This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination.
Choice for vegan residents and visitors has been rapidly growing in Manchester in recent years, with must-visit spots now including: #PlantPoweredSundays at Grub Manchester; Allotment in Stockport which offers a vegan tasting menu; the casual delights of V Rev Vegan Diner, Zad’s pizzeria, Teatime Collective and desserts parlour Ice Shack; independent food co-ops The Eighth Day and Unicorn Grocery; plus regular vegan fairs and beer festivals at venues such as Islington Mill and Hulme Community Garden Centre.
East London-born The Vurger Co opened its first permanent site in Shoreditch in March after headlining many menus at festivals around the UK: try the Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese. All burgers are made from 100% vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. For more healthy treats, Surrey Vegan (19 May) is the area’s third annual vegan fair, which will be home to a wide selection of food stalls dishing up tasty treats, alongside talks by inspirational speakers.
In Scotland, Harmonium in Leith is a new Edinburgh branch of the established Glasgow institutions Mono & Stereo and serves all the vegan comfort food you can imagine. Mala Carne in the Southside of Glasgow is also not to be missed – particularly the tofu scramble and vegan cakes. In the Scottish borders, vegan ice-cream now available at the award winning Giacopazzis.
May promises to be all flowery with a brand new afternoon tea introduced by Dominique Ansel with a menu that follows the path of a seed growing and blossoming into a full-bloomed flower beginning with savoury bites and ending with a selection of sweets. Guests will be seated on the blossoming open-air terrace and then presented with dishes served on handmade ceramic-tiered stand with a “seed” at the base that gradually sprouts and blossoms as you work your way up through the “menu.” Dominique Ansel evolved the idea into a menu that starts from the ground up and is presented in a fresh and modern way.
The newly opened speakeasy Vijay’s Bar & Lounge is focusing on making extensive use of fresh herbs and floral syrups in their cocktail menu and demonstrates how astringent herbs can be used to draw out flavour. Savage Garden will be opening this summer as a new dramatic sky-high all-day bar and cocktail lounge. With 360-degree vistas, guests can take in some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including The Shard, Tower of London, The Gherkin and St. Paul's Cathedral. Another connoisseur’s delight: the 16th May will be the official launch of the Champagne School by Searcys at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, which will champion English wine makers with the theme ‘Made in Britain.’ Monthly Champagne School dinners are designed to appeal to all kinds of wine lovers – from absolute beginners to accomplished connoisseurs. You can also book their own private classes for groups.
On 16 April Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck officially opened his much anticipated new restaurant Beck at Brown’s in the heart of Mayfair at the iconic Brown’s hotel. The restaurant, freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, offers a new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using the finest seasonal British ingredients, uniting Heinz’s inimitable style with the hotel’s British heritage and careful balance of classic elegance and contemporary flair.
SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
To continue with the veganism trend, the new Bristol Vegan and Wellbeing Market will launch on Corn Street on 28 April and will then be held every Monday from 10am to 5pm. This is a logical progression in a city that has embraced the vegan diets with enthusiasm. The Roots Lounge – is the latest of a new generation of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
VegFest, the annual celebration of all things vegan is back – this time VegFest is taking place at the Ashton Gate stadium from 26-27 May and is promising a weekend of music, events, bean burgers, a gourmet vegan pizzeria, vegan chefs and more than 200 stallholders. Vegan comedians, a vegan art exhibition, dance stage, blues lounge and deep chill zone are among the entertaining accompaniments to some fabulous food.
The Faraway Cocktail Club opened in April to bring a tropical flavour to Bristol’s cocktail scene, with a new Caribbean themed bar. An offshoot of successful Flipside Cocktail Club, Faraway serves rum and tequila based cocktails and Tiki-style sharing punch bowls in a bar that’s big on palms, pineapples and party music.
A new map showcasing the culinary magic conjured up by the county’s chefs, bakers and brewers has been published by VisitWiltshire: The ‘2018: It’s Time For Wiltshire Food and Drink Map’ features over 80 of the region’s finest producers, eateries, watering holes and cookery schools from a’Beckett’s Vineyard in Littleton Parnell to the Woodbridge Inn in Pewsey. Lucknam Park Hotel Cookery School is among three places highlighted in the guide where enthusiastic amateurs can hone their culinary skills with The Farm Cookery School and Vaughan’s Cookery School also on the menu.
Swim is a café-bar by the sea in Lyme Regis, with arguable the best views over the Jurassic coast, serving a diverse menu across breakfast, lunch and dinner and an eclectic mix of craft beers and cocktails.
NORTH WEST ENGLAND
Nestled under the iconic Mancunian Way flyover, Hatch is made up of repurposed shipping containers and is part of the Circle Square development which will bring living, office and green space to The Corridor area of the city. Run by the team behind Northern Quarter’s popular emporium Afflecks, the indy street food hotspot on Oxford Road features a rotating line-up of traders that change every twelve weeks. Opening traders include; artisan coffee house Takk, nano brewery ÖL, Mexican street food at El Marchador and Canadian poutine at Blue Caribou Canteen.
Following the success of its four restaurants at prisons across the UK, The Clink Charity has recently launched a new café in the heart of Manchester. The Clink Café, located within the Grade II listed Canada House, will continue the charity’s innovative rehabilitation initiative for offenders and homeless people those who need a second chance.
NORTH EAST ENGLAND
Fresh from its UK City of Culture success of 2017, Hull is seeing the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. ‘Made in Hull’ is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail which takes in historic pubs, particularly in the medieval Old Town. Offering a showcase for the city’s rapidly growing local food scene, the award-winning Hull Street Food Nights, funded and organised by HullBID, are back for 2018 - with food, drink and music combining in a nighttime street festival featuring scores of stalls.
SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Inspired by the culinary and sensory delights of the rose, Hever in Bloom (26 June – 1July) will take visitors on a scented tour of the rose garden and will provide instruction on how to prepare roses for cooking as well as the basic principles behind distilling rose oil. Rose petals are completely edible and as a relative of the strawberry, the rose lends itself to many a dish including fruit salads, cakes, biscuits, granola and ice cream.
The Vineyards of Hampshire Cellar Door Experience will see seven vineyards across the county open their doors to visitors monthly from 18 May to 8 September for the opportunity to travel around the participating vineyards and pop in for a range wine tasting. For those planning on tasting a tipple to many, new venture Hampshire Tours provides private tours in the area, and is doing a special Cellar Door tastings offer of £350 for up to six people.
The latest addition to the Chop House family opened in March in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield neighborhood. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, it brings a new casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails to a new area of the city. Renowned for its sociable style of dining, Chop House proudly presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table.
The Register Club at The Edinburgh Grand opens its doors on the 1st June. Occupying the entire west wing of the St Andrew Square building’s fourth floor, the Club will offer Edinburgh a new reservation-only spot to eat, drink and relax in comfort and style in art deco surrounds. The high-end champagne and cocktail lounge bar will be run by The Bon Vivant, putting a spotlight on local and artisan producers with a bespoke cocktail list.
Ardnamurchan Restaurant and Bar opened in Glasgow’s Theatreland in May putting a taste of Scotland’s best produce on their menu including freshly caught langoustines from the Isle of Mull and venison from the Ardmurchan peninsula. The perfect place to go for a wee dram, with the bar serving up at least 50 different types of whisky and come winter they will have a roaring real fire in their snug.
Alchemilla has taken residence in Finnieston’s foodie quarter, with Glasgow girl and Ottolenghi alumni Rosie Healey as Head Chef. Expect contemporary Ottolenghi style dishes, eastern spices and lots of small sharing plates in relaxed minimalist surroundings. The team behind 111 by Nico has launched a new restaurant, Six by Nico, in the trendy Finnieston area serving a six-course tasting menu based on a different place or memory - the theme will rotate every six weeks.
The tearooms Mackintosh at the Willow are scheduled to open as part of Glasgow’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. The Willow Tea Rooms building is recognised internationally as the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, from the interior and the design of the cutlery to the waitress’s uniforms.
Isle of Skye
Skye Food & Drink Festival (13-14 June) is a celebration of food and drink from across Skye and the surrounding regions. With whisky, gin, wine, beer, meat, fish, chutney, bread, chocolate and cheese makers, the artisan producers market has something for everyone. Skye’s most celebrated chefs including Lady Claire MacDonald, Scott Davies and Calum Munro, along with Patisserie Chef of the Year Helen Vass, will showcase their culinary skills and offer cookery tips. There will be opportunities to taste and buy, cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, live music throughout the day and ceilidh’s on both evenings.
Borders Distillery, the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837, opened on the 1st May and is dedicated to making great whisky and to capturing the spirit of the Borders. See whisky production in action and gain an insight into a working commercial distillery. Public and private tours are available. Nestled at the heart of the Roxburghe Estate in the beautiful Scottish Borders is the outstanding Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle, which will be hosting the Great British Food Festival this year on the 8th and 9th September.
Palé Hall, North Wales’ first five-star hotel, launched a ‘gin-venture’ foraging experience in 2017. In partnership with Forager’s Gin, handcrafted by the Snowdonia Distillery, and local expedition specialists RAW Adventures, Palé Hall is now offering guests the chance to learn how gin is made and how to forage for botanicals. Enjoy an eight-course tasting menu from Head Chef Gareth Stevenson, where each dish features some of the best local produce, and afterwards retire in front of the roaring fire.