makes choosing between Lobster or Wagyu easy

Lobster & Wagyu

Lobster versus Wagyu is a hard decision to make however Benihana have launched a new lunch menu to prove that luxury can be affordable and such a decision should no longer be an issue.

For £17.90 diners can order the new Lobster Vs Wagyu lunch menu that includes lobster or Wagyu as well as accompanying miso soup, salad, seasonal starter (e.g. salmon ceviche), tempura, sushi and croquettes. This menu of outstanding value is available from noon until 3pm at Benihana Piccadilly and Benihana Chelsea (further details below).

Is this the best value lunch in London? We encouraged our guests to come and find out.

If you would like further information on the Benihana offer
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

Rossopomodoro is 10! Celebrate with Us!

Rosso Invitation

In celebration of Rossopomodoro’s 10th birthday, a party will be taking place in their newly refurbished Chelsea restaurant on Wednesday May 25th from 7 – 11pm.

We are pleased to welcome Pizza World Champion Vincenzo who has designed a bespoke menu of ten special pizzas for our guests. There will also be a selection of ten wines, ten varieties of mozzarella flown in directly from Naples and ten Neapolitan food specialities including typical Neapolitan street food.

Since opening on Fulham Road on May 12th 2006 the authentic Neapolitan restaurant has opened a further seven locations across London and restaurants in Birmingham and most recently Newcastle.

If you would like further information on the birthday celebration and bringing guests
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

Activity / Background

Highlights from new menu celebrating 10 years of Neapolitan Pizza:
Guaranteed 24 hour natural proofing of dough 
Introduction of Wholewheat Pizza
Increased range of “Under 500 Calories Pizzas”
Introduction of Fried Pizza 
Introduction of Pagnottielli  (stuffed pizza dough bun) 
Introduction of Fritto Napoletano (Neapolitan streetfood)
Introduction of Cuoppo Zeppole (Neapolitan streetfood)
Introduction of Pizza di Scarole (Neapolitan streetfood)
Introduction of 500g size of the the best Buffalo Mozzarella Naples can offer flown in twice weekly.

Customer Offer:
£10 bottle of Prosecco offer (rrp £25) to invite diners in all UK Rossopomodoro restaurants to join the 10th birthday celebrations.
Running for 10 days from May 10th. 

Interviews / Pizza Workshops:
For all aspects of the above we have full information available as well as interview time with chefs, Pizzaiuolis, and founder of Rossopomodoro Franco Manna.

London City’s Crowne Plaza has a little Makeover

Crowne Plaza

London City’s Crowne Plaza decided to make a few changes and we are excited to be apart of the process. 

The hotel is built on the site of Henry VIII’s Bridewell Palace by Blackfriars Bridge and has 204 bedrooms including four signature “British Suites” inspired by designer icons such as Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith. Uniquely the hotel is the only Crowne Plaza in Europe to offer multiple food and beverage outlets with three sites; Italian restaurant and wine bar Diciannove (formerly Locatelli’s Refettorio), Sichuan restaurant Chinese Cricket Club and late-licence cocktail bar Voltaire, built around original external vaults that served a bank and are now heated private dens with table service.

In recent months the hotel has undertaken extensive room refurbishment and welcomed new staff including General Manager, Food and Beverage Manager, Restaurant Manager (Diciannove) and ourselves as their new PR team. In view of the hotel’s new positioning we invited guests to the following events to introduce them to the new Crowne Plaza London The City:
Menu Development Sessions 
Join us for an insight into how menus are developed between restaurant and hotel departments. You will be part of the team that develops the dish, flavour, ingredients plating and also translating the dish to menu.
Dinner and drinks included, places limited.
11th April – Chinese Cricket Club 
12th April – Diciannove
6.30/7pm onwards 

Hotel Showcase
Your evening will begin with drinks in Voltaire, followed by a room and hotel tour. Canapés will be served in Chinese Cricket Club followed by a seated meal in Diciannove.
Plus ones welcome on this date.
18th April
6.30/7pm onwards

If you would like further information on these events
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

Crowne Plaza London – The City offers travellers deluxe accommodation and convenient access to the city’s major business districts and landmarks.
Facebook: CrownePlazaLondonCity
Twitter: @CPLondonCity 
Instagram: @crowneplazalondoncity

Chinese Cricket Club – The restaurant is an authentic Sichuan restaurant that serves homemade traditional dishes, some unique to the London, and dim sum made with exceptional skill.
Facebook: chinesecricketclub
Twitter: @ChineseCClub
Instagram: @chinesecricketclub

Diciannove – Head chef Alessandro and his team welcome you into their authentic Italian Restaurant and Wine bar with generosity, warmth and charm.
Facebook: diciannove19
Twitter: @DiciannoveNo19
Instagram: diciannove19

Voltaire Bar – Try reinterpretations of classic cocktails & homemade liqueurs in the unique bar on site of Bridewell Palace Blackfriars. Private Vaults are available to book.
Facebook: /voltairebar
Twitter: @VoltaireBar 
Instagram: @voltairebarlondon 

The Instinctively Italian Diciannove Launches “Menus Of Italy”

Menus of Italy

Italian restaurant Diciannove (formerly Refettorio) is launching Menus Of Italy; a series of evenings celebrating the campanilismo (pride) of regional Italian cooking.

The regional menus are designed by Head Chef Alessandro Bay who trained for ten years under Giorgio Locatelli before taking over in the restaurant when Locatelli moved on. The regional menus will be offered alongside the existing a la carte menu throughout the entire evening of the last Monday of each month and priced at £35 per person for three courses including a glass of Prosecco.

Naples (Monday 29th Feb) is the focus for February with dishes including impepata di cozze (mussel stew) homemade paccheri (pasta) and coniglio all’ Ischitana (a traditional rabbit stew from Ischia, an island located in the Gulf of Naples). The full menu is attached for your interest.

Tuscany (Monday 28th March) includes minestre Garfagnana (bean soup served with spelt from Garfagnana), pappardelle al sugo di anatra (fresh pappardelle with duck ragout) and triglie alla Livornese serviette con patate al profumo di oregano (Livornese-style red mullet served with potatoes perfumed with oregano). Full menu available on request.

Sicily (Monday 25th April) includes insalata di polipo alla Siciliana (Sicilian-style octopus salad), pasta con le sarde (fresh pasta with fresh sardines, fennel seeds, raisins and pine nuts) and involtino di vitello con provola Siciliana (roulade of veal filled with Sicilian provola). Full menu is available on request.

Venice and Puglia will follow in May and June respectively.

If you would like further information, recipes, or to request review spaces on the evenings
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

“Italy’s regions may only be a few miles apart but locals will always insist that the cooking from their home town is far superior to those around them. Our regional dinners will offer customers an insight into the different cooking styles and customs that are shaped by geographic, historical, and climactic differences of the twenty regions across Italy.”
Alessandro Bay, Executive Head Chef

Naples on Monday 29th February
Tuscany on Monday 28th March
‎Sicily on Monday 25th April
Venice Monday 23rd May
Puglia Monday 27th June

£35 per person including a glass of Prosecco

Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
19 New Bridge Street
020 7438 8052

Benihana Brings You Affordable Wagyu Menu

Wagyu Menu

Benihana have launched a Wagyu Festival Menu as an affordable way to eat what is considered to be an exclusive and expensive luxury.

Known for its quality Wagyu is often presumed to command a very high price however this is now not the case as Benihana present the Wagyu Festival Menu so everyone can celebrate the taste of this fabulous tasting beef. The Benihana teppan style of cooking suits Wagyu perfectly as the marbling benefits from swift cooking at a high heat and the sweet fragrance given off when cooking (due to increased amino acids) can be appreciated by the diners seated around the teppan.

Example dishes:
Seven Course Wagyu Lunch Menu: £17.30
Seven course Wagyu Steak Set Menu: £67.00
Wagyu Heaven (Wagyu, Foie Gras and Truffle Oil): £4.80

The marbling:
Wagyu Beef has an unusually large amount of marbling that leads to its superior taste and tenderness. The beef is also naturally healthier as research shows that the beef from Wagyu cattle contain more Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as more monounsaturated fatty acids (the good fat) than other beef. The percentage of fatty acids affect the texture of food particularly in meats and it is for this reason that Wagyu beef is regarded as the finest, most exclusive beef produced in the world.

A tasting dinner at the Chelsea branch will be hosted on February 9th.

If you would like further information on the tasting at Benihana please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

Make Pizza | Eat Pizza | Fried Pizza!

Pizza Masterclass

Media guests were invited to a press Pizza Masterclass at the Neapolitan restaurant Rossopomodoro in Chelsea. The invitation was all about making pizza, eating pizza and testing out their new fried pizza.

The idea behind the complimentary event was to introduce guests to Rossopomodoro and learn the secrets of Neapolitan pizza giving you a taste of what they offer and have a fun, informal evening with ourselves, the Rosso team and our other guests.

Wednesday 27th January
Thursday 18th February
Thursday 17th March

7pm: Welcome Aperitivo
7.30pm: Pizza Masterclass
8pm: Seated Dinner

If you would like further information on the Pizza Masterclass
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

About Rossopomodoro:
What sets Rossopomodoro apart is that they are truly Neapolitan. The chefs come from Neapolitan pizzaioli families and make Neapolitan dishes using ingredients sourced from the Napoli region so you won’t find a more genuine Neapolitan experience outside Napoli. The head pizzaioli have a minimum of ten years experience in their craft so know exactly what they are doing when it comes to making the perfect Neapolitan pizza.

What is Neapolitan pizza? It’s different because it has a raised border (cornicione) and a soft juicy centre because of the proving and cooking method. Each Rossopomodoro has a huge wood-fired oven that
blasts heat of at least 450 degrees celsius allowing the pizza to cook in less than 90 seconds.

Rossopomodoro’s dough goes through a traditional slow proving process of at least 24 hours, a method that ensures when the dough is cooked it is light and digestible. A soft and juicy centre is why Neapolitans often fold their pizzas while eating it on the go – want us to show you how? Just ask.

Location details


London City’s Crowne Plaza hosts a showcase evening

Diciannove Interior

The Crowne Plaza by Blackfriars Bridge will be hosting a hotel showcase evening on Wednesday 20th January. Guests will be invited to join us for drinks and canapés any time between 6-9pm for the showcase, followed by a sit-down dinner from 9pm in the Italian restaurant Diciannove.

It will be a fun and informal evening to give us the opportunity to introduce our guests to our new client, meet those we have not met in person and catch up with those we have.

If you would like further information on the hotel showcase
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

6-9pm Hotel Showcase
9pm – dinner at Diciannove

19 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6DB, England.
020 7438 8000

NetworkTen Interview: Aurora Stories

Victoria Metaxas Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Hi, my name is Victoria Metaxas and I am a photographer and lifestyle/travel blogger here in London. I’m half English, half Greek and grew up in Dubai. I came to London for university, where I studied Economics. After initially pursuing a career in digital media, I spent six months in Milan last year to complete a diploma in Fashion Photography. I’m now back in London permanently, but who knows where the future will take me!

2. Tell us a little about your blog
My blog is a lifestyle site where I document my experiences in London and abroad through my photography. I use my photo skills to capture the atmosphere of a place, restaurant, event and so on, and write about what I experienced. Initially, I started my blog back in 2013 as a place where I could share the day to day pictures I took. Over time updating my blog developed into a real passion, and ultimately my full-time focus. From posting once or twice a month, I’m now posting up to 3-4 times a week, as well as working as a photographer for a number of bloggers and brands.

3. How long have you been writing your blog?
I’ve had my blog for two years, but this summer I decided to make it my full-time focus and give it a new name, rebranding it to “Aurora Stories”. The name Aurora derives from the goddess of light, so my blog is place where I can share the stories I create and capture of the light and beauty in the world that surrounds us.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
One of my most popular posts was my travel guide to Mykonos. Travel blogging is one of my favourite things to do as I love seeking out unknown spots and sharing it with others. I guess people love mini guides to places they might visit, and can jot down a few of my tips for while they’re there – I know I do it myself for the travel blogs I follow!

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
Instagram for sure. It’s a fantastic platform for visual influencers and creatives, giving people the opportunity to have a small sneak-peak into your blog and life. It helps me a lot in sharing small snippets from my upcoming blogposts, enticing people to go and read the full post.

6. What makes a good PR approach?
Staying true to the brand that you represent. It’s great when you get a clear understanding of the roots and ethos of a brand through the creative projects it is part of. For example, brand events that take you on real experience are brilliant ways to allow people to create an accurate perception of the product/service and see how it fits into the context of their personal lifestyle.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?
I would say a bad PR approach would be being reactive rather than proactive and following the trends. It’s important to think outside the box and look into how you can get a brand into people’s minds without stating the obvious. For instance, celebrity endorsements can sometimes be so forced that the brand loses its credibility – I much prefer to see products being associated with real, everyday people who I can relate to.

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?
I’m hoping to take my blog forward with more projects with lifestyle brands, restaurants and hotels next year, both here in London and around the world. You never know what is around the corner, so I love being kept on my toes and always ready for new experiences! I’m also looking forward to some exciting fashion projects coming up in 2016 with the fashion bloggers I work with.

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?
I would say Bloglovin’ – it is like my personally curated magazine. I love seeing what people have been up to, the latest shoots and amazing collaborations and projects. Everyday there is something new to discover and read about, so you never get bored.

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
14:10 today I was Guildford shooting a blogger project for the new Mazda roadster, with menswear fashion blogger, Martell Campbell. We had a blast shooting with a car, which I’d never done before! Martell and I shoot often, so it was so nice to have a change of scenery and add a little something different to our usual photo session.

Thank you, Victoria!

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu

The Language of Food Dan Jurafsky

The Language of Food Dan Jurafsky

“Writing with knowledge and wit, Dan Jurafsky shows that the language of food reflects our desires and aspirations, whether it’s on a fancy French menu or a bag of potato chips.”
— Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

For foodies and non-foodies alike The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu by Dan Jurafsky provides an interesting insight into the world of culinary influences.

It might seem obvious that customers can tell a great deal about a restaurant from it’s menu but Stanford University professor Dan Jufasky embarks on a fascinating journey through The Language of Food, uncovering subtle hidden meanings, storytelling tropes and marketing jargon that influences the food we eat.

Interestingly, the fact that the way in which food is described heavily influences our decisions provides a yet another area for both restaurants and customers to navigate.

It is not as easy as there being good food and bad food. Storytelling tropes and marketing language may have the ability to dress up average food to something that it’s not and similarly, we may disregard amazing food because it is not described in the way in which we would expect. In the same way that great imagery can do wonders for a restaurant by luring customers in through their website or social media, Jufasky’s book suggests that the way in which food is described is equally important. Clearly the value of a poached egg is far lower than a Old Cotswold Legbar poached egg but the dissection to why is where Jufasky interestingly elaborates.

Food for thought, as it were.

There are also interesting details regarding the etymology of words and the relationship between certain foods such as macaroon versus macaron, why we say “toast” when drinking wine, how old Middle Eastern stews became British fish and chips and that Japanese tempura and ceviche are also connected to the latter. Naturally having an American author it does lend itself to a more US view but who does’t want to know why Yankie Doodle Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni?