Author: Joanne Jenkins

Head Over Hills Luxury Retreat: stunning views and a £50,000 bed – Knysna, ZA

What Head Over Hills is a 5* luxury retreat situated along the Garden Route of South Africa. Experience Despite spending 8 weeks working at a state hospital in Cape Town, it would be a lie to say that the last few months have been in any way stressful. Joe and I are absolutely in love with South Africa and have enjoyed treating ourselves to all of the delights that this incredibly beautiful country has to offer. These treats are largely focused around the themes of eating and drinking, relaxing and having a great time. So with these aims in mind, we decided to spend our final two weeks in South Africa travelling along the Garden Route with various stops along the way. The Garden Route is essentially the N2 highway which starts in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, and meanders 800km along the coast to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. However, this is no motorway as we know it. Along its course the road travels past some of the most beautiful beaches in the …

A Lazy Lunch at La Belle, Constantia – ZA

What Lunch at La Belle Where La Belle, Alphen Hotel, Constantia Cape Town 7848 Experience On Thursday we headed for lunch at La Belle, part of the Alphen Hotel in Constantia. Despite staying fairly nearby in Observatory, we hadn’t been to Constantia before and we were pleasantly surprised by how lovely it was. This side of Table Mountain is much lusher, and the drive down oak-lined streets took us past several stately homes and long driveways. We weren’t surprised to learn that Constantia is the home of old money in Cape Town. Accordingly, the Alphen Hotel is steeped in history. Originally part of Groote Constantia wine estate, one of the first wineries in the region, guests have apparently included Captain James Cook and Mark Twain. Now that is old. The property is incredibly beautiful, with classic green and white Cape Dutch buildings nestled beneath enormous old Oak Trees and, unsurprisingly, was very busy.  We were there for a mid week lunch and it was absolutely packed with other diners sipping on large glasses of local wine. The …

Opulent Perfection at Delaire Graff – ZA

What Lunch and wine at Delaire Graff Estate. Where Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch,  South Africa Experience After an incredible mini holiday to Cederberg National Park, we decided to counterbalance our time out in the wilderness by stopping off in Stellenbosch for a few days of indulgence. Surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch is the epicentre of the South African wine industry and you are spoilt for choice with lavish scenery and luxurious wine tasting tours. Since arriving in Cape Town, more than a few people have told us that Delaire Graff wine estate is a place to be experienced at least once, so we decided to go there and see. Finally getting into Stellenbosch at about 10pm, we continued driving along the stunning Helshoogte Mountain Pass towards Farm France, our home for the night. We hadn’t quite realised that we would be driving straight past tomorrow’s lunch destination, but it was impossible to miss it. Set back into the hills, the entrance to the estate is impressively landscaped and lights up the …

Made of Dough at Market Yard Kitchen

 What Made of Dough will be serving their Neapolitan style pizza at Market Yard Kitchen until 15th May 2016. Where Mark Yard Kitchen in Shepherd’s Bush. Experience I somehow haven’t managed to make it down to Made of Dough in Pop Brixton, despite hearing great things about their pizza (winners of the 2015 London Pizza Festival, no less!), so I was pretty excited to head down to the opening of their six-week residency at Market Yard Kitchen. If anything was going to convince me to drag my sorry ass all the way from Hackney Wick to Shepherd’s Bush, then the promise of home made Neapolitan pizza and cocktails would more than do it. And we were not disappointed. Market Yard Kitchen have set up a dreamily lit and cosily heated outdoor space that is just perfect for these early spring nights when you want to eat outside because it’s actually light when you leave work but still, tediously, absolutely bloody freezing. The menu is short but effective, with five pizzas combining the thick yet blisteringly crisp Neapolitan …

A Cocktail Party in the City

What Cocktails in the City, where twenty of London’s most innovative cocktail bars throw a three day cocktail party! Where One Mayfair Experience I’ve heard amazing things about Cocktails in the city from people who went to their summer event last year. From what I’ve gathered, the idea is to round up as many of London’s top cocktail mixologists under one roof so that people like you and me can enjoy maximal amount of cocktails for minimal effort. What’s not to love about that? After a pretty long week at work and a sneaky lunch time google image search of the rather fancy One Mayfair where the event was being held, Joe and I were ready to go. The venue, formerly St Mark’s Church and now a Grade I listed building, was an impressive setting for some of the best cocktail makers in London, including Reverend JW Simpson, The Alchemist and City Social, who were joined this year by some equally innovative bars from Amsterdam and Paris. Split over four floors, the heated and fur …

Rev JW Simpson Spirited Sermons: Best of British Gin

What A night of gin tasting and cocktail making with Tarquin’s gin of North Cornwall Where Reverend JW Simpson, 32 Goodge Street, W1T 2QJ Experience Tonight was a special night because it was the first time I had seen Sarah (Food for Think leader) since she left us for a much sunnier Australian climate, almost a year and a half ago! And what better way to celebrate her returning exactly the same shade of pale as when she left, than by drinking loads of straight Cornish gin. We got to Rev JW Simpson, a super stylish basement bar on Goodge Street (and one of my favourites), at around 7pm and were greeted by very affable staff who seated us in a cosy corner and walked us through the itinerary for the evening. Southwestern distillery, made famous by Tarquin’s gin and pastis, had pitched up to allow a group of gin enthusiasts to indulge in an array of cocktails, attempt some mixology and learn about the history of what is undoubtedly one of the more intriguing alcohol …

The Art of Japanese Whisky with Suntory Whisky

What A night of Japanese whisky tasting and ice carving Where The Hollywood Arms in Chelsea Experience  The prospect of trying some Japanese whiskies on top of learning some traditional ice carving skills was too much for me to pass over. What a party trick! I imagined that this would be an absolute game changer for my social life. We turned up at the Hollywood Arms a bit late as I’d had to take Joe to the pub next door for some warm up drinks. He hates whisky so needed a few beers before he could even consider drinking it straight. He was purely in it for the ice carving and, I suspect, has dreams of us going pro. The tasting was held in the upstairs room, where our host was ready and waiting with a couple of high balls and a Power Point. Just my kind of thing. Our charming teacher explained, and demonstrated with pictures, how, in 1923, the founder of the Suntory distillery began his journey to create a Japanese whisky that, …