A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection and Ireland’s 1st AA Red Star Property, The K Club boasts 134-bedrooms, a grand Irish country retreat, set amid 550-acres of pristine parkland on a mile long private stretch of the River Liffey.

Located only 30 minutes from Dublin Airport and City Centre, The K Club is an elegantly restored 19th Century Georgian mansion estate, set on the former site of Straffan House.

This was originally modelled after a French chateau by Hugh Barton in 1832, the grandson of legendary winemaker Thomas Barton.

Converted into a luxury hotel and country club in 1991, the opening of The K Club was a landmark moment in the Irish hospitality industry, creating new standards of Irish décor and service that have not been surpassed.

Accommodation is as one would expect from a property of this standard, it is luxurious, extremely comfortable but also very individual. Each bedroom is bespoke with its own individual soft furnishings, artwork and fine furniture.

Bathrooms are of generous proportions and are hand-painted with deep, full-length baths, separate showers and of course the obligatory yellow rubber duck!

Through an extensive renovation project in 2015, The K Club added two new room categories to its selection of accommodations; the stunning Deluxe Woodland & River View Rooms and three Barton Suites.

Being a resort property, it is only fitting that The K Club provides its guests with a wide selection of dining options.

These range from casual bar menus in the country club restaurants to exquisite tasting menus in the elegant Byerley Turk Restaurant in the main hotel. Whatever the preference, there is something for every palate at The K Club.

Offering a true country retreat, The K Club provides an extensive selection of activities including kayaking, horse riding, falconry, fishing, clay-pigeon shooting, walking, cycling, wine cellar tours, whiskey tasting and so much more.

The K Club is also home to two Championship Arnold Palmer designed Golf Courses – The Ryder Cup Course and The Smurfit Course, which have hosted numerous international tournaments including the 2006 Ryder Cup, 13 European Opens and most recently the 2016 Irish Open.

In addition to two 18-hole championship golf courses, The K Club also hosts the luxurious 20,000 sq ft K Spa that is noted as one of the finest spas in Europe. In February 2018, The K Spa at The K Club launched a new spa partnership with the luxurious Natura Bissé skincare brand. Loved by celebrities and endorsed by the travel experts, Forbes, as their official skincare brand, the introduction of Natura Bissé to the K Spa ensures a memorable and extraordinary experience for all guests at The K Club.

We stayed in the Presidential Suite at The K Club which inspired my lady to create a special power word of the day. Which meant I could catch some z’s as I have been told that one must get as much sleep before the baby comes along because there won’t be much room for sleep after he arrives!

For a spa treatment that offers something a little different, we recommend the golf ball massage which takes golfing from the Ryder Cup quality golf course to the state-of-the-art spa treatment rooms. The therapeutic massage is definitely one to try for an unusual but inventive take on blending the best of both worlds.

From the spa to the dining room, The K Club takes fine dining to another level with an inspired menu created by the Head Chef using the finest locally sourced Irish ingredients and considered culinary techniques.

To begin we had the Chef’s Choice Amuse Bouche which tantalised the taste buds in anticipation for the meal ahead.

Starters include pan-fried Atlantic Prawn Tails which were meaty in texture and full of flavour from the Flat Parsley & Garlic Butter. This was an amazing dish despite its simplicity and is definitely a must-have when dining at the restaurant.

The Poached Castaing Foie Gras Terrine with Red Onion Compote & Mirabelle Puree comes with Warm Brioche. The velvety texture and rich flavours of the foie gras paired perfectly with the sweet taste of the onion and plum accompaniments. I didn’t even have to share as pregnant ladies are not allowed pate, let alone Foie Gras.

For mains, seafood lovers will be delighted by the Whole Black Sole Meuniere which takes centre stage on the plate served with a delicious Vanilla Scented Bisque & juicy Crayfish Tails.

Carnivores at the table will enjoy the 8 Oz Fillet of Irish Beef cooked to your liking and served with melt in the mouth Fondant Potato. The meat is complemented by Onion Compote and your choice of steak sauce from traditional Green Peppercorn or Bordelaise Sauce, to the more exotic Spicy Harissa Butter.

Saving room for dessert, you have to try the Warm Rice Pudding scented with Vanilla & Fresh Raspberries. This creamy delight surprises the diner with a hidden pool of fruity Raspberry Puree as one delves deep.

There’s no need to wait for National Chocolate Week or comes to enjoying a rich chocolatey dessert at the K Club with Byerley Turk’s Warm Valrhona Chocolate Fondant. The high-quality ingredients sit alongside creamy Tonka Bean Mousse and tart Passionfruit Curd on indulgent Honeycomb Crumb.

For those of you who want to delight your senses in a fabulous selection of Irish cheeses – the ones presented to us on the day included creamy Cashel Blue from Co. Tipperary and an intensely smoky Knockanore from Co. Waterford. For those interested in other cheeses, the nutty Cratloe Hills from Co. Clare is made with sheep’s milk and the Chuilcoill from Co. Tipperary is made with goat’s milk for a lighter nutty taste. The decadent Irish cheese board is served with Grapes, Celery, Crackers and Raisin Chutney.

Whether you are a golf fanatic, food-loving epicurean or a couple looking for a romantic spa break, The K Club offers something for everybody wrapped up in a luxurious Irish country package. You don’t need to be on a Babymoon to enjoy this delight, but all Papapreneurs should have the K Club in their little black book.

From its opulent, classical surroundings reflecting elements of Ireland’s history to the best in luxury accommodation, fine dining and leisure facilities, The K Club pairs old-world charm, service and ambience with modern comforts in a luxurious residential setting. We think this hotel & country retreat is well worth a visit on your next trip to Ireland.

The K Club is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection. Rates start from £168 per room per night.

The K Club
Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland
+353 1 6017 200
www.kclub.ie
www.preferredhotels.com/destinations/straffan/the-k-club
@thekclub

With the post-Christmas exodus to winter sun destinations, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as returning from a wonderful family holiday and having only uninspiring snapshots to show for it. Antonina Mamzenko, London-based family photo journalist, shares her tips on capturing stunning holiday images like a pro.

Get to know your camera

Whether you’re taking photographs with your top of the range DSLR, smartphone, or a simple compact, you cannot take great photographs without knowing the capabilities – and limitations – of your equipment. While a camera manual definitely does not provide the most exciting read, a quick reference on how to access the most basic of functions is a must. Remember it’s not a novel, and you’re not supposed to read it cover to cover.

For a DSLR, find the functions that will be most helpful to start with, and learn to access and change them on the fly. For a novice, I recommend learning about the ISO settings and how to control them (they are responsible for adjusting your camera’s sensitivity to the light) and also your aperture (the setting that helps you capture that lovely blurry background you see in professional photographs).

With a smartphone, discover how to access the camera buttons quickly, and also whether you can take a photo by pressing the volume buttons as opposed to the on-screen button.

Another useful setting to familiarise yourself with is the exposure compensation (a setting that will allow you to override the smartphone camera and make your photo brighter or darker). This will differ depending on your phone model, so search “exposure compensation,” and your smartphone make and model to find detailed instructions on the how to.

Remember – it’s not the camera that takes a great photo, it’s the human behind it.

Avoid midday sun – or work around it

We all love holidays in sunny places, and of course we want to capture that wonderful sultry moment. Unfortunately, midday sunlight makes it really hard to take great photographs, especially if you’re photographing people. Not only is the contrast between light and dark areas especially harsh, creating unattractive shadows under the eyes and around nose and mouth, people squint and sweat too!

Also if you don’t know how to work your camera in a manual mode you will struggle to arrive at an appropriate setting. Just think about all the times when you’ve tried to take a great photo on a sunny day and your camera made all the faces really dark compared to the bright background. To work around this issue simply avoid taking photos between 11am and 3pm in the summer.

The best and most flattering light is usually found first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon… so put your camera away during the day, and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

Another great time to take photos is just after the rain, so if you’re holidaying somewhere with frequently changing weather, take advantage of that! If you have to take photographs when the sun is at it’s worst, then use open shade (such as under a big tree or roof terrace – anything that blocks direct overhead light, but still allows enough light to come in from other directions).

For example, you can’t really make a beautiful portrait when the light is harsh, but you can photograph from the back and include the environment in your photos. More on that below.

Get smart about your composition

There are many ways to elevate your holiday snaps to a whole new level simply by adjusting how you compose your photographs. First, always take the photographs at the same eye-level as your subject. When photographing children, that usually means you have to crouch down. When photographing your tall spouse, you’ll have to stand on your tiptoes.

Second, take full advantage of the photographic “rule of thirds”. Mentally divide the scene in front of you with two vertical and two horizontal lines, and when taking a photo, intentionally compose it in such a way that the important elements of your photographs are placed either along those imaginary lines, or at the points where they intersect. This is especially useful when photographing running children: simply frame your photograph so that – visually – they have some space to run into.

Thirdly, look around the edges of your photograph and try to avoid unsightly background distractions, such as trash cans, or trees and lamp poles “growing” out of your children’s heads. Oftentimes the simplest trick is to ‘Move Yourself’, either cutting the unwanted element out of the frame completely, or visually hiding it behind the person you’re photographing.

Create a visual diary of your holiday

Tell a story of your holiday by capturing more than a group photo in front of a famous landmark. Photograph the little details that are unique to the place you’re visiting, such as street signs, details of the buildings, or your feet in the sand. Then go wide and include the environment in your shots as well: your child running through the cobbled streets of the old city, or your spouse holding a map while trying to figure out where to go next.

Experiment with the angles of your photos, and remember that not every single image has to include a smiling face. Photograph from the side, from the back, focus on the hands and feet, capture different facial expressions, experiment… pure joy to deep concentration – it’s all part of your story!

Don’t be afraid to “shoot through moments” as they are happening.

Sometimes it is impossible to get a great image with just one shot. I often take 10 or more of the same scene just to get that one photograph that speaks volumes. Embrace the power of the digital age, just don’t forget to go though the images and delete all the duds afterwards!

Don’t forget to be in the photos, too!

And finally, don’t forget to be present in your holiday photos too! After all, in 10 years time you don’t want your kids thinking you never went on holidays with them.

You can either use a tripod and self-timer, take a series of fun selfies, or even hire a local photographer to help you (just google “family photographer” or “portrait photographer” and the name of your destination, and you’ll find many options to choose from).

About the Expert

Antonina Mamzenko is former lawyer and an internationally published family photographer with over 8 years experience behind her. Antonina’s unique style blends photojournalistic approach and lifestyle aesthetic, to provide her clients with candid and unposed photographs that record and preserve their family life beautifully through heirloom fine art albums, and printed artwork. Since 2009 she has photographed hundreds of clients from all over the world, including the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 

Ma’Plucker is an exciting and relaxed restaurant providing the amazing tastes from the Deep South in the heart of Soho. Famous for their Southern style chicken, we couldn’t resist stopping by the restaurant for lunch after doing a spot of shopping at Paul Smith just a few doors down.

Best of all, the owner Sylvia – the Sassiest Southern Chick you’ll ever meet – said we could bring Papapreneurs fur baby Puppy Gizmo along to enjoy the experience with his human dining companions. Sylvia has created a menu that offers a feast of mouth-watering chicken dishes served with sumptuous sides, sundaes and sweet treats. The menu offers plenty of choice and even includes a vegetarian option so caters for all tastes and palates.

With such a vast array of dishes to choose from we were sure that Ma’Plucker would not disappoint… and Puppy Gizmo was on hand to supervise proceedings and let us know if the meal was woof-licious or if Sylvia would be in the doghouse?

We had heard that Ma’Plucker’s signature 3 way chicken is guaranteed to leave you clucking for more – so this is what we headed to straight away.

There is a choice of Crispy Coated Butter Milk Dipped Fried Chicken (wings, thigh or breast); Hickory Spiced Pulled Chicken cooked slow and low; Rotisserie Chicken with a Chipotle Rub; with Crispy Coated Halloumi Cheese bringing up the rear for cheese fans and vegetarians alike.

These sumptuous mains are then served with your choice of “Freshly Plucked” Salad, a House Bun or a Maple Waffle and one of five fantastic sauces including a rich Chicken Skin Gravy, a fiery Chipotle Chilli Sauce, traditional Kansas BBQ Sauce, creamy Herb Dressing or sweet & spicy Maple Chilli Glaze. Sylvia certainly knows her sauces as they all sounded delicious and we were hard pressed to choose which one to try… even Puppy Gizmo was perplexed!

The waitress very kindly explained to him how the menu worked and also offered him a refreshing bowl of water… perusing a menu can be thirsty work! Puppy Gizmo chatted to his dining companions to see what everyone else was ordering.

In the end, I went for Sylvia’s take on Southern Fried Chicken and ordered the Ma’Plucker Crispy Coated Fried Chicken Thighs served with a Maple Waffle. Puppy Gizmo having been told he was having the same decided it sounded lip-smacking good!

When the dish arrived, it came with the ideal accompaniment as suggested to us by our waitress out of the choice of five Southern style sauces. The Maple Chilli Glaze was truly scrumptious and presented in what looked like a miniature milk bottle.

Mrs Papapreneur is a fan of pulled pork so she really wanted to sample Sylvia’s version of Hickory Spiced Pulled Chicken. With a choice of 150g and 250g, she went for the larger option as she knew Puppy Gizmo would be sharing! A good day to be on a high protein diet! She chose a very healthy low-carb salad as her base to the succulent looking pulled chicken.

When it came to sides, I decided to try one of Ma’Plucker’s most popular offerings – the Crack & Cheeze – a decadent crispy coated ball of Macaroni Cheese. It looked impressive on the plate as it arrived at our table…

… and even more impressive sliced open to reveal the creamy cheesy pasta within.

You can keep things healthy by choosing the Seasonal Greens. Other sides include Ma’s Slaw, Buttered Corn and Homemade Baked Beans in addition to the standard offerings of fries, mash and of course the Southern BBQ staple… pickles. Puppy Gizmo was his usual impeccably behaved self apart from being caught out sniffing the food before saying grace!

His reputation however still remains intact… a reputation which probably explains why so many of London’s dog-friendly eateries have invited him to pop in for lunch (stay tuned for more dog-friendly restaurant reviews over the coming weeks). Who could resist offering this cute little pup some tasty titbits from Sylvia’s famous chicken dishes… the Fried Chicken definitely got a paw high five and the Pulled Chicken was just as good. Puppy Gizmo thought that Ma’Plucker was woof-licious!

To end the meal, Sylvia has some sweet sounding suggestions on the Ma’Plucker dessert menu all for £6.

Some of our fellow diners were obvious American Sundae lovers and were getting stuck in to the delicious looking Ma’s Sweet ‘n’ Salty Popcorn Sundae and Cornflake and Caramel Sundae. Other Americana treats include the authentic Apple and Dumplings or Homemade Strawberry Shortcake. Ma’Plucker’s cherry pie isn’t just deep filled… it is fully filled! Packed solid with sumptuously sweet black cherry filling encased in light buttery pastry cooked in a traditional American pie plate as evidenced from the beautiful crust.

Sylvia has provided in Ma’Plucker the ideal joint in the heart of Soho to stop by for a quality chicken fix, be it fried, pulled or roasted. The fact that this Southern Mama accepts small dogs as well makes it the ideal spot for those who simply can’t leave their pups at home when it comes to being out about town.

With decent prices across the menu given its location and warm welcoming staff serving Sylvia’s delights, Ma’Plucker is one of our new favourite chicken joints and Puppy Gizmo gives it a paw high ten… watch out Nando’s… Sylvia is one Sassy Mama who knows her chicken!

Ma’Plucker
75 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SS
0207 096 2046
www.maplucker.com
@maplucker

Thomas’s Café at Burberry offers calm refined elegance for any over shopped Papapreneur. It’s a spa like escape from the hustle and bustle of Regent Street just off the main thoroughfare on Vigo Street. Delivering a characteristic British, all-day dining experience, Thomas’s Café at Burberry invites diners to enjoy favourites such as the Sutton Hoo chicken salad, Bembridge lobster benedict, truffle crisps and quintessentially British afternoon tea. Thomas’s Café at Burberry embodies the British aesthetic of the Burberry brand in everything from its stylish interiors designed by The New Craftsmen to the signature dishes on the seasonal menu crafted by the chef.

Thomas Cafe at Burberry, 5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA

Named after founder Thomas Burberry, Thomas’s Café at Burberry is located across two floors of the 121 Regent Street flagship in London with a separate entrance on Vigo Street. Café style seating downstairs overlooked by large windows and the tempting Cake Table is joined by a more formal dining space upstairs in the restaurant.

Thomas Cafe at Burberry, 5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA

Thomas’s Café at Burberry serves an all-day menu of British classics, from breakfast to afternoon tea through to champagne and oysters. The ground floor café is great for grabbing a coffee or a quick bite to eat and the first floor restaurant is perfect for those looking to while away the time at a more leisurely pace.

Thomas Cafe at Burberry, 5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA

The menu at Thomas’s Café at Burberry is based on the finest seasonal produce from small farmers and artisan suppliers across Britain and showcases produce such as Secret Smokehouse Salmon, Sutton Hoo Chicken, Wye Valley asparagus and British cheeses like Cropwell Bishop, Montgomery’s Cheddar and Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire.

Thomas Cafe at Burberry, 5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA

The peaceful ambience, stylish interiors and exceptional service make Thomas’s Café at Burberry the ideal spot for working lunches, business meetings or simply a great place to share quiet conversation over a lunch with an old friend.

Thomas Cafe at Burberry, 5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA

The lobster is a popular choice with diners – juicy succulent seafood served with chips or Benedict-style with English muffin and spinach. The Irish Carlingford oysters are an indulgent option for seafood lovers dining at Thomas’s Café at Burberry.

Also popular is the quintessentially British Afternoon Tea served later in the day at Thomas’s Café at Burberry.

This great British tradition is raised to new heights with carefully crafted cakes and superb sandwiches.

As soon as we arrived for lunch at Thomas’s Café at Burberry, we were whisked up the spiral staircase to the first floor restaurant and shown to our table by the window. As we perused the menu, we indulged in a very special tea. The A’a Black Tea from Big Island Tea Garden in Hawaii might be £20 a pot but it is worth every penny and perfect for a special occasion. Reportedly only 1000 people each year have the opportunity to taste each limited edition batch.

With a smooth, complex and well-rounded flavour profile that includes all the wonderful tastes of a black tea but without any of the tannin/oxidation flavours that require you to add milk and/or sugar, you don’t even consider it with this tea! The tea was expertly offered by the waitress who instructed us how to properly prepare and drink the tea to fully appreciate the experience.

 

Carlingford Oysters were the star of the show and it’s no surprise these came highly recommended. Large, plump seafood specimens that were perfect au naturel but even better with wasabi and fresh horseradish garnish taking them up to a whole other level.

What a lovely city view. The tranquillity of Thomas’s Café at Burberry contrasts with the hustle and bustle of shoppers on Regent Street below.

Cumberland baby sausages are a great opener to the meal as were the Truffle crisps. The sausages were coated with damson jam and served with English mustard. They had excellent flavour and the wonderful damson flavour worked very well with the pork meat. The truffle crisps had a fantastic taste and crunch that worked well with the flavours of the sausages.

The Smoked haddock Scotch Egg made with quail’s eggs are coated in golden crumb with a meaty texture inside and a squidgy centre. The Dijon mustard dip complemented the meaty filling. This dish was a lovely combination of fresh flavours with the lightness from the haddock along with a luscious quail’s egg.

As the Sunday sun slipped behind some clouds, we moved on to the mains. The Fish Pie is a highly recommended dish with the perfect ratio of filling to mashed potato topping.

A very popular choice is the Lobster and chips. Simple yet delicious these lobster is so fresh you can taste the subtle sweet flavours without needing to add further dressing to the dish. Thomas’s Café at Burberry really know how to do their seafood and clearly have great British suppliers so they can offer the freshest ingredients possible.

Eggs Benedict is a great choice for those who want to add some brunch vibes. The Hollandaise sauce has a beautiful creamy texture to complement perfectly cooked eggs and wafer thin ham. Thomas’s Café at Burberry pulls out all the stops and presents fantastic food that will leave you yearning for more.

For those with a sweet tooth, the short dessert menu at Thomas’s Café at Burberry still manages to offer something to please most tastes with Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart joined by a comforting Hedgerow Pudding and the show-stopping Autumn Ice Bowl with Granny Smith apple sorbet, blackberry ice cream and shortbread.

 

Thomas’s Café at Burberry offers an elegant oasis of calm in the heart of London’s bustling West End. Every dish on the seasonal menu is a winner from the small bites all the way through to dessert. If you’re looking for refined dining and quiet sophistication, look no further than this charming café celebrating the best of British.

Thomas’s Café at Burberry
5 Vigo St, Mayfair, London W1S 3HA
020 7806 8904
uk.burberry.com/stores/thomass-cafe/
@burberry

As one of the top 200 hotels in the country, Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to escape everyday London life for the weekend and indulge in a luxurious spa break guaranteed to reinvigorate the senses. What better way to start than to arrive in style in the David Brown Speedback Silverstone Edition. We were kindly given the opportunity to drive tastefully in this £744,000 car for the day by our friends at David Brown Automotive. You can see my day with David Brown in Dadventures.

With only 10 of these handcrafted supercars built at the Silverstone, the Speedback Silverstone Edition is a rare treat of elegance and style personified – one feels the same way about Mallory Court as we stepped out of the car and crossed the charming threshold of the AA 4 red star country house hotel.

Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa is a magnificent 43 bedroom manor house hotel set in 10 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds in Leamington Spa in the heart of Warwickshire.

Not far from Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Mallory Court is charming for its understated beauty and dedicated staff.

A long-standing member of the revered Relais and Châteaux group since 1983, this country manor house cultivates British elegance down to the slightest detail, from the perfectly mown lawns to the organic herb garden and traditional herbaceous borders. This is an ideal place to restore yourself.

Mallory Court has a pedigree and history that has long been associated with the best in great hospitality.

Well established as one of the finest luxury country house hotels and restaurants in Warwickshire, Mallory Court has won a host of awards including four AA red stars for the levels of comfort and hospitality.

This alongside three AA Rosettes for the Main House Dining Room and two AA Rosettes for the art-deco inspired Brasserie restaurant.

Furthermore, Mallory Court was awarded  ‘Small Hotel Group of the Year’ at the AA Hospitality Awards 2014/15 underlining the exceptional nature of this country house hotel.

We loved our handsome accommodation in the grand Lutyen style main house.

Dining at Mallory Court is an experience to be cherished. We had a superb first class dinner in the fine dining restaurant overseen by Head Chef Paul Evans.

Speaking on his culinary approach, Chef Paul says, “My ethos is to use the best suppliers and buy the best possible ingredients. I don’t like to over manipulate food; some dishes need work but if you have great ingredients it generally just needs balancing and cooking correctly and you’ll end up with something fantastic. Then it’s just about using your knowledge and skills to take it that bit further and make it something really special.”

We started with a drink by the fire and an amuse bouche of beetroot macarons with a smoked salmon mousse and some pigs head croquettes with a lovage emulsion. This really set the scene for the evening and shortly after finishing a relaxing moment with some pre-dinner cocktails we were shown to our table.

As we settled into the dining room our first course arrived. We were presented with cured Loch Duart salmon with avocado, garden radish and fennel essence. The salmon had a rich smooth taste and the different textures of the avocado and crunchy radish kept the dish interesting with depth of flavour.

The duck liver pressing was rich in flavour and combined with the hazelnut, bramble berries, Sauternes jelly and brioche to create a tantalizing dish.

From the sky to the ocean… the day boat Cornish turbot was a testament to the quality of the British produce. The fish was beautifully cooked and was complemented by the pink fir potatoes, heirloom courgettes and champagne.

The main event was the roast loin of Bovey Castle Estate venison with sloe gin venison sauce. The venison was rich and earthy and maintained its juiciness. Another example of a well-executed dish with balanced flavours and textures from the ingredients.

The treacle tart was a classic dessert with a local twist. The treacle lay at the bottom with locally sourced yoghurt used in the damson flavoured mousse on top. The dish offered a pleasant surprise when unearthing the treacle hidden beneath the mousse.

Another delicious dessert was the raspberry bavarois served on a bed of pistachio and white chocolate with a lemon verbena ice cream. This dish is sure to please any sweet tooth and finished our meal on a high. The raspberry tartness contrasted well with the sweet and nutty flavours of the white chocolate and pistachio. This is a dish that will keep you coming back for yet another spoonful.

The next day we enjoyed the ultimate spa experience with relaxing treatments in the Elan Spa. Tucked amongst the trees in Mallory’s glorious grounds, the spa is a peaceful retreat where you can de-stress in sublime, state of the art facilities whilst gazing over the English country gardens.

Mrs Papapreneur experienced the Espa Pre Natal Face and Body Ritual – 55 minutes of relaxing treatment relieving areas prone to stress and tension during pregnancy while nourishing the skin and relaxing the mind. A prenatal back massage was followed by a nourishing facial tailored to suit my skin’s individual needs.

I enjoyed my Ila Kundalini Back Treatment – a nurturing treatment ideal for those suffering from emotional exhaustion, chronic fatigue or just plain old stress, it has an extraordinary restorative effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems using ancient marma therapy and warm herbal poultices which are massaged into the back of the body whilst sound healing and chakra balancing lift away tension. Energy is released from the base of the spine, negativity is dissolved and the body is brought back to a state of balance.

Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa is the perfect location for a relaxing spa break with award-winning destination dining from Head Chef Paul Evans and luxurious pampering at the Elan Spa. We were left enchanted by the luxury accommodation, breathtaking grounds, unobtrusive service and simply exquisite food.

Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa
Harbury Lane, Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa CV33 9QB
01926 330214
www.mallory.co.uk
@MalloryCourt @paulkevans

Behind The Wheel Of A £744,000 Iconic David Brown Speedback Silverstone Edition

When your lady asks you to accompany her to work where she has the task of driving and working with a £744,000 iconic British car, how can you say no! I can truly say this car is even more amazing in the flesh and it was a delight to see behind the scenes in their Silverstone factory.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2018, the David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition is a classically inspired, luxury and high-performance Grand Tourer for the 21st century which takes inspiration from the dawn of the jet age and classic racers from the Sixties.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

Limited to a run of only 10 production cars, Speedback Silverstone Edition is an example of bespoke British handcraftsmanship at its best. Each model is made in Britain using traditional coachbuilding techniques at David Brown Automotive’s headquarters in Silverstone.

David Brown Automotive Build Facility

Mamapreneur was privileged to be invited to the build facility for an exclusive tour with a rare chance to get behind the wheel of the Speedback Silverstone Edition driving to Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition at Mallory Court Country House Hotel

Celebrating one year since David Brown Automotive moved to its Silverstone base, the new Speedback Silverstone Edition model is honed for performance, drawing close links to the aeronautical and racing heritage of the celebrated circuit. This inspired Mamapreneur for her Power Word of the Day on Instagram.

Let’s now take a closer look at the David Brown Speedback Silverstone Edition.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

Delivering 601 horsepower with 565ft lb of torque, a 0-60mph time of 4.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph, the 5.0-litre twin-scroll supercharged V8 engine fitted to the new model makes the Speedback Silverstone Edition the most performance orientated car ever produced by David Brown Automotive. The impressive powertrain of the Speedback Silverstone Edition is mated to a six-speed ZF automatic transmission and drive is delivered through the Grand Tourer’s rear wheels for assured sports handling.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

Advancing the finely tuned Grand Tourer formula set by Speedback GT, Speedback Silverstone Edition includes an upgraded suspension system for enhanced handling and dynamics, as well as comfort, refinement and cutting-edge technological features for an on-demand, responsive and exhilarating driving experience.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

A fully automated Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, safety technologies, performance brakes and active rear differential make the Speedback Silverstone Edition a retro-inspired, driving-focused Grand Tourer for the modern age.

David Brown Automotive Build Facility

The aeronautical- and classic racing-inspired theme is clear in the visual identity of Speedback Silverstone Edition, building on the unique design language found only in each car handmade by David Brown Automotive.

David Brown Automotive Build Facility

The handcrafted aluminium body is streamlined with extended side skirts, a front spoiler and an enhanced rear diffuser, while larger side vents – badged with limited edition Speedback Silverstone Edition details – hint to the performance-enhanced powertrain beneath. Jet-inspired exhaust tips compound the race-tuned engine note and compliment the car’s performance characteristics.

David Brown Automotive Build Facility

Moving around the car – which assumes the sleek profile of a classic racer with its menacing, streamlined stance – the Speedback Silverstone Edition is fitted with unique, forged 20-inch ‘Afterburner’ bespoke designed alloy wheels. A bespoke signature pattern grille is fitted with twin LED auxiliary driving lamps, enhancing visibility and complimenting the dark ceramic LED technical headlamps and clear lens tail lights.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

Brushed chrome exterior brightware matches the ‘Fly By Night’ multi-layer metallic paintwork, finished with a subtle ‘Black Night’ fading centre stripe. Tinted rear glass and a unique monotone David Brown Automotive die-sunk enamelled, chrome-plated badging complete the aggressively styled exterior theme. Having taken up the invitation from David Brown Automotive to drive tastefully in the Speedback Silverstone Edition, Mamapreneur arrives at Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa. Like the hotel itself, this £744K supercar is elegance and style personified. Inside the cockpit, a Sixties-inspired, exquisitely brogued and embroidered interior trim befits the essence of a performance Grand Tourer. The ‘Antique’ and ‘Ebony’ leather hides are bound by contrasting tan stitching, and the Kvadrat® ‘Remix’ premium fabric further adds to the quality and aeronautical personality within the cabin.

 

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

An open-pore, scorched ‘Ebony Macassar’ wood veneer finish fades rearward, with metal inlay completing the dashboard, which features jet-inspired air vents to pay homage to the aeronautical and racing past of the Silverstone Circuit. In celebration of their home next to the iconic racing circuit, the sports seats inside the cockpit of the car are adorned with a stylised Silverstone Circuit outline embroidered into the tan leather.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

The two-seater configuration – with rear luggage storage space in the place of rear seats – features heated and adjustable sports seats. Like Speedback GT, the folding ‘event seat’ features prominently at the rear of the car with an additional bespoke stowage feature. Mamapreneur took the opportunity to try out the event seat for herself and loved how David Brown has combined practicality with pleasure.

 

The application of leather and Alcantara® extends to the steering wheel, also fitted with bespoke brushed aluminium switchgear. A brushed chrome finish is prominent around the interior. Exclusive aeronautical-inspired speedometer and tachometer dials perpetuate the legacy of Speedback Silverstone Edition.

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

The fully integrated infotainment system is another proponent to position the car as a classically styled, performance Grand Tourer in the modern age. The in-car technology package includes satellite navigation, Bluetooth® connectivity and a 7.1-channel Bowers & Wilkins® surround sound audio system. Mamapreneur looked right at home behind the wheel as she enjoys her driving experience in the Speedback Silverstone Edition.

Celebrity Life Coach Drives Speedback Silverstone Edition

David Brown, company founder and CEO, says “Ever since David Brown Automotive relocated to Silverstone, we have wanted to mark the significance of the circuit’s aeronautical and motorsport heritage. Speedback Silverstone Edition addresses our ambition on every level, as a visually stunning Grand Tourer and the most performance-focused model we have ever made.”

David Brown Automotive Speedback Silverstone Edition

“We have developed Speedback Silverstone Edition to appeal to a new customer; the driver who wants the very best in performance at all times, but still wants to retain usability and driveability in an exclusive model which still offers both comfort and luxury. The David Brown Automotive DNA is clear to see again, building on the success of Speedback GT and Mini Remastered models, while our inspiration from the heritage of the Silverstone Circuit shapes this new model as a classically-inspired performance Grand Tourer for the modern market.”

Built to order, the Speedback Silverstone Edition can be made in either left-hand or right-hand drive. Mamapreneur loved driving tastefully in this exclusive handcrafted supercar proudly made in Britain by David Brown Automotive at Silverstone.

Celebrity Life Coach Drives Speedback Silverstone Edition

Speedback Silverstone Edition is priced from £620,000*, alongside the other David Brown Automotive models that are handbuilt at the company’s Silverstone build facility. Speedback GT is priced from £520,000* and the Mini Remastered has a list price of £75,000* (*excluding taxes, duties and shipping).

For more information, please visit www.davidbrownautomotive.com

Very little knocks Bombay Brasserie off my top spot for delectable Indian dining but LaLiT’s Baluchi pleasantly surprised. Innovative, scrumptious and the only restaurant I know to do naan pairings with wine. If you haven’t tried it, put it on your 101 foods to try list, but possibly best enjoyed without Minipreneur unless they are ready for a wonderfully spiced meal.

Pan-Indian dining destination Baluchi offers dining with a difference – a taste of traditional India in the heart of London. Located in luxury boutique hotel, The LaLiT London, this is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city combining Indian culture with quintessential British charm.

The 120-year-old neo-baroque Tooley Street building used to be the home of 19th Century St. Olave’s Grammar School and the remaining architectural features such as the high ceilings and the original windows are reminiscent of the Victorian institution. Just a stone’s throw away from Tower Bridge, the hotel is discreetly tucked away in the heart of city and conveniently close to many of London’s stunning attractions and business hotspots.

At the helm of the kitchen at Baluchi, Executive Chef Santosh Shah has launched new autumn menus bringing fresh seasonal flavours and beautiful presentation to the table. Overseeing all food served at The LaLiT London, Santosh has also designed the High Chai menu of delicate dishes served for afternoon tea in The Gallery, and a new Indian street food menu on the hotel’s al fresco Terrace.

Inspired by the rich curries of the North-West Frontier, the fine dining restaurant pairs the best of international culinary concepts with the complex and innovative flavours of India, each dish rich with history and authenticity.

Chef Santosh has created refined dishes which simultaneously embrace and elevate traditional Indian ingredients and recipes synonymous with the North-West Frontier.

To begin our gastronomic journey, pre-dinner cocktails were served with Baluchi’s signature roasted poppadums.

We were delighted to try some of the new autumn dishes showcasing Santosh’s experimental signature style include salmon chatpati with avocado and mustard oil purée, radish and caramelised puffed rice.

Another delicious new dish is tandoori octopus and colocasia leaf terrine with clay oven-roasted baby potatoes, labneh, coriander chutney and puffed quinoa.

For our vegetarian friends, we recommend the tandoori celeriac with mint chutney, burnt apple gel, masala seeds, gun powder and coconut foam.

Chicken lovers will swoon over the succulent kaffir lime chicken tikka with its Thai-inspired flavours. The tandoor-roasted free range corn-fed chicken is served with cashew crumble and coriander chutney. This new take on the traditional starter dish was inspired by Chef Santosh’s last trip to Thailand.

Moving on to main dishes, Chef Santosh chose some highlights from his new autumn menu for us to try including a game season signature of venison served with quinoa khichdi, yoghurt sauce, salsify and beetroot powder.

 

We were also presented with a plate of the biggest and juicest king prawns we’ve ever seen. The tandoori prawns were full of flavour and served with samphire and sauteed spinach and moilee sauce.

Freshly baked Indian breads come straight from the dedicated Naan’ery, which stretches across the back of the lavish dining hall. Traditional Indian naans, roti, kulcha and paratha get a 21st century makeover with fillings such as potato, ceps and truffle; fig and paneer; and coconut mango. Our naans came with a surprise serving of one of Baluchi’s Founder Chairman’s favourites – tarka dal made with yellow lentils in a sauce flavoured with cumin, ginger, tomatoes and green chilli.

Another signature dish from Chef Santosh’s autumn repertoire is butter chicken. Suitable for sharing, this traditional Delhi style tandoor roasted corn-fed chicken is enrobed in a heavenly tomato and fenugreek sauce laced with the rich flavour of ghee.

The decadent desserts made by Baluchi’s talented pastry chef are not to be missed. We loved the pistachio kulfi Indian ice cream served with two of our favourite ingredients – faluda and fragrant rose syrup.

If you like cake, you will love the ginger & mint cake served with dark chocolate crumble, a fruity berry sorbet and crisp honeycomb. What a treat for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Whether you visit Baluchi for lunch or dinner, you are in for a wonderful gastronomic experience delivered in an exciting experimental style by Executive Chef Santosh Shah supported by his talented team including Chef de Cuisine Jomon Kuriakose (who recently appeared on BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef).  Baluchi is well worth a visit and will certainly live up to your culinary expectations if not exceed them.

Baluchi at The LaLiT London
181 Tooley Street, London SE1 2JR
020 3765 0000
www.thebaluchi.com/london
@BaluchiLondon @thelalitlondon

For budding papapreneurs who want to take their loved one somewhere special yet not have to rely on just the food and drink to wow, I found that places with a view never disappointed. I recently tried out Helix at the Gherkin. There was enough variety to entertain and surprise my lady including a picturesque view of London, and a tasty tipple or two for me as well.

Searcys’ iconic restaurants, Champagne bars and events have a world-renowned, long-standing reputation for quality and innovation. The first ever event caterers in the UK, founded in 1847 by John Searcy, they’ve carved out a name as brave market- leaders, launching bold, forward-thinking concepts including the original in-station Champagne bar at St Pancras, one of London’s first skyscraper restaurants, as well as cafés and restaurants in two World Heritage Sites. Their 30 plus venues across the UK, serve fresh, modern dishes that focus on sustainability, local produce and world-class service standards.

The Gherkin was the building that first changed the landscape of the new London skyline. Since then it has reasserted its architectural worth as well as its culinary credibility in the face of its new sky-high neighbours. In July 2018, Searcys at the Gherkin launched a reimagined dining and bar concept of HELIX and IRIS on levels 39 and 40 of London’s iconic Norman Foster-designed building.

The names of the restaurant and bar derive from the Gherkin’s structure itself, the helix shape which is the pinnacle of the building is an iconic sight, visible across the city. Less well known, is that when viewed from above it forms an iris shape – designed by Foster to reflect the Gherkin’s place as the eye over the city.

HELIX restaurant, located on level 39 at the iconic Gherkin offers sky-high contemporary dining at both lunch and dinner with majestic views across the city. A proud celebration of British produce in one of London’s finest landmarks, Executive Chef Daniel Loftin, previously head chef at Royal House London and Peninsula Restaurant, delivers menus that put seasonal and local produce centre stage.

Perched high above the city, this elegant, contemporary space combines big-sky views and intimate dining. Helix’s menus focus on celebrating seasonality and the best ingredients available in the British Isles, keeping Searcys’ commitment to sustainability and quality at its heart. Salmon comes directly from John Ross Jr, holders of the Queen’s warrant, in Scotland, all fruit and vegetables are sourced from the UK, and meat is locally and lovingly selected from some of the country’s finest farms.

The Dorset crab with grapefruit, soy and sesame was very flavourful and fresh. The sweetness of the crab, fruitiness of the grape and tartness of the apple were beautifully brought together by the soy and sesame sauce into probably one of the best starters I’ve had. The various flavours of the diverse components of this dish married together to create an amazing dish with its presentation as equally impressive as the taste.

Crispy pig’s head with ‘nduja, pecorino and burnt apple clearly demonstrated a mastery of both the finest British ingredients and the art of plating.

The Venison main course was beautifully presented with a lovely piece of venison. The sauce was wonderful.

Line-caught wild bass was cooked to perfection with the addition of octopus and sea vegetables adding further flavour dimension to this superb seafood dish.

The Chestnut parfait dessert had a gorgeous grouping of the many components and flavours. Light but satisfying, filled with wonderful flavours and textures. A wonderful way of ending the meal.

The Lemon tart is served in contemporary fashion with delicate meringue, sweet raspberry puree and smooth creme fraiche ice cream to create a dessert which really refreshes the palate.

Alongside the restaurant, the IRIS bar has made the epic 360° views available to the public for the very first time. Previously the site of a members-only club, IRIS is open to all and will offer an extensive cocktail menu as unique as the setting, paying homage to the London sights and neighbourhoods that can all be spied below from the Gherkin’s distinctive position.

Guests are able to reserve a space in the IRIS bar from 11am to 11pm. Searcys’ expertise in exquisite champagne, English sparkling wine and cocktails, alongside unrivalled London views, make every visit to the Iris bar a celebration. The unique cocktail menu draws inspiration from its very special view with the list overseen by Head Mixologist Federico Geniale.

Cocktails include The Little White Bird, inspired by the Kensington Gardens, with its Peter Pan associations of Violet liqueur, vanilla vodka, lychee, elderflower, lemon and English sparkling wine.

Whilst the Jack the Ripper (Mediterranean herbs vodka, beetroot juice, tomato, lemon, Worcester sauce, Mexican sauce), a dark local twist on the Bloody Mary, references Whitechapel’s most famous former visitor.

The dress code is casual elegance. HELIX lunch service is from 12pm – 2.15pm and dinner service is from 6pm – 9pm. The IRIS Bar is open from 11am to 11pm

HELIX Restaurant
Searcys at The Gherkin
30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8AP
0330 107 0816
www.searcysatthegherkin.co.uk
@SearcysGherkin

Gaucho at The O2 offers an exclusive sanctuary from the bustle of the legendary O2 arena with its stunning interior providing a haven of luxury amid the excitement at Greenwich Peninsula. Spread across three spectacular floors, the restaurant is a show-stopping combination of unique spaces. While the beautiful sunken seating area in the cocktail bar is the perfect setting for a pre-show drink, the opulent balcony lounge is an unbeatable place to soak up the energy of this iconic venue.

At Gaucho the beef is exclusively sourced solely from the Pampas, an area of Argentine lowlands famous for its fertile soil and home to rivers flowing from the Andes and seventeen types of grass. The Pampas is the perfect terroir for rearing this distinctive beef with every one of Gaucho’s steaks coming from Aberdeen-Angus cattle reared on this luscious grassland so guests will always experience the true taste of Argentina.

To ensure the highest quality meat, Gaucho remains closely involved with the cows throughout the farming process with their team of experts on the ground in Argentina having built strong relationships with some of the most accomplished beef farmers in the Pampas region who now produce livestock exclusively for Gaucho.

The farmers use modern technology, influenced by 150 years of farming history, and specific feeding stipulations. The cows they breed enjoy an organic and free-range lifestyle; roaming and feeding on the grassy plains of the Pampas.

Every cut of beef can be traced back to the farmer that reared the cow, so Gaucho know exactly where all the meat has come from. This commitment to quality allows the restaurant to produce the finest Argentine steak.

Gaucho at The O2 is located in the main O2 arena. As you arrive you can sit downstairs for a pre-dinner drink or just to sample delicious Gaucho cocktails with a friend. We were lucky enough to be dining so we jumped in the lift and made our way to the restaurant on the first floor.

The first thing you are shown upon arrival is the beautiful meat board showcasing the size and style of meat you will be trying if you are a steak lover.

As we settled in we ordered a fruity non-alcoholic drink and a whisky based cocktail called White Walker made from Roe & Co Irish whiskey, RumChata cream liqueur and Frangelico hazelnut liqueur – the perfect combination to satisfy my sweet tooth.

To start we tried the Cured Patagonian Red Prawn Tiradito with pickled cucumber, salsa verde and whipped crème fraîche. This starter is superb the raw prawns are tender and the natural sweetness explodes in your mouth with every bite. A light starter but one that is simple and well put together.

Another light dish well worth trying is the Seared Scallops which are served in the shell with blood pudding, spiced orange butter, charred orange, chorizo crumble and nasturtium. The texture and flavour of the scallops works well with the blood pudding and is not overwhelmed by the chorizo crumble.


We also tried the Buttermilk Fried Mollejas – sweetbreads coated in ají amarillo batter, pickled Guindilla chilli and a sweet and spicy saffron sauce. This dish was a real surprise the sweetbreads came as a generous size and tasted sublime. The saffron sauce with the chilli kick adds another dimension to this must-try dish.

For the main event we tried the Glazed Pork Belly with Pickled cabbage, celeriac, cider jus and crackling. As you would expect Gaucho really knows how to cook its meat. The pork was soft and tender and the cracking snapped in the mouth with firm texture but with ease.

My dining companion had the Tira De Ancho – a spiral-cut slow-grilled piece of beef steak with chimichurri. This piece of beef straight from Argentina is not just a special cut but a special treat. Soft and tender packed with flavour you won’t be disappointed.

For those looking for an indulgent treat, the Mac and Cheese with Spanish chorizo and ‘nduja is the perfect accompaniment to any main dish. The mac is soft but firm in texture and the meaty chorizo adds a delicate hint of flavour that will keep you coming back for more.

We highly recommend heading to Gaucho for your next steak fix to experience the true taste of Argentina right here in the capital!

Gaucho at The O2
Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
020 8858 7711
www.gauchorestaurants.com
@gauchogroup