Visit London Blog » oxo tower http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:26:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 10 of the Best: Valentine’s Day Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/london-restaurant-news-valentines-day-dinner-ideas-with-romantic-views-and-champagne/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/london-restaurant-news-valentines-day-dinner-ideas-with-romantic-views-and-champagne/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 15:27:49 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37383 Valentine’s Day is fast approaching; you’ve ordered the flowers, bought a gift and written a love poem. The recipe is almost complete. Now all you need to do is book a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two.

If you’re looking for Valentine’s Day dinner ideas to celebrate with the one you love, these restaurants are sure to impress.

Valentine’s Day Restaurants With Views

Galvin at Windows
If you’re a hopeless romantic, you might need more than just one Valentine meal to keep you going. Mayfair’s Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows restaurant on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane is hosting a whole week of Valentine’s meals. Enjoy a lobster lunch from 10-14 Feb, a Valentine’s Saturday on 15 Feb, and for Valentine’s Day itself, a five-course menu including canapés and Kir Royal. Oh, and those magnificent views across Hyde Park.

Babylon
Romance 100ft above London can be yours if you book a Valentine’s Day dinner at Babylon restaurant in Kensington. A scenic London skyline and a live jazz band will provide the ideal backdrop to a decadent four-course meal, including fried quail eggs with truffled egg yolk dressing and roast rump of lamb served with aubergine caviar and chutney. And for dessert, hot dark chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream and crystallized rose petals. £80 per person which includes a glass of Champagne plus entry into the Club and Spanish Garden for dancing and a firework display at 10.45pm.

Aqua London
Soak up the romance of the West End at Aqua London which comprises of not one but two rooftop restaurants, both looking down onto Regent Street. Your Valentine’s Day dinner at Japanese restaurant Aqua Kyoto will consist of a four-course menu that includes miso marinated black cod with white asparagus and uni butter, and wagyu sirloin with kohlrabi puree and beetroot flower. Alternatively, enjoy a romantic evening in the Spanish restaurant, Aqua Nueva (pictured above), where grilled fillet of hake with chickpea puree, white prawns from Huelva and baby squid, and roast loin of venison with migas await. Both Valentine’s Day dinners are £80 per person and include a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne (or a Japanese Velvet cocktail at Aqua Kyoto). The adjacent Aqua Spirit cocktail bar has a DJ until 1am for the later love birds.

Valentine’s Day Restaurants on The River

Chelsea Riverside Brasserie
Escape the crowds for a secluded meal at Chelsea Riverside Brasserie at the Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour, which looks out onto swaying yachts and calm waters. This is a perfect setting for a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner. The Valentine’s Day menu includes duck, lemon thyme sea bass fillet and grilled tri-tip steak. £29 per person.

OXO Tower
Views across the river Thames towards St Paul’s Cathedral are assured at OXO Tower Bar, Brasserie and Restaurant. Live music will be played throughout both dining spaces, and couples are encouraged to write personal messages on a balloon before releasing it from the viewing gallery. The brasserie menu is £125 per person and includes a glass of Champagne, a three-course menu, a half bottle of wine, coffee and service charge. The restaurant menu is £170 and includes the same as above except you’ll be treated to a half bottle of Harvey Nichols Brut Rose Champagne instead of wine.

Bateaux London Thames Dining Cruise Experiences
You could spend your Valentine’s evening romancing alongside the river Thames, or you could go enjoy dinner on the river instead. Bateaux London Thames Dining Cruise Experiences have several Valentine’s Day dinner ideas available with the pick of the bunch being the Symphony Main Window for £150 per person. This dinner includes a glass of Champagne, live entertainment, a four-course meal, selected wines and beers, and a single red rose. The cruise will take you passed some of London’s top attractions, including Tower Bridge.

Restaurants With a Touch of Class

Club Gascon
Enjoy an evening in the capable hands of Chef Pascal Aussignac and his Michelin Star team at Club Gascon restaurant. We recommend taking their lead and opting for the menu plaisir de St Valentin with wine selection for £120 per person. Your Valentine’s Day dinner will be seductively graced by seared langoustine, catalane and sea urchin jus with a Cotes De Provence, Le Château, Château Thuerry 2012 wine. Dessert comes in the form of a rose hearted fondant with red berries and Champagne granite.

Cinnamon Club
Add a touch of spice to your Valentine’s Day dinner at the Grade II listed, former Westminster Library, Cinnamon Club near the House of Parliament. For £90 per person, you will enjoy a glass of Bollinger Rosé on arrival, amuse bouche, followed by a four-course Valentine’s menu that includes slow braised Herdwick lamb shoulder with nutmeg, curried morels and saffron pilau.

Axis
Make the 5-star One Aldwych hotel the setting for your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. This is a great option for couples going to see a West End show or simply taking a Valentine’s Day stroll through Covent Garden. Axis restaurant’s Valentine’s Day menu includes Brixham Crab salad, apple, avocado and watercress to start, followed by smoked venison loin, braised shoulder, red cabbage and butternut squash. £75 per person.

Find more Valentine’s Day ideas

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New Year’s Eve Dining in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/new-years-eve-dining-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/new-years-eve-dining-in-london/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 10:00:43 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36558 Before all the popping bottles of Champagne, the Thames fireworks, the clarion chimes of Big Ben, and the cries of “Happy New Year”, New Year’s Eve begins with just the right amount of drinking and dining to sustain our excitable levels of revelry. Here are 21 London restaurants that have a special meal planned for 31 December 2013.

For those who like dancing with their NYE dinner…

Strip Bar & Steak
The brand new Las Vegas-New York style bar and restaurant, Strip Bar & Steak (pictured above), at Malmaison London hotel in Farringdon is laying on a decadent five course New Year’s Eve menu for diners with exceptional taste and appetites. Once the Champagne & canapés have been dispensed with on arrival, it’ll be time to get stuck into appetisers such as oyster Rockefeller, mains including the signature aged prime USDA New York strip steak, whilst the pick of the desserts must surely be the chocolate peanut butter torte with whipped cream. There’ll be an opportunity to dance it all off though, as a live DJ will be playing until 2am. Tickets, £100 per person, email events.london@malmaison.com to book.

Dover Street
Mayfair’s Dover Street Restaurant & Jazz Bar has been celebrating New Year’s in London for over 25 years now so diners with a passion for live music will be assured of an exciting evening. To complement the three-course NYE menu, an early evening jazz trio will be followed by a full seven piece soul band who will be playing live hits from artists such as Sting, Seal, Lily Allen, Craig David, Beverley Knight and Gnarls Barkley. After the live music, the restaurant’s resident DJ will keep the party going until the early hours. Meal and show tickets are £95 per person, call +44 (0)207 629 9813 for reservations.

Boisdale of Canary Wharf

Boisdale of Canary Wharf
Calling all Elvis fans! Boisdale of Canary Wharf is hosting a Las Vegas-inspired celebration which, for £145 per person, includes a four-course meal, live entertainment from Suspiciously Elvis and his seven-piece orchestra (expect the likes of Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas and Suspicious Minds), plus blackjack, poker and roulette casino tables.

Searcy’s at The Gherkin
Searcy’s at The Gherkin A Night To Remember takes place on levels 38-40 of one of London’s most iconic buildings this New Year’s Eve, from 8pm until 2am. £250 tickets include Champagne on arrival and at midnight, plus canapés and food station, and unlimited drinks. The £300 VIP tickets are the same as above plus access to the VIP Lounge, Champagne all evening and a lobster and seafood bar. Menus can be viewed here. To book tickets call +44 (0)20 071 7215 or email theclub@searcys.co.uk

Babylon at the Rooftop Gardens

Babylon at The Roof Gardens
For those wanting to splash the cash and go for something truly magnificent, how about a unique four-course meal six floors up, on the roof at Babylon restaurant? Not only will you receive a glass of champagne on arrival, wine and beer during your meal, plus a mini bottle of bubbles when you make your way through to the private members club for the DJs and live music, but you’ll also be privy to your own fireworks display at midnight as well as breakfast canapés from 2am. £240 per person (£200 for club members).

OXO Tower brasserie and restaurant

OXO Tower Restaurant
If a restaurant with a view is what you yearn for, then OXO Tower, which overlooks the Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral is hosting a special black tie masquerade ball. The impressive London backdrop is complemented by Champagne on arrival, a four-course dinner, and live music from Caroline Loftus and her four-piece band. Tickets are £175 per person.

Inamo St James
Even though Asian restaurant, Inamo St James (pictured above) is only moments from Trafalgar Square, there will be no need to drift away on New Year’s Eve because magic, music and fireworks will all be on the menu. As will a five-course meal which starts with uramaki canapés and fizz on arrival, and continues with lots of delicious Eastern cuisine. Whilst the NYE set menu is served from 7-11pm, The Magic Circle’s John Bulleid will roam from table to table, performing illusions and tricks. The London fireworks display will be shown on the restaurant’s big screen, before DJ Baz provides a funky midnight-4am set, even taking guests’ requests. Set menu is £45 per person. Contact gloria.castillo@inamo-restaurant.com or +44 (0)20 7104 2040 to book.

The Garrison
The much-loved Bermondsey gastropub, The Garrison is laying on ‘proper English country grub’ as part of their New Year’s Eve ‘Garris-tonbury’ party, which requires festival attire such as mucky wellington boots, floral tiaras, ripped jeans and grubby backpacks. Music will include some of the best live recordings from the last 100 years, plus a live musician playing memorable Glastonbury headliner hits.

Village East

Village East
A few more paces along trendy Bermondsey Street is the recently refurbished Village East where an Alice in Wonderland Trip Down The Rabbit Hole New Year’s Eve Party will take place. A three-course sharing menu will be served at 6.30pm and again at 8.30pm (diners will enjoy a secret cocktail when they arrive) before the restaurant is later turned into a Mad Hatters tea party with DJs and dancing until 4am. Fancy dress is encouraged.

Disappearing Dining Club
Secret, nomadic supper club, Disappearing Dining Club, returns to the Red Gallery in Shoreditch for an all-night dinner and party. Dinner dance tickets are £100 per person and include cocktails on arrival, canapés, a three-course dinner and then two large floors of raving to DJ-spun balearic disco, electronic and house music until 5am.

Buddha-Bar
The Forbidden New Year’s Eve Spectacular – an intriguing name for a New Year’s party, if ever there were one – will take place at the Buddha-Bar in Knightsbridge. The event is being showcased as a ‘1950s East meets West extravaganza’, fusing inspiration from two 20th century movies: The Last Emperor and Moulin Rouge. There are two dining experiences available – Heavenly or Forbidden (£250 or £350) - which includes party entrance where you’ll find a casino, a hidden carnival, absinthe and Champagne cocktail trolleys, a French string quartet, a performance from Moulin Rouge’s Diamond Dog Dancers, a balloon drop and DJs.

Shaka Zulu
The flamboyant interior of South African mega restaurant Shaka Zulu in Camden is the setting for a five-course gala dinner. Arrive at 7.30pm for a canapé and Bellini reception, where fire eaters and other performers will entertain. The £99 Dinner & Drinking Table option includes your meal, plus entry to the Kings Club where UK soul queen Mica Paris will sing her hits before DJ Tempest spins house music on the decks.

Gaucho Piccadilly New Year's Eve

Gaucho Piccadilly
Gaucho’s Argentinian restaurant in Piccadilly will be hosting a live Milonga show, as world-class dancers perform the sensuous Tango Argentino. Meanwhile, you can tuck into pumpkin and goats cheese bisque with black truffle oil; lobster and mozzarella empanada with seared scallops and coconut crispy shrimp; Aji Molido Churrasco de Ancho with Mediterranean pickled salad and fries with thyme; plus white chocolate and Malbec mousse with Drambuie chocolate sauce. Oh, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne for two (£185 per person).

Vista Rooftop Bar, Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Hotel
With a prime location on Trafalgar Square, The Trafalgar Hotel should prove a popular dining option. Downstairs in the Rockwell Room, there’s a relatively inexpensive six course meal for £65 which includes beef fillet with pan fried foie gras, celeriac puree, baby vegetables and red wine jus. For those who want to party on a budget, the bowl food menu (from £5) at the Rockwell Pop Party looks good value for money, although tickets to the party itself are priced at £40 per person. To make the most of the night, buy a ticket to the Vista Prelude Party (£149) which gets you up on the roof (pictured above) to enjoy views over Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Big Ben, in addition to party entry, a bottle of Pommery Pop Champagne, and a limited edition celebratory PopKake.

And if you’re after a quieter New Year’s Eve dinner…

Tuttons
If it’s the excited buzz of central London that really gets your New Year’s Eve going, then Covent Garden piazza is right at the heart of the fun. Long-standing piazza restaurant, Tuttons (pictured above) will provide the calm before the storm with its decadent interior and indulgent three course NYE menu which includes wholesome favourites such as scallops, rib eye steak and Champagne mousse. There’s even the option to hire your own private dining room downstairs with personal waiter service for a more intimate celebration. Three courses and a glass of fizz only £49.95. Book by emailing events@cgrestaurants.com

The Orange
Normally the festive season is associated with the colours white, green and red, but for New Year’s Eve 2013, there’s no reason you can’t invite orange to the party either. The Orange public house and hotel (pictured above) tucked quietly away near Sloane Square is offering exceptional value for money this NYE with a three course menu preceded by a glass of NV Billecart-Salmon brut reserve Champagne for only £50 per person.

Boyd’s Brasserie
The glamorous Boyd’s Brasserie is one of London’s most centrally located restaurants and is only a quick saunter to the water’s edge for the fireworks at the London Eye; or equally, to Trafalgar Square. We recommend the lavish six course New Year’s menu for £135 per person which comes with matching wines.

Tom Aikens Restaurant
The Michelin-starred Tom Aikens Restaurant in South Kensington has a three-course menu (£80) or six-course menu (£130) available for dining away from the crowds. Signature dishes such as roast scallop with braised oxtail, truffle and parsnip or beef short rib with fermented grains, beef tendon lovage will feature.

Mestizo
Mexican restaurant, Mestizo in Camden allegedly holds the largest collection of tequilas in the UK which could spell a night to remember, or to forget. Either way, a three-course Mexican meal including welcome drink, live mariachis, and glass of champagne for £60 per person should start the festivities off with the right spirit, so to speak.

Vertigo 42
There is something uniquely grand about sipping Laurent-Perrier Champagne on the last day of the year, while peering down from 42 floors above London, quietly tucking into Maldon rock oysters; ricotta dumplings with spiced tomato relish; and gateau opera chocolate and coffee cake, all lovingly prepared by a Michelin starred chef. For £150 per person, this fantasy could be your reality at Vertigo 42 courtesy of chef Anthony Demetre.

Chino Latino
Chino Latino restaurant at the Plaza on the River hotel is offering a 10-course ‘tasting’ feast – inspired by Peruvian, Mexican and Japanese trends – for £79 per person. Expect to see Kampachi sashimi, Himalayan salt block, red pepper rocoto dressing; Wagyu beef taquitos, aji panca, red onion, jalapeño, avocado; and Chilean seabass, smoked chipotle miso, tenderstem broccoli on the sizable menu.

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The Snowman in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/the-snowman-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/the-snowman-in-london/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:00:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=30856 The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images

Have you seen The Snowman in London? He’s been melting the hearts of both children and adults for 30 years and this Christmas, he’ll be visiting the capital in more ways than one.

On Christmas Eve, The Snowman will enjoy some spectacular views of London as he returns in Channel 4′s sequel to the much-loved animated film. In The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Snowman and friends swoop past some of London’s most famous sites, including the London Eye, Big Ben and the OXO Tower. 24 Dec, 8pm

You can also see the original animated version of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Barbican, with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera providing extra magic with a live accompaniment to the film. The family double-bill also includes a screening of Peter and the Wolf, with narration by Tamsin Greig. 22-23 Dec

Finally, clocking up its 15th year at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells is the dance production of The Snowman. This family treat includes an orchestra, dancing penguins and of course, the magical flying sequence, all created live on stage.

Which is your favourite version of The Snowman?

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Top 10 Valentine’s Day Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/02/top-10-valentines-day-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/02/top-10-valentines-day-restaurants-in-london/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2012 14:38:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=25428 Looking for somewhere to romance a food-lover this Valentine’s Day? Here are our Top 10 Valentine’s Day restaurants…

1. OXO Brasserie

OXO Brasserie’s Vegas Valentine’s evening comes complete with Vegas wedding chapel and a performance from a Chinese Elvis. The beautiful views and aphrodisiac menu are sure to get you in the mood for love.

2. Petersham Nurseries

Enjoy a walk along the river Thames, followed by lunch at the idyllic Petersham Nurseries Café with a glass of Petersham Rose Prosecco. True romantics can pre-order a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to the table.

3. Kerbisher & Malt

Does your Valentine love fish and chips? Take them to trendy chippy Kerbisher & Malt for a Valentine’s dinner including two heart-shaped fishcakes, a portion of chips to share and a bottle of fizz.

4. Clos Maggiore

Clos Maggiore was named Most Romantic Restaurant by Hardens 2012 Restaurant Guide, so it’s the ultimate place to woo your loved one. The conservatory with views of the stars obviously does the trick – the restaurant sees at least one proposal a week.

5. Gilgamesh

One lucky diner at Gilgamesh will win a diamond worth more than £1,000 this Valentine’s Day. The rock will be hidden at the bottom of a pink martini named Diamonds are Forever. So it might be worth splashing out on the £50 pan-Asian Valentine’s menu!

6. Carom

Love will be in the air at Carom, as diners are serenaded by Anglo-Indian love songs. You’ll be welcomed with a cocktail, before enjoying a three-course meal followed by singers and DJs playing into the night.

7. Dinner on the Orient Express

Luxurious Valentine’s lunch and dinner trips on the Orient Express include a five-course meal, champagne and wine. Departing from Victoria station, the cosy British Pullman steam train will take you on a romantic trip through the countryside.

8. The Gun

Push the boat out with The Gun’s extravagant Valentine’s package. You’ll arrive by boat, toast your lover in front of stunning river views, have a five-course meal and cocktails delivered by your own personal waiter, and watch your choice of “rom com” on a 42in screen.

9. Barry White Lurve Night at Meatballs

It may not have the most romantic name, but Meatballs is the place to be for lovers this Valentine’s Day. The evening is dedicated to Barry White, the Walrus of Love, and includes a Kiss Me Quick cocktail followed by dinner, accompanied by a Barry White soundtrack.

10. River Thames Dinner Cruise

City Cruises will be creating ripples of romance with a Valentine’s night cruise along the river Thames. Starting at Westminster Pier, the evening includes a glass of fizz and a three-course meal followed by live music and dancing.

More Valentine’s Day ideas

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Our Best Bits: The VL Team’s London Highlights of 2011 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/12/our-best-bits-the-vl-teams-london-highlights-of-2011/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/12/our-best-bits-the-vl-teams-london-highlights-of-2011/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 11:50:01 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=24509

Madelene Yeshin
All my theatre highlights took place at The National, from Danny Boyle’s mind-blowing production of Frankenstein, to the hilarious One Man, Two Guvnors and finally to the beautiful, romantic and funny play by Daniel Kitson -It’s Alright Now, until Later. On the food front, I had an incredible dining experience at Heston’s Dinner in Knightsbridge, and dicovered a new favourite Oxford Street eatery at Riding House Café - perfect for escaping the shopping crowds. Finally, my most bizarre experience of the year was rowing across the roof of Selfridges on an emerald lake courtesy of Bombas and Parr.

Lettice Kemp
My 2011 highlights included following the craft trail at the Thames Festival, seeing Milton Jones’ stand-up show, being utterly terrified by Daleks at the Doctor Who Experience, visiting the Tower Bridge Exhibition, watching Arthur “Rory” Darvill in Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe and attending Knit Nation for the first time. Tapping into the trend for shocking Christmas jumpers, I took a one-day knitting class at Loop and mastered Fair Isle knitting. I also took a silver clay class at the London Jewellery School and a lampshade making class at The Make Lounge, both of which I heartily recommend. Best of all was South Pacific at the Barbican: just beautiful and dreamy.

Aly Garvey
There were some gorgeous exhibitions in London this year including the Glamour of the Gods at the National Portrait Gallery which I loved. Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy of Arts was fantastic too. I enjoyed dinner at two of London’s most well-known restaurants, the OXO Tower and the Rib Room which have both had refurbishments this year and reopened looking better than ever with food and drinks to match.

Hannah Collingbourne
After seeing Shrek The Musical, my friend declared, “That’s the best thing that’s happened to me all week!”. I have to agree; in fact it was one of my top events for the whole year. Audience members of all ages left the theatre with a smile on their face. If you need cheering up in the dark winter months after Christmas, I’d recommend a visit to Shrek.

Lisa Williams
Walking along the Southbank with all the beach huts, beach and drinking Pimms on the roof top garden bar during the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Britain was fantastic. I was also lucky enough to go to The O2 to watch the ATP Tennis semi-final matches, which was truly inspiring. Next would be my preview trip of the Harry Potter tour which is opening in March – I just couldn’t believe how much detail had gone into making the sets! Finally, my trip on the Orient Express: being treated like royalty, drinking champagne and eating divine food while pottering around in a beautiful train… what a year!

Jenny Owen
From the swashbuckling Pirates exhibition, to the beautiful and delicate paintings of Degas, it’s been a great year for soaking up some culture in London. I spent hours at the Mirá½¹ exhibiton at Tate Modern, and now we have the Dickens exhibition, which I think really deserves all the hype. Other stand-out moments included visiting The Ritz (every bit as decadent as I’d imagined); touring the Tower of London by night and visiting beautiful Lancaster House during a rare public opening.

Lianne Kolirin
Matilda was unquestionably the highlight of my year in London. The kids loved it too, but you don’t need a little one in tow to appreciate this musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic. I also enjoyed visiting World Travel Market over the autumn. Practically every country around the world occupies a tiny corner of the enormous ExCel exhibition centre. It’s so huge; you could spend a whole week taking in the atmosphere. Earlier in the year, I saw John Bishop compere a comedy benefit in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall. So many great acts, so many laughs. Best of the bunch was Seann Walsh, who is definitely a face to look out for in 2012.

Tom Butler
Skylight at Commonwealth Institute2011 has been a great year for discovering new spaces in London, from inside the former Commonwealth Institute as part of Open House London, to the Eden Project-designed Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden & Bar for the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. I’m glad this beautiful, grassy rooftop will be back in 2012. Other highlights included a Q&A with author Kazuo Ishiguro at a screening of Never Let Me Go in February (the venue, the Ritzy in Brixton, had an incredible year of events celebrating its 100th birthday), and Hackney Wicked in July. Finally, the best single moments were the decision to award the 2017 World Athletics Championships to London, and the discovery of (possibly) London’s best burritos at Picante Mexican Grillin Victoria – both are a fantastic result for the city.

Zoe Craig
There have been some great shows in London this year. Highlights for me included the brilliantly acted plays Clybourne Park, Frankenstein and The Westbridge; and classy musicals Crazy For You, Matilda and Betty Blue Eyes. Best of the lot was One Man, Two Guvnors – a wonderful script, a fantastic cast, and whole lot of fun. I also loved seeing the new Penguin Beach at London Zoo earlier in the summer.

What were your highlights of 2011? Let us know in the comments below…

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Dinner at the OXO Tower Brasserie http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/02/dinner-at-the-oxo-tower-brasserie/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/02/dinner-at-the-oxo-tower-brasserie/#comments Wed, 23 Feb 2011 12:00:02 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=19617

I was fortunate to dine at the newly refurbished OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie on London’s South Bank this weekend. The restaurant’s sweeping views over the city, excellent food, cocktail menu and live music made it an evening to remember.

Taking over the eighth floor of the iconic OXO Tower building, the OXO Tower Restaurant occupies one half of the floor with the other occupied by the OXO Bar and Brasserie. This popular venue first opened in the 1990s and recently underwent a refurbishment which added the striking curved white Corian bar designed by Shaun Clarkson ID.

We began our evening with pre-dinner drinks in the bar. Spoilt for choice, the Swinging Dixie was delicious and we especially loved the bar’s tiki-style cocktail, Pleasure Boat.

There are two choices for dinner, either the OXO Tower Restaurant or the OXO Brasserie. We ate in the latter. Seated by the huge windows overlooking the most spectacular views of the River Thames, I enjoyed the scenic skyline with St Paul’s Cathedral standing out. The restaurant was buzzing with people, live music and an open kitchen meant we could see the chefs at work. The atmosphere was perfect for a Saturday night.

The pan-Asian menu had so much choice that we needed some help with our selection. For starters, we had slow braised lamb shank gnocchi and the grilled Saudi prawns with Israeli couscous salad which were both delicious. For our main courses, we enjoyed the roasted pink duck breast with puy lentils and grilled Toulouse sausage and the roasted venison.

Because the cocktails were so incredible, we decided to have another one instead of dessert without any judgement from our waiter! The service we received throughout the evening was wonderful and we had the pleasure of meeting Armi, an Assistant Manager at the Brasserie who looked after us and made sure we had a fabulous evening.

The OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie

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Where to Watch the Thames Festival This Weekend http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/09/where-to-watch-the-thames-festival-this-weekend/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/09/where-to-watch-the-thames-festival-this-weekend/#comments Fri, 10 Sep 2010 15:00:54 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=14409

The Thames Festival kicks off tomorrow with events up and down the river Thames. The big finale is on Sunday evening, when the riverside comes alive with a Night Carnival procession and fireworks over the Thames.

The area gets pretty crowded so it’s best to plan your viewing spot in advance and get there early. Here are our top recommendations:

If you go along, don’t forget to add your pics to our Flickr pool.

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