Haute Time

Where to celebrate Thanksgiving

Looking for somewhere to celebrate Thanksgiving – aka America’s favourite holiday – this side of the Atlantic? Haute Living has the low-down on where to head for your fix of pumpkin pie, turkey and all the trimmings…

45 Park Lane
Dorchester Collection’s contemporary Mayfair hotel, 45 Park Lane is offering Londoners the opportunity to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving with a specially created menu at Wolfgang Puck’s debut European venture CUT at 45 Park Lane. Wolfgang Puck will draw on his Austro-American roots with a three course Thanksgiving menu featuring traditional dishes such as Roasted Pumpkin soup with cranberry quince compote and Roasted turkey with wild mushroom stuffing and braised greens. CUT’s desserts are also undergoing a festive twist – think Spiced pumpkin & vanilla baked alaska and Bourbon pecan pie.

108 Brasserie
108 Brasserie is celebrating Thanksgiving Day in true transatlantic style on Thursday 26th November with a special all-American menu including New England clam chowder, the time-honoured Turkey and homemade Pumpkin pie. Executive chef Russell Ford has drawn on his local suppliers to create an authentic Thanksgiving menu, using the finest British ingredients to create a meal worthy of ‘The Land of the Free’.
Guests can get in the celebratory spirit with a special Thanksgiving cocktail, the American Spice, a warming, autumnal mix of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Antica Formula vermouth, plum bitters, crème de cacao, homemade cinnamon syrup and Grand Marnier.

Q Grill
Celebrate Turkey Day in style at Chalk Farm’s acclaimed American barbecue restaurant where Lee Bull, executive chef at the Des McDonald Restaurant Group, has created a special seasonal menu. To start, opt for seasonal favourite, Roasted pumpkin soup with spiced cornbread, the House smoked goat’s cheese with apple and walnuts or Griddled shrimp with jalapeño grits, Deep South style. As well as Traditional Roast turkey with bone marrow whipped Yukon gold potatoes, squash and kale gratin, creamed corn and cranberry stuffing, diners can treat themselves to a Slow cooked highland short rib with sweet potato and burnt shallots or Truffled mac and cheese with foraged mushrooms a generous serving of pecorino. For dessert choose between two all-American classics: Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan tart or key lime pie.

Royal China
Royal China is offering a twist on traditional Thanksgiving dishes on Thursday 26 November 2015 to celebrate the US National Holiday. Expect flavours including Almond flavoured Pumpkin Soup with Crabmeat, Empress chicken with ginger and spring onion and Apple in toffee syrup served in all six Royal China locations ( Baker Street,Bayswater, Fulham, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Canary Wharf) as well as the flagship Royal China Club.

Savoy Grill,
At the iconic Savoy Grill, head chef Kim Woodward will serve a stellar five-course menu centred on a traditional Yorkshire turkey served surrounded by roast yams, cornbread stuffing, braised red cabbage and jus de rôti. Other dishes on the menu include pan-seared Cornish crab cakes, pear and ginger sorbet with cinnamon crumbs, spiced pumpkin pie with whisky maple syrup ice-cream and prune and Armagnac parfait with almond financier. Tea, coffee and petit fours will seal the deal and leave you in a real New York state of mind as you leave the stunning art deco styled surrounds.

Where to watch Wimbledon

Huzzah! Wimbledon is just around the corner. With this in mind, Haute Time has rounded five of the best places to watch, feast and toast the tournament…

  • 1. Conrad London St. James

    Recognised as one of London’s premier afternoon tea destinations, Conrad London St. James is introducing a limited edition afternoon tea capturing the spirit of Wimbledon in partnership with Monreal London: the luxury activewear brand with its roots in tennis. Guests can immerse themselves in the atmosphere of Wimbledon in Emmeline’s Lounge, transformed into Emmeline’s ‘Lawn Club’ with floral arrangements inspired by the event, hallmark treats and waiters dressed in Monreal London’s high-fashion activewear. From 2pm, guests will also be able to watch the women’s and men’s finals on surrounding TV screens and snack on strawberries and cream, both indicators of summer’s arrival. Toasting each ace with G.H. Mumm Champagne, guests can immerse themselves in what is set to be a vivid manifestation of British heritage.

    22-28 Broadway, London SW1

  • 2. Drake & Morgan

    Strawberry Fields (£8.50) is inspired by the great British tradition of strawberries and cream, famously served at southwest London’s treasured tournament and now served at each of the eight Drake & Morgan bars and restaurants, with the exception of The Refinery on Bankside. Hennessy cognac is shaken with freshly muddled strawberries, sweet gomme syrup and a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters for a fruity and refreshing sipper. The cocktail also comes served with a thimble of fresh cream and whole strawberries on the side for a sweet treat. Enjoy a tennis-inspired tipple this summer, whether propping up the bar with friends, clinking during dinner or enjoying a sun-soaked, al fresco lunch on the terrace with a drink in-hand.


  • 3. Orrery

    Nothing signifies the start of the British summer more so than Wimbledon. If you’re not fortunate enough to have nabbed a ticket for the main event, experience a taste of Wimbledon at Orrery enjoying Igor’s fresh strawberry dessert garnished with meringue and strawberry sorbet, meticulously matched with three Rosé wines, priced at £18. With this decadent flight of three pinks, this bespoke dessert flight is guaranteed to get you in the mood to cheer on Murray to the final!

    55 Marylebone High St, W1

  • 4. Kensington Place

    Notting Hill’s much loved neighbourhood restaurant, Kensington Place, has an exciting new addition to its bar. Continuing its commitment to present the best of British, and in honour of Wimbledon, Kensington Place has launched the Murray-tini cocktail. The cocktail has carefully selected ingredients including Honeydew melon, lemon juice, Belvedere unfiltered vodka, Cointreau, Angostura bitters and Mint. While Kensington Place is usually known for its excellent wines, for this limited time come see the Murray-tini cocktail taking centre court. Game, set, match!

    201 Kensington Church St, W8

  • 5. Plateau

    Plateau in Canary Wharf, will be screening the championships in its Bar & Grill Herbal Garden Terrace, and guests can sip on specially created cocktails inspired by the games, including Murray’s Gin Fizz (Fresh English strawberries, Bulldog London gin, egg white, double cream, lemon juice, sugar syrup, toppe up with soda) and Game, Set & Match (Fresh cucumber, mint, strawberries, ginger and orange, Pimm’s, lime juice, sugar syrup, topped with NYETIMBER Classic British sparkling wine). Head chef Daniel McGarey has also created a Wimbledon themed dessert called Game, Set, Parfait (Coconut parfait, white chocolate, spiced pineapple and kiwi). Sounds like a winner to us!

    Fourth floor, Canary Wharf Group, Canada Square, E14

Brunching out

Rewind  a decade and Londoners knew how to do lunch and dinner, but had yet to embrace brunch. Fast forward to 2015 and it’s all change. Brunch (a cross between breakfast and lunch) is now big business in the capital and rightly so: there’s nothing like a great brunch to start off the weekend. Check out five of the newest brunch offerings in the capital, below…

  • 1. Avenue

    For a relaxing weekend brunch with an American twist, head to Avenue. The St James’ restaurant serves up brunch every Saturday and Sunday with favourites such as decadent Buttery pancakes and Southern fried chicken on the menu. Brunch at Avenue is available from 11am, priced at £25 per person for three courses - plus add unlimited Prosecco or bloody Mary’s for an additional £15.

    7-9 St James's Street, SW1

  • 2. Blanchette

    Parisian-style bistrot, Blanchette is introducing two new menus for weekday lunch and weekend brunch. The new lunch menu, designed with busy workers, residents and shoppers in mind, offers a range of daily-changing specials including Steak frites, salade paysanne and Middle White pork and Toulouse sausage cassoulet.

    9 D'Arblay Street, W1F

  • 3. Dirty Bones

    Dirty Bones Sunday brunch menu, ‘The Dirty Bloody Hangover,’ is the perfect weekend indulgence including, as it does, a Dirty Mary cocktail, 1/2 bottle of Prosecco or shake, the Mac Daddy burger (pulled short rib and mac & cheese), or the Dirty Dog (BBQ pulled pork, crispy bacon, jalapeno sauce, crispy shallots), and Dirty fries.

    20 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8

  • 4. Flesh & Buns

    Japanese Izakaya bar & restaurant, Flesh & Buns, offer Sunday brunch with an Eastern twist. From £39 per person, diners can enjoy a cocktail upon arrival, snacks and unlimited small plates, signature Flesh & Buns (Gau Boa) as well as dessert and unlimited Prosecco or wine.

    41 Earlham Street, WC2

  • 5. Parts & Labour, Qbic Hotel

    East London canteen, Parts and Labour, offers the perfect spot for a laidback Whitechapel brunch. Hang out in the Scandi-feel open kitchen while you sip their expertly crafted coffees and cocktails. Dishes include Courgette fritters served with poached eggs and tomato chilli jam, French Toast with poached rhubarb, vanilla creme fraiche, Londoner sausage, black pudding, streaky bacon and Cornish legbar eggs.

    42 Adler Street, E1

Mayfair is back at the top of its game

The low-down on the return of Mayfair

Think you know Mayfair? Think again. For while this corner of W1 has long been associated with old school stuffiness, there are signs that it’s fast becoming a hotspot for 2015 – a place where you’ll want to stay and play post work.

Much of the buzz is about Kitty Fisher’s – the seriously haute dining spot (named after a Georgian-era courtesan) from Young British Foodie Chef of the Year 2014 Tomos Parry and former Pitt Cue Co sous chef Chris Leach – which opened just before Christmas. Critics are enthrall: the Evening Standard’s food writer, the fabulous Fay Mischler, has waxed lyrical about the wood fired menu – think salt cod croquettes, braised ox cheeks and pork chops washed down down with Bad Kitty cocktails in a historic Shepherd Market haunt – while The Telegraph’s Xanthe Clay has hailed Kitty Fisher’s as “the hottest restaurant in town”. Last year’s hot spot, Chiltern Firehouse, must be quaking in its boots…

But Parry and Leach aren’t the only ones to have put Shepherd Market back on the map. London’s respectable red-light district also under the spotlight on Talk of the Town London’srecent ‘Lovers in London’ tour. The lively Valentine’s themed walk took locals and visitors alike through Shepherd Market in the dynamic young company’s usual tongue-in-cheek way.

Elsewhere Chez Chow – a decadent basement drinking den from the team behind North Audley Cantine – has just opened its doors. Named after the owners’ dog – Teddy the Chow Chow – the bar specialises in French-Asian fusion food and cocktails including a Homemade G&T with house fermented tonic (£11), the Aged Old Fashioned (£14) aged in its own oak barrel and the Popcorn Sazerac (£11).

But the big news is that Le Chateaubriand is set to open a London outpost on Mayfair’s Mount Street later this month. For those who have been living under a rock, Le Chateaubriand has been creating waves the other side of the Channel since it opened in 2006.(The Paris branch is currently at no.27 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list). The Mayfair restaurant will be calledLe Chabanais (named after a 19th century brothel) with Paul Boudier (Le Chateaubriand’s former head chef) at the helm. Expect a 90 cover European-style restaurant on the ground floor, a downstairs bar plus a private dining room that can accommodate up to 10 people. We can’t wait!

Hotel of the fortnight: Sopwell House

If winter is really getting you down, fret not for Haute Time has a suggestion for a weekend break. Head to handsome Sopwell House – a Georgian country house retreat deep in the Hertfordshire countryside – where you can swap the happy madness of the capital for some R&R.

Once the private residence of Lord Mountbatten, these days the listed building is famous for hosting more footballers than probably anywhere else on the planet. Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, the England squad and, erm, Watford FC: name your team and chances are they have stayed at Sopwell House.

And understandably so: the ambience is instantly soothing making the building, with its gorgeous Georgian architecture and 12 acres of picturesque gardens, the perfect place for consolation or celebration (as appropriate).

Rooms – there are 128 in total – are truly fab. Elegant without being intimidating and colourful without being garish, they boast all the comforts of home – complimentary tea and coffee (who wants to constantly be putting their hands in their pocket for a cuppa?), free WiFi and soft beds you could spend all day in – and then some.

Haute Time had planned to hike around the gardens and grounds but any half baked notion of exploring, evaporated approximately 30 seconds after entering our deluxe, second floor room. January we decided, while lapping up the luxury that lay in front of us, is still a time when the indoors matters more than the outdoors. We were content to spend Saturday afternoon snuggled up in bathrobes on the divine bed reading books that had been lying on our bedside tables since Christmas, before wandering to the swimming pool (surely the prettiest pool in Hertfordshire) without feeling the least self conscious (it’s de rigeur to pad around in robes) and stretching out on a sun lounger.

After a few hours relaxing by the pool doing nothing, we found ourselves feeling peckish and booked a table for dinner at The Restaurant. First though it was time to dress up and enjoy a cheeky cocktail in the Cocktail lounge whose marble topped counter, polished parquet floor and expertly mixed cocktails would make Carrie and the girls feel at home. The lounge isn’t just for cocktail connoisseurs though: patrons who prefer beer, wine or spirits won’t be disappointed. Whatever your tipple of choice, expect to sip against the soundtrack of a pianist tickling the ivories until the early hours. It all makes for a lively scene straight out of the society pages of Hello or Tatler magazine.

It would have been easy to have settled in for the night but we had a reservation to uphold in The Restaurant where we fast found ourselves slipping into a food coma. For what the AA Rosette fine dining restaurant – with its high ceilings and classic, sleek decor - is plating up in the kitchen is as sophisticated as any central London spot.

Head chef Mark Sutherford’s modern British plates (locally sourced wherever possible) are more than food – they’re artistry. Every dish we tried – from the delicious breads (so good we could have munched our way through the basket) to starters of Seared king scallops and Goats cheese roulade and mains of Line caught sea bass and a wonderful, veggie friendly White asparagus risotto – tasted both sublime and sublimely healthy. It’s the kind of restaurant where you somehow become good friends with the waiter at the same time as barely realising that your wine glass has been refilled with. Even if you don’t stay at Sopwell House, you should come for dinner here.

The Restaurant’s more casual cousin is the bright and open Brasserie. This is where we chose to read the Sunday papers while enjoying a breakfast spread fit for an emperor – seriously Hertfordshire has never been better fed – the following morning.

Yet while the cuisine is a major draw (and reason enough to place Sopwell House on top of your wish list), indulgences aren’t only of a culinary kind. Fitness fanatics will love the enormous TechnoGym Wellness System that’s dedicated to helping guests become fitter, healthier and slimmer. And if – like Haute Time – you aren’t a fan of exercising alone, there’s a roster of classes on offer daily in the the state-of-the-art aerobics studio. Elsewhere Pringle wears can take to the fairways of Verulam Golf Club – home of the Ryder Cup – that’s situated only a stone’s throw away from Sopwell House.

Too energetic? You can find kindred spirits seeking nirvana in the Conservatory, sweat it out in the steam room or sauna or simply pile on a fluffy robe and enjoy the hotel’s exceptional  treatments. The range of therapies – using either Espa or Clarins products – is mind boggling butHaute Time can vouch for the Clarins Tri Active Facial aka 70 minutes of bliss that our skin feeling baby soft and begging to be booked in for a course of Clarins treatments. It’s not the last time that the attitude free, always smiling therapist, Paisley, will be seeing us. We walked in but floated out feeling rejuvenated and ready to return to the city.

Before you do, you may like to explore the nearby ancient Roman city of St Albans – a pretty town full of character that’s only five minutes away from the grounds – but, in all honesty, nothing outside of Sopwell House beats what you’ll find inside.

Yet Sopwell House’s real selling point is its staff who stand leagues above the competition (here’s looking at The Grove). Guest relations manager, Grazia, Rooms manager Vince, Food and beverage manager Tony and their teams are attentive yet unobtrusive and will bend over backwards to help you.

The sky might have been dull and grey this morning, but Haute Time came away energised and happy convinced that Sopwell House is the perfect antithesis to the soggy grey streets of London and a balm for the overstimulated 21st century soul. This is where you go to recharge your batteries – one night here is akin to a week on holiday – and banish the January blues. Just don’t forget to book a return: Sopwell House really is that soothing.