There are few better ways to start a weekend in London than checking into the W Hotel in Leicester Square and kicking things off with a couple of cocktails in the recently renovated Perception Bar.
The open plan setting of our magnificently modern room, with a counter making up the centre piece of the room with the large bed situated in the second half, felt much like a studio apartment.
The interior of the bar is somehow more spectacular but the design is not unified throughout. Inspired by the “the vibrant plurality of the Londoner” the various sections, each gloriously chic in their own right, showcase “the dark and the light, the playful and the serious, the substance and the sparkle, the bold and the witty”.
We then strolled through the streets towards Waterloo where we hopped on the Thames Clipper river boat.
The ride along the river took us past London’s iconic sights, including Big Ben, the London Eye, Tate Modern and London Bridge before reaching Greenwich.
A big highlight in the area at the moment is DC Exhibition: Dawn of Superheroes.
It features more than 200 original comic pages, around 300 preparatory sketches and concept artworks for the cinema, together with 45 original costumes, models and props used in the iconic films.
Fans visiting DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes will be able to walk through the exhibition, which runs in chronological order, with each room offering guests a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the mythical DC Universe. Featuring artwork of Super Heroes and Super-Villains such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, The Penguin and Mr. Freeze, the Exhibition will bring fans closer to the world’s most iconic characters.
We spent the evening at Craft London, a bar and restaurant opened by chef, author, food writer and TV presenter Stevie Parle in 2015.
The focus is on quality in production, collaborating with modern experts, fanatics and obsessives, to craft world-class products. This includes activities as diverse as the roasting of coffee, smoking of fish, bee keeping, meat curing, fermentation of vegetables and the creation of a contemporary kitchen garden.
There is an a la carte menu as well as an ambitious 6 course menu (£55) and a shorter 4 course menu (£35). From the a la carte menu expect snacks such as cauliflower, carrot & turnip brine pickles with salted yoghurt, created by pickle mad Sous Chef Elliot Thomas who has worked with Stevie for many years; and cured English lop, fennel sausage & English mustard made in the in-house curing room.
Starters featured include smoked & grilled eel, treacle, malt vinegar & brine-pickled leek and chopped raw Devon beef fillet, Jerusalem artichoke & potato crisp and for mains Devon beef sirloin, bone marrow bread sauce & watercress and seabass, cultured butter & young vegetables. Desserts at Craft London shine too with cox apples, flax seed, toffee, cultured cream & brown butter ice cream offered alongside British cheese and other sweet delights.
Craft London’s wine list is taken care of by Ruth Spivey and it stood out magnificently, each wine presented was impeccably paired. In keeping with Craft London’s focus on produce and production, Ruth has chosen wines made authentically by quality driven winemakers.
The cocktail bar at Craft London is a destination in its own right, with a great outdoor terrace and a view of the Greenwich Peninsula Garden’s meadow, orchard, smoke house and bee hives, as well as the Thames and Canary Wharf. The drinks have the same ethos as the rest of the project and this was clear from our introductory cocktail masterclass before dinner.
I arrived a fan of whiskey, but not an old fashioned. However, after making our own and understanding the detailed essences of it’s creation I left with a change of heart.
We also learnt how to whip up our own egg white cocktails, something I would have been nervous to do independently but have done frequently since.
The preference at Craft London is always for hand made products created in-house or by people that Craft London know well. The list focuses on sourcing small batch British products like fruit liquors from Wiltshire and Cider Brandy from Julian Temperley, alongside a huge collection of British gin and great whisky.