Luxury Hotels


The term Mediterranean Diet was apparently coined in mid-20th century by American physiologist Ancel Keys and his wife Margaret, a biochemist. Looking for longevity, they moved to Campania, the area around Naples, where people lived and ate well, and were more likely to live to 100 or more (for the record, he made it to 100, she only reached 97).

So the Key’ key to longevity was, and is, lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables. How does this equate with gourmet dining? For instance, next Thursday, 11th  August, Akira Back at W THE PALM DUBAI kicks off fortnightly Uncorked paired dinners, composed by chef Giovanni Ledon and sommelier Irina Baeva. The menu is avocado and caviar, served with Thai basil, habanero, Oscietra caviar, and nori rice crackersfollowed by panko fried Dibba Bay oyster and king crab and sweet corn, made up of corn foam, king crab and green olive. This will be followed by yuzu sorbet and main courses – lamb chops with a red wine reduction, and wagyu short rib with salsa negra, yuzu mojo, yucca and burnt leeks. Dessert features strawberry and cream composition with a mochi veil.

Girlahead decided to keep away from gourmet and Go For Gin.  THE LANGHAM HOTEL, LONDON has a sensational, must not miss, gin tasting – see image above, and video below. Nikos from Greece is a real connoisseur: he and his fellow Artesian bar colleagues, variously from Albania, Italy and Poland, perfect their skill in a profeionally-equipped laboratory in the hotel basement (it even has a centifruge thing).

Hotel GM Bob van den Oord was also trying this for the first time. Blindfolds were on.  First smell coffee, orris, juniper and a variety of botanicals. Then take a sip of a superb Summer-special G&T, gin first, with slice of lemon, then ice, not too much, then slimline tonic, in down the side of the glass to avoid too much contact with the ice, then grind pepper over the top.

After that we moved on, to four stemmed glasses set on marked areas on white paper mats. Each glass had about an inch of gin in it. Hold a glass, do not twirl it as if it were wine, sniff long and deep, take a tiny sip. Ue the spittoon.

First, a Beefeater, a London Dry, retailing about £18 a bottle, a clean-cut gin. Next, Monkey 37, with that number of botanicals, retail price £35-45 – much more complex. Third up was family-owned Hayman’s Old Tom, a London gin described as rich, rounded and versatile in flavour with a beautiful delicate finish. Finale was Hendrick’s Gin, a London style that only use fresh botanicals.  Interestingly, this was ‘invented’, or composed, in 1999 by Lesley Gracie, a female ‘nose’ from England working for William Grant & Sons at their Girvan distillery in Scotland.

After only an hour Girlahead could well understand Nikos’ fascination for gin minutiae (it’s all in the detail, he said). And with that Girlahead and her gin-companion were offered Artesian’s Japanese and other Asian snacks but repaired, instead, to The Langham’s  pub, The Wigmore, for burrata, in honour of the Keys’ philosophy (though they would not have approved of the irresistible thick-cut chips – fries – with Bloody Mary salt).