Overtones of fag ash with a hint of polish The European Catering Association's Ready, Steady, Cook event attracted a record attendance in London last week, but the decision to award Avenance third place was controversial for some. Our man with eyes in the back of his head says Avenance's chicken dish fell on the floor seconds before it was offered up for tasting. But that didn't put off judge Andrew Turner, executive chef at the Bentley hotel, who said the chicken's contact with the floor gave it a certain "je ne sais quoi".
Monday blues? Stuff your face for half-price Is Monday set to become the new Saturday night? Variable pricing, which is common practice among airlines and hotels, has been adopted by Sugar Reef restaurant and bar in London. The earlier in the week you eat, the less you splash out. On Mondays, customers will pay £6 for a main course, it's £8 on Wednesdays, and the price rises to its true value of £12 on a Saturday night.
Room service? Could you bring me a naked chef?
If you forgot to pack a good book for your travels, a London hotel has come up with a novel service. The 230-room De Vere Cavendish St James's has teamed up with the Piccadilly branch of Waterstone's, which claims to be Europe's biggest bookshop, to deliver requested titles to your room within minutes. Frequent corporate guests may find something suitable in their rooms without even asking. Staff will try to identify regular customers' favourite authors and have one of the latest titles waiting for them.
We said "poor turnover", not "pear turnovers"
Waiters, cooks, and regulars of one of the most popular bohemian cafés in the Serbian capital Belgrade have joined forces to keep their beloved hang-out in business. For decades the Sumatovac café-restaurant has been a hot spot for musicians, journalists, writers and artists. Then rumours started flying that its owner, the Madera restaurant chain, wanted to transform Sumatovac into a fancy pastry shop. So when Madera announced that the café would be closed for "renovations", customers took the extraordinary step of barricading themselves inside. The owners have dismissed customers' fears, saying the renovations are necessary to prevent the restaurant's losses of nearly £30,000 a year.