Posts Tagged ‘Clerkenwell’
All seems calm. St John Street, Clerkenwell. But there’s something bubbling away behind the scenes. Car chases, mystery, action… and ‘Gotham city police station’. All directed by Christopher Nolan (of the massively successful Inception). So bat fans, it’s time to check out Gotham’s finest. You might not catch a glimpse of the Dark Knight himself, but as I sink a spoon into one of the temptingly gorgeous cheese soufflés with a glass of Merlot at hand, I wistfully smile to myself. Forget Batman, I prefer our local food heroes. Sitting right amongst the buzz of the action, behind our trademark green canopy and wine barrels, keeping an eye out for Mr Bale et al on one of their breaks, I look forward to the movie release and will always remember, in the wise words of his super onscreen lady friend Rachel Dawes, “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”.
What are you going to do tonight? (eccentric billionaires welcome)
Big city neon lights. Big clothing. Bigger hair. Even bigger mobile phones. With The Apprentice hitting our screens again and a menagerie of ever hungry young guns treading over each other to be the next big thing, I find myself hooked once more. The catchphrases, the tasks and the cunning strategies of the select few individuals that shine through, got me to thinking.
It may come in various guises and face an assortment of good and bad challenges over the years depending on the world’s economic conditions, affecting perceptions, trends and decisions from top to bottom. For example, the time to be seen to be flash, big and ballsy is one of the past. Old school business ways are perceived as too showy, not productive, a waste of spare pennies – why have a top meeting over lunch in a local restaurant or bistro, when you can grab a severely pale coffee from the machine and stay within the beige four walls of your 6m x 6m office? Companies are still looking for ways of doing business that show value for money whilst at the same time seen to be ‘looking after’ their clients and colleagues and show that they are important to them. A meeting of minds over an unpretentious brunch and a Bloody Mary, or a late Friday afternoon lunch arrangement that turns into a nip or two of malt to see in the weekend, gives the impression that you care to take the time and show the importance of your clients or colleagues. An important trait to gain loyalty and trust.
Technology is advancing at the speed of light so much so that we don’t even need to be in the same room to have a meeting or hold a conference. I feel a little sad that this may cut out some of the personality, the face-to-face that helps build trust and longevity in business.
The world may have changed, but I believe business on a whole has not. The hunger, the drive, the ambition and the dealing, all still make up the bones of business. Whether a small business of one, or an organisation of hundreds, perception and creating an impression is still a major factor. Ok, so we can’t be seen to be splashing the cash on fancy locations, travel, and popping the Champagne on a regular basis – this doesn’t make good business sense especially in this current climate.
But there’s a balance. To build good relationships and discuss important deals and decisions, there needs to be some sort of respect given to this process. Is it not all part of the perception to take a leaf out of the old school style and add those little touches that made the difference? That impressed or made clients or colleagues feel relaxed and confident in each other? A local beer in the bar was always where the best nuggets of an idea formed, a quick and efficiently served lunch on comfortable stools round the open island kitchen is a great way to kill two birds and eat while you meet. A glass of bubbly to celebrate a success is always well deserved and keeps up spirits and moral.
So, it looks like the big hair’s making a come-back so I say let’s invest in a glass of exceedingly good Claret or chew over a decision on a succulent, melt in the mouth steak once in a while – the devil is in the detail, and if you’re going to do business with him, we should all embrace him.
What an evening. London turned out in force to support the bistro opening night. Bloggers, celebrities, media londonistas, top chefs. The roll call on the culinary side is as follows – Michel Roux Jr, Stuart Gillies, Pierre Kauffman – all seemed impressed and stayed a while to witness the artistry and graft of Keith Shearer and his boys working the live kitchen.
On entering guests were treated to an exclusive Marmalade vodka infused martini or a cool iced tea infused with Millers gin. The food stations and our prized pewter top were brimming with shellfish and cuts of steak. The Josper Grill well and truly fired up filled the kitchen space with an amazing smokey aroma. Meanwhile in the live butchery, Eric from La Cave de Fromage hosted a majestic display of his finest cheeses, which proved to be immensely popular to say the least. Music was provided by Mario and his jazz quartet. The drink flowed. The food flowed. All there were more than served with the simple taste of “du Vin”.
The “by the glass” dispenser proved to be a complete smash. Busy all night. The music continued with Universal signed artist Jonathan Jeremiah, who provided a rousing uplifting set of songs from his album. And a thoroughly nice guy too. Downstairs in the the “Whisky Snuggle” the Scotch Malt Whisky Society held a night long tasting. I think I caught him at one point describing a whisky as the Angelina Jolie of whiskys – our kind of guy.
The whisky, the wine, the food continued to flow. At one point the outside became an alfresco cigar venue. Good times. Eventually the coats were taken from the vintage lockers and some of us headed off to our London beds (although some are still believed to be still there.
A massive thank you to all who attended. Keep the faith and see you in Soho in June for the second.
Thanks to Eat Out for such a swift review too.
It’s with great pleasure I find myself heading to London today for the Bistro opening. There’s trepidation, for sure. But the early signs during the soft opening is that the du Vin brand and way of thinking will fit in just fine.Much excitement about the opening night. Apart from the usual amazing collection of food stations and the never endiing glass of Champagne we seem to serve, we have a few exclusive surprises.
First off we’ll be featuring an exclusive collection of teas from famed London perfumer Miller Harris.
Secondly, we’ll be showcasing our “wine by the glass” dispenser – first of its kind in a restaurant setting. (see previous post)
Thirdly Vodka wunderkind from deepest darkest Herefordshire – Miller Harris have produced a special run of Marmalade infused vodka from their award-winning stills.
and…fourthly Universal signed singer songwriter Jonathan Jeremiah will be playing an acoustic set on the night featuring songs from his new album “Solitary Man”
Sure there’ll be a drizzle of celebs. But the real heroes tonight will be our sommeliers and the chefs who’ll be running round up close and personal for the great and good of London’s dining scene.
Our advertising says I think London is ready. Well, London we are too.
Wow what a busy day. The bistro looks amazing and primed ready for opening. The pictures fill the walls, the chairs and tables are laid out ready. There’s even a strange set of school lockers for coats. I’d expect it eventually to be lined with great wine labels, like some schoolboy shrine to his latest crush.
Elsewhere the whisky snuggle private dining room looks fab and there’s a palpable buzz from the kitchen.
On Tuesday all the menus were fine-tuned and the operational niggles were ironed out. We opened today with more practice for Keith and his team. The pace is frenetic and you get a real sense of a busy kitchen while you gaze across from your table. There’s an amazing smokey smell everytime the Josper grill opens too.
Anticipation is building with only two days to go ’til the opening night.
This is the countdown. The floors are down, the bar top is in place and the kitchen looks amazing. Our very first bistro in London. And we couldn’t be prouder parents. Heading there today to finalise menu layouts and take the first shot for press releases. I hasten add the final imagery for marketing will be taken the following week, so bear with me when viewing my humble compositional skills. Once agreed I’ll also post the menus in PDF form. Expect more posts throughout the day.