You Don’t Have To Be a Vegan To Enjoy Veganuary

January is now unofficially “Veganuary” and it is a great opportunity to put plant-based food in the spotlight. The Gate Restaurant Group, which has been at the forefront of plant-based food for 30 years, is celebrating with a very special vegan menu devised for the occasion by celebrity chef Ken Hom, OBE. Although this will obviously attract vegan diners, you definitely don’t have to be a vegan to try this menu.

Ken Hom, the man who showed the British how to cook Asian food and use a wok, and one of the most respected and celebrated TV chefs of all time, has developed a three-course menu with nine dishes to choose from, especially for The Gate. It will be launched at the group’s latest restaurant opening in St Johns Wood on Sunday 26 January 2020 and will be available for diners throughout January and February. 

Chinese cuisine, and most Asian cuisines, naturally lend themselves to vegan recipes, where ingredients such as grains, vegetables, tofu, nuts, noodles are used extensively every day by home cooks and restaurant chefs alike. Growing up in Chicago, we didn’t have much money, meat was rarely seen, and my mother used to send me to school with a flask of hot rice, which other kids always wanted to get a taste of,  as it was so different from their burgers. Her food was delicious and I still cook many of her recipes, which were mainly vegan.  The synergy with my food and that of The Gate Restaurants was obvious, and I have used my Chinese twists in the dishes I have created’. – Ken Hom OBE

Priced at £35 for three courses, the Ken Hom Vegan Menu includes starters such as Crackling Rice Paper Asparagus RollsDaoist Braised Chinese Mushroom Beancurd Casserole, Stir-Fried Cucumbers with Hot Spices; mains of  Buddhist CasseroleChinese Ratatouille with Cornmeal-Spring Onion-Ginger Waffles, Curried Spring Rolls; and desserts of Warm Mango Compote with Basil and Vegan Vanilla Ice CreamDeep Fried Plant Milk served with Caramelized Walnuts and Warm Banana Compote in Plum Wine with Candied Ginger. The menu will be available in all four Gate restaurants in London until the end of February 2020.    

Michael Daniel, founder and chairman of The Gate Restaurants Group, says: ‘As a group which has been operating for 30 years at the leading edge of the vegan movement, we continuously look at improving our sustainability in everything we do, from the materials we use to the food we serve. It is therefore such an honour to welcome chef Ken Hom to our recently opened restaurant in St John’s Wood and share his incredible knowledge of food which is not only delicious but also highly sustainable. His recipes are delectable and will be warmly welcomed by our guests’.

The new Gate Restaurant: The Gate in St John’s Wood, 87 Allitsen Road, London NW8 7AS

5 Great Bottomless Brunches in London

5 Great Bottomless Brunches in London

Bottomless brunches are a great way to spend an afternoon or special occasion and due to their popularity more and more restaurants around London are offering bottomless brunch deals to attract diners. Bottomless brunches usually last for between 90 minutes and 2 hours and include prosecco/cocktails and beer (I always go for prosecco) but check with any of the restaurants that you’re booking with. Here are a few of my favourites.

  1. Theo Randall at The Intercontinental – £49 – this is one of the best bottomless brunches that I have ever been to. It offers a brunch dishes with an authentic Italian twist and their starter buffet is utterly incredible. There’s a carvery, a pasta making station and crepe station. It is family friendly and perfect for special occasions. I would recommend calling to make a reservation if it looks sold out online. It’s popular and for good reason, it’s brilliant.

2. Wild Heart Soho – £20/£24 I booked this via Timeout but you can book directly and get the exact same deal, 2 courses and 90 minutes bottomless prosecco for less than £20 in London is a fantastic deal. Great for hanging out with friends, I went with a friend on a sunday and the sunday roast was delicious! The bottomless drinks are a tad slow to come but you will still have a good amount of prosecco so we didn’t feel short changed.

3. M Victoria – £35-£40 This was a fantastic experience and the service was impeccable. The 90 minute free flowing deals aren’t just for brunch either so check the availability and times directly with the restaurant or with a restaurant booking service.

4. Amber £19 Bottomless prosecco for 2 hours! Great value brunch featuring great Middle-Eastern food, perfect for informal and relaxed dining with friends. I can’t recommend this enough – in fact I’m long overdue another visit.

5. The Greenwich Grind has a great offer in which you get 90 minutes of free-flowing prosecco and bloody marys for £14.50 extra.

All the deals I’ve mentioned are per person and the prices were correct at the time of writing this. Treat yourself to a great day out with someone special or a group of friends and enjoy London.

*This is not a sponsored post or an advert, all locations were visited without any brand collaboration.*

Does London’s Oldest Restaurant Serve The Best Gin Cocktails in Town?

City of London based, Boisdale of Bishopsgate has discovered that the beautiful vaulted cellars in Swedeland Court in which it operates were built in the mid-seventeenth century possibly before the great fire of London in 1666 making it the oldest London building with restaurant premises.

This unexpected discovery spurred general manager Ines Jankowska and head mixologist Anna Zacharewicz to look into the types of drinks customers would have enjoyed prior and around 1731 when James Ashley, a 33-year-old “wholesale dealer in cheese,” abandoned his line of work to open The  London Punch-House on the north side of Ludgate Hill and promptly became the first British celebrity mixologist. Cocktails really do have a rich and vibrant history. Gin was the go-to spirit of the time and it was usually mixed with sugar, nutmeg and the juice or rinds of citrus and served in a form of punch or shrub. Ines and Anna’s research resulted in new additions to the Boisdale cocktail list – Gin Crusta, London Milk Punch,  Marylebone Old Fashioned and City of London Distillery Gin & Double Dutch tonic. I was invited to try a cocktail as a guest of the restaurant bar and went for the Marylebone Old Fashioned and my guest went for the crusta. They were great quality cocktails, with balanced quality ingredients used and most certainly worth trying in fact members of the public can get THREE cocktails for the price of one by quoting “Is this the oldest restaurant on London?” (terms and conditions apply)*. Since I haven’t tried every gin cocktail in London I can’t say for sure whether they’re the best but they were definitely some of the best ones I have tasted recently so I would recommend giving them a try.

Boisdale of Bishopsgate
Gifted cocktails

And can we be absolutely certain that Boisdale of Bishopsgate is definitely the oldest restaurant in London? “We have always known that the stunning panelled arched brick cellar in which we created Boisdale of Bishopsgate was very special and we are truly delighted to have been able to confirm its extraordinary antiquity. Whether or not it is the oldest building in which a restaurant operates in London is not absolutely clear, but for the time being we will claim that it is!” – Ranald Macdonald Proprietor.

*Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Three cocktails for the price of one. The offer cannot be claimed twice in one day and is subject to availability. Cocktails: Gin Crusta (£12), London Milk Punch (£12),  Marylebone Old Fashioned (£13) and City of London Distillery Gin & Double Dutch (£11.90) until  Monday 16th September  (Monday to Friday 6pm – 8pm).

This is not a sponsored post, cocktails were gifted to review.