Celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show with a special themed menu at Il Convivo

As a special tribute to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show (on from 22nd to 26th May), Belgravia’s most renowned Tuscan restaurant Il Convivo will feature a menu inspired by the herbs and flowers on display at the Show this year.

Dishes on offer include chilled courgette and borage soup with crème fraîche as a light starter, or pappardelle with a rabbit, black olive and pea shoot ragu for something a little bit more hearty. Other highlights include risotto with butternut squash, lemon and chervil, as well as the wonderful-sounding roasted Halibut fillet with a watercress and nasturtium sauce, the Guinea fowl supreme with lemon thyme and lavender and the Elderflower crème brûlée to finish off your meal for dessert.

There’s also a fine selection of champagnes and wines to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show with, and the restaurant’s tranquil, bijoux garden is the perfect place to do so!

Il Convivo are offering their special Chelsea Flower Show themed garden as a set lunch for £17.50 for two courses or £23.50 for three; or for dinner at £23.50 for two courses and £29.50 for three. Bookings for the special menu can be made online at www.ilconvivio.co.uk.

Certainly the perfect place to celebrate this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, the most prestigious show of its kind. Held every year since 1913 (bar gaps during the World Wars), the Show features 550 exhibitors.

Il Convivo
143 Ebury Street
Tel: 020 7730 4099

Spaghetti House comes to Kensington High Street!

I’m sure all you Londoners out there have eaten at a Spaghetti House over the years and with news of a new restaurant opening in Kensington, you won’t have far to travel to get your next pasta fix!

Spaghetti House Kensington

The newest Spaghetti House held its grand opening at 9 Kensington High Street last Friday, 30th March, attended by the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea as well as a number of other local dignitaries. This new venue brings many of the old Spaghetti House favourites to Kensington – from its rustic breads and antipasti as starters, to its great pasta dishes including the “artigianale” (hand-crafted artisanal dishes) choices. There’s also a number of pizza options, salads and traditional Italian mains, for times when something other than pasta fits the bill.

Spaghetti House Kensington

The very first Spaghetti House opened on Goodge Street in 1955 by North Italians Simone Lavarini and Lorenzo Fraquelli, who had left Italy in 1947 searching for work and had met at another famous Italian London institution, Bar Italia in Soho, in 1948. From just one floor at this first venue, the restaurant quickly expanded to four floors, followed by more Spaghetti Houses opening across London. Today, there are 12 restaurants, and Spaghetti House is looked after and nurtured by Simone Lavarini’s grown-up children.

Spaghetti House Kensington

Head down to Spaghetti House to explore their inviting new Kensington venue, and indulge in some delicious Italian dishes!

Spaghetti House
9 Kensington High Street
W8 5NP


A Night of Burlesque at The Gore Hotel, 29th March 2012

A Night of Burlesque

On 29th March 2012, The Gore Hotel and The Folly Mixtures will be hosting a fabulous night of Burlesque entertainment alongside a sumptuous three course dinner.

The discreet Tapestry Room at The Gore Hotel will be the very fitting venue for the evening, with its two rooms that are decorated with luxurious tapestries, rich soft furnishings, gilt mirrors and two period fireplaces.

The Folly Mixtures will kick off proceedings with a group performance, popping back between each dinner course with solo performances before a grand finale concludes the night.

Tickets are now on sale and cost £45 which includes a welcome drink, a three course dinner and the show. Please contact Kerry on 020 7590 6700 or on events@gorehotel.com for reservations and other enquiries.

A Night of Burlesque
7.30pm, 29th March 2012
The Gore Hotel
190 Queen’s Gate

Pay a visit to the Aubaine restaurants in Kensington & Chelsea this Christmas

Kensington and Chelsea locals are sure to know of and have visited the fantastic Aubaine restaurants in the area – one at 37-45 Kensington High Street, very close to Kensington Gardens and the other at 260-262 Brompton Road, in the lovely Brompton Cross area. If you haven’t paid the restaurants a visit yet, we recommend you do so soon – and if you’re a visitor to the area, make sure an Aubaine restaurant is part of your plans in the area!

Aubaine KensingtonAubaine Kensington

The Kensington restaurant – the largest amongst all in the Aubaine group – features stylish floor to ceiling windows on two sides of the restaurant, providing a great view over the High Street. Step inside the venue, however, at any time during the day or evening and you can escape from the bustling street outdoors, joining workers or locals whilst they enjoy a spot of lunch, or diners enjoying a more relaxed evening meal accompanied by something from the extensive wine list or a cocktail or two. The restaurant is also perfect for a calm afternoon tea (or other beverage!), and as an accompaniment you can choose a little something from their wonderful patisserie. (It’s very hard to resist any of their cakes, although I found it equally hard to resist their beautiful macarons!)

The boulangerie at AubaineThe boulangerie at Aubaine

At Aubaine Brompton Cross, renowned in the local area, there’s a wonderful outdoor terrace that’s popular year-round with those looking to enjoy some alfresco dining. Once again, there’s a wonderful choice of options throughout the day from their regular menu and their patisserie, although their boulangerie also offers a fantastic choice of freshly made breads for customers to take away. Don’t be surprised to see a famous face or two if you dine here!

Both restaurants are also ideal for weekend brunch, which includes a range of classic dishes, salads and mains. Given its popularity, booking ahead for brunch at either venue is advised – see contact details below.

For those looking to celebrate the Christmas season in a special way this year, Aubaine have two wonderful 3-course set menus (which a choice of three dishes for each course) on offer. Their £38 menu includes ham hock, foie gras terrine and spiced plum chutney as a starter and roast pheasant, bacon, red cabbage and bread sauce as a main (my eye was naturally drawn to those two dishes!) whilst their £45 menu features crab, broccoli, bitter leaves and shellfish bisque for a starter and beef Bourguignon, Alsace bacon, mash as a main; both menus, of course, include a choice of sumptuous desserts.

Aubaine on Kensington High Street is also offering a complimentary bellini for any group bookings of six people or more during the festive season. The restaurant has also a special private room that’s perfect for small groups looking to hold a private Christmas celebration! (It is also possible to host parties of up to 100 people in the main restaurant itself.)

Finally, for anyone looking to indulge in Aubaine goodies at home, they sell a wide variety of seasonal delights including their famous Buche de Noel (chocolate log), shown below. Who could resist?!

Aubaine Buche de NoelBuche de Noel

Aubaine Kensington
37-45 Kensington High Street, W8 5ED
To book, call 0207 386 0950 or email Charlene.jinguenaud@aubaine.co.uk

Aubaine Brompton Cross
260-262 Brompton Road, SW3 2AS
To book, call 0207 386 0950 or email Charlene.jinguenaud@aubaine.co.uk

Aubaine Further details on the restaurants (including full menus) can be found        at www.aubaine.co.uk.

Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise in Kensington & Chelsea on Saturday 8th October

Another great cycling event is coming your way thanks to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Bikeminded campaign! And seeing as it will feature some sweet treats, this one will be very hard to resist!

On 8th October, Bikeminded will be holding a two and a half hour Coffee and Cake Cycling Cruise around some of the area’s best and most delicious cafes and cake shops. Starting at 1.30pm at a coffee spot in Notting Hill, the tour will pedal its way to Pierre Herme in Knightsbridge for the opportunity to sample their award-winning macarons, before making its way on to Chelsea where the cycle cruise finishes.

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise

If you’re anything like me, you may often feel a bit guilty about treating yourself to some cake or other sweet delicacy. But by cycling – an exercise that’s a great way of burning off calories – inbetween sampling some treats, there’s no need for any such concerns!

Royal Borough marshals will be present at all times on the tour to ensure safety, and making sure that any novice cyclists are confortable on their cycling travels. There will also be valet cycle parking during the cake and coffee shop stops, so no need to be concerned about your security of your bike!

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise

The tour only costs £5 per person – and seeing as this includes cakes and coffee, this is a fantastic bargain! Participants are welcome and in fact advised to bring their own bikes, although anyone that doesn’t have their own can participate using a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. (This can be hired from a nearby docking station.)

There are a limited number of places, so advance booking is a must. To book, please visited the Bikeminded website a www.bikeminded.org.

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycle Cruise

Bikeminded is a three year cycling campaign that has been launched by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to encourage residents and workers in the borough to cycle, improving both their own well-being and the local environment. Launched in July, their website www.bikeminded.org is updated daily with plenty of information on cycling in the area, plus tips and ideas for cyclists and a blog that’s well worth a read. There will of course be plenty more cycling events taking place in the future, including some rather exciting ones in the next few months, so do check the Bikeminded website regularly for information further fun ways to get and stay fit.

Carluccio’s Kensington Mushroom Festival 2011

Carluccio’s two Kensington venues will be hosting a month-celebration of the mushroom from 10th September by offering a selection of weekly changing seasonal mushroom specials and some lesser-known regional specialities, focusing on different varieties of mushroom, in their caffes.

The deli and food shops will also be selling some delicious mushroom and truffle products for you to make your own creations at home – these include Pate al Tartufo, a chicken and rabbit liver pâté with black truffle; Tartufo Nero D’Estate, truffles that are perfect grated over risotto, pasta or eggs; Truffle flavoured flatbread; Risotto Con Tartufi e Porcini; and a Mushroom kit that contains Antonio Carluccio’s Complete Mushroom book and Mushroom knife. These items will also be available to purchase online from www.carluccios.com.

In addition, the restaurant is also on the hunt for the UK’s best mushroom recipe, running a competition that also kicks off on 10th September. Participants are invited to upload their recipe and image to Carluccio’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/carluccioscaffe – to enter. The lucky winner will have their dish celebrated on special boards at Carluccio’s caffes across the UK, as well as the chance to cook their recipe with Antonio in the chef’s London kitchen.

Mushroom expert Antonio Carluccio as well as a top food journalist and a Carluccio’s chef will be judging all the entries.

Good luck!

1 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3HZ
Tel: 020 7581 2499

3-5 Campden Hill Road, W8 7DU
Tel: 020 7938 2798