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The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, has taken the top spot in the National Restaurant Awards, winning its chef-owner and Telegraph columnist Stephen Harris a second gong in a week, after also being crowned Cookery Writer of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers.
Restaurant magazine's annual awards celebrates chefs and restaurants across the UK. More than 150 industry experts, from food writers and critics to restaurateurs, chefs and food experts, cast their votes in categories including best Indian restaurant (won by Hoppers, in London), the service award (The Clove Club), and cocktail list of the year (Jason Atherton's Social Eating House).
The Sportsman, which has been described by Stephen Harris as a "grotty, run-down pub by the sea", was victorious in the gastropub category and went on to win the best restaurant award overall. Earlier this year the pub topped the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards for the second year in a row.
Completing the top five were London restaurants Barrafina Adelaide St, The Ledbury and Hedone, and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, Cornwall.
Pierre Koffmann, whose first restaurant, La Tante Claire, held three Michelin stars before it closed in 2003 and who now runs the award-winning Koffmann's at The Berkeley in London, was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award.
Raymond Blanc's restaurant and hotel in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, was crowned Sustainable Restaurant of the Year.
In response to customer demand Viiking Ventures is now importing a 650ml bottle of its Goa Premium Beer. The new sized 4.8% ABV beer adds to the original 340ml bottles.
The first shipment was paid for before the recent fall in the value of sterling on international currency exchanges, following the pro Brexit vote in the EU referendum. The pilsner beer sells in restaurants between £4.50 - £4.95 for the larger bottle and between £2.65 - £3.25 for the small.
The gluten free beer, brewed using a unique malt and maize based recipe, is already available in around 300 bars and restaurants.
Strong sales are being reported with the beer now available in top London venues such as The Painted Heron, La Porte des Indes and Gaylord plus leading regional restaurants such as Chilli Pickle in Brighton, Moksh in Cardiff, Bukharah in Glasgow, Ambrette restaurants in Kent and the Koh Thai Tapas chain throughout the south-west.
“We hope to maintain stable pricing, but restaurants may want to order now to hedge against a potential price rise,” said Viiking Ventures director Frank Sequeira.
Sequeira thinks long term, the decision to leave the EU could be good for Asian restaurateurs. It should pave the way for more recruitment skilled chefs from outside Europe; exotic ingredients grown outside the EU should become cheaper as tariffs come down and enable third world farmers to trade their way out of poverty.
All You Can Eat at The Ab23-06-2016
The refurbished Abergavenny Arms in Frant near Tunbridge Wells has announced three midweek menus, two of which are “all you can eat" fixed price deals.
On Tuesdays customers can enjoy a gourmet burger, with a choice of 5 toppings and chips plus a free pint of beer or glass of wine – for just £10. Wednesday is ‘All you Can Eat Moules Night’– with a choice of Provencal, A La Crème, Cider & Bacon or Thai for £14.95. On Thursdays an ‘All You Can Eat Seafood Paella’ is served with fresh bread at just £14.95.
The pub is open all day for food, with the midweek specials available from 5.00pm.
In addition to these special, new head chef Giles Fulcher offers a full a la carte of brings classic dishes with a unique twist.
The Abergavenny will provide the beer tent for Frant Parish fete on Saturday 9th July between 11.30am and 3.30pm, with Fullers Butcher supplying the barbecue.
August Bank holiday will see the return of ‘SweatHeart Swing’ to “The Ab” on Sunday 28th August. The vocal duo will provide vintage entertainment pub with swinging sounds from the 1940s.
Industry Mourns Curry Legend21-06-2016
The Indian restaurant sector has paid tribute to Peter Grove, founder of National Curry Week and the Curry Tree charitable foundation, following news of his sudden death on a family holiday on Gran Canaria. He was 74.
In its 19th year, National Curry Week allows restaurants, caterers, pubs and home cooks to celebrate the cuisine and culture with special events designed to generate much need charitable funds for good causes at home and abroad.
The highlight of National Curry Week is the Curry Capital of Britain competition, where cities compete through a combination of cooking and fund raising activities. The idea behind the event, which has been held annually since 2001, arose following adverse publicity after racial unrest in parts of London which spread to other cities across the UK.
Asian Catering Federation chairman Yawar Khan led the tributes: “He was a great man. He gave me great support and advice. I will always remember him. He was honest man who made a massive contribution to the curry industry.”
Frank Sequeira, Director of Goa Premium Beer, which is a sponsor of Peter’s National Curry Week said: "I have known Peter since 2001 when I was with Kingfisher Beer and worked with him on BIBA and National Curry week for many years. He was a wonderful and cheerful man and a pleasure to be with. He a great loss to the curry industry.”
Indian Summer owner-chef Minesh Agnihotri said "It was lovely talking to Peter about our mutual passion for Indian food. It was an honour to be chosen by him to host the city’s bid to become Curry Capital of Britain. I was also priviliged to work with him on his charity efforts.”
George Shaw, CEO of restaurant marketing company Avocado Media, said: “Peter was a lovely man and always great company. No one did more for the industry in terms of promoting community relations, raising money and recognising the efforts of leading restaurants. He will be sadly missed.”
Peter’s wife Colleen and daughter Stephanie will continue with the many initiatives started by Peter, as a lasting tribute to his memory.
Vegan Pop Up17-06-2016
The Empire Room restaurant, located in Ramsgate’s award-winning Royal Harbour Hotel, is to host a “one night only” vegan pop on Wednesday 22nd June – the night before Britain goes to the polls to determine our membership of the EU.
Guest vegan chefs and food bloggers Alexandra and Caroline Cadell will prepare the meat free feast. Apart from being renowned for their vegan cookery, the pair are top food bloggers and founded ‘Food For Life, Italy’.
The evening begins at 6:30pm with a welcoming glass of prosecco.
The sisters will then give a short introduction veganism and will mix with diners during the meal, answering questions and giving cooking tips.
“Too many restaurants only pay lip service to non-meat eaters and vegans with just a token dish – this is a great opportunity for us to ascertain Thanet’s demand for gourmet vegan dishes,” said hotel owner James Thomas.
The meal costs £12 for two courses and £15 for three.
Royal Harbour Hotel has just received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2016 following consistent top scores on the customer reviews websites.
Food For Life, Italy runs group-based residential courses in rural Italy. The courses deals with people’s with unhealthy eating habits, teaching them how to cook` healthy, delicious food together, lose weight and stop “yo-yo” dieting.
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