London Bars & Restaurants

Courtyard at Taj St James’ Court – A Hidden Gem

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The Taj, St James’ Court is a luxury hotel conveniently located near major tourist attractions in Central London. It is a stone’s throw from popular spots like The Buckingham Palace, Big Ben & Parliament Square . For eminent business personalities from India, politicians, Bollywood Stars & the Indian Cricket team, The Taj is the most sought after place to stay.

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For me , its a home away from home. The warmth and love that this Hotel exudes is unmissable. From the moment you enter until you leave; you are treated like a Gem.  Extremely courteous & polite staff, impeccable service standards, Taj St James’ court truly is a world class Hotel. The interiors are Crisp and elegant, with the signature Taj warmth. I call it a mixture of architecture & culture , where ‘ Edwardian meets Indian ‘ .

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The cherub-ordained fountain right in the centre of the courtyard is a true masterpiece. It is a secluded spot and is very versatile. You can choose it for a business lunch or a romantic meal with equal ease.

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I love Al fresco dining  & the courtyard at The Taj is my favourite retreat.​ The courtyard is ideal for a quiet ‘me time’ over coffee or a glass of wine.

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I enjoy a glass of red wine occasionally . ‘ Chateau de Ricuard Cadillac – Cotes de Bordeaux 2010 ‘ is my favourite at the Courtyard.

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My glass of Bordeaux pairs well with the Summer Salad – Rocket, Kumquat,Watermelon, Feta & Pine Nuts.

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I have patronized the courtyard as my hot spot for an early evening cocktail session with my loved ones. Come & visit the Taj St James’ court & experience its multi-faceted charms .

So which is your favorite Luxury Hotel & why  ? Write to me & share your experiences !

St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, 54 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AF, UK
Tel +44 20 7834 6655

London Bars & Restaurants

Locando Locatelli , London – Where Brad Pitt entertained Madonna & Jamie Oliver

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“It’s more a case of who hasn’t been here.” The reason celebrities like Brad Pitt, Madonna, Kate Moss,Simon Cowell , flock here is because of its simplicity, no paparazzi, no glitz, The decor is plain, simple & discreet . After winning a Michelin star in just under 4 years for Zafferano at Belgravia, Giorgio – the head chef & his wife ventured out and opened Locanda Locatelli  . Now as chef patron, Giorgio has established Locanda Locatelli as a place noted as much for its intimacy and family atmosphere as the quality of its food.

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The ambience at Locanda Locatelli is relaxed and laid back. The flowing sheer curtains offer a sense of privacy with the atmosphere of family dining .There is a dedicated private dining area for 12-50 people if you prefer an intimate setting. For celebrities, family & close friends, they always have a table reserved- its a discreet dining spot, table no 11, right next to the kitchen area.

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Meeting family when you are away from your homeland is always special.  Special occasions call for setting to match. Av evening over good food & wine is the perfect way to relax & reconnect with family . Our mantra for the evening was complete indulgence.. A glass of Champagne Drappier, Carte d’Or was a good start..

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Although i am not a bread basket person, this one made me forget my ‘low carbs’ vow . This garlic bread portion was soft , crisp and appetizing. I simply could not resist.

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We ordered a bottle of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2012. It  is a deep ruby red, very crisp, clean-edged bouquet. For starters we had Capocollo, finferli, rucola e cipolline al balsamico –Cured neck of pork, Girolle mushrooms, balsamic onion. Delicious- bursting with flavors. 

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Another interesting dish was ‘Tagliatelle al ragù di capretto ‘ –Pasta with kid goat ragù and chilli. Rich, Velvety and full of zest. Strongly recommended!

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 For main course, i chose fish. ‘Sogliola arrosto, macedonia di verdure’ – Roast lemon sole with “Risina” beans, seasonal vegetables and basil pesto. An effortless fish with fresh vegetables -so very healthy. However I felt the beans were a misfit but overall, a great dish to finish off the evening. 

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I wish i had gone easy on the garlic bread & left room for Desserts . I have a very sweet tooth & that gives me another reason to come back here.

“Happiness is only real when shared ”   Looking forward to many more!

Locanda Locatelli ,8 Seymour Street ,London W1H 7JZ

Tel: +44 020 7935 9088

 

 

London Bars & Restaurants

Bank Westminster – The Longest Bar in Europe & much more !

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Now this brasserie & Bar has been right under my nose all this while and i never took notice . Perhaps my love for the Courtyard at the Taj St James’s court never let me look elsewhere. Its only when the Courtyard was closed for a private function, i explored further. Bank Westminster & Zander Bar is a stylish , modern contemporary style dining and drinking place in the heart of Westminster. Its a stone’s throw from Buckingham palace gardens and is close to many Tourist attractions like the Big Ben, The Parliament Square & The Westminster Abbey .

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Cool in summers, warm in winters, that’s the charm of a conservatory style dining place. With Taj St James’s tranquil but versatile courtyard as the backdrop, you can choose The Bank for all your formal & casual rendezvous .

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The Zander Bar is crowned the Longest Bar in Europe ! You have to see it to believe it. The atmosphere inside is convivial , there is enough seating & more to accommodate all sorts . Whether you are in a post work-large group setting or wish for a ‘ tete- a – tete’ time, you will find a place here , one that’s just perfect for your mood.

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Bar staff at Zander is extremely courteous and friendly. They offered us a guided tour of the entire Bar  including their extensive liquor collection. What caught our fancy was a liquor bottle called Snake Venom.  It is an alcoholic beverage that includes a whole venomous snake in the bottle. The snake is not preserved for its meat but to have the snake poison dissolved in the liquor. However, the snake venom is denatured by the ethanol; its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactivated. This bottle was gifted to Zander Bar by a guest staying at the Taj . Snakes are widely believed to possess medicinal qualities . Shots anyone ?

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We hit the Bar at  4 pm; a very odd time for anything. We  decided to nibble a little and save our drinking marathon for later. Chicken Satay with Lemongrass & Fish cakes were just perfect, light and satiating!

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Ended our early evening chatter with a frothy cup of cappuccino …

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You can choose to sit outside as this place offers Alfresco dining as well. However it is recommended only if you are on a casual outing or in a people watching mood. Zander bar is located on a very busy noisy street. It is flooded with tourist buses & taxis during the day. Post 6 pm , outside seating is preferred.

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Zander Bar is a perfect place to unwind after a hectic day of sightseeing. For office goers & residents around this area, it is a novel change from the Local pubs & ‘run off the mill’ chain restaurants that Victoria is flooded with.

Bank Westminster & Zander Bar ,45 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6BS, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7630 6644

The Perfect Gift

Dom Perignon Champagne – for the Special Occasions in life!

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Leave close friends,family and clients in awe by gifting this stunning arrangement of unparalleled elegance. Dom Perignon is a legendary brand that has set the standard for combining luxury with heavenly taste. They are known for their artful approach to perfecting vintage Champagne. Dom Perignon Vintage are created from the best grapes in a single year. The vintage version is not released when the harvest does not meet its ideal standard. An ample, powerful caress combining notes of white pepper, flowers, pear, mango, aniseed and ginger. A classic accompaniment to a Birthday or a wedding/ Anniversary celebration. Dom Perignon is A perfect gift, a prized possession indeed!

London Bars & Restaurants

CINNAMON SOHO – Modern Indian fare at London’s iconic ‘swinging sixties’ street

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Cinnamon Soho is another feather in the cap of famous Indian Chef Vivek Singh{Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen fame} Right off the cobbles of Carnaby Street, Cinnamon Soho offers Singh’s acclaimed modern Indian cuisine infused with some saucy British favourites.
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The Interiors at Cinnamon Soho bring forth the warmth , vibrancy and aroma of the Indian flavours , the wall colors and overall decor stimulate the appetite & hearty conversations.

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The occasion to dine at Cinnamon Soho was a reunion of sorts ! A dear friend had an interview lined up that day but was sweet enough to squeeze in a quick Lunch meet up. Gayatri – my blogger friend {www.tangyberries.com} & I needed just another reason to celebrate London. This time we cheered over the onset of summers. I ordered a chilled Naked Espresso Martini – vodka infused with coffee beans, tobacco bitters and vanilla. Gayatri tried out the refreshing Mango Lassi made with natural yoghurt. Perfect summer refreshments !

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Cinnamon Soho is my go-to place whenever i crave Indian Street Food in London.Papri Chaat is crispy, spicy, served with tangy chutneys and yoghurt- just the way it is served back home. The Indo-Chinese style chicken with burnt chillies is fiery, so try it only if you tummy can handle Hot! My favourite at Cinnamon Soho is a vegetarian dish – Spinach dumplings in tomato fenugreek sauce. The dumplings just melt in your mouth, absolutely Delish !

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Cinnamon Soho serves the best Masala tea in London Town . The concoction is nearly perfect. We further spiced up our Tea time with Garam masala sticky toffee pudding & banana ice cream . The most exquisite melange ! You have to try it to believe it.

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There’s an additional smattering of alfresco seating on Kingly Street perfect for people watching. In terms of service and staff feedback…nothing but praise! Extremely courteous and attentive, Special mention to Francis for his outstanding service .

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Whenever you are in London next, don’t forget to Step under the iconic arch of the world famous Carnaby Street {off Regent street} and explore Cinnamon Soho – the best new Indian restaurant with London’s top movers and shakers.

Cinnamon Soho ,5 Kingly street,London W1B 5PF
Tel: 0207 437 1664

Royal Indian Fables

Raj Niwas Palace – Dholpur , India

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Tucked away in a quiet town of Dholpur, Hotel Raj Niwas Palace is a picturesque boutique property offering royal hospitality and heritage charm . It is a peaceful retreat, conveniently located between Agra and Gwalior , an hour’s drive in either direction , thus creating a great home base for a visit to the Taj Mahal or Gwalior city .

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Endearingly called the Dholpur Palace, this exclusive palace provides its  guests with a rich cultural history. Once home to generations of Royals, this converted palace still reflects the magnificence of the Rajasthani architecture of that era. Expect to be pampered in a delightful mix of old-world courtesies, sophisticated style and international facilities .

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Swim, enjoy, relax, pamper, regenerate !

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Carpets from Isfahan in Persia; ceilings, walls clad with tiles from Europe and China in rich emerald green and crimson; floors covered in intricate mosaics transported from West Asia by camel kafilas; every room spilling over with artifacts from across the 19th century. Rajniwas Palace is a Royal Retreat , truly a hidden gem!

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Rejuvenating and gripping outdoor space is the highlight of Raj Niwas Palace. You can enjoy an Al fresco meal in the hotel’s garden specially prepared by a dedicated in-house chef. The restaurant serves an eclectic mix of delicacies and exotic beverages in antique porcelain and silver cutlery sets.​ Plan a visit to Raj Niwas Palace and rediscover true opulence and grandeur, style & substance .

RajNiwas Palace, Dholpur, Rajasthan, 328001,India

Tel – 91+ 7665002151

Weekend Getaways

The Catherine Wheel- Bibury, Steeped in History

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Dating back to the 15th century, Catherine Wheel is steeped in history… The Catherine Wheel was born in 1856: the building was bought by Mr. J.Hathaway.With its low beams, stone walls and large log fires, the inn became a success.
The current owners to The Catherine Wheel have succeeded in providing a warm welcome, comfy accommodation, good local ales and quality food made from local ingredients. Surrounded by picture perfect cottages & fairy-tale like scenery, it offers a refreshing break from our mundane lives.The highlight of The Catherine Wheel & areas around it – There is no mobile network available . Disconnecting from the digital world & going on a complete Digital Detox is something we all must consciously indulge in .

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Did you know ‘ Bibury ‘ is described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” .  Another interesting trivia – Arlington Row in Bibury {pic above} is featured as a water mark image on front inside cover of the British Passport. This row of cottages has become very popular with visitors from both the UK & abroad.

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So plan a weekend getaway to Bibury now & dont forget to pop into The Catherine Wheel . All we need is love & peace & a pint in this quaint little village!
A special thanks to Lindsey at The Catherine Wheel for her exceptional service, smiles and warmth.

The Catherine Wheel- Bibury ,Cotswolds GL7 5ND, UK
Tel :+44 (0) 1285740250

London Bars & Restaurants

Zafferano

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Zafferano first opened in the heart of Central London’s exclusive Belgravia area in 1995. You can expect authentic Home style Italian Dishes that are served with an italian flavoured accent.The impressive Cocktail & Wine List makes it a perfect set up for an evening out with close friends. If you are a quasi beginner with wine selection like me, then i suggest you make full use of the in-house Sommelier at Zafferano. You will be skilfully guided towards the wine perfect for your palate . I am an Al Fresco Diner. Pleasantly fresh-aired dining venues set up with lounging & relaxing patio furniture make me connect with my food and my drink on a celestial level. I find indoor dining very stuffy so i choose my dining and drinking places after much research. Zafferano has a beautiful fully heated outdoor seating area .It is completely weather proof and lets you enjoy a meal or a drink no matter how unpredictable the weather gets. Zafferano at Belgravia is definitely a part of my list of the top restaurants in central london ,a true Gem in every sense of the word . The staff is very warm and friendly and makes you feel like a part of their little Italian family!

Zafferano , 15 Lowndes Street, London SW1X 9EY, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7235 5800

Afternoon Tea

The Ritz Hotel – London

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It doesn’t get more British than this. An afternoon Tea session at The Ritz London is considered an institution in itself. Its a place ‘ to see & be seen ‘. The Ritz Hotel is not for the casual dresser. You have to dress to impress. Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie (jeans are not permitted) No written dress code for Ladies but i would like to share a famous quote by Coco Chanel here “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

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I am sure you got the drift ! Trainers or sportswear are not permitted in any of the hotels Clubs, restaurants or bars . Getting dressed for an afternoon tea event can be daunting but dressing up for The Ritz is worth the effort .

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So skip the sightseeing lane, throw your walking shoes away and get dressed to experience ‘All things British’.

Traditional Afternoon Tea settings take place at: 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30 , Prior Reservations required

The Ritz , 150 Piccadilly, London , W1J 9BR, UK
Tel +44 20 7493 8181