Kitchenette Opens in the UK this November

Kitchenette in Putney
Kitchenette in Putney

After some delays, Turkish all-day restaurant cafe chain, Kitchenette, will open its first outpost in the UK on 18th November, 2013 (it was originally slated to open in September).

It’s no secret that I completely fell in love with Istanbul when I visited in 2009 and I have fond memories of spending some time in a couple of the Kitchenette outposts in the city, drinking coffee and eating cake, so its arrival in London has got me rather excited.

Kitchenette first launched in Turkey in 2005. The chain has expanded to boast 24 branches, not just in Turkey but also Baku (to read more of my tips on visiting, eating and drinking in Azerbaijan go here), Moscow and St Petersburg.

The London restaurant will open at 200-204 Putney Bridge SW15 2NA. Restaurant interiors have been designed by Michaelis Boyd. The 80-cover restaurant will feature lots of warm natural timbers and handmade tiles. In terms of food, you can expect good brasserie dishes, a few daily specials and excellent desserts in a really relaxed environment. It’s thought that the brand plans to expand quickly in London and potentially elsewhere in the UK.

Kitchenette is owned by TAG Restaurant Holdings which invested in Tom Aikens’ dining concept, Tom’s Kitchen. However, Square Meal reports (read more here) that the  Michelin-starred chef is likely to only play a very minor, executive chef role.

Kitchenette 200-204 Putney Bridge SW15 2NA

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Restaurant Week in Zagreb, Croatia


Zagreb is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s a gorgeous capital, with delightful architecture and a buzzing nightlife scene, not to mention some excellent restaurants (click here to read more about Purger and Restoran Katedralis). So I was rather excited to find out that this March (2013) the city will host its very own restaurant festival. Participating restaurants (and there’s a lot!) will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy a three course meal and a glass of wine for just 100kn (£12). What a bargain!

Restaurant reservations can be made from 1st March at midday and the festival runs from 8th to 17th March 2013.

For information on which restaurants are involved and more on the festival itself visit

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Konoba Batelina in Pula, Croatia Named One of World’s Best Places to Eat

Konoba Batelina in Pula, Croatia, has been named one of the best places to eat in the world. Newsweek Magazine asked 53 of the world’s leading chefs to share their knowledge of the best restaurants in the world and Konoba Batelina made the cut. Out of 101 restaurants named, Konoba Batelina came in at number 53. I suggest you take a trip before it gets ridiculously busy, increasingly difficult to get a table, and no doubt more expensive!

Konoba Batelina in Pula, Croatia
Konoba Batelina in Pula, Croatia

Elsewhere in Central & Eastern Europe, Hot Spot and Weinbar Rutz in Berlin, and Cafe By Windmill and Chaika in Russia, were also noted as being places worth visiting while on your travels.

Check out the rest of the 101 restaurants on

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InterContinental Returns to Moscow

Intercontinental Moscow Tverskaya

While at International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes last week, I was invited to dine with the InterContinental team. At lunch I met Alexey, General Manager of the InterContinental Tverskaya which opened on Monday 5th December and marked a return of the hotel group to Russia after a decade away. The hotel is built on the site of the Soviet-era Hotel Minsk and it tries to combine contemporary chic style with a distinct Muscovite residential feel. The hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from most of Moscow’s key landmarks including the Kremlin and Red Square. Despite what may be going on in Russia in terms of elections and protests at the moment, I believe Russia will continue to grow (I for one am visiting in April) and this hotel will no doubt prove popular among leisure and business travellers alike.

Intercontinental Moscow TverskayaThe 184 en-suite rooms have all the usual mod cons but it was the properties spectacular 19 suites, including three Penthouse suites which caught my eye. There’s also a superb ballroom which seats up to 250 guests for your very own Russian banquet (if you so please). While for a bit of a chill out, there’s a spa by Elemis (personally one of my preferred beauty brands – the quartz facial remains in my book unchallenged).

Intercontinental Moscow TverskayaWe all know I love to eat, so on to the restaurant. There’s the 126-seat Chekhonte restaurant which offers a contemporary take on traditional Russian dishes. I’m interested to see how this plays out. However, perhaps what intrigues me most is the Chocolate by day, martinis by night lobby lounge and bar P-Square. I suspect it will be particularly bling, but then who could blame them, isn’t that part of the Russian charm? I’ll just have to visit to find out!

InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya

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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).


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


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

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KGB Restaurant Las Vegas

I’ve got to say, Las Vegas is not really my kind of place. However, I was interested to recently read about the KGB gourmet burger and vodka bar at Harrah’s that opened last summer.


Vision 360, a Dallas-based architecture and interior design firm, were the guys behind making celebrity chef, Kerry Simon’s vision a reality. Simon wanted a sexy, hip, fun and energetic vibe and I think Vision 360 did a good job achieving that.


The 156-seat restaurant served lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Design highlights include a 10 ft long vodka bar made of ice, a hammer-and-sickle chandelier and custom artwork.

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Assorti Delivery – Russian & Asian Cuisine in London

A little while ago I came across a take-away menu for Assorti in London’s West End.  Assorti is a very small restaurant serving up traditional Russian and Central Asian cuisine and providing take-away and delivery to those who want to enjoy these dishes at home.  Let’s face it, this is an eternity away from pizza, Chinese or Indian to which we have all become accustomed to.  The small restaurant is open Monday to Sunday, 12 noon to 10.30pm.

Check out the menu below…


For more information visit

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Armenian Taverna in Manchester

The Armenian TavernaA few weeks ago I visited Manchester for the first time.  I was not entirely sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised to find it is a gastronome’s paradise with an abundance of fabulous restaurants.  When I arrived I was excited to spot the Armenian Taverna, located at 1-7 Princess Street.  Armenian cuisine is something special and this restaurant’s menu boasts all the traditional dishes you could desire including: yershig sausages, spicy lamb kufta meatballs, karides prawns in a rich sauce, and a variety of lamb, pork, beef and chicken kebabs.  For those with a sweet-tooth the ideal meal here can be finished with the most famed Armenian sweet, paklava – layers of pastry with a filling of walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, covered in syrup.  There are also several party menus, great if you and a big group of family or friends plan to visit.  So the next time you find yourself in Manchester, spend a night at The Armenian Taverna – you and your taste buds are sure to be pleased!

A meal for two with wine should cost about £45

Closed Mondays; open 12 – 2pm for lunch Tuesday to Friday; 5 – 11pm for dinner Tuesday to Saturday; and 5pm – 10pm Saturday

The Armenian Taverna, 1-7 Princess St, Manchester M2 4DF

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Restaurant Review: Zlatan Bokal in Skadarska, Belgrade

Skadarska is considered the bohemian quarter of Belgrade.  Beware the cobbled street, it is certainly not the easiest to walk along, but this small part of Belgrade is THE place to spend your evenings.  There is a variety of restaurants in Skadarska with everything from pizza and pasta, to more traditional dishes.  There was something about Zlatan Bokal, perhaps it was the ornate wrought iron, the draping canopies not out of place at an Ancient Roman feast, or indeed the large tree which protruded both through the floor and roof which the waiters effortlessly worked around, but it caught my eye and I knew that was where I had to enjoy my final meal in Belgrade.

Zlatan Bokal Skadarska Beograd Srbija

This is not the sort of restaurant which is particularly geared up for tourists, although it does have a menu in English for those who do not speak fluent Serbian.  My advice would be to share a few starters such as gibanica – filo pastry stuffed with salty cheese –  and fried kashkaval cheese – better than any mozzarella – both of which really tickle the taste buds.

Then it’s on to the main course… The traditional Vojvodina speciality is not to be missed. Love meat, love bacon, love cheese?  Choose this tender, juicy dish and eat with a side portion of the world’s best chips (French fries).  Alternatively, for utter showmanship then opt for the ražnjići.  When the waiter arrives holding the plate of pork skewers and proceeds to not place it in front of you, I’ll be honest, it does leave one utterly puzzled!  However, he then places a plate on top, and quite dramatically, removes the meat from the skewer in one swoop.  Impressive to say the least!  Enjoy with the grilled peppers (served with lashing of garlic) for a positively divine meal.  Wash down your meal with the red wine of the house in abundance!  I can promise on leaving Zlatan Bokal, you’ll leave feeling, full, content and satisfied.

Zlatan Bokal, Skadarska 26, Beograd, Srbija
Tel: 011 3234 834

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Ukrainian Roasted Vegetable Stack Recipe

When I was in Kiev a few years ago I went to eat at Khutorok, a paddle-boat steamer-come-restaurant.  The charming decor was accompanied by even more charming staff and food.  It was by far the best meal I had in Kiev.  I ordered veal, wild rice and roasted vegetables.  The presentation was faultless and the vegetables were impressively stacked.  I remember sitting there thinking that I’d never be able to re-create that but last weekend, as part of a meal I cooked for my family, I foolishly thought I’d give it a go! Although it was a hassle, it looked amazing and I was really pleased with my achievement!


1 aubergine

2 courgettes

Handful of fresh thyme and rosemary (use dried if you can’t get fresh)

3 garlic cloves

150ml rapeseed oil

4 red peppers, roasted, skins removed and sliced into discs

2 white onions, sliced quite thickly

Sprinkling of paprika for presentation purposes


Slice aubergine and courgette and place in a dish

Blend the oil together with the garlic and herbs

Drizzle oil over the aubergine and courgettes and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetables

Heat a griddle pan, when hot, place the aubergine, courgettes and sliced onion in pan using marinate as oil

(Add more oil to pan if needed)

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetables

When all vegetables have a nice charred colouring across them, set aside

Put aubergines, courgettes, onion and sliced red pepper into a dish and heat in oven for 15 minutes on 180°C

Arrange vegetables on top of each other

Sprinkle paprika over the plate to decorate and serve

Ukrainian Roasted Vegetable Stack

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