Friday Photo: Antipasti Platter at Il Vesuvio, Tunbridge Wells

Look at this platter. What a pile of Italian delights. At Il Vesuvio in Tunbridge Wells they claim to be ‘a corner of Southern Italy in the Garden of England’. I’d have to agree. The atmosphere is as warm as you’d hope for a place named after a smoking Neapolitan volcano. Nothing is too much…

Baking with Whitworths and Holly Bell

A tin filled with Fruity Tiffin and Tropical Breakfast Bars Whitworths is a British baking institution, their products having lined the pantries of many a baker or home cook since the company’s creation in 1886. The name belongs to the three Whitworth brothers, who were flour millers. In 1953, some decades after founding their mill…

Brazilians in Brixton: an evening at Carioca

It’s sweltering. I’m dripping, not in a good way. And thanks to the well-meaning directions of a Brixtonian or two, I end up at the wrong end of Coldharbour Lane. This is not good. Anyone who knows the length of Coldharbour Lane will attest to that. It’s so long that I’ve almost ended up in…

Celebrating Sakura at Sake no Hana

The cherry blossom or sakura is much revered in Japan. Each spring, as the pretty pink flowers engulf cherry trees throughout the Japanese islands, the evening news includes a blossom report, tagging the towns and cities where the blossoms have appeared, until the entire map of Japan, from Okinawa in the south to Hokkaido in the far…

ANZAC Day 2015 – Lest we forget

ANZAC DAY, 25 April annually. A public holiday in New Zealand and Australia. The anniversary of the start of the first campaign of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the First World War, at Gallipoli, in the Dardanelles. Massive casualties were sustained. I have a strong lineage. It isn’t aristocratic or regal, but…

Clubbing in the Daytime with Tonino Lamborghini

Lamborghini. One distinctive, Italian surname, loaded with imagery of style and speed and fast, rich playboys and girls. When I think Lamborghini I see a sunshine-yellow sports car sweeping up to park outside Monte Carlo’s Hermitage Hotel, the driver dripping in Brioni threads. It’s the sort of car with a dynasty behind it, founded in…

Room Service for Sanity at the Hotel Santa Catalina

  ‘Twas the night before holiday and in our mad house the Crev was a-slumbering, no sign of our mouse. The packing was finished, a taxi arranged, all was quite organised, but that would soon change. The quiet was shattered by panic above: ‘The Crev’s being sick!’ cried Papa, ‘the poor love.’ So that’s how our Easter…

Chinese New Year at Hakkasan

Rose Petal Martini The Year of the Sheep is already blooming for me. Not only have I devoured a ten-course New Year’s menu at Hakkasan Group’s HKK in the City, I have also been spoiled with another multi-course extravaganza at Hakkasan’s flagship restaurant in Hanway Place. Even better, we were there for Chinese New Year’s…

A Bun in the Oven

I haven’t posted on Epicurienne in months. Ten months to be precise. As I write this it is slowly, with my left hand only. No, I didn’t lose an arm; I did the longest cooking to date in my lifetime and baked a baby. She’s sitting here on my lap, gripping onto her father’s ancient…

Chez Bruce

On a recent Sunday, as the sun cast a gentle glow over the lazy autumn day, a group of us walked to Chez Bruce, the Michelin-starred restaurant on Bellevue Road by London’s lush Wandsworth Common. Now that we’re domiciled in the Sarf London ‘hood, it was time to check out this south-western stalwart of the cuisine scene, established in 1995 by the restaurant’s namesake, Bruce Poole,…

Art and Hospitality at Le Meridien, Piccadilly

On a UK Monopoly Board, Piccadilly is the sixth most expensive property at a whopping £280.00 and bears the colour yellow. To build a Monopoly hotel on the site will set you back £1,200.00. In reality, Piccadilly is a busy, multi-lane thoroughfare in London’s West End, running from Hyde Park Corner past Green Park to Piccadilly Circus….

High Tea with G&T at Le Meridien Piccadilly

High Tea is a quintessentially English tradition, introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, to maintain one’s aristocratic blood sugar levels between an early luncheon and dinner served late into the evening. The tradition caught on rapidly, developed with the Earl of Sandwich’s then-revolutionary idea to place fillings between slices of bread, and is now…