Britain’s best coffee houses – the new British brew

Brits may be stereotyped as avid tea drinkers, but it hasn’t stopped a growing coffee culture brewing across the nation.

With award-winning roasters and World Barista Champions, an emphasis on ethically sourced, independently roasted and perfectly brewed flavours, plus “third wave” coffee tastes from Aeropress to cold-drip methods, it’s clear there’s more to Britain’s caffeine fix beyond regular chain-café coffee.


Brighton: Small Batch Coffee Roasters

This family-run coffee house roasts its own Arabica coffee, sustainably sourced from local farmers in over 20 countries. Now a powerhouse in local coffee culture, Small Batch has eight locations, serving everything from the classics to their own unique blends and cold brews.


Bath: Colonna & Small’s

Co-owned by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, a three-time winner at the UK Barista Championships, this speciality coffee hub is all about flavour. The menu changes weekly for that reason, rotating seasonal coffees from across the world, sourced by expert roasters all over the UK.


Bristol: Full Court Press

This minimalist interior matches the slick menu which features two filter blends and two espresso blends that change weekly. The coffee comes from individual farms and co-ops all over the world, as well as some 30 roasters in Europe, enticing people to keep coming back.


London: Prufrock

Owned by World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies and UK Barista Championship Head Judge, Jeremy Challender, this café scooped Time Out’s ‘Best Coffee In London’ accolade. Hand-brewed filter coffee is the star of the show in this two-floor wonderland where each week, three coffees are showcased on the brew-bar while you ask the baristas their secrets.


Birmingham: Quarter Horse Coffee

What makes this independent roaster so special is you can see the roasting process in action at its on-site roastery. Premium beans, sourced from all over the globe from entrepreneurial female producers in places such as Colombia and Guatemala, are roasted weekly for maximum freshness.


Leeds: Laynes Espresso

This espresso bar is not only is a sleek hangout where you can try dedicated brews (and some of the best sweet treats in the city from Porterhouse Cake Co) it’s also an educational space offering classes for hobby baristas through to professional qualifications.


Manchester: Pot Kettle Black

This inviting space in the Victorian-era Grade II-listed Barton Arcade was set up by two local Rugby League stars who wanted to serve artisan coffee in atmospheric surroundings, alongside a menu of healthier food choices including gluten-free and vegan options.


Sheffield: Steam Yard

Steam Yard’s owners wanted to keep the alternative, independent spirit of Sheffield’s Division Street alive and this café, with its cool concrete-wood-leather interior, still retains touches of its industrial past. Set in a Grade II-listed building, it serves coffee from London’s award-winning Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and is also known for its speciality coffee-doughnut combo, known as the “Steve McQueen”.


Newcastle: Flat Caps Coffee

For coffee brewed in three ways – Filter, Aeropress and the old-fashioned Syphon – head to this bohemian basement café. Owned by a UK Barista Champion finalist and former banker, Joe Meagher, the café sources its beans from roasting companies around the UK and Europe.


Edinburgh: Brew Lab
Brewed with meticulous detail and precise brewing techniques, you can try single-original filter and cold brew coffees alongside traditional espresso roasts at Brewlab where a weekly changing coffee menu and locally produced food add to the charm.


Cardiff: Quantum Coffee Roasters

Resembling a funky science lab, Quantum loves experimenting with its brewing methods, using V-60 and Chemex pour-overs, I-brick and cold brew towers to get the perfect brew from their in-house roasted blends.


Belfast: Established

One of the pioneers of Belfast’s growing coffee scene, the fine coffee blends and tempting brunch menu are a big draw at this cool, minimalist café in the Cathedral Quarter. There’s also a dedicated training room where visitors can learn how to brew better coffee at home.

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

2018 Michelin-starred restaurants list announced

Taste buds at the ready! The Michelin Guide has announced its 2018 list of restaurants in Britain and Ireland awarded with prestigious Michelin stars. The accolade is widely regarded as the hallmark of fine dining, and the most sought-after honour for many chefs.


Britain’s food scene has long held plenty of the prestigious stars, and the 2018 list brings the total of Michelin-starred restaurants to 175. This comprises five restaurants with three Michelin stars, 20 with two stars and a total of 150 with one star, including 17 new ones.


Click here for a full rundown 2018 Michelin Guide list. Here are the highlights:


  • London has gained one new three-star restaurant, one new two-star restaurant, and six new one-star restaurants. This brings the total number of 2018 Michelin-starred restaurants in the capital to 70, comprising three restaurants with three stars, nine restaurants with two stars – including new entry Bibendum, in Chelsea – and 58 restaurants with one star.


  • The Araki, a sushi restaurant in London’s Mayfair with just nine seats, was the only new restaurant to gain three Michelin stars, increasing the number of Britain’s three-starred restaurants to five – the most the guide can award.



  • No London restaurants have lost stars in the 2018 guide, and six more gained one star. This included two Indian restaurants – Mayfair’s Jamavar and Chelsea’s Vineet Bhatia – along with modern Chinese restaurant A Wong and Nordic restaurant Aquavit (both in Victoria), City restaurant Le Dame de Pic, and Elystan Street in Kensington.




  • Northern Ireland has retained its two Michelin stars – for Eipic and Ox, both in Belfast.



Looking for more foodie inspiration? Check out VisitBritain’s Food is GREAT content guide.

TASTE - July 2017


This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination over the last three months.

Verdantly vegan menus and eateries are popping up all around Britain – even plant-based taco and burger joints!  And sweet temptation has arrived in London and Glasgow in the form of dedicated dessert and chocolate parlours, Chin Chin Labs and Coro. In Cornwall, there’s exciting news for fans of BBC’s TV series Poldark, as a new nautical-themed restaurant called Loveday’s has opened in the village of Charlestown, which was one of the show’s filming locations.


TREND: Plants rule

With dedicated (and delicious) plant-based eateries popping up all over the place, Britain’s food scene is fully embracing the increasing popularity for varied vegan dining options.

Tacos might not be what you’d normally think of as vegan-friendly, but a new Mexican street stall residency at Pamela bar in Dalston, east London, is here to change that. Club Mexicana’s flavourful vegan bites include Carne Asada tacos, which are actually made of wheat and corn.

Moving on to burgers, The Vurger Co’s vegan ‘vurgers’ (made of vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes) have been so popular, the company has raised £300,000 through crowdfunding to open its first restaurant in London early next year.

In Birmingham, a new city centre vegan eatery and health store, Natural Healthy Foods, serves food that’s vegan, gluten free, organic, and free from refined sugar, including buffet dishes such as Sri Lankan dhal curry, and raw carrot cake for dessert. In Gateshead, north-east England, vegan and vegetarian American-style diner, Grumpy Panda, has also joined the plant-based revolution, with its tasty meat alternatives to US comfort food classics.

The trend continues in Scotland – in July, the second branch of Kind Crusts vegan bakery opened in Glasgow’s Southside, complete with its popular dairy-free doughnuts. Meanwhile, a new addition to Edinburgh’s vegan scene is GrassRoots, a plant-based coffee bar and lifestyle store on Gilmore Place selling cupcakes, pies and raw desserts alongside vegan lifestyle products.


TREND: Sweet, sweet temptation

Leave some room for dessert! In June, dedicated dessert shrine Chin Chin Club opened its first permanent site on Greek Street in Soho. Starting out in Camden Market as a little shop, it’s built a big reputation as one of London’s best ice cream makers. Choose from cult classics like The Brownwich, or new additions such as The Choux-wich: a choux ice cream sandwich with Persian pistachio and olive oil ice cream.

After the success of its first French-style patisserie and café in South Kensington specialising in eclairs, choux and chouquettes (empty choux pastry balls topped with pearl sugar), Maître Choux is opening a second site on Soho’s Dean Street this October. Founder Joakim Prat was formerly head pastry chef at three-Michelin-starred Can Fabes in Spain, so it’s no wonder his intricately hand-designed eclairs are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

The sweet action isn’t all happening in London. In June, Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow welcomed Scotland’s second dedicated chocolate café, Coro. Like the hugely popular original Edinburgh outpost, Coro Glasgow is unadulterated chocoholic heaven, serving cocoa creations ranging from pretzel-covered waffles to crepes and cheesecakes.


TREND: Garden dining

London’s gastronomic world is enjoying a burst of greenery – not just on diners’ plates, but in their surroundings.

Petersham Nurseries, the Surrey garden centre whose café once held a Michelin star, has just launched Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden in a historical central London town house. The sprawling site has a delicatessen, a home and garden shop, a wine cellar, and a florist, all based around a verdant courtyard. Its two restaurants – The Petersham and La Goccia – will open later this year.

In June, The Ivy Collection branched out again with the opening of The Ivy City Garden at Dashwood House in the Bishopsgate Gardens. The menu features classic favourites from The Ivy, such as its legendary chocolate bombe with hot salted caramel sauce, plus a new, exclusive sharing platter of truffle beef Wellington for four. The private dining room seats up to 30 guests, overlooking the garden.


TREND: Regional Britain

Global perceptions of British food are on the up, and newly-opened GBR (Great British Restaurant) at Dukes Hotel in London celebrates this trend by wholeheartedly honouring classic dishes. There’s the GBR full English breakfast of course, and for lunch or dinner, duck liver parfait with Yorkshire pudding and caramelised onion. Desserts also focus around traditional favourites, such as treacle sponge with custard.

Equally celebrating its national cuisine is new Scottish restaurant and bar Ardnamurchan, in Glasgow city centre. Dedicated to Scottish food and drink, its owners source artisan products from the Scottish Highlands and islands, and the bar stocks more than 50 Scottish whiskies.

Meanwhile, award-winning Welsh chef Tom Simmons is putting produce from Wales in the spotlight with the opening of his first self-titled restaurant venture in London’s Tower Bridge. His menu focuses on using Welsh produce where possible, but is a mix of French, British and Welsh cuisine, including classic dishes from his homeland, such as lamb cawl, cockle popcorn and laverbread mayonnaise.




The latest big name chef openings

How do aroma, colour, texture, sound and psychology affect how we each experience flavour? This is the question Chef Jozef Youssef of Kitchen Theory is exploring in his latest project: the Gastrophysics Chef’s Table. Exploring the science behind how we perceive flavour, Jozef’s 13-course multi-sensory menu is based on research collated with experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence of the University of Oxford. It’s available on the last Friday and Saturday of each month at Kitchen Theory in Barnet, north London.

One of India's highest-rated chefs, Manish Mehrotra, is bringing his acclaimed Indian Accent restaurant brand to London this autumn. His original Delhi restaurant has been named Best in India by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants three years running.

Clare Smyth, the first and only female holder of three Michelin stars in the UK while she was chef-patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, is opening her first solo restaurant in Notting Hill this August. Core by Clare Smyth will focus on modern British fine-dining, with a central tasting menu of 10-12 changing dishes and more than 400 fine wines and Champagnes to choose from.

The food world’s famous Roux family has been busy with two new ventures. First up, Spurs football club and Levy Restaurants are partnering with Albert Roux, son Michel Roux Jr and granddaughter Emily to launch a fine-dining experience, On Four, at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium. They will personally oversee service and engage with guests at the H Club restaurant and lounge, where guests can also book to dine alongside former club players.

Over on Regent Street, Roux Jr – whose Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche has two Michelin stars – has just opened The Wigmore, “a modern British tavern” linked with five-star hotel, The Langham. Its traditional British pub fare with a luxury twist includes posh scotch eggs and veal and ham pie.


New Asian flavours

Mei Ume is now open at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, incorporating both Chinese and Japanese dishes into its menu. The restaurant has a live sushi station and serves small plates such as Shanghai braised pork ribs and dim sum, alongside larger standout dishes including whole Peking duck and Wagyu beef from Kagoshima.

Chopsticks at the ready! London is getting two new Asian food courts. In July, Bang Bang Oriental opened in North London – a sprawling venue with a pan-Asian Street Food Market vibe, celebrating Asia’s vibrant culture with 33 individual kiosks under one roof, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Malaysian cuisine. Open every day from 11am – 10pm.

Then, in September, The Japan Centre – London’s iconic Japanese food shop established in the 1970s – is opening a new flagship food hall on Panton Street by Leicester Square. Its large dining hall will be surrounded by open kitchens and specialist sake, tea and miso rooms, a demonstration kitchen and a Japanese bakery.

A new Japanese-inspired fast food joint with a cheeky name has arrived on Soho’s Wardour Street this month. Ichi Buns are unique Asian-style burgers brought to you by Alan Yau - the man behind popular restaurant chains Wagamama and Busaba. Choices include a panko meatball burger and ‘Hokkaido’: two grilled patties, red onions, shiitake mushrooms and blue cheese fondue. Or, you can opt for ramen and spring rolls – but these aren’t your average spring rolls. These are cheeseburger spring rolls.

US-based ‘Asian Table’ casual dining chain P. F. Changs is coming to Covent Garden this August, headed up by ex-Nobu chef Deepak Kotian. The affordable menu is inspired by Asian street food, and there is even a breakfast bao, filled with sliced smoked salmon and boiled egg in a honey lotus bun.

Mint Gun Club – a new tea house, bar and delicatessen from drinks expert Richard Hunt (previously of Milk & Honey, Hawksmoor and Mahiki), has just opened in Stoke Newington. It specialises in apéritifs, globally-inspired cocktails and fine teas, and food inspired by Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, such as almond hummus, tabbouleh and chargrilled aubergine. Its High Tea features exotic sweet and savoury treats such as ‘proper marshmallow’ and semolina cake.


More new foodie ventures

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has opened his new restaurant, Jean-Georges at The Connaught hotel. Overlooking fashionable Mount Street in the heart of Mayfair for informal dining throughout the day, its menus are inspired by the chef’s classic French training and signature use of Asian flavours, plus his distinctive twist on British classics. The breakfast menu features healthy morning shakes, acai bowls, and classics like truffle scrambled eggs.

Brunchers rejoice! This month The Dayrooms Café opened in Notting Hill - a Melbourne inspired brunch and coffee specialist. Its all-day menu is largely healthy – think baja prawn corn tacos with prawns, slaw, avocado, pineapple salsa, lime crème fraiche and jalapeno sauce – but there are indulgent options too, like the honeycomb hotcake with raspberry crème fraiche and miso caramel. Wash it down with fresh coffee, blended juices, smoothies and milkshakes.

Street food sandwich heroes Sub Cult – named as the makers of British Street Food Awards’ ‘Best Sandwich’ – are opening an 18-month pop-up site on White Cross Place serving its US deli-style sub rolls. Sub Cult has even collaborated with Michelin-starred chefs to create bespoke specials. Menu highlights include ‘The Rodeo’ – rare roast beef, truffle mayo, Grana Padano, shallot jam, pickled serrano chili. For vegan customers, there’s the ‘Sub-Conscious’, while the ‘Subterranean’ – griddled woodland mushroom, roast garlic, thyme, truffle mayo and Stilton – was named ‘Best Vegetarian’ at the British Street Food Awards in 2015.

In early July, one of the Camden Market’s Victorian stable blocks got a new lease of life as Gabeto – a new restaurant by former Chiltern Firehouse chef, Lee Andrews. The menu fuses British ingredients with Latin flavours – think tacos, rare-breed steaks and small plates including the likes of chorizo Scotch eggs, plus a changing line-up of street food hosted on the terrace.


And finally…

Recently voted the Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK, Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea is inspired by London’s vibrant art scene featuring five of the most iconic modern artists including Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, Alexander Calder, Banksy and Mark Rothko. 

Woof! London’s first ever dedicated dog bar (yes, you read that right) has opened for the summer outside The Pet Pavillion in Chelsea Farmers Market. The Pawsecco Bar serves Pawsecco – a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated and grape free dog-friendly drink made from elderflower, nettle, ginseng and limeflower. To eat, there’s ‘doggy gelato’ and canapes such as super bone broth, chicken and turkey. Open all day Saturday and Sunday until September.




Situated on Ship Street in The Lanes, French restaurant Petit Pois opened in June, showcasing modern twists on French classics. Run by a husband and wife team, diners can enjoy sharing plates in warm rustic interiors, with dishes such as duck rillettes, steak tartare and tart Tatin – accompanied by a varied list of French wines.

Curry Leaf Café’s new Kemptown Kitchen in the city’s vibrant Kempton Village area mixes things up with a modern, playful menu of tapas-style Indian ‘small plates’, complimented by an exciting range of spiced cocktails and craft beers. Keep an eye out for its monthly pop-ups and special events.




Newly opened on Dumbarton Road, Down to Earth Organic uses only 100 per cent organic, fresh produce sourced from local farms. Each dish consists of natural ingredients and the menu features dishes for both veggies and meat lovers alike.

Riding Glasgow’s street food wave, one of the city’s street food sensations – Surf Dogs – has a new permanent Southside home. Owner Martin’s aim is to change perceptions of the humble hot dog, and toppings range from US-favourites like the traditional chilli dog, to a BBQ dog topped with onion rings and a Jack and Coke barbecue sauce. Some toppings have a distinctive Scottish twist and there are also veggie varieties and a vegan option, the Super-Rad Surf Dog.

One of Glasgow’s most recognisable historical  buildings, Hutchesons’ Hall in the Merchant City, has had a stunning makeover, transformed into the new Hutchesons City Grill and 158 Club Lounge, with a beefy menu focusing on steak and classy cocktails.  




Luxury Twr y Felin Hotel in St Davids is celebrating its fine-dining Blas Restaurant being awarded the Food, Drink and Hospitality Award at the 2017 Radio Pembrokeshire Business Awards. The restaurant’s menu champions produce sourced predominantly from Pembrokeshire and Welsh suppliers, as well as foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside and coast.


Launching this month, guests staying at The Whitebrook Restaurant with rooms can join foraging expeditions with Michelin star chef-patron Chris Harrod and expert forager Henry Ashby. On these unique trips out into the countryside, guests will go in search of produce which they may then find incorporated into a dish on the menu at the restaurant later in the day. The three-hour experience is booked in advance and is open to small groups of two to eight. Chris Harrod developed his love of wild food whilst training under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, using the countryside as his larder.




In June, sleek rooftop Japanese restaurant and bar Issho arrived in the city, specialising in Asian sharing dishes that incorporate Yorkshire produce. Having previously launched London’s Sexy Fish in 2015, executive chef Ben Orpwood’s extensive travels around Japan have inspired his dishes, resulting in creations such as Wagyu pastrami and maple-glazed pork belly with fresh apple and wasabi. The restaurant features an outdoor terrace, and its bar, Kori, serves a wide range of sake alongside Japanese-inspired cocktails, such as the Matcha Sour.

In July, Manhattan-style rooftop bar and grill East 59th opened as an all-day bar and grill in the city centre, with an al fresco terrace. The menu focuses on New York dining, including dishes such as slow braised beef short rib with sweet mustard BBQ sauce and house pickle, while weekend brunch dishes include stacked pancakes with crispy smoked bacon and maple syrup. There’s also the option for late night grazing at the bar until 1am with snacks like firecracker rock shrimp and hamburger sliders. The rooftop bar has panoramic views of the city and the venue will be running regular DJ sessions and music events.


A new festival celebrating the cheese-making heritage of the Yorkshire Dales will make its debut on 23 and 24 September this year. More than 40 different cheeses are produced in the region, many of which will feature at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Cheese Festival, held at The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. There will tastings, demonstrations, cheese-making and cheese grading, as well as guided walking and cycling tours for visitors to explore the picturesque countryside, tasting local specialities as they go.




Pop-up zero food waste heroes Real Junk Food Project create delicious dishes using perfectly edible produce thrown away by supermarkets, suppliers and farms. One of its directors is former Fat Duck chef Mary-Ellen McTague, who worked with Heston Blumenthal at his acclaimed fine dining restaurant. The team has been running a pop-up across the city since 2014, but will now open a permanent site (opening date to be confirmed), serving breakfast and lunch five to six days a week and three a la carte dinner evenings. There will be no set price to pay – instead, customers will be invited to give what they feel the meal is worth, and what they can afford. The team’s next goal is to offer free cookery lessons to low-income local residents.

McTague is also at the helm of Manchester Art Gallery’s new Gallery Café, with an overhauled menu that launched in June. Produce is sourced from an on-site kitchen garden, and cured meats and bread are made in-house.


A new gastropub with rooms, the Pentonbridge Inn, is being launched in Cumbria this September by a husband and wife team who were the former head chef and pastry chef respectively at Marcus Wareing’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant at The Berkley Hotel in London. Located in the hamlet of Penton, the inn will have nine rooms and a dining room offering tasting menus served personally by the chefs, incorporating locally-sourced ingredients. A separate pub area will serve classic ‘pub grub’ and small plates throughout the day.




A new African-themed restaurant serving springbok steak, ostrich rump and crocodile burgers has just opened on John Bright Street. Nakira Bar and Grill is kitted out with an authentic braai (a large South African barbecue grill typically used to cook game meats), plus African art and tribal masks decorating its walls. A menu highlight is the huge Nakira Braai sharing meal, including Boerewors (a typical South African sausage), beef steak, peri peri chicken skewer, jerk chicken skewer, chicken wings, large black tiger prawns and corn on the cob. Make sure you’ve built up a big appetite for this one!

Over at Grand Central, YouTube vlogger Nisha Katona has opened a branch of her Indian street food restaurant brand, Mowgli. Menu highlights include vegan dishes, Himalayan style cheese on toast, gunpowder chicken poppers (made with ginger, garlic and garam masala, fried in a chickpea batter), and mother butter chicken – a “real street food” equivalent of chicken tikka masala.




Get ready for a cheat day in Bath! In June, Smashburger’s handcrafted burgers arrived in the city, served with signature sides such as fried pickles and Smashfries (tossed with rosemary and garlic).  And Spanish celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy – who has previously worked at Spain’s famous elBulli under Ferran Adrià – has opened Tapas Revolution in the city. His menu of small sharing plates celebrates adventurous eating, and features Spanish classics such as tortilla, croquetas de jamon and chorizo – and indulgent churros con chocolate for dessert.

You might as well go all out and top it off with a ‘Swoondae’ at Bath’s new artisan gelateria, Swoon, which opened in May. As well as classics like chocolate, pistachio and fruity sorbets, Swoon’s chefs concoct six new seasonal flavours each month.


A new nautical-themed restaurant, Loveday's, has opened in the village of Charlestown, which is famous for featuring in the BBC's popular TV series Poldark, starring Aidan Turner. Loveday’s menu celebrates local seafood and is influenced by the travels of sailors who would have set off and returned home to the Charlestown port.


Two beefy new restaurants are vying for Bristol’s burger crown. In July Hubbox opened on Whiteladies Road, bringing mains like its Big Kahuna burger to the table: two 4oz beef patties, BBQ pulled pork, Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato and onion rings. And if you have room, its signature sides include the likes of crispy chicken strips and barbecue burnt-end beans. Meanwhile, pop-up and festival favourite Burger Theory will open its first permanent restaurant in August on St Stephen's Street, and stage burger-related events throughout the year. Let the burger-off commence!

Bristol’s new harbourside shipping container development, Cargo 2, has welcomed a host of fresh independent eateries. There’s dedicated hot salt beef sandwich bar, The Pickled Brisket; authentic Mexican taco bar Cargo Cantina, inspired by its owners’ travels through South, central and North America; and Sholay Indian Kitchen, which focuses on modern, simple dishes such as chicken sliders and vegan spinach and garlic bhajis.

Also joining the Cargo 2 family is Gopal’s Curry Shack, with its aromatic vegetarian and vegan Indian street food, including parsnip and ginger pakoras and even an onion bhaji scotch egg. And for dessert, there’s Oliver’s Ice Cream - fresh gelato and sorbets made on the premises from natural ingredients, with 18 flavours to choose from at any one time, plus waffles, crepes, shakes, fresh coffee, ‘spaghetti gelato’, lollies, and cakes – all made from ice cream.



World's top travel bloggers arriving in Inverness for Social Travel Summit

The global social media spotlight will be on Inverness next week when nearly 50 of the world's top travel bloggers arrive for a social media conference.

The Social Travel Summit, this year sponsored by VisitBritain and held in the UK for the first time, brings together popular travel bloggers and the travel industry to explore trends and insights on online travel marketing.

Bloggers from 17 countries including China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and the USA will be attending the summit, held from 19 - 21 September and organised by travel network iambassador. The bloggers will also have the chance to see the best of ‘destination Britain' and share these travel experiences with their social media followers during pre and post event trips.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

"We know the powerful role social media plays in promoting Britain to overseas visitors so we're thrilled to be bringing this summit here for the first time. I look forward to seeing some fantastic content created by the world's top bloggers as they tour the country, sharing their stories online and inspiring more visitors to book a trip to Britain."

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said:

"For Inverness to host the first Social Travel Summit to be held in Great Britain is a fantastic achievement for the Highland capital. The digital domain plays a hugely important role in reaching potential and returning visitors and the tourism industry needs to embrace new ways of working to succeed in a competitive global market."

Social media is at the heart of VisitBritain's domestic and international #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments' campaigns which showcase the incredible experiences that can only be had on a trip in Britain. The campaign invites people to share their amazing UK travel experiences using the hashtag #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain), which will also be used by the travel bloggers attending the summit.

Figures from last year's Social Travel Summit held in Hamburg show that more than 500 images and blog posts were created during the summit and shared globally, reaching an estimated four million people.

Research by VisitBritain shows the influence social media has in positioning Britain as a destination of choice for international visitors, offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014, and spending up 1% to £22.1 billion.


Notes to Editors:

• The Social Travel Summit is sponsored by VisitBritain with substantial support from VisitInvernessLochNess and VisitScotland

  • The Social Travel Summit has received funding from the VisitScotland National Conference Bid Fund and the Highland Council Common Good Fund

• For more information on #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments':

Quotes from some of the top bloggers attending the 2016 Social Travel Summit (for press use):

• Landlopers blogger Matt Long (USA) said:

"The Social Travel Summit is always a fantastic opportunity to meet with like-minded peers and learn from them in a collaborative environment. I'm thrilled that the conference is being held in Inverness this year - it's one of my favourite destinations in Britain and an ideal place from which to launch a great trip around the country."
Voyages etc. blogger Adeline Gressin (France) said:
"As a professional travel blogger and co-founder of the French travel blogger collective I can't wait to be inspired by the latest social media travel trends and ideas at the summit in Inverness. Britain has so much to offer travellers with its vibrant culture, amazing people, fantastic food and breath-taking landscapes."

· Travel Dudes blogger Melvin Bocher (Germany) said:

"The Social Travel Summit is the most important conference for professional travel bloggers and influencers as it provides invaluable opportunities to network and connect with leaders in digital travel marketing. Our job is to inspire our audiences to travel and so Scotland, with its stunning landscapes, is an ideal location for this event."

· The Shooting Star blogger Shivya Nath (India) said:

"The moment I heard that the 2016 Social Travel Summit is being held in the Scottish Highlands, I knew I had to be part of it. Networking with the travel blogging industry while exploring dreamy countryside landscapes - I can't think of a better way to take my work as a travel blogger to the next level."

For more information please contact Alisha Lewis at VisitBritain:
/ 020 7578 1128 or 0749 060 3773

TASTE Newsletter - January 2017

This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the country, including the Nordic trend, London's new floating seafood restaurant, an afternoon tea tour of Edinburgh on a vintage Routemaster bus, and a new traditional Sunday roast burger.

TREND: Mexican wave

Move aside, burritos - it's taco time! These little corn tortillas crowned with tasty toppings have taken over in recent months, with three new London ‘tacquerías' opening in November alone.

Starting out as a pop-up taco shack, street food success story Breddos now has its first restaurant in London's Clerkenwell, using British produce in its colourful Mexican-American dishes, which are inspired by the roadside taquerías and eateries the owners encountered on their travels. El Pastór, named after the Mexico City favourite, a shawarma-style ‘el pastor' meat taco has opened in Borough Market. And, in Soho, flavours at new Corazón Taqueria include rich barbacoa 12-hour slow roast lamb with tangy tomatillo salsa, plus ‘huevos benedict' tacos at the weekend.

It's not just London, though. Taco fever has spread to Newcastle Quayside in north-east England, where Barrio Comida - once a pop-up Mexican food event - opened its first restaurant in December. You'll find tacos ranging from charcoal grilled prawns to black beans and avocado, alongside other dishes such as ceviche tostada.

TREND: Pop-ups go permanent

Breddos and Barrio Comida join a host of pop-up eateries so in demand that they've opened permanent sites - and the trend is continuing into 2017.

From its beginnings in a little 20-seater shipping container in London's Brixton, fans of Kricket - with its Mumbai-inspired food, décor and music - are rejoicing at its January opening in Soho. Combining local British ingredients with spices, flavours and aromas of India, Kricket's food and punchy cocktails, including the Espresso Chaitini, get very good reviews.

One of most famous burgers on London's street food scene, Bleecker St Burger, is opening its first permanent home in London's Victoria this month, serving its classic American burgers alongside milkshakes and beer. In Manchester, acclaimed street food trader Bangers and Bacon is bringing its passion for all things meaty to its first (and aptly-named) restaurant, BEASTro. In Scotland, A'Challtainn Bar & Kitchen at BAaD (Barras Art & Design Centre) is a brand new, multi-purpose venue concept dedicated to Glasgow's booming food scene from the creators of successful Glasgow pop-ups.

Following sell-out pop-up residencies and backing from leading industry figures, Perilla launched its first permanent site in north London in November, serving high-end dishes in a casual atmosphere, at an accessible price. The menu focuses on modern interpretations of European flavours with a twist, including dishes such as cuttlefish Bolognese. Chef Ben Marks previously cooked at the likes of Claridges and Noma, while front-of-house, Matt Emmerson brings relaxed service style to the table.

TREND: Nordic

It's not just Scandi-style interiors that have a large following in London - four recent openings have brought new flavours to the capital. Renowned New York restaurant Aquavit has come to London with its Executive Chef Emma Bengtsson (the second female chef in the US to win two Michelin stars) at the helm, showcasing her modern Nordic cuisine.

If fine dining isn't your thing, Danish bakers Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebaek have brought one of Copenhagen's best bakeries, Ole & Steen , to London, located in St James's Market and featuring an all-day menu. Meanwhile, in Covent Garden, Nordic Bakery opened its fourth site in December, serving up Scandinavian favourites such as dark rye bread and traditional twisted cinnamon buns from Finland. In February, Aster will be opening in Victoria's new Nova complex with a café and deli on the ground floor and an upstairs restaurant and bar. Executive Chef Helena Puolakka's menus will blend classic French techniques with the Nordic cuisine of her Finnish heritage.

TREND: Dry January

After the excesses of the festive season some of us need a break from alcohol, and luckily there is a fresh new solution to ‘what to drink if you're not drinking' dilemma. Hotels Lancaster London and The Arch London have joined the likes of restaurants Sexy Fish, Chiltern Firehouse, Hand & Flowers and The Fat Duck by featuring the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, SEEDLIP, on their drink menus. Championed by some of the world's most celebrated bartenders and Michelin-starred chefs, this sophisticated, sugar and sweetener-free alternative to alcohol comes in different blends and uses distilled fresh herbs. The best bit? Zero calories!

And finally... Dinner in the Sky, which hosts dinners suspended from 30 metres in the air, is now taking bookings for 2017 in Glasgow, London, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton.


Can't choose between a traditional British Sunday roast dinner or a juicy burger? Thanks to ROAST restaurant in London's Borough Market, you don't have to! Their epic new ‘roast burger' is a mouth-watering combination of roast potato, rosemary and garlic bun stacked with Welsh Black roast beef, carrot piccalilli, horseradish sour cream, melted ale and mustard cheddar, curly kale and pickled red cabbage, served with red wine and onion gravy.

London is no stranger to Michelin stars, and in January Anne-Sophie Pic, the only French female chef to be awarded three Michelin stars opens her first UK restaurant, La Dame de Pic. Diners can expect creative French luxury cuisine in the classical English setting of Four Seasons Hotel London Trinity Square. Also opening her first solo restaurant is Monica Galetti, former senior sous chef at two-Michelin-starred La Gavroche, and well-known for her contribution to the TV show MasterChef: The Professionals. Her Mere opens this month in Fitzrovia with a laid-back vibe and a simple, seasonal menu. Over in the City of London, English Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton opened his second London restaurant, Temple & Sons, in November. The grill restaurant and all-day deli and bar caters for the increasing appetite for casual-style dining in the financial district. Its interiors are inspired by a traditional British grocery store and the menu focuses on traditional British dishes such as game sausage roll with creamy mash and gravy.

Two of London's famous museums have launched new culinary ventures, so if you fancy a side order of culture with your meal, head to the newly re-opened modernist Design Museum and its new restaurant, Parabola, owned by Peter Prescott and British design legend Sir Terence Conran and his wife Lady Conran. Or, on Sundays, visitors exploring the wonders of the V&A Museum can take a break with a Victorian-style afternoon tea in the elegant Morris Room. Devised by food historian Natasha Marks, the tea recreates authentic 19th Century dishes that would have been served in Queen Victoria's time.

California dreaming came to London in November with the opening of Pomona's restaurant and its American bar. With a menu inspired by chef Gareth Sanderson's travels along the west coast of America, dishes include ‘sweet potato toast with avocado, labneh, lime and cilantro gremolata' and ‘caramel croissant and prune pie with crème Anglais'.

From California to Australia, the brunch aficionados behind Timmy Green opened their latest cafe in Victoria's new Nova development in October, open from morning coffee to evening drinks, with local craft beers, an Australian wine list and house cocktails. Highlights on the menu include the famous banana bread sandwich and the huge side of barbecued lamb carved at the table. The team behind south-west London's Brew Cafes opened Antipodea in December by Kew Gardens station, an Australian inspired all-day Restaurant with a grocery-style shop. Dishes include baked eggs and a yellow Bloody Mary.

Where better to try a taste of the Caspian in January than JAN, a new restaurant celebrating Middle Eastern flavours from the culinary styles of Iran and Turkey. Signature dishes like grilled lamb chops and sea bream with harissa are cooked in a traditional charcoal oven, and there is heated al fresco space.

Also opening in January, Bala Baya brings Israeli cuisine has come to the arches of Southwark and is the first solo venture of Eran Tibi, who has worked alongside Yotam Ottolenghi. During the day feast on Tel Avi-style pitta bread, stuffed with slow cooked meats and salads, or larger dishes in the evening such as salt-baked salmon with tahini.

The team behind one of London's top vegetarian restaurants, The Gate, has launched The Gate Seymour Place, bringing its creative vegetarian food to Marble Arch in central London, with vegetables centre stage on its menu.

If you're looking for a cool drinking den with a few bites to eat, try tiny wine bar Enfant Terrible, which opened in December in Hackney. Inspired by Parisian wine bars, with just 12 metal counter stools tucked beneath the bar, it offers a daily changing wine list alongside cocktails and bar snacks like mutton tartare and the intriguing cognac and kampot pepper caramel brownie. Over in Soho, Company Below bar has reopened after a design and menu overhaul and is a great place to knock back a cocktail or two and feast on Bao buns.

British seaside restaurant Bonnie Gull opened its second Seafood Shack in Soho in December, offering the very best of daily fresh British fish and shellfish. Drawing inspiration from the British coast, Bonnie Gull Soho serves sustainable seafood and small sharing plates.

Float your boat on Regent's Canal and climb on-board for lunch or a cruising dinner on London Shell Co., a new floating restaurant that opened in December, housed inside the refurbished Prince Regent canal boat. Specialising in seafood, unsurprisingly, the menu includes seasonal dishes such as Morecambe Bay oysters, home-cured Scottish salmon and game for autumn.

Pick a number from one to five! Stefano Cresci's Florentine pizza restaurant Pizza Toscana is opening its first UK site in Soho. It will serve a core menu of five pizzas - named simply Pizza 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 - with Tuscan toppings such as pecorino cheese instead of mozzarella and chopped Costoluto Fiorentino tomatoes instead of passata. Starters, other mains and desserts will also grace the simple menu.



All aboard The Red Bus Bistro for a new afternoon tea tour or a gourmet burger tour around the stunning sights and historic culture of Edinburgh. During the one and two hour tours on this vintage 1966 Routemaster bus, guests will be invited to 'dine and download' a dedicated Red Bus Bistro tour application using free Wi-Fi on-board. The bus departs from St Andrew Square Bus Station.


Alchemilla is the latest addition to Finnieston's foodie quarter, with Glasgow local Rosie Healey as Head Chef. Expect exciting contemporary Ottolenghi-style dishes with eastern spices and small sharing plates in relaxed minimalist surroundings.

Also new to Finnieston is Chelsea Market - a great place to go for a lazy brunch, long lunch or dinner. Relax in a cosy booth or on one of the vintage cushioned bench seats and peruse an extensive wine and cocktail list.

Newly opened Table 11 is the sister restaurant of Crabshakk and serves up delicious fish-focused small plates. Highlights include lobster dumplings in watermelon Thai green curry, laska broth and salt cod acras.

The latest addition to the restaurant scene in Glasgow's East End is Bilson Eleven. It's located in a 19th century townhouse, but offers a modern approach to classic flavours, techniques and Scottish ingredients.

Glasgow restaurant group Rusk & Rusk has recently opened its latest venture, The Spanish Butcher, in Glasgow's Merchant City. Premium Spanish meats and fish are high on the agenda and the décor gives the restaurant a cool New York vibe.

Themed as an old pharmacy and with an emphasis on healthy living, The Drugstore Social bar uses foraged ingredients as the base of its health-conscious cocktails and food menu.

Two new specialist brewpubs opened in Glasgow at the end of last year. The Shilling Brewing Co. is set in the historic surroundings of a former bank, serving up its own brews on tap alongside specialty pizzas. In Glasgow's West End, Crossing the Rubicon has 14 draught lines and four cask lines, as well as an ever-changing variety of guest beers and curries from around the world.


Wales now has a total of seven Michelin-starred restaurants - in the most recent guide Restaurant James Sommerin in Penarth, just south of Cardiff, and Sosban and The Old Butchers Restaurant on the island of Anglesey off the north-west coast of Wales received new stars.

Fancy a shisha with your halal burger, or a Charles Dickens-inspired breakfast? Cardiff is now home to two unique new foodie experiences. Due to open this month, Cloud is a shisha bar with an American-style halal food menu, and will be the first of its kind in Wales. Offering more than 100 shisha flavour combinations and 20 ice cream flavours, it will have an 'oasis area' featuring sand, real palm trees, floor cushions and a water feature, as well as a luxury VIP area. With a very different theme, new Charles Dickens-inspired café Dickens of Charles Street aims to transport its diners back to the Victorian era. Serving breakfast, light meals, afternoon teas and Sunday dinners, its dishes are named after famous Dickens characters - from Oliver's breakfast bowl to Nancy's pancake stack.

Combine iconic Welsh architecture with a new afternoon tea at The Senedd in Cardiff Bay, home to the National Assembly for Wales. Known for its distinctive design, visitors can learn about the building's fascinating history on a free guided tour before or after relaxing with afternoon tea on the balcony of the building's Oriel Café, overlooking the water. A choice of either coffee or Welsh tea is accompanied by sandwiches, freshly made scones with jam and clotted cream, mini quiches and traditional Welsh cakes - all baked fresh in-house. Yum!

Over in the little fishing town of Mumbles on the western edge of Swansea Bay, Croeso Lounge opened at the end of last year in the town's new Oyster Wharf development. This buzzy venue has an eclectic décor, and offers a great range of lunch and dinner choices, with lovely seaside views. The menu includes grilled halloumi salad, tapas served with ciabatta, chorizo hash and a falafel burger with wood-roasted pepper and basil pesto - as well as lots of gluten free and vegan options.


The 40-acre Lingholm estate near Keswick in the Lake District opened its own artisan bakery in November. Lingholm Bakery is set in a small building dating back almost 150 years and would have formerly been known to the author Beatrix Potter as a potting shed during her many summer holidays on the estate in the late 19th century! Try the tasty signature sourdough as a yummy souvenir.

An exciting new restaurant for the Lake District, Gilpin Spice, opened at the Michelin-starred Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in December. Its informal menu features sharing dishes from the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and China. Executive Chef Hrishikesh Desai sources all of the spices personally from around the world.

North-east England


With three new openings in December alone, it's an exciting time for the city's foodie scene. With great views across the Newcastle city-scape, Chaophraya is a luxury rooftop dining experience, taking diners on a culinary journey through regions of Thailand.

Newcastle restauranteur Andy Hook's new restaurant, Dobson and Parnell, is set in a Victorian building with an elegant high-ceilinged dining room. Specialising in British and European cuisine, the menus feature dishes like pressed wild rabbit, hake smoked clam and smoked wild duck breast.

A new addition to Newcastle's Quayside is Shilling - a stylish bar and restaurant with a sustainable ‘nose to tail' ethos, where chefs use as much of an animal as possible in their meat dishes, while the bar's mixologist creates cocktails using every part of the ingredients needed.

North-west England


Manchester has become one of the UK's most exciting foodie destinations and it looks like 2017 will be another delicious year for visitors to this vibrant city.

The Refuge by Volta, housed within the opulent surroundings and soaring ceilings of the The Principal Manchester hotel, is the work of Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, two former DJs-turned-restauranteurs. The globally-influenced menu features small plates and sharing dishes - try the People's Lunch for a great value feast.

Chef Samuel Buckley, who headed up the kitchen at L'Enclume (considered by some as the UK's best restaurant), has just opened Where the Light Gets In - a new restaurant and market housed in a Victorian warehouse in Stockport, just outside of Manchester's city centre. The restaurant's tasting menu is based on the ‘catch, harvest and slaughter' of the day. Future plans for the space include a ground floor café and grocery shop, plus a basement gin parlour.

GG Hospitality, the company backed by Manchester United football legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, has recently taken over the restaurant spaces at the National Football Museum. Acclaimed chef Michael O'Hare is heading up The Rabbit In The Moon on the upper floors of the museum, described as a 'space-age Asian' restaurant which launches this month.

South-east England

Set a few minutes' walk from the sea, the award-winning Chewton Glen hotel in Hampshire is opening a purpose-built cookery school, The Kitchen, in early February 2017. Led by chef tutor Rob Cottam, there will be classes for all skills and ability levels, and the kitchen garden will provide ingredients for students - and even visiting celebrity chefs.

In November, healthy fast food chain Leon opened its ‘most family- and eco-friendly' restaurant in Oxford, with a play area, children's library and customer recycling station. The new venue has two new vegetarian options for breakfast - a halloumi muffin and a veggie egg pot - alongside favourites such as Moroccan meatballs and the fish finger wrap. Cyclist customers will receive free Leon coffee vouchers.

Organic Home Farm is located on the impressive Goodwood Estate in West Sussex and has been farmed by the family for more than 300 years. Its new restaurant Farmer, Butcher, Chef opened in November and its dishes feature beef, pork and lamb all born and reared on the estate, fed only on home-grown organic produce. The butcher is directly involved in designing dishes according to what cuts are available, which means nothing is wasted.

This month, Michelin-starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar is bringing his modern British food with an Indian twist to his new restaurant, Hawkyns, at the Crown Inn in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After enjoying dishes like scallops with leek terrine and chicken tikka pie, guests can retire to one of the inn's 38 rooms for the night.

TASTE Newsletter - July 2016

TREND: Award-winning afternoon teas

Tea lovers across the globe can rejoice, as the quintessentially British pastime of enjoying afternoon tea now has its own awards: The Afternoon Tea Awards. In its inaugural year, the London-based winners were chosen in line with a variety of categories, and with Afternoon Tea Week just around the corner, there's no better time to enjoy a spot of tea.

The Best Traditional Afternoon Tea was awarded to Claridge's, which has been observing this aspect of Britain's culinary heritage for 150 years. The Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea went to The Mandarin Oriental who have their own ‘Tea Master' and team of pastry chefs. The Best Themed Afternoon Tea was awarded to Sanderson London with their Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter's tea party - a nod towards the anniversary of the much loved children's tale. Last but not least is the Best Family Friendly Afternoon Tea award, won by Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel. The hotel promises its afternoon tea experience in the Park Room is one to remember.,,,

TREND: Distilleries and craft beers

Bundobust, the hugely popular Indian food and craft beer bar in Leeds, will be opening up another branch to convert Manchester to the joys of craft beer and Gujarati vegetarian grub. With 140 covers, the new venture is twice the size of its Leeds counterpart but will still be embracing its craft beer roots, with keg lines and cask pumps, Magic Rock and Kirkstall, plus Cloudwater and other Manchester hop favourites. Dine on simple, authentic Indian cuisine, like okra fries, classic chaat, idli sambhar steamed dumplings and their famous veggie burger Mumbai speciality, vada pav.

Due to open this August inside Pump House No.5, a Victorian building located in Kent's Historic Dockyard Chatham, is The Copper Rivet Distillery. Expect a beautiful space with craft gins and other spirits.

TREND: Luxury retreats with dining experiences to match

As it celebrates the 600th birthday of its historic Auld Keep, luxury venue Dundas Castle has launched a series of unique dinner packages. Created specifically for groups, the dinners take place within the historic and atmospheric surroundings of the Auld Keep. While the usual requirement is for visitors to take the whole castle on an exclusive use basis, the 600th birthday dinners represent a break from tradition and, for the year of celebrations, are available without the need to hire the venue as a whole. Cost: starting at £150 for up to 20 diners.

Now nearing completion of its extensive refurbishment, the beautiful Grade II listed country house hotel, Palé Hall in North Wales, will be opening in September. The restaurant has been developed in association with Michelin-star chef Michael Caines, and will offer exquisite food with the finest fresh, local seasonal produce.

Grade II listed Georgian mansion Lympstone Manor in Devon, also acquired by Michael Caines, is set to open in February 2017 following an exciting transformation into a luxury country house hotel, complete with 60-cover fine dining restaurant.

New to Soho is the recently-opened Poppie's Fish & Chips, which serves fresh fish, chunky hand-cut chips and comforting mushy peas. Practically an institution in itself, with shops in Camden and Spitalfields, the Soho branch will embrace the charms of its sister restaurants with live music and a stage. Excitingly, the Soho shop will be housed on the old site of 2i's Coffee Bar, widely known as the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll.

Gracing Holborn this summer with a light-hearted take on the Hong Kong café subculture is Cha Chaan Teng. Expect an eclectic range of Chinese comfort food infused with western influences from renowned TV chef and creator of School of Wok, Jeremy Pang. Enjoy Cha Chaan Teng staples such as deep-fried peanut butter French toast, and classic crusty rolls with spam, fried quail egg or soy pork chop.

Mayfair restaurant Tokimeitē has launched its unique Japanese Robata-style brunch this month. The brunch offers diners an authentic, yet contemporary take on Japanese dining, but in a relaxed and informal setting. Take a break from the usual roast dinner, and enjoy this Sunday-only brunch menu of slow-grilled food designed for sharing.

Lovers of New York-inspired cuisine will rejoice at the news of a third Dirty Bones site opening this summer in Shoreditch. Housed in an iconic heritage building, the new Dirty Bones will served comfort food dishes and cocktails, and will be the first Dirty Bones to house an all-day dining menu. Enjoy a range of culinary offerings, from the breakfast menu exclusive to Shoreditch, to evening cocktails with live bands and DJ nights.

Love boutique hotels? Love Michelin-starred chefs? Then we have the dining experience for you. Celebrated chef Shaun Rankin has joined forces with Flemings Mayfair to bring you the 85-cover restaurant Ormer Mayfair, due to open on 14 September after a £14 million refurbishment. Expect an Art Deco-inspired space with a 1930s glamour, serving light and refreshing dishes, decadent deserts and specially selected wines. The restaurant will offer a relaxed environment surrounded by affordable luxury in the heart of London's Mayfair.
Making its way across the pond to Milton Keynes is Smashburger, a casual restaurant with big ambitions to revolutionise the fast-food burger scene. Their secret is in the 'smash', where a hand-crafted meatball is smashed into a hot buttered grill, searing in all the juices and flavour. Try it with garlic and rosemary Smash fries.

Taking inspiration from the beautiful city of Venice, the Salt Yard Group will be opening their first all-day restaurant in St James's Market, Veneta. Seating 110 covers in areas that combine classic bar-counter seating, banqueting booths and intimate tables, expect classic Venetian dishes, a classic raw bar, and both indulgent and healthy breakfasts.

Opening its doors this summer is Samarkand, a restaurant which claims to be one of the first to celebrate Uzbekistan's cuisine. Located in Fitzrovia, the restaurant will serve a modern take on Uzbeck dishes for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant will feature a grand entrance and staircase that will lead down to a 130-cover chandelier-laden dining room.

The Royal Botanic Gardens will see their first all-day table service restaurant opening this August. The Botanical will overlook the Palm House Conservatory and pond, and will feature a bar, terrace, and private dining room. The Botanical will be the fifth dining venue at Kew, and will hope to grow the concept of 'Why Plants Matter' through the dishes they serve.

The Shilling Brewing Co. is the first to bring the brewpub experience in Glasgow, a city with a centuries-old heritage of brewing pioneers. The company opened The Shilling in June, a space where everyone can discover and appreciate beer, straight from the source. In fact, the fermentation tanks are located in the basement, where visitors can view the process of brewing through a glass wall.

After the success of their Glasgow-Finnieston and Edinburgh branches, the three owners of Lebowskis decided to open a new venue in Glasgow's Southside with a more grown up, contemporary look this June. The chain is mainly famous for its legendary burgers but The Lebowskis South is now also offering a range of Scottish bar specialties, small dishes, or even brunch at the weekend.

A bespoke and stylish bar, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, opened this June at Cannonball House in partnership with Glengoyne. With stunning views down the Royal Mile, it's the perfect space for visitors to enjoy a pre or post-dinner drink while they soak up the atmosphere in one of Edinburgh's most iconic locations.

Enjoy a delicious picnic in the heart of Edinburgh in The Glasshouse Hotel - Rooftop Garden Picnic which opened this month. Escape the hustle and bustle, relax and take in the breath-taking views of Calton Hill. Upon arrival, guests will be presented with a quaint picnic rug and basket full of fresh Scottish produce and accompanied with the choice of non-alcoholic or alcoholic drinks.

Following the success of the Grapevine restaurant which launched in Selkirk last year, the Grapevine Galashiels opened in the town's Douglas Bridge this month. Expect innovative menus and offerings in this central location close to the Borders Railway.

Following the success of the Chop House which opened in Leith in September 2015, a second bar and butchery is set to open this July at The Arches on East Market Street in Edinburgh's Old Town. As well as the vibrant restaurant, with a menu focused on British beef, the new Chop House will boast an impressive bar serving craft beers and bespoke seasonal cocktails.

Revolucion de Cuba, a stunning two-floor rum bar complete with outdoor terrace, has recently opened on Liverpool's Albert Dock. Offering an exciting cocktail menu and special Catina Menu with the finest Cuban food, this new spot promises to take you straight to the heart of Cuban life. Enjoy live music, the Havana Bar, or one of their many fine rums.

The Shankly Hotel has released plans for its rooftop bar and restaurant, Eden Bar, showcasing a luxury rooftop garden with uninterrupted views of Liverpool. Owned by Signature Living, the development is being completed with the Shankly family, and will include extravagant features such as a 100ft slide and hotel room doors that interact with smartphones. The terrace will house two 175-seat restaurants.

The northern powerhouse of 'molecular mixology', The Alchemist, will be opening its newest cocktail bar on Brunswick Street, in Noble House. With venues already in Manchester and Leeds, it will be adding Liverpool to the collection this month. The cocktail bar and restaurant prides itself on mixology, alchemy and craftsmanship and promises a theatrical experience housed within its menus.

Enjoy a taste of Chinese history with the bestselling spirit in Europe, Baijiu. Made from grain and generally between 40%-60% in alcohol by volume, Baijiu can now be enjoyed at the first ever dedicated bar in Europe, FU Baijiu. Ease yourself in with an infusion or cocktail with herbs and fruits, or go straight in for a shot, with the aftertaste lingering for a whole ten seconds. Most excitingly, there are different Baijius to try with different tasting notes; be sure to have some of the slow roasted pork belly in sticky black bean sauce, or crab and crayfish samosas, to accompany your tasting experience.

Enjoy the quintessentially British past time of taking tea at the Jam Restaurant & Tea Bar, where guests can enjoy more than 25 different styles of tea. Located on Sir Thomas Street, the speciality tea shop, cocktail bar, and eatery serves afternoon tea, homemade cakes and pastries, brunch and casual dining from 18.00pm onwards, and of course cocktails.


Beat Street will take up permanent residency at the Great Northern Warehouse after transforming the disused space into a unique venue. The development will be home to seven street food traders and three bars, with seating for 150 diners on a split-level, heated all-weather terrace with a rooftop sun deck and outdoor grill.

Squid Ink, an independent Asian fusion restaurant, has just opened in the up and coming Ancoats area. You can expect an airy restaurant where you can comfortably dine on the ever-changing creative menu.

Soon to grace the Palace Hotel is independently owned restaurant Volta at the Refuge. Its previously globe-trotting DJ owners have developed the 10,000 sq. foot space to open in September. The Victorian-tinged hall of tiled columns, glass atriums and big armchairs will feature a 139-cover restaurant for an all-day drinking and dining experience, complete with a leafy ‘Winter Garden'.

Football fans rejoice! The newly opened Spanish restaurant Tapeo and Wine on Deansgate is backed by Manchester United player Juan Mata. Try plates like shoulder of milk-fed lamb, lobster rice and thick seafood broth. Menus will change seasonally and customers can also expect a tempting array of homemade desserts.


Centred on the grand Victorian estate near Keswick where Beatrix Potter wrote some of her most famous children's books is the Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden. The new café was built using re-claimed Lakeland stone. Expect a range of quality locally sourced foods, home baked breads, caked and pastries, real barista coffee and an extensive range of teas.

The Cocoa Bean Hawkshead: Children's Chocolate Workshop & Chocolate Store is a new unique and interactive experience that offers children the chance to make delicious chocolate creations, which they are able to take home - along with their own apron and hair net! Adults can browse the factory shop, full of goodies, gifts, and over 100 varieties of chocolates.

After the success of The Flying Pig in Bowness-on-Winderemere, which opened in December 2015, High Spirits Leisure Group have this month opened The Arts Bar - also in Bowness and Fodder in Windermere. The Arts Bar celebrates a signature gin menu ‘Annie's List' created by Mixologist Hank Angelo Hughes Lumby and a playful food menu with dishes such as a Falafel burger named "The Lazy Farmer".

TASTE Newsletter February 2016 edition - the 'need to know' about new Food and Drink in Britain

TASTE Newsletter October 2016 edition - the 'need to know' about new food and drink in Britain

TREND: Little chefs

The Connaught and its Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze have launched Le Petit Chef, a cooking masterclass for budding chefs staying at the hotel with their parents. Until spring 2017, young guests will be granted access to the restaurant's kitchens to learn how to make a fruity crumble dessert, using their own personalised apron, hat and wooden spoon.

Hunter 486's Head Chef Gary Durrant is a father of two and has devised the perfect children's menu at The Arch London's restaurant. Children's sized cutlery is provided and colouring books are on hand to keep the little ones entertained.

TREND: Street food with a side order of culture

Fancy some Portuguese tapas marinated in live music, with a side of vintage shopping? Then head down to Flat Iron Square, opening this month in Bankside, London. A blend of music, food, drink, entertainment and culture come together across seven railway arches and a historic building. Open all day - for early breakfast until late drinks - it caters for the increasing demand for flexibility of enjoying good food in an entertaining, cultural environment. With more than a dozen eateries offering artisan food from around the globe, highlights include Where the pancakes are... plus Portuguese tapas and wine bar Douro and fresh and innovative Savage Salads. The live music venue, OMEARA, by Ben Lovett of the band Mumford & Sons, will host a range of club nights, talks, comedy, burlesque, magic and more. And every Sunday from 10am-5pm, there's Flea - a European-inspired vintage market. The creators of the space plan for it to keep evolving for visitors to keep discovering... so watch this square!

Media company Time Out is also looking to open a food market in Shoreditch, east London, next year. The site is expected to have 17 restaurants, four bars, a Cooking Academy, a shop and an art gallery. The concept first opened in Lisbon in 2014 and has future plans to launch sites in New York and Miami.

TREND: Celebrating goat meat

This month saw the inaugural launch of Goatober - Britain's first annual event encouraging us to all eat more goat meat. Goatober originally started in 2010 in New York and has got bigger each year. Britain's month-long celebration is led by Cabrito, headed up by former River Cottage chef James Whetlor. When he found out that billy goats who don't produce milk for dairy products are euthanised at birth, James wanted to improve the situation. After buying billy goats from the farmers, he raises them and then sells the meat to acclaimed restaurants such as HIX, St John, Duck and Waffle, Morito and River Cottage. After a successful 2016 launch, the event will return bigger and better next year.

TREND: A Latino love affair

The British foodie scene's love of Latino cuisine continues apace, with Peruvian taking centre stage. In London, Butifarra brings Peruvian street food to Soho, while Chicama is a modern eatery from the team behind Pachamama restaurant, while renowned Michelin-starred Lima has re-opened after a major refurb, with a revamped menu enriched with new elements and techniques from the team's discovery travels in the Amazon rainforest.,

It's not just Peruvian though - Corazón, a new authentic Mexican-style ‘taqueria' taco restaurant - is due to open in Soho this November, with taco fillings including confit of duck in root beer and 12-hour slow roast lamb, alongside ceviches, tostadas and salads. In Bristol, summery new opening Bambalan has a huge terrace overlooking the centre and serves up fragrant Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Its emphasis is on healthy but tasty salads, mezzes and signature Babs (rotisserie meats served in a flatbread), as well as a kids' menu.

TREND: Meat feast

London venue McQueen is opening a new steak restaurant, The Grill, in Shoreditch this month - with a menu specially created by former Hawksmoor Head Chef Richard Sandiford. All ingredients are locally sourced - the bread comes from just around the corner at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery in Hackney.

New kid on the block this November Bar + Block, located in London's King's Cross, will offer high-quality steaks at high-street prices. It's all about the beef: using British breed cattle grazed on the stunning planes of the Pampas in South America, these 28-day aged steaks are the real deal. Lighter dishes are also available.

Pitt Cue put pulled pork on the map when it opened in 2012 and now its Soho baby, Little Pit, offers a daily-changing menu focussed on meat, meat and more meat. Meanwhile, street food barbecue specialists Smokestak are opening up their first permanent site off Brick Lane, and ethically-focussed US burger chain BurgerFi are bringing the CEO Burger to London diners: a double Wagyu Beef and

Brisket blend patty. Also joining the meat club is Sagardi, a new Basque restaurant in Shoreditch, complete with an on-site butcher.,,,

TREND: Clean eating

Hotel Café Royal's Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre in London has launched a new Four Elements menu created with nutritional therapist, Zoë Stirling and served in the spa's peaceful lounge. Fire Menu includes ginger, rocket and watercress salad; Earth showcases root vegetables with turmeric hummus and quinoa; Water features raw Thai-style salad with seaweed, shiitake broth with poached salmon and watermelon granite; and Air features nectarines, citrus dressing, and coconut frozen yoghurt.

Coeliacs rejoice! London's first entirely gluten-free, fine dining restaurant M Raw is open. Already shortlisted by Restaurant Magazine for ‘Best New Opening 2016′, it is also one of the first and few restaurants in London to serve Cobia - a fish compared to its carnivorous counterpart, Wagyu Beef.

New healthy South Kensington eatery Squirrel has a refillable drinking ‘well' serving matcha lattes, turmeric lattes, all press coffees and spicy reishi hot chocolate.


London gained seven new one Michelin star restaurants in the 2017 Michelin Guide unveiled earlier this month, including Jun Tanaka's The Ninth and Adam Byatt's Trinity.

David Muñoz, who holds three Michelin stars at his restaurant Diver XO in Madrid, is due to open his London restaurant Street XO in Mayfair in November. He plans to evoke the atmosphere of a street food market, with an open theatre kitchen, chefs serving food alongside waiters, and surprising dishes like Crunchy Pig's Ear and Kimchi Croquetas.

Kiln is one of Soho's hottest new eateries - literally - with open fires in the middle of the room! Thai grill and seafood is prepared in clay pots over an open fire, based on Thai street market food, combining Burmese and Yunnanese spicing and flavours.

This month Hawiian restaurant Island Poké opens in Soho, bringing a breakfast-to-dinner menu to the table - think acai breakfast bowls, Kona coffee and Hawaiian-style sashimi salad. Aloha!

Just-opened Manitoba Tigella has brought tigella - the traditional Italian disc-shaped stuffed bread - from Northern Italy to New Oxford Street. A range of tigellas will be served with different accompaniments including prosciutto and sundried tomatoes - as well as other dishes like pasta, meat, fish, salads and soups. Guests will be able to see the chefs prepare the tigella at the restaurant's ‘cooking theatre'.

Next month, former group exectuive chef at Michelin-starred sites Gymkhana and Trishna will open new fine-dining Indian restaurant, Jamavar, in Mayfair, London. It will be the company's first international outpost outside India and the team has spent six weeks travelling around India researching the new menu. Check out their ideas on Instagram @JamavarLondon. The same team launched Motu Indian Kitchen earlier this month, a delivery service serving indulgent home style Indian food paying homage to the "dabbawalas" of India who would traditionally deliver a packed meal for workers across Indian cities in what became known as a tiffin. Motu will initially serve the area around south west London including Fulham, Clapham, Chelsea, Wandsworth, Putney and Battersea, via Deliveroo.

Roma, a new Roman-themed restaurant, opened in east London in September. Its opulent design is inspired by ancient Rome and chefs use traditional Roman techniques, including cooking meat with hay. Some of the wines are from Southern European vineyards traced back to Roman times.

New Greek restaurant Kalimera in Camden is making organic olive oil the star of the show. Using organic olive oil made on the owner family's farm in Sparta in South Greece, diners can also buy the olive oil to take home.

New Caravan Bankside, located a stone's throw from the Tate Modern extension on the ground floor of the old Metal Box Factory, offers a globally-inspired menu of pizzas, daily bakes, house-made cheeses like whey ricotta, cured meats such as coffee-cured duck ham, and specialty coffee courtesy of Caravan Coffee Roasters. International flavours shine through all dishes, such as baked eggs with tomato pepper ragout for weekend brunch, hot chilli crab claw, coriander & pickled lime on the all-day menu, and its classic ‘Caravan espresso caramel affogato' for dessert.

The Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Prêt-à-Portea, its legendary fashion afternoon tea, with the publication of new book Prêt-à-Portea, High-Fashion Bakes & Biscuits. The book showcases a collection of more than 20 secret recipes featuring key fashion styles from world leading designers such as Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo, plus baking techniques from the hotel's Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat. Khiat will also be sharing secrets behind fashion's favourite afternoon tea with a series of two-hour masterclasses available from 2 November until Spring 2017, for guests to learn how to make three favourite recipes from the past ten years. Prêt-à-Portea is served in the Collins Room at The Berkeley every day from 1:30pm - 5:30pm.

Talking of new sweet things, Dominique Ansel bakery has opened in Victoria - best known for popularising the Cronut, a croissant and doughnut hybrid, which took New York by storm and has since become a global phenomenon. The new London outpost will feature unique creations using British produce and ingredients.

In September two former Michelin star pastry chefs opened Over Easy, a new all-day brunch restaurant in Marylebone. The pair have travelled the world researching the menus, including delicious Crispy Avocado Toastadas, Truffled Pain Perdu and Dutch Baby Pancakes.

It's all change at the revamped London's St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, which has welcomed a new Executive Chef, Adam Ashe, working across the hotel's food and beverage outlets, including Hansom Lounge, meat and cheese café MI + ME and the main bar and restaurant, the Booking Office. MI + ME will also be running weekly free masterclasses, with different topics each month - from ‘cured meat and craft beer pairing' to fashion illustration.

On the foodie horizon...

This winter, renowned New York Nordic restaurant Aquavit will open in London, showcasing modern Nordic cuisine and overseen by Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef of the two Michelin-starred Aquavit New York - only the second female chef in the US to win two Michelin stars.

London's only naked restaurant, The Bunyadi, could be set to return to the capital permanently following a sell-out run at its pop-up concept earlier this year, which offered guests ‘true liberation' by letting them dine in the nude.

Australian hospitality group Seagrass is planning to launch three restaurant brands in Britain over the next two years. The first is its high quality Ribs & Burgers chain - including a pure Wagyu burger - in south-west London, then it aims to bring its Italian Street Kitchen concept in 2017, followed by skewered meat and craft beer brand Hunter & Barrel in 2018. The group has 28 sites in Australia across five brands.

Harrods is planning to transform its basement space from a fine wine department into a 225-cover late-night restaurant, bar and lounge area. The store's nine existing restaurants and cafes close by 9pm but the restaurant will stay open until midnight Monday to Friday and 11.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Famous chef Rick Stein is set to make his London debut in Barnes next year, overlooking the Thames.



London's much-loved Dishoom restaurant open in Edinburgh this winter - its first location outside the capital. Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés of Bombay, and Edinburgh diners will be able to enjoy Executive Chef Naved Nasir's legendary breakfast, followed by an all-day sharing menu of Bombay comfort food, including small plates, grills, biryanis, salad plates, rolls and curries.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh is getting a new Epicurean bar this month, serving colourful cocktails made using home-grown flowers and herbs from the hotel's Evogro hydroponic indoor plant growing system. The bar will also serve a selection of Scottish spirits and malts, artisanal Mediterranean spirits, craft beers and wines from select small producer vineyards. It will offer an all-day dining menu with Mediterranean snacks and list of mocktail drinks.

The Scottish Highlands got a new food festival this September in the form of Taste the Wild, West Highland Food Festival. Part of Scottish Food & Drink fortnight (3-18 September), the festival celebrates a foraged selection of the finest local food and drink. Visitors can discover the region's artisan producers and feast on wild larder straight from the surrounding hills and sea, while dancing the night away at the Scran & Dram Ceilidh! Watch this space for information on next year's event.

Homeless people in Edinburgh have been treated to a fine dining meal at a chic new restaurant Maison Bleue for the first time. Guests had a choice of venison haunch casserole with cheesy mash or a wild mushroom penne pasta dish, followed by apple and red berry crumble with vanilla ice cream. The restaurant's promise is to feed members of the homeless community once a week, while also contributing its profits to charity. The initiative is made possible by "pay it forward" contributions from diners.


Edinburgh's vibrant Indian street food restaurant, Tuk Tuk, is bringing its authentic fare to a second site in Glasgow this November, serving up Tiffin set lunch boxes, inspired by the fresh, rustic food served at the roadside and railway stations across India to travellers, school children, rickshaw-wallahs and busy office workers.

Glasgow's newest Spanish restaurant, Ibérica, focuses on food from the Asturias region - hand-carved hams, rare cheeses and beer, wine, sherry and cider. Its executive head chef has two Michelin stars and there is delicatessen on site selling olive oils, hams, cured meats, preserved fish and vegetables. Olé!


Cardiff's Summerhouse Café in Bute Park is offering up dog-friendly ice cream... and it's going down a treat! The lactose-free frozen yoghurt, Frozzy, is made especially for dogs and comes in four flavours - strawberry, cranberry, blueberry and original.

Cardiff is also getting its first Australian themed restaurant this month, The Outback. Diners will find kangaroo steaks, ostrich meat, venison, wild boar and crocodile burgers on the menu, as well as fresh fish and Aussie-style BBQ sauce. Owner Ciprian Craciunescu's travels have inspired his menu, which is a mix of Australian contemporary cuisine and native bushfood, plus hints of British and Italian flavours.

The Whitebrook has retained its Michelin star for the third successive year in the 2017 Michelin Guide.

In September, Hilton Cardiff launched its new restaurant, Grey, overlooking the city's castle. Its menu champions local Welsh produce, including honey glazed welsh lamb shank bubble ‘n' squeak, alongside Welsh craft beers and spirits from the Cardiff Gin Company.

Combining local products and cooking demonstrations with live music and family events, Portmeirion Food & Craft Fair will be a celebration of all things Welsh this December. Watch top chefs cooking live and learn something new from an itinerary of creative classes. Little foodies can learn how to cook before jumping on the Woodland Express to find Santa in his Grotto.

Liverpool, Manchester & Leeds


New opening Castle Street Townhouse transforms itself from a breakfast and brunch restaurant to a chic bar in the evening. From 11am, brunch dishes include shin of beef with kale and carrot celeriac. It's also the first venue in Liverpool to serve a breakfast ‘afternoon tea' - the Towerhouse Tier.

Kaspa opened this month and is already living up to its ‘king of desserts' slogan. The menu is strictly desserts and gelato, including sundaes, sorbet, waffles and crepes, cakes, hot drinks, milkshakes and smoothies. There are also protein shakes and gluten free options available.


Spanish tapas restaurant El Gato Negro has won a Michelin Bib Gourmand and is on the hunt for more sites. It will also start to serve food in its top floor cocktail bar, The Black Cat, to add more dining space. Chef patron Simon Shaw also wants to bring a new brand to Manchester, Pico Pico, blending small dishes with Spanish, North African and Middle Eastern influences.

This month Michelin chef Michael O'Hare has opened The Rabbit in the Moon - a new ‘space-age Asian' restaurant at Manchester's National Football Museum. The restaurant is named after an Asian fable and will serve an evening tasting menu.


Italian TV chef Gino D'Acampo is opening a new restaurant in Leeds, which will be the third outpost of his premium My Restaurant brand, serving real Italian food and featuring an eat-at deli bar.


Forest Side in Grasmere has been awarded its first Michelin star in the 2017 guide, and named as Tatler Restaurant Awards' ‘Best Kept Secret' 2016. It's quickly become a Lake District pilgrimage for foodies, with its huge kitchen garden featuring 140 raised beds, 46 acres of grounds for foraging, and tasting menus inspired by the surrounding Cumbrian landscape.

South East England

Five-star Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey has relaunched its Brasserie restaurant as an interactive dining experience with three cooking stations offering a changing menu throughout the day. It is designed to act as a more informal alternative to the hotel's acclaimed fine dining restaurant, The Latymer.

Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck has regained its top three-star rating in the 2017 Michelin Stars Guide after the restaurant temporarily moved to Melbourne for nine months in 2015.

South West


New opening Appleton's at the Vineyard near Padstow is run by Andy Appleton, former head chef of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall, and his wife Lyndsey. It's based in the heart of Trevibbanmill Vineyard, which provides a stunning backdrop as well as the wine list. Expect dishes like squid ink spaghetti with Padstow crab.


A unique liquid nitrogen ice cream stall, Brozen, has opened at Bristol's St Nick's Market. The brainchild of two brothers, this special ice cream is free from any preservatives and created in front of your eyes. Customers stay behind glass as an operative wearing safety specs uses liquid nitrogen and an electric whisk to make the ice cream. Flavours on offer include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, and a carrot cake special - as well as strawberry and plum sorbets. @BrozenIceCream

Taste newsletter July 2015 - the 'need to know' about new Food and Drink in Britain

Britain's food scene is continually changing: below we bring you some of the most newsworthy recent restaurant openings and food stories.

Edinburgh - festival city of food
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, welcomes four million people to watch 25,000 artists, entertainers and thinkers in more than 1,000 shows per day from June to the end of August. The festival atmosphere no doubts builds up appetites and what better way to explore the city during festival season than by its heady mix of cuisine and bars/pubs (the city has more restaurants per head of population than any other UK city!) from the elegant Castle Tea Rooms to The Devil's Advocate which serves more than 200 whiskies in this Old Town Victorian pump house.,

The Fringe Festival in particular, is about the range and affordability of the acts and the same can be said for the variety of great food to tuck into on a budget. Café/bistro Spoon has got it just right with the blend of high-end feel and a fresh and affordable menu. Prices hover around £4 for brunch and a glass of rosé is £3.50. And, what better way to round off a day of festivities than a traditional fish supper! Not any old fish and chips if you head to the Tailend, an Edinburgh stalwart; this chippie offers a simple sit-in area and serves up home-made chips with battered haddock or scallops, fish stew and pasta. Children eat free on a Sunday.,

Scotland is also celebrating a ‘Year of Food and Drink' throughout 2015 so there is even more to inspire and whet your appetite during the festivities:

The Royal Dick was once the Small Animal Hospital of the Dick Vet School. Now creatively transformed into a unique destination bar/café, Summerhall is the perfect location for taking in a festival show or just lapping up the atmosphere. As well as being a major festival hub of performance, Summerhall is also home to Pickering's Gin distillery and Barney's Beer brewery!

Located just across the road from many main festival venues, Ting Thai Caravan is a perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner in between shows. You may have to queue but the amazing Thai street food is worth the wait. Ting Thai started as a pop restaurant doing the August festivals and is now a year-round culinary treat.

Aizle is a Scottish Neo-Bistro on Edinburgh's South Side. Aizle has no traditional menu - something completely unique to Scotland and to most of Britain. With no restrictions, owners Stuart and Krystal have the freedom to utilise the very best produce farms and suppliers have to offer. The customer benefits by knowing everything on their plate is at the height of its freshness and seasonality.

VDeep is Scotland's first Communal Craft Beer & Curry Bar and headed up by comedian and Fringe Festival favourite Hardeep Singh Kohli. This new venture located in Leith brings a fresh twist on traditional Indian and Scottish food, pairing with the very best craft beer - Bangras and Mash anyone?

Union of Genius is Scotland's first ever soup café - perfect for a healthy festival lunch! While, Hula, located in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, is a perfect spot to recharge those festival batteries and sample some of the fantastic super healthy juices and smoothies.

For something wee more indulgent heat to Mary's Milk Bar and escape to the mid-20th century with this Art Deco style gelateria to sample some world class gelato or some seriously special hot chocolate. Flavours change daily and are inspired by seasons and experimentation. The salted caramel will make an impression.

One Square has created a mouth-watering Afternoon Tea experience for the summer, drawing inspiration from the botanicals in handcrafted Caorunn Gin, which hails from the Scottish Highlands. The Gin-Tastic afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the beautiful One Square Bar and Terrace which features picture-postcard views of Edinburgh Castle and some of the city's main theatres and festival venues.

For further information on Edinburgh the Festival City visit /

Go West!

Heading west has always been aligned to seeking new frontiers and innovation, which purveyors of excellence in local produce, flavours and drink are doing increasingly across England's west and south-west regions.

Rick Stein has announced plans to open a restaurant in Sandbanks, Dorset, south-west England, in late autumn. The self-titled ‘Rick Stein' restaurant, with stunning views overlooking the water will offer classic, locally caught (where possible) seafood dishes alongside a more casual lunch time menu with dishes and will seat around 200. 2015 also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the opening of The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. From humble beginnings the business now employs over 400 and includes nine restaurants, hotel and self-catering accommodation, retail outlets and a cookery school. Rick and his business partner, and former wife, Jill, are both still at the helm, with all three sons involved in the business.

If its Michelin-starred cuisine, and drink, with a quirky twist, that make your taste-buds tingle then David Nicholson's suite of establishments in Winchester, Hampshire (one-hour from London from Waterloo station) is a must-do experience. The Black Rat, housed in an 18th-century building, has one Michelin star and mixes up its modern British menu with local produce and veg from its own kitchen garden. His first Winchester venue, The Black Boy pub, opened in 1995, is a traditional drinking-hole still drawing in satisfied punters. Or wine enthusiasts can choose from more than 140 different wines by the glass on pre-charged cards at The Black Bottle. And, if you need a room for the night how about a stay in one of 10 individually-designed cells (rooms) at the recently opened Black Hole B&B. We're curious to see what Mr Nicholson does next.

Bristol, home to England's street-art aficionados, has just got that bit cooler, with the recent opening of Steak of the Art, an ever-changing gallery of art displayed around an equally artful and stunning interior; this is a steak and fish restaurant like no other! The brainchild of classically-trained chef and local entrepreneur Steve Bowen, the focus is equally on delicious affordable food and showcasing original pieces and limited prints from British artists. Steak of the Art has also opened in Cardiff, Wales.

And, now you can indulge your hankering for a yummy pasty without having to get out of your car. The world's first drive-thru restaurant selling Cornish pasties has opened in Poole, Dorset, south-west England. For the first time ever, drivers are now able to place their order at one window, before driving to the next to collect their traditionally made Cornish take on fast-food. The eatery also features a 100-seat restaurant, a gluten-free bakery and a state-of-the-art baker-training facility and is the brainchild of the owner of Portreath Bakery, which already runs a string of shops producing the much-loved Cornish delicacy.

Tasty trends in Wales

Things are hotting up in Wales, and it's not just the weather! New food and drink ventures making use of local architecture and new trends has seen the scene flourish in unexpected locations and with interesting flavour and cuisine directions.

It once housed public toilets, but the old Aberystwyth harbour building has recently been transformed into a new seafood café/bar called Pysgoty. Located on the seafront, Pysgoty is the newest venture of husband and wife team Rhiannon and Craig Edwards who took over Jonah's Fish Market in the town in January.

The much-anticipated new Dylan's Restaurant in Criccieth, Bangor, north-west Wales, opened in May. Housed in the Grade II-listed Morannedd building on the waterfront, this will be the second Dylan's Restaurant, with the first located at Menai Bridge, Anglesey, north Wales.

This summer sees the opening of Cardiff's first 100% vegan café and kombucha (a drink made by fermenting black or green tea and sugar with bacteria and yeast) bar. Anna-Loka aims to offer delicious vegan meals made from organic ingredients, and also to show meat eaters the food options available in a no-meat lifestyle.

If meat has to be on the menu head to Porro, a new venture from the team behind the highly successful Potted Pig restaurant, opened in May. Porro offers British cuisine inspired by Italian cooking in the heart of Llandaff, Cardiff.

All that eating can leave you thirsty for a decent coffee; Handlebar Barista has taken the hassle out of looking for a café or free table. This group of friends from Cardiff and their coffee bar on wheels can be found cycling and pouring the perfect Flat White around the Welsh capital, and also at various events.

Gin's reign continues

Whichever way you turn at the moment gin is flavour of the month...year...and beyond! Definitely the drink du jour it even has a global festival in its honour - World Gin Day kicked off in June with local and global events that included events ranging from a Gin and Speed-dating event in London to a World Gin Day lunch at Glennap Castle, a Scottish Baronial style castle in Ayrshire built circa 1870.

It is the variety of gins available, and appealing to most palates, that is dazzling; with many being British distilled. A complex drink, gin starts out as a neutral, flavourless spirit that is combined with an array of botanicals (predominantly juniper), which release their aromatics during the distillation process - this is what creates the signature scents and flavour variations. Quirky and interesting places to enjoy a tipple...or three: Boasting the largest gin selection this side of the Channel Graphic Bar, in the heart of London's Soho, even has a monthly club celebrating all things gin (; for a lazy afternoon drink you can't beat sipping a coconutty Hoxton Gin & Tonic at The Exmouth Arms, a lovely traditional pub, a five-minute walk to Euston Station, London, with easy access for out-of-town visitors.

The Gin &Tonic Experience at The Chesterfield Mayfair in London is an affordable way to try a variety of gins in a luxurious setting with a choice of four tasting menus - a bespoke tray is presented containing three gins showcasing different attributes from floral to citrus, spicy or smooth, along with the chance to see and touch 12 of the most common natural botanicals used to create these flavours.

The list of drink-worthy British-made gins is lengthy, and growing; here are a few of the most popular - Tanqueray No. 10, Sipsmith, Williams Chase London Dry, Berkeley Square, and Fifty Pounds - the name dates back to the 1736 Gin Act, which imposed a £50 licence fee on gin retailers. Luckily, the licence fee has gone but the flavour has continually grown!

Restaurants with rooms

BAnG! is the latest new café/bar with rooms to open in the centre of the popular fishing port, Wells-Next-The-Sea, on the increasingly popular North Norfolk Coast, around three hours' drive from London.

Occupying a restored Grade-II listed building to create a bright contemporary ground floor café restaurant, four stylish individual bedrooms and a south facing patio, BAnG!, is named in fond memory of co-owner Christopher Tennant's father, the late Lord Glenconner, who called his own restaurant in St Lucia ‘Bang Between The Pitons.'

Simple food is served all day in a relaxed and friendly ambience, as well as coffee or drinks, beside the wood burning stove on cold winter days or in the courtyard in the summer months. Children are welcomed to both the café and accommodation, with four rooms available for guests ‘to rest and relax at their own pace'.

SEASON, a new cookery school located within the impressive 63-acre grounds of Lainston House, Hampshire, has just launched.

Part of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, SEASON features a state-of-the-art kitchen area with six double sided workstations incorporating the latest Gaggenau equipment and Bulthaup kitchen furniture along with a demonstration table for theory and presentations. Classes are designed to appeal to novice and confident home cooks with the desire to challenge and hone their chef skills: Full or half-day courses will cover roast meats, bread making, jams, marmalades and chutneys, chocolate, perfect desserts, knife skills and the art of Charcuterie.

Award-winning chefs will also ensure the courses are extra-special and include 2 Michelin Star (and 5 AA Rosettes) Head Chef, Michael Wignall at The Latymer and Matt Gillan Head Chef at The Pass, South Lodge (1 Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes). Guests of SEASON will be able to sample their creations with the chefs, offering a true plot-to-pot-to-plate, memorable experience.

SEASON will offer guests full and half day cookery classes as well as gastronomical overnight breaks at Lainston House. Classes are available from £75 for a half day and from £155-£185 per person for a full day for up to 24 people.

Eating on the streets across London

Londoners' lust for ever-new food and drink experiences has seen the growth of night-street food stalls and markets which, in little more than a few years, have popped up and quickly taken root, and are here to stay, come rain, hail or shine!

The creative food bursting with adventurous flavours is matched by an ambience that is festive, noisy and colourful; with the brief rapidly expanding across the landscape to include music, art, shopping and even getting a haircut if you wish.

An early leader of the scene, KERB, was set up in 2012 as a community of food traders. It has now stretched its reach across London and offers foodies the delights of a truly cosmopolitan London with food reflecting its diverse and delicious ethnic cuisines. Coming to a corner near you KERB can be found currently delighting foodies at these and other locations: Southbank Centre, Kings Cross and Paddington. Make sure you check out Rainbo, serving yummy Japanese-inspired gyozo and salads from a 1948 Ford Pick-Up. Dates and times vary

Wildly popular Night Tales, a winter cocktail fest, has merged into Summer Tales, 15 weekends of food and fun at Red Market space on Old Street in east London - Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Four bars whip up cocktails alongside street food stalls and pop-ups from some of London's best known restaurants including Burger and Lobster. The fun continues with DJ's, hammocks for resting your over-filled belly and a sun terrace for sipping those cocktails.

Urban Food Fest street food and bar night market takes place at the Euro Car Parks in Shoreditch, east London, and features 15 global gourmet street food trucks and stalls that change each week. And, what is good food without a premium bar and cocktail bar with specialist urban cocktails available at the Fest? Live music and seating make this a swanky street affair.

New kid on the block, Playground and Proof, has upped the ante with the launch this month of a weekend market in Field Works, Hackney. Playground offers an eclectic range of food (ice-cream sandwiches anyone!), haircuts in the sunshine, scandi design and arts and crafts among other things. Perched above, Proof, a year round in-house bar and roof terrace, overlooking London Fields, serves up mescal cocktails, cider and beer. Watch out for Sunday night cinema on the roof.

Other night markets creating local food heaven across the city include: Brixton Night Market (; Model Market, Lewisham South London (; Little Feast, Shepherd's Bush (, and Street Feast, various locations (