Eagle-eyed (and hungry!) residents may have spotted the re-launch of Byron High Street Kensington last week, following a stylish new revamp of this, the first restaurant in the Byron chain which opened its doors way back in 2007.
Re-opened on 1st September, the restaurant at 222 Kensington High Street takes its inspiration from its local surroundings and architecture – something of a Byron speciality as individuality is the key ingredient in all of their 52 locations. The Kensington branch now boasts a 1930s Deco-style exterior, with an interior that pays homage to European Modernism.
Come down to enjoy tasty burgers and cold craft beer whilst perched on the specially-selected vintage seating or one of the leather banquettes, surrounded by the work of illustrator Alec Doherty. His vibrant style will be familiar to Byron’s customers, given his previous work with the brand. In fact, it’s no surprise that Byron recently won a YCN (You Can Now) Illustration Award for its use of illustration – with work from including the work of Jean Jullien, Alec Doherty and others – across its branding.
Tom Byng, Byron’s founder, says:
“All our restaurants are dear to me, but our ‘Mothership’ at High Street Kensington is particularly close to my heart. When we started Byron, we wanted to make every restaurant unique, so we gave each one its own playing card. Fittingly, Kensington is the Queen of Hearts, and we’re reopening here just as we’ve completed our first Byron deck: 52 playing cards for 52 restaurants. We may have grown over the last few years but our vision has stayed the same – to serve consistently delicious proper hamburgers in beautiful, individual-designed restaurants. I couldn’t be more delighted to be celebrating where it all began in 2007.”
To celebrate the re-launch, Byron High Street Kensington will be giving away free hamburgers between Monday 7th and Wednesday 16th September to Byron Club members who sign up and choose the HSK branch as their local Byron. Membership is free – to sign up, visit www.byronhamburgers.com/burgerclub. (Offer runs all day, Monday to Wednesdays only.)
Starting tonight, Thursday 14th May, and running until early July, The Ram pub near Chelsea Harbour will be hosting a series of life drawing classes for all budding artists.
Led by professional artist Jonathan Ellis, the classes are suitable for all levels and abilities – from those who haven’t picked up a pencil since their schooldays to those who are closet Picassos.
All materials and full easels are provided for each class, and there are varied models and a new theme for each session.
The classes are run in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, with everyone encouraged to experiment, even make mistakes, whilst improving their drawing skills. Inspiring tips and drawing techniques will be learnt, and it’s a great way of picking up a new skill or honing an old one – as well as having a fun evening and a drink with friends and colleagues.
The Art With Benedict classes are being run in some of London’s best pubs (currently also in locations in Winchmore Hill, Shepherd’s Bush, Tufnell Park and Ladbroke Grove) and have had an amazing response!
At The Ram, a free drink is also included in the price of the class! Tickets cost £20 online – you can book at artwithbenedict.co.uk – or £21 on the door.
Do also check out the website above for more details on the Art With Benedict team, to see previous students’ work, read testimonials, and for information on their other classes around London.
Life Drawing in the Pub 6.30pm – 8.30pm on 14th May, 28th May, 11th June, 25th June, 2nd July 2015
32 Burnaby Street
SW10 0PL artwithbenedict.co.uk
Chelsea’s Cuban-themed bar Embargo Republica is hosting a dating night with a twist next week – inviting singletons and their canine companions for a speed dating event and doggy disco!
The evening will take place on the venue’s roof terrace, which means that human attendees can meet like-minded singles, whilst their four-legged friends have space to play and even enjoy some special doggy treats! And with the largest roof terrace in all of SW10, there’s plenty of room for the little furry friends to have some fun.
General Manager at Embargo Republica, Andy Johnson, says about the event:
“The Chelsea set love their canine cuties so we thought transforming ourselves into ‘Embarko Repuglica’ for the evening would be a great way to raise some money for the brilliant Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Dogs are a great way to break the ice between strangers, so we’re sure the event will be a huge hit and love will be in the air!”
Embargo Republica offers its guests a mix of lush surroundings, the best Latin beats and exotic cocktails – the selection includes the Hemingway, the Cuban Kiss, the Fidel Castro and the four-person Republica de Cuba, served in a cigar box. The venue regularly hosts live bands, DJs and acoustic sets from artists such as Victor Hugo & the Mambo Boys, The Cuban Brothers and Salsa Fuego Trio. And with the Cuban al-fresco feel of the roof terrace, it’s one of the best ways of experiencing a little Havana magic in London.
Head down to ‘Embarko Repuglia’ for this dating night with a twist next week, or pop down to Embargo Republica on any night for a fun evening out!
Embarko Repuglia 6.30pm – 9pm, Thursday 6th November 2014
533 Kings Road
SW10 0TZ www.embargorepublica.com
Kensington of course has some very fine eateries and cafes, everything from ultra-posh (as you’d probably expect) to places that are more casual and laid-back. It’s home to many a fine pub, as well, with more and more of these turning gastro – and providing a very reasonable dining experience indeed. But the proper ‘fun’ places are rather few and far between.
But at the start of this year, along came Dirty Bones. Located at the start of Kensington Church Street, this basement bar and restaurant certainly tries to amp up the fun, styling itself as something of a dive bar. (Luckily – I love dive bars!)
The bones in the name refers to chicken, ribs and fish of course, although there’s dogs here too. Hot dogs, I mean. And, unusually, I’d always gotten the impression that Dirty Bones were far more famous for their hotdogs than their bones. (Though including ‘bones’ in the name seems to be a popular choice for restaurants in 2014.)
Early on a Tuesday evening, we descended into Dirty Bones to give it a whirl. The bar area you walk through first is supremely funk-ily decorated, with the actual restaurant area a little more muted. We were very well attended to, being asked multiple times whether we need help with the menu, or wanted any recommendations. Starting off with cocktails, with opted for a Dirty Bones Negroni, the Mutt’s Nutts (great name) and a Top Dog (…); cocktails are reasonably priced, by London standards, at around £8. My negroni was certainly well made, and the feedback from the other cocktail inbibers was positive too.
Keep with the dog theme for cocktails, we opted for three different dogs for food – one Brit Dog (with bacon, cheese and mustard), one Mexican (with pulled pork, salsa and guacamole) and an Asian (kimchi puree, wasabi mayo and crispy seaweed). And then, to round things off, three different sides – triple cooked fries, dirty fries (as the previous, but with chilli cheese and BBQ sauces on top) and a good ol’ mac ‘n’ cheese – that we wanted to share as one big pile in the middle of the table.
Oddly enough (especially for someone going to a hotdog restaurant), I’m not the biggest fan of hotdogs – but am a fan of dogs pilled high with delicious toppings. And given I’ve been on a bit of kimchi fix of late, the Asian dog was perfect for me. The actual kimchi flavour was pretty delicate and the wasabi mayo on the lighter end of the scale; the crispy seaweed gave each bite an unusual bit of texture. (I opted for the beef version – all hot dogs can be pork or beef.)
The dirty fries were insanely more-ish – their description on the menu makes them sound a bit over-the-top, but I couldn’t get enough of those bad boys. The naked version (i.e. ‘just’ triple-cooked chips) were equally tasty, and the small portion of mac ‘n’ cheese was as well. An unsual colour (more reddish than the usually cheesy yellow!), I can only assume there was some cayenne pepper or paprika in the mix somehow.
My one main gripe was the price of the beer – £4.50 for the cheapest option, and that for a 330ml can! Sure, the price of a pint is expensive in London these days but £4.50 for roughly 3/4 of a pint sure is cheeky. (Or £5.50 for Brooklyn lager…)
All in all – bar the beer pricing – it’s a reasonably priced and rather fun place for some tasty ‘junk’ food…a welcome addition to the Kensington dining scene. And bar scene too – it’s a useful place to know about for some darn good cocktails. With names to giggle about.
Many of you may well have noticed the exciting launch of City Pantry’s Summer Street-Food Festival outside of Tesco on Cromwell Road last week – and have already sampled some of the fantastic food on offer!
Exciting news reaches us that due to its first week success, the festival will be open one additional day each week. Now taking place every Wednesday to Sunday until the end of June, there will be plenty of delectable street food, family fun plus a Brazilian flavour of things, in special tribute to the World Cup.
Also on site is a Brazilian caipirinha bar and to really get into the party spirit, there’s a special 2 for 1 cocktail offer every night between 6pm and 7pm! To redeem the offer, simply follow @CityPantry on Twitter & tweet “Can’t wait to get to @citypantry #westival for cocktails at 6”.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the know how of cocktails, there’s also a Friday evening cocktail masterclass taking place this week (Friday 20th June), taught by head bartender and mixologist Alex Harris. To book a ticket for this week’s event, see here.
The Festival will also be hosting a number of other exciting events each week – keep up-to-date with the latest news on City Panty’s website or find them on Twitter.
Why not pop down one lunchtime or evening this week for some festival fun?
City Pantry presents A Summer Street-Food Festival from 12pm until late every Wednesday to Sunday, until 29th June 2014 Tesco Kensington Superstore
West Cromwell Road
The very first Pop Up Colombia will be brightening up Kings Road at the beginning of next month, giving locals and visitors a taste of the country, its food, music, fashion and much more!
During the five-day pop-up shop, a wide variety of Colombian designers, artists and entrepreneurs will be showcasing and selling their products – including fashion, accessories, jewellery, lighting and furniture.
In particular, Amaranta Creative, the first UK hub for female Colombian artistic talent, has collaborated with four handpicked entrepreneurs – womenswear designer Juliana Correa, artist Veronica Arcila, online eco-boutique owner Claudia Suarez and lighting designer Alejandra Ospina.
Mini workshops will also take place, giving you a taste of Colombian literature, music, film-making, photography and food, with Spanish language classes for children also taking place.
On Thursday 5th December, Colombian author Oscar Guardiola River will be hosting an exclusive reading of his acclaimed new book Story of a Death Foretold – described by the Independent as “an ambitious book with an ambitious agenda, both of which should be applauded” – followed by a book signing.
On Saturday 7th December, there will be a free 100% Colombian coffee tasting with Juan Valdez, in collaboration with Shelton’s Coffee.
Colombia’s traditional Christmas tradition, Dia de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles), will also be celebrated on 7th December. Come and light a candle to celebrate the start of the festive month, and to promote positive energy for the new year ahead. Carajillo cocktails – made of coffee, aguardiente, rum and cinnamon – will be served on that evening in celebration of the Dia de las Velitas.
Pop Up Colombia is being supported by Proexport Colombia, the Colombian government agency for the promotion of tourism, trade and investment.
Shop doors open at 10am daily; for more details on Pop Up Colombia, please see popupcolombia.com.
Come down to this Kings Road this December to discover the hidden gems of Colombia!
Pop Up Colombia 4th – 8th December 2013 632 Kings Road
One of the most popular Christmas events that’s right on our doorstep – Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – is back this year! Taking place from Friday 22nd November 2013 through to Sunday 5th January 2014, the event’s usual attractions and activities from previous years will be back again, ready to get you into the Christmas spirit.
One of Winter Wonderland’s most popular attractions – ice skating on what is the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink – makes its usual appearance at this year’s event. With a rink that’s over 1,600 square metres in size, you’ll be able to skate away to your heart’s content, entertained by live music playing throughout the day and night at the Victorian Bandstand that sits by the rink.
Following its success last year, the Magical Ice Kingdom returns this Christmas – but will now be twice the size, with even more snow and ice sculptures! Created especially for Winter Wonderland, this will be a fantastical world of ice and snow with visitors being able to explore a medieval village and a giants’ forest (with ice trolls and a ogre to fight), as well as an ice castle with a scary dungeon. Have a go on the extremely-popular ice slide, but this year enjoy some refreshment at the Ice Bar too. Then sit in the Ice Swan, watch the frozen jumping fish and have a go at kissing the frog!
The youngsters will be very pleased to hear that Santa Land returns as well – with its LEGO DUPLO Santa Express, Santa’s Workshop and…Father Christmas himself, of course! He’ll be in Santa Land daily, complete with a sack of free gifts.
Additionally, after sell-out shows at last year’s event, Zippos Circus will be appearing this year as well with two special shows – Zippos Christmas Circus during the daytime, a show suitable for the whole family, and Zippos Cirque Berserk, an evening show for older thrill seekers. The daytime show is jam-packed full of jugglers, clowns and aerialists and the perfect length – at 50 minutes – for the little ones to sit through. Meanwhile, Cirque Berserk is a contemporary circus thrill show with death-defying knife-throwing, fire, the ultimate High Wire and the Wheel of Death – where two extraordinary acrobats spin together in an unbelievably small steel wheel. Additionally, VIP boxes are available for Cirque Berserk, which give you fast-track entry to your own private box, which is stocked with a bottle of champagne and chocolates.
Winter Wonderland 2013 will also feature some of my personal favourites, such as the Angels Christmas & Yuletide Markets which has over 200 stalls offering unusual and handmade cards and gifts such as ceramics, jewellery, wooden toys and Christmas decorations. And no Christmas event is complete without a Bavarian village…bratwurst and mulled wine at the ready! There will also be many other restaurants and bars on site to warm yourself up at, and plenty of theme-park style rides to have fun on.
Tickets for Ice Skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, the Giant Observation Wheel and Zippos Circus are already on sale – book early online to avoid disappointment! But don’t forget that general entrance to Winter Wonderland is entirely free!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2013 10am to 10pm daily, Friday 22nd November – 5th January 2014 (opens at 5pm only on 22nd November and closed on Christmas Day)
Follow Winter Wonderland on Facebook and Twitter
Anyone associated with Kensington or Notting Hill surely knows about The Windsor Castle. Tucked away on one of the smaller through-roads between the two areas, this little gem something of a local secret – and many would like it kept that way. But judging by the crowds enjoying both the pub’s huge beer garden and its little indoor nooks and crannies yesterday evening, it seems that many are in on the secret!
I’ve been to The Windsor Castle many a time, mostly in winter. Now, we’re obviously in anything but winter, but I’d also highly recommend the pub for when that season inevitably rolls around – the cosy, wood-panelled interior is a really great place to settle in for a few hours on a weekend afternoon.
Yesterday evening, however, was the first time that I’d dined in the pub (specifically, in their special little dining room at the back), and also the first time that I’d visited since their refurbishment. The exterior is certainly looking very smart, almost like an inviting country cottage amongst this largely residential street. The dining room is also looking very respectable, and I personally lovely the leather armchairs that we had at our table for two!
We were seated right by the large open window overlooking the pub garden. Now, if you’re really suffering in the heat, you must immediately make a reservation for this particular spot – surely one of the coolest natural (non air-con induced) ones in W8! (I don’t know the physics of airflow – all I know is IT WORKS REALLY WELL HERE.) Overlooking the pub garden, we had a really fab spot to people watch, with the garden filled to the brim with locals and those who work in nearby offices, enjoying some cool drinks on a hot Thursday evening.
One of the quirks of The Windor Castle’s dinner menu is their “beer matching”. For each dish in each course – and yes, even dessert! – their menu recommends a beer that complements the food. Another thing you’ll notice from their menu is that it’s not just ordinary pub food; there’s plenty of unusual yet carefully thought out dishes, and even standard pub dishes – burgers, or sausage and mash – are so much more that what you might find elsewhere.
Being on a bit of a seafood kick of late, I selected the devon crab for my starter with my dining companion picking the prawn and avocado salad. I matched my starter with an ale as recommended by our exceedingly friendly waitress (not quite what was offered on the menu as they were out, but a more than adequate replacement), whilst my companion had the Veltins lager. The crab was exquisite, with small tower of delicate meat piled onto an avocado base, and accompanied with apple coleslaw. So light and refreshing, and so more-ish! (Thank goodness it was only a small portion!) The other starter – the prawns and avocado on baby gem lettuce – was a simpler affair, but certainly no less tasty, what a generous serving of large, juicy prawns.
On to the mains. This is where we were a little confused on the beer matching front. Having wolfed down our starters, we still had plenty of beer left – but would have liked to matched our main courses with the beer options as well. I’d suggest either picking your main course beer instead of the starter one…or just drinking quickly! When I’m not presenting myself as a seafood fan, I’m also very much into gnocchi – so couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the exotic-sounding gnocchi with spinach, quinoa, mushrooms and truffled cream. Out came a dish with wonderfully large, most definitely handmade gnocchi, with tender spinach leaves and chopped mushrooms dotted around, and the cream as a neat circle on top of the middle. The light amount of quinoa was also mixed in throughout – all in all, a very tasty but unusual dish (certainly so with the combination of ingredients), and not like something I’ve ever come across before in any pub.
My companion opted for the pan fried chicken breast, chorizo stuffing, green beans and pan gravy, which also came with (but not mentioned on the menu) carrots and mash. His comments were that the chicken was delicious, and the vegetables were divine – the only criticism being that he wasn’t sure the chorizo element added much to the dish.
After two rather filling courses, I definitely required something lighter for dessert for the two of us to share. Although there was some last minute pressure from my companion to order the hazlenut chocolate brownie with peanut butter ice cream (I understand – sounds hard to resist!), I chose the English berries with yoghurt sorbet. And what absolutely amazing presentation for this dish! Displayed on a large slate plate, the berries – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries – were intricately placed around a scoop of the yoghurt sorbet. This was also far more than I had anticipated it might be, and certainly highly delectable – the light sprinkling of orange peel also gave the dish an extra little kick.
During our meal, I noticed a sign in the garden proclaiming the existence of a “Cider House” so asked our friendly waitress about it. She explained that the cute little bar in one corner of the garden (its housed in something not too dissimilar from a shed – but a very well stocked one at that!) is now serving up a large selection of different ciders, surely the most perfect tipple for the hot evenings. (Well, and days too if that’s how you spend your time!) She also explained that The Windsor Castle had also run similar drinks events in the recent past, including the hosting of an ale festival.
I’d highly recommend The Windsor Castle for an evening meal especially if, like me, it’s not a place you’ve previously considered dining out in. (That’s if we can tear all you locals away from the beer garden!)
The Palm London have just launched their Seasonal Summer dishes, featuring an exceedingly tasty selection of options that will be offered alongside their existing menu. Available from this month through until the end of August, the Seasonal Summer options include a number of vegetable sides as well as several fish specials that wonderfully complement The Palm’s famed dishes that include USDA Prime 35 day aged beef, Jumbo Nova Scotia lobster and Italian heritage dishes such as Chicken Piccata.
For this month, the Seasonal Summer sides include a broad bean, asparagus and tomato salad with harissa mayonnaise and a roquette and an asparagus and strawberry salad, whilst the fish special is pan fried mackerel fillets, raspberry and cucumber piccalilli.
Next month sees tasty sides including panko breaded aubergines with honey; a beetroot, globe artichoke and sour cherry salad; and a courgette, watercress and pickled cucumber salad, red currant vinaigrette, whilst the fish specials are grilled sardines with shaved fennel and strawberries and tea smoked mackerel, greengage chutney.
Finally, in August you can choose from artichoke hearts, garlic and parsley butter; broad beans with fresh tomatoes and sorrel; or pak choi with roasted chillies and garlic butter for vegetable sides, and the grilled sea bass with peas, cucumber and sorrel cream sauce as a fish special.
British Head Chef Spencer Westcott is proud to complement the Palm menu with dishes using local produce, saying:
“We serve tender lobsters sourced from Nova Scotia, we serve flavourful USDA Prime beef from Nebraska and this summer we are serving the very best of British seasonal produce. We hope our guests enjoy our changing seasonal summer dishes that demonstrate that we are not just an American Steakhouse but an American Steakhouse in London and our menu reflects this”.
As well as enjoying the special summer options mentioned above, diners may be interested to hear about The Palm Bar’s PrimeTime Menu which sees guests pay for cocktails and Prime Bites by the clock – that means you pay from £5 from 5pm up to only £9 at 9pm until closing. (For more details, see PrimeTime at The Palm Bar in Belgravia – eat & drink from only £5!)
The 837 Club is another offer that may be of interest – for a one-off membership fee of £25, you can enjoy the excellent value monthly wine and main Club Special, as well as earning Club Points for every visit which can be redeemed against goodies such as a complimentary dessert, a weekend getaway for two, ora complimentary lobster on your birthday. You also get a £25 gift card towards a visit to the Palm restaurant or bar.
If you visit The Palm London and check in on FourSquare, you’ll receive a complimentary cocktail – checking in on Facebook will see you receive a complimentary PrimeBite!
The Palm’s London location is the first in Europe for this family owned and operated group of restaurants that are now in their fourth generation. In a fab Belgravia location, visit today to enjoy their Seasonal Summer dishes!
Belgravia’s Palm Bar is currently offering a very special deal on food and drink items from their extensive menu that will delight anyone that’s looking to save a few pennies in these credit crunch times.
During their PrimeTime offer – which runs daily from 5pm until close – the price you pay for their PrimeBites and cocktails is determined by the clock. So you if you turn up for some nibbles between 5pm and 6pm, you pay £5 per item. If you’re heading for an early and quick bite to eat for dinner between 6pm and 7pm, it’s £6. Even from 9pm to closing time, the most you’ll pay is only a very reasonable £9!
With many delicious PrimeBites to choose from including Prime SteakBurger Sliders (normally priced £11.90), the Charcuterie Plate (£10.90) or the absolutely amazing sounding Nova Scotia Lobster and Bacon Fondue (also £10.90), there’s absolutely no way that this isn’t a bargain! There’s also a very extensive cocktail menu, including signature cocktails such as the Scarlet Temptress (Bulleit Bourbon, Triple Sec and pomegranate juice) or the 837 Twisted Mojito (Raspberry & vanilla vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh mint, fresh lime and soda water), plus many classic cocktails as well. (All cocktails normally priced at £10).
There’s also an added extra for local residents – for those based in and around Belgravia, the clock stops on Monday nights at 5pm! That means their PrimeBites and cocktails are priced at only £5 from 5pm until close.
The Palm Bar is part of The Palm London, the first location in Europe for the family-owned and operated restaurants, now on its fourth generation! The restaurant specialises in USDA Prime 35 day aged beef, Jumbo Nova Scotia lobster and Italian heritage dishes such as Chicken Piccata, all of which have been on the menu since the first Palm restaurant opened in New York in 1926. The Palm Bar runs the length of the entrance of the restaurant, with a large sweeping polished wooden bar as its centrepiece, and is the ideal venue for evening drinks – even more so, with their wonderful PrimeTime offer!
With only a short walk from both Knightsbridge and Sloane Square Underground stations, it’s easy to get to for both locals and those travelling from a little further afield – so why not pop in this evening to enjoy some tasty treats and expertly-made cocktails at a great price?