Today’s ITV News carried a bit of a scare story about London’s bee population – apparently due to the unusual weather patterns across the capital during the summer, the output of honey from London’s hives is down three quarters to 5.6lb of honey per hive per year.
What that fact actually reveals is that, surprisingly, London is full of bee hives – they’re everywhere if you know where to look. I recently chatted to the apiarist at the Museum of the Order of St John about their three hives, Capital Bee maintains hives in Greenwich Park, the local university and in Brockley, and legal firm Eversheds also has three hives on the roof of their Wood St headquarters in the City.
Probably the most effective use of honey in the capital is made by St. Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster. They keep 200,000 bees originating from Buckfast Abbey. These hybrid honey bees occupy six hives on the roof of the hotel and no doubt take advantage of all of the flowering plants that are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel in St. James Park. Their output goes into the production of an St. Ermin’s Brand honey as well as being used by the hotel’s restaurant the Caxton Grill, and also finds its way into cocktails prepared at the hotel’s bar.
The Caxton Grill, St. Ermin’s restaurant, ran a ‘Honey Month’ in September where most of the dishes included honey as an ingredient. Throughout the year honey is a key component of what the Caxton Grill offers, so it’s worth asking your waiter or waitress if you want to sample something that has had the touch of the Caxton bees. Food prepared at the Caxton Grill also uses the Josper Grill – it is one of a handful of restaurants that uses this unique cooking method, which imparts a distinctive charcoal hint to meat and fish prepared on it.
A staple of London’s fashionable hotels, St Ermin’s Hotel also offers the perennially fashionable high tea for guests and visitors – an assortment of finger sandwiches, scones, tarts and cakes accompanied by the finest teas. Their special Honey Afternoon Tea includes honey Bakewell tarts, goat’s cheese and honey mille-feuille, honey and caramel mousse, and there’s also a 1.05oz jar of St Ermin’s own honey for you to take home.
The Caxton Grill should be at the top of your list of choices as a venue for that business lunch ‘to impress’ or a special romantic meal – executive chef Hus Vedat (ex-Fat Duck and the Haymarket Hotel) offers some of the best food to be had in London in one of the city’s most stylish restaurants, and of course they also have a unique selling point – their Caxton bees…
St. Ermin’s Hotel can be found at 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H 0QW or reached on 020 72227888.
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