British Sparkler Beats Champagnes in Wine Challenge: Food Buzz

London Chefs and Food Writers
London chefs and food writers attend an Action Against Hunger breakfast at Le Coq d'Argent in London. Back row from left, Peter Harden, Marcus Wareing, Cyrus Todiwala, Mickael Weiss, Charles Campion, Vivek Singh, Tristan Welch. Front row from left, Oliver Rowe, Giorgio Locatelli, Raymond Blanc, Jun Tanaka and Francesco Mazzei. Source: AAH via Bloomberg

An English sparkling wine beat five Champagnes last night to take first place in the 2010 Decanter World Wine Awards at the Royal Opera House in London.

RidgeView Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs, Sussex 2006, triumphed over Taittinger Prelude Grands Crus; Heidsieck Millesime 2000, Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1985, Thienot Brut Rose and Charles Heidsieck Rose Millesime 1999 to take the international trophy. The current 2007 vintage of the RidgeView retails for 21.95 pounds ($33.80).

The biggest surprise of the night occurred when an Israeli winemaker took the prize for Red Rhone Varietals. Carmel Winery in Upper Galilee beat better-known producers of Syrah with its Kayoumi Single Vineyard Shiraz 2008.

Jason Atherton, the chef who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay, has pushed back the opening of his own restaurant in London’s Mayfair. Pollen Street Social was originally scheduled to welcome diners in early December and now won’t open before the end of January following planning delays. “The builders start work on Sept. 27 and I just can’t wait to get in there,” Atherton said yesterday. “Each day, I’m planning the menus and thinking about what I’m going to do. I’m very excited.”

Wolseley owners Chris Corbin and Jeremy King may open a restaurant atop the Pinnacle, the 63-story tower under construction on London’s Bishopsgate. “It’s a wonderful site,” King said in a telephone interview. “The design is thoughtful and it would make a great restaurant.” He confirmed that he and his business partner are interested in the space but declined to say if they had signed a contract.

Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing and other culinary masters converged on Coq d’Argent yesterday for a charity breakfast in aid of Action Against Hunger. Customers paid just 1 pound for their smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with coffee, plus a voluntary contribution to the Fight Hunger/Eat Out campaign. The other chefs included Giorgio Locatelli (Locanda Locatelli), Francesco Mazzei (L’Anima), Oliver Rowe (ex-Konstam), Vivek Singh (Cinnamon Kitchen), Cyrus Todiwala (Cafe Spice Namaste), Jun Tanaka (Pearl) and Tristan Welch (Launceston Place). Blanc, who suffered multiple fractures to his leg in a fall last March was looking almost sprightly, though he’s still using a cane.

Anise at the Cinnamon Kitchen is holding a fashion-and-beauty evening on Sept. 15 before London Fashion Week, which runs from Sept. 17 to 22. Guests are invited to enjoy free advice, mini-makeovers and discounts on products, sustained by a cocktail and canapes. Benefit Cosmetics, Karine Jackson Hair and Beauty, Rush Hair Salon and Apartment C lingerie will be among those taking part. (I see from the Apartment C website that the brand is about hanging out in your knickers and drinking gin. Works for me.) If you would like to attend, message A previous event was oversubscribed, so don’t delay if you fancy it.

The Light Bar in St. Martins Lane hotel has a “Front Row” cocktail list to celebrate fashion week. If the place is anything like it used to be when I was a regular, it’s a natural habitat for models. The Trafalgar hotel is serving a Taste the Trends collections of cocktails and desserts in its Rockwell bar and Aqua Kyoto promises London’s healthiest bento box. Good to see everyone pulling together in a good cause.

The Foodlovers Market on Rupert Street in Soho should be a good place to buy oysters on Saturday. Rossmore Oysters will be supplying Loch Ryan Native Oysters following the start yesterday of the native season.

Hel Yes!, a two-week celebration of food and design from Helsinki, starts on Sept. 15. I’ve felt a special bond with Finland since former President Jacques Chirac of France rubbished both our cuisines. If you feel like a fix of mushroom hash and poached egg, click here for information: Hyvaa ruokahalua!

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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