Reviews

Restaurant Review: Sexy Fish

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All photos are NHYM apart from this one, generously borrowed from the restaurant’s website. NHYM 2016.

Sexy Fish

Berkely Square

London W1J 6BR

0203 764 2000

http://www.sexyfish.com

Design: 4.5 stars

Food: 3 stars

Service: 3.5 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Overall: 3.75 stars 

‘I have never seen a restaurant whose ethos is so clearly and comprehensively, so preeningly and unapologetically: ‘Fuck you, I’m rich and I want a golden cave and servants. I want a pony and all the hookers I can strangle. I want a pyramid of cocaine and an Audi -Quattro.’ It is like being punched in the face by Abu Dhabi.’

– quoted from the Spectator Review 28/11/15 http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/11/sexy-fish-not-so-much-a-restaurant-as-a-museum-of-londons-rich/

After reading a review like that, well, you’ve just got to see it with your own eyes. Sexy Fish opened last year as one of the hottest new restaurants in town, trying to steal the celebrity limelight away from Chiltern Firehouse, and has seen everything from Popstars (Cheryl ex-Cole, ex-Versini), Models (Kate Moss at the opening), Rock Royalty (the Jaggers were there 2 days ago for Georgia May’s 24th), to a private party full of politicians including dear old David (Cameron). Rita Ora sang at its opening party and VIP keys were handed out in advance. All ingredients to make it the latest trendsetter in the restaurant world.

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Bronze cast Damien Hirst statue on the bar. NHYM 2016.

It is the latest venture by Richard Caring (RC for this post) and his ever expanding restaurant-empire-cum-restaurant-chain. He is trying to take over the Mayfair restaurant scene and he is certainly making a statement. Firstly, we’ve got to address that oxymoronic name: Sexy Fish. A fish will never be sexy, but RC manages to make his restaurant pretty sexy-slutty: sexy bronze mermaids by Damien Hirst at the bar, climbing crocodiles by Frank Gehry, a parterre of onyx from Iran, and an actual waterfall behind his bar. Ok, completely over-the-top ostentatious, but you’ve got to love it. Downstairs in the private room are two glowing aquariums with multitudes of glow-in-the-dark fish ready for an after-party.

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Main dining room NHYM 2016. 

The Design

The dining room is art-deco, brasserie style with a large crocodile on the back wall designed by Frank Gehry, whom you will recall did the fish sculpture next to The Hotel Arts in Barcelona. It is quite a large room where you can scan your neighbours easily, with Matisse-inspired patterns on the ceilings in burgundy and gold.

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The very friendly bartender. NHYM 2016.

But the bar is by far my favourite part of the restaurant. It is large, sexy and is framed by overhanging white delicately sculpted fish above and blue mermaids on either side and yes, there is a waterfall in the back. When we arrive at the touristy hour (i.e. anytime before 8pm), there isn’t much atmosphere and it is largely catering tourists. But by the time we leave, the bar is buzzing, the vibe is cool, and the DJ has started spinning. This is really the time to show up.

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The Menu. NHYM 2016.

The Menu & the Food

The menu reads like many of the Asian-fusion/Japanese restaurants that first emerged in the 90’s starting with Nobu and still keep coming (Kurobuta). There is nothing creatively new on this menu, it follows a tried-and-tested formula of Nobu-Zuma-Roka-Novikov dishes. We order a bunch of sharing plates including the yellowtail sashimi, the Sexy Fish roll, tuna tartare, maple glazed pork belly skewers, duck salad and the famous Miso Glazed Chilean Seabass.

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Miso Seabass and Maple-Glazed pork belly. NHYM 2016. 

The food is unfortunately a let-down. It all looks beautiful, sounds beautiful and should be beautiful, but sadly, there is something missing. It isn’t bad, but falls flat compared to the other restaurants I have aforementioned. Usually, when you go to Nobu/Zuma/Roka, you are enlivened by the tastes and combination of flavours, but not even the famed Miso Seabass could do that for me. The only standout dish for me was the maple glazed pork belly skewer which melted in your mouth and was perfectly sweet and salty. The rest was ‘good’ but unfortunately quite forgettable.

The service gets some low marks just because we were ‘evicted’ before we could order the molten chocolate cake which we wanted to try. Next time.

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Sexy Fish Kitchen. NHYM 2016.

The Verdict

We managed to spend 4 hours at Sexy Fish, which meant that something worked. Sexy Fish combines the right ‘menu,’ the right location, the right brasserie-style design and the right amount of slebs to make it a success. The food isn’t what you’re after here, the main attraction is the bar and of course the people-watching. It’s a fun, lively spot that starts to get going around 10pm, and if I were to go again, I’d probably skip the food and head straight to the bar for a martini while I ogle all the hedge-funders and their mistresses for entertainment purposes. After all, it’s cheaper than flying all the way to Dubai.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Sexy Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Reviews

Review: Little Social & Pollen Street Social Restaurants

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Little Social Bar. All Photos in this Post courtesy of NHYM 2015. 

Little Social 

Tel 02078703730

5 Pollen Street, London W1s 1NE

http://www.littlesocial.co.uk

Food: 4.25 stars

Atmosphere: 4.25 stars

Design: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars

As previously mentioned in my last post, it is ‘birthday month’ and I am featuring new restaurants that I have been meaning to go to but have never gotten around to. When it came to organising a birthday dinner for one of my oldest friends, literally almost 40 years of friendship and hateship, Little Social popped in my mind. For the uninitiated like myself, Little Social is one of the many restaurants sprouted by the chef extraordinaire, Jason Atherton. I am quite behind in the times, having not been to a single one of his restaurants apart from Maze. I mean where have I been? (Well, Chiltern Firehouse & West 36 have been keeping me quite busy). Perhaps it was because I really did not like Maze the time I went there, which he headed under Gordon Ramsay, which kept me away from JA for so long.

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Little Social Staircase. NHYM 2015.

I had heard lots of good things about Pollen Street Social but decided against it, because I don’t really need another white-tablecloth-1-star-Michelin-too-many-ingredients-on-a-plate-lots-0f-sauces-restaurant experience. Yes, completely blasphemous, but my stomach can no longer handle foods that taste like something else they are supposed to taste like (i.e. ice-cream that tastes like pork belly anyone?) or having three main ingredients and twelve accompaniments on one plate. I wanted something more casual, and I felt that Little Social was a good place to re-start my Jason Atherton experience. (Social Eating House will be next on my list, but dining with a bunch of French people made me think that Little Social would make them feel right at home).

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Little Social Poster 2015. 

Little Social is a French brasserie-style restaurant on a quiet Pollen Street, and across from its more famous sibling, Pollen Street Social. From the outside, you could think you were entering a casual bistro/brasserie in the Marais, but there is something about it that makes it much more glamorously sophisticated. There are the same old French posters you see everywhere, but it’s bar is very attractive, and the banquette dining is intimate for sinful conversations. The crowd is a mixed international crowd, you could hear some finance sharks, lots of French and German continentals, and a few foodies in the mix. But I am liking it so far.

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Little Social Menu. NHYM 2015. 

The menu has lots of appetising starters and mains, with lots of mushroom dishes (tagliatelle & risotto) and grilled steaks. My friends ordered the steak tartare as starters, which is a bavette tartar, usually a lesser cut, therefore which you could overlook as being as good as it was. I ordered the roasted quail with confit leg, foie gras and cherries. Ok, so perhaps not as casual dining as I had anticipated, this is elegant food after all, and the combination of cherries and quail was really delicious.

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Mushroom tagliatelle & Sirloin Steak. NHYM 2015. 

For our mains, my friends all opted for the mushroom tagliatelle and mushroom risotto while I stuck with what I do best; eat meat. I ordered the sirloin steak (since I had had a rib eye the night before). The Sirloin had been appropriately aged 28 days and was very good. We were very happy indeed with our food. Table talk consisted of what happened to transgenders’ sexual orientation after a sex change. For example, as a man who becomes a woman, do you still want a woman or do you start to like men? It then veered towards the late-in-life sexual discoveries, like that husband’s wife who left him for another woman (just like Ross’ first wife in friends who leaves him for another woman), or the father of a friend’s friend who left his wife for his driver. It takes all kinds of people to make this world interesting. We concluded that we were very happy for Bruce Jenner’s choices.

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Crumble & Carrot Cake. NHYM 2015.

For dessert we shared a crumble and a light and fluffy carrot cake (not what you’d expect, I know), which were both yummy but the piece de resistance came later, when we went across the street to have a drink at Pollen Street Social. Pollen Street Social has a very large bar that you could go to, just for a drink, and not look like you are waiting to be seated. It is a bigger version of the Little Social bar, just a more elegant and refined version with sofas and seats you could sit on for hours. We ordered cocktails, which were summery and minty with a flower adornment, and with that came an assembly of desserts that made us regret even having ordered the previous dessert.

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Pollen Street Social After-dinner Drinks & Dessert. NHYM 2015. 

There was a small chocolate mousse as an amuse bouche, an almond petit four to share and a white-chocolate ball on top of a cone looking like an ice-cream (like I said, foods looking/tasting like other foods). They were absolutely divine. I would come back just for the cocktails and desserts. This night was a perfect combination of casual, brasserie dining, followed by a gorgeous bar, cocktail and second desserts at Pollen Street Social. I may be won over by Jason Atherton after all. The design, food and atmosphere were spot on, but it was those cocktails and yes, that chocolate ball looking like an ice-cream, that really won me over.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Pollen Street Social Drinks Cart. NHYM 2015. 
Click to add a blog post for Little Social on Zomato

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Reviews

Review: West 36 Restaurant, Golborne Road

West 36 Restaurant

36 Golborne Road, London W10 5NR

Tel 02037520530

http://www.w36.co.uk

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** All Photos in this Post Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015.**

Food: 4 stars

Service: 3 stars

Atmosphere: 4.0 stars

Design: 4.5 stars

Price/value: 4 stars

Overall: 4.15 stars

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West Thirty Six, the latest venture by Robert Newmark, the man behind the Beach Blanket Babylon franchise, is West London’s newest hipster hangout, with bearded staff dressed up in overalls, suspenders and bowties. The Telegraph Newspaper has called it ‘West London’s answer to Central London’s Chiltern Firehouse and East London’s Shoreditch House.’  When I went last Saturday, Ellie Goulding was there on a ‘date night.’ You want to know where the hipsters go for date night? Here’s your answer.

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Third floor bottle service. 2015.

The Service

Although it has only been open for a month, I have already been there twice and I already have a reservation booked in the next few weeks, even though when I was there opening week, the service was laughably atrocious. Despite waiting for our food for 40minutes, the staff not speaking English and our food being sent to the neighbouring table, I still really wanted to go again. So, how could a restaurant still convince me to return when the waiter, as cute as he was, looked completely overwhelmed and admitted to being completely stressed out and unable to manage his tables? This review will mostly be of my second time there, since the first time would have been dragged down by the confused, disorientated, and clearly first-day-on-the-job staff (It was like being served by a better looking Charlie Chaplin waiter with a bow tie and suspenders and a One Direction haircut, but he had enough Latin charm to pull it off and be forgiven by the end of the night.)

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First floor dining area. 2015. 

The Design

So, why, you ask me, would I ever return to a place where the staff is picked based on attractive looks but not their knowledge of English, the food arrives 40 minutes late and ends up on someone else’s table, I was charged for my dessert twice on the bill, and the waiters look at you cluelessly when you order a Pisco Sour is? Turns out, the design at West Thirty Six, made to look like a ‘member’s club’ without actually being one, is just very cool, the atmosphere is fun, and the food is surprisingly good relative to the service you receive.

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Ground floor, open plan kitchen and bar. 2015.

The ground floor is a brasserie-style restaurant where a lot of the action is, with cramped, small, metal tables are scattered around the main shiny bar and crowds of people trying to a) enter the restaurant b) have a drink at the bar being squeezed by people trying to get through c) squish past the waiters to get to the stairs to go to the first floor. The tables are so close together on this floor that you are practically sitting on your neighbour’s lap. There is door by the stairs where the staff keep appearing from, but always when you are trying to get up the stairs and therefore causing constant human traffic jams. Whoever designed this place had the aesthetics right, but was not a spatial engineer; the space was not designed for this many people.

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First floor dining room. 2015. 

The first floor has a bar and small lounge area with leather chairs and low, wooden coffee tables on the left, and on the right is another dining area, Soho House style, cozy, lounge-y, and full of candles, which I have wanted to try to but am still not hipster enough to get a reservation there (there are mostly tables for large groups in this dining room). The top floor is reserved for ‘bottle service’ that you can book through the Manager, and where I believe Ellie Goulding was partying until 1am (way past my bedtime, ladies and gents). This floor is meant to be seen as a ‘member’s area,’ where you can keep your bottle until the next you come, or as a place to work during the day.

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The chunky chips, ribeye steak and mac ‘n’ cheese. 2015. 

The Food 

The menu here is a ‘man’s man’ menu; lots of meats, chips, and more meats. Vegetarians need not apply. Steaks, chicken wings, ribs, lobster were all on the menu to get the men salivating, following the Steak & Lobster trend. For the sides, there were skinny chips, big chunky chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, and bone marrow mash. Everything looked delicious when we looked at our neighbour’s table. For starters, we ordered the beetroot salad and the blue cheese salad, both which were tasty and of hearty proportions, and the maple syrup chipotle chicken wings, which Mr.T said were the best wings he had ever had.

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Half a rack of ribs. 2015.

For the mains, Mr. X and I had juicy, tender ribeyes, which were nicely done medium rare. Mr. T had an entire rack of ribs, which was enormous and fed all four of us, while Ms. D had the lobster which was delicious but the dressing was perhaps a bit too flavourful, which she said took away from the lobster taste. All the portions are huge, so no one was about to leave with an empty stomach. This is hearty ‘brasserie’ food with hearty portions, whose portions will probably start to decrease as time goes by (which restaurants always do after the first few opening weeks), but for now, keep on bringing those ribs.

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Lobster. 2015. 

As a dessert, we had the famous Apple Pie which is brought in its baking tray to your table and dolloped on your plate, as well as a ‘Make Your Own Sundae,’ of vanilla and chocolate ice cream sprinkled with salted caramel popcorn and bitter caramel sauce (Note: half the toppings were unavailable).

The Verdict

The service was much better the second time around, and even though you feel cramped and squished from the moment you enter the restaurant, I still plan on coming back. The building is a huge space of multiple nooks and crannies, rooms and drinking dens that charm you, reminiscent of Paradise by Kensal Rise. The outdoor areas, from the first floor outdoor terrace to the Toolshed smoking area, look all like they will be a great alternative to the Westbourne in the summer.

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It is already packed full, which shows its popularity. And I am fuelling this, since despite the dazed and confused service at times, I still really like it. It’s buzzy and busy, maybe even a bit too much, which creates a good atmosphere. Both times I was there, I befriended our table-neighbours, mostly because of the size of the our rack of ribs, but also because we were playing footsie with them due to our close proximity. But rubbing shoulders with your neighbours in this restaurant is a rather pleasant experience, which makes it OK. This is exactly what this place is about: meeting friends, making new friends and leaving feeling very full.

An after-dinner drink was impossible, the place was so packed, and we were not quite feeling young and trendy enough for the bottle service upstairs, so opt for a pre-dinner drink when it is less busy, or head back towards Portobello and have a drink at Santo for a night-cap.

See you there next week.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

West Thirty Six on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Review: The Palomar

The Palomar

‘Get Up I feel like being a Sexmachine….’

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All photos in this post belong to NHYM, Copyright 2015. 

34 Rupert Street

London W1D 6DN

Tel…0207 439 8777

http://www.thepalomar.co.uk

Food: 4 stars

Service:4 stars 

Design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars

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The open plan kitchen. NHYM 

First Impressions

As I walked into the cramped Palomar restaurant the other night, the song ‘Get up (I feel like being a) Sexmachine’ by James Brown was blaring into my ears, while the trendy, hipster chefs with their requisite beards were frantically putting on a show of cooking skills as well as ‘hisptertaining’ ie. entertaining us non-hipsters on how to be hipsters. The Palomar is the latest of the uber-trendy restaurants; half-club, half diner, throw in some Middle Eastern sharing plates, hipster staff and a raw bar and I can’t think of anything hipper it could do. Chiltern may be the most papped, but the foodie hipsters are now heading out in droves to this restaurant. From the founders of Israeli’s hippest restaurant, Machneyuda, it’s easy to see how they got their formula right. After James Brown funk, Lou Reed seductively invites you to take a Walk on the Wild Side, which clearly sets the tone for this restaurant.

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Kubaneh Bread. NHYM 2015. 

The Restaurant

The restaurant is a lot smaller than I expected. Up front is the long bar/kitchen where you can sit perched on stools looking at where the magic takes place, the music making the atmosphere, whereas in the back are a few tables, perhaps 10 in total, which is the more quiet, subdued version of the same restaurant. The music is louder, the colours stronger and the experience more technicolour in front, including the pink neon sign, whereas the back is where you can hear yourselves speak. And you know how I am with loud music… https://nottinghillmummy.com/2015/02/05/you-know-youre-middle-aged-when/. So we ended up with a corner, romantic, candle-lit table rather than a back-breaking stool, music-deafening experience.

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Shakshukit, the deconstructed kebab. NHYM 2015.

 The Food 

The food started out very good with the delicious Kubaneh Yemeni buttered bread which curbed by carb-addiction, and sweet potato crisps. We ordered the Kubenia steak starter with pine nuts and the Octopus with chickpeas and yogurt, which I very much enjoyed, although Mr. X didn’t love the steak tartare as much as I do. We followed this by the Pork Belly Tagine and the Shakshukit, described as a ‘deconstructed kebab,’ all of which were good, not earth-shattering, but the latter pleasingly spice-full of harissa and tahini. Of course Middle Eastern food is all the rage with Yotam Ottolenghi leading the way with his restaurants and upscale ‘delis’ all over London (where mashed potatoes probably cost £30), so this is right ‘on trend,’ and it’s cool atmosphere has all the food critics singing its praises. One even went as far as to say that it is one of the most interesting restaurant experience in all of London right now.

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The Bar. NHYM 2015.

The Verdict

The Palomar is a great new restaurant especially for the foodie fans of Machneyuda. It’s fun and tasty, both in food and atmosphere, so you can’t go too wrong. If you’re going to be in the neighbourhood anyway, it’s definitely worth a go. It may be a little too hyped for its own good though. I would say ‘Go’ but not, ‘YOU HAVE TO GO!’ Therefore for those giving it mixed reviews, I think it’s because our expectations are just a little too high for this place. So keep your expectations low, and you will be happily surprised.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

The Palomar on Urbanspoon

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Review: Wormwood Restaurant

‘…there’s a new Wormwood/In our hood/Gotta try its so good/Chef Rabah Ourrad/He’s a chef-rapper/Who loves his Lobster. 

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Wormwood Restaurant

16 All Saints Road

London W11 1HH

0207 854 1808

http://www.wormwoodrestaurant.com

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(All Photos courtesy of the internet for this post)

Food: 4 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Service: 4.25 stars

Value/money: 3.75 stars

Design: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars

The Restaurant

The latest foodie addition to Notting Hill is Wormwood, a Mediterranean restaurant in what some people call the dodgier part of NH/W11. I have been meaning to try this restaurant for quite some time now, having read very good reviews, the most recent from Giles Coren last Saturday, who highly rated the food, less so the concept of ‘sharing plates.’ All Saints Road is having somewhat of a revival, from the Rum Kitchen to the Wormwood Restaurant, and is becoming the Hollywood Road of the North; a quiet road with an international restaurant across from a rowdy, rustic Italian. ‘Wormwood’ really is a tragic name for a restaurant though, didn’t the owners know that Wormwood Scrubs is a prison just a few miles away? Or is it purposefully a commentary about the dream of two Algerians who now co-own their restaurant, proving that the underdogs can come out on top? (Chef Rabah Ourrad has an interesting background of a young Algerian-in-Paris-rapper-turned-chef with stints at Momo’s, Sketch and the Ledbury. I would like to sit in his kitchen while he raps ‘Le Micro Brise Le Silence’ over his truffle emulsion).

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In any case, it is a light and airy restaurant with colours of green, blues and white patterns with some olive trees in its terrace to keep it, well, very Mediterranean. The crowd is quite grown up looking for an exciting change from ‘Michelin star’ type restaurants, which do get repetitive after a while (I must admit that my experience of Marianne’s of Masterchef fame down the road was disappointingly underwhelming, hence why I have not reviewed it). The concept here  is keeping high standards of cooking techniques in a more relaxed ‘sharing plates’ style, ‘elegant yet relaxed,’ as it likes to be described. There is a lovely back area, which can be privatised, and also acts as an art gallery.

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(Smoked Aubergine)

The Food

Sharing plates is the hot trend of the moment for restaurants, and Notting Hill is no exception; Polpo, the Shed and Mazi are just a few of the recent openings in the past few years. Mazi, a nouveau-Greek, showed how simple Greek food can be elevated to sophisticated food, using ingredients like Rice Paper for the Souvlaki instead of your regular old Gyro bread. It is international cuisine with a twist. Wormwood to me is the Morrocan version of Mazi, trying to create nouveau Moroccan inspired dishes. If you like Mazi, you should try Wormwood. The lobster couscous with lobster bisque is delicious, the beetroot salad cleanses the palate and allows space for the foie gras which is another distinctive dish. There is pork belly tagine, sea bass dishes, and lots of aubergine. The cauliflower truffle combo is becoming my new craving, which I also found here at Wormwood, almost as good as the cauliflower and truffle mousse from Nuno Mendes’ Chiltern Firehouse. At some point though, it felt as if my palate wanted just two or three ingredients per course, rather than 6 ingredients per plate, with 10 plates for four (Example: Scallops ceviche with redcurrant dressing, coriander cress, and homemade limoncello gel. That means 60 different ingredients in one sitting).

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(Lobster Couscous)

The menu offers inventive and unique dishes blending Morrocan, French, Spanish and Lebanese influences, and bringing unusual ingredients together. But it all rather works. The dishes are quite sophisticated in their presentations and have more ingredients than necessary (he just couldn’t resist showing off his jellies and mousses) that they turn out quite foodie but difficult to share. The service was excellent and we were impressed by our waitress’ poetic memory of all the dishes and ingredients per plate. It felt as if the rapper Chef wanted to prove his fine dining skills and creativeness while ‘keeping it real,’ which suits All Saints Road perfectly.

The Verdict: The older, more sophisticated brother of Mazi restaurant for those who are tired of Michelin-star restaurants formality. Great for a grown-up dinner with ‘couple-friends’ who don’t know each other very well. If there’s a break in the conversation, the food is always a conversation starter.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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(Homemade Cocktails)
Wormwood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Photos, Social Commentary

The Serpentine Summer Party 2014

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(Photos all by NHYM copyright 2014)

Peak Summer Party Week

Apparently, this week is Peak Party Week for Summer Parties (quoted from the Evening Standard 2/7/14) and if there is one summer party to go to and one invite to receive, it is to the Serpentine Summer Party (Cartier Polo is passé, Wimbledon becomes a bit repetitive, and it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to Garden/Country/School Parties). It is the gallery’s biggest fundraiser of the year and showcases a Pavilion designed by some of the world’s most influential architects, from Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, to Jean Nouvel and Oscar Niemeyer, who have all exhibitied in the past. It is also the trendiest party of the year, mingling artists, architects, fashion designers with A-list Hollywood stars of the moment, Supermodels and London socialites, Rock Stars, and Power Mad Business Tycoons.

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First, the art…

This year, a Chilean architect Smiljan Radic brought a giant alien spacepod to Hyde Park. It is one of the strangest pavilions so far, (I am partial to the Japanese architects, really liking Sou Fujimoto’s pavilion last year and the 2009 Pavilion by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa), but the directors, Julia Peyton Jones and Hans-Ulbrich Obrist see a vision in it: ‘While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radic’s designs for the pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site.’

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The Frog and The Yanks have landed in London in a Chilean Spacepod

Not only is this party about art, but it is becoming about international power players and this year’s party was co-hosted by some of the most powerful men in the world; Michael Bloomberg, (who recently became Chairman of the Serpentine, American ex-New York mayor, finance publisher, billionaire, 16th richest in the world), Francois-Henri Pinault, (French CEO of a luxury conglomerate, Kering, which owns Gucci, Stella McCartney, Bottega Venetta, St. Laurent amongst others, 3rd richest man in France), and Andre Balasz (Hungarian-American hotelier extraordinaire and taste-maker worth $450 Million, who recently opened the blazing hot Chiltern Firehouse). And in the midst of this power threesome are stories of politics and money, dating Hollywood actresses, Supermodel ex-girlfriends baby mommas, and more gossip and scandal than in a Danielle Steele novel.

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Michael Bloomberg takes over the world

Michael Bloomberg, known for being a major philanthropist has already donated a large sum of money to help build an extension of the Serpentine Gallery, the Sackler gallery. This is just one of the ways of making his name in the London Social Circle, along with building Bloomberg Place in the city with Fosters architects, befriending David Cameron with party donations, and launching London’s Technology Week with Boris Johnson a few weeks ago. He already conquered New York by ‘buying’ his candidacy with more personal money than any other candidate (and did a relatively good job of it, being a Robin Hood type, decreasing New York’s deficit by cutting costs and spending his own personal money to compensate the losses). He now has his sights on London and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to try to run against Old Boris for the Mayor candidacy in London. The Etonian vs. the Billionaire. Perhaps we should take it as a compliment that he is now turning to London as his home, post NY, but perhaps it is his ambitions that have grown bigger than the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, Bloomberg was nowhere to be seen at the party, likely too busy planning on how to take over China.

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The Co-Hosts: Francois Henri Pinault and Andre Balasz (Oh, and Brendan Mullane creative director of Brioni and Marina Abramovic, artist)

The other billionaire moving to London is Francois-Henri Pinault from France, who is known for his love scandals in great French style, having fathered two children in the same year with Supermodel Linda Evangelista and Superstar Hollywood Actress, Salma Hayek (I’m not sure his good looks got them into bed…). Andre Balasz, also known for dating Hollywood actresses (famously dated Uma Thurman post-Ethan Hawke, and the comedienne Chelsea Handler), also has his sights set on Hotel-World-Domination after the ridiculously successful London opening of Chiltern Firehouse, where everyone ended up for the Serpentine after-party.

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(Keira Knightely at the DJ Booth)

The Party

As we arrive, Princess Beatrice is being photographed, looking like a princess in her billowy, white, flowery bouffant dress, while we pass the hoards of paparazzi. The security this year is much more stringent than in the past years, promising some great people watching. Inside, Andre Balasz, being the consummate host, is chatting and smiling at my arrival. The Ladies of London cast positioned themselves at the entrance to expose themselves to the world and welcomed any photographic exposure. At the bar near the DJ Booth, I am fighting for a Watermelon Martini with Nick Grimshaw behind me and Zadie Smith on my left (who knew she was this beautiful) while Cara Delivigne sipped her cocktail and watched on, being her kooky self. She is wearing a somewhat subdued, classical black Mulberry evening gown and carrying the latest Mulberry bag, of her own design. She is rather cool and beautiful in person. She eventually wanders off to chat to Keira Knightely who is at the DJ Booth trying to figure out who the guest performer will be tonight.

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(Grayson Perry)

People-Watching

The people-watching is quite simply spectacular (not quite the Met Ball or the Oscars but pretty impressive for London standards), with Actors, Models, Magazine Editors, Fashion designers, Business Tycoons, Artists and all the other London’s scenesters and trendsetters everywhere I look (you can see all the dresses on the Hello, Vogue and Huffpost websites): Bradley Cooper is looking dapper next to Francois-Henri Pinault who made an appearance without his wife, Suki Waterhouse is looking fab in pale pink Burberry although a little too slender for my taste. Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Nancy D’el Olio, colourful as always, are yearly regulars. Orlando Bloom looks rather dashing with his hair pulled back in a fitted suit while Lily Allen is looking funky with multicoloured hair. Noel Gallagher has finally made it to the Serpentine this year he says, and chats to Bradley.

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Keira, Cara and Alexa: the Belles of the Ball

Keira, Cara and Alexa are already setting the scene on the dance floor for the surprise guest. Natalie Massanet is looking a bit tired this year, she must be working too hard, while Sir Philip Green is here with his daughter. Nikki Hilton looks a little lost in the crowds, although pulling off a great black and white Diane von Vurstenberg jumpsuit. Gemma Arterton is looking luscious in her red midriff baring dress and red matching lips. The fash pack is out in force; Matthew Williamson, Alice Temperely, Naomi Campbell, Lily Cole, Arizona Muse are only some of the few. And I spot a number of NHN and NHYMs I recognise, and while I am busy people watching, Mr. C is busy being chatted up by a 20something New York socialite.

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(The Electronic Surfboard)

Inside the gallery is a dedicated room for the football fans following USA vs Belgium, being projected on a wall in a man room, with an inflatable bouncy castle and electronically controlled surf board, a basketball hoop and a dance arcade (a favourite of Alexa Chung and Andre Balasz).

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(Pharrell!!!)

I ‘Get Lucky’ and I am ‘Happy’

As the sun sets on a beautiful evening and crowd in the Park, arrives the highlight of the night in the form of our favourite pint-sized, hat-wearing, artist/singer/producer Pharrell Williams. (Last year’s performance by the Saturdays was forgettable, the year before was Azalea Banks who sang 212 while I was boogying between Benedict Cumberbatch and Arizona Muse, and a few years before, Dizzie Rascal made us get rowdy to ‘Holiday.)’ It doesn’t get better than this. Pharrell is an artist and a magician with his hit songs and collaborations, who inspires 3 year olds to 70 year olds. And as he sang ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Happy’ under the stars of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery, there is nowhere else to be tonight, and just for tonight I truly am feeling pretty ‘Happy’ and I’ve gotten ‘Lucky’ as I held hands with Pharrell and danced the night away between Cara, Keira and Alexa.

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In the Press, Photos, Reviews

Sunny May Bank Holiday, Chiltern Firehouse’s courtyard finally opens!

Nothing beats a Sunday Brunch ‘En Famille’ in the sun

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Steak Tartare is a pleasure to look at… but unfortunately it’s like an Eastern European model, too skinny and not enough spice, looks win over substance this time….

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They even provided toys for M! And a highchair for Baby X

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The Kissing Doggies were as much a hit as the Strawberry Sundae…!

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All in all, 5 stars for the sunshine, 5 stars for the kissing dogs and strawberry sundae, food and service still to be rated as they are battling teething problems, admitted by the waiter, ‘We opened this Saturday, so that’s why we are running around like head-less chickens. It is like opening a second, separate restaurant’. Which is why they ran out of cutlery and when I asked for a Dashamour I was brought a jalapeño bitter instead of my green juice. (They changed the name without telling me, and the green juice is now called a Green Goddess).

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