It’s almost too much to think back to this time last year when our businesses were in disarray and things looked pretty dismal all round. On a personal level, I felt totally discombobulated, so it’s with a certain amount of disbelief that I write to you now from the fortunate position of someone with a roster of brilliant clients (many who’ve been with us for years), a host of energetic new openings, and a milestone anniversary to celebrate as Tonic marks its tenth birthday.
From the early days when the agency launched as Cottrell & Klar (we thought it sounded like a Don Draper ad agency, but nobody could ever spell it), right through to me becoming the sole owner four years ago, it’s been an extraordinary decade, and I’ve loved *nearly* every single minute.
I’m incredibly proud of so much that has happened since the launch of Tonic, but particularly the way we’ve evolved our client list to ensure it’s a representation of the hospitality businesses we truly believe in, and those we happily visit whenever we can. I’m also proud of the team I’ve built around me - many of whom have been with me for years - and our Pay It Forward campaign, which has so far raised over £6,000 for charities who provide hungry Londoners with much needed food security.
What the next ten years will bring no one can say, but what I can state for certain is that for now, I’m incredibly grateful for your interest and support to date and would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you.
Celebrating with the most brilliant team
We celebrated the anniversary in style with nibbles from Joy, Provenance Village Butcher's lamb, Arabica dips, buckets of New Press Rosé, and rounded the long afternoon off with a host of puddings from The Proof.
What a lucky bunch we are!
Now, on to the good stuff… restaurants.
This summer we’re lucky to bring to market a fantastic selection of restaurants, bars and wine shops, so get your diaries out - you're going to be busy...
This summer, critically acclaimed Chef Rohit Ghai returns to Mayfair to launch Manthan, a new Indian restaurant specialising in innovative sharing plates, cocktails and mocktails, on Maddox Street. Diners should expect dishes like a peppery Sarson chicken chop with mustard, kachumber salad and mint chutney; a robust Goat shami kebab in bone marrow sauce, and Ghai’s signature Ghati masala prawns with peanut, sesame seed and fresh coconut. There will also be a firm focus on vegetarian dishes, with nearly half of the small plates entirely meat-free. Grab a seat at the bar and try the entire menu, this is set to be one of the best new Indian restaurants in town.
This new all day and night site from the team behind The Salt Room and The Coal Shed opened in Brighton last week and is already a roaring success. Book in advance if you want to enjoy flavour-packed small plates, killer cocktails, great music (thank you Norman Cook) and an elegant, beautiful terrace yards from the seafront.
Brixton welcomes TEMAKI this week, the first sushi hand roll bar of its kind. Executive Chef Shaulan Steenson is a Japanese rice specialist and his meticulously prepared golden Uruchimai rice is at the heart of each hand roll. Go for the O Toro (fatty tuna) and Unagi (eel) rolls, and stay for the beautiful interiors, buzzy bar and stellar sakes.
Londoners can get their hands on superlative yakitori - including over 20 types of chicken skewer - when Junsei bursts onto the scene in Marylebone this month. Skewers are grilled over Binchōtan, a white Japanese oak charcoal that’s considered the purest in the world, so you know they’re going to be pretty good… Our tip is to order the omakase menu with a side of the A4 wagyu and sit at the bar to watch all the action.
Hector’s (currently open as a bottleshop), will fully open in De Beauvoir on the 22nd July. Weekdays you'll find espressos, baked goods and bocadillos and come evenings, it seamlessly morphs into the perfect spot for a glass of wine too. It will serve a short, regularly changing selection of small plates like Cantabrian anchovies soaked in olive oil with rose petals; Courgette carpaccio with fresh cheese; Salted Catalan almonds; Tins of Sardines on toast, Jamón Iberico and Pâté en croûte. There will be a concise menu of rotating bocadillos too, such as Tortilla with Spanish red peppers and Jamón con tomate. Definitely one to visit this summer!
Spotlight on: Ruth Hansom
We’re delighted to be working with Ruth Hansom, recently appointed Head Chef at The Princess of Shoreditch. A rising star of the UK food scene, 25-year-old Ruth has a lot of experience under her belt already, having spent five years at The Ritz (during which it won its Michelin star). She was also the youngest ever female chef to win the Young National Chef of the Year award, and last year, reached the finals of BBC Two’s Great British Menu. Ruth brings her classical training and refined, creative approach to the Princess of Shoreditch, with new and ambitious tasting menus in the first-floor dining room and an elevated menu of modern British pub classics and bar snacks in the downstairs pub (and don’t worry, there’s still a killer Sunday roast on offer too).
Let’s face it, we all love a good brunch, and if it’s bottomless, even better. We reckon these are some of the very best you can book in town right now...
Brunch in Brixton? We don’t need asking twice, especially when the destination is The Laundry, and especially as this gorgeous spot is now serving Peter Gordon’s famous Turkish Eggs (it’s the only place in London you can get them now that he’s back in New Zealand full time). We first met Laundry founder Mel many years ago when she worked with Peter at The Providores and Tapa Room, and we can confirm that they’re two of the most brilliant people in hospitality, and this really is *the* best way to have your eggs in the morning. Breakfast and brunch is available from 9am-3pm, Monday to Sunday.
Flesh & Buns
When it comes to weekend brunching in style, it doesn’t get much sleeker than Flesh & Buns. This super stylish Japanese Izakaya group is offering a welcome pisco sour, snacks, one flesh and bun dish and dessert with bottomless prosecco, red or white wine or lager for £59pp on Saturdays at its Oxford Circus site, while on Sundays at both Oxford Circus and Covent Garden you can get three small dishes, one flesh and bun dish and bottomless prosecco, red or white wine or lager for £39pp. Yes, we’ll be going to both.
Rosa's Thai Cafe
Bottomless brunch is now available for the very first time at Rosa's Thai Cafe Chelsea, where guests can enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless Thai PA, Chang, Rosa's fan-favourite boozy iced tea, prosecco or house wine and a two-course meal of chef Saiphin Moore's signature Thai small plates, noodles and curries for just £30pp.
Every weekend, guests can enjoy bottomless prosecco at Cocotte's Hoxton Square restaurant for just £20 (90 mins). Cocotte offers Londoners some of the very best rotisserie chicken, which remains the star of the show in brunch dish Chicken & Waffles: sweet chilli-basted chicken thigh on freshly baked croissant waffles served with Cocotte's special sauce and a fried egg.
Head to Waterloo for bottomless wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and prosecco for £35pp at laid-back and lovely Crust Bros. Not into the bubbly stuff? Get set for bottomless beer at the Crust Bros’ soon-to-launch site at Sambrook’s Brewery in Wandsworth. Bottomless sessions last 90 minutes and cost £35pp every Saturday and Sunday from 12-4.30pm.
We hope this is enough to keep you well fed and watered throughout July. See you next month when we’ll have even more delicious news to share…