Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Monday, 11 July 2011




A avery special restaurant has put together a very special three course truffle menu and four wines, service and VAT at an all inclusive price of £46 per person – which is rather unbelievable I hope you will agree!
The summer truffle, with its subtle scent and mild taste, has just come into season, but it is equally appreciated by truffle lovers and culinary experts, and it’s also more affordable. Each dish on our special menu will be made or served with truffle. We have a featherlight Flan of new potatoes with Asiago and truffle, a real delicacy, a flavoursome Rabbit filled with white meat and prunes, served with truffle, mange tout and tomato gratin, and a Gianduja Semifreddo with a red berry sauce and truffle, a most usual combination which really works. The first glass of wine will be a refreshing, quality Prosecco from Veneto, an aromatic Gewiztraminer, a Pinot Nero and a Passito di Pantelleria, all specially ordered directly from Italy and just arrived in London today. I do not yet have the details but I was keen to put up this notice out as soon as possible, as space for this dinner is limited. I hope you will trust my choice on these wines!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011



March 2011 marks an important anniversary in Italian history, 150 years of a united Italy. To celebrate, Italian restaurant group Spaghetti House has recreated a menu of historical dishes which will be offered between 14 and 20 March.

The celebration menu is aptly based on the rich, regal cuisine found in Turin, as the unity of Italy was proclaimed on 17 March in Turin, which became its first capital in 1861, several years before Rome would take over the permanent role. King Victor Emmanuel resided in Turin, and the town was always known for its excellent food and wines.
Paying homage to this cuisine, Spaghetti House’s menu at £14.95 for two courses and £18.95 for three, includes starters of Potage di patate profumato al tartufo – leek and potato creamed soup with garlic bread and truffle oil, and Gnocchi con salsa al parmigiano e pancetta – potato and spinach gnocchi with parmisan and pancetta. Mains include Agnolotti al sugo d’arrosto – pasta parcels filled with braised beef, veal jus and sage, and the most typical Turinese dish Brasato al Barolo con polenta – beef braised in Barolo wine with crispy polenta. This meal would not be complete without a Torta gelato ganduja – a layered ganduja chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla ice cream torte, although a homemade Tiramisu – Spaghetti House’s own recipe – is also on offer.

Italian celebrations always call for a glass of Prosecco, which is of course included in the menu price.

‘Unity Week’ window dressing, red, white and green balloons, posters and cocktail stick flags will create a festive atmosphere in the restaurants, inviting guests to share in the celebrations. Spaghetti House are located at Westfield London W12, Woodstock Street near Bond St W1, Goodge Street Fitzrovia W1, Bryanston Street near Marble Arch W1, Haymarket SW1, Knightsbridge SW1, Sicilian Avenue Holborn WC1, St Martin’s Lane WC2, Duke Street W1, Cranbourn Street near Leicester Square WC2 and Bressenden Place Victoria SW1.

Until 1861, Italy was divided. Its regions has their own government, traditions and dialects. Then in 1861 following The Risorgimento (the movement for Italian freedom and unification) popular hero and leader Giuseppe Garibaldi led an expedition of 1,000 ‘red shirts’ to Sicily, and subsequently seized the southern part of the peninsula of Italy. Garibaldi turned its conquest to king Victor Emmanuel, and in 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed. Italians had at last their own country. The first capital was Turin, where the unification was announced and where King resided, and remained so for four years. The Government of the Kingdom was then moved to Florence and in 1871 Rome became the final capital. Turin however continued to attract millions of visitors as it remained the focal point of the 50th and 100th anniversaries in 1911 and 1961 respectively.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Would love to see you at the forthcoming Italian Wine Tour – the 7th in a series - on Wednesday 30 March at Brown’s Hotel, Dover Street entrance, London W1S 4 LU (nearest stations: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus). 2 pm – 7 pm – open trade and press tasting.

The list of prized artisan producers is still growing, and right now includes big names such as Guido Berlucchi, Cantina Due Palme and Falesco, as well as wineries newer to the UK market such as Il Pollenza with the famed Carlo Ferrini as the winemaker, Conte Leopardi Dittajuti who will present its lip-smacking Rosso Conero, full of dark, dusky fruit and Puglia’s Torrevento with its range of whites, reds and the Dulcis Moscato di Trani, which won three medals from Decanter in 2010 and the ‘tre bicchieri’ from the Italian Wine Guide 2011.

Restaurateurs, sommeliers, journalists, would love to hear from you. Drop me an email to receive an invite.
Or call us on 020 7631 3116  

Monday, 14 February 2011


Presenting the new Tour Through Italy's Vineyeards 2011 - 6th in a series - a showcase of top Italian wines coming to London on 30 March 2011. With around 20 elite producers showcasing their best wines, some of which will be shown for the first time on the UK market, this is a highly sought after event for trade and press.
There will also be a Master Class conducted by famous Italian wine journalist and one of the world's best taster Daniele Cernilli. Only 35 places available for this masterclass. The event takes place at Brown's Hotel, Albermarle Street, London W1 (Green Park or Piccadilly Circus tube). From 2 pm to 7 pm, Masterclass at 15.30 pm. Register your interest now for an invitation.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010



Dego’ is a brand new degustation restaurant at Oxford Circus, the brainchild of a talented Italian sommelier, Massimo Mioli, with one of the best Italian wine lists in London. Together with the executive chef, Dario Schiavo, who has worked with Michelin star chefs Gualtiero Marchesi and Alain Ducasse, Massimo imports 80% of the wines on the list directly from Italy and is passionate about great and unusual food and wine combinations. Many high quality wines are also served by the glass. Dego’ is going places, so we are fortunate to experience this new restaurant whilst it’s still new. Beautifully styled with a modern urban design with black lacquer, deep reds and leather mosaics for the wall coverings, the interior is chic and welcoming.
For this first event at Dego’, we are showcasing the wines of Franciacorta, and although I don’t yet have confirmation, I am also hoping to bring you a guest speaker from the winery. Franciacorta is both a splendid region of Lombardy and the name of the wines made here. Famous throughout the world, the wines bear the highest DOCG classification, obtained in 1965 when Franciacorta was the first Italian wine produced exclusively by bottle refermentation. Only 10 designations in the whole of Europe enjoy this privilege, and of those 10, only three are obtained by refermentation in bottle: Cava, Champagne and Franciacorta. Tonight you will learn the difference between Prosecco and Franciacorta, and enjoy a Prosecco di Conegliano Extra Dry with the canapés, followed by a Prosecco Brut DOCG Borgo Antico, Franciacorta Brut DOCG Cuvette, and Demisec DOCG Rose’. The wines are accompanied by a three course dinner, including an ancient and traditional Vicenza dish.

The all-inclusive price for the event is £40 for current members, four wines, canapés and three courses, service and VAT. Please book soon in order to secure your space at this very special event . If you know someone who wants to attend and is not on email, please ask them to get in touch with me and I will do the rest

Thursday, 9 December 2010


If you enjoy the tradition of Christmas, it’s time to indulge in the party spirit of the festive season and lift the mood with the delicious menus on offer at The Saracen’s Head, High Street, Great Dunmow, available from 1 to 23 December.

This charming coaching inn has been impressing the locals for sometime with its high standards of locally sourced food, and Christmas will be no exception, with turkeys and sausages coming from prized local village butcher Sweetlands. Bring yourself or all your friends, come with a colleague or with the whole office, have a relaxed meal or book a party, The Saracen’s Head has something for everyone.

What’s more, if you book a pre-Christmas party before 8 November, your name will go into a draw to win a meal for two during the month of January.

With three richly adorned Christmas trees, for the bar, the restaurant, and for the Flitch private dining room which can accommodate parties of up to 25, the atmosphere is just magic. And beware of the mistletoe, unless a Christmas kiss from the innkeeper is what you are after……

A scrumptious pre-Christmas, three course meal is just £15 per person at lunch, or £20 at dinner, with children under 12 years of age paying £5 less. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are turned into tasty dishes of Royal game pie of pheasant and venison in a rich red wine sauce, a lighter Oven baked salmon with a prawn sauce, not forgetting the Traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. Leave some room for the Old English treacle tart with Chantilly cream, or the White chocolate crème brulee.

The popular bar offers a fine selection of wines, real ales and spirits, and the charming beamed restaurant is the ideal choice for Christmas Day lunch. Here, the talented kitchen team will be serving up a menu at choice to include Seared scallop on pork belly with a pea puree, Fillet of beef Wellington, Traditional roast turkey, or Baked sea bass fillets with fish bisque for fish lovers, as well as vegetarian choices. From a tempting dessert selection, indulge in White chocolate and Baileys cheese cake, or try the English cheeses from the board. Pull a Christmas cracker too! All this for £55 per person, with children under 12 paying £25.

This Grade II-listed coaching inn, which his believed to date back to 1560, is opposite the old Market Place in the heart of the market town that was once a Roman settlement. It has an impressive 18th century façade along with a mix of Georgian and Tudor-style architecture and its warm, welcoming interior is ideal to enjoy time together over a meal. Located close to the M11 and Stansted Airport, The Saracen’s Head is at High Street, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 Tel 01371 873 901. Open every day.


Sourcing food locally is chicken feed for this award-winning Wiltshire inn. They do it in the back garden!

Cutting down on ‘food miles’ and sourcing food locally is what most responsible bars and restaurants do today. But at The Horse & Groom in Charlton, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire, using local produce takes on a whole new meaning.

Here guests are invited to the back garden to search for their own freshly laid eggs at breakfast, as this popular inn has added a dozen chickens to their team! The staff are on hand to fetch the free-range eggs, but nevertheless some guests have embraced the idea with gusto. Every day, the chickens lay enough eggs to cater for breakfast, with eggs left over used in the preparation of other dishes.

Probably the freshest food offer in Wiltshire, raising chickens is the brainchild of resident manager Emma Dall, a lady of action when it comes to serving good, fresh, local food. Cosy in their chicken house at night, the chickens are free to roam during the day, and are kept in a happy and natural environment. ‘These are super healthy chickens’ she says, because we feed them our own fresh vegetable leftovers from the kitchen, and we also waste less by recycling some of our food waste organically’
Now Emma wants her chickens named, and is inviting the locals to suggest 12 names, offering a meal for two with champagne as a reward for the best suggestions. Look out for the ‘Name the Chickens’ suggestion box at the bar.

Emma has just introduced a great two-course menu for £10, available Monday to Saturday at lunch and featuring pub classics such as Home cooked ham with free range eggs and hand cut chips, Traditional beer battered cod and Butternut squash and rocket risotto. No prizes for guessing where the eggs come from! Fired up by the success of her fresh eggs, Emma has already planned a herb garden, which will be fully ready by next Spring, so that fresh herbs grown on site will be used in the cooking of the many dishes The Horse & Groom is rightly famous for. A vegetable patch is also planned.

Winner of the Wiltshire Life Pub/Restaurant award in 2009, the Horse & Groom continues to impress with its standard of food and service, and for its many initiatives. The Horse & Groom Inn is at The Street, Charlton, Nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9DL, Tel: 01666 823904, just a few miles from both junctions 16 and 17 on the M4. Open every day.


Make this year’s Christmas party something totally different at The Carnarvon Arms in Burghclere, nr Highclere Castle. Particularly popular with the smaller groups wanting the big party atmosphere, The Carnarvon Arms’ Shared Christmas Parties offer everything you are looking for: good food, great atmosphere, Christmas novelties, dancing – and a keen price.

Held from Thursday to Saturday until 23 December, these shared parties for a minimum of 10 people are ideal for the smaller company, individual offices and groups of friends. Keenly priced at £35 per head in the evening, inclusive of a three course meal, coffee and home-made mince pies, DJ music, dancing and Christmas novelties, there is no organisation to look after, just book your table and share in the fun – you may even end up making new friends across the room. Or stay the night, and the whole package will cost you just £60 per person inclusive of breakfast.

Lunchtime parties without music are also available at £25 per head and of course there is a choice of individual packages for larger bookings.

Christmas Day lunch is a delectable choice of traditional and modern dishes in true Carnarvon Arms style, famed for its excellent cuisine based on locally sourced produce. There is Roast Partridge, Crab and Avocado Tian, Confit Duck Rillettes, Traditional roast turkey, Roast belly of pork and much more to choose from, plus dessert or a selection of local cheeses. Priced at £69.95 per person with children up to 16 years paying just £30, the menu also includes a glass of champagne on arrival, and offers two lunchtime sittings.

If you have spent Christmas Day at home, you will be ready to enjoy an outing. Save the leftovers for sandwiches on another day and head for The Carnarvon Arms for a freshly cooked Boxing Day lunch at £35 per person. Too good to miss.

See the New Year in and celebrate in total style with a champagne reception, a five course feast, dancing to the resident band and then staying the night, with a champagne brunch on New Year’s Day. All this for just £120 per person in a twin or double room.

The preferred location for the crew and cast of the successful period series Downton Abbey filmed at nearby Highclere Castle, The Carnarvon Arms pays homage to its illustrious neighbour in style and décor, which is inspired by the castle’s Egyptian collection brought back by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. With an ornate fireplace, the overall effect is warm, welcoming and traditional. The Carnarvon Arms, Winchester Road, Whitway, Burghclere, Nr Newbury RG20 9LE Tel: 01635 27822. Also check


Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat but don’t get stressed if you have been charged with planning the office ‘do’ or a bash with family and friends. Whether you are looking for a small and intimate celebration or a large fun-filled gathering, The Black Boy Inn in Milton, Banbury, offers just what you are looking for.

Whilst head chef Kevin Hodgkiss gets ready to wrap 3,000 Roast turkey parcels in pancetta – one of the best sellers, and stuff over 5,000 Field mushrooms with ricotta, spinach and sun blushed tomatoes – a deliciously popular starter, you can just relax, put in your booking and turn up on the day to enjoy.

And if the tantalising menus weren’t enough, those who book and confirm a Christmas party night for a minimum of four people before the end of November, will automatically be entered into a draw to win a coveted Wii video game console, worth over £150.

The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day, when the Black Boy Inn will be open as usual to welcome his guests, and wish one customer in particular an extra special Happy New Year. Whether you win the game for yourself, or chose to give it to a family member or a friend, someone is going to be extra happy on the first day of 2011. Even if you are not a winner, you can still celebrate New Year’s Day at The Black Boy with a special lunch at just 25 per head.

The Christmas Party Menus at The Black Boy Inn are an inviting £19.95 at lunch and £24.95 at dinner, for three courses, with coffee and home made mince pies. Ring the changes from the traditional fare with Smoked trout and beetroot salsa, or Pan-seared fillets of plaice and crayfish sauce, and leave room for dessert. Try the award-winning Christmas pudding, or the Mulled wine poached per with vanilla ice cream or the Warm apple turnover with cinnamon and honeycomb ice cream.

And don’t forget Christmas Day lunch at £59.95 per person, a four-course meal with coffee and mince pies, served around the woodstove in the idyllic surroundings of this 16th century inn, full of character and tradition. The Black Boy Inn is in Milton, on the Milton Road, Banbury, Oxon OX15 4HH Tel: 01295, 722111. Open every day. Also check