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Nikki Beach At Cannes Film Festival

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Nikki Beach will be boosting the celebrations at the 70th Cannes Film Festival this week when the luxury lifestyle and hospitality brand hits its 15th anniversary in Cannes.

The global brand has been in attendance consecutively since its 2003 debut pop-up venue at the Festival, adding its own hedonist mix of music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art to Cannes’ premium partying.

Nikki Beach Cannes promises 2017 “to be the most elegant and entertaining year yet, with the pop-up playing host to a mix of soirees, candlelit dinners, private events, charitable cocktail receptions, press junkets and more.”

“Our first pop-up at Cannes, in 2003, feels like it was yesterday,” says Jack Penrod, founder and owner, Nikki Beach Worldwide. “Every year, we set out to create a destination that gives everyone a beachside location to chill out from their hectic schedules during the Festival, and every year, we come away with unforgettable memories.”

This time, Nikki Beach Cannes will partner with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to host an event to honour “a charitable partner.” The HFPA will also offer a dedicated space within Nikki Beach Cannes for press interviews and will host lunches every day.

Previous celeb guests have included Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Scarlett Johansson and Pharrell. Nikki Beach sponsors include Jacob & Co., Perrier Jouët, Elyx Vodka, Cointreau and Citroën Cars whose cars will be on display at the InterContinental Carlton at La Plage.

Click here to see trailer...

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Nikki Beach Cannes: 58 Blvd de la Croisette (at La Plage of the InterContinental Carlton Hotel) daily from May 17 - 28

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Mission Controlled - Mercedes F015

Driving Mercedes’ current S-Class is as good a glimpse as any into the automotive future. But the brand really wowed the crowds with the unveiling of its F015 concept car in Las Vegas, above. Sat Bal  Read more

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Aston Martin – Run of the ‘Mill’

“Okay, now take your hands off the wheel and hold them in the air,” urges Joe calmly. I glance at the digital speedo : 120mph. Is this man insane? Sort of. He’s an ultra-confident Aston Martin driving specialist. Sat Bal is driven to distraction.  Read more

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Engineering An Airline

25 BEA Hangers (900 x 404)

The history of British Airways from the perspective of its engineering division is chronicled in a new book Engineering an Airline published by Amberley Books and available now.  Abigail Parkin

Your BA flight lands, the baggage is reclaimed and off you head, homeward, thinking nothing of the thousands of miles you’ve safely spent mid-air. Such insouciance is thanks to the behind-the-scenes teams whose challenge lies in maintaining that very safety. Paul Jarvis’s book brings their engineering prowess forth with intriguing photos, many never seen before, from British Airways’ 90-year past. It’s a testament to the evolution of the engineering role from before its Imperial Airways days to British Airways today.

It’s not a book that blinds the reader with science despite the title. Instead Paul Jarvis takes us on a jaunty read beginning with his own start at the airline as a technical clerk in the engineering department in 1966 when the planes were in BOAC livery.  

Here we take a visual tour of its engineering strides through the ages…

 

BA Statocruisers at engineering LHR (700 x 529)

 

The Boeing Stratocruiser was introduced in 1949

 

britishairways VC-10 Dusk

VC10, the first commercial 'clean wing' aircraft, here at its BOAC hangar

 Paul Jarvis, now curator of British Airways’ Heritage Centre, said: “Aircraft have long held a fascination for many people and our highly trained engineers are the unsung heroes of the airline. “This is the first book to look at the history of British Airways through its engineers and tell the story of those who can offer a unique insight into the complexities of running a fleet of highly sophisticated flying machines.”

 

BA 136 B Call DC 10 Major (600 x 344)

The Douglas DC10 entered the BA fleet around 1988

This is Paul Jarvis’s fourth book and draws on a wealth of fascinating and unique material from the British Airways archive and uses 200 full colour images to show the development of the airline’s engineering division.

 

BA Concorde in hangar (700 x 519)

 

High-maintenance Concorde in hangar

 

BA Planes on Stand (800 x 474)

Sibling jets parked on stand

 

BA Eng (800 x 600)

BA engineers at work

 

BA Cockpit

Engineered to perfection - the array of flight deck systems

 

‘Engineering An Airline’ is priced at £18.99 and is available at all good book shops and via Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats.                                          

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Tom's Kitchen Birmingham

Tom's Kitchen Birmingham Restaurant-5

Tom’s Kitchen has paused from its rapid colonisation of London to make its debut in Birmingham. Sat Bal dropped into the new location at The Mailbox.

 

The Layout

Glass lift doors open to reveal an airy reception space with the restaurant edging out into The Mailbox as if to remind itself that it’s part of the complex. First impressions are that the restaurant’s design is relatively spartan amid the high-gloss glam of its Mailbox neighbour Harvey Nichols, although both venues can safely lay claim to the ‘reassuringly expensive’ tag.

 

Toms Kitchen

 

This conflation of traditional and contemporary is something of a hallmark of Tom’s Kitchen where familiar British food favourites are treated with Tom’s twist. Settling into our places, the quality of the venue’s fit-out is obvious, even if the close spacing of neighbouring tables threatens diner privacy. Like its sibling restaurants Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham is unashamedly meat-driven as depicted by olde butcher’s shop wall tiling and an earthy colour palette of brass pendant lighting, oaken tables and caramel Chesterfields.  

On this Wednesday night business looks reasonable with alternate tables across the restaurant populated by predominantly middle-aged diners. With predominantly Wolverhampton twangs. Elsewhere, corporate types drop in for some after work tie-loosening at the cosy bar which serves craft beers, classic cocktails, champagne and alongside fine wines from around the world.

 

The Menu

 

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The meat dishes feature an array of steaks, burgers and lamb variants. Fish options include poached monkfish and traditional fish and chips. We decide on a starter of seasonal parsnip and honey soup which nicely whets the appetite for the meaty prospects ahead.

When we do get to the main course, a disappointment awaits. There’s no Daylesford seven-hour confit of lamb! We wonder whether this is a mid-week omission.

This epic dish which, by definition, takes most of the day to cook had wowed us at the opening of Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House many moons ago. Back then, the seven-hour lamb was the star of the media launch party. Even Michelin-starred Tom was present to explain his concept but tonight, in the absence of Tom Aikens or his confit, we opt for the lamb cutlets. We soon get past our bias with the help of a bottle or so of cabernet franc.

The real food success story of the night was the steak. The steak fans in our party positively cooed over the chunky cooked-to-order Cumbrian rib eye with peppercorn sauce.

Dessert raised more cooing. Dark treacle sponge arrived with ice cream was kindly presented with requested off-menu custard. The chocolate and peanut butter fondant all but silenced the table.  New dishes have been added to the Birmingham menus include spiced pumpkin with burrata, savoury granola and hazelnut dressing.

For less indulgent, healthier fare the restaurant serves weekend brunch, with dishes such as superfood granola served with honey and Greek yoghurt and Bircher muesli.

The bill weighed in at around £60 per head including drinks.

 

The Facilities

 

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The restaurant features two private dining rooms, one accommodating 12 guests and the other, 16. There’s also the Veranda, a semi-exclusive area that has capacity for 36-40 people and is useful for networking events. Then there’s the deli area in the Urban room that’s available for a networking event of 50-200 guests.

Diners might be surprised that the restaurant features only one unisex toilet but there is a more adequate set a few steps away from the restaurant.

 

Stop press…

Atul Kochhar, the two-Michelin-starred chef and TV personality is also about to open a new restaurant at The Mailbox.  

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On board Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class

 

Philosopher Alain de Botton famously inhabited Heathrow as Writer-in-Residence for his book ‘A Week at the Airport’. But Writer-in-Transit Sat Bal was content with just a leisurely few hours at Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow Clubhouse

Read more

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BA Launches Oakland Route

Stephanie Pratt Made In Chelsea

Made in Chelsea’s Stephanie Pratt is the poster girl for British Airways’ new route to Oakland, San Francisco Bay.

 

The TV star, who went to college in San Francisco, posed in a shoot to mark the airline's first route from Gatwick to California. The route takes off from March 28 with flights launching from £210 each way based on a return fare. 

Stephanie Pratt blended a rose-gold dress from her own Godiva line with Christian Louboutin court shoes and a sequined dress from ASOS with navy sandals from Alexandre Birman. 

 “I absolutely loved studying in the Bay Area as Oakland and San Francisco are both such cool cities,” she said. “Oakland is super edgy, it’s like the Californian equivalent of Brooklyn as there are just so many quirky shops and cool bars and restaurants. It’s less than a 20-minute car ride from San Francisco and the perfect place to start a road trip to Napa Valley, Yosemite or Lake Tahoe.”

 

She numbers the NFL Oakland Raiders, Donut Savana and Lake Merritt among her must-visits.

British Airways Holidays has the following packages on offer:

Five nights at the 4* Hilton Parc 55 San Francisco from £699 per person, travelling November 1 to November 30. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by March 30. For reservations visit ba.com 

 

Seven days, from £479 per person, travelling November 1 to November 30. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and an Economy car. Book by March 30. See ba.com/car

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March 9, 2017 Posted by admin in Reviews

Sexy Fish Revisited

 

Sexy Fish was launched with a celebrity fanfare that instantly assured its status as London’s glitterati hotspot. Sat Bal took his, um, plaice at this £20ish million, 200ish-cover restaurant to see why.

Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings, owner of Sexy Fish, didn’t hold back on the launch razzmatazz back then. In came Rita Ora to sing the numbers while Kate Moss, Immy Waterhouse and the modelling elite supplied mermaid appeal. The launch message happily pushed an ethos of exclusivity and wealth attraction or, as the PR communiqué put it, “mid-century glamour and opulence.” And the message has stuck.

High-octane launches do their thing before the restless media eye roves elsewhere to scan other horizons and that’s when the work really starts in the restaurant world’s competitive ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ culture.

Of course, it helps to have Caprice Holdings’ lineage and Sexy Fish is thriving today, tomorrow and, quite likely, the day after too. Just witness the Vulcanic live-long-and-prosper spirit of its thoroughbred stablemates which include The Ivy, Annabel’s and Le Caprice. The Ivy makes this point with its 100th birthday, a birthday so big that it’ll be marked by celebrations throughout this year.

 

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Hirst's mermaid with water wall

Back at Sexy Fish it has to be said that its barn-like, diner-style exterior isn’t all that sexy – but its locale is. Well, this is Berkeley Square, a quarter of Mayfair that might as well be dubbed Caprice Corner; Annabel’s is opposite Sexy Fish with Mark’s Club and Harry’s Bar a stone’s throw.

The taxi deposits our threesome on a bleak, puddly London pavement that’s incongruent with the exotic glow that resides inside the restaurant. The entrance deserves something more dramatic, less pedestrian. You know, something like the Skyfall scene of Mr Bond gliding by water taxi into the high-def colour of the Floating Casino. Because inside Sexy Fish the tone is more filmic Macau than winter London, thanks to the design vision of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.

 

Sexy Fish FG crocodile by James McDonald for MBDS LR - Copy

Frank Gehry's crocodile runs loose

They appear to have taken an abstract expressionist approach to restaurant décor: throw enough bling at it and watch the glam pattern emerge. Skyfall had the man-eating komodo dragons but we get a 13-ft twinkling black silicone mosaic wall-mounted crocodile, courtesy of Frank Gehry. Damien Hirst is also in the house with his blue-bronze sheened mermaids on sea patrol, with the mise-en-scène of a cascading water wall providing a natural habitat. The bar shines in crackled, glazed cherry-red Pyrolave lava stone while the dappled Esmerelda onyx flooring opulently welcomes the trotting of the well-heeled. Suddenly, you start to see how that multi-million design bill was racked up.

All of this is still exciting two winters after opening, say my habitué hosts, as we settle down to an effusively warm welcome from senior maître d' Giorgio Lucarelli. Giorgio manages to convey the air of a man with all the time in the world, despite tonight’s very full house. Our chit-chat makes inevitable comparisons with Nobu and the Chiltern Firehouse which is positively spartan compared to this place - and to think how we enjoyed the wood-brick chef’s tables by the Firehouse kitchen, championed by the likes of U2’s Bono. Different themes and moods, of course, as exemplified by the Sexy Fish menu which invokes the seas of Asia and the taste of Japan: sashimi, tiradito, tempura and robata.

Crisp Duck & Watermelon, Pomegranate, Cashews & Sakura Herbs at Sexy Fish by John Carey (3)

 

The nature of the food encourages sharing and our chopsticks lie ready on a shiny pebble. The Sexy Fish sushi roll of salmon and sashimi yellowtail arrives in a tasty blitz of colour, a cut above Nobu’s equivalent wonderful offering. Prawn tempura was a substantial must-choose and the miso glazed sea bass rose up to render its Nobu master something of a pastiche. Prices are as expected and food alone is easily £100 per head. The excellent wagyu beef fillet is just shy of £100 but then the Beluga caviar comes in at £300 for 50g. Aside from the freshness and taste of the beautifully cooked food, there’s the service which operates on a swishly telepathic level whereby staff simply appear when required.

Only the design of the place can momentarily shift attention from our chopsticks. We take a wide-angled gaze at Damien Hirst’s 15ft bronze relief panel. A mermaid flirts with a shark. Perhaps a metaphor for the smattering of suspect ‘uncles and nieces’ in here. Still, heedless anthropological analysis is part and parcel of fine restaurant dining. Who among us doesn’t concoct imaginary worlds around the status of fellow diners? Like the young mavericks over at the bar enjoying a magnum shower of Dom Pérignon under Gehry’s shimmering Fish Lamps. Probably FTSE futurists who have figured out how to make algorithms work on their behalf but we Sexify them as Butch Cassidy flash crash traders who got rich off the automatic trades that ravaged securities and commodities prices last year. A large Suntory with that, gentlemen?

 

Bootsy Collins at Sexy Fish. Probably.

Then there’s the grande dame sat stoically in the lower level private Coral Reef Room where two huge fish tanks display a magical seascape of live coral and tropical fish. She has the patina of someone who owns reassuringly large swathes of Herefordshire but could equally be facing an Imelda Marcos-type last supper, before imminent sentencing at the Old Bailey. We optimistically hope that her Sexy dish of Tataki yellowfin tuna with pickled cucumber and shallot dressing would provide at least some form of commuted relief.  

But no, this isn’t our better selves speaking; it’s probably the Mizuwari whisky talking from its chilled crystal rock glass, one of a range of 242 bottles of Japanese whisky on offer. This reportedly makes Sexy Fish’s whisky stash the largest in Europe, second largest in the world.

 

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Sashimi platter

Two talking points break down the boundaries between strangers here: the outlandish opulence – and the dark. Mutual merriment erupts when the two charming ladies adjacent to us strain to see the menus under their phone lights. But even under this dim light it’s obvious that they possess their own natural faces, dispelling any nasty notions that this is a ‘work done’ crowd. It’s actually a Friday Sexy crowd tonight. The lighting isn’t functional but it is atmospheric and maintains the restaurant’s otherworldliness. You almost expect to see Pharrell Williams and Bootsy Collins duetting to Happy and dancing atop the raspberry leather banquettes and chairs.

‘Happy’ is elevated while poring over the dessert menu of soy and caramel ice cream and smoked passion fruit mousse as more Rice Rice Baby cocktails and Macallan whisky shots arrive to break the spell of the magic Mizuwari. Then, reminding ourselves that reality exists beyond these heady confines, our Fish-whipped trio heads to Soho House - for a dose of normality.

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Namaste, Oberoi...

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With 30 luxury hotels to its name The Oberoi Group knows a thing or two about Indian hospitality. Oberoi is now honouring guests booked into its exclusive suites with regal style, from landing at the airport to arrival at their luxurious suites. Sat Bal  

A traditional Indian-style welcome greets guests at the Presidential and Kohinoor suites at The Oberoi, Mumbai; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur.

Expect to be greeted at the airport and whisked away by your chauffeur for the placing of a sandalwood paste Tikka on your forehead, accompanied by a floral garland around your shoulders. At The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur guests will receive an extra special welcome of a rose petal shower.

So, where to go… 

 

The Presidential Suite at The Oberoi, Mumbai

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Here the Presidential Suite offers  2,056 square feet of luxury. It includes a dining area, two lounge spaces, white marble bathroom and pantry and also features a personal fitness machine, brass telescope, five televisions, grand piano and separate butler’s entrance. It commands panoramic views of the ocean and the Queen’s Necklace – the golden crescent of lights that shine the shoreline.

Stylish in-suite dining with bespoke menus is available, along with private sundowners accompanied by a pianist, as well access to Capital O, an exclusive lounge and bar in the hotel.

Elsewhere, guests can explore Mumbai’s rich colonial history and architecture on a guided tour of the Jehangir Art Gallery, Rajaghai Tower and more. Mumbai’s art quarter can be experienced through the ‘Art Kaleidoscope’ tour will take guests to the Kala Ghoda art quarter.

The Presidential Suite starts from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

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When you’ve cast off the welcome arrival shower of rose petals enjoy instant views of the Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, located just 600 metres away from the iconic monument. Mirrored in elements of the Taj Mahal’s Mughal splendour is The Kohinoor Suite, made up of a living room, master bedroom, dining room and private terrace, which offers panoramic views of the Taj Mahal from dawn to dusk. The enchanting suite is adorned with white marble elephants which glow under the golden domed ceilings and mirrored walls, bringing the romance of the outside in.

The Kohinoor Suite start from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Villa at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

oberoi-rajvilas-jaipur

 

Explore the ‘Pink City’ and capital of Rajasthan in your very own hideaway at The Oberoi Rajvilas. The resort is set in an oasis of landscaped gardens filled with exotic birdlife and centred around an 18th century Shiva temple and Haveli (mansion). The hotel offers guests the opportunity to find peace and serenity through chanting with a Hindu priest, mediation and morning yoga. Those looking for ultimate indulgence can book the Kohinoor Villa, located in a discreet enclosure and made up of three buildings featuring a private garden, 20-metre pool and dining pavilion. The two en suite bedrooms feature sunken, white marble bathtubs overlooking the private gardens.

The Kohinoor Villa starts from 900,000 INR (approximately £10,490) per night

 

The Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

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The ‘City of Lakes’, Udaipur, makes guests feel part of the history at The Oberoi Udaivilas, on the bank of Lake Pichola and sitting on the 200 year-old hunting grounds. As a guest of the Kohinoor Suite, arrive at the hotel jetty, board the hotel boat and sip Chai tea as you sail across the lake to your accommodation.

The Oberoi Udaivilas offers spectacular views across the greenery, sparkling lake and 20-acre wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar. The Kohinoor Suite is accessed through a sunlit courtyard and features two bedrooms, dining room, living room, powder room, private pool and dining terrace. Classical Indian décor adorns the suite including gold domed ceilings, elaborate mirror mosaics and hand carved privacy screens, giving guests a taste of traditional Indian home life. Enjoy sundowners by the pool and alfresco dinner accompanied by folk music on the pavilion.

The Kohinoor Suite starts from 950,000 INR (approximately £10,991) per night

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Jamiroquai's New Single - Catch It Here

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The new single Cloud 9 is Jamiroquai’s first new release after a gap of seven years and it emerges from the album Automaton.

The album was written and self- produced by Jay Kay and Jamiroquai keyboarder Matt Johnson will be available for release on 31st March via Virgin EMI. To commemorate the release, the band have announced they'll be playing a series of headline shows & festival dates, including a hotly anticipated one-off date at London's iconic Roundhouse on the day of album release.

This will be preceded by their first live-show in six years at Pleyel in Paris on the 28th of March. Both dates sold out within one minute.

On 'Cloud 9' Jay Kay comments, "Cloud 9 is a song that's written in the style that I hope people know us for and are familiar with. It's a song that if anyone that has been jilted and yet found love somewhere else will no doubt relate to. Can't wait for you to hear it - get in the car stick it on the radio and just drive."

Jamiroquai has scored a combined total of over 26 million sales worldwide and the band currently holding the Guinness Book of World Records for best-selling funk album of all time.

LISTEN to the single HERE

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