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The OGGS Brazilian Navy ‘Pastel de Carne’
Photograph by Izabela Bartusik (Food and Beverage Supervisor at One Great George Street)
A little while back I wrote about the growing demand for culturally-themed menus. Following my posts, under the headings ‘World of Cuisines in my Westminster Kitchen’ and ‘Growing Appetite for Bespoke themed menus’ we are getting more requests for themed menus based on particular cultures. It is helped by the many diplomatic missions based in our locality, leading to calls from embassy PA’s and secretaries who are looking to host Westminster dining events for diplomats and other embassy employees.

Embassy bashes aren’t the only occasions where we serve up culturally-themed menus. We also do it for:

Networking events
Private Dinners
Medal Ceremonies
National Day celebrations
Independence Day anniversaries
General Assemblies

We’ve been to all kind of places on our culinary travels from our Westminster kitchen. They include:

St Lucia


Just last week we journeyed via Brazil on our way to the high profile annual ICE President’s dinner in the same week. We made Brazilian canapés and bowl food for 300 hungry sailors when we hosted the 148th anniversary of the Brazilian Navy day. I say the ‘sailor bit’ in jest as we had many high profile attendees including many naval attachés from various diplomatic missions and the Royal Navy received by Admiral Mendonça, the Brazilian Navy’s most senior representative in London and his wife.

The Brazilian Ambassador to the Court of St James’s presented military medals to seven people prior to the reception. The menu included meat pastries (Pastel de Carne) and Shrimp Bobo.

OGGS version of Shrimp Bobo - Photograph by Izabela Bartusik
Our version of Shrimp Bobo – Photograph by Izabela Bartusik
 (Food and Beverage Supervisor at One Great George Street)

Some input from our Portuguese Catering Manager, Joao came in handy. The lovely food was washed down with Caipirinhas and Guaraná; a soft drink made out of  tropical red berries from the Amazon. It’s growing in popularity here in the UK and can be found in Waitrose.

Guarana - Photograph by Izabela Bartusik
Guaraná – Photograph by Izabela Bartusik
 (Food and Beverage Supervisor at One Great George Street)


For Harshika and Jason’s wedding, we made Karahi chicken, Aubergine curry, Jeera rice, Dhal Makhani, Bhatura bread, tomato raita and Jeera Mogo served with tamarind chutney, green chilli and coriander chutney for 220 hungry wedding guests.

I hear culinary flights to Malaysia, back to Brazil and India may be on the cards soon for my team. Not a bad thing…maybe we all look a bit too relaxed in the recent photo below!

Chef and his wonderful team Photograph by Paul Dawson on our main staircase leading to the Great Hall
Chef and his wonderful team
Photograph by Paul Dawson on our main staircase leading to the Great Hall

one great george street iphone competitionI am pleased to let you know that the winner of our recent competition is ….. silence ….. drum roll ….. silence ….. Zara Brooks from Ernst & Young.

Please contact Anna as soon as possible to arrange for delivery and congratulations to you! We have another great competition in mind for quarter one 2012 so keep an eye on our Seasonal Offer page and OGGSVenue twitter account for details.

By the way, may as well take this opportunity to wish all my 2011 loyal blog followers and all our clients and friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year. Many of you would have received our Christmas e-card already if your are on our mailing list. Here it is if subscribing to our quarterly newsletter is still on your ‘to do’ list for 2011…in which case time is running out to get it done before the end of the year.

I can’t quite explain it but there is something about the nights drawing in that conjures up thoughts of the beginning of the party season. It could have been the wonderful display of pumpkins that our resident florist Mathew Dickinson had put together in the foyer that greeted me when I arrived for work one day earlier this week.

Hallowe’en is always a good excuse for a party and with the clocks changing this weekend we start to head down to that greatest party time of all…. the month of December and the run up to Christmas.

I suppose Hallowe’en has become a bigger thing in our lives over recent years with this ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’, ‘trick or treat’ import from America. I usually end up getting home too late to have to take part in the receiving end of it though. One of Chef’s many talents is vegetable carving. This is the pumpkin he carved for our Cafe Bar for Hallowe’en 2010.

This year however, he is taking his skills to a whole new level. A whopping 215lb pumpkin came delivered on its own pallet yesterday and needed more than just one strong man to move it about.

Here is the Viking boat he has been working on today which will be completed with sail and ghoul face on Monday. I think you will agree that it is a true masterpiece in the making.

It has a rather bleak and cold outlook for the weekend though. To preserve it before it goes on display for the client event in our magnificent Great Hall on Monday, it is going to be hosed down to keep it moist and wrapped in giant cling film before it sails to the cold beer storage room.
Whatever you plan to do this Hallowe’en weekend, have a good time. So I guess that here at One Great George Street, we think the answer to the question is….a bit of fun!

Just click on the map for a larger version

Like so many major cities, London is located next to a great winding river and with the sun shining (well on and off!) it is a great place to be. Water always looks so inviting in the summer and our river has over recent years become much more of a focul point in terms of living, working and leisure time. In fact, one of the highlights of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year will be a river pageant with The Sovereign’s specially constructed Royal Barge leading a flotilla of boats along the river. This will no doubt conjure up thoughts of Tudor times when the mighty Thames was in constant use as a trade and transport route. After such a long time of underuse it is so good that the Thames has once again developed an effective riverboat service. Its also great that it has been integrated into the city’s infrastructure and you can even use your Oyster card!

We have just updated the ‘How to reach us’ section on the Location’ page of our website to include details on the River Bus Service. Of course the big story at the moment for London is that we are now less than a year from the start of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games. It seems that here too the river Thames will play a big part in giving visitors a memorable ride to their Olympic event with extra river services being laid on between Westminster and Greenwich piers.
You can tell ‘Olympics fever’ has started. The countdown shown in huge numbers at the top of the BT Tower now seems meaningful and of course the recent party to unveil the Olympic Countdown Clock, only served to heighten the sense of excitement and expectation. I have to say how fantastic it is that all the permanent stadia are now complete a year out. That really says something for our ability as a world city to plan and execute such a huge project.

Westminster feels quite a focal point with Horse Guards Parade, site of the Beach Volleyball and only 5 minutes from One Great George Street set up for the Test event running at the middle of this month. According to the press, the Prime Minister is very excited about it and will have a birds eye view from 10 Downing Street.
Our own venue will becomes the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from mid June next year and registration has now opened for media. Our next door neighbours, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre has been booked by Italy and close by 45 Millbank has been booked by Georgia. All of us are members of The Westminster Collection, a collection of stand-alone venues based within the boundaries of the City of Westminster.

With so many visitors, officials and of course the athletes in town our transport infrastructure will be pushed to the limit. The inclusion therefore of the river as another travel option and the connections available from the river to other integrated modes of transport such as the DLR will be most useful. The authorities are now making available lots of information to help everyone plan their journeys within the city around and during the games themselves.

I hope that you have found some of what I have been blogging about interesting reading. If you have any comments or suggestions about this blog post or ideas for future posts, just drop me an email. Enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer I’ll be back with another post September time.

Yes I couldn’t believe it really. I know that our location is in the middle of the Capital’s political life and that means we are privileged to see quite a lot. American Presidents are usually cocooned away and with recent events, I fully expected there to be more security than ever before. But hey, ho, next thing we know….it’s Michelle Obama, sitting on our side of the street, giving us a big smile and waving with much enthusiasm as the Presidential limo purred past our side entrance in Storey’s Gate.

They were en route to Westminster Abbey where the President was due to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

When George W Bush came here on the last State Visit, he also went to Westminster Abbey via the side of our building in Storey’s Gate. On that occasion not even pedestrians were allowed to cross the road . It had the usual barricades in place to hem everyone in depending on which pavement you happened to be on and you were surrounded by an enormous amount of uniformed Police, not to mention other less obvious security forces.

Yes, of course there was a lot of extra police presence this time round. While my colleagues and I stood on our side steps waiting to wave, the ‘men in black’ were obviously eyeing us up behind their dark shades. Guess that this gave them comfort about the threat level. At no time did it feel oppressive and people were walking up and down Storey’s Gate or waiting with their cameras in the most normal way.

I am sure Michelle Obama would have loved to have her window wound down to say ‘Hi’ as she waved to our group on the way past. We understood the limits though and went back into the office in high spirits about the whole thing. For once, the general public had been allowed to get as close to the President of the United States as we are allowed to get to our own Head of State, albeit from the other side of armour plating.

Also, it was amazing how little disruption was caused to London going about its daily business. They left it to the last minute until roads were closed off or traffic stopped to allow the convoy to pass. Congratulations to the decision makers for keeping the city moving!

As we move into June, the pageantry continues as the nation celebrates The Queen’s ‘Official Birthday’ with Trooping The Colour on Horse Guards Parade this Saturday the 11th June. All this week we can hear the sounds of rehearsals and Guards marching from their barracks to the famous parade ground, just across the way from One Great George Street. There is also of course the two spectacular night-time floodlit Beating the Retreat ceremonies too. It is hard to imagine now, that only about 20 years ago, Horse Guards Parade was a car park for Civil Servants. When it was not being used for official occasions such as this of course. Be sure to look out for it next year in the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In my last blog I mentioned about Simon Watkinson, the Prince William lookalike civil engineer coming in for lunch, also on 24 May. I had in fact forgotten, not being involved on the day. So, I was a little lost for words when our Sales and Marketing Director, Wendy Greenhalgh brought Simon over to introduce me.

Simon does have an uncanny likeness to HRH and obviously chooses his wardrobe carefully. He has also learned to stand with a certain regal poise. I think I was being hesitant in not speaking before being spoken to first!

Then I read at the weekend that Prince William was taking part in the rehearsals at last Saturday’s 2nd Dress Rehearsal for Trooping The Colour. HRH was seen later that day in the Royal Box at Epsom where The Queen was running her hopeful filly, Carlton House in the Derby, but which sadly ended third. Before I might have thought he has access to great transport links, but now I’m not so sure…might have to ask Simon if he’s been near Epsom recently.

So, 24th May will be a date to remember for some time. Until we meet again…..have a good week.

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