The sun was shining gloriously, my apple green soft-top Maserati was parked neatly under the shadow of the Shard and I had a generously proportioned gin cocktail in front of my hand for sipping*. We’d popped into the Tanqueray Gin Garden at Bar 31 in the Shangri La (disclosure: we were invited guests of the Shangri La) right next to London Bridge Station, and life was good.
* One of these things isn’t quite accurate – I’ll leave you to guess which. Hint: I haven’t got rid of my taxi app just yet – and make sure you have a chauffeur if you’re going to bring your apple green Maserati with you.
I adore visiting favourite old haunts, especially when the sun is out and some of my favourite people are gathered about me. So, when the chance to have all three of these things lined up, you know that I lept at it – and once our diaries aligned, lo and behold, we gathered around a marble table top at 108 Brasserie in the Marylebone Hotel for a leisurely repast in the sunshine. Disclaimer: We were guests of 108 Brasserie for lunch, but all the years of enjoyment are very much my own.
I used to work in Marylebone, and the 108 Brasserie was a regular haunt – meetings, lunches, dinners and post-event drinks, as the classic and delicious dishes were perfect for every kind of palette.
There’s a special kind of magic when a group of people gather around a table – all the way from a humble cup of tea, through to intricate tasting menus that titillate the palates. Soutine is elegantly in the middle, a Parisien corner of Salon de thé, a St John’s Wood restaurant in a glorious period building. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the newly opened Soutine but as ever, all dreamy pastel metaphors are very much my own.
We gathered, a group of four expats – talking of life, love and kettles (long hilarious story) over a table filled with delectable dishes.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The days are lengthening, the Royal London parks are heavy with blossom and there is that indescribable feeling of summer in the air. To celebrate this – and as an ode to the Chelsea Flower Show – Aqua Shard have launched their Floral Five menu. Disclaimer: We were guests of Aqua Shard – but I visit often on my own dime. (I think this is really important for authenticity!)
They’ve collaborated with the botanical maestros at Camellia’s Teahouse who have created five unique tea blends featuring British flowers, which have in turn been incorporated to accompanying cocktails and desserts.
The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.