AROUND THE WORLD London

Santiago Places May 6, 2015

          

Europe

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Tom Bastok

Looking to Invest

My Art Invest, is a trading platform for art, launched in London in 2014 by a French collector who gave up his financial studies to develop it. London, he says, is “the natural place to try something that involves new ideas and new technology.”

The gallery on Commercial Street in Hoxton, will rotate exhibitions of around 30 works, in which shares are available. It opens on Thursday April 10th, with a show of street art including Banksy and Shepard Fairey, as well as more cutting edge artists such as D*Face, Katrin Fridriks and the French-born Ludo.

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Baldassare La Rizza

Cultural Mix

Baldassare La Rizza is a name that conjures up exotic  and magical ideas. A true European citizen, born in France, raised in Belgium by Sicilian parents. This mix of cultures and influences is reflected in La Rizza’s eclectic designs.

La Rizza trained at the Inchbald School of Interior Design and then served the customary apprenticehip with Alistair Colvin Limited. Now he runs Larissa.

Speaking 4 languages has enabled La Rizza to undertake many successful overseas residential projects – homes from New York to Kuwait and throughout Europe from London, Rome, Verbier and the South of France.

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Helene Darroze

A Culinary Board Game.

Going to Helene Darroze’s Michelin star restaurant is like playing a culinary board game. Guests are presented with the menu in a unique format. Each of the twelve ‘products’ are named on a marble ball made for a traditional solitaire board.

Choosing from the balls, diners select their own bespoke menu.To add variety, guests can also choose a starter or dessert of the day.

Most suppliers are from the South West of France, where Hélène grew up.

Ecologically sourced fish are a priority on the menu. For instance, the scallops hail from  pristine, ‘Class A’ waters off the Scottish coast, among the best in the world. Keltic Seafare provide extra large, eight inch scallops, which Hélène serves with tandoori flavours, carrot and citrus.

The three-course lunch menu is priced at £35. (£42 with wine). Dinner can be taken as five, seven or nine courses, priced from £88.

Japan

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Madame Buterfly

‘One fine day…’

In David Roger’s magnificant production, Madame Butterfly’s  house is perched on stilts above the shimmering surface of a Japanese water garden. No opera surpasses the tragedy and pathos of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly – a tale of unrequited love that inspired some of Puccini’s most sublime music.

The differences in attitudes and styles of east and west were skilfully woven together in this remarkable production.

Highlights are the magnificent love duet, ‘One Fine Day’, when Butterfly imagines the return of Pinkerton, her American lover, and the tragic aria at the end ,where she realises her betrayal.

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Astsuko Kudo

‘…It’s the talk of the town’

Until recently, the label Horiyoshi the Third was the big name in Japanese fashion, so called for incorporating the work of the tattoo artist of the same name.   

Now however, the new name on the block is that of Atsuko Kudo. Atsuko shot to fame when Lady Gaga discovered her in 2009 and started performing in her clothes. Other celebrities soon followed: Beyonce, Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez among others. She has also collaborated with important designers like Chalayan, Vivienne Westwood and Fendi, to name a few.

Atsuko’s influences are European haute couture combined with Hollywood Noir, which she describes as beautiful, decadent, sexy and glamourous. The material she works with is exclusively latex, creating collections to be worn in nightclubs, salons and bedrooms.

Great Britain

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Waterloo

‘…It was a damn close run thing’

Windsor Castle (to the west of London) is hosting a new exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo – bringing to life the 10 hours of fighting on whose outcome the whole future of Europe depended. It marked the final defeat of Napoleon. But, as Wellington once admitted, “ It was a damn close run thing!”

The exhibition includes paintings by contemporary battlefield artists, the equivalent of today’s war photographers. There’s also a fascinating copy of a diary kept by Admiral Cockburn, who took Napoleon to his final exile on St Helena aboard HMS Northumberland, in which he reports asking Napoleon if he really intended to invade Britain.

One of the more remarkable exhibits is Napoleon’s cloak, captured from the defeated emperor’s baggage train as it fled the battlefield.

MEAT FRUIT

Mandarin Oriental

Devouring History

The name Dinner does not immediately reveal the delights of this Knightsbridge restaurant run by Ashley Palmer-Watts on behalf of Heston Blumenthal.

Blumenthal’s journey of exploration began when he met Richard Fitch and Marc Meltonville, two food historians at Hampton Court Palace (which once dedicated no less than 50 rooms solely to the art of cooking!)

The result is a light-touch, interactive tour through history that filters Britain’s gastronomic past – unearthing dishes that date back to the 14th century – but making full use of modern techniques and flavours.

The Meat Fruit Loaf, a main feature of the restaurant’s starter menu, is an excellent example of this alchemy. The dish itself was first devised for Blumenthal’s Channel 4 show – Feast. Dating back to the 16th century, it has become one of Dinner’s signature dishes. Slice into what appears to be a mandarin, and you discover it is a ball of chicken liver parfait coated with a stunningly realistic peel of mandarin-flavoured gel.

There is also a Chef’s Table comprising eight courses

Russia

Hot chocolate - with truffles and chocolate

Alexeeva & Jones

‘…Simple pleasures are the last resort of the complicated.’

Previously a top marketing director for a European car company, Gareth has decided he prefers the smaller luxuries: chocolate.  His Russian wife, Natalia Alexeeva, is the second contributor to the shop’s name.

The couple met up in Moscow, where they hatched their plan to open a chocolate shop to stock artisan chocolate that is hard to find outside their country of origin.

Currently, there is a house selection by Natalie, plus chocolates from Davenport’s, Franck Daubos, Centho, Beschle and British chocolatiers Paul Wayne Gregory Iain Burnett and Damian Allsop, whose ganaches, based on water, have intense flavours – raspberry, hazelnut, coffee and other traditional flavors.

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The Russian Ballet

‘…Flight performed by the soul’

(Pushkin)

The 10th anniversary Russian Ballet Gala is a multimedia experience by living masters celebrating the life and art of the greatest performers of the Russian Ballet

‘Flight performed by the soul ‘is how Alexander Pushkin described Russian ballet, whilst speaking of contemporary ballerina Evdokia Istomina in Eugene Onegin.

Through the decades, Russian ballet has captivated audiences worldwide, with mesmerizing performances by dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Fokin, Leonid Myasin, Bronis lawa Nijinskaya, Vazlav Nijinsky, and George Balanchin. And of course, the sensational Ballets Russes of Sergey Diaghilev have passed into the annals of ballet history.

Gala 2015 featurea significant excerpts from the Russian classical repertoire, alongside masterpieces created by the top choreographers of our time – all of whom acknowledge their debt to the aesthetics of Russian ballet.

In London,  the performance included contributions by Andre Bezard, Frederico Bonelli, Alexander Cambell, Alina Cojocaru and Dorothee Gilbert. They were supported by various performers chosen from a large number of dance troupes including those of the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, ballets of the Grand Opera Paris, Berlin Staatsoper, New York City Ballet and, finally, the Ballet of Monte Carlo.

India

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The story of Dara

Jealousy and intrigue

The story of Dara, recently produced at the National theatre, is one that begins thousands of miles away from the concrete jungle of London’s South  Bank.

It dramatises the true story of Shah Jehan, the Mughal emperor who built the TAJ MAHAL. It describes a struggle for power, and the rivalry of his two sons over who should succeed him – the radical elder son Aurangzeb or the liberal younger brother, Dara Shikoh.

The process of collaboration between Pakistani playwrite, Shahid Nadeem, his theatre company Ajoka, and the National, took four years to complete.

The play is a first for the National, which has never previously taken an original south Asian production and both translated and adapted it for a British audience.

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Gymkhana

Cheltenham on the roof of the world

With its retro ceiling fans, marble table-tops, and yesteryear photos of polo and cricketing triumphs, Gymkhana has the look and feel of an Anglo-Indian club in Simla – once famously described by Malcolm Muggeridge as ‘Cheltenham on the roof of the world’.

Sethi, the owner, lays on a splendid spread of modern Indian dishes based on regional masalas and marinades. Her daughter, Sunaina Sethi was one of thirty award winners in the world under thirty sommelier contest, 2012.

As for the food, game lovers are well looked after with  mountjac biriani, fried peppered partridge, and roe deer cooked with pickling spices. Tandoori-seared guineafowl breast boasts a mellow, mustardy smokiness, enhanced by toasted sesame seeds – making a tasty contrast to herb scented potato straws, tossed with tongue-tingling chopped green mangoes.

Gymkhana was nominated Restaurant of the year in 2014.

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