Well, I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and put away all those cakes that had been crying out to be eaten. Biscuits, cakes, pastries, and even my penchant for organic chocolate buttons have found the bottom of the bin in the last seven days. And if I’m completely honest, it’s been as difficult as trying to eat a whole Clementine (no matter how juicy and sweet Lou Lou keeps telling me they are).
What also has been difficult has been sleeping. My Lord, it’s certainly hotting up, and I’m not just talking about the amount of interest this column has generated. With temperatures hitting almost 25C (77F) during the small hours of the night, Londoners have had to combat against night sweats for all the wrong reasons. I mean, in my room alone, I’ve had a couple of fans oscillating in sync, which almost resembled something from a NASA space shuttle desk.
However, things are now cooling down, with the capital enjoying some extended sunshine, which Lou Lou and I took advantage of over the weekend. Since she’s now as free as a bird after her exams, we went with a bunch of peeps to partake in an Olympiad-style “Games Day.” Competition was as fierce as Borg vs. McEnroe, as we took to the fairways and greens for our first event, pitch and putt. Lou Lou kindly caddied for myself but didn’t take a cut of the winnings, as one of our chums pocketed the prize of champion golfer. Moving onto ten-pin bowling, I’m afraid it went from bad to worse for my Lou Lou when she stepped onto the polished floors. Not only did she start with four gutterballs in a row, but she managed to somehow post an even worse score than last time – 46. Best stick to accountancy, my dear.
Boys and girls of all ages, Welcome to Lazarus on London (queue the big trumpets), which is on the tip of everyone’s tongues, from the streets of Sunset Boulevard to the squares of Playa Cataluna. So what’s reached fever pitch this week in the Big Smoke? Whilst gas and electricity prices have continued to rise to a whopping 35% and Blighty wallows in the dreaded credit crunch, British Gas owners Centrica have officially recorded profits of $2B. That’s $10M per day. This has caused an almighty reaction from consumer watchdogs who are understandably outraged. I just hope Londoners won’t be blowing a gasket just yet. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as property prices are down by more than 8% in the last 12 months – hurrah.
Meanwhile, in showbiz news, The X-Files premiere took place in Leicester Square on Wednesday. The follow-up I Want To Believe comes ten years after the original film, based on the hit sci-fi series starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. There were whoops and hollers aplenty, as both stars took time out to sign autographs. With its opening pitted against the new Batman film, The Dark Knight, it has still managed to take a healthy $10.2M (£5.1M) in the States on its opening weekend. The X-Files movie is released to the UK public on Friday.
If you don’t want things to go bump in the night, then get your eyes focused on these tasty morsels I’ve picked out for you this week:
Drink – Shochu Lounge @ Roka. One of the trendiest and hippest places to go in Soho, Roka, located on Charlotte Street, is both an award-winning restaurant, serving up a feast of Japanese cuisine, and a sleek and funky downstairs bar. The understated sister venue of Knightsbridge stalwart Zuma, Shochu Lounge is a masterpiece in Oriental creation, designed by renowned Japanese architects Super Potato.
The mood is sultry, with plenty of dark woods and subtle lighting that provides a venue full of ambiance. There are plenty of delicious Shochu-based cocktails to choose from, which uses this distilled Japanese spirit to give the venue its unique name. Drinks to start your night off include Plum Plums, combining plum shochu, plum vodka, and tzu – a Japanese flavoured water – as well as Sakepolitans and classic punches. Shochu is a big draw not only for Londoners but also for fashionistas, media darlings, and A-Listers, where you may even spot Madonna sipping on one of the bar’s excellent cocktails.
Dance – Bungalow 8. From the hostess with the mostess Amy Sacco comes Bungalow 8. A sister venue to its older sibling in Manhattan, this uber funky private members club, complete with Swarovski designed interior, is situated inside the St. Martins Lane Hotel. It’s already attracted a host of big names, from dishy George Clooney, Britney Spears, and Lilo (that’s Lindsay Lohan to you and me) to the best of UK glitterati featuring Jude Law, Kate Moss, and Damian Hurst.
It’s glam and glitz all the way, as you’ll be escorted downstairs by some bouncers, provided you actually make it through the doors, as this club has become as exclusive as one of Mr. Hurst’s revered works. A mélange of musical hits awaits you, with guest appearances on the decks by Samantha Ronson, little sis of Mark. Make sure you bring a sugar daddy (or mommy), as drinks can be…let’s say a tad on the pricy side. Water comes in at $20, while cocktails start around $30. However, there’s a selection of tasty snacks and a simple cocktail list that will keep you on your toes till the small hours.
Address: Bungalow 8
St Martins Lane Hotel,
45 St Martins Lane,
Dine - Pantechnicon Rooms. Up-market and sophisticated dining comes to the heart of Belgravia in the form of Pantechnicon Rooms. This 100-seat restaurant, situated on Motcomb Street in SW1, is the brainchild of the team behind the Thomas Cubitt gastropub and comprises a bar serving up delicate seafood and small dishes, while the restaurant on the first floor serves up an array of Modern British delights in a contemporary environment.
Careful sourcing is certainly the order of the day. Plates to salivate over include a fresh salad of lobster with parsnip crisps, foie gras with brioche finished with a pear and walnut dressing, and duck breast with bacon rosti and blackberry dressing. With five varieties of smoked fish and a belly of pork also heading up the menu, there’s something to suit anyone’s discerning palette. Did I hear you ask how much? Well, for two courses, excluding drinks, you’re looking at around $64, which won’t make too much of a dent in the wallet.
Distraction – The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
Where: Buckingham Palace
When: 29th July 2008 – 29th September 2008
Hours: 09:45-18:00 (Last Admission 15:45) Timed tickets allow entry in 15-minute intervals.
Fancy a spot of Cream Tea with Phil and Liz? Well, you can almost certainly do this at Buckingham Palace, where you can rub shoulders with royalty and experience what it’s like to be King or Queen for the day. One of the most eagerly anticipated summer events in the capital, you’ll have the opportunity (for two months only) to peek into the Palace and gaze in awe at the sumptuous and ornate interiors of the Queen’s official royal residence.
And for the first time ever, you’ll have the opportunity to view the Palace’s ballroom, all togged up for a state banquet. Visitors can also gain access to all areas to the Royal Mews and the State Rooms, which are still in use today by the Royal Family to entertain important figures and to host state and ceremonial functions. As you move from room to room, take in some of the exquisite artwork on the walls, painted by such greats including Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto. There’s also a fine collection of some of the best English and French furnishings that you will ever see. However, I suppose being rich doesn’t always amount to good taste, but don’t tell that to her Maj.
Address: Buckingham Palace,
Buckingham Palace Road,