Monday 17th June

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The Sherlock Holmes, Northumberland Street WC2

Rating:

By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr, Jonny Lee Miller … whether you’ve been glued to the big or small screen, Sherlock Holmes’ cachet has never been higher.  So what better time to relaunch a Sherlock themed pub in the heart of the city?  

That’s precisely what The Sherlock Holmes, just off Trafalgar Square, did on 2nd February 2016 to a very positive reception.  And this isn’t some johnny-come-lately jumping on the zeitgeist.  The historic pub is steeped in Sherlockian tradition.

Even looking beyond the fact you’re drinking a pint of Sherlock House Ale, eating Inspector Lestrade’s Favourite Ploughman’s Lunch and surrounded by an eye-watering amount of memorabilia, being in this pub feels like you’re very much part of something special.  In an increasingly competitive London eating and drinking scene, that goes a long way.  Elementary, my dear What’s On readers.  

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Category: Culture
Imogen Miller Porter
Imogen Miller Porter photographed by Martin Slidel

Spotlight on Imogen Miller Porter

It’s a delight to catch up with actor and writer Imogen Miller Porter, just as she’s finishing her current run as the screeching matriarch in the interactive Faulty Towers Dining Experience at Charing Cross Hotel. Despite what I imagine as an exhaustive role she blusters into the nearby café looking fresh as a daisy; resplendent in turquoise plaid shirt, plaited locks not quite free of that infamous Sybil coiffure.

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Category: Comedy
Jammatology: Adam Hutchings and Chris Sav
Jammatology: Adam Hutchings and Chris Sav

‘Philosofood’ Book Launch

Rating:

An excellent evening at The London Particular launched Adam Hutchings’ and Chris Sav’s first foray into publishing. ‘Philosofood’ is essential reading for any self-respecting foodie, an adult ‘Horrible Histories’ wandering into both faction and imaginative fiction. A friendly and accessible tome, as its title may or may not indicate, ‘Philosofood’ is jam-packed with titillating tales and titbits, with scandalous stories of Roman excess – all those famous characters we think we know so well. Plus the odd, sometimes very odd, recipe; culinary or otherwise.

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Category: Art
Redeveloped Leicester Square
By Romazur (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ruby Blue: Got the blues, somewhat reddened too

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Went to ‘Ruby Blue’ in Leicester Square on a Saturday night with seven female colleagues. Lucky man, you should think. I’d paid £40 in advance for: a small bowl of soup; a plate of pasta; a slice of cheesecake. A sprig of rocket here, a sprinkle of icing-sugar there, but you can’t disguise foil-marked pastry. No entertainment, an empty piano, and to say lack of service an understatement. The staff were indeed busy, chatting away at the desk; we garnered no less than four attendants at our table. Certainly no bargains on the painfully pricey wine list. Our first bottle was £29, an overpoweringly lemony Dashwood.

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Category: Restaurants
Love Music Love Food
Juliette Lewis more than graces the cover of ‘Love Music Love Food’.

Rock Star Cookbook for Teenage Cancer Trust

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Patrice de Villiers is a world-renowned and astoundingly artful food photographer. When we met at her book launch for Teenage Cancer Trust at Quaglino’s in Mayfair, she spoke candidly of her three-year journey photographing rock stars ‘in context’ with their favourite food. I began by asking how she got involved and she replied that “It’s actually my baby! I created it from having the initial kernel of the idea, in a very rock ‘n’ roll fashion! I was in a hotel bar late at night, having watched one of my favourite bands, Muse, chatted to them, and it turned out that the front-man was particularly into cooking. So, I thought, my passion is music and, obviously, I’m a food photographer, so why don’t I combine the two. And I thought what I really should do is do it for the Teenage Cancer Trust, I don’t want to just create a vanity project.”

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Category: Culture
Raie: all performers were obviously enjoying themselves, and the groove was infectious.

Map Café: Raie + Caroline Archer

Rating:

The Map Studio Café, Kentish Town

First up was Caroline Archer in support: an adept guitarist with an earthy, smoky voice. She performed original material sounding a little like a young Joan Armatrading, especially when using portamento. Caroline’s fairytale for modern times had the topical title ‘Dreaming for My Prince’ and was followed by another aspirational fable ‘Higher’. Then ‘Concrete Corners’ which despite its name gently spiralled out, in turns intensifying or winding down. Caroline demonstrated a sharp sense of phrasing in the delivery and structure of her songs, and was warmly received by the packed house.

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Category: Culture
Char-grilled Spencer Culf king prawns with mace and cardamom.
Char-grilled Spencer Culf king prawns with mace and cardamom.

Whisky and Spice Dinner at The Cinnamon Club

Pairing a New World sauvignon blanc with a summery, fresh prawn dish is normal. It can complement as much as any seasoning, unmasking and fusing with different flavours. But just seeing whisky any time before the digestif is likely to raise eyebrows. On a mission to change this perception is Master Blender Richard Paterson, using The Cinnamon Club’s Whyte & Mackay Whisky Evening as a vehicle to do so. Five courses of some of London’s finest Indian food were each paired with five selected whiskeys.

THE FOOD

Opening with melt-in-your-mouth king prawns, a touch of cardamom added a gingery zest to the smokey flavour of the tandoor-style cooking. Served on the side was a Dalmore 15, described in one review as ‘smooth as a Highland loch on a still summer’s evening’. It felt a little strange drinking whisky with a starter, but it was surprisingly tasty.

Next up was a sliver of sea bream, served marinated in a coat of shallots and chillies. The bite of the shallots’ balanced the delicate texture of the fish and a small serving of green mango and coconut chutney, deep red from yet more chilli, added flavour as well as colour to the plate. Served alongside the dish was Whyte & Mackay’s ‘The Thirteen’, unique as after 12 years it is put into sherry casks to ‘marry’ for another year.

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Category: Restaurants

Planet Hollywood Review

Having recently acquired a one-month trial of Tastecard, which gives you 50% off selected restaurants, my dinner horizons have expanded from the usual haunts. I had visited Planet Hollywood many years before, however when I found out they accepted Tastecards (Sunday to Thursday), I was delighted. I did have to book a table in advance, unlike some other restaurants, where they accept walk-ins.

Not just American…

The menu in Planet Hollywood is rather like a book, there is so much to choose from. Rather than just the typical American burgers and fries, there are also Asian and Italian dishes available if you fancy something else.

I decided on the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger (£11.50) with an extra side of Mashed Potatoes (£3.75). The burger is described as: “topped with hickory smoked bacon, tangy sweet BBQ sauce and a sharp cheddar cheese.” The burger was absolutely delicious, fresh and tasty. I also loved the fact that the waitress asked me how I would like it cooked (I insisted on ‘well done’), as other places just serve it to you any old how these days…

The side of potatoes was also good, not the best I’ve tasted, but it did the job. My friend and I also ordered a bottle of wine, settling on the Kleine Rust Pinotage Rose (£21.50). The lovely waitress also let us try the wine before we made our decision. This was great as it showed that their customer service was beyond our expectations in comparison to other restaurants in this price bracket.

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Category: Restaurants