Hakkasan Las Vegas is a five-level culinary and nightlife mecca set to open its doors next month at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino — with the nightclub portion opening to the public Thursday, April 18 and the restaurant debut scheduled for Friday, May 3. The highly anticipated venue is a bold evolution of the prestigious global restaurant brand — now with over 10 locations worldwide — into an all-encompassing nightlife experience. Together, Hakkasan and Angel Management Group have produced an immersive five-level space that showcases a unique convergence of dramatic design, modern Cantonese cuisine, world-class mixology and exclusive collaborations with in-demand artists across numerous genres.
My two experiences of ‘Dinner By Heston Blumenthal’ couldn’t be more different. When it opened, there was the man himself, charismatic bonce twinkling, schmoozing like the consummate professional he is. The menu, with its reinvention of historic British cooking, seemed to be paradoxically new and there was an air of palpable excitement about the place – is that Lily Allen? Sir Paul McCartney? Look at the size of Jeremy Clarkson’s head! Nobody with a profile came away unhugged by Heston. Little wonder most of the critical world came away gibbering in some kind of rapture.
Heston Blumenthal’s meat fruit, as served at Dinner. Photograph: Eddie Judd
But on this visit, the place appears to have settled into its primary role: that of a good hotel restaurant populated by suits and dressed-to-the-nines out-of-towners.
Taffety tart as served at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
It’s undeniably beautiful, in a sleek, expensive way, with its quirky wall lamps based on jelly moulds; there’s a vast-windowed open kitchen groaning with hi-tech kit that seems to jut right into the dining space. Here Blumenthal’s first lieutenant Ashley Palmer-Watts’s brigade – no, of course Heston’s not cooking – can be seen intently beavering away, although much of the techie stuff is done in a basement kitchen far below.
There’s an imposing, steampunky rotisserie designed by Swiss watchmaker Ebel, its only purpose appearing to be to turn the pineapple for the heavily sold tipsy cake into, well, hot pineapple.
The sale of a 200-year-old bottle of white wine for 75,000 pounds ($121,000) has set a new Guinness World Record for the most valuable bottle of white wine ever sold. The buyer of the 1811 Château d’Yquem was private collector Christian Vanneque, former head Sommelier at the Michelin starred La Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris.
Though Château d’Yquem is famed for being one of the finest and most expensive sweet white wines, the 1811 vintage has a particular attraction for wine enthusiasts. The climatology of the year, reviews from tastings, as well as the auspicious appearance of the Great Comet in that year, all indicate an excellent wine.
“This wine is very special — it is attached to the most renowned white wine in the world, and it was produced in the year of the Great Comet, which was believed to enhance the quality of the wine,” Vanneque told Reuters. “It is a rare wine, which been tasted on three occasions and each time received five out of five stars,” he added. “It was not just purchased as an investment – it is also going to be an enjoyment.”
“I did not know it was the most expensive white wine ever sold when I purchased it, but I did know it was the most expensive wine I had ever paid for.” The high concentration of sugar in Château d’Yquem means it has a drinking life which far outstrips that of other wines.
The wine will be displayed in a bullet-proof, temperature and hydrometrically controlled showcase for six years at his restaurant, the SIP Sunset Grill in Bali. “I will open it in six years to mark the 50th anniversary of when I began work in Paris and share it with my wife, brothers and friends — I already know what the menu will be,” Vanneque said.
The private sale was by the Antique Wine Company, which had also held the previous record for white wine — an 1887 Château d’Yquem at $100,000. “I always have a tear in my eye when I sell a bottle of wine but I’m comforted by the knowledge that it has been purchased by someone passionate about wine and it’s going to a good home,” said company Managing Director Stephen Williams.
To mark the 10th anniversary of his three-Michelin-star restaurant at the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris, Alain Ducasse decided it was time for a change. With a desire to get back to basics, Ducasse implemented his new Essentiel concept, which eschews flamboyance and fussiness in favor of purity, quality, and authenticity. Ingredients are carefully sourced from Ducasse’s handpicked suppliers and served at the peak of seasonal freshness. For example, scallops from Normandy, where water conditions are prime for the shellfish, are gathered in the morning and served that very evening. Technique takes a backseat so the supreme ingredients can shine, unsullied by superfluous flavorings and fancy treatments. The less-is-more statement also translates to the table decor, which has been pared down from the typical extravagant array of flatware and dishes. Complementing the enormous glittering chandeliers and shimmering new decorative screens handmade by Paris’ haute-couture masters, tables are minimally set with sculpted, modern, porcelain plates specially designed to hold the menus. In another insouciant move, an appetizer of tender crevettes is served in the sauté pan with a long, delicate fork. Such casual touches may seem out of place in a dining room of such stature, but at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée the reverence is reserved for the food.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is open for lunch Thursday and Friday and for dinner Monday through Friday. Average price à la carte is about $345, not including beverages. (www.plaza-athenee-paris.com)
A tiny, casual 12-seat eatery in New York City has earned two Michelin stars, the second highest rating in the ranking of the world’s best restaurants. The restaurant, The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, is a stark contrast to the other two-star New York restaurants in Michelin’s latest guide, which will be launched on Thursday.
200 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
nr. Hoyt St.
It is located in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. Its head chef, Cesar Ramirez, oversees the prepared food store connected to the restaurant, and diners have to bring their own wine. Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, said it is the restaurant’s innovative, global-inspired dishes that placed it among the best restaurants in the world. “It’s really a kitchen and the chef is cooking in front of you. When you sit down, you have a dream start with the first dish … so it really becomes one of the 300 best restaurants in the world,” Naret said.
There is a phenomenon that is stirring the food scene world-wide. It is one that brings revolutionary new techniques, new textures, even new flavors, and it is one that wants to revolutionize the way we see the art,or rather, the science of cooking. This is what chefs and gastronomes have come to call “molecular gastronomy”, the resultant of a collaboration between scientists and chefs. It is the product of an evolving realm of knowledge. Rather then being content with knowing how to do things, chefs are now diving deeper into the craft of cooking to understand the “why”s behind the “how”s, and they are doing this with the help of science.
If we had to categorize chefs as artists or scientists, most of us would put them in the former. Despite having invented cooking even before the dawn of history, human civilization still widely regard cookery with awe and wonderment as we would regard magical. Indeed, the transformation of raw ingredients into comforting, piping hot fodder for our body and soul, is akin to mystical powers—and the chef, the wizard in the kitchen.
Yet with the advent of molecular gastronomy, chefs are now categorizing themselves as scientists. They may still be a minority group of chefs at present, but they are proud and prominent. As a matter of fact, these revolutionaries are dominating the world’s dining scene today: the revered Ferran Adria of El Bulli at Roasa, Spain; the adventurous Frenchman Pierre Gagnaire in Paris; the culinary maverick Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck at Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom. While some are embracing the new concept and new cuisine, others predict this to mark the decline of cuisine as we know it. Does science elevate cuisine or does it take the soul out of the art?
Johnnie Walker Black Label
Perfectly rounded, deep and full, this is the blended Scotch most admired by blenders. If I had to take only one whisky to a desert island, it would probably be this one.
40 per cent ABV
Price: £20.45 – www.anybooze.com
Lagavulin 16 Year Old
The prince of the Islay malts, this is deep and dark, with notes of fruitcake and sweet seaweed. A voluptuous texture and a fragrant, smoky finish. For drinking with poetry, late into the night.
43 per cent ABV
Price: £41.95 – www.drinksdirect.co.uk
The Glenrothes 1985
A big, rich Speyside, with notes of dried fruits and peel and some spicy or tannic dryness. Drink with roast Aberdeen Angus beef. The last remaining drops of this vintage have now been bottled.
43 per cent ABV
Price: £78.00 – www.bbr.com
Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
An elegant malt from Wick in the far north of Scotland, this has a lightly “maritime” character and goes well with fish and seafood. The distinctive bottle features a traditional Wick herring drifter.
40 per cent ABV
Price: £24.50 – www.waitrosewine.co.uk
Clynelish 14 Year Old
A North Highland malt, from the coast of Sutherland. Fresh and heathery, with waxy notes reminiscent of a High Church. Drink from the deep freeze in chilled glasses with dessert ? you will be amazed! 46 per cent ABV
Price: £26.49 – www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Auchentoshan 18 Year Old
A triple-distilled Lowland single malt, from a distillery overlooking the River Clyde. Refreshing, even invigorating, and light in style, this makes an excellent apéritif.
43 per cent ABV
Price: £49.99 – www.thewhiskyexchange.com
An uncommon (and uncommonly good) blended Scotch, from the Signature Range of the artisan whisky maker Compass Box. Sweet and delicate, this is ideal as an aperitif.
40 per cent ABV
Price: £24.46 – www.whiskyandwines.com
18 Year Old bA distinguished, rich, complex and slightly smoky malt from the Orkney Islands, to accompany coffee, dark chocolate and cigars. A most satisfactory balance of sweet and dry, with dryness winning in the finish.
43 per cent ABV
Price: £48.72 – www.anybooze.com
Bailie Nicol Jarvie
An entirely different creature ? light in style, clean and zesty. Easy to drink, this is a blended whisky from the Glenmorangie distillery in the Highlands, named after a character in Walter Scott’s novel, ‘Rob Roy’.
40 per cent ABV
Price: £12.99 – www.oddbins.com
Talisker 10 Year Old
From the Isle of Skye, this is THE malt to accompany haggis (and many other dishes). Sweet and lightly smoky, but watch out for the chilli-pepper hit in the finish. Robert Louis Stevenson regarded Talisker as “the king of drinks”.
45.8 per cent ABV
Price: £28.95 –www.royalmilewhiskies.com
ABaC Restaurant Hotel Monument 5* GL part of Evade Hotels, is located in Sarriá-Sant Gervasi, the upper zone of Barcelona, with views to the Kennedy square and surrounded with the vegetation of La Tamarita gardens and is close to the most important points of the city.
The Hotels is design of the architect Antoni de Moragas, consists of two buildings integrated in c garden. The centennial building was refurbished due to its historical value and it was the old residence of Doña Madronita, an intellectual of the born Catalan bourgeoisie at the end of XIX century. She was the daughter of the famous pharmacist Dr. Andreu, and she was the wife of the North American Max Klein (president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and one of the introducers of the basketball in Spain).
On the other hand, the new crystal pavilion is covered of lattices of wood and joined the garden. Landscape and architecture give themselves the hand in a space of pure lines.
The best Champagne that is offered to the world comes from the region of Champagne, France which produces liquid gold that is most elegantly enjoyed in a sparkling crystal Champagne glass. It deliciously entices you to drink as the champagne bubbles kiss your nose when you press your lips to the glass and take that first heavenly sip. No wines are allowed to be called Champagne anymore. The only way they can is if they have been produced in Champagne, France which is how they originally got their name.
On the 6 of February 1829 the Maison Bollinger was founded which has remained in family hands for five generations and is one of the best Champagne Houses around.
In 1992 they developed a Charter of Ethics and Quality which outlines the major principles of the house which shows you the high standards they have and how truly great this company is.