Betty Buzz are a range of great tasting premium soft drinks and mixers which have just arrived in the UK. Founded by Hollywood Actress, Blake Lively, the Betty Buzz range of delicious tasting soft drinks and mixers are now available nationwide across the UK. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
The Betty Buzz range is made with fresh ingredients, free from artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colours and flavours. Packaged in retro bottles and stylish cans, they make an eye-catching and all natural addition to a home bar, in Lemon & Lime, Pink Grapefruit and Ginger Beer flavours.
Betty Buzz was launched in the US in 2021 and is now available nationwide across the UK. The bottles are available in 266ml bottles from Whole Foods Market stores and the 150ml cans have just launched on Amazon.
Betty Buzz are the perfect drinks choice as a mixer with a spirit or for the non-drinker this festive seasonfrom the designated driver, pregnant friend or relative to those looking for a healthier drinks alternative. They are also a great choice for non-alcoholic options in dry January
Story Behind the Brand
Blake and her team of experts devoted three years to developing the recipes for each serve to ensure a perfect balance of flavours. As a non-drinker, she recognised how non-alcoholic drinks are the unsung heroes of the drinks world and deserve as much attention and love as alcohol. Key to Blake was to create a brand that would offer consumers a premium drinking experience but without the need for complicated mixology techniques.
Flavour and ingredients are two important elements to Blake in the drinks she serves and food she eats. So important are they that earlier this year she teamed up with British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood and they created a one minute advert to promote the Betty Buzz range. Blake was looking for Paul’s opinion on her drinks range and she was delighted to receive the praise she was looking for from the voice of British culinary reason.
Betty Buzz Range
The Betty Buzz range are all gluten free, caffeine free, vegan, Kosher and low in calories. Further details on the range are below.
Betty Buzz Sparkling Grapefruit – made with 24% real Pink Grapefruit juice this delivers a tangy, lightly sweet and fresh citrus hit.
Made with Carbonated Water, Agave Syrup and Grapefruit Juice Concentrate. Natural flavours, no artificial colours or sweeteners. 60 calories per bottle.
This Christmas, add a bit of spice to your festivities with Opihr London Dry Gin. As well as making delicious winter cocktails, Opihr’s beautiful gift box is the perfect and affordable present for the gin lovers in your life and will add a touch of style to any home drinks bar. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Opihr London Dry Gin is infused with exotic hand-picked botanicals, spices and herbs from the Ancient Spice Route, including cardamom from India, coriander from Morocco, grapefruit from Turkey and orange peel from Spain.
Suggested Festive Serve: Opihr Spiced Apple
50ml Opihr London Dry Gin | 50ml Cloudy Apple Juice | Ginger Beer
Fill a copa glass with ice and add all ingredients, stir gently. Garnish with some freshly grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick to finish.
Opihr London Dry Gin with Glass Gift Pack
For the Opihr lover in your life, give them the beautiful glass gift pack. In this year’s ou get a full size 70cl bottle of Opihr London Dry Gin and a branded copa glass to enjoy your G&T in.
Opihr has two further expressions which both build on the original flavour of Opihr London Dry Gin.
Opihr Aromatic Bitters Gin
This gin brings the addition of Cascarilla bark to the original Opihr recipe, further building out the fragrant and herbaceous flavour profile.
Suggested Festive Serve: Opihr Aromatic Garden
40ml Opihr Aromatic Bitters Gin | 15ml Sweet Vermouth | 75ml Cloudy Apple Juice | 10ml Pomegranate Syrup or Grenadine | 3 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
Shake all ingredients over ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with one mint leaf and a sprinkling on freshly grated nutmeg
Opihr London Dry Gin is elevated through the marriage of citrus and spice, with powerful bursts of black lemons and heightened by the rich citrus flavour of Timut peppers to create Opihr Black Lemon Gin.
Suggested Festive Serve: Opihr Lemon Fizz
20ml Opihr Black Lemon Gin | 15ml Apricot or Peach Liqueur | 1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters | Small Pinch of Sea Salt | Prosecco
Add all liquid ingredients with the exception of the Prosecco, add a tiny pinch of sea salt and stir gently. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a sprig of thyme
Greenall’s Gin is handcrafted by England’s oldest gin distillery, G&J Distillers, the original pioneers of gin. In 2022 Greenall’s was one of a handful of brands to launch an eco-friendly paper bottle as part of their Greener Greenall’s campaign. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Greenall’s Gin makes for a classic gin at an affordable price and presented in an eco friendly paper bottle is a great gin to enjoy over the festive period or a gift to those looking to be kinder to the planet.
The 70 cl paper bottle is made from 94% recycled paperboard which reduces weight, carbon footprint and water usage. The brand has also partnered with climate action organisation Ecologi, and are planting a tree in an area of need for every paper bottle sold worldwide, to help regenerate woodlands and improve biodiversity.
Alongside this, the distillery is proud of it’s sustainable strategy and is now running on 100% renewable energy from offshore wind farms. 100% of all the distillery waste is recycled and general waste is converted into electricity to power homes whilst their botanical waste is composted for use by local farmers and unused botanicals are donated to local businesses for reuse.
Greenall’s Original London Dry Gin is available in 70 cl Paper and Glass Format
A classic, crisp, well rounded and juniper-led gin, Greenall’s Gin is distilled by female Master Distiller Joanne Moore and her team using the same eight botanicals that Thomas Dakin used in 1761. Greenall’s Original London Gin is the perfect base for mixing cocktails and makes a very English Gin and Tonic. Greenall’s is also gluten free.
Nose: Rounded juniper notes and mature citrus flavours, which are fresh and punchy; finishing with woody, earthy aromas and warm spice
Taste: Silky smooth opening that develops into rich camphor and citrus taste with underlying eastern spice
Finish: A lasting finish with delicate bitterness and residual sweetness.
Their new paper bottle is made from 94% paper board so it reduces weight, carbon footprint and water usage. So, with each refreshing sip of your G&T, you’re not only tasting something good, you’re doing something good.
Hosting the best drinks party of the Christmas season has never been easier than with The Cocktail Society’s 1 Litre Party Pouches. The Cocktail Society is all about making bar-quality cocktails accessible to everyone. The Oxford-based team have meticulously developed their cocktail range, working closely with top spirits and drinks producers to create extraordinary drinking experiences. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Hosting has never been easier. All you need is The Cocktail Society’s Party Pouch of your choice, a shaker and some ice and you are ready to serve award-winning cocktails from the comfort of your home and at a fraction of the cost of a bar. Each pouch contains 10-12 servings, meaning the cost of one drink starts at £2.75. The Cocktail Society’s range of Party Pouches guarantees you bar-quality cocktails every serve. Each pouch is handcrafted by experienced bartenders in Oxfordshire with premium, clean ingredients.
The full cocktail range:
Coconut & Kaffir Lime Leaf Daiquiri
Hibiscus & Elderflower Martini
Oak Aged Sloe Negroni
Passion Fruit Martini
Salted Caramel Espresso Martini
Smoked Old Fashioned
NEW for 2023 * Spiced Tommy’s Margarita
The Oak Aged Sloe Negroni, Salted Caramel Espresso Martini and Tommy’s Margarita have all achieved Great Taste Awards. The Spiced Tommy’s Margarita won a Master award from The Spirits Business this year and was named ‘best in class’ out of all of the master winners.
Heading to a party and wanting to bring something a bit more exciting than a box of chocolates? The Cocktail Society offer the full range of Premium ready-to-serve, award-winning, bar-quality cocktails in beautifully packaged 200ml and 500ml bottles, making the perfect gift for cocktail aficionados.
Bottled cocktails are a growing trend in the UK as consumers look for more unique at home drinking experiences. They are made with premium ingredients, taste delicious and have quirky branding.
These bottled cocktails are a labour of love made by bartenders. The brand have created every bottle so it’s a ready to drink cocktail. This means they batch every cocktail to an exact recipe and bottle at their warehouse in Oxford.
The drinks have no nasties in them to preserve the liquid and tatse as delicious as they would in your favourite bar. Their team have developed our product meticulously, working closely with top spirits and drinks producers to create extraordinary drinking experiences. They work with brands such as Chase Distillery, Buffalo Trace, The Missing Bean and Gibson’s Organic Liqueurs to make our products.
These Cocktails are incredibly popular and the bottled cocktails are loved by their customers. They offer gift messaging and next day delivery as standard so the bottled cocktails are the ideal last-minute birthday present or gift to say thanks to loved ones too. A dreamy gift for cocktail lovers, why not send a bottled cocktail instead of flowers or bubbly this festive season?
The main course features Pepper Crab, Indian Lagoon Mud Crab, with hand-crushed black peppercorns and a black pepper stock. Kani Chahan, a unique Japanese-style crab fried rice, is served on the side…reports Asian Lite News
The scrumptious Ministry of Crab is back at the award-winning Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, from 23 to 26 November 2023, with famed Chef Dharshan Munidasa.
Ministry of Crab is located in Khar, Mumbai, a beautiful heritage site. The restaurant brings guests the best crustacean experience in the country, celebrating India’s finest seafood and legendary lagoon mud crabs. The master franchisor for Ministry of Crab in India is Gourmet Investments Private Limited (GIPL), a part of the Bharti Family office, and is considered a ‘must visit’ for lovers of seafood when in Mumbai.
The four-day pop-up at Shang Palace will feature a four-course set menu that will include Avocado Crab Salad, a stunning combination of steamed and chilled crab meat and wasabi mayonnaise, served in a halved avocado. This is followed by Garlic Chilli Prawns, the amazingly large lake prawns of India cooked in Italian olive oil, Japanese soy sauce, garlic and chilli flakes, in a style that is unique to Ministry of Crab; served with Kade Bread, inspired by traditional Sri Lankan wood-fired bread.
The main course features Pepper Crab, Indian Lagoon Mud Crab, with hand-crushed black peppercorns and a black pepper stock. Kani Chahan, a unique Japanese-style crab fried rice, is served on the side.
Finish your meal on a sweet note with Coconut Crème Brûlée, a tropical island twist on the classic French dessert, created using rich coconut milk and baked to perfection in a fresh coconut.
The set menu is available for dinner from 23 to 25 November 2023, from 8 p.m. onwards for dinner and for lunch on 26 November 2023 and is priced at INR 8,500 plus taxes per person.
For more information, guests can call (91 11) 41191040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kinara, meaning by the lake, is a modern expression of traditional Indian cuisine. Described as a ‘homage to the Indian kitchen’, it was inspired by the raw beauty of home cooking, from the richly diverse regions of India and South Asia. A feature by FnB columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
The restaurant’s plush interior design offers a journey of the senses from the moment of one’s arrival. Elegant, oversized spice displays adorn the entrance creating enticing aromas, as guests move throughout the space. The spice market experience provides guests with the opportunity to learn about the different culinary functions and health benefits of each ingredient used.
Views into the kitchen further entice guest’s senses, creating a visual connection between the menu and its preparation, culminating in a beautiful open kitchen. A magnificent outdoor terrace offers al fresco dining and vistas across the lake and lush golf course with a stunning fire feature taking centre stage.
Creating a fluent journey, guests of Kinara by Vikas Khanna can simultaneously interact and connect with Indian cuisine and culture during their experience. The vibe and ambiance at the restaurant is decadent and the service is impressively attentive. Every dish is a work of culinary art and the presentation is top-notch.
Growing up in a military family in India, Chef de Cuisine Ashish Kumar experienced life across many different parts of the country as his father was posted to various locations with the national army. This helped Ashish develop a profound understanding of the diversity of regional Indian cuisine and a hunger for international culinary exploration. Coming from a family of accomplished cooks, his mother famously began a tradition of mastering the signature cuisine of each area the family were posted to. And thus a lifelong zest and curiosity for culinary endeavors was born for Ashish.
Chef Ashish began his formal training with Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Hotel Administration from the Institute of Hotel Management in Bangalore. His first restaurant experience was in 2006 in the Westview Bar and Grill, in Kolkata, West Bengal and from then he experienced rapid growth in chef positions at 5 star luxury hotels across Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra and Bangalore, before moving to Abu Dhabi in 2014 to become an Etihad Airways In-Flight Chef. This was a momentous role for Ashish, who went on to win the Master In-Flight Chef award for the Year 2014.
Ashish soon began to garner significant exposure with chefs of note and in 2015 was appointed as Chef de Cuisine for Atul Kochhar’s Benares in Madrid. Serving acclaimed modern Indian cuisine in the heart of Chamberí, Ashish managed a multicultural team and had the opportunity to work under British Indian Chef Atul Kochhar of multiple Michelin Star fame.
Announced as Chef de Cuisine of Kinara by Vikas Khanna in early 2019, Chef Ashish has already gathered widespread acclaim and award nominations for the new restaurant, bringing his wealth of experience and personal flair to the kitchen.
As Vikas Khanna’s chosen protégé, Ashish leads a team of eleven chefs in the 180-seat restaurant to introduce a journey of the senses and a vibrant, modern exploration of traditional Indian cuisine. Ashish was also awarded as “Rising Star Chef of the Year 2021” by Hozpitality Awards UAE.
During Expo 2020, he was one of the 25 Chefs all around the world, who were the part of 50 Hand’s dinner at Expo 2020 on 50th National Day of UAE. Later, on India’s Republic day he also hosted a dinner at Jubliee Gastronomy showcasing best of Indian Cuisine.
“At Kinara we endeavour to create a unique experience of dinning with indigenous ingredients, indian spices, new techniques, alongwith being connected to our roots and a true reflection of the cultural heritage of India. There would be immense elegance, simplicity and beauty served on the plates. The idea behind every dish on our menu is to represent soulful, satisfying food. We aim to bring Indian hospitality and culture to our guests, while offering familiar dishes in a thoughtful and modern interpretation. “Chef Ashish Kumar
Vikas Khanna is an internationally acclaimed Indian American chef, film maker, and author. He is one of the first Indian chefs to be awarded a Michelin Star in the U.S. He has been featured amongst the 10 most influential chefs in the world by Deutsche Welle and Gazette Review. He is the host of MasterChef India, Twist of Taste and Mega Kitchens on National Geographic.
Author of 37 award winning books, including UTSAV (World’s most expensive cookbook) and the creator of documentary series Holy Kitchens and Kitchens of Gratitude. His restaurant, Kinara by Vikas Khanna, in Dubai was rated as Favorite Indian restaurant by Conde Nast.
Located at The H Hotel, The Crossing is a celebration of the Indian subcontinent’s diversity. Flavours, influences and recipes from across India weave their way through the menu, where there are hints of nostalgia and closely guarded Indian family recipes. The menu at The Crossing is an ode to lost cuisines and ingredients, creating a narrative where both modern renditions of traditional classics stand side by side with age old recipes. A feature by FnB columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Reflecting new-age India and contemporary Indian aesthetics, The Crossing adopts an approach that is truly Indian at its core, with minimalist decor, clean lines, potted greenery, and discreet accents, inspired by the waiting lounges of Indian railways. The Crossing brings the elevated neo-Indian cuisine experience to Dubai; think modern plating, crafted cocktails and an expertly curated wine list to complete your meal.
The Crossing upholds mainstream Indian cuisine but continues to showcase a more offbeat side of food from the Rajput kitchens, hidden gems from northeast India, and simple yet robust recipes from India’s coastline. In addition to traditional fare, they shine a spotlight on the foreign influences of past rulers, raiders and explorers that have historically found their way into Indian cuisine from places as far as the Caribbean, Portugal, France and Great Britain.
The Crossing has been recognised for its cuisine throughout the region, as the recipient of many high-profile awards, including Best New Restaurant by BBC Good Food and Best Indian Restaurant at the FACT Awards 2022. In addition, they were recently selected as the restaurant take-over at W Abu Dhabi for the iconic Indian IIFA awards and the Dubai Big Eid Eat festival.
The Crossing transcends borders with its mix of cultures, practices and, most importantly, culinary techniques. With carefully selected recipes from across India, using ethically sourced GI-tagged ingredients, The Crossing provides a unique experience right in the heart of downtown Dubai.
A meal at The Crossing is defined by warm hospitality, attentive service and delectable food which is charmingly presented. Highly Recommended!
About Michelin-acclaimed Chef Jitin Joshi
Renowned Chef Jitin Joshi is the Culinary Director for The Crossing Dubai, part of The Lemon Butter Group. With an impressive career spanning over 23 years, Chef Joshi brings unparalleled talent and versatility to his role. Hailing from India, Chef Joshi received his training at the prestigious Oberoi School in Delhi and has since carved a distinguished path in the culinary world, honing his skills in top kitchens across eight countries, from prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants to high-end cruise liners and vineyard restaurants.
Chef Joshi’s journey took him to London, where he refined his craft under the guidance of renowned chefs Eric Chavot and Gordon Ramsay. His accomplishments there include leading Benares in Mayfair to a coveted Michelin star in 2007 and receiving the esteemed Ethnic Chef of the Year award in 2009.
Chef Joshi relocated to Dubai in 2011 to lead in prestigious venues such as the Armani Hotel, Atmosphere in the Burj Khalifa, and the first Taj Hotel in the region. As his reputation grew, he made notable appearances on Sony TV and Dubai Eye Radio and was recognised by the Hotel Awards as Highly Commended Executive Chef.
Recently, Chef Jitin Joshi has captivated audiences with his culinary prowess at the Dubai Expo and through a series of successful guest chef pop-ups across various cities, including restaurant takeovers at several Soho House venues. Jitin has also excelled in international events, guest lecturing, and leading Team India in the 2016 Bocuse d’Or competition in Singapore.
He is excited to bring his passion for culinary innovation and years of experience to this esteemed establishment, creating unforgettable dining experiences and pushing the boundaries of gastronomy. Together with the talented team at The Crossing, he aims to redefine the culinary landscape and provide an unparalleled dining experience to their discerning guests. His journey is a testament to his passion, talent, and dedication to pushing culinary boundaries. His unique blend of global influences continues to captivate palates and inspire culinary enthusiasts worldwide.
With meticulous care, Chef Jitin has curated a menu at The Crossing that harmonizes the vibrant hues, tantalizing aromas and distinct tastes of India’s diverse regions, creating an extraordinary culinary experience.
Karapincha serves authentic Sri Lankan food which have been inspired by the owners’ mother’s recipes. The brand consists of a group of Sri Lankan cafes and small kitchens where these time tested recipes come to life. Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka and with a family legacy of owning the most popular vegetarian restaurant in Colombo, the owners carry with them the greatest memories and influences from the South Asian island where they grew up. A feature by FnB columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
The brand’s cooking is fuelled by flavoursome, and often fiery, spices so they chose the name “Karapincha” which originates from the Sinhala word for curry leaf – an important ingredient that lies at the very heart of the dishes and is used in the majority of their hand-ground spice blends, giving them their inimitable, multifaceted flavour.
Owned by twin sisters Vasanthini and Dharshini Perumal, Karapincha combines vibrant flavours with bright island energy and humble, homecooked goodness, all inspired by their late mother Rajamma. In the spirit of authenticity, they’ve preserved family recipes and put home cooks, not chefs, in charge of the Karapincha kitchens, so expect a taste of genuine home-cooked Sri Lankan goodness.
They serve food that packs a deliciously soul warming punch and have already earned a reputation as one of the best places for authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in the capital.
Their site in Canary Wharf brings never-before-seen dishes from the sisters including a morning-busting breakfast offering that can’t be found anywhere else in London.Breaking new ground as the first hospitality business to open in a Tube station where the kitchen is actually cooking the food, Karapincha’s inaugural all-day café is the next stop in grab-and-go freshness.
Everything is homemade. From the roti to the mayonnaise, to the spice blends and the curries; everything is cooked, simmered and chopped the way the brand owners-Vasanthini and Dharshini were taught, and exactly as their mother’s old recipes state.
Breakfast includes freshly cooked Vegan Roti filled with roasted pepper, aubergine, spinach and tahini which gives a nutritious start to the day, while Egg or Turkey Ham & Cheese Roti provide satisfying sustenance to those who struggle to get their morning started! Signature Cardamom & Cinnamon French Toast with banana and mango, shaved coconut and maple syrup is the naughty treat you never knew you needed while ‘Classics with a Twist’ add feisty Sri Lankan sass to cult brekkie favourites.
Avocado Toast receives added kick with sesame seeds and chilli; the Egg Brioche hits the spot with a Sri Lankan egg omelette, onions, coriander leaves and green chilli peppers all nestled within an egg souffle brioche roll; Vegan Porridge is sprinkled with cocoa nibs, Omega seeds and summer berries; while satisfying Baked Eggs features spiced tomato sauce, roasted peppers & Labneh.
If you are just looking for a Quick Bite coffee accompaniment then get the hit you need with their Coconut & Orange Overnight Oats; Homemade Granola & Yoghurt pot with mango, pineapple and coconut; or a protein- filled Cold Wrap with either chickpeas or chicken. All available with any hot drink – from Ceylon or Chai Tea to Espresso and Latte making it one of the best breakfast deals in the Wharf!
Then from 11.30am until closing, big, bold dishes take centre stage. Short Eats (a Sri Lankan term for snacks designed with the convenience of travel in mind) consist of: moreish Spicy Rolls containing curried vegetables or lamb; spice-laden chicken or veg Samosas and traditional Cutlets (potatoes mixed with chicken or veggies coated with seasoned breadcrumbs). Perfect for a light bite on-the-go or as a side to one of the bigger bowls.
Larger appetites will be appeased with specials which are full of warming flavours and aromatic spices. Karapincha’s famous Kothu Roti (shredded roti stir-fried with vegetables or chicken) or addictively good Devilled Chicken with fried rice are must-tries. Meanwhile, Build Your Own Curries allow you to mix, match and experiment with Sri Lankan ingredients and flavour, finished off with intriguing add-ons including: Beetroot Piratal (beetroot cooked in a mild coconut- based sauce); Aubergine Moju (fried aubergine in a sweet & savoury sauce); and Mama Perumal’s very special Pickled Pineapple.
The menus have been thoughtfully designed to satisfy a range of tastes and preferences. With plenty of plant-based, vegetarian and halal options, there’s something to please every palate.
Calming hues of green at the Canary Wharf cafe are complemented by characterful touches including authentic family photographs, potted plants and statement wicker pendant lights that transform the intimate station space into a homely haven. Whether you’re waiting out rush hour, meeting a friend for a bite, or simply need a change of scene with your meal, there are 10 seats for the taking.
Authentic in every sense, all visits come accompanied by the unmistakable bang and swish of Kothu Roti being sauteed on the hot griddle and scent of fragrant spice blends permeating the air as Karapincha’s homecooks (specifically not chefs) prepare your hot and fresh feast.
Family values lie at the very heart of Karapincha. Sisters Vasanthini and Dharshini see their business as creating an extension of their cherished family, inviting people from all walks of life who share a passion for cooking and respect for traditions, to come and learn alongside them. It’s of the utmost importance to them that guests entering their eateries feel like they are being welcomed into the Perumal home, a sentiment that is embodied by every member of their dedicated teams who exude natural warmth and genuine hospitality.
It’s time for appetites to be spiced and souls to be warmed – you are sure to feel welcomed in Karapincha by the welcoming staff.
At Karapincha the food portions are generous, the service is friendly, flavours are on point, menu selection and food quality is excellent, packaging and presentation are great too. All in all, very highly recommended!
Karapincha can be found at:
Old Spitalfields Market | 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW
Market Place Vauxhall | 7-11 S Lambeth Road, London SW8 1SP
Canary Wharf | Unit 14 Canary Wharf Station, London E14 4HJ
Mercato Metropolitano | 42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR
Poitín is Ireland’s original spirit and the precursor to modern-day whiskey. Prior to cask aging, poitín and whiskey were essentially the same spirit, separated only by the buying of a license. Banned for over 200 years by a foreign parliament, poitín was traditionally distilled from malted grains such as barley, oats, wheat and rye, using whatever was available locally or in season at the time. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
The word poitín means ‘small pot’ in Irish and refers to the small pot-still commonly used by illicit distillers. Prior to cask aging, poitín and whiskey were essentially the same spirit, separated only by the buying of a license. Banned for over 200 years by a foreign parliament, poitín was traditionally distilled from malted grains such as barley, oats, wheat and rye, using whatever was available locally or in season at the time. The word poitín means ‘small pot’ in Irish and refers to the small pot-still commonly used by illicit distillers.
— Micil Irish Poitín —
A spicy, full-flavoured poitín made to an original family recipe, distilled using 100% Irish malted barley and a local Connemara botanical known as bogbean. Distilled in a hybrid copper pot still, the spirit cuts are made through sensory analysis alone, giving an incredibly refined spirit.
Tasting Notes: Warm honey spice with vibrant fruits, distinct malt character, balancing floral notes and an elegant velvety texture
Also let’s have a spotlight too on Micil Irish Cream Liqueur —
There’s a long tradition in Ireland’s Connemara of drinks made with cream, honey and a drop of poitín, using all of the best that the land has to offer. A West of Ireland take on an Irish classic, Micil Irish Cream is made using the finest Connemara Poitín and the highest quality ingredients sourced as close to home as possible, and is produced to the original family recipe.
A luxurious blend of sweet Irish whiskey, rich Irish cream, and smooth Connemara poitín from Micil Distillery. Awarded Best Irish Cream at the 2022 World Liqueur Awards, Micil Connemara Irish Cream is made using Micil Irish Poitín, distilled with 100% malted Irish barley and spicy Connemara bogbean.
Tasting notes: A superb creamy texture, sweet chocolate notes and a sprinkling of coffee and honey, all balanced by the soft, fruity spice of Irish poitín.
About Micil Distillery
Micil (pronounced Mik-il) Distillery was founded in honour of Micil Mac Chearra, who began distilling poitín in 1848 on a Connemara hillside. His family have been crafting exceptional Irish spirits on the shores of Galway Bay ever since, representing Ireland’s longest unbroken family distilling tradition. For over 170 years the family have preserved these traditions, skills and recipes and passed them down from generation to generation.
Production at Micil Distillery is headed up by Pádraic and Jimin Ó Griallais, sixth generation Connemara distillers and direct descendants of Micil. The distillery produces a range of multi- award-winning Irish spirits, made using 100% Irish grains, local Connemara botanicals and unique family recipes. In January 2021, Micil Distillery produced Galway’s first whiskey in over 100 years.
Family and community are at the heart of everything at Micil, along with an unwavering belief in the pursuit of excellence, and a passion for crafting extraordinary Irish spirits.
Masala Zone restaurants are part of a unique collection of London’s best Indian restaurants. It was created in 2001 in London out of a passion to convey to diners the sort of food Indians in India eat on the street or at home. The ethos was and is to offer discerning diners a menu with options to enjoy proper Indian food as eaten by Indians daily across India. An exclusive feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Until the creation of Masala Zone Soho, the mid-market space was occupied with by the Bangladeshi-owned curry houses which did not serve genuine Indian food. Masala Zone Soho pioneered by bringing that into that London restaurant scene at an affordable price point. It was the first restaurant in the UK to bring authentic food from the streets of India into London restaurants space. Since then, the Masala Zone restaurants have moved to the top-end of the informal dining scale.
The first Masala Zone restaurant, in Soho, rapidly became one of the most popular Indian restaurants in the UK. There are now 4 Masala Zone restaurants in London. Each Masala Zone restaurant strives to present real Indian cuisines, attentive and friendly service along with a strong design element when it comes to the restaurant decor, with each being visually unique.
Masala Zone Soho has been widely praised since the time it opened in 2001. Evening Standard has rated them as one of London’s six best Indian restaurants, Zagat Restaurants Survey as London’s Most Popular Restaurant Group; Daily Telegraph as one of London’s best restaurants.
At their Soho location you cannot miss their dramatic makeover. The carefully orchestrated furniture and sophisticated lighting across the restaurant highlight the verve with which traditional food is dressed for a modern and global audience. The interiors have been redone to breathe exotic glamour and ooze plush sophistication.
Many of the walls of the restaurant are adorned with a unique collection of fine carvings, dazzling mirrors, bold paintings and rich tapestry. This is highlighted by glittering chandeliers and understated chic furniture. Every corner of the dining areas too weaves in the art and craft of traditional India in an charming setting.
When you visit you can enjoy a signature cocktail in their glamorous new Bangle Bar which has given the restaurant a theatrical facelift, or grab a lightly spiced grill at one of the bold stone tables with handmade wooden chairs sourced from the city of lakes in India, Udaipur.
Oh, and don’t leave without a quick peek into the loos too, to glimpse the iconic Beverly Hills Martinique wall paper and post box red taps!
Masala Zone Soho’s intimate and inviting private area combines the unique tribal art murals, sophisticated lighting and exotic decorations. It can be separated from the main restaurant by a handsome curtain. It seats up to 24 or can take 40 standing; but it is not available on Fridays & Saturday for dinner. Exclusive use of private room generally requires a party size of 15 & above or an equivalent spend. Menu prices per person are Dinner £32 – £45; Lunch £25.50– £40.50.
From the starters, mains, sides and desserts I tried and while all were extraordinarily good, and the menu offerings are an exhaustive list from across India, but my topmost favourite was the lamb slider from the starters where the pao is also made by the restaurant in-house, it has caramelised onions and perfectly spiced lamb patty, it’s just so full of taste and flavour, each bite is culinary perfection! The food offerings over time have expanded to span a panoramic range of proper Indian food, including flavourful grills, regional curries and biryanis in addition to a unique ciollction of street food from all across India, as well as the thalis.
Having trail blazed at the top end of Indian restaurants with the creation of Chutney Mary in 1990 and the successful reincarnation of Veeraswamy in 1997, Masala Zone Soho was created out of a pioneering passion to bring the real taste of India into London. At the heart of the menus are also the thalis, a collection of various small dishes on a circular tray. This is the way in which Indian food is eaten in the homes with the balanced and healthy thali providing a combination of nutrition, texture, flavours and colours. Fresh cooked vegetables that are served in the Thali, change daily. The cooking of these dishes is executed by highly experienced specialist master chefs from India who cook without short cuts, including halwais, with complete heritage culinary integrity – each only cooking authentic food from the region of India from where they belong.
“The defining features of our Masala Zone restaurants are an unparalleled range of real Indian food from all the main Indian cuisines, glamorous interiors which integrate fine Indian visual themes with contemporary design, hospitable service, and affordable prices. This unique combination has struck a powerful chord with a large number of discerning customers from across the world. Our ambition therefore is to build on this recognition by expanding in those parts of the world where these features will be appreciated.” Ranjit Mathrani, Chairman and Co-owner, MW Eat
Masala means spice, which is the very heart and soul of Indian cooking. Uniquely, with their passion to do the best, at Masala Zone they select their key spices from the best spice farms after the spice harvest in India and then get it shipped here to UK. Unlike UK curry houses and most Indian restaurants, their dishes are then prepared using a complex combination of these spices in a carefully orchestrated sequence.
Masala Zone have sourced tightly guarded recipes from the most well regarded traditional cooks of India and 22 years later since the first Masala Zone was set up, they are serving these with a contemporary spin and a touch of original flair. This is combined with decor which for the first time combined Indian decorative themes and idioms with Western contemporary design. The brand has been all about affordability and honest value for money. A warmth and friendliness of service with a personable multicultural team defines the brand.
Masala Zone’s passion is to serve the best food in London from across India…and so they do. The restaurants between them with their impeccable service, inviting ambiance and outstanding menu offerings with flavours that are on point and portion sizes which are generous, it is not surprising that they now have several hundred thousand customers a year making their way through their doors! Very Highly Recommended!