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Restaurant news, dinnertime March 8

Heston goes virtual, more Peru buzz, more Americans coming, and who ate all the pies - all you need to eat this week

Written by . Published on March 15th 2012.


Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck has launched a pre-dinner virtual come-on for customers booking the restaurant. There is a link to his new video animation for the Sweet Shop narrated by no less than John Hurt. The idea is to build up the sense of anticipation. You can get the idea here www.thefatduck.co.uk/Like-A-Kid-In-A-Sweet-Shop. The innovative trick is from Manchester graphic story tellers www.the-neighbourhood.com.

Italian Michelin star chef (he has picked up seven in his career so far) Bruno Barbieri has got the doors open quickly on what was Luc in Marylebone High Street. Cotidie – it means everyday, although with mains at £20 plus that probably means everyday at Marylebone prices, but it is an interesting menu with stand out signatures like scrambled egg fondue with hazelnuts and gorgonzola served in the egg shell and rustic tortellini in broth….

HawskmoorHawskmoor celebrating great British meatThe original Hawksmoor in Commercial Street has revamped the basement – a former strip club, apparently – using some salvage from hydrogenated fat factorists Unilever’s art deco HQ at Embankment. On the menu are the chilli hot dog, the shortrib French dip, lobster roll and the new addition of the Bermondsey Frier Sandwich. A new cocktail list too…

Rafaelosterling%26#8217%3BSBookman Rafael OsterlingAnother notch on the fashion scale for all things Peruvian after the opening of Ceviche in Frith Street,  saw Rafael Osterling’s book Rafael El Chef win the World Cookbook Awards gala in Paris last week. Rafael started his career cooking at La Possonerie de l’Avenue at Brompton Cross before returning home to Lima to develop a chain of Rafael fusion restaurants…

The excellent small wine bar chain Vinoteca has signed on a third lease, this one in Beak Street, Soho, formerly Gallery Rendezvous, to add to St John’s Street, Farringdon and Seymour Place, Marylebone. Expect to see more of them as they have shipped in some new funding from venture capitalists Hill Capital…

AtriumAtrium dining room
All you Americans missing a piece of prime USDA steak can find some at the top of the Marriot Hotel in Kensington The atrium bar is also claiming to be Europe’s biggest glass-hung space. The seven day a week menu is all Americana from Maryland crab cakes, through New York strip to New England clam chowder. Cocktails follow the same theme at the Nabuco bar…

And there is more good news for Americans missing home with the soon to arrive Cheesecake Factory arriving at what was the sadly defunct Union Market in the splendid old ticket office at Fulham Broadway. That means avocado egg rolls and Limoncella cream Torte, so hardly a trade for healthier cooking then. Oh, and cheesecake, naturally.

PieminsterpieThe Pieminster pie...ummm?Meanwhile Bristol based Pieminster is to open another branch this one in Leather Lane and if you thought the good old pie had had its day, check the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 and you will discover that the parent company Higgidy is there at 43 reporting a sales increase from £1.5 million in 2007 to £8.1 million in 2010 while Pieminster itself squeezes in at 99 reporting sales up by 45% in the same period, which must say something about the state of the national diet and what we have been doing in recession…

On the other side of the equation Yo Sushi is openings its 60th branch on Jamestown Road in Camden, next door to a new Byrons burger bar…with Camden Brasserie, Wagamama, a Caffe Nero and the Diner in the same street it promises to be a destination of sorts. The Oxford Arms on the corner is a good old fashioned, Irish run football pub too.

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