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.
A Saturday night in Soho isn’t something we’d typically associate with tranquillity. We busied amongst the colourful characters who roamed the neon bathed pavements, seeking the solace offered by Blacks Club on Dean Street. We were invited to experience the serenity behind their famous black door. With our love of private dining and curiosity for new venues, we couldn’t wait to accept their offer.
Blacks Club is an oasis of calm in the bustling heart of London. Sipping cocktails in their tastefully decorated bar, the laid-back atmosphere seemed a million miles from the busy streets outside. Although Blacks is a member’s club, they do offer private dining bookings for non-members and we were fortunate to explore their unique venue. This handsome Georgian townhouse has been restored to its eighteenth-century splendour, with multiple private spaces housed over 5 floors. The rooms have seductively dim lighting and beautiful original artwork adorns the dark panelled walls. We loved the aesthetic of Blacks Club and are sure our clients will too.
We’re pleased to report that food and service were first class. We were looked after by Michele, a very charming and wonderfully attentive host who made our dinner a memorable experience.
We tried some seasonal dishes to start. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and bursting with freshness. Classically matched with ham, poached egg and rich Hollandaise it was a treat. As was the cured Halibut, served with a delicate cucumber pickle and dill cream. The main courses were also excellent. A mouth-watering rib-eye steak with thick cut chips was a pleasing example of a national favourite. The lamb chops with seasonal greens and a decadently rich jus were truly sublime.
Desserts were a scrumptious selection of artisan cheeses and a creamy semifreddo studded with berries and pistachio which deserved a round of applause.
Our meal at Blacks was as impressive as the building in which it was served.
We had a wonderful time exploring Blacks Club and were made to feel truly special by the passionate staff and their generous hospitality. We’re confident our clients will be equally happy holding their private functions at Blacks. Get in touch with Flavour Venue Search to learn more about booking your event at the fabulous Blacks Club or the many excellent private events spaces we work with.
While our fellow Londoners soaked up the Bank Holiday sun, along with copious amounts of Pimms, we were on a work mission to scope out exciting new venues for our clients. Fine work indeed! Especially as we got to sample the Sagardi experience for ourselves. We were welcomed with a cool glass of natural cider before we got stuck into some serious research.
Sagardi Basque Country Chefs brings the much loved seasonal freshness and charcoal grill cuisine of the Basque region to the trendy heart of Shoreditch. This handsome, laid back space marries rich wooden tables with tall glass displays, showcasing prime aged beef and some of the finest wines we’ve tasted (more on that shortly). A cute Pincho bar sits at the front of house, offering a great spot for a quick bite. The huge charcoal grill room takes centre stage and the aroma of flame grilled steaks made us salivate. We took a tour of the venue and were inspired by its versatility. The spacious restaurant has capacity for groups of all sizes. At basement level they boast a huge private space which can be partitioned for more intimate events. The projector and boardroom style tables are fit for meetings and banquets alike. Our host explained that some guests start with a morning meeting and stay on well into the evening. After tasting their hospitality, we’re not surprised.
We were treated to a tour of gastronomic excellence, delicious courses cooked by expert chef Josef and harmoniously paired with amazing wines selected by our skilled and attentive host. The Txistorra sausage was delightful, as was the fresh mackerel paired with an exquisite Terra De Godos white. The red Tuna tartare was presented as the best in London and having tasted it, we’re inclined to agree. Crowned with Ibarra peppers and matched with a fabulous Pagos De Araiz Rose, we were in heaven.
We’ve tried the white asparagus and artichokes grilled with ham, each savoury mouthful more satisfying than the last. As we enjoyed these dishes, we got to watch the showpiece of the meal being prepared above the lapping flames of the grill. Sagardi choose prime beef from 6 year old cattle, ageing each cut for different periods (5 weeks in our case). Salted, seared and sliced from the bone, this stunningly delicious steak will be remembered for many meals to come. After a selection of artisan cheeses and a traditional warm strawberry dessert for a sweet finish, we were more that satisfied, yet already planning the next visit. This was a truly wonderful dining experience.
Sagardi Basque Country Chefs is one of the many wonderful venues Flavour Venue Search is proud to work with. If you’re planning an office party, corporate dinner or a feast with friends, get in touch with us and we’ll find the best venue for your event.