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Posted by in Insider Guide to London

Fish and Chips

In the last few decades Britain has undergone a gastronomic revolution, with some of the world’s finest restaurants now found on these shores. But, we’re also still famous worldwide for good old Fish and Chips – a very British culinary institution! Could there be anything more rewarding than the crunch of golden batter to reveal the flakey white flesh of a succulent cod or plaice. Then all of those chips – chunkily cut, slathered in salt and vinegar and ready for the chip fork to prod. Insider has put together our list of the best chippies out there.

THE FISH & CHIP SHOP
189 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1RQ
thefishandchipshop.uk.com
This new offering from the former Head Chef of The Ivy is located on Upper Street, Islington. It fuses contemporary style with one of London’s oldest dining traditions, and done it jolly well if we do say so ourselves. 

THE GOLDEN HIND
73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN
This year, The Golden Hind will celebrate 100 years of providing some of London’s best fish and chips. This no-frills London institution even has a vintage fryer to boot.

POPPIES
6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR
poppiesfishandchips.co.uk
Located in the vibrant area around Spitalfields Market, Poppies comes complete with a jukebox, mini red telephone box and waitresses in retro diner uniforms. Fun for all the family, and cheap as chips too, (if you’ll pardon the pun!) 

SEAFRESH RESTAURANT
80-81 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DL
seafresh-dining.com
Established in 1865 and located a stone’s throw from Victoria Station, Seafresh use the freshest seafood from world-renowned Billingsgate Market as well as the Scottish coast. Be sure to ask for their house special which changes daily.

For more suggestions, please speak to a member of the Concierge team. 

 Image courtesy of the Fish & Chip Shop.

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Made in Mayfair Experience

Mayfair, which makes up an intricate network of 42 streets and lanes bordered by Park Lane, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly, is considered the hub of British craftsmanship.  A large portion of the Mayfair area was built during the mid-17th to 18th Centuries and was quickly established as a fashionable residential district. Its reputation attracted luxury dealers and early luxury merchants, some of which are still trading today. Just a stone’s throw from many of the big brand stores, Mayfair offers some of London’s oldest and most cherished artisan names as well as new designers. 

Insider speaks to Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive of The New West End and London Luxury Quarter, who manage this esteemed estate, about what makes Mayfair the hub of bespoke luxury goods and how the area has successfully evolved to marry the timehonoured and traditional with the very best in contemporary life.

INSIDER: What is the London Luxury Quarter? 
RICHARD: The London Luxury Quarter (LLQ) was founded in 2004 to celebrate the heritage products, specialist galleries, exceptional dining, luxury hotels and international goods that make up the 42 streets of Mayfair and St. James. The high-value establishments, which are focussed in a very concentrated area, create a ‘Best of British’ exhibit that (combined) contribute more

than £2 billion to the UK economy each year. From the main shopping thoroughfares of Bond Street, to the lesser-known shopping streets of fashionable Mount Street, Dover Street, Court Street and Pollen Street, Mayfair and St. James offer exceptional shopping, art, food and culture in beautiful and elegant surroundings. This is a very unique proposition for international visitors and our own domestic market. Historically, we (the English) are not very good at shouting about what makes London great. While this is part of our charm, we also need to celebrate all the characteristics that really make the city so special.

INSIDER: What do you think makes Mayfair such a haven for design and luxury?
RICHARD: Bond Street has more than 300 years history of high-end retailing and today more than 1,000 stores line the street of Mayfair and St. James. Visitors come to this area looking for a piece of history and heritage craftsmanship. For example, Savile Row boasts a level of tailoring that is not available anywhere else in the world, while Jermyn Street is known as the birthplace of custom-made shoes and Mount Street, home to some of Britain’s most exclusive designers and international fashion names. Foster & Son, noted for creating shoes for Clark Gable and Paul Newman, is the oldest surviving bespoke shoemaker and Floris, founded in 1730 is the sole perfumer to The Queen. They have created hand-blended scents for Oscar Wilde, Eva Perón, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and every British monarch since George IV. These stories are key to what makes this area so unique.

On the contemporary front many of our great British brands have stores here including Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, Nicholas Kirkwood and Alice Temperley. Creativity abound, Dover Street Market is filled with small designer gems. The influx of very wealthy people has increased the area’s cache and attracted more of the world’s finest international jewellers lining our streets. However, it is not just shopping. Outside of the iconic Christie’s and Sotheby’s we have specialist art galleries in abundance with recent openings including PACE.

INSIDER: What sort of Insider shopping experiences are available in Mayfair?
RICHARD: From behind-thescenes tours through company archives to face-to-face meetings with designers, in this market retailers will go a long way to provide a peerless experience. Impeccable service goes beyond the product and gives clients an experience and memory that will remain. The Insider experiences are service standards which were developed to showcase the bespoke elements awaiting guests in London. 

Find out more about about our exclusive ‘Made In Mayfair’ Insider Experience.

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Alvaro Rey 30 years

Congratulations to our General Manager, Mr Alvaro Rey, who celebrated 30 years' service with IHG this week!

A true hotelier from the outset, Mr Rey undertook his training at Ecole Hôtelière Les Roches, Switzerland and the Hotel Management School of Northwood Institute, Michigan, U.S. In 1984 he began his career at InterContinental Medellin in his native country of Colombia and has remained with the company ever since. During his time with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Mr Rey has held General Manager positions across South and Central America, Middle East, Australia and Europe.

In 2009 Mr Rey brought his expertise as General Manager to the flagship hotel for IHG, InterContinental London Park Lane. His unique sustainable approach to business celebrates staffing development and community involvement.

Mr Rey was honoured at the 2012 Worldwide Hospitality Awards with the Best General Manager (upsacle/luxury) award. This prestigious accolade is recognition for his exemplary commitment to the hospitality industry. In addition, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) also honoured Mr Rey with the coveted General Manager of the Year Award in the 2011 Europe Hotel Awards.

Congratulations to Mr Rey from all the team here at No. 1 Park Lane!

Why not leave your congratulatory messages/comments below?

 

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LA Event

Last week, General Manager Alvaro Rey, Executive Chef Paul Bates and Pastry Chef Luis Meza headed to Los Angeles as part of Visit Britain's #LuxuryisGREAT event. The event, masterminded by Visit Britain, Modern Luxury and the London Luxury Quarter, aimed to celebrate the very best in contemporary British luxury by showcasing a number of key suppliers including Wedgwood, Aston Martin and Liberty London to name but a few.

Executive Chef Paul Bates and Pastry Chef Luis Meza were selected to create an exclusive Afternoon Tea offering at the event for 250 people, showcasing why we hold the prestigious UK Tea Guild Award of Excellence. Like our hotel, the Afternoon Tea blends tradition with a modern touches.

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Posted by in Insider Guide to London

Eat-Yourself-to-Health

‘It’s simple’, says Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, author of Eat Yourself Young, ‘change your diet and change how you look and feel’. Elizabeth, whose celebrity clients include Thandie Newton, believes that we can all live a healthier life by just staying away from a few damaging foods and replacing with beneficial ones.

EPJ Headshot

My philosophy is to decelerate the ageing process by combating the ageing effects through a simple and rejuvenating way of eating. This helps restore balanced functioning, lower-body fat and encourages good sleep, skin, hair and nails along with high energy levels. This is not a diet, but a long-term lifestyle change. That means it needs to be enjoyable. There are many delicious alternatives to help transition away from junk and once people understand how food can help, rather than hurt, it is often an easy change. In my opinion, there are five culprit foods for ageing, but if I had to pick one I would say sugar was the most ageing food of all, but they’re not all created equal… There is a vast difference between simple sugars – the refined processed kind usually added to foods – and the slowreleasing carbohydrates that the body converts to glucose to use as fuel. A diet full of highly sugared foods, kick starts the ageing process and slows the body’s ability to regenerate itself and so ultimately speeds up the process. However sugar is hidden in most processed foods so it is a hard habit to kick!

Instead of a cookie or a cake, try beetroot, carrots, sweet potato, tomato, almonds or pistachios when you crave a sweet kick. Good fats slow down the metabolism of sugar into the blood stream, so eat fruit with nuts and seeds. Like sugar, all fats are not created equal and good fats are essential for maintaining cell structure, helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for healthy-looking skin, brain function, mood and energy.However, that does not mean eat lots of cakes! Switch to fats found in unprocessed oily fish, avocados, goat/sheep products and nuts. It’s better to eat full-fat than processed low-fat foods as they don’t have the beneficial nutrients and tend to be loaded with sugar. To stay on track, a quick tip would be to start the day by drinking lemon juice in warm water. The liver cleans itself overnight and the lemon juice flushes away the liver’s byproducts that are left, which leaves you energised, alkalised and ready for the day. Also, juicing is such a quick and tasty way to get your nutrients and manage your energy/hunger levels. Grab a root vegetable juice in the day to stop you feeling the need to binge on processed foods. The mix of vitamins and minerals found in vegetables can really help specific issues.

One of my favourites is beetroot, apple and ginger. Beetroot contains high levels of iron and is great for energy and stamina – it’s also the ‘go-to’ vegetable for a detoxing effect and to help establish good gut health. Apple contains pectin which binds to cholesterol to slow glucose absorption and combat sugar highs. It also contains malic acid which helps the gall bladder’s process fats. Ginger increases the metabolic rate, is warming and boosts the immune system with its antimicrobial and antibiotic qualities. When you understand a few simple basics, it really changes how you relate to food.

Try our new juicing selection created by Elizabeth in Cookbook Cafe, Spa InterContinental, room service or Wellington LoungeElizabeth is also available for private consultations or as a speaker as part of our Insider Meetings programme. For more information visit epjhealth.com or cookbookcafe.co.uk.

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Posted by in Insider Guide to London

Afternoon Tea Party

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”. Henry James

One of the most quintessentially British of traditions, the art of serving the perfect Afternoon Tea has long been debated. Originating from the early 19th century, the concept was said to have been concocted to help combat the ‘sinking feeling’ Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, is said to have had complained about during the afternoons. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner later in the evening. The remedy? A pot of tea and a light snack. Towards the late 19th century, Afternoon Tea had become a fashionable social trend for upper-class society, and the rise of the Tea Party began. Fast-forward a couple of centuries and the tradition is going strong, although the afternoon Tea concept and menus have changed somewhat. Tea Parties featuring a bountiful selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones (with lashings of cream and jam of course) are popular amongst all generations. Brimming with creativity, Afternoon Tea at the Wellington Lounge blends the best of tradition with contemporary twists.

InterContinental London Park Lane’s Executive Chef Paul Bates shares the ingredients for the perfect Tea Party as well as tea expert Tara Calcraft from London tea emporium, Tea Palace.

What is the current trend in Afternoon Tea?
Paul : Afternoon tea is one of the most quintessential of English customs but while traditional in its activity, the menus in London are increasingly creative and it is exciting to be a part of it. We are careful to offer a fun and surprising experience, but stay true to the core elements of traditional Afternoon Tea. Recently we have seen a fashionable return to a more ‘everyday’ activity such as a post-shopping treat, a weekend brunch replacement, and even a business meeting. 

What are the most important things to consider when planning a Tea Party?
Paul : Think about what is available in the season you are in and create the recipes and ingredients accordingly. Salmon, lobster, egg and cheese are all classic Afternoon Tea sandwich fillings, but you can also be a little creative. We have a nettle-marinated asparagus wrapped in sirloin of beef on the menu for example. We also have a full menu of teas (some of which we have created exclusively for the hotel) and all have been carefully curated to pair with certain foods. Scones should always be served warm, the cream should be clotted and jam is even better if it’s homemade. Crockery is important, as it sets the scene, and Afternoon Tea isn’t the same without a traditional cake stand.

When choosing what type of teas to serve, what should people consider? 
Tara: The right choice of tea will bring even more flavour to a dish. 

What is the biggest difference between each basic type of tea?
Tara: There are countless variables differentiating one tea type from another; the environmental conditions of the tea plant (Camelia Sinensis); the way the leaves are processed once picked to create black, green, oolong and white teas; the selection of leaves from a single tea estate, or for their intended inclusion within a blend. The addition of fruit, flowers, herbs, nuts and spices for flavoured blends; and finally, how the tea leaves are brewed to make the perfect cup. This scope for change at every stage – from tea garden right through to tea cup – also means that key factors such as caffeine levels, health benefits and of course taste, also vary hugely from tea to tea.

Are there any specific questions people should ask when buying their tea?
Tara: There are three main areas to consider when buying tea: 
1. Tea type – are you looking fora single estate black tea, exclusive black blend or a speciality green, oolong or white tea? Or perhaps you’d like to try a Tea Palace organic herbal infusion or one of the two bespoke blends created specifically for InterContinental London Park Lane? Including the Number One Park Lane and Wellington blends. 
2. Health benefits – do you like the sound of an organic China green tea packed with antioxidants? Are you intrigued by the idea of an authentic white tea with anti-ageing properties and the calming effects of rose? Or perhaps you’ve had a long day and just need a soothing cup to help you sleep? In which case you might be encouraged to try pure organic chamomile flowers.
3. Caffeine – Green teas typically have about half the caffeine of black tea, and white teas about half the caffeine of green tea
(only a trace). So if you’d prefer a lower-level caffeine option in the evening, but it doesn’t have to be completely caffeine-free, Jasmine Silver Needles will almost definitely be recommended.

What are your suggestions for the best blends?
Tara: My favourites are:
- Palace Earl Grey Earl Grey - yes, but not as you know it. Sophisticated, exceptionally aromatic, and made with real natural oil of bergamot from pressed citrus fruits.
- White Peony with Pink Rosebuds - the finest authentic white tea with whole pink rosebuds for a beautifully balanced cup and
delicate rose-scented taste.
- Number One Park Lane - the finest single estate black tea blended with Madagascan vanilla pods and marigold flowers. Completely unique and every bit as pretty and delicious as it sounds. 

When planning a menu, what should people consider?
Paul : Understanding who your guests are is essential to creating a great menu. What makes a dish pair especially well with tea? One of my personal favourites is our Wellington Blend and our new celeriac and Viennese plum mousse on the Botanical Afternoon Tea. The earthiness and slight citrus of the tea go really well with the sweetness of the dessert.

Are there any particular dishes that work especially well at a tea party?
Paul : Tea, sandwiches, scones and then cakes, in that order. 

What about the décor? Any suggestions on how to keep a Tea Party from turning too juvenile or too stiff? How do you keep the party young and fresh?
Paul : Just keep it elegant. Afternoon Tea can be young and fresh. It does not have to be stuffy, but it should keep to certain traditions. 

To find out more about Afternoon Tea at Wellington Lounge, visit wellington-lounge.co.uk. For more information about London tea emporium, Tea Palace, visit teapalace.co.uk

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David Bailey Stardust
Image: Kate Moss by David Bailey, 2013 © David Bailey

David Bailey ‘Stardust ‘ Exhibition - until 1st June 2014

Bailey’s Stardust is a landmark exhibition of portraits by one of the world’s most distinguished and distinctive photographers, David Bailey. Over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, will be presented thematically across a series of contrasting rooms and will illustrate the extraordinary range of subjects that he has captured throughout his career.

For more information, visit www.npg.org.uk/whatson/bailey/exhibition.php

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Image: BBC

This week marks National Pie Week and to celebrate Executive Chef Paul Bates has come up with this tasty British classic; Chicken and Leek Pie.

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr 20 mins + cooling time

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium leeks, washed, trimmed and thickly sliced
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 garlic clove, crushed
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock, hot
142ml carton double cream
Sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves picked and roughly chopped
375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
1 medium egg

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and leeks and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring, for another 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, add the wine and bubble away until reduced by two-thirds. Pour in the stock and simmer until reduced by half. Add the cream and tarragon, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-6 minutes until thickened. Season, then spoon into a 2.5-litre pie dish (or 4 x 300ml ovenproof dishes). Set aside to cool.

Brush a little water along the edge of the pie dish or dishes. Unroll the pastry and cut out a piece large enough to cover the dish or dishes. Press down the edges and trim off the excess. Snip a small hole in the centre of the pastry to let the steam escape. Put on a baking tray and chill for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/fan200C/gas 7. Beat the egg with a little salt, then brush over the pastry. Bake for 40-45 minutes (20-25 minutes if you are making individual pies) until the pastry is golden.

 

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 pancake

To celebrate Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it's also known, our Executive Chef Paul Bates has put together his recipe for the perfect pancake, as well as a savoury or sweet option. 

Ingredients:

12 eggs
2oz caster sugar
8oz strong flour
1 pint milk
¼ pint double cream
Pinch of salt

Method:

- Whisk together flour, eggs, sugar and salt
- Gently whisk in the milk and cream
- Refrigerate until needed
- Warm a non-stick pan, brush with the vegetable oil, pour in a little of the batter to cover the base of the pan – Cook for 1 minute then turn over, cook for another minute and turn out onto a tray

Reheat:

- Once the pancakes are cooked you can allow them to go cold and reheat them when needed by warming them through in the oven.

Savoury option: Cooked chicken and mushroom

Slice the chicken breast into strips – pan fry with a little chopped garlic, onion and mushrooms, add a little double cream – season with salt and pepper simmer for 2 minutes – spoon into the pancake, roll up like a cigar – place on a serving dish – sprinkle with cheese and melt under the grill.

Sweet option: Pear and chocolate

Take a can of good quality pears – cut into a 1cm dice, place in a pan with a teaspoon of butter – bring to the simmer, add half a cup of cream, bring to the simmer for 2minutes, remove from the heat. Add some chopped chocolate (as much as you like!) stir in gently – but not so it all melts. Spoon onto a warm pancake – roll up like a cigar, place onto a plate, serve with ice cream.

 

 

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 Korean Food London


This is an exciting time for food in London. In addition to growing pride 
in our home-grown talent and produce, the city is enjoying styles from all corners of the world. Korean food is one of the fastest growing imports and restaurants can be found all over London. From street to modern and refined, there is a choice for all tastes.

Insider spoke to Kim Mouflier, Front Office Manager at InterContinental London Park Lane, native Korean and our in-house specialist, about the growing appeal of Korean culture here in the capital. "The Korean communities in London are small and very close knit" says Kim. "We love to celebrate any occasion with lots of great food; as a nation, we love food! Our culture is celebrated in this same way in London, with lots of great restaurants and street food offerings which Koreans share with their friends and family." 

"There are some really interesting events around the capital, from film festivals to sporting events and dance. As a film lover, I would definitely recommend the London Korean Film Festival happening in November this year. It showcases some upcoming film makers and this year has even expanded outside of London too, with events around the UK."

KIM’S GUIDE TO LONDON’S BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS

Korean cuisine really centres around the barbecue concept and the idea of customising and creating your own dish. The cooking is traditionally done at your table, so it’s a fun way of enjoying dinner with friends and family. For anyone not familiar with Korean cuisine be sure to try Kimchee; one of our most popular dishes made with vegetables and spicy seasoning. It’s like bread and butter to the Koreans!

CENTRAL LONDON

KIMCHEE
71 High Holborn, WC1V 6EA
020 7430 0596
kimchee.uk.com

Located in the heart of vibrant Holborn, Kimchee (named after its famous national dish), is a sleek, stylish and bustling restaurant with an open-plan kitchen so you can watch the chefs prepare your meal. Definitely one of the best in London!

KOBA
11 Rathbone Street, Soho, W1T 1NA
020 7580 8825

Be sure to try the delicious meats like beef kalbi or bulgogi. They also have some great Korean beers and soju, which are well worth trying.

ARANG
9 Golden Square, W1F 9HZ
020 7434 2073

Arang has some fantastic classic dishes with traditional ingredients. Just off Regent Street, the location makes it easy to walk to from the hotel.

A LITTLE FURTHER OUT

DOTORI
3A Stroud Green Rd, N4 2DQ
020 7263 3562

Since opening in 2008 (near Finsbury Park station) Dotori has been treating guests to a blend of Korean and Japanese dishes. Make sure you get Concierge to book you a table in advance as it is always packed with locals.

CAH-CHI
34 Durham Road, Raynes Park, SW20 0TW
020 8947 1081

With two locations in the south of the city, Cah-Chi offer some of the best Korean offerings in the capital. Make a day of it and explore the leafy suburbs of Wimbledon Common and Raynes Park. 

For more information on how you can discover a taste of Korea in London, speak to our Concierge team or visit london.korean-culture.org

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Theo Randall Zucchini Fritti

Have you heard, it's National Chip Week this week? If you've visited Theo Randall at the InterContinental recently, you may have tried his Zucchini Fritti; our Italian spin on chips!

To make these delicious alternatives, simply follow this simple recipe (serves 4 people)

12 x zucchini
300g tipo 00 flour
4tbs olive oil
250ml warm water
1 egg white
2 litres of sunflower oil

1. Slice the zucchini in half and then into finger size battens
2. Mix flour and oil in a bowl together with warm water until smooth consistency like double cream
3. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks then carefully fold into the batter
4. Dip each zucchini into batter then deep fry in the sunflower oil until crisp and light brown in colour

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 The Ship Wandsworth

If we had a pound for every time a guest asked us for a great pub recommendation, we’d be millionaires in a matter of months. We’re very lucky with our unique location to have so many establishments within a few steps of the InterContinental London Park Lane, but we would always say that it depends on what you’re looking for and sometimes going a little bit further for a particular experience can be as rewarding as popping to the local for a pint or two. We’ve put together some recommendations, some on our doorstep and others worth going the extra mile for that unique experience.

Within walking distance:

The Guinea
Widely considered to be London’s oldest surviving pub, the building has served as an inn since 1423. Over the next 500 years it established itself as a firm favourite with the local stable hands and servants employed by the rich and wealthy houses of Berkeley Square. Today, it continues to win numerous awards for its Steak and Kidney pies… what more could one ask for!

30 Bruton Place, Mayfair

The Nag’s Head
Knightsbridge, with its multimillion pound apartments, cavalcade of Ferraris, worldrenowned department stores and fashion houses, is also home to one of London’s most eccentric original pubs. The Nag’s Head is over 300 years old and feels like it, with artefacts strewn all over the walls, shelves and ceilings. The contrast between the pub and the neighbourhood is worth experiencing alone, but be sure to keep your mobile phone in your pocket for fear of facing the landlord’s wrath.

53 Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge

Ye Grapes or The Market Tavern

Tucked between Piccadilly and Curzon Street is Shepherd Market, the true origins of Mayfair as we know it today. Needless to say, a pint or two in this historical location is one of London’s most truly authentic experiences. Dating back to 1882, Ye Grapes can be a bit of a tourist trap, whilst local suits from surrounding offices tend to prefer the zeitgeist offering from the more modern Market Tavern, which has an excellent menu and speciality draught beers.

7 Shepherd Street & 16 Shepherd Market, Mayfair

A little further afield:

The Ship

The Ship, formerly the Thameside Waterman’s Inn, has sat on the banks of the Thames since 1786. It’s as perfect on a sunny day to sit overlooking the river as it is to be cosy and warm on a cold and blustery day having a pint by the open fire. The dining options
range from an al fresco, all day barbecue to a convivial à la carte restaurant. It can get extremely busy at the weekend, so be prepared for the occasional long wait for a pint, (with our tip being to head for the outdoor cabanastyle bar for shorter queues).

41 Jews Row, Wandsworth

The Bull
When The Bull opened last year it promised to be “a great public house for the enjoyment of the local community”. Well, it might be slightly off the beaten track from our Mayfair address, but you will definitely be treated like a local when you step into this neighbourhood pub which is unique for the small microbrewery that they have installed, called The London Brewing Company. Brewing enthusiasts can even time their visit to coincide with one of the regular beer events, hosted by head brewer, Steve Grey.

13 North Hill, Highgate

Ye Olde Mitre
Built in the mid-1500s, this quiet unassuming pub has an incredible history. Up until the 1970s, it actually fell under the jurisdiction of a town in Cambridge, over 60 miles away, as it was on land belonging to the Palace of the Bishops of Ely; even the local constabulary was not permitted to enter the premises. The shift in licensing to the City of London is about the only thing to have changed in centuries. Previous clientele ranges from Queen Elizabeth I to Brad Pitt, clearly attracted by the real ales and what Eaman the landlord refers to “English tapas at its best” – pork pies, scotch eggs and toasted sandwiches. Do note that the pub is only open Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). 

1 Ely Court, Hatton Garden, Holborn

For more information and recommendations, please speak to the Concierge team. Don't forget to let us know your favourites too!  

 

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February Hero

London Fashion Week  - 14th-18th February

London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and one of the 'big four' international catwalk influencers. There are over 120 events during the course of the week with an estimated £100m worth or orders being placed. Expect to see up-and-coming talent, London's fashion elite as well as global stars. 

For more information visit londonfashionweek.co.uk

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HuffPostTheo

As part of my weekly '
Recipe for the Week' series for the Huffington Post, I share how to create a traditional Minestrone Soup with Cannellini Beans; the perfect winter warmer.

Watch the full video recipe here. Be sure to post your photos of your  finished creations on my Facebook page for your chance to win dinner for two at Theo Randall at the InterContinental

Happy cooking!

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Royal London Walking Tours

The 'Royal London Walk' by Walk London offers tours for all abilities. See the best of London's royal heritage by foot, from St. James's Park to Kensington Gardens. 

The tour takes you on a journey through central London's historic and prestigious royal palaces, households and other related attractions, most of which can be visited.
St James's Park → The Mall → St James's Palace → Clarence House → Buckingham Palace → The Royal Mews → Constitution Hill → Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner → Apsley House, No 1 London → Hyde Park → Serpentine Gallery → Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain → Albert Memorial → Royal Albert Hall → Kensington Gardens → Kensington Palace → Round Pond → Peter Pan Statue

For more information about London walks, please speak to Concierge

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East End Shopping

The 2012 Games brought regeneration and international attention to the East End of London that has put it firmly on the mustvisit map. East London is teaming with a creativity that has inspired some of the most stylish shopping anywhere in the world. We asked London experts Urban Gentry to compile the best places to shop. 

House of Liza

House of Liza is an independent boutique specialising in unique vintage clothes by designers known for their uncompromising creative vision. Their ethos is to offer and introduce a selection of cuttingedge, highly collectable vintage fashion by visionary designers. The collection contains a selection from avant-garde fashion from the 60s to the 90s. Designers include Kansai Yamamoto, Courrèges, JC de Castelbajac, Stephen Sprouse, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Montana, Thierry Mugler and Jean
Paul Gaultier. 

Urban Gentry says: Fascinating stop for the fashion serious and anyone interested in design, creativity and the work of
visionary thinkers. 

9 Pearson Street, E2 8JD, houseofliza.co.uk

LN-CC
Situated in a non-descript building in hip Dalston with entry granted on an appointment-only basis, LN-CC is one of London’s,
(if not Europe’s), most exciting high-end concept stores: mixing fashion, design, music and books. 

Urban Gentry says: Unique, inspiring and truly unexpected.

18 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EZ, ln-cc.com

Hostem
One of London’s leading multibrand menswear boutiques. The store mixes casual yet luxe streetwear designers with the niche, the unexpected and the directional. 

Urban Gentry says: Menswear designer heaven.

41-43 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ, hostem.co.uk

Pitfield London
The brainchild of interior designer Shaun Clarkson and textiles designer Paul Brewster, Pitfield London is a beautiful space,
mixing a café and interiors store. 

Urban Gentry says: Lovingly curated collection of interior, vintage-inspired products along with delicious eats.

31-35 Pitfield Street, N1 6HB, pitfieldlondon.com 

11 Boundary
Relaxed, high-end casual wear and womenswear boutique from fashion industry stalwart Deborah Winstanley. Stock includes many hard to find and exclusive to London brands. Urban Gentry says: For women with refined and understated taste. 

11 Boundary, E2 7JE, 11boundary.com

For more information on Urban Gentry, visit UrbanGentry.com

Patty Kahn

InterContinental London 
Park Lane’s Director of Communications, Patty Kahn (our own East End enthusiast), tells Insider her perfect day out. 

One of my favourite Saturday activities is a trip to Broadway Market, nestled just between Regents Canal and London Fields. The market really celebrates the culinary creativity that is happening in the area. Go hungry and sample some of the local street food vendors or the diverse selection of restaurants. If you are lucky you might see ‘Word on the Water’; a bookshop on a barge that travels up and down the canal. Plus you are right near London Fields Brewery so you can stop off for a pint. Broadway Market is open every Saturday from 9am-5pm. Shoreditch is home to a collection of incredible Vietnamese restaurants and it is worth a trip to Kingsland Road. Everyone has a favourite… I personally like Viet Hoa Café or Mien Tay, although it is hard to go wrong in the area. The flower market on Columbia Road is also a brilliant London tradition. On Sunday the street is transformed into a haven of plants and flowers. Take a leisurely walk and see one of the best foliage collections in the capital. Get there early to enjoy the market in full bloom. 

For more information, please speak to Concierge

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Science Meets Art
The Science Museum might not be top of your mind when looking for art exhibits, but the institution has opened Media Space, a major new photography and art gallery that will showcase the National Photography Collection from the National Media Museum. The Science Museum commissioned art and design collective Universal Everything to create Universal Everything & You, a new two-part installation.

Now in its 16th year, The Science Museum’s Contemporary Arts Programme commissions artists to respond to the past, present and future of science and technology through interventions, exhibitions, research and events. This year the museum will host an exhibit by Matt Pyke, founder of the UK digital design and art collective, Universal Everything. We spoke to Matt about the exhibit, his work and how digital art can enable anyone to turn their homes into galleries.

Matt Portrait by Shaun Bloodworth

What is Universal Everything?
Formed in 2004, Universal Everything is a hybrid studio for digital art and design. Founded and led by me from my studio in Sheffield, it operates as a collective of programmers, musicians, animators, directors and designers from studios worldwide.

What is digital art?
Digital art is about working with materials. Software, screens and internet connectivity combine to allow outcomes which challenge and elaborate beyond familiar uses of everyday technologies.

Tell us about the new show, Universal Everything & You?
It’s a new site-specific installation for the Media Space at The Science Museum. The space combines immersive architectural structure, large-scale projections, sound and mobile interactions. The works were created in collaboration with an architect, a choreographer, dancers, programmers and musicians. There are two elements to the show… The first work, 1000 Hands, is an interactive work with a mobile app, which allows visitors to contribute touchscreen drawings that are brought to life, reacting to a soundtrack. Secondly, Presence is a life-size projection that shows dancers choreographed to the soundtrack.

You have been credited with bringing warmth and humanism to digital art. How important is public collaboration in this?
With today’s technologies being so intuitive and social, we are exploring the potential of making the audience part of the work. This notion of releasing the work into the wild and witnessing the unpredictable results, keeps our studio as engaged as the audience.

How has the UK championed digital art?
The UK has had some major exhibitions we have been proud to be part of, such as Decode at the V&A, and the OneDotZero digital film festival. Much of the activity happens at grassroots level, in studios across the UK and shared across websites such as vimeo.com, processing.org and creativeapplications.com.

Where in the world is your work most celebrated?
Our first major show was in 2011, at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris. We made 12 new works, which have since shown in Beijing, Moscow, London and South Korea. This has had a big impact on the direction of the studio. Recently we have worked a lot in South Korea, one of the most technologically advanced societies. The capital Seoul is full of large scale media facades, with a very tech savvy audience who are always hungry for something they have never seen before.

Do you take regular breaks from the online world?
Personally, I try to stay offline, away from the noise and distraction of technology as often as possible. It gives me a distant viewpoint of things, which informs the work with larger ideas, beyond being seduced by the magic of the software.

How do you see digital art growing in the future?
The rapidly reducing cost of large scale screens will allow more opportunities for public display, the ubiquity of mobile apps will continue to engage audiences in new and provocative ways and the emergence of app stores for TV will allow everybody to turn their homes into a digital art gallery. I’m excited, we are close to the tipping point.

Universal Everything & You runs until 7th February 2014 at the Science Museum. More information can be found at sciencemuseum.org.uk/universaleverything

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Spa InterContinental Quick Fix Menu

Spa InterContinental has introduced a results-led menu designed to simplify and meet the demands of daily life. Radhika Khandke, Spa InterContinental Manager, says 'the 60 minute customisable grooming and treatment menu will leave guests looking and feeling revitalised. It's a great solution for a January pick-me-up which will help to banish away the winter blues'.  

For those with a little extra time to spare, Spa InterContinental is offering a complimentary dry flotation bed experience with every 60 minute Quick Fix. Just 20 minutes on this dry flotation therapy bed, cocooned in warm blankets, is reported to be the equivalent to three hours sleep.

From manicures and pedicures to waxing and targeted facials using efficacy trialled British skincare brand Elemis, Spa InterContinental is a haven for those on a tight-schedule. 

Download the 60 Minute Quick Fix menu.

For more information or to book visit Spa InterContinental, call +44 (0)20 7318 8691 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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London Ice Sculpting Festival

The London Ice Sculpting Festival makes an impressive return to Canary Wharf this weekend with a collection of show-stopping sculptures made from big blocks of ice. The festival includes many highlights where visitors are encouraged to take part, as well as a spectacular laser show, imitating the Northern Lights. Take the Jubilee Line from Green Park straight to Canary Wharf , just a short walk from the hotel. 

Insider Tip
For those that are keen on learning a new skill, the festival offers the opportunity to take part in an ice-carving Masterclass. Let us help you to book your place.

Find out more at londonicesculptingfestival.co.uk. Wood Wharf, Jubilee Place Shopping Malls, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AX

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 American Sports

In 2013 there were two games: first, the Minnesota Vikings “hosted” the Pittsburgh Steelers in September, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the San Francisco 49ers on 27th October. In fact, the Jaguars will be regular visitors to London over the next four seasons, with owner Shad Khan confirming their intention to play annually in London until 2016. Following quickly in the NFL’s footsteps, the NBA staged its first regular season basketball game in London in 2011 at the O2 Arena, continuing annually with the next match being Brooklyn Nets versus the Atlanta Hawks on 16th January 2014. This will be the eighth NBA game to take place in London, but only the third year that the game has counted towards the regular NBA season. So, why is it that London can attract these powerful American sporting events and keep them coming back for more? Apart from the appeal of visiting our great city, there are obvious commercial goals associated to these events.

Every NFL match at Wembley has sold out several months in advance and within 48 hours of tickets going on sale. That’s 86,000 ticket sales, which is about 20,000 more than a capacity crowd for the Vikings and Jaguars, for example. But it’s not just that “simple math”. The NFL’s International Commercial Director Marc Reeves recently pointed out that up to 82% of ticket sales to the Wembley games are NFL-hungry Brits and that the NFL is now the sixth most-watched sport on the UK’s Sky Sports channel. He genuinely believes that there is a franchise opportunity for a team seeking to expand its fan base here in London, noting especially the appeal of the NFL to young audiences; “If we get you before you’re 19, there’s a far greater likelihood you’ll be a fan for life”, says Reeves, explaining further that the main focus has been to engage this avid group of fans through social media and maximise on-demand access to the sport.

82% of ticket sales to the Wembley games were bought by British fans

Isn’t our sport good enough, we hear you cry? Well, actually, it’s more about the fans than the sport. Take our beloved game of football, (“soccer”….), for example. The global appeal of the English Premier League’s leading teams is simply astonishing. Manchester United boasts 350 million fans, with over 200 official, (and countless unofficial), fan clubs worldwide. Chelsea lays claim to 140 million fans, many of which are located in Asia where they have carried out heavy marketing campaigns. Arsenal has 115 million and Liverpool has over 70 million fans globally.

Unsurprisingly, US interest in the Brits as a passionate sporting nation has been gathering pace. By 2013, 30% of English Premier League (EPL) clubs are under American ownership, including Manchester United, Liverpool and the majority stake in Arsenal. Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is the latest to come to the EPL party having purchased Fulham FC this summer. Whilst American ownership has often divided British fans’ opinions, they do arguably keep these teams competitive. The question is, will London be deemed appealing enough to an owner to sustain a franchise from the NFL or the NBA? That might be some way off and even improbable, but in the meantime we’ll enjoy the annual regular season games as if they were our own.

InterContinental London Park Lane is honoured to have hosted the NFL and various NFL teams for the past six years. Last autumn, we welcomed the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers to the hotel, with the Atlanta Hawks descending for their NBA game this month.

Speak to our Concierge to find out more about getting last minute tickets for these matches.

International Series Games

2013: Vikings 34, Steelers 27
49ers 42, Jaguars 10

2012: Patriots 45, Rams 7

2011: Bears 24, Buccaneers 18

2010: 49ers 24, Broncos 16

2009: Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7

2008: Saints 37, Chargers 32

2007: Giants 13, Dolphins 10

 

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