RIBA marries up room hire, doubles capacity, launches new DDR

RIBA is excited to announce that it has doubled the capacity for conferences to 400 by introducing the grand Florence Hall as an exhibition and refreshment area in conjunction with the Jarvis auditorium. To mark this occasion and make it simple to book, RIBA has also just launched a new day delegate rate (DDR).

Stephanie Ellrott, head of venues at RIBA said: “This double first helps conferences to enjoy the very best of RIBA. We have also included access to our seasonal exhibitions which provide a great talking point for delegates, as they can appreciate displays of architecture design and craftsmanship from around the world. There are also no extra hidden costs in our first ever DDR and all profits from events at our venue go back into supporting the work of the RIBA charity and its role in supporting British architectural talents.”

The DDR includes day hire of the Jarvis auditorium and the Florence Hall with its high ceilings and large windows opening onto the Terrace. A personal event manager and the use of the auditorium’s audio-visual equipment supported by an AV technician are also included. The package offers full catering for the day (including Danish pastries, biscuits and homemade cookies) with a standing hot buffet lunch, certain to make an impression on all delegates.

Conferences taking place between November 2013 and March 2014 at The RIBA can take advantage of the introductory rate of £68+VAT per person. Minimum numbers of 200 apply.

IET London: Savoy Place closes for £30 million refurbishment

On 19 July 2013 IET London: Savoy Place closed its doors and welcomed project workers on site to begin a £30 million, two-year refurbishment.

The first major structural reconfiguration of facilities and services in 30 years will see a significant enhancement in capacities, connectivity and feel of the event spaces.

Floor space will be reconfigured to maximise the views of the Thames, increasing the Riverside suite by 50%. A brand new lecture theatre will be built in the light well area above the current lecture theatre and the main lecture theatre will be modernised and reconfigured to ensure that each and every person will have the best possible view.

The investment will drive plans to make IET London: Savoy Place one of the most technologically advanced and low-carbon venues in London and will incorporate a number of new facilities to enable more virtual and interactive events. In addition, structural plans have been shaped with the goal of achieving BREEAM accreditation and international standard ISO 20121 within one year of opening, helping event organisers to deliver more sustainable events.

Find out more about the refurbishment at http://savoyplace.theiet.org/new-venue/index.cfm  or come and look at the plans at the #DestinationWestminster breakfast showcase on 13 September.

Church House hosts politicians and dignitaries for Islamic Relief dinner

The Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband and the Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan were the keynote speakers at a VIP dinner held at Church House Conference Centre.

Hosted by Islamic Relief, the UK’s biggest Muslim charity, the dinner celebrated the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the launch of the charity’s War on Hunger campaign, aimed at urging people to look beyond the politics of war and terrorism and support its life changing work in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Guests at the event included a host of parliamentarians, ambassadors, Muslim community leaders, business professionals and high-profile personalities.

“We are delighted to have such an illustrious group of speakers joining us to welcome Ramadan and hear about our campaign,” said Jehangir Malik, UK director of Islamic Relief.

At the event Ed Miliband said, “I want to congratulate Islamic Relief on its campaign on the War on Hunger. It’s an important campaign because it looks beyond conflict – whether it’s in Syria or in Afghanistan or elsewhere – and it asks the question that all right-minded people would ask, which is: ‘What can we do to make a difference to the most vulnerable people in this country?”

Church House Conference Centre, a Grade II listed building, has 19 spacious and diverse rooms, which can accommodate a wide variety of events, making it one of the city’s most versatile venues.

76 Portland Place brings scientific wonder to event menus

76 Portland Place, home of the Institute of Physics, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of innovation to deliver show-stopping, sustainable event menus and now, after months of experimentation in its kitchens, the team is pleased to announce the launch of its ‘Molecular Tasting Menu’. It is available now for anyone looking for something different and unique at their next fine dining function.

Combining a number of complex and intricate techniques, Leo Rodley, executive chef at 76 Portland Place, and his team have used sophisticated methods and the latest equipment available to create menus which appeal to the senses and play mischievously on the palate to create a memorable dining experience.

The tasting menu features seven courses, with high quality ingredients which can be manipulated to take on different textures and enhance natural flavours. Highlights include table smoked salmon mi-cuit, prepared sous vide and served under a glass cloche, enrobed in the delicate, heady aroma of apple wood smoke, or a 72-hour-roasted beef rib and Dexter beef fillet with broccoli three ways, dehydrated nettle leaves and a rich port jus.

Some of the dishes can be prepared table-side, to dramatic effect, like the nitro-poached green tea mousse – a refreshing palate cleanser.

The molecular tasting menu is bespoke and available to anyone booking a fine dining event at 76 Portland Place throughout 2013. Prices are available on request for between 4 – 20 guests.

For more information, contact Jenny Hullock at jenny.hullock@76portlandplace.com or on tel: 0207 470 4871.

St. Ermin’s Hotel all a-buzz over ‘Honey Month’

By Tom Walsh, Director of MICE Sales at St Ermin’s Hotel, London

The plight of the British bee is something we feel passionate about addressing at St Ermin’s Hotel and to celebrate the hard work of our 300,000 Buckfast bees, housed in hives on the roof of our hotel, this September we are hosting ‘Honey Month’.

The initiative gives us the chance to give back to the environment. It also provides us with a delicious, signature honey which we use within our catering. Throughout the month, day delegates will be served a selection of delicious honey themed items as part of their breaks, such as lemon polenta and honey cake, honey and butter flapjacks or sultanas and honey granola bars. Alternatively guests can round off their event with a decadent honey-infused cocktail. Caxton Bar will be serving honey-based cocktails that have been carefully designed to showcase the bees’ hard work, such as ‘G&T for my Honey’ – an ambrosial take on the classic.

Head Chef will also be putting honey centre stage at Caxton Grill, as special dishes will feature on the menu throughout September, from honey parsnip soup, to organic lamb in honey and thyme dressing with honey-infused goat’s cheese.

As well as bees on our roof, we now have three beehives and a ‘bee hotel’ happily ensconced on our third floor walkway, surrounded by a small wildflower garden. This year we are able to offer small groups a special urban bee keeping workshop run at the hotel by our beekeeper, Camilla Goddard of Capital Bee.

Workshops can be individually tailored, but principally are for groups of up to 12 (from £15 per head), they last two hours and they involve active learning about colony establishment and regular care, handling of the honeycombs, plus reference materials. All beekeeper suits and equipment will be supplied and the course is followed by a honey cream tea or cocktail for participants. Give me a call on 0207 227 4816 to discuss your requirements or for full details and prices, please click here.

Chocolate and Caipirinhas at etc.venues Victoria

An evening of exotic cocktails and chocolate tasting greeted TWC members at etc.venues Victoria on 13th August, as we got together to tour the venue’s sophisticated conferencing facilities and large, landscaped garden, reports Custard Communications’ Henry Rubinstein.

I always enjoy attending Westminster Collection FAM trips. It is a marvellous opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at some of London’s most iconic venues and also a chance for members and partners to interact in a relaxed setting. This time Pimlico based conferencing venue etc.venues Victoria hosted the event for TWC members to experience and enjoy its welcoming mix of modern facilities and warm hospitality.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the pleasing sound of ice chinking in a cocktail shaker as etc.venues Victoria’s accomplished mixologist prepared Caipirinhas, a refreshing post-work quencher, very welcome on a balmy summer’s evening. These were accompanied by a delicious selection of cold canapés including: tarragon chicken terrine crostini, salami wrapped cream cheese on pumpernickel and goat’s cheese and sundried tomato tartlets.

The evening culminated in a chocolate tasting which pitted venue against venue in a fun challenge to win a bottle of Prosecco.

Having tasted all five chocolate flavours and submitting my answers, I thought I had done really well, only to be disappointed when, what I thought had been orange flavoured chocolate turned out to be apple crumble – obviously my taste buds need some training! There were definitely some keener palettes than my own with Philippa Shanahan, UK Sales Manager at CAT Publications, achieving the highest score.

Throughout the evening we were superbly looked after by sales manager Claire Bowman and her team, who put a great deal of thought and effort into keeping us all entertained. It was a really enjoyable event and I thank them for their hospitality. Click here to discover more about etc.venues Victoria.

RCS open afternoon sees 150 intrigued event profs marvel at medical memorabilia

An open afternoon at The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) saw 150 event professionals discover the wonders of this major medical institution this week, where 15 characterful rooms each boast their suitability for a range of corporate and private events.

Champagne and nibbles by catering partner Ampersand greeted guests as they arrived to the Surgeon’s Library – the only part of the building to have survived the WW2 bombings – before a guided venue tour led them to the weird and wonderful medical samples and equipment on display within the stunning Hunterian Museum, on to the state-of-the-art lecture theatres and through to the large Edward Lumley Hall, which has capacity for 350 banqueting style.

RCS homemade lemonade

Concluding in The Webb Johnson Hall with a Holborn High Tea and dishes including watermelon and duck salad, and fillet of Herefordshire beef with fondant potato, cauliflower and elderflower puree, guests then networked over homemade lemonade, cocktails and exquisite wine. Guests departed with goody bags bursting with treats, including quirky personalised hand sanitizer true to the venue’s medical roots, homemade lemonade plus a cluster of exclusive offers.

If you would like to arrange a visit to view The Royal College of Surgeon’s event spaces, please contact Emma Hayes on 020 7869 6745 or email ehayes@rcseng.ac.uk.