EAT, DRINK, LOVE

EX­PLORE THE HIPPEST PLACES TO EAT AND THE TONIEST CRIBS TO STAY AND MAKE MERRY IN LON­DON AND SCOT­LAND

India Today - - CONTENTS - BY RAD­HIKA BHALLA

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.

PARISIAN FLAIR

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

SCOT­LAND

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.

RUS­TIC CHARM

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

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