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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

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

Price:
£35 per person including a glass of Prosecco

Location:
Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
19 New Bridge Street
EC4V 6DB
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.

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

Timings:
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

Chelsea

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

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

Location
19 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6DB, England.
020 7438 8000
www.cplondoncityhotel.co.uk
http://www.diciannove19.com

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?

NetworkTen: Bruce Millar

Bruce Millar Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Bruce Millar, the main writer on The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. I also contribute to and help edit The Sunday Times’s two other restaurant supplements, covering the best 130 places around the country where you can eat for £20 and “around the world in 80 meals” — the best ethnic restaurants in Britain.

2. Tell us a little about your publication and your role within it…
We publish in association with Harden’s Guides, using their tried and tested methodology for collating marks and reviews sent in by thousands of genuine diners who have spent their own money on eating out. So we believe that although enjoyment of a meal is subjective, our ranking is as objective as it is possible to get. My role is to visit restaurants selected from the 100 and interview the chefs. I am not writing a review but describing what is special about each restaurant, and why our voters have chosen it.

3. Recently The Times editor John Witherow shared his expectations for 2016 and predicted “the resurgence of print”. Have you seen evidence of this already?
It certainly appears that the long and steady decline in newspaper print circulations as at last levelling off. Online has all sorts of advantages in terms of speed, convenience and accessibility, but I think people may be realising that it is not considered, edited or mediated in the way that good serious newspapers are (precisely our mantra for producing Social Media content for ourselves and our clients;  consider, edit and mediate and nothing less – Krista Booker, Director, Fourteen Ten). Much of the content of social media is like being shouted at in a bar.

4. Martin Ivens, Editor of The Sunday Times, said: “Our readers already enjoy a great package… The Dish adds extra spice to the mix, satisfying the thousands of them who have a love for all things food.” We have enjoyed the launch of this supplement, is it here to stay and are there any plans to develop it?
Interest in all aspects of food and cooking keeps on growing, and the Sunday Times is sure to go with it. I’m not privy to the commercial decision-making, but I can only see The Dish developing further, in whatever form that may take.

5. What makes a good PR approach?
Interesting, restrained copy with a decent amount of factual detail that shows some insight into the product it is promoting, as well as some insight into my requirements as a journalist, is always appealing. Soft-sell is always preferable to hard-sell.

6. What makes a bad PR approach?
Breathless and cliche-filled copy full of hyperbole is always underwhelming. If it’s sprinkled with spelling mistakes, I assume it was written by a know-nothing school-leaver on work experience — and that the executive responsible was too busy lunching a client to do the work. (thank you for raising this Bruce, these are practices Fourteen Ten work very hard to avoid, in fact we tend to take our Interns with us on said lunches – David Farrer, Director, Fourteen Ten)

7. What was your restaurant moment of 2015?
Too many to count. But if you insist… well, finally eating at L’Enclume after reading about it for so many years was wonderful — 18 courses at lunchtime, and I didn’t feel stuffed. I had eaten at Sat Bains in Nottingham before, but he came top on our list this year, and it was great to catch up with him and eat his brilliant cooking again. And I had never tasted with such intensity as I did at Araki — it was a revelation to eat sushi prepared in front of my eyes by one of Japan’s greatest masters, now working in London. And it is amazing how expense powers your concentration… A fortnight in the summer in Tokyo and on the Izu peninsular a bit further south included at least half a dozen great restaurant experiences — including a place where you catch your own fish in a big tank before the chef slices it up for you. The standard is extraordinarily high because all Japanese are serious foodies, so a bad restaurant will soon go out of business.

8. We understand you have a keen interest in Japanese food, which is your favourite Japanese restaurant in London and why?
I really enjoyed Koya in Frith Street, now closed but replaced by Koya Bar. And Namban in Brixton is a great addition — opened by an American fan of Japanese food.

9. We’ve seen trends for dishes such as Yakitori, Okonomiyaki and more recently Ramen in London. Are there any new Japanese foods you expect, or would like, to take their turn in the limelight?
What I really like in Japan are the highly specialised restaurants. There are legendary places that only serve one dish, but it is perfect. I went to one tiny yakitoria that sold nothing but bits of chicken barbecued on sticks, but there were half a dozen chefs working flat out and probably 50 different items on the menu. That would be great in London…

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today (or yesterday)?
Eating lunch in the canteen: rice and beans that I cooked at home, for reasons of both taste and economy.

Thank you, Bruce!

Walter & Zoniel in Flaunt Magazine’s #CALIFUK issue

Walter & Zoniel Header Image

London based artist duo Walter & Zoniel feature in the current issue of LA’s quarterly fashion culture magazine Flaunt. Never straying far from exceptional and unique content (watches on pregnancy stomachs anyone) the Alpha-Ation series from Walter Hugo & Zoniel is exceptional.

The series is an ongoing project of exclusive portraits that have been taken using a giant hand-built camera with a brass lens dating back to 1850. The images are shot directly onto positive paper so the artwork has no negative or possibility of reproduction and then hand-coloured and 24 carat gold gilded. The subjects of the portrait artists are celebrities and a perspective of their profile has been featured to produce and ode to the modern day relationship with the portrait and acts of flattery and adulation.

Subjects include Emily Watson, April Ashley, Andreas Kronthaler, Daniel Lismore, Lindsay Lohan, Fran Cutler, Aiden Shaw, Lulu Kennedy, and Tinie Tempah.

The creative is an impressive roll call (below), the initial collection of the ongoing project can be followed here and you can buy the #CALIFUK issue of Flaunt now.

Photographer: Walter Hugo & Zoniel at walterhugoandzoniel.com.
Hair for Emily Watson: Lisa Eastwood for Premierhairandmakeup.com.
Makeup for Emily Watson: James O’Riley for Premierhairandmakeup.com.
Hair and Makeup for April Ashley: Gia Mills for untitldartistsldn.com, London using Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
Groomer for Andreas Kronthaler: Nadia Altinbas at nadiaaltinbas.co.uk.
Hair for Lindsay Lohan: Larry King for streeters.com.
Makeup for Lindsay Lohan: Natalie Piacun at nataliepiacun.com.
Groomer for Tinie Tempah: Natalie Piacun at nataliepiacun.com.
Concept and Direction: Rose Forde at Roseforde.com and Jack Guinness.

Single-Dish Restaurants: Is Less More?

Single-Dish Restaurants

According to research from the “restaurant discovery” app Zomato one in ten new restaurants opened in London since April is a single-item restaurant. This trend (and the frustrating no-reservations policy) originated in New York and if the queues are anything to go by it’s going down well here too.

With the arrival of restaurants like Come Fry With Me, Mussel Men, Balls & Company and Egg Break to name a few it’s easy to see that there’s a market for these niche restaurants. But does all the excitement mean that the trend is here to stay?

One advantage of these super-niche restaurants is that customers don’t have to face indecision or food envy and they do say that less is more. Without an extensive menu the dreaded choice is already made for us and you would think that a narrower focus makes for a better executed dish, but as Jay Rayner pointed out in his review of Ooze, “if you’re a specialist restaurant, it’s crucial that you take your one main dish pretty seriously”.

If you’re only going to do one thing you need to do it really really well. There are no excuses and nothing to hide behind so if you’re going to go down the super-niche and focused route you need to be pretty great at what you do. Surprisingly this is not always the case and some restaurants are unable to sustain the custom such as Fulham Road’s Fire and Feathers, coincidentally has now now swapped one single-dish for another from chicken to steak with newcomer Orange Buffalo.

When single-item restaurants started taking over New York two years ago Billy Lyons wrote an interesting article shunning the way this generation of chefs is “forgoing the traditional stylings of success, opting for Instagram and Twitter fame, and leaving fine dining for fast casual”. A 2013 article by Luke Nicholls for Big Hospitality highlighted some further issues that the rise of single-item restaurant causes for the industry observing that “single and dual-item restaurants are changing the chef’s skill set enormously and not necessarily in a good way since the ability to cook a great burger or cook eggs 10 ways does not automatically entail that someone has the grounding or traditional skill set”.

We must ask the question that is there a finite amount of times we are happy without a wider choice? This notion was muted by Rayner in his recent review of Piquet: “In a London overrun by concepts and formulas, by places offering small plates and sharing plates and things served on slates or by the 100g or by the bushel and peck, a place like this is quite simply a relief. It has starters, main courses and desserts. It has food cooked by someone who knows what they’re doing but is more interested in serving you lunch than in winning a place in some gastronomic hall of fame”.

Is the opening of Piquet the turning point for the single-dish restaurant to lose favour with London diners? Zomato’s findings also stated that one in ten new restaurants opened in London since April is a single-item restaurant is actually “double the number in the same period last year” so perhaps we have now reached saturation? New openings on the horizon include single-dish restaurants Shuang Shuang (hot-pots), Le Bab (kebabs) and Strut and Cluck (turkey) but equally we have Bellanger, Oliver Maki and The Lighterman. Possibly another sign that we are now edging towards a return to our previous preference of more actually being more?

Racy Neapolitan festive game comes to London

Neapolitan Tombola

Rossopomodoro are inviting Londoners to play the historical (and rather racy) Neapolitan game ‘La Tombola’ this Christmas to win prizes.

Traditionally played by Italian families at Christmas, ‘La Tombola’ is a board game much like bingo but every number has a meaning. Usually played with cards and dried pasta Londoners are being asked to tweet a number daily with which they associate and if their number matches the daily draw they win a meal for two with wine.

Will tweeters choose number 17 “The Misfortune/A Disgrazie” after misbehaving at their Christmas party? Perhaps number 21 “The Naked Lady/La Femmena Annura” might be more apt if the party went particularly well or what about number 16 “The Bottom/’O Culo” on which you’d rather be sat and not out Christmas shopping.

If you would like further information on La Tombola experience
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker

About
La Tombola was born in 1734 out of a battle between King Charles III of Bourbon and the Dominican Friar Gregorio Maria Rocco. The King was willing to make the lottery official in the Kingdom because it would have increased funds raised by taxes; by contrast the Friar considered the lottery an amoral and misleading leisure. The King was successful, of course, but only on the condition that during Christmas time the game would have been suspended to not distract people from prayers. Unwilling to give up on the game, Neapolitans turned a public game into a more intimate and familiar one: the 90 numbers matched as many meanings and those of the Neapolitan tombola are the most allusive, smutty and sometimes raunchy. Nowadays at Christmas time the game is played in homes throughout Napoli for lighthearted festive fun. That said, gambling on the outcome is often involved and, when passionately competitive Neapolitans get together, heated arguments can be expected. Well, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without family squabbles.

Prize
A daily prize announced at 10pm. If the number matches the draw you win a meal for two with wine.
A Christmas Day Draw will act as an accumulator and all daily entries will be matched against 5 numbers, the closest match will win a Pizza Masterclass for 5.

How to Enter
Choose your number from the Rossopomodoro Pinterest Board and tweet @RosspomodoroUK including #NeapolitanTombola
Competition closes on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day Draw announced on Christmas Day.

Twitter
I’m playing #NeapolitanTombola with number 17 “o disgrazzia”. Someone might have been misbehaving at the Christmas party…
Play saucy festive game #NeapolitanTombola from @RossopomodoroUK. Pick your cheeky number to #win a meal for 2 every day ’til Christmas Day
Medieval game La Tombola is reinvented this xmas by @RossopomodoroUK w/ #NeapolitanTombola. Choose your number and win a meal + wine for two
Neapolitan restaurant @RossopomodoroUK are giving away a meal for 2 every day until Christmas. Search #NeapolitanTombola for details.
Bum! Tits! Prostitute! Mad Man! No, I am not talking to you! I am playing @RossopomodoroUK’s #NeapolitanTombola. Have a go & #win prizes

Facebook
Rossopomodoro are inviting Londoners to play the historical (and rather racy) Neapolitan game ‘La Tombola’ this Christmas to win prizes. The game is traditionally played by Italian families at Christmas, is a board game much like bingo but every number has a meaning. To enter tweet your number daily with the hashtag #NeapolitanTombola to win a meal for two with wine or a Pizza Masterclass for 5.

Links

Neapolitan Tombola Competition!


https://www.pinterest.com/rossopomodorouk/neapolitantombola
https://twitter.com/rossopomodorouk