The Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary this Easter with a three-day foodie extravaganza at the Chester Racecourse on the banks of the River Dee and it promises to be the biggest food festival in Britain over the Easter weekend. You’ll find visiting chefs doing their demonstration thing, a Restaurant Garden where you can sample dishes from local restaurants and book yourself a table (hint: toptable books tables in Chester too), a big Interactive Kids Zone, a huge BeerFest and, if you’re a fan of the outdoors, a CamperFest where you can camp right at the racecourse. There’s a curry cookoff, a sausage judging and a fine old round of cheese rolling. In all, it sounds like exactly our sort of thing and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the weather holds.
Chef Jason Atherton, formerly of Maze, opens his own establishment, Pollen Street Social on Pollen Street in Mayfair, today. See where we were going with the ‘butterfly’ thing? Pollen? Butterfly? Never mind. If you ever enjoyed his intelligent, amazing concoctions at Maze, all served beautifully like rows of tiny sculptures on narrow plates, then you know this should be one of the most exciting openings this year. There’s a superb bar serving cool deconstructed drinks, like the Breakfast Martini with vodka, Grand Marnier, marmalade and toast. The evening menu (there’s a three-course lunch one and a tapas one as well) invites you to choose which dish you want to eat when and whether or not you share and it features the seemingly commonplace like Full English breakfast alongside inventions like starter of almond and crab sorbet, crab salad and pickled daikon. There’s also steak with duck fat chips. Pollen Street Social boasts London’s only dessert bar, with things to sample like Pollen’s version of traditional English rice pudding with hay ice-cream and lime jelly. Restaurants like this one standing practically next door to old school Italians, late-night curry houses, classic French and pubs with Thai and Sunday roast — these are the things that make London a world-beating food city.
Happy Number 10, Cinnamon Club
The Cinnamon Club restaurant in Westminster, that bastion of fine, inventive Indian gastronomy, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with a generous heart, just the way it does everything else. One party has already happened on 21 March and it was just brilliant (we were there, corner table, wafted in, staggered out) and now restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab and award-winning chef Vivek Singh are offering 25 lucky people the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the next party on 3 October. If it’s anything like the last one, there will be specially-created drinks followed by seven courses of glory, each with matching wine. If you’d like to be one of the chosen, click here to register, and best of British luck.