Review: Del’Aziz, Bermondsey

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Out Of Office reviews Del’Aziz, an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant located in Bermondsey Square 

We were invited to sample Del’Aziz, located between Bermondsey and Southwark stations, following a refurbishment. The décor is stylishly Mediterranean, with plenty of Turkish-style lanterns, leather seats and wooden furniture.

We were surprised to find the restaurant, deli and bar so quiet on a Saturday evening but it is a large establishment to fill, plus it meant our waiter was extra attentive. Each branch of Del’Aziz also hosts belly dancing, live jazz and world music on a weekly basis (check the calendar), with these events attracting a good number of attendees.

On to the food… We started off with a vegetarian mezze platter featuring all the Med favourites like hummus, tzatziki and dolma. For the mains, we opted for the sea bass and the  lobster feast (£20 deal: whole lobster, or half with BBQ ribs, harissa wings, grilled chicken or gambas). For dessert we sampled a cake from the deli.

The highlight of the meal was certainly the starter – there is a lot on offer here, which is great for those not keen on Med food but we think it’s what they do best.

What? A Mediterranean bar and restaurant in a number of locations, including Bermondsey, Swiss Cottage and Clapham.

Why choose Del’Aziz? We’d recommend booking an entertainment night, ordering cocktails and mezze, and bringing your staff along for a end of quarter party. Also good for leisurely drinks and informal birthday celebrations.

Cost: ££

11 Bermondsey Square, London, SE1 3UN
020 7407 2991 / bermondsey@delaziz.co.uk
www.delaziz.co.uk

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Review: Amantia, Birmingham

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Ben Paddock reviews Amantia, a family run restaurant serving Spanish cuisine in the heart of Birmingham

A short walk up from New Street Station on Bennetts Hill, you’ll find  Amantia. This Spanish restaurant has been open for over a year serving authentic tapas and paella among other dishes.

To start we chose a mixture of tapas – Manchego cheese with fried almonds, potato and onion omelette and dates wrapped in pancetta. This turned out to be a great selection, the cheese was creamy and the sweetness of the dates combined with the pancetta was a great combo. There are enough options on this menu that you could easily have a well-varied meal on tapas alone.

For the main, we shared a seafood paella – each dish is easily enough between two. It came out in the pan and the waiter offered to serve it for us. This was a good hearty dish – plenty of rice and a good mix of mussels, salmon, prawns and calamari. We chose a red and white rioja from the wine list which was a ideal match for this dish.

Somehow we found room for dessert and opted for a traditional Spanish almond cake and chocolate torte. The almond cake was moist and had a great texture and the chocolate torte had the right level of richness. All in all this perfectly rounded off an enjoyable evening.

What? A friendly, family-run restaurant showcasing a great selection of original Spanish dishes, wine and sangria. They also have an extensive list of gin & tonic, as well as regular cocktails.

Why choose Amantia? You’ll be served by a team of people keen to show off Spain’s best dishes. You can enjoy a quick tapas lunch or take in the full works for dinner.

Cost: ££

9-10 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS
0121 643 3647 /  info@amantia.co.uk
www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk

Review: Cubana, Smithfield

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews Cubana near Farringdon Station

Cubana is lively bar, kitchen and coffee spot that has recently opened in Smithfield.

On arrival the open plan bar and kitchen was buzzing with live salsa music adding to the feel good Friday night vibe.

We kicked off our experience with cocktails – classic mojito and a strawberry daiquiri, followed by a selection of tapas and desserts. Other than the delicious cocktails, the highlights were the prawns in light tempura batter and the quirky range of ice creams (we tried banana and chilli chocolate).

Unfortunately the freshly baked artisan bread had run out so we didn’t get to sample that – clearly it’s very popular!

What? A casual bar and kitchen serving street food, cocktails and fragrant coffees. Easy to forget that you’re not on a beach in Cuba while you’re here!

Why choose Cubana? A good choice for those working in or around Farringdon if you’re looking for a casual, yet quirky, destination for lunch, dinner and/or drinks. It also makes a welcome change from the run-of-the-mill chain coffee shops in the day time.

Cost: ££

59 Charterhouse St, London EC1M 6HA
07496 327 076
www.cubana.co.uk

Review: Turntable, Chancery Lane, London

Out Of Office Magazine visits Turntable, a new bar and restaurant serving South East Asian food to the sound of soul in London

Minutes away from busy Chancery Lane is Turntable, a brand new bar and restaurant that has just opened its doors offering something different and fresh, with smooth musical nostalgia.

Entering the new location, we were taken by the sleek, black and modern décor and greeted by friendly cocktail masters with flair. Bottles were flying and in minutes we sipped our first drinks: Smooth Criminal, with Malibu, avocado and pineapple, and a Jungle Boogie, similar to a mojito with a fruity twist.

After our boozy indulgence we made our way downstairs for dinner. The downstairs is for eating, drinking and… dancing. As its namesake hints, the music is big part of the atmosphere and the DJs spin nothing but vinyl. There is also an arty display of old vinyls throughout the venue.

While chilled soul, funk and hip-hop played we were treated to an assault of flavours, chased down with Vidal Sauvignon Blanc and Septima Malbec. Our highlights had to be the Crab Fried Rice, Chicken Laska Lemak and Beef Rendang. The chocolate brownie (and a few more cocktails) rounded the night off perfectly.

What? This is a fresh bar and kitchen launched by newcomers to the restaurant trade. Born from a love of food, cocktails and music, Turntable went from dream to reality in just eight weeks. The Chancery Lane/Farringdon area has something new.

Why choose Turntable? Turntable has a welcoming atmosphere, tasty food and the crackle of a good vinyl – which, unfortunately is often very hard to find ‘these days’.

Cost: ££

7-9 Norwich Street EC4A 1EJ

020 7112 9179

www.turntable.london

Review: Center Parcs Woburn Forest

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Out Of Office Magazine visits Center Parcs Woburn Forest to review the tailor-made delegate packages on offer 

A holiday village may be somewhere usually resigned to family holidays, and yet the corporate facilities on offer at Center Parcs’ fifth and newest UK destination are truly outstanding.

It’s only an hour away from London and nestled in 365 acres of woodland, which makes it both easy to get to, and a metropolis away from the busy city and surrounding towns.

The village opened in June 2014 to leisure guests, while the conference and event facility entitled The Venue followed closely in October. Since opening its doors, it has welcomed over 6,000 delegates to events, and hosted well-known brands including Virgin Atlantic, The Body Shop and TPRG (Theo Paphitis Retail Group).

As well as tailored events and conferences, the Woburn team are particularly focused on team building, maximising the use of activities available on site.

The event space

The Venue offers theatre-style seating for up to 400 delegates, and comprises of eight individual and adaptable event suites with full vehicle access.

What is really striking about the space is the rooms are totally flexible. Whether you’re looking to hold one big award event or three medium dinners, the Woburn team can cater for your needs.

Even if your total number of attendees is higher than the maximum, they can utilise the other restaurants and spaces on site, such as the Indian Rajinda Pradesh.

No task is too big (or unusual/unique) for the team and they are very enthusiastic when it comes to working with a client to create what they want.

The accommodation

On site there are 675 forest lodges and a 75-bedroom luxury hotel.

We stayed in a lodge which was comfortable, with a good amount of space and decorated in a stylish way with modern fixtures an fittings. Those looking for indoor entertainment can upgrade to lodges with saunas, hot tubs and games rooms too.

Whether it’s a quiet, early night after a long management away day, or a more eventful evening in after a team building getaway, there is an accommodation option for all.

The activities

One of the most brilliant things about Woburn Forest is the long list of activities on offer – from rock climbing and archery, to segways and kayaking.

If you like swimming the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is a large swimming complex, with slides, a wave machine and outdoor rapids. It’s certainly not your average pool for lengths and perhaps typically more popular among the younger folk, or families.

For the less adventurous types the luxury spa Aqua Sana will give you the chance to relax and revitalise. The World of Spa features six spas with sensory rooms and will take you on a journey through fire and ice, botanic blossom, herbal infusions and more. It is regarded as one of the best spas in Europe and has a number of luxury treatments available. For us, the foot spas and the mini infinity pool were particular highlights.

The food

There is a range of food and drink available at Woburn, including well-known chains such as Strada, Café Rouge and Starbucks, plus Center Parcs’ own Huck’s American Bar and Grill, The Sports Café and The Pancake House.

For us, the highlights were the on-site Indian Rajinda Pradesh for dinner and The Shearing House for a casual lunchtime meal with homemade fish finger sandwiches.

The tried and tested comment

Hearing-aid specialist Amplifon held an all employee conference at Woburn in January. The Village was chosen for its ability to host over 350 delegates, and featured a day of presentations, workshops, a gala dinner and a team building programme.

Steve Fleming, CEO UK & Ireland, Amplifon said: “We liked the newness of Woburn Forest from an accommodation and conference facility point of view, especially as it offered more conference space than our previous venue.”

Why choose Woburn?

Whether it’s a gala dinner, an annual award ceremony, a whole company or particular department team building away day or a more formal management meeting, Woburn really can cater for your needs.

For the more formal meetings the facilities on offer mean delegates can let off some steam and go and take part in an activity, or perhaps the day after an award ceremony attendees can enjoy the spa.

For team building, the setting is perfect. It does have that holiday feel to it and will have everyone smiling and having fun.

Cost:

From £55 per person (inc. VAT) for a day delegate

Includes: Meeting room hire for the day, two-course fork buffet lunch, refreshments, access to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, car parking and wifi.

Contact: Hermione Gingell

Business Development Manager

The Venue

Center Parcs Woburn ForestFordfield Rd, MillbrookBedfordshireMK45 2HZ

01525 842928

07841 912 504

hermione.gingell@centerparcs.co.uk

www.events.centerparcs.co.uk/woburn-forest-overview