MItigation at the mini-bar
There's nothing like alcohol to start the shaggy dog stories, but staff at the Glasgow Hilton have heard them all before. The hotel has compiled a list of top excuses used by guests who dispute their mini-bar consumption. High on the list are: I sleepwalk and didn't realise what I was drinking; I suffer from memory lapse when I'm jet-lagged; and, there must be a ghost raiding the mini-bar.
One over the eight
Eight is apparently the luckiest number in Chinese numerology, so London restaurant Ming is celebrating its eighth birthday accordingly. A one-eighth discount will be offered on food during the first eight days of August, the eighth month of the year. To qualify for the discount, diners must be born on the eighth day of any month, or be aged8, 16, 24 or any other multiple of eight. Double-eighters - those born on 8 August, aged 64 (8x8) or 88 years old -will also win a celebratory bottle. No prizes if you had to read this eight times to understand it.
Licensed to spill
Gilberto Preti, head barman at London's Dukes Hotel and reputedly the capital's best dry martini maker, has invited new James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, to drop by and try a perfect glass of his character's favourite tipple - shaken not stirred, naturally.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
The Jarvis Hotel Piccadilly in Manchester wishes it had more guests like Gerolamo Bettoni from Italy. Having forgotten to return his room key, Mr Bettoni rang from Italy to explain his mistake before posting back the key. But it was the profusely apologetic letter which most touched the hotel's staff. "It has never happened a similar thing to me, I am really sorry and while I send you the hereby alleged 1106 key by registered letter, I hope you would forgive me," it read.
You are what you wear
There are designer cocktails and there are designer cocktails. Johnny Ekperigin, co-owner of Julie's restaurant in London's Holland Park, has introduced cocktails to match his customers' clothing. Included in the new offerings are Versace, Armani and Timberland cocktails.
Keeping Yorkshire talent up north
Yorkshire chefs are making a stand against the drift south by fellow northerners looking to make a name for themselves in the kitchens of London. Around 40 chefs have banded together to form the Yorkshire Pudding Club, started by Gavin Beedham, chef at the four-star Bolton Abbey hotel, which intends to put the spotlight on local cuisine.
One man and his banana
A freelance chef with a fetish for bananas is bringing his obsession into the open. Gareth Davies, who developed his fruity interest while running a greengrocer's, has set up a banana fan club and is writing a banana recipe book. Mr Davies says the banana is a life support package for humans and points to its wide ranging appearances in, among other things, songs, shampoos and tea.
Force-feed the minister
Departing Food Minister Nicholas Soames was visibly saddened to be leaving for the Ministry of Defence at a lunch at the Savoy last week. But he soon perked up when he saw the cover of last week's Caterer, featuring army chef Lou Jones's winning dessert. Forces caterers, the way to your new minister's heart is clearly through his stomach.
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