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Architecture Luxury People Restaurants

Bermondsey Larder London +

Dairy Air

Despite living a Cacklebean egg’s throw from The Dairy in Clapham for all eight years of its existence, we never quite made it to that renowned restaurant. Fortunately, sometimes you can repeat the past or at least extend a presence, for The Dairy has reopened as Bermondsey Larder, a shortish south London drive away. Dublin born co owner Chef Robin Gill trained in classical cooking at The Oak Room (once in the Hyde Park Hotel London) run by Marco Pierre White. He met his wife Sarah, who’s also now a co owner Chef, when they were both working at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (still going strong in Great Milton Oxfordshire) run by Raymond Blanc.

The Gills’ other enterprises include Darby’s, a New York style restaurant close to the American Embassy in Nine Elms, and Sorella, a neighbourhood bistro in Clapham. Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes trailblazed the rejuvenation of Bermondsey when she opened her Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street in 2003. Its shocking pink exterior matches her shocking pink hair. The surrounding warehouses have all been converted now to apartments and workspaces. Bermondsey Larder is on the ground floor of a new mixed use development next to Newhams Yard off Tower Bridge Road. Meanwhile uses like nearby Vinegar Yard, a collection of prefab style eateries and bars, keep the area vibrant and constantly changing.

The restaurant’s airy interior is eclectic industrial with white painted exposed ceilings and polished concrete columns. It’s several times larger than the petite Dairy. A variety of tables, banquettes and bar seating is complemented by mismatched crockery. There’s a central tiled bar and metal framed kitchen hatch. The industrial chic reaches a zenith in the unisex bathroom with trough basins and factory taps.

Robin and Sarah’s aim is “to create memories” or sometimes “to create memory loss”, the latter presumably depending on the volume of Pebble Dew sauv blanc consumed. Their goal for The Dairy was “to create an experience as close as possible to dining by a farm or coastline a in central London with direct relationships to our beloved purveyors from the land and sea”. The same goal applies to their new establishment. The word “larder” has a comforting old fashioned feel to it, but while the duo’s is clearly well stocked, this is cutting edge cuisine.

The brief menu is divided into starters, small plates, large plates and puddings. Going vegetarian, we share potato and rosemary sourdough with smoked butter followed by broad bean dip, onion chutney and heritage radishes. The sharing continues with tartlet of grezzina courgette and Westcombe ricotta, then grilled English asparagus, Cacklebean egg and furikake. Cauliflower is the vegetable of the moment in London so we opt for a roasted one with coco beans, almond and sorrel. Whey poached loquats, natural yoghurt and seeded honey tuiles complete the gastronomic journey. SW4’s loss proves to be SE1’s gain.

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Hotels Luxury People Restaurants

Bohemia Restaurant + The Club Hotel + Spa St Helier + Lavender Farm Jersey

Eternally Rhapsodising | Love in a Warm Climate

St Aubin Bay Jersey © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“So here we are…having our lovely cake and eating it too, one’s great aim in life.” Nancy Mitford

The Club Hotel and Spa Jersey © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

We’re up Green Street. Chasing stars, potentially flickering, preferably established, Michelin stars. Steve Smith, Head Chef of Bohemia Restaurant, has held a Michelin star for more than a decade. Bohemia is the first restaurant in the Channel Islands to be awarded five AA rosettes. This ranks it among the 15 highest rated restaurants in the UK, joining the galaxy inhabited by the likes of Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck. Country Life recently listed Bohemia in its top five Jersey restaurants, calling it a “Michelin starred restaurant perfect for a treat”.

The Club Hotel and Spa St Helier © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

The restaurant takes up the street level of The Club Hotel + Spa in St Helier. The interior of the five star hotel and restaurant is all modern elegance infused with the inherent chilled vibe of the island.

Coming over all Mitfordesque, it’s time to treat ourselves. The menu is a polished blend of Saxon and Norman influences, reflecting the archipelago itself. Even the mineral waters are British Hildon and French Badoit. Cheese is served with English biscuits and French bread. Steve Smith polished his skills under Lavender’s Blue favourite Jean-Christophe Novelli – another Anglo-French success. We want our lovely cake and we want to eat it too, but first there’s:

Bohemia Restaurant Jersey Lunch © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Bohemia Restaurant Jersey Pudding © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Strawberry pannacotta with Jersey yoghurt is our cake of choice. Steve explains, “The menu is driven by the seasons and also driven by what we can get consistently and in good supply. Recently, we had a great week for getting hold of John Dory and halibut so those items were on the menu. We will work around what we can get in good supply.” We’re impressed by some seriously synchronised sauce pouring and cloche lifting. It’s a wrap. Pure rhapsody.

Lavender Farm Jersey © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Ok, here goes, we’re off for lavender chocolate treats at Jersey Lavender Farm in St Brélade. Nancy would approve.

Lavender Farm St Brelade Jersey © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

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Fashion Uncategorized

Pininfarina + e320 Eurostar

You Got a Fast Car 

Eurostar e320 Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce. Fast cars. Keep up. Snaidero OLA Kitchen 1990, Juventus Stadium 2008, Calligaris Orbital Table 2011, Millecento Residences 2012, Sergio Pininfarina Concept Car Ferrari 2013, Fuoriserie Bike 2014. Steady excellence. Keep going. It was only a matter of time, time being of everyone’s essence, waiting for no woman, until Pininfarina was asked to design the fleet of trains travelling up to 200 miles per hour that link the UK to continental Europe. The French – and Belgian – connection. All aboard the Eurostar. Happy 20th birthday.

City lights lay out before us | We don’t need anything or anyone

St Pancras Eurostar e320 Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

It’s the unveiling of the first new state of the art e320 train. The world class Italian design house has gone full steam ahead with the interior design covering styling, engineering and livery to boot. Pininfarina’s brand values, as ever, are at work and play here: creativity, experience, innovation. Nothing jejune. Nothing ersatz. Nothing déclassé. Nada. That hasn’t changed since 1930. Unlike the number and whereabouts of the employees. The company now has a workforce of 3,000 across Italy, Germany, Sweden, Morocco, China. Bigger picture, devilish detail. After all, Pininfarina has in the past gone micro, designing an exclusive bottle of Chivas 18. Back to macro, delivering it large.

Is it fast enough so you can fly away | We’ll do it all everything on our own

Pininfarina Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

St Pancras Eurostar Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

A double decade ago, Eurostar really was the most momentous event in the history of cross Channel travel since Blériot wobbled his way over the white cliffs in 1909. At first departing from Waterloo, the smart move was to relocate to St Pancras, a destination itself with two of London’s finest hotels at the end of the line. Beautiful staff line the platform as a DJ and poptastic quartet perform. More seats, more room, more fun. Pininfarina has given Eurostar all that pizzazz. Business class culinary director Raymond Blanc says salut.

Leave tonight or live and die this way | Just know that these things will never change for us at all

Pininfarina Eurostar Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Over to Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic: “We’ve changed the way people think, live and work between the cities of London, Paris and Brussels. So far we’ve carried 150 million passengers. Eurostar has doubled the size of the market between our three cities. Our DNA is product innovation and customer service. We aim to make travelling a pleasure, an experience in itself.” Next year, Eurostar will travel direct to Lyon. The following year, Amsters.  A star is reborn.

Maybe together we can get somewhere | Let’s waste time

St Pancras Pininfarina Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley