Hakkasan on Bruton Street in Mayfair has to be one of Lorna and I’s absolute favourite Chinese restaurants to visit whenever we are in London.

We try and go to Hakkasan at least a handful of times a year, depending on wherever our travels take us in the world; whether that is business related, or visiting our non-London based children and grandchildren in Australia and New York.

NormanPeiresHakkasanWe love Hakkasan’s traditional interiors, the friendly atmosphere and their ever-changing amazing selection of modern Cantonese cuisine.

Hakkasan’s Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee creates completely unique and inventive dishes for Hakkasan, which means there’s always a fantastic new selection of foods to try every time we visit.  Our personal favourites so far have been the steamed New Zealand mini lobster, the seabass and the black truffle roast duck.

NormanPeiresHakkasanSeabassAnother of our favourite Mayfair restaurants is Apsleys; a Venetian-style dining room at The Lanesborough hotel, which I’ve actually already written about here.

On our first visit to Hakkasan Mayfair, it was immediately clear to us why they were awarded a Michelin star within their first year of opening in 2011, and has maintained it ever since by their creative and frequent reinvention of the selection of modern dishes available on their menu.

We really love good food, and other than spending time with our family or traveling, there is nothing we enjoy more than dining at restaurants that deliver both excellent food and service.

Hakkasan is great for both meals and drinks, and for non-drinkers, it may be worth noting that they also offer a delicious mocktail list.

We were thrilled to discover both Hakkasan Mayfair and Hakkasan Hanway Place were featured in The best 50 restaurants in London in January 2015, based on reviews by foodies.  We are looking forward to visiting all of the featured restaurants listed here that we are yet to experience.

If you have visited Hakkasan Mayfair or Hanway Place, we’d love to hear about your experience and hear what your favourites were from their amazing menu.

Our favourite places: Beaulieu, France

Last week, Lorna and I were really excited to return to one of our favorite places in the world. Beaulieu is a beautiful seaside village that we really love situated on the French Riviera between Nice and Monaco.

Beautiful beach in Beaulieu, France

Beautiful beach in Beaulieu, France

Beaulieu is famous as one of the most picturesque villages on the French Mediterranean coast with excellent marina facilities. We love visiting Beaulieu, and having the opportunity to spend time on our beautiful boat there. There’s no place on earth that I get a better sleep than being on Amazing Grace on calm nights.

Of all the places in the world, this has to be one of the most tranquil.  Beaulieu is where we really relax, switch off and enjoy the magnificent surroundings of this spectacular port town. Beaulieu was in fact the setting for the fictional town of ‘Beaumont-Sur-Mer’ in a film that Lorna and I enjoyed many years ago, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

When we visit, we love to take the 5-6 hour scenic road trip from Beaulieu to Cannes, through Monaco, before returning to France. It’s one of our favorite drives due to the breathtaking views along the way.

NormanPeiresRoadtrip

Breathtaking views on our road trip to Monaco

If you’re ever in Beaulieu I thoroughly recommend you visit one of our top choices for delicious food, The African Queen. It’s perfectly situated for us as it’s close to our boat right beside a small beach called Little Africa. It’s making my mouth water just thinking of the beautiful meals we’ve shared there!

Norman Peires African Queen Restaurant

The African Queen Restaurant in Beaulieu

Creativity is everywhere in New York

As someone who has spent much of their life pursuing business goals, I am truly inspired by those who choose to take the creative route. Lorna and I really value art – albeit different types – and enjoy seeing the cultural side of cities, so while we’re in New York visiting Guy, Milou and Ona, we’re going to make the most of all the art galleries and exhibitions here.

There are of course the big three; The Met, the Guggenheim Museum and the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art), but there are also a collection of smaller galleries that I’ve been told are worth a visit.

There’s a real abundance of street artists, performers and pop-up exhibitions in this city; you get the sense that the whole city is a living, breathing museum. Like London, New York has a vibrant, buzzing cultural scene, and there are always new things to go and see, or do. Continue reading

Why New York is such a fine example of urban regeneration

The High Line

The High Line. Photo: Flikr

At the moment I’m on holidays in ‘The Big Apple’ visiting my son Guy, his lovely wife Milou and their daughter Ona, my precious granddaughter, who is now 15 months old. This isn’t our first time here, so we’ve seen a lot of the sights before, but I’m still looking forward to exploring the city a bit more and eating at a few of my favourite restaurants – on top of spending plenty of time with my family of course. Continue reading

The equality debate scales new heights

I’ve always believed men and women doing the same job should be paid equally. It’s common sense, and those who believe differently should question their motives. Women are as good as, if not better, than men in many occupations and should be equally rewarded.

I wrote recently about the phenomenon of ‘overwork’ and how men are often guilty of clocking up extra hours to be ‘seen’ to be working hard, at the detriment of women who work equally as hard but may have to fulfil more family obligations.

The battle of the sexes goes on and I think when we stop looking at the differences, and analysing who does what and in what way, we’ll start to get somewhere! It’s often been said that equality is a human issue (not just a female issue) and we need to stop defining ourselves and each other in terms of gender. Continue reading

The highs and lows of the property market

I think property is such a valuable asset to have. While Lorna and I are based in the UK for much of the year, we also have properties in the South of France and the French Alps, and quite regularly visit friends and family around the world, so I’m always curious about how the property market at home compares with abroad.

Now, if someone had told me thirty years ago that you’d need to have a least a quarter of a million pounds to buy an average three bedroom house in London I would have laughed, but that’s the stark reality now.

With many key-workers being forced out of the capital into surrounding satellite cities, or opting for shared-ownership schemes, it appears that owning your own home outright is not necessarily an option for all. Continue reading

Why family is so important to me

I’m a family man first and foremost. Although I’ve worked hard in life to make a success of my business ventures, none of it matters compared to the love I have for my wife Lorna, my children and grandchildren.

You can’t put a price on family and, as they grow so fast, it’s so vital to make the most of every precious moment. Often work takes us away from the one’s we care about, especially in my field, but it’s important to keep our priorities straight and recognise what counts before it’s too late! Continue reading

Investment in Africa to increase after Obama announces new focus

Much of Africa's wealth is in the ground

Africa’s ground is rich in minerals and precious metals, making it attractive to investors

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I believe business men and women need to have a more global view when thinking of new business ideas, and to think carefully about where they want to put their money.

In the past entrepreneurs have often looked to the west when it comes to setting up ventures, launching start-ups and trying out new retail outlets. This is all changing; as I’ve pointed out before places like the Middle East, India and Africa (once seen as risky) are now viewed as smart places to invest. And America is starting to turn its focus to these emerging markets. Continue reading

Can math beat the Ebola virus?

An awful lot has been written and reported about the Ebola virus in the last few weeks; as the world’s worst epidemic to date spreads through western Africa many in the west are understandably concerned. However, the scaremongering headlines predicting a global pandemic are by no means well informed.

Although the incubation period is between two and twenty-one days long, the chances of transfer to other countries is still a remote possibility. While it’s possible that an infected passenger could travel to another country Ebola is only contagious when symptomatic.

Once individuals are showing these final stage symptoms they are unlikely to be well enough to get out of bed, let alone get on a plane so the risk of transfer by an Ebola carrier to a person in another country is still unlikely. Continue reading

Why technology in the workplace can be counterproductive

I’m very interested in technology. I find it fascinating and like to keep up with new advances in this arena. I do find, though, that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. I was not born and raised in the computer age and I think there’s definitely a generation gap when it comes to technical savvy.

All my children and grandchildren use smartphones and tablets; it seems to be second nature to them. People of my age can sometimes still find it all a bit baffling. Continue reading