With Christmas just around the corner, the hard working people of London are keen to find the best venues for a well-earned winter knees-up. Eager to suggest the best party venues, we embarked on a fact-finding tour of the City. While navigating the alleyways near Bank, we found Harry’s Bar and Brasserie on Ironmonger lane; a swish independent restaurant with a welcoming feel. We were new to this venue, so the charming host was happy to give us a guided tour to help us gain a little party inspiration.
Harry’s Bar is set over two floors. At ground level we found a cosy bar area and a tastefully decorated dining room. The walls were adorned with artwork, plush leather seating lined the room and a glass partition offered diners a peaceful zone in which to enjoy their meals. (more on that later). The lower ground floor had a more expansive feel. There’s plenty of space for a large gathering which accommodates diners, drinkers and dancers alike. There’s even a canopied outdoor courtyard which allows smokers to pop outside and peer through the window as their friends make merry inside. Areas can be reserved, the lower ground floor can be hired exclusively, or the whole venue can be hired, offering potential for parties of all sizes.
Hungry from all this research, we chose to sample their menu too.
A selection of warm artisan bread and a generous portion of olives was delivered as we made our choices. We tasted the tempura salt & pepper chilli squid, which came delicately seasoned and wrapped in a light golden batter. The yellow fin tuna carpaccio was a beautifully presented starter. Dressed with quail egg, baby capers and anchovies, it was picture perfect and tasty to boot.
We couldn’t resist the grilled Scottish rib-eye steak. It came pleasingly juicy and we honoured it with creamed spinach and a portion of truffle macaroni cheese for added opulence. It was delicious and warming on a winter’s eve. We also sampled the homemade seafood linguini, which came packed with fish and bathed in a rich white wine and herb sauce.
With barely any space for dessert, we shared the Harry’s Bar classic Tiramisu. This heavenly pudding beautifully combined indulgent creaminess with boozy marsala and fresh raspberries. We’re glad our waitress talked us into ordering it. Harry’s Bar also offers a selection of set menus and a variety of Christmas packages aimed at impressing your guests.
We found Harry’s Bar to be welcoming, hospitable and bursting with potential to host great parties and private dining events for small and large groups. To enquire about Harry’s Bar for your event, or for other great venue ideas in the City of London, get in touch with the team at Flavour Venue Search.
Ever eager to research unique dining experiences, we accepted an invitation to dinner at the Water House project. It was an absolute treat! The brainchild of experienced chef Gabriel Waterhouse, this unique supper club aims to make exquisite fine dining more accessible. Currently housed at the Bert and May kitchen and tile design studio on Regent’s canal, Gabriel and his merry band of talented friends deliver a welcoming, dinner party atmosphere with satisfyingly memorable dishes.
We entered via a discreet door on Vyner street to discover a warm space filled with smiling guests who sipped aperitifs and chatted like familiar friends at a house party. The tastefully lit room showcased stylish artisan tiles and reclaimed lighting. A grand cooking range took centre stage, with 3 large banquet tables offering space for around 40 diners. As the pine infused gin and tonics were finished off, we took our places on the banquette and discussed the interesting modern European menu with our new friends.
The November menu showcased fittingly seasonal ingredients, beautifully crafted into 8 Michelin quality courses and tastefully matched with 5 wines expertly selected by sommelier Renato. An absolute bargain at only £75 per person for such fine fayre and service. The tables were set with cloth napkins and vintage cutlery, with Marmite butter smeared on polished pebbles completing the rustic look. Our host clinked a glass to herald the arrival of each delicious course.
Highlights for us included the warming chestnut and balsamic velouté, followed by fresh baked stout sourdough, primed for the aforementioned butter. We loved the lime cured sea trout. Steeped in lime and sugar for 24 hours then served with a cool avocado and lime purée, plus an iced gin and tonic granita. Delivering perfectly chilled dishes en masse shows real skill and this dish brimmed with experience and taste. The Sutton Hoo chicken breast was succulent and tender, set with a luxurious sherry and wild mushroom purée, plus a tasteful spoonful of pickled giroles and tarragon. Pine needle ice cream licked from a frozen polished stone offered a touch or novelty. The finale dessert was a true star: Apple and thyme, caramelised puff pastry, Normandy crème fraiche and calvados. Impossibly thin slivers of tart apple, drunk on Calvados and beautifully plated. We were very impressed.
The Water House Project gave us amazing food and a friendly dinner party atmosphere. This experience would make a lovely birthday party treat or a perfect office party opportunity for smaller organisations looking for a fun shared experience. To book the Water House project or for more unique dining ideas, get in touch with your friends at Flavour Venue Search.
The nights are longer, there’s a chill in the air and John Lewis are busily editing their 2018 blockbuster advert. The season of goodwill is almost upon us, meaning Christmas parties and office nights out galore. Keen to find the best venues for a festive feast, we sampled the hearty offerings at Mac & Wild Devonshire Square.
Mac and Wild pride themselves on serving the finest traceable Scottish, meat, seafood and game. Arriving at their high ceiling, exposed brick dining room, we longingly gazed at the butcher’s shop type display chiller which showcased prime cuts of beef, venison and poultry. Eager to dine, we sat on rich leather furnishing to make choices and sip cocktails: An Irn Bru flavoured sour and a Talisker based take on an espresso martini added a delightfully Scotch twist. The room had a vibrant atmosphere, with large groups of guests already getting into the party spirit.
The menu contained great vegan options, but the pull of prime meats and fish was too strong. Haggis pops with red Jon sauce were a new treat and the fish bites were crisp and juicy. The Venimoo burger has been voted the best burger in London and we’re struggling to disagree: Succulent patties of Scotch beef and venison, smothered in cheese, bearnaise and caramelised onions. Utterly superb. The big Arbroath smoky chowder was a treat on a cold night: A rich creamy soup of Shetland mussels, potato, shallots and poached egg, served with crusty bread. Divine! A decadent dessert of salted caramel ice cream and deep-fried mars bar gave our taste buds a Glasgow kiss, in a good way.
Following a wonderful meal, we checked out the venue’s party offerings. Venturing to the basement, we found a handsome private dining room with an aged wood feasting table and grass effect floor which created the illusion of an outdoor Highlands setting. There’s also a virtual shooting range and whisky bar, allowing guests to try their hand at bagging a beastie over a few drams. Looked like a great place for a party with a fun Scottish twist.
The food at Mac & Wild was spot on and their Devonshire square venue is set up to cater for a variety of private and corporate events. For help with booking Mac and Wild for your perfect Christmas party, get in touch with Flavour Venue Search.
Always keen to explore the latest new venues, we headed west to the recently opened Maple. It was a worthwhile journey and not even the lure of Westfield shopping centre could make us lose focus on our mission. Maple is the newest in a long line of quality ETM Group venues and judging by the flavours we tasted, they’ve gotten the recipe right again.
This premium venue boasts stylish furniture tastefully arranged around a bright and airy space. Shiny brewing tanks were hoisted high, reflecting the tank-fresh pedigree of the group. With lofty ceilings, booths of various sizes and ample alfresco space, we saw potential for a variety of private and corporate events. Maple would be ideal for parties, breakfast meetings, large corporate functions and private dining events alike. The staff were efficient, attentive and perfectly charming. As for the food, it was spot-on!
We tasted the Octopus salad special and the Tuna tartare to start. These were instragram ready dishes, with the Tuna especially bringing a pleasing aesthetic to the table. Both were as delicious as they were pretty. Our herb crusted Peterhead cod was well cooked and nicely paired with gremolata and courgette. However, it was understandably overshadowed by the succulent cut of Cumbrian Longhorn Sirloin. Char-grilled to perfection and accompanied with peppercorn sauce and thick hand-cut chips, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. A massive deconstructed Pistachio cake with chocolate fudge and crème fraiche filled whatever space we had left.
Westfield is already a popular destination with shoppers. Now that Maple has opened their doors, we anticipate the party and private dining scene may have found a new star location too. For more info on hosting your private or corporate function at Maple, get in touch with Flavour Venue Search.
Maple: Westfield Square, White City, London W12 7HB
Midweek indulgence is perfectly acceptable in the line of duty. We met up with our friend East London Girl and some like-minded foodies to sample the private dining experience at Spuntino. We’re pleased to report that the food, service and surroundings were top notch. If you’re searching for a unique space for a tasty gathering, look no further.
Spuntino have re-imagined a former butchers shop as a tastefully rustic eatery. Hip urbanites occupy the counter, drinking cocktails and nibbling a delicious fusion of American and Italian comfort food. Spuntino has a pleasantly busy atmosphere for both lunch and evening visitors. Nestled in the corner is their small yet perfectly formed private dining space, the arena for our evening event.
The Vortex, Spuntino’s semi-private room is named for the huge and vibrant Neal Fox artwork which occupies 3 walls. Plush velvet curtains can be drawn to keep your party exclusive, or opened to let the other guests watch your enjoyment. With high tables and stools, The Vortex offers a snug space for up to 10 guests to sit intimately. The rest of Spuntino can also be hired exclusively, with room for up to 40 people. We loved the space, so what about the food?
We ordered up some deep-fried delicacies which shone like gold. The breaded olives stuffed with anchovy vanished in seconds. We sampled a few lovely sliders. Both the ground beef and pulled pork versions were popular, palm sized and packed with juiciness. Shortly afterwards, we tried a Bismarck pancake. Like a Yorkshire pudding crammed with crisp fried chicken and maple syrup. Added opulence took the form of a creamy Lobster mac and cheese, followed by a heavenly slice of truffled egg on toast. A trio of excellent desserts crowned the night: The peanut butter jelly slice brought nutty ice cream to an American favourite while the Campari jelly added an Italian note. Our favourite was the Brooklyn toast, consisting of a nutella ice cream ball sandwiched between two caramelised slices of French toast. It was even better than it sounds.
If you’re up for some seriously yummy food served in a laid back and trendy space, Spuntino is well worth a look. To book an event for parties of 10 or more, get in touch with Flavour Venue Search. We’re ready to help.