EAT, DRINK, LOVE
EXPLORE THE HIPPEST PLACES TO EAT AND THE TONIEST CRIBS TO STAY AND MAKE MERRY IN LONDON AND SCOTLAND
EXPLORE THE BEST CULINARY AND HOSPITALITY DELIGHTS IN THE BRITISH ISLES
Aheightened sense of life surrounds London, with its towering architecture and imperial references that offer a sense of familiarity. Yet the river-side city shakes the ennui ever so often, with a new hang-out mushrooming in a different part of the capital, ever so often. While there is much to discover, here’s our pick of the best.
Tucked in a quiet corner of the posh Mayfair district, The Beaumont Hotel is a luxurious treat for those who enjoy Art Deco and Parisian vintage flair. The five-star boutique hotel was originally built in 1926 by the famous architecture firm, Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie, with 23 studios/suites and 50 rooms. The Roaring Twenties are reimagined in many rooms and corridors, and the guests-only Cub Room houses exceptional oil on canvas paintings and photographs from that era. The rooms spell comfort and indulgence, from the heated marble-andmosaic tiles in the bathroom to bespoke toiletries by D R Harris (chemists to the British Royal Family since 1938). Be sure to try the pastries and almond croissants for breakfast that are specially prepared in the wee hours of the morning every day.
The most unique part is the ‘room without a view’ that sits above the entrance of the hotel. Built in cubist style by British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, the suite resembles a man seated on his haunches. It’s simply called the ROOM; it’s bereft of furniture, save for a bed and costs about £1,250 (`1.2 lakh) for a night.
The complimentary drive in the vintage black Daimler car feels right out of a James Bond movie. It’s an experience unlike any another, as you slip back in time and
THE BEAUMONT HOTEL AT MAYFAIR IS A PEEK INTO PARISIAN LUXURY FROM THE ROARING TWENTIES
enjoy the ride. Room for two `39,207 for two per night For more details The Beaumont Hotel, 8 Balderton St, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair www.thebeaumont.com
SPIT OF THE SEA
You may bump into Kate Moss, Harry Styles or Goldie Hawn at the hottest Asian fish and seafood restaurant, Sexy Fish located at Berkeley Square, Mayfair. It’s frequented by UK’s rich and glamorous, including former Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife. But the décor is far from opulent; it is smart, casual and the intention is to let the diner concentrate on the food.
Luckily, there is a lot of good food to focus on, such as the delicate yet wholesome sea bream fillet and the most delicious rhubarb crumble ice cream whose flavours linger long after the ice cream melts.
Art lovers have much to fuss over too, as it has one of the most expensive artworks ever commissioned for a restaurant. A massive wire and silicone crocodile by Frank Gerhy (who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and Guggenheim Museum, Spain) stands at 13 feet on the main wall. Meanwhile, two enchanting bronze mermaids by Damien Hirst adorn the corners of the bar top while the partially nude blue patina figures are caught in a delightfully ecstatic moment. The aquatic theme is echoed in the private dining room in the basement called The Coral Reef that even boasts a wall aquarium. Meal for two `6,500 without alcohol
For more details Sexy Fish, Berkeley Square www.sexyfish.com
SIMPLICITY AND FLAVOUR
Michelin starred restaurant Dabbous on Whitfield Street, London is the place to go for a modern take on dining. The food is delicious yet simplistic, while the décor is industrial with metal, steer and wooden beams running across the two-storey set-up. The basement houses Oskar’s Bar that serves interesting cocktails like Sugar Plum Fairy with BarSol Pisco from Peru and Kamma... kammeleon with limited edition Kamm & Sons Islay cask and melon liqueur. The flavours are complex but refreshing with names inspired by 80s pop hits. The food is beautifully curated and the fact that one can taste the ingredients individually is testament to the chef ’s mastery.
Meal for two Set lunch—three-course meal at £28 ( `2,321 approx) and four-course at £35( `2,902 approx), set dinner—£59 ( `4,892 approx) For more details Dabbous, 39 Whitfield St, Fitzrovia www.dabbous.co.uk
It’s surprising how Scotland often gets overlooked on a typical itinerary, especially when its capital Edinburgh or Aberdeen are well within a two-hour flight from London.
This northernmost stretch of the UK is truly a visual spectacle with magnificent landscapes that refresh the senses and leave you in awe.
The Craigellachie Hotel is a delightful boutique property in Speyside that offers the quaint magic of rustic Scotland. Great pains have been taken to restore the building to its former glory, which was built in 1893 with only 26 rooms and an unrestricted view of the forest. Classic comfort are key words here, from the stay to the soul food served at Copper Dog. This resto-pub with crackling fires, wooden seating and live music is the perfect place to practice your Highland fling.
The pride of the hotel is the famous whisky bar, Quaich Bar, that is home to over 900 single-malt whiskys from around the world. Get there between 6pm and 7:30pm to try the traditional Scottish punch, inspired from 18th and 19th century recipes. Meanwhile, the private dining hall is an exercise in aristocratic elegance with its beautiful pink, red and gold décor. Walk to the cast iron bridge, crossing lavender and crop fields along the gently gushing river Spey. You can go boating, biking or try clay pigeon shooting. The last week of April is a great time to visit when the Spirit of Speyside whisky celebrations are in full swing. Stay for two `13,675 per night
For more details The Craigellachie Hotel Victoria Street, Speyside www.craigellachiehotel.co.uk
THE SPIRIT OF THINGS
A drive through the Scottish countryside is simply idyllic—lush green hills dotted with grazing sheep and local ‘coos’, and the crisp fresh air is the perfect balm for aching souls. The only way to complete it is by visiting one of the world-famous whisky distilleries. In fact, the Glenfiddich distillery is a mustvisit brewery at Dufftown. The venue is open for tours, which include several tasting sessions; in fact, you can even craft your own version of a 15-year-old whisky, just the way their Malt Master does it.
Currently, the two most exciting concoctions available there are the new Project XX and IPA Experiment single malt whiskies from their Experimental Series. Try and set up a meeting with Seb, the zany young beer brewer who has collaborated on the Indian Pale Ale concoction. If you’d like to flex some muscle, head down to the cooperage where wooden casks are still made by hand, hammer and all. Later, satiate those hunger pangs at the Malt Barn restaurant that serves some local favourites with freshly sourced ingredients. Meal for two `3,000 without alcohol
For more details The Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banffshire www.glenfiddich.com
Seb JoneS (left) and Malt MaSter brian KinSMan, at Glenfiddich, dufftown have crafted a brand new ipa whiSKy the copper doG at craiGellachie SpellS deliGhtful ruStic charM
london reinventS itSelf every few MonthS, and there iS Much to diScover in thiS happeninG MetropoliS
relive the days of the gentleman’s club while at the colony grill room at the beaumont hotel, mayfair.
the food at michelin starred dabbous is a modern take on taste and presentation