Babushka Bar/Restaurant in Hawthorn, Melbourne

There’s a great new bar/restaurant called Babushka that has opened up in Hawthorn in Melbourne. This casual watering hole Babushka was created by David Christianson (Upfront Concepts), Grant Smilie (Ponyfish Island, 360 Agency) and Mark Douglass (Mark Douglass Design).

Babushka

The venue has a main room with a rich assortment of chairs, pews, stools and tables of all sizes. There are decorative birch tree branches and forest-inspired wallpaper to give that Russian element. There are three additional private rooms and a picnic outdoor area complete with traditional stripy deck chairs. Kitsch but fun! Personally I love the dark red walls and communal table of the pictured room above – there’s something very Soviet about it and is bringing back those memories of studying at SSEES.

As the rich wealth of Russian food appears to have escaped the Aussies for the time being, the menu revolves around the humble potato for which East European cuisine is somewhat unfairly renowned. However, I am assured that dishes such as the potato pizza are delicious. Naturally there is also From Russia with Love vodka on hand. Unfortunately for the Aussies this place is a pop-up so get there while you still can and have a shot for me!

Babushka, on the corner of Power Street and Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne

Tues-Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 2pm-1am, Sun 2pm-11.30

Babushka

(Though it’s also worth checking out their Facebook page – these guys clearly have a great sense of humour!)

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Austria’s Coolest Bar at Hotel Alpina in Obergurgl

I recently visited the Ice Bar in London’s West End but was bitterly disappointed.  However, when I came across Austria’s coolest bar at Hotel Alpina in Obergurgl, I realised that the Austrians really know what they’re doing.  What may look like a big snowy hill turns out to be a wonderful world of ice!  In front of the spa area of the Hotel Alpina in Obergurgl, a team of civil engineers from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have built a superb ice dome of 10 metres diameter, using an ingenious construction method.

The research group, supervised by Prof. Kollegger of the Institute of Structural Engineering, is looking into ways of building large-scale, stable domes made of ice.  Following a thorough preparation and research phase, a new ice dome construction method is now being put to the test in Obergurgl – a world first.

Austria Ice Bar Hotel Alpina Obergurgl

There’s a lot of technical stuff I could tell you about but to be honest, if you’re that interested, you’ll find it elsewhere.  What is important to know is that this unusual venue  is the best place to head after a day of skiing for a lovely cocktail.  Although, be warned, it is probably wise to leave the cocktail dress in the hotel wardrobe!

Find out more about Austria on the Austrian Tourist Information website.

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Celebrate with Grey Goose Le Fizz at The Savoy For Life’s Most Memorable Moments

Grey Goose Le FizzThe familiar stem, the tiny bubbles winking at the rim, the delicious sound of chinking glass and the crisp, cool taste of every sip.  The experience of drinking Goose Le Fizz is in every way as special as the memorable moments it celebrates.  Created using the finest French vodka, fresh lime juice and the most delicately floral elderflower cordial, the Grey Goose Le Fizz is shaken over ice and served in a champagne flute, topped with soda water for a truly exquisite taste.

Co‐created by Grey Goose’s newly-appointed UK Brand Ambassador Joe McCanta, Grey Goose le Fizz is Grey Goose’s latest offering, designed as Grey Goose’s alternative to champagne, and is the only drink to be seen celebrating with this party season.  Alongside some of London’s leading bars, Grey Goose le Fizz will be served in the beautifully re‐designed Beaufort Rooms at The Savoy. Historically seen as the most glamorous of London locations, over the years The Savoy has seen celebrities from Fred Astaire to Marilyn Monroe raise their glasses and toast memorable moments.

It is only fitting then, that to celebrate the hotel’s extensive refurbishment and modern day reopening, its expert bartenders will be serving Grey Goose le Fizz in the beautifully re‐designed Beaufort Rooms at The Savoy to today’s most discerning drinkers.  Chicer than a cocktail and more elegant than champagne, raise a toast to taste with a glass of Grey Goose le Fizz and celebrate life’s most memorable moments in style.

Grey Goose Fizz

Glassware: Champagne flute

What you need: 35ml Grey Goose vodka, 15ml fresh lime juice, 15ml elderflower cordial

Method: Shake over ice and serve, topped with soda

For more news from Grey Goose visit www.greygoose.com. Always drink responsible www. www.drinkaware.co.uk

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Imperia – Moscow’s Newest & Hottest Nightspot

If you’re planning a trip to Moscow this year, make sure your itinerary features a night sipping cocktails and dancing the night away at the newly opened Imperia Lounge.  Imperia is the namesake of Russian Standard’s ultra-luxury Imperia Vodka, and just like the vodka, the new venue epitomises opulence; featuring a sumptuous bar, fabulous restaurant and centrepiece dance club surrounded by floor-to-ceiling screens projecting spectacular graphics and videos onto the dancefloor.

The venue was launched in May to a star-studded crowd including Scottish actor Gerard Butler, Russian ‘it girl’ Ksenia Sobchak and Russian actor Fedor Bondarchuk. With thousands of trend-setting Muscovites also in attendance, Imperia Lounge is set to become Moscow’s new number one nightspot.

Imperia Lounge is located in central Moscow on Mantulinskaya Street, 5

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Na Zdrowie v. Bar Polski

Wycinianki traditional theme
Wycinianki traditional theme

Since 2007 London restauranteurs have suffered devastating losses and been forced to terminate service.  However, those left standing with a reliable clientele have been fortunate and wise to undergo significant, and much needed facelifts, dragging them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. However, the change at Bar Polski can be described as subtle at most. Formerly known as Na Zdrowie, the management have finally realised that the majority of its clientele are incompetent! Incapable of pronouncing the Polish word for ‘cheers’, many opted simply to refer to it as, The Polish Bar. As a compromise, the management have renamed the bar-restaurant, Bar Polski. The name change appears to be where any difference ends and Bar Polski continues to effectively cater for Eastern European enthusiasts and less knowledgeable Londoners alike.

With its only remotely close landmark being a Pret à Manger, Bar Polski is hidden down a backstreet in Holborn and unless actively seeking it out, one is highly unlikely to find it. However, it is definitely worth taking some friends on an adventure in order to discover it. Chic sparse décor, black leather seating and basic grey tables are juxtaposed with colourful traditional folk motifs and cockerels painted on the walls. The latter of which provides a great deal of amusement to those with little knowledge of wycinianki style and Polish traditions.

If you want to sample some traditional Polish food it is best to visit Bar Polski during the week from 8 P.M. onwards, when the post-work drinkers are leaving, and you are able to acquire a table. In a similar way to Spanish tapas or Greek meze, the food at Bar Polski is served in a way that is perfect for sharing among a large, ravenous group of people.

Enjoying a raspberry vodka and lemonade
Enjoying a raspberry vodka and lemonade

For a relatively small bar-restaurant, Bar Polski offers quite an extensive range of Polish food. The mixed fried pierogi (dumplings) stuffed with meat, cabbage and cheese are served on large white plates with three dips, one of which is indistinguishable. The pierogi stuffed with meat and pierogi stuffed with cabbage are delicious. Unfortunately the pierogi filled with cheese curd is somewhat disappointing. If unfamiliar with Polish food it is very important to remember when ordering pierogi to ask for the fried version because the boiled version may well put you off Polish food for life. This is not the fault of the chef at Bar Polski, simply a problem that arises from the method of cooking; boiling any food turns it into a slime-like substance.

Nonetheless, the vast majority of the menu will certainly not let you down.One plate not to be missed is the Bigos, a stew of sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mixed meats and seasonings, served with rye bread.

All of this can be washed down with any of the beers on the menu or if you are feeling a little more adventurous sample some of the vodkas which are categorised into ‘dry and interesting’ and ‘nice and sweet’.For the hardy among you a shot of any vodka on the menu will compliment the food.However, if you would rather drink vodka ask any of the helpful Polish staff which mixer they think goes best with each one.They will always endeavour to help you.

Bar Polski is at 11 Little Turnstile, Holborn, WC1V 7DX (tel: 020 7831 9679).

Drinks, lunch or dinner. Food served until 10 P.M. No bookings accepted.

Takeaway service available.

Tips

Who to know: John, the owner. He has been known to wrestle with pickpockets to prevent inebriated customers are not mugged.

What to know: If you come to a SSEES event at Bar Polski you will enjoy plenty of free food.

What to eat: Pierogi, Bigos.

What to drink: Beers including: Zywiec, Lech and Tyskie; around fifty types of vodka.

Spotted: Current and former SSEES students and staff!

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