Category Archives: Launches: Restaurant, product & brand

Special edition Love Hearts for Mother’s Day


Thanks to a new facebook campaign by Swizzels Matlow, my favourite sweets of all time, Love Hearts, have got twenty-two new messages, created by fans, especially for Mother’s Day. 

Adorned with their new messages including ‘Super Mum’, Thanks’, ‘Mum Rules and ‘My Rock’, the love hearts have been packaged up in specially designed, lilac, ‘I Love Mum’ 120gm gift pack for an RRP of £1.39.

Sarah-Louise Heslop, marketing manager at Swizzels Matlow, said: “We thought it was about time we celebrated our wonderful mums on a grand scale. Every mum will love the special messages contained on our iconic sweets. Our Love Hearts tube is the perfect little gift and is a refreshing alternative to chocolate.”

Amazingly, a whopping 2.75 billion Love Hearts are produced every year, that’s enough to stretch 1.5 times around the world – I wonder how many of those I get through?


Streetfood venture ‘Pizza Pilgrims’ launches tomorrow in Soho


If you work in Soho, you’ll be pleased to hear about the new street food venture Pizza Pilgrims.  Three British lads making and selling Napolitan pizzas from the back of a three-wheel Piaggio van/custom-made pizza oven – brilliant idea!

Having spent months touring around Italy on their ‘pilgrimage’ in search of the best ingredients, secret recipes and tricks of the trade, the three pilgrims will be making the pizzas themselves and serving them to the masses of Soho for lunch.

They are using the finest ingredients and while their pizzas may not always be perfectly shaped, the bases are light and fluffy and not too salty.  Having spent a lot of time in Italy eating thousands of pizzas, I was impressed by what they have achieved in such a short space of time – but practice does make perfect… especially when distributing the right amount of toppings and getting the temperatures of the oven just right so that the base cooks properly, but the toppings don’t over heat either 😉

The guys are due to launch tomorrow and will be selling their pizzas around Berwick Street market for about a fiver, so do look out for their Ape pizza oven and give’em a try, you won’t regret it, the sausage pizza was especially good, so was the nutella one!

From working in Soho, I know that between about 12.15 and 1.30 ish all the decent places have a minimum of a 20 metre+ queue, so I hope the pilgrims are well prepared for Soho lunchtime madness!  Best of luck guys, can’t wait to hear all the success stories.

Posh water: Limited edition Bulgari San Pellegrino bottle


To bring a timeless streak of Italian glamour to your table, Italy’s iconic brand S. Pellegrino has partnered with world famous Italian jeweler Bulgari, to design a stunning limited edition bottle.

As a tribute to Italian magnificence, the new design of the S. Pellegrino bottle fronts the sparkles famous of the Italian jeweler.

Sourced and bottled at a thermal source in the Italian pre-Alps, it is instantly recognisable by its fine bubbles and subtle mineral aromas.  Following my water pairing experience last year, I can say it really is perfectly paired with structured foods and wines, rich in flavours and aromas, which is why it is found on the tables of top restaurants around the globe.

S. Pellegrino is my favourite bottled water, and hey pretty bottles like this, just make it even more special!

Priya Shaheed, S. Pellegrino Brand Manager UK says “When S. Pellegrino met Bulgari, the idea came out naturally: it brings together the most prestigious brands which set the standard for Italian standard all over the world. Our brand is an international symbol of the Italian art of living and partnering with Bulgari adds power to our efforts to export the finest side of Italy”.

The special edition of S. Pellegrino was launched exclusively in Harrods but is now available elsewhere.

A Christmas gift guide for alcohol enthusiasts!



-The Reserva de la Familia Limited Edition

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia tequila is celebrating the subculture of tattoo art this Christmas, teaming up with Mexican artist Jerónimo López Ramírez to create a funky gift pack. The handcrafted wooden box celebrates the notorious style of the artist known as ‘Dr. Lakra’, a legend in Mexican tattoo artistry. His work has been shown across the world, bringing his unique style, influenced by comics, flamenco dancing and music covers, to several different art forms and audiences.

Reserva de la Familia is no ordinary tequila. Every March Fancisco Hajnal, Cuervo’s Master Blender, mixes a unique blend from the Cuervo tequila reserves, producing a limited number of special bottles; hand-poured, wax-sealed, numbered and labelled ‘Reserva de la Familia’. Since 1995, to honour the extraordinary tequila, the Cuervo family has teamed up with the Mexican artist of the moment to design a one-off gift box, creating collectible limited editions.

A tequila to be appreciated and sipped, served best over ice.  The Reserva de la Familia collectible box is available from Selfridges for £84.68 RRP.


This Christmas, why not treat someone to a bottle of award winning tequila Jose Cuervo, Platino. The silver tequila comes in a striking blue wooden box, making it an ideal gift for those who appreciate the fine Mexican spirit.

Made from 100% blue agave, Platino boasts an exquisite flavour thanks to the Cuervo family’s secret recipe and unique handcrafted production process that has developed over 200 years at Casa Cuervo. Its light herbaceous aromas give way to hints of vanilla and this smooth tequila is best served in luxurious cocktails.

An ideal gift for foodies, and all discerning drinkers, the Cuervo Platino gift box is available from Selfridges for £55.44 RRP.

THE IDEAL STOCKING FILLER FOR THE WHISKY ENTHUSIAST: The Talisker® Single Malt Scotch Whisky Flask and Glass Pack

 The makers of Talisker whisky this year has created the perfect solution to honour the award winning malt; a striking special edition of the Talisker 10 year old 20cl that comes together with a unique Talisker rocking glass and a hip flask. The perfect stocking filler, savour the whisky at home or in the hipflask whilst enjoying the great outdoors on your Boxing Day walk.

At a recommended price of £19.99 and available from whisky specialists.

FOR JOHNNIE WALKER® LOVERS: The Johnnie Walker Black Label Gift Pack

The Johnnie Walker Black Label gift pack includes a bottle of the smooth Scotch whisky, along with two elegant tumbler glasses, all enclosed in a stylish black case. Aged for 12 years, Johnnie Walker Black Label is a unique blend with a smooth, deep and complex character.

Available to buy from selected whisky specialist stores, the Johnnie Walker Black Label gift pack has an RRP of £29.99.


The Johnnie Walker Red Label Gift Pack

To ensure you’re spoilt for choice when deciding what to buy the whisky enthusiast in your life, the makers of Johnnie Walker have also created two Johnnie Walker Red Label gift packs.  The first pack contains two complimentary bespoke tumblers embossed with the famous Johnnie Walker striding man, along with a bottle of the world renowned whisky, famous for its bold and characterful taste. In contrast to Johnnie Walker Black Label, Red Label has been created to drink long. Just adding water will unleash the robust, sweet and smoky blend to its full potential.

The Johnnie Walker Red Label Glass Pack is available from selected supermarkets throughout the UK, priced at £21.99.


Grand Marnier has created The Red Ribbon Limited Edition Bottle to shake up your drinks cabinet during the party months.

Renowned for its distinctive flavour and character, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is a delicate blend of fine cognacs and distilled essence of tropical oranges. Slowly aged in French oak casks, Grand Marnier has an incomparable roundness and subtlety, making it a fantastic ingredient for Christmas drinks.

The Red Ribbon Edition is available to buy from October in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, with an RRP of£29.99.


Tanqueray gin has created Tonight’s Edition.  The bottle of Tanqueray gin, honoured with a Royal Warrant in 1925, is enclosed in a high quality, premium silver shrink sleeve and embossed with the iconic Tanqueray seal; a must have for any cocktail enthusiast.

The gift pack comes with the seal of approval from Erik Lorincz the head barman at the world famous American Bar in the London Savoy.  It also includes a recipe to create the perfect Tanqueray & Tonic so you can recreate the glamour of the cocktail bar in the comfort of your own home.

Tanqueray gin’s complex combination of refreshing juniper, peppery coriander and aromatic angelica give it an elegant taste that sets it apart from the rest and has helped make it one of the world’s most awarded gin.

The Tanqueray Tonight’s Edition is available at all major supermarkets this Christmas, with an RRP of £22.99.


Zacapa 23 Solera is regarded as one of the finest rums in the world. The ultra-premium RonZacapa 23 gift box comes complete with two bespoke tasting glasses.  It is the result of a unique combination of soil climate and ultra-high-grade cane sugar and is produced using only the first pressing of the sugar cane, the virgin cane honey.

This is skillfully distilled and then transported to the aging facility, known as ‘the house above the clouds’ sitting as it does at 2300m above sea level. Not only is the location unique, but the cool air serves a practical purpose of slowing the ageing process to craft rums of impeccable quality.

The Zacapa 23 gift box includes a 70cl bottle with two elegant bespoke Zacapa sipping glasses, and is available exclusively from Selfridges RRSP from £65.

Harvey Nics 5th floor cafe gets fab revamp


The iconic Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Café has undergone a complete refurbishment – its first in twenty years, and has re-opened this month as a bigger and brighter, open plan space, with a new interior that includes the expanded Espresso bar and a new kitchen with a brand new food and drink menu.

Overlooking the Knightsbridge rooftops, the Café has always been a famous breakfast meeting spot and the new menu is simply delicious, featuring everything from irresistible Belgian Waffles with winter berries, lavender cream and berry compote, a super healthy breakfast pot with granola, greek yoghurt and Bramley apple to smoked salmon with potato cake and poached egg, a full English, continental breakfasts and a healthy selection of smoothies and fresh juices.

Clearly the full English was unavoidable, so the two of us shared that alongside the smoked salmon with poached egg and potato cake, oh and not forgetting the scrumptious extra portion of hash browns I ordered on the side.. sorry i couldn’t resist!

While the food was almost faultless – I prefer my egg to be a tiny bit softer, and the potato cake a little less charred around the edges – I have to say the salmon, black pudding and hash browns were to die for and the juices and smoothies were delicious and healthy, especially the ginger, carrot and orange, and the apple, cucumber and elderflower.  YUM.

As we near Christmas, don’t forget to stop in the food halls, amazing place for present shopping!

Thai restaurant chain Patara puts oysters on the menu


Fine-dining Thai restaurant Patara has collaborated with Maldon Oysters to celebrate the Oyster Festival.  Two new oyster dishes have been created by Patara’s chefs and put on the menu at all four restaurants in London throughout October and November 2011.

The two oyster dishes combine traditional Thai cuisine with seasonal produce from Maldon Oysters and are presented in two ways – raw and cooked, in the following styles:

  • Oysters with mint, coriander, lemongrass, Thai vinaigrette, lemon and crisp shallots.
  • Oysters deep-fried in soda batter served in its shell with bean-sprout and chilli sauce.

The dishes are set at three: £5.50; or six: £9.50, which seems like a pretty fair price.

They are also offering Champagne by the bottle to enjoy with the oysters, which include Moutard Brut Reserve (£35.80); Laurent Perrier Brut (£56.20); Veuve Cliquot Rosé (£66.40); and Moet et Chandon (£148.10).

For August and September, Patara joined forces with luxury resorts and spa group Six Senses to create a special menu with a focus on health and flavour.

Highlights from the menu included Miang pla Salmon – salmon and herb Thai salad with chilli lime dressing; Goong yai op – Roasted king prawns, lime and chilli marinate, spiced mango and passion fruit foam served with tender steamed bok-choi; and Goong Pow, grilled tiger prawns with kaffir lime dressing served on brown rice infused with green curry paste.

I went to sample the six senses menu in the Greek Street restaurant and had a great evening.

While the salad appeared to have been sitting in its dressing for a while before it made it to the table, the fresh spring rolls were light and delicious, the king prawns were cooked to perfection, the green curry sauce was not watery, but creamy and full of flavour, and the service was way more attentive than I have witnessed in the past, so I am sure that the oyster dishes will go down a treat.

I just hope I manage to make it along before December to sample them!

Costa launches Costa light! Check out the video to see how light it really is!


Costa’s Master of Coffee, Gennaro Pelliccia, gets airborne in this new video to promote Costa Light (cl).

The new concoction is a shot of Costa expresso, which is then mixed with skimmed milk and finally frothed together to make Costa light… sounds good to me!

One thing that surprised me about this video is that Costa sells a whopping 520 million cups of coffee each day worldwide – That sure is a hell of a lot of coffee!

Mayfair’s Cuckoo Club gets menu revamp


Having always been wary of clubs that try to claim they’re top quality restaurants as well, I was naturally nervous about the prospect of dinner at Mayfair’s Cuckoo Club, just off Regent Street, however, I really was pleasantly surprised!

The rather stylish ground floor of The Cuckoo Club plays host to the restaurant, which serves contemporary European cuisine under a funky purple bauble-laden ceiling.

The head chef Chris Cooper (ex Texture & Savoy Grill) has created a new menu with a good range of light dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients. With a notable exception of butter or cream in any of the starters or mains, the menu is exceptionally light, making it a great pre-club option.

While the prices are fairly high, as one might expect in Mayfair, the portions are not small.  In particular, king crab with mango; the duck breast, the fish and the fillet of beef were all delicious and also extremely well presented on the plate.

Annoyingly, I was driving, so was unable to sample the alcoholic cocktails, however, and not usually being one to order a virgin cocktail, I can say the non-alcoholic versions were absolutely yummy, so I am sure the punchier ones are even better!

Since its inception, The Cuckoo Club has defined itself as London’s place to be, entertaining the likes of Mick Jagger, Leonardo Di Caprio, The Killers, Natalie Portman, Prince Wills and Harry, Kate Moss, Orlando Bloom, P Diddy and John Cusack.

The Cuckoo Club - Swallow Street - London W1B 4EZ
T +44 (0) 20 7287 4300 - F +44 (0) 20 7788 2942 -

Moët & Chandon unveils new brand identity for Grand Vintage


Inspired by the tradition of using chalk plates to identify different vintages resting in cellars deep beneath the ground in Epernay, Moët & Chandon has created a fab new label for its Grand Vintage champagne.

The new branding, which essentially replaces a traditional Grand Vintage front label in favour of an artisanal style ‘hand-written in chalk’ label, will debut in the UK market from September of this year on bottles of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 and Grand Vintage Rosé 2002.

Elsa Corbineau, Champagne Director at Moët Hennessy UK, says of the new label identity: “We wanted to convey the heritage and ethos of the house. The hand-written element is simplistic, but exudes class. The collection dates listed on the coffret enable us to invite the consumer to feel part of and celebrate the house’s long-standing history.”

Tapas and Sherry bar José opens in Bermondsey


Other than a trip to Borough market, I tend not to venture South East all that much, but I will be from now on… simply to sip jerez fino and gorge on José’s fabulous tapas.

Lamb meatballs, spicy tomato sauce

As a renowned pioneer of new spanish cooking, José Pizarro has gone solo in Bermondsey and it’s totally paying off.  The launch last week was utterly fantastic, we were served a natty little array of tapas plates, adorned with simple, seasonal food accompanied by some delicious wine and my personal favourite, Tio Pepe sherry.

Hake allioli

José has managed to create an atmospheric space that brings together the informal bustle of the tapas bars at La Boquería in Barcelona with the traditional tapas bars found in the hot, dusty towns and villages of Andalucía.  He has designed José for informal eating and drinking, aiming to challenge us Brits to eat while standing – the bar has no seating but plenty of high wooden tables on which to rest plates of the colourful snacks – well we stand in a pub, so why not in a restaurant?


Its menu changes daily according to what looks good at the market, featuring delights such as razor clams a la plancha, spring lamb chuletillas with alioli, crab and basil croquetas and of course – Jamón Ibérico de bellota.  My personal favourites were the grilled aspapagus and manchego, lamb meatballs, Iberico jamon, and gazpacho, but everything I tasted was fantastic.

Jamon Iberico

José was co-founder and Executive Chef at Brindisa Tapas Kitchen for five years before taking the plunge last year to go out on his own, partnering with Hervé Durochat, formerly of Hakkasan and Soho House Group.
“We want to offer people something very different” they said – and they have, and it so works!
The head chef, Javier Capella, has come from El Faro, which has sadly now closed, and wine legends, Tim Atkin MW and Jo Ahearne MW, put together José’s diverse wine and sherry list drawing on established and small producers of Spain.

Pizarro says, “With this little place I want to explore new ingredients, use more fresh produce as well as bring diners some old favourites. I’m so excited”.

All in all, this place totally hits the mark.  The food was to die for, the atmosphere was spot on, the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming and of course, José just rocks! Highly recommended, my only wish is that it was closer to home!

José: 104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB T: 020 7403 4902 (no reservations)