Revisited: Counter, Vauxhall Arches

Out Of Office Magazine was invited back to Counter,  a bar and brasserie nestled under the railway arches at Vauxhall station, try the new menu 

Counter changes its menu regularly so we were delighted to be invited back almost a year on from our first visit.

To kick of our experience we opted for two contrasting, yet equally delicious, cocktails – Chinapolitan consisting of zubrowka vodkka, sweet lychee and lime, and the Central Park, a Jim Bean Double Oak and apricot mix. Note that Happy Hour runs from 5-7pm every day with a good selection of cocktails, wines and beers.

On to the food… For starters we had the scallops with boudin noir AKA black pudding. Although known as blood sausage this recipe bears no resemblance to it usual solid consistency, in fact it’s smooth and creamy, and paired perfectly with the shellfish. We also shared a charcuterie board, before embarking on a chateaubriand board for two.

The steak was accompanied with chips, potato dauphinoise, portobello mushrooms and stuffed tomatoes. It was cooked perfectly (medium rare), while the mushrooms and potato dauphinoise were the perfect sidekicks. But… although the chips were delicious it put our carb count up a bit much and the mince-stuffed tomatoes were too rich and filling for this meal.

While we feeling rather full, we seldom can resist a dessert and opted for the chocolate fondant with an orange sorbet.  A deep and tangy mix, it was worth the 15-minute wait.

All in all, we were thrilled to  return to this modern brasserie and would recommend it for staff or clients drinks, dinners, meetings or functions.

What? An independent restaurant serving  flavoursome food, a wide selections of wine and cocktails. They also have private hire options.

Why choose Counter? Those who appreciate architecture and good food will feel at home here. We’re also thrilled to say the restaurant is  a much better temperature than last time, so no jumpers needed!

Cost: ££

Arch 50, 7-11 South Lambeth Place, London SW8 1SP
020 3693 9600
www.counterrestaurants.com

 

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Review: Momentum Ski Festival 2014

Momentum Ski Festival 2014 review

Out Of Office Magazine reviews The City Ski Championships at the Momentum Ski Festival 2014, and gives you the 2015 dates for your diary

The Momentum Ski Festival took place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, from Thursday 13 March to Sunday 16, 2014. The event also included the Financial Times Alpine Business Forum.

This year’s festival saw 250 people taking part in racing at the 15th City Ski Championships, debating at the FT Alpine Business Forum, and taking part in a full compliment of après-ski events featuring fantastic bands.

There was a fantastic mix of attendees. There were business leaders there to networking and getting to know clients, groups of staff taking full advantage of a great incentive while building bonds with colleagues, and sponsor businesses building connections with the event and other businesses in attendance.

The history 

The Momentum Ski Festival was founded by Loredana Barindelli and Amin Momen in 1996. They have experience in the ski industry dating back to 1986 – and believed passionately that they could offer their corporate clients a complete service with maximum flexibility. We certainly agree here at OOO.

The location

The festival takes place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, a few hours away from Geneva and Zurich Airports by train or car.

Crans boasts some of the most breath-taking views of the alps, from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. It’s south facing so it gets plenty of sun too. This can make the snow a little soft at the bottom of the mountain – so we found that it was worth getting out on the piste early before the snow gets soft.

There is a whole host of great restaurants, bars and hotels to choose form as well. It’s no wonder the Momentum Ski Festival keeps returning to this location!

The music 

14 Carat Grapefruit and The Elements kicked off a full programme of après-ski events on the Thursday evening. Friday early evening featured 29 Fingers, then Saxmaniax on the Saturday.

After the awards ceremony on the last night Rick Parfitt jnr. – son of Status Quo’s singer/guitarist – made sure the dance floor stayed packed by playing hits from Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll to Black Eyed Peas’ I gotta Feeling. After the encores DJ Ibba lead the party into the early hours of the morning.

The racing

The competition kicked off on the Friday under a beautiful blue sky with the slopes in good condition for the Radar Trap event. One at a time, competitors pushed off from the start hut with the sole aim of recording the fastest speed.

A crack team of Montana Ski School instructors were on hand in the afternoon, offering racing tips before the start of the legendary Accenture Dual Slalom. Teams of four battled it out on the Nationale piste, normally a testing World Cup track for such champions as Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the course spectators looked on while they enjoyed a superb lunch of raclette washed down with local Swiss Valais wines.

As Saturday arrived, so did the big race – the individual giant slalom sponsored by JEANRICHARD and Snow+Rock.

For those that didn’t compete in the races and wanted to improve their technique (like us) you are free to ski before, during and after the races and carve out your own path on the piste. I preferred heading up to the glacier early, then finding my way down to the Nationale to watch a spot of racing while eating lunch, before heading off the après ski in the late afternoon. However, it’s worth noting that no mater what level you are, you are encouraged to race. We’ve promised to compete next time!

The debating

Even though it was mostly skiing, partying and informal networking there was also the Alpine Business Forum, run in association with the FT.

Hosted by FT Weekend Magazine Deputy Editor, Ravi Mattu, 2014‘s discussion topic was ‘The New World Of Work (A Brave New World?)’.

On the panel was the Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams MBE, as well as acclaimed author Robyn Scott, author and researcher Marc de Rond, and Bruno Grande – COO of JEANRICHARD.

Over 70 delegates packed the conference room for the absorbing session at the Hotel de l’Etrier.

The big finale

The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on the Saturday at Centre Le Regent was a great finale to a fun, action-packed three days of skiing and networking.

After spending the previous two days of racing commentating live from the slopes, BBC broadcaster Matt Chilton returned to host the awards.

Momentum Ski founder Amin Momen celebrated another successful event, announcing his delight in more than £7000 raised in charitable donations for Borne.

We asked founder Amin why the event is good for staff incentives and networking.

He said: “The Championships is a great experience for racers of all levels, you can organise your own race too. Accenture have its own competition.

“The festival gives you the chance to get quality face time with your colleagues or clients, while you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery.

“People are very approachable and you can mix with your colleagues, other businesses; like suppliers, and there is a real mix of sectors too.”

We would highly recommend this event to any business looking to make new connections and contacts or as a staff incentive. It is the perfect package to offer staff as a bonus, or invite a group of clients. And if you’ve never been skiing before it’s a great place to learn. You can organise lessons and attend the clinics to perfect your technique, or if you prefer something quieter then there are plenty of spas, shops and bars too.

Next year’s event takes place from the 12 to the 15 March 2015

Book now to avoid disappointment

Book here: momentumski.com/festival/book

Partners: Financial Times, Accenture, JEANRICHARD, Snow+Rock, Borne, Dare 2b, RKHHarrison, Cavendish Ware, Crans Montana, Valais Tourism, College Group, Valet Alpin, Taking the Piste and Switzerland Tourism. Travel partners: Swiss, Zurich Airport, Swiss Travel System, Europcar, Swisscom, and American Express.