Lakes restaurant the best in the UK & Ireland

Main image : Squab pigeon, turnip, fermented green strawberry and buckwheat

The team from Rothay Manor, Ambleside, recently discovered that the hotel and restaurant had won an internationally acclaimed Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence 2022.

The magazine announced the winners across the UK & Ireland, Europe, and the Mediterranean; Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania; USA, Canada, México, the Caribbean; and Central and South America during a virtual ceremony.

There were 18 hotly contested UK & Ireland award categories, including Best Countryside Hotel, Best Spa Hotel, Best Urban Hotel, and Best Small and Exclusive Property. Rothay Manor, Ambleside, collected the award for Best Dining Experience in the UK & Ireland. 

Rothay Manor Restaurant

It’s no surprise to those in the know that the three AA rosetted and Michelin plated restaurant has been recognised by the experts from Condé Nast Johansens when you discover that Great British Menu winner 2021, Dan McGeorge, is the head chef. Especially when he’s producing dishes including the likes of squid with razor clam, cucumber and xo, Dexter beef with shiitake, onion and shiso and chocolate with rice, miso, kaffir lime and cep, which feature in the restaurant’s tasting menu.

The winners across the award categories in the UK & Ireland are selected based on responses from online voting, guest feedback, and Local Expert reports drawn from the hotels featured on Johansens website and in Condé Nast Johansens 2022 International Luxury Hotels Guide.

The annual awards acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across hotels, spas, and venues throughout the UK & Ireland and are a highly regarded mark of quality, recognised by luxury consumers and travel professionals alike across the world.

Hotelier and restaurateur and owner of Rothay Manor, Jamie Shail, commented: ‘’Since we opened in 2016, we have always focussed on delivering the best possible dining experience possible for our guests. Always going that extra mile in providing a quality dining experience in a welcoming environment, delivered by an attentive team, who are truly excellent at every level, which is exactly what is needed when delivering the imaginative seasonal dishes created by our head chef Dan McGeorge and his team. The restaurant experience our guests enjoy is hugely important to us all, and we go out of our way to ensure that they enjoy their time with us, which is why being recognised in this way is a real honour, especially in light of the current circumstances across the sector.’’

The Ven at Embassy Row Expected to Debut January 2021 in Washington, D.C.

An exciting new addition to Washington, D.C.’s famed Dupont Circle, The Ven at Embassy Row, Washington, D.C., a Tribute Portfolio Hotel plans to begin welcoming guests in January 2021. 

Located in an area known for its art, culture, cuisine and embassies, this boutique property will feature 231 guestrooms and suites overlooking Embassy Row’s stately mansions and will be reflective of the vibrant neighbourhood it calls home. Offering style and international flair in a sophisticated yet comfortable environment, The Ven will implement various elements and touchpoints reflective of the Danish and Norwegian concept of hygge; design meant to encourage guests’ comfort, exploration and personal wellbeing.

The Ven joins the Tribute Portfolio, a growing global family of characterful, independent hotels drawn together by their passion for captivating design and their drive to create vibrant social scenes for guests and locals alike. As guests arrive at The Ven, they will walk into an expansive lobby that will feature floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto famed Massachusetts Avenue, providing the perfect sociable summit to mingle with friends and build new connections. A bespoke playlist from Soundry Music will evoke an energetic vibe and can be downloaded by visitors to enjoy on future journeys. Local Dupont Circle partner, Valley Brook Tea will provide guests with an introduction to the worldly craft of tea service, with an On-Demand pour over tea instruction. When evenings call for rest and rejuvenation, an essential oils bar is available for guests to create a personalized scented sachet bag, creating a lasting memento of calm and contentment.

The Ven will have a captivating Scandinavian-inspired design created with simplicity and minimalism in mind. Guests will soak up and experience vibrant social spaces with pops of pink and blue, blonde wood tones throughout the property, arched passageways, custom-made furnishings, and a Gallery level featuring rotating art from local, national and international artists that will instil curiosity and joy in guests. Four times per day guests can transport themselves to the geographic phenomenon of the Northern Lights, with a digital light installation and guided meditation.

Render courtesy of Marriott | Tribute Portfolio Hotels

The Ven’s unique gift shop, The Exchange, will feature curated items from local vendors and products from companies that sell ethically sourced goods. The hotel will also feature three flexible meeting spaces designed to accommodate bespoke and intimate gatherings of up to 25 people.

In spring 2021, The Ven will be debuting it’s Rooftop Pool & Bar featuring weekend yoga classes in partnership with Epic Yoga. The hotel will also be unveiling Fred & Stilla, a full-service restaurant in a living room setting that will offer local and fresh programming. Local Nordic food purveyor, Mikko will provide a variety of breakfast essentials, and in the evenings, a convivial bar scene will inspire warmth and connection.

“We are thrilled to start welcoming guests to The Ven in January and are excited to be a part of the Tribute Portfolio,” said Jennifer Goodman, General Manager of The Ven at Embassy Row. “The hotel features various elements and experiences that will make it the perfect destination for both locals and those visiting the city.”

The Ven will be following the guidelines from Marriott’s Commitment to Clean policy. The hotel will add floor decals to aid social distancing, frequently clean and disinfect common areas, place hand sanitizing stations throughout the lobby, remove nonessential items from guestrooms including magazines and ice buckets, install physical barriers such as plexiglass, utilize hospital-grade disinfectants throughout the rooms on items such as light switches and faucet handles, require employees and guests to use face coverings in public areas, and implement mobile technology to allow for contactless check-in and mobile keys.

Hankies launches delivery service

Chef Ani Arora’s beloved Hankies concept, with its shared plates inspired by Indian street food, has been much missed by its devoted clientele since the temporary closure of the brand’s Marble Arch, Haymarket and Shaftesbury Avenue restaurants.

Now however its signature dishes can be savoured once more as Hankies announces it is now open for collection and delivery.

Based at a temporary new home in Westbourne Terrace, Ani will once again serve up all your favourites, from bhindi bhel – crispy rice puffs with okra, sweet chutney, onions & fresh coriander – and lamb chops marinated in Kashmiri chillies, paprika & mustard oil to griddled seabass with coriander stem, chilli & garlic. Not of course forgetting his legendary butter chicken.

In addition, Ani is delighted to be working alongside his friend, chef Gareth Drew (Nobu, Gilgamesh), meaning that customers can also take their pick from an array of Pan Asian delights such as beef rendang, Thai green curry and Pandan grilled salmon.

Not only will ordering from Hankies help one of London’s most brilliant independent restaurant brands, but for every order received, Ani will donate a meal to support the NHS and other front-line workers in the local area.

Collections will receive a 10% discount. Delivery within a three-mile radius is £5.99 or £25 within the M25. Minimum order for delivery is £50. Orders can be placed by calling 07405 885673 or emailing Deliveries are also available via Deliveroo.

Hankies is open daily from 12 noon to 10.15pm.

78-82 Westbourne Terrace, London W2 6QA

UK’s top Michelin Star chefs to join forces at pop up restaurant in hotel at the heart of UK’s culinary capital

AS a hotel in its own right, it has its fair share of claims to fame.

Designed by the revered architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and with gardens crafted by the pre-eminent horticulturalist of her time, Gertrude Jeckyll, the Abbey House, a one-time stately home, is a place with an enviable history.

David Simms, the culinary director of the high end RA Group who previously worked with the Roux family and Simon rogan

Now an imposing hotel, nestled among the rolling fells of Cumbria and a mere stone’s throw away from Furness Abbey, one of the North West’s most historically significant sites, it is used to its fair share of glamour.

But in February, for two nights only, its star will rise exponentially as some of the UK’s most revered Michelin Starred chefs – along with the team from one of the world’s best  steakhouses – exit the M6 at Junction 36 .

For Operations Director of the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens, Brian Conroy, the event is a way of shining a light on the hotel – one of Cumbria’s undiscovered gems – whilst making a positive contribution to the local community; on the evening, the venue and staff are laid on for free by the hotel due to the event’s charitable status.

Brian said: “Over the course of a year the Abbey House will welcome guests from across the UK and beyond. While our reach is national – and indeed international – we remain at heart a family owned business which is very much a part of the local community.

“It has been a pleasure in previous years to welcome some of the country’s best chefs to the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens, and we are very much looking forward to sharing our kitchens once again with some incredible talent.”

The weekend – fast becoming an annual fixture in the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens’ calendar – raises money for a foundation set up in memory of a man held firmly in the hearts of the UK’s culinary elite.

Ray Armstrong established Lake District Farmers in the years before his death. Under the enigmatic entrepreneur, the business grew to be a supplier of the finest cuts of meat to the country’s top chefs and restaurants.

And so in two weeks time, some of those who know the company well will make the pilgrimage to Ray’s home town of Barrow-in-Furness. Their aim: to raise cash for the Lake District Farmers Armstrong Family Charitable Trust which in turn awards it to those people in the local community who are most in need.

Among their number will be Clare Smyth and Brett Graham. Between them they have enough Michelin Stars to perform an impressive juggling act. Their restaurants were named in positions one and two respectively in a recent UK Top 100, as voted by users of OpenTable.

Alongside them will be chef  Phil Campbell and the team behind Beast – the London-based steak restaurant ranked among the best in the world.

On Friday, February 7, the Beast team will take to the pass, as they prepare four courses inspired by their mantra of creating food which is the epitome of land and sea on a plate.

Executive chef Phil Campbell will bring four chefs and four front-of-house staff with him as they recreate the surf and turf for which Beast has become famous.

He spoke of a reciprocal relationship with Lake District Farmers: “They support us and its right that we support them with what they are trying to achieve. What guests can look forward to this weekend is the culmination of a ten year relationship between myself and Dan Austin from Lake District Farmers.

“We will be serving Nigerian prawns which weigh in at around 250 gramms per prawn; that’s quite a statement.  Beef will form a massive part of what we are doing too.”

Saturday will see, Smyth and Graham joined by David Simms, the culinary director of the high end RA Group who previously worked with the Roux family and Simon Rogan.

Between them, the trio and their kitchen teams will create a six course meal for those lucky enough to have a place at the table.

Dan has been the Managing Director of Lake District Farmers for eight years. He said: “Abbey House is a business that shares our ethos for excellence and provides the perfect venue for such a special event, which of course, means a great deal to everybody at Lake District Farmers. 

“When our guys step into the kitchen anything other than a perfect service is not enough by their standards. Abbey House has ensured we’ve delivered exactly that over the past few years and will undoubtedly do the same once again. They contribute a great deal to ensure the charity raises as much money as possible and it’s a partnership we’re extremely proud of.

“This year we’ve put together two menus equal in quality but completely different in terms of style and execution. 

“Friday’s menu, produced by Phil Campbell and the team at Beast is centred around amazing proteins cooked over an open flame. Beast pride themselves on being the world’s best surf and turf and we wanted to capture that. So the wild Nigerian Prawns and the bone-in steaks will be particular highlights. 

“On Saturday we revert to our traditional six-course tasting menu with David Simms, Brett Graham and Clare Smyth producing two courses each, so it promises to be a really special evening.”

Raw Wine announces London 2020 dates

Raw Wine Fair London 8th & 9th March. Raw Wine Week 4th -11th March

2020 sees the ninth RAW WINE London returning to The Store X in Covent Garden, with over 120 carefully selected low-intervention organic, biodynamic and natural wine producers from around the world showcasing their fine drinks to the trade and consumers. 

Alongside the natural wine strongholds of France and Italy, RAW WINE is excited to welcome a trio of northern European producers to London for the first time. A wine producer from the Netherlands who has farmed organically for decades and eliminated all copper and sulphur usage from the vineyard; an urban, natural wine producer from Finland; and a Danish distillery that crafts sell-out seasonal spirits and was described by Wired as “the Noma of wonderful booze”!

Trailblazer of the natural wine movement worldwide, Isabelle Legeron MW’s portfolio of events now includes sell-out fairs in New York, L.A, Montréal, Berlin and London. All promote wines farmed cleanly that are harvested by hand and made without excessive use of processing and additives. Visitors to the fair will also have the unique opportunity to listen to experts from around the world impart their knowledge in RAW WINE’s intimate Speaker’s Corner.

With sustainability the hottest topic in food and drink right now, RAW WINE London is the perfect place to discover wines which are better for us and the environment. Fighting for greater transparency in the wine industry, in order to empower wine drinkers through authenticity and frank wine conversation, Isabelle says, “Wine has never been made with so many pesticides, additives, preservatives and processes. Winemakers at RAW WINE who respect life above ground and in the soil care passionately about their wines, they ensure their vines are able to absorb key nutrients and it shows in the quality of the final product. By buying organic, biodynamic and natural wine, we’re helping to protect the planet.”

RAW WINE London is the highlight of #rawwineweek, 4th-11th March, a nationwide celebration of natural wines with tutored tastings, glass offers and winemaker dinners. Throughout the week restaurants, bars, wine shops, distributors and importers will all be hosting events to showcase growers exhibiting at the fair. Take a look at what’s happening across the capital here.

Halo Burger to open second site in Shoreditch

Plant-based restaurant, Halo Burger, is to open its second site on January 22nd at 105 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3JD. The expansion comes after a hugely successful year serving up Halo Burgers using Beyond Meat to queues of customers from their POP Brixton site.

Launching at 12:30pm with 100 updated Halo Burgers using Beyond Meat’s latest 4.0 patty to give away, hungry lunch-goers should arrive early to avoid disappointment. Halo’s new site extends its reach into East London and aims to accelerate the popularity of plant-based meat alternatives by showcasing the best on the market in Halo’s friendly and familiar style. 

Halo Burger Founder, Ross Forder said: “We can’t wait to bring our incredible menu to Shoreditch. Making plant-based meat alternatives widely available is our mission and opening a new site is just the beginning of our plan to expand across the nation. The appetite for plant-based food has surged, with over 350,000 people signing up to do Veganuary by January 4th, breaking all previous records. Halo Burger is here for when you’re in need of something comforting and familiar, to satisfy vegans and meat-eaters new and old in January and beyond.”

Halo Burger was the world’s first dedicated plant-based bleeding burger joint and since its launch in November 2019 Halo has saved the equivalent of 25,840kg of beef. 2019 saw the launch of THISTMIsn’t Chicken Nuggets and deep-fried Vegan Magnums available from POP Brixton.

“Consumer choice is essential to us at London Burger Co” says founder

The humble hamburger has soared in popularity in recent years, following a string of launches of new and trendy burger chains, with meat-free varieties particularly taking off. One company has introduced to the market customisable versions of everyone’s favourite fast food. 

Based in Muswell Hill, north London, the London Burger Co uses exclusively British Angus beef and locally sourced buns. Its menu offers everything from aubergine patties to guacamole, pineapple and brie, Mexican and chilli and cheese varieties. Meanwhile, side dishes incorporate sweet potato fries, chunky chips, homemade coleslaw, salads, and more. 

As for drinks, the milkshake menu includes original offerings such as mango, peanut or salted caramel-flavoured shakes. 

But where it really excels is in allowing diners to build their own burgers. And the combination of toppings on offer is almost endless. 

Owner Rubait Hossain says: “Grab a bun and patty as the foundation, then make your burger your own. Add red onion, lettuce, mayo or whatever else you fancy and just keep building. We think we do this aspect of burger cuisine better than anyone else.” 

Diners also have the choice of home delivery, on-site eating or ordering for collection, with food typically available to pick up after 20 minutes. 

Having set itself up three years ago with no delivery service, the company is now on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat and also runs its own deliveries. 

“We’re running a special offer all summer on collected meals,” adds Hossain. “Come along and pick up your burger tonight, just as you want it, and receive a 20% discount.”