Best Wine Bars in London

Published on Europe Up Close on 26th June 2015:

Barrafina Frith Street by Qin Xie

Where are the best wine bars in London? London, for wine lovers, is a true Aladdin’s cave. It’s a city that embraces all wine from all regions and leaves none behind. Indeed, there are few other places in the world where you can find both traditional wines made in Georgian Qveris and shiraz from New Latitude regions, such as Thailand.

Read more at Europe Up Close

The philosophy of restaurant design

Published on host. Milano. on 17th April 2015:

The Corner Room

In London, restaurant design is surprisingly powerful in its subtlety.

Think, for example, of a restaurant with stripped back lighting, bare walls, white tiles and chrome fixtures. Who do you imagine will dine in such a restaurant? And what kind of food will be served? Now, what about a restaurant with plush banquettes, aged-wood panelling and framed paintings? Has your diner aged by a couple of decades?

As in other parts of the western world, a well designed restaurant in London might get mentions in a magazine, gain kudos in awards or even attract the right type of clientèle. Followers of restaurant psychology might even argue that the right restaurant design can increase the average spend of the diner, making restaurant design an incredibly powerful tool for the restaurateur.

Meanwhile, restaurant design in China is a wholly different ball game. Here, it’s less about the fine-tuning and more about the turnover.

Now, we’re not talking about the European restaurants in Shanghai which aspire to their international counterparts. Nor are we talking about international hotel restaurants which are inspired by a brand identity. Rather, we’re talking about restaurants for the mass market.

According to one restaurateur I spoke to last year, a successful restaurant will need to redecorate once every two or three years to maintain a sense of “newness” for its diners. A restaurant that hasn’t been redecorated for seven years or more is basically on its last legs and will have seen dwindling visitor numbers for some years.

The reason? Competition.

The number of restaurants in China is so incomprehensibly large that the only thing which distinguishes between them is that sense of newness. Here, restaurant design isn’t built to last but rather, just until its shiny edge has worn out.

Festival Sud de France: bringing Setois joie de vivre to London

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 22nd August 2013:

When we think of the South of France, we immediately picture the shimmering blue of the Côte d’Azur. Its perfect coastline and gastronomic offerings are certainly hard to forget.

But while the French Riviera throws up some tasty treats, don’t forget to look west towards the Étang de Thau. There, protruding on the coast, is the commune of Sète, a place that’s nourished by the Étang (lagoon) on one side and the Mediterranean sea on the other.

What Sète has to offer

In Sète, life is slow. There are plenty of Parisiens who move to the area in search of a certain joie de vivre – sunny days by the beach combined with good food and great wines.

Read more at Yahoo!