British Summer Time officially ends this weekend, though I think we’ll all agree that the summer feels like a distant memory at this point anyway. So, now that we don’t have daylight to enjoy, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for things to do in this autumnal dreariness that don’t require any natural light – and may in fact be better without.
The new Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé 2004
Last Thursday Laurent-Perrier simultaneously launched their new vintage cuvée in seven cities across the world – London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, New York, Rio, and Marrakesh.
London’s launch party took place at the Sofitel St James’s with members Alexandra is the daughter of the late Bernard de Nonancourt, who was the head of house at Laurent-Perrier and responsible for making the brand what it is today.
He created a rosé champagne specifically for the wedding of his daughter in the late Eighties and the Alexandra Cuvée was the result; the 2004 is the latest vintage of this cuvée.
Alexandra – the epitome of the effortlessly chic French woman – very graciously spent the evening away from her husband (it was, aptly, her wedding anniversary) to launch the vintage.
Her choice of London over Paris highlights the significance of the UK market with regards consumption of rosé champagne – the British drink more rosé champagne than anyone else outside of France. Our tastes, therefore, have significant influence over its production.
The 2004 vintage has been ageing for the past eight years and is now reaching perfect balance (or so I’m told by David Hesketh, MD of Laurent-Perrier and a Master of Wine). It is a blend of 80 per cent Pinot Noir and 20 per cent Chardonnay and, unusually, they are macerated together to produce a powerful yet elegant wine.
Showcased during the first course of an intimate dinner, the salmon-pink champagne showed great minerality, delicate berry notes and a lovely stream of velvety soft, very fine bubbles. It is an exquisite wine (best served in a magnum, obviously) and is available to buy in Harrods for £260.
Maybe a little much for a casual Friday night tipple but perfect for a special occasion to lift the spirits.
AD12 at T42
Yes, this does sounds like some sort of issue at an airport or something you might hear during a visit to the dentist but fear not, this is the latest pop-up from Restaurant Associates and Anthony Demetre (pictured left) at Tower 42 in the city.
The idea is to bring a less formal version of the dining available at Demetre’s Michelin starred restaurants (like Arbutus and Wild Honey) to the tower for twelve weeks and it looks to be the first in a series of collaborations with top chefs.
The view from the restaurant is fantastic, especially at night, though we are not really short of restaurants with great views at the moment (thanks, The Shard). So, the USP here should be the food. My starter of crispy pig’s head – essentially the best bits of cheek, tongue etc formed into a non-terrifying terrine – with potato purée and mustard fruits had a wonderful deep flavour, a rich jus and cream-filled mashed potato.
The flourless gnocchi with scallops and smoked eel was perfectly cooked but a little, and I hate to say it, bland (pictured below).
Much like the mains, sadly. The wild halibut was crying out for some pan-fried colour and flavour, and while the accompanying squash, girolles, shrimps and red quinoa salad were rather lovely, the over-large quenelle of salted butter atop it added nothing to dish, and in fact swamped it.
The rabbit cottage pie was hearty but when asked which element of the dish was his favourite, my Canadian Mountie friend replied ‘the kale’. Don’t get me wrong: the dishes were good, but they just fell a little short of expectations.
If you’re looking for a good meal with a snazzy view, excellent people watching potential and hours of fun going up and down in the lift this certainly fits the bill but for Demetre at his best I’d go to Arbutus.
So from fine dining to playing in a car park and underground bunker. Night Tales, the latest (ad)venture from the people behind Dalston Roof Park, is bringing great food, smashing drinks and some pretty jazzy music together every Thursday-Saturday from 7 November until Christmas.
The food will be provided by Smokey Tails, Patty and Bun, BOA (recent winners at the Young British Foodies) and Rainbo. So, that gives you BBQ, burgers, delicious steamed pork buns and gyoza right from the start and other vendors will be added as the project develops. Graduates from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme will also be trading.
Drinks will include hot spiced cider and Absinthe-spiked hot chocolate as well as a Negroni Station (for those after a manly beverage), plus cocktails from Las Perlas mezcal bar.
All of that will be mixed with a soundtrack of everything from Jazz to DJs, open log fires and a completely covered site, which means that you will be able to enjoy the winter fun regardless of the weather. There will also be a bunker featuring art installations and interactive experiences. Sounds rather fun. There are no tickets but a £3 donation is asked for on the door.
Dalston, obviously. Abbot Street Car Park, E8 3DL