Archive for February, 2018

Restaurant Review: Wild Honey, Mayfair (Feb 2018)

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Simon Carter & Daniel Darwood


Anthony Demetre’s Wild Honey, in the heart of Mayfair, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2017. This is no mean feat in the highly competitive world of fine dining, where casualties greatly outnumber successes. Yet Anthony Demetre is a true veteran – in the best sense of the word – of the London gastronomic scene. It is a rare pleasure to chat with a chef whose experience with two of the greats of the last three decades – Gary Rhodes (at The Castle, Taunton), and Bruno Loubet (at The Four Seasons and Bistrot Bruno) – existed alongside a glittering world that also featured Nico Ladenis, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, to name but three.

Along with many fans of “bistronomy” (although not familiar with the term at the time), I was a regular visitor to Bistrot Bruno in Frith Street and later at L’Odeon overlooking Regent Street, where skilful, inventive cooking and relaxed, efficient service could be had in simple yet comfortable surroundings at attractive prices. These two restaurants, where Anthony honed his skills, were always packed, so booking was essential.

Awarded Michelin stars at Putney Bridge (where he was chef/director) and his first two restaurants – in partnership with Will Smith – Arbutus and Wild Honey, all in their first year of opening, Anthony’s culinary reputation was assured.

His cooking style is rooted in the classics, eschewing the latest fashions and fads. Use of the hob, grill and oven, without the use of sous vide, are the preferred methods. This needs precise timing in cooking and resting, essentials lost in less worthy kitchens. Flavours are bold and combinations are harmonious, showing balance in tastes and textures. Plates rarely exceed four ingredients, allowing each one to shine. Vegetables serve not as a mere garnish but an essential components in the success of each dish. Presentation is clean and attractive without being contrived. Although perhaps a little less adventurous and experimental and using more luxurious ingredients than Arbutus, where the mackerel and squid burger was a signature dish, the menu at Wild Honey still delivers in terms of finely executed contemporary cooking.

The winter a la carte menu features a winning formula of seven starters from £8 to £16; seven mains, £17 to £29, with rib of beef at £49.50 for two; cheese at £14; and five desserts at £9, with tarte tatin serving two, three or four at £20. Given the superb quality of the seasonal ingredients and the sharply honed skill in cooking at this level, not to mention the Mayfair location, these prices are eminently fair, offering perhaps the best value in this part of the West End. This applies even more to the £35 three course set lunch and early supper ( to menu, which includes some dishes from the carte.


Revisiting Wild Honey after a few years’ absence, I found the renovations – completed in 2012 – had improved the restaurant considerably. Brighter chandelier lighting, the removal of booths, and the relocation of the mirrored bar to the centre of the restaurant gives a more spacious feel to the long, narrow oak panelled room. More comfortable too are the rounded sofa tables replacing the banquette seating. Colourful photographic artwork, curated by Maxine Davidson remains as before, adding a contemporary note to the club-like atmosphere.

Not that service is haughty or over formal. Overseen by David Durack, the relaxed formality is in keeping with modern trends, putting guests at their ease. It is attentive and knowledgeable without being intrusive.

A mid-week dinner for three in February began with an Apple Negroni, a variation on a classic cocktail, the red apple, Campari and vermouth complementing the botanicals of the in house distilled gin. This is a new, exciting addition to Anthony’s repertoire.

In addition to the extensive, 100 bin wine list, which includes organic and biodynamic selections, it was pleasing to see on the daily menu two wines by “Coravin.” This is, after all, Mayfair, where budgets can stretch!

A starter of Cornish mussels saw the creaminess of the flesh balanced by the inspired additon fo blood orange, the sweet acidity working well with the plump bivalve. Sea purslane acted as a seasoning, giving a measured degree of saltiness.


Grilled quail – not the most flavoursome of game birds – was lifted by lacquered coating of honey and sweet spices – amchor, sechuan pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin. Kumquat puree gave a counterpoint with its sweet bitterness whilst winter vegetables provided the necessary textural contrast.


Grilled Galician octopus was precisely timed, the gentle smokiness not overpowering its mild flavour and tender texture. Paired with a finely judged creamy squid ink polenta, adding flavour as well as colour, the dish was dressed with a salsa verde, the grassy piquancy of which enlivened the dish. If only there was more of this!


The fourth starter, a smooth Guinea fowl and foie gras boudin blanc – a rich but light pairing – was poached and browned in the pan to perfection. Celeriac tagliatelle with its subtle celery like flavour and nutty overtones added texture whilst pickled quince gave a tartness that worked well with the other components.


A main course of Lancashire (Goosnargh) duck was accurately timed and well rested, doing full justice to the deep flavour and dense texture of the thick breast. An accompanying pastilla of the leg meat resting on a bowl of herbed grains,was lightly spiced and well-seasoned. Silky caramelised cauliflower puree – possibly the best way to treat this most uninteresting of vegetables – young parsnips, and red cabbage all complemented the duck well.


A second main featured rabbit, that notoriously difficult protein to cook. The saddle and farce, wrapped in pancetta, seared in the pan and finished in the oven, retained its moisture and delicate flavour. Equally impressive was an accompanying cottage pie featuring the slow cooked shoulder meat topped with a potato puree of exquisite smoothness and creaminess. Caramelised endive and chestnut mushrooms completed this tour de force of game cookery.


The same skill was shown in the third main course of roast loin of Dartmoor venison. Cooked to a medium rare to showcase its mild gaminess, it was paired with sweet potato, beetroot and onion, all of which emphasised the essential earthy flavours of the dish.


For dessert, we all opted for the irresistible tarte tatin. The not too sweet dark amber caramel enrobed generous wedges of soft apple and fine pastry in this classic, well executed dessert.


Good coffee and signature cannele completed a memorable meal, one enhanced by the seamless service and the lively buzz of contented diners in a busy restaurant.

Wild Honey is a class act, but nothing less would be expected of a chef whose wide experience and refined skills transcend the more ephemeral developments of the restaurant scene. No doubt Fine Dining Guide will return to sample the remaining abindance of riches on the menu.

Roux Scholarship Regional Finalists Announced 2018 (Feb 2018)

Posted on: February 24th, 2018 by Simon Carter

Press Release Courtesy of The Roux Scholarship Feb 2018

Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr have revealed the regional finalists for the 2018 Roux Scholarship competition. These 18 chefs were selected from their paper application and written recipe.

The 18 finalists will compete in two regional finals which will be held simultaneously on

Thursday 8th March 2018 at University College Birmingham and University of West London, Ealing.

aain judging


Aaron Lawrence, Gilpin Lodge, Cumbria

Samuel Nash, L’Enclume, Cumbria

Daniel Parker, House of Tides, Newcastle

Ryan Porter, Northcote, Lancashire

Kelvin Tan, Sat Bains, Nottingham

Ricki Weston, Sat Bains, Nottingham

Judges: Alain Roux, Brian Turner, James Martin, André Garrett (2002 scholar), Simon Hulstone (2003 scholar).


Greg Anderson, Morston Hall, Norfolk

Sven-Hanson Britt, Miele GB, Oxfordshire

Martin Carabott, 85 Piccadilly, London

Ben Champkin, L’Enclume, Cumbria

Michael Cruickshank, Bohemia, Jersey

Richard Giles, Sorrel, Surrey

Kamil Jedrzejewski, Hilton, York

Daniel Lines, Restaurant Associates (KPMG), London

Oliver Marlow, Roganic, London

Karl O’Dell, Petrus, London

Drew Snaith, Mare Street Market, London

Fergus Wilford, Cliveden House, Berkshire


Judges: Michel Roux Jr, Sat Bains (1999 scholar) Andrew Fairlie (Head Scholar, 1984), Angela Hartnett, Rachel Humphrey, Clare Smyth.

The challenge

This year’s challenge was to create a recipe to serve four people using two whole gilthead sea bream (Daurade Royale), weighing anywhere between 600g-800g each (maximum 1kg) and one variety of mollusc of your liking (shellfish with a hard, non-edible shell); together served plated with two ‘simple’ or

‘composed’ garnishes/accompaniments. One must include green globe artichokes and the other to be a garnish of your choice. One of these can be served separately if preferred. A sauce must accompany the dish. For the regional final, competitors will have 2½ hrs to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day. The judges will be looking for recipes and methods, which demonstrate the best balance of creativity, taste, style and practicality in the finished dish.

Key facts

  • 2018 is a very strong year for regional finalists from a wide geographic spread across the UK. Thirteen of the 18 finalists are from restaurants outside London. Six finalists are from the North of
  • The style of establishments in which the finalists work is very varied, including Miele’s test kitchen, a mid-range hotel restaurant and a number of Michelin-starred establishments.
  • A number of the finalists (eg. Aaron Lawrence, Ben Champkin and Martin Carabott and Richard Giles) have passed through the kitchens of a previous winner, which demonstrates the impact of the Roux legacy. Fergus Wilford is in André Garret’s brigade at Cliveden and Kelvin Tan and Ricki Weston are from Restaurant Sat

For more information:

  • Martin Carabott was in the National Final in 2016 and 2017; Michael Cruickshank was in the National Final in 2017, and regional final in 2016; Ben Champkin was in the National Final in 2016; Fergus Wilford and Daniel Lines were in the Regional Final in 2017. 12 chefs are new to the
  • Simon Rogan continues his strong association with the competition; three finalists, Ben Champkin and Samuel Nash from L’Enclume and Oliver Marlow from Roganic
  • The paper applications are judged blind, so judges don’t know their identity or their place of
  • The judges felt that many written recipes were adventurous, while others were more classic in style. Most had brought their own experience and personality into the recipes, but some had not thought through their costing


Michel Roux Jr: “Some of the recipes were absolutely amazing but unfortunately some of the costings were really not up to scratch. Young chefs have to understand that the costings are very important and business acumen is something that chefs have to learn. No female entrants made it through to the cook-off stage, which is sad, but we will keep on pushing that and with our new judges Clare, Rachel and Angela we hope to inspire more female chefs to apply next year.”

Alain Roux: “There was a lot of thought and imagination in the recipes and the chefs brought their personality into the dishes. When it comes to cooking the recipes at the regional finals, some will find the time frame a bit challenging, bearing mind that they’ll also have a dessert to create.”

Angela Hartnett: “It’s a huge privilege to be back judging the Roux Scholarship. There was one entry from a female chef, and sadly she didn’t get through to the regional finals. It probably is a fair representation of the industry, given how many more men there are than women in the industry.”

Clare Smyth [new judge this year]: “It’s such a high level of entries and it’s great to get the other judges’ point of view on things. I’ve always watched the Roux Scholarship and I’ve worked with last year’s winner Luke Selby and Ian Scaramuzza (2015). The chef who wins the scholarship will be a big name in the future.”

Brian Turner: “It is really gratifying to see how word has spread of the Roux Scholarship and to see all the wonderful people working outside London qualify for the regional finals. From a personal point of view, I’m glad to see so many from the North of England, especially one from Yorkshire!”

James Martin: It’s interesting that when you’re judging it blind, and you don’t know who they are or where they work, that the marks for our top seven entrants are consistently good. When the names and where they work is revealed afterwards, you see what a cross-section you have. You get the usual ones who come through, but then you get new people, like the Hilton Hotel in York. It’s a great cross-section of the country, too, from Newcastle all the way down to Jersey”

National final – Monday 26th March 2018

Six winners selected from across the two regional finals will go through to the national final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London. The 35th Roux Scholar will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony at The Langham, London, that same evening.

Our sponsors

The Roux Scholarship is sponsored by Aubrey Allen, The Balvenie, Bridor, Cactus TV, The Caterer, Direct Seafoods, Global Knives, Hildon Natural Mineral Water, The Langham London, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, L’Unico Caffe Musetti, Mash Purveyors Ltd, Oritain, Qatar Airways, TRUEfoods, and Udale Speciality Foods Ltd. For more details about sponsors visit

Tom Kerridge Partners With The Corinthia Hotel, London (February 2018)

Posted on: February 24th, 2018 by Simon Carter


Corinthia Hotel London announces partnership with Tom Kerridge

courtesy of Network London February 2018.

Corinthia Hotel London has announced that the renowned British Michelin-starred Chef Tom Kerridge will open a new restaurant at the hotel later this year, his first in the capital.

The restaurant will be a relaxed British brasserie-style dining room, bringing an all-day buzzy new addition to the area, reflecting Tom’s consummate culinary talent. The restaurant will be located on the site that is currently Massimo Restaurant & Bar, on the ground floor of the hotel, with a separate direct entrance off Northumberland Avenue, and a new and updated interior design by David Collins Studio.

Tom’s contemporary approach to traditional hospitality will lend itself seamlessly to the elegant five-star Corinthia Hotel London. He has a phenomenal reputation for accomplished, informal dining, as well as several engaging TV series and successful cookery books.

Commenting on the announcement, Thomas Kochs, Managing Director of Corinthia Hotel London, stated: “It is important to us, Corinthia Hotel London, to be an integral part of the city, and for our guests from London and internationally to experience true British hospitality. When we met Tom, we knew he was the perfect partner to open a restaurant together. We admire his approach to food, restaurants and his spirit of hospitality. I am confident that together we will create an incredible dining experience.”

Tom Kerridge added: “We are incredibly excited about this opportunity to bring a bit of what we are doing in Marlow to London. Corinthia Hotel London is one of London’s most prestigious hotels, and we are looking forward to doing what we do best – quality British cooking that is modern and exciting. We will be taking inspiration from our Michelin-starred pub The Coach, and The Butcher’s Tap, as well as our first venture, the two Michelin-starred The Hand and Flowers.”

Further information about the new restaurant will be available from spring 2018.

About Tom Kerridge

Since opening The Hand and Flowers in partnership with Greene King in 2005, Tom Kerridge’s career path has progressed and grown. In 2011, The Hand and Flowers was the first pub to receive two stars in the Michelin Guide, an accolade that is still held today. In 2014, The Coach opened, and received a Michelin star in 2017. Tom has also recently been awarded the coveted “Catey Chef Award 2017”.

Tom has appeared on many television programmes including: Great British Food Revival, Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food, Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, hosting Saturday Kitchen, hosting Spring Kitchen, and also the front for BBC’s Food and Drink. More recently he was the chef presenter on BBC Two’s Food Detectives, and the lead presenter of the first series of Bake Off: Crème de la Crème. Tom is also the author of five best-selling cookbooks:

Proper Pub Food, Best Ever Dishes, Tom’s Table, Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet, and his latest, Lose Weight For Good, which was published in December 2017 and is a #1 bestseller.

Tom Kerridge’s Restaurants

The Hand and Flowers – 126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP The Coach – 3 West Street, Marlow SL7 2LS

The Butcher’s Tap -15 Spittal Street, Marlow SL7 3HJ

Website –   Twitter & Instagram – @ChefTomKerridge

About Corinthia Hotel London

Housed within a Victorian building, Corinthia Hotel London features 283 rooms, including 51 suites and seven penthouses, offering sweeping views across London’s most popular landmarks. Corinthia London provides unrivalled world-class luxury with superb ground floor restaurant and bar offerings. The hotel is also home to the flagship ESPA Life at Corinthia, a spa housed across four floors, with a hair salon by Daniel Galvin. The hotel boasts the largest room sizes in London, original restored Victorian columns, and tall windows. Cutting-edge technology in rooms and meeting rooms allow for recording, mixing and broadcasting from dedicated media rooms. Corinthia London is the ninth of Corinthia Hotels’ collection of five- star hotels founded by the Pisani family of Malta.

Corinthia Hotel London – Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD Tel – 020-7930 8181; Website

Website – Twitter & Instagram – @corinthialondon