Ignite’s Alternative Gift Guide
Perfume stinks and socks suck – and the hospitality industry needs support, now. So this year, Feast to Treat – give the gift of hospitality!
Use our guide to find original, delicious and fun gifts from our favourite restaurant and bar brands. Gifts for foodies, gifts for smoothies, gifts for ravers, gifts for caners, gifts for shakers, gifts for fakers, gifts for vegans and gifts for heathens.
Featuring Taiwanese teapots, CBD oil, instant hangover cures, drag queen bingo, buttery bourbon, invisible chips (that’s right) and more booze than you can shake a cinnamon stick at.
Here’s our round-up of the best gifts money can buy, and that support the industry we love. This is an inclusive list, most of these brands aren’t our clients, they’re simply brands we love, and which we’ll be gifting to our friends and family this year.
We’re sure there’ll be some fantastic brands we’ve missed so please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s anything you think we should add – we’ll list the best and shout them out on our socials too.
Stand with hospitality 🙏🏼
Pip Lacey’s Kings Cross restaurant hicce offers a modern take on hampers. We love their characteristic twists and playful combinations. The hicce umami hamper contains a selection of spices, salts and vinegars; and the CBD hamper, featuring CBD oil, chocolate and cocktail book sets out to “blend natural wellness and tasteful hedonism”. That’s Grandma sorted! Personally, we’ve got our eye on the Bagley Cocktail Hamper. Named after the legendary rave club which once stood on the hicce site, it contains everything you need to showcase your cocktail skills – perfect for the old raver in your life.
Send your loved ones the gift of an instant hangover cure! Well, the gift is instant – digital gift cards for Pho can be sent instantly from anywhere in the world. And our extensive research confirms that their namesake broth IS the best antidote for those pesky festive hangovers*. Either way, a Pho voucher is ideal for the vegans / veggies / coeliacs and all those health pho-natics in your life too. And they start from just £10.
*Drink responsibly, kids.
Drake & Morgan
Drake & Morgan at home is the ultimate party delivered to your door. Their at home boxes contain all the food, booze – and even decorations – that party gals and guys could need. And digital gift cards – what could be better than the promise of a round of cocktails in 2021?
The steak brand that needs no introduction. Bring a Hawksmoor Festive box to the party this year and you’ll be very popular indeed. Available with or without booze, the boxes contain everything you need for a Hawksmoor feast at home. Gift-wise, we’ve got our eyes on the bottled cocktails – specifically the Fuller Fat Old Fashioned and the Sour Cherry Negroni – with extras for ourselves, of course. Books and gift cards are also available.
Discover the soul of Jersey and this wonderful family-run restaurant group. Serving the freshest seafood in beautiful Jersey, a visit to relaxed Jersey Crab Shack or romantic Oyster Box really is worth the 30 minute plane ride. And gift vouchers are valid for an epic two years, so you have plenty of time to plan your Jersey jaunt.
For people who brunch, lunch, party till dawn and everything in between, D&D London got you covered. With some of the country’s most iconic and dazzling venues D&D really excel at incredible experiences. Choose from Champagne afternoon teas, Michelin-starred tasting menus, gin and jazz, truffle brunches and many more, these are gift experiences for people used to the finer things in life. 💅🏼
Casale Panayiotis is a stunning spa hotel, nestled in a traditional spa village in Troodos, Cyprus. An independent, family-owned business, founded to revitalise the remote village and community around it, a visit to Casale Panayiotis is like no other. Sampling food from the local mountain communities, wine-tasting, halloumi-making, an orchard tour and of course a session in their fabulous spa will make 2020 a distant memory. Who wouldn’t love to wake up to a Casasle Panayiotis gift voucher this Christmas?
This garden centre-slash-restaurant turned ‘emporium of goods’ is kind of in a category of one. The original Richmond location is truly unique and well worth the visit – go in spring when everything is in bloom and sit under the pergola heaving with wisteria. The shop and deli are also worth a browse with homewares, hampers & horticulture all available on the online shop too. Candles, Murano glassware, baubles, tableware, food hampers and all manner of Christmas trinkets have us feeling like kids in a sweetshop.
A little birdie told us that Cinnamon Club is turning twenty next year. And far from showing their age they continue to offer up fresh, innovative Indian food and original experiences. Their shop contains lovely cookbooks, feasts at home and gift vouchers, but for somebody you really, really, really, really, really like you can book a one-on-one masterclass with the man himself, chef patron Vivek Singh. Oui chef!
The doyenne of Italian cooking in London, Angela Hartnett, has perfect gifts for Italophile foodies. Hampers filled with delectable Italian produce – we particularly love Angela’s own olive oil – cookbooks and pasta classes where you’ll be taught how to make a spinach and ricotta filling and how to roll three different types of pasta. Gift vouchers to spend in one of her delightful Italian restaurants also go down very well, in our experience.
Smith & Wollensky
America’s Classic Steakhouse don’t do things by halves. S&W steaks are USDA Prime, dry-aged and butchered on-site. And now you can enjoy this all-American steak experience in your home with their epic Steak Boxes. All we want for Christmas is the USDA Fillet Box – unbelievably tender USDA fillets with full cooking instructions and accompanied by classic US sides, whipped potatoes and creamed spinach, at S&W more is most definitely more. Complete the experience with a set of S&W Tramontina steak knives – essential for the steak lover in your life.
Artist Residence are some of our absolute favourite places to stay in the UK – billed as an eccentric bunch of fun and friendly boutique hotels this quirky group run hostelries across the south of England, stretching from penzance to Oxfordshire. Each is unique, utterly charming and comes with bags of character. Their Instagram alone offers more interior design inspo than ELLE Decor. Buy a gift voucher and look forward to a stylish UK break in 2021.
Atul Kutcher was the first chef to be awarded a Michelin star for Indian cuisine and his latest restaurant, Kanishka, continues his trademark exquisite style. Their menu features signature dishes like Atul’s Chicken Tikka Pie, rich delicacies such as grilled monkfish with gooseberries, plus a roster of constantly changing innovations. Their hand-crafted tasting menu (available with or without complemented sommelier selected wine) is available to buy as a gift voucher. What could be better than the gift of future Indian delights?
Ambassador General Store
Ambassador General Store allows you to enjoy some of the best and most exciting restaurant brands in London – Gymkhana, Trishna and Brigadiers – in your own home, by way of their ready to cook family feast experiences. But take a moment when browsing to find the Daru Shop – inspired by the illicit alcohol vendors found across India, here you’ll find neatly packaged whisky sodas, mango lassi and the Gymkhana Quinine Sour kit. It is said that Gymkhana is David Beckham’s favourite restaurant, so Victoria, if you’re reading this, take the hint.
We can’t travel to España right now, but we sure as hell can eat like we are. Get your fix of Iberico ham, pan con tomate, jamon croquettes and pulpo a la gallega in one of the first traditional Spanish tapas bars in London – Brindisa Borough Market opened in 2004 with 4 more opened across the capital since. The sangria is fab but we love the vermut and soda. Take a sip, close your eyes, lay back and think of Spain. Gift vouchers available here.
This food and wine mag for ‘rotters’ is an absolute tonic – not just for foodies or, err, winos but anybody who appreciates fantastic design. Each cover is a work of art and the pages within don’t disappoint either. With writing from Marina O’Loughlin, Simon Hopkinson, Fay Maschler, Michael Diamond and Stephen Harris, to name just a few, a Noble Rot magazine subscription is a proper treat when it drops through the letterbox. For lovers of the magazine the Rotter’s new book Wine From Another Galaxy promises “to take you to vinous places you’ve never been before”. And you can buy gift vouchers to use in either of their marvellous restaurants. A one-stop shop for all your wine-adjacent Christmas shopping!
We can’t get enough of Blacklock’s “heady mix of beef, pork and lamb chops sitting proudly atop fluffy meat juice-soaked flatbreads” and with every Blacklock at Home sold, they plant a tree in the Blacklock Forest. Chops with a conscience… as if we needed any excuse. But what is Christmas if not for sherry and port, we ask you? Blacklock’s Toro de Albalá ‘Cosecha’ Pedro Ximénez is just the ticket after the big meal and we’ll be buying our dads the Nieport ‘Ruby Dum’ Ruby Port in hopes of sharesies.
This joyful Peckham institution sadly had to close permanently (well, until they can find new premises) and have since turned their hands full time to the production of some terrific Christmas hampers. Crammed with handmade Italian treats such as cavolo nero & hazelnut sauce, pickled fennel and their famous Forza roasted tomato sauce, hampers come with tote bags, mugs, stickers and tea towels for the full Forza experience.
Inspired by the bars’ infamous artwork, your loved ones can add a touch of personalised gothic and gold to their interiors with The Alchemist’s ‘decidedly weird and distinctly dark’ (their words) Star Sign Prints. Their gorgeous rose gold cocktail sets and hip flasks will complete the noir heroine look. Très chic!
Yard Sale Pizza
We love Yard Sale Pizza not just for their huge, imaginatively topped pizzas (which are the best by far in our neighbourhood) but for their brand collabs and genuinely covetable merch. From Mangal II, Jessie Ware, Top Cuvée and Loyle Carner, each collab is marked with a designer tee that any YSP fan – nay any 80s-style pizzeria lover – will be happy to sport. Scarves, totes, hoodies and vouchers are also available if you just can’t get enough.
Big Smoke Brew
This young brewery and pub company produces modern beer styles in the leafy suburbs of Esher in Surrey. They’ve just launched the Big Smoke Beer Collective, a new monthly home delivery beer subscription service. Reasons we love it: 1. The beer is brilliant. 2. The service is excellent. 3. Their local pubs recently provided free meals to kids during the holidays when the government didn’t. Need we go on? Drink their beer and please, think of the children.
The Breakfast Group
This high energy, innovative bar group practically invented experiential drinking. With 30 year’s experience under their belts, they know how to show people a good time – and their virtual mixology classes and drag queen bingo are no exception. The most fun you can have at home with your clothes on, as Jerry Della Femina once very nearly said.
This neighbourhood restaurant on Columbia Road, East London is known for its Mediterranean small plates, natural wine and roster of collaborations with local festivals, clubs and record labels. So it stands to reason that, as well as tees, festival cups and tote bags, you can buy vinyl on the Brawn online store. Featuring releases from Now Again records, Brownswood Recordings and Melodies International – records always on rotation at the restaurant – bring the Brawn vibez into your home this Crimbo.
Bar Termini and 69 Colebrooke Row are two of our all-time favourite bars in London. No fads, no gimmicks, just timeless style and pure class cocktails. “If only I could bottle that experience and have it in my home”, you say? It’s funny because their online store sells everything you need to do just that. Step up your glass game with their coupettes, highballs and terroir glasses, learn to make the classics with the 69 Colebrooke Row cocktail book and stock your bar with their 3 litre party boxes and their iconic bottled negroni range.
We. Want. It. All.
Home X is a collection of at-home food and drink experiences, created by the innovative Six By Nico restaurant group. There are several different concepts under the Home X banner, including Chateau-X, a luxurious chateaubriand experience, and the wittily named 24 Carrot, an 8-course vegan menu, but the Stem Wine Club caught our eye. Their monthly selection of wines consist of five half bottles – strangely rare in this country, but we love the opportunity to discover a wide range of varieties. It’s gorgeously presented and comes with dish recommendations too, making it a really lovely gift for the oenophile in your life.
The Waterhouse Project
We love The Waterhouse Project, which brings fine dining to an informal, relaxed environment in its Hackney location. Tickets are limited and sell out fast, but January dates are available at time of writing, and gift vouchers are also available to use against future dates. But if you want to give ‘something to unwrap’ we absolutely love their ceramics range, handmade exclusively for them, and now for you, by London ceramicist, Jo Marland and available to buy nationwide here.
Another brand that needs no introduction. St John has employed the same rigour that characterises the iconic restaurant to a range of t-shirts, prints and aprons. All display their ‘trademark verve’ and simplicity. We recommend a book – The Book Of St John and The Complete Nose To Tail are must-haves for any self respecting cookbook collector, and make a suitably weighty and impressive gift. Choose one signed by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver themselves, and flip the virtual bird to that big online bookshop we do not speak of.
We love Lyle’s for its pared back aesthetic and commitment to ethical and sustainable sourcing. Now with Lyle’s Provisions you can buy menu boxes containing incredible produce from their suppliers. With super-clear, step-by-step instructions you can easily recreate the Lyle’s experience at home. You can also cheat your way to mince pie perfection with their mince pie kits or bag a trendy tote, bottle o’ wine and a gift card.
Patty & Bun
Patty & Bun is probably our favourite burger brand. I know, it’s a big shout and hotly contested in the World-Famous Ignite Burger Wars (real thing) but I’m ready to call it. We missed P&B bad during lockdown – their DIY kits were released but sold out fast and we never got lucky. But now! Their gorgeous sauces are available to all. Smokey mayo, hot sauce, and BBQ. We’re wishing for the multi-pack in our stockings.
Choose from a cornucopia of mouth-watering Italian produce from this London institution. Our favourites are the fresh artichoke & truffle ravioli and the salame felino (having brightened up many a dreary lock-down evening). Individual Campari sodas make the perfect stocking fillers, and who wouldn’t want to wake up to a Lina Panettone under the tree this Christmas, in their signature dreamy pistachio-coloured packaging?
“A food hall, a gift shop? A modern-day Bazaar?” asks the Sketch website. Good question. Everything from bamboo straws and NHS bears, aprons and thermos bottles are available for sale. The Sketch At Home afternoon tea is literally the most gorgeous thing imaginable, presented in a pink Sketch jewellery case. (We’re considering buying it for ourselves, devouring the contents and gifting the box alone to our loved ones). The more generous of you could consider an item from the David Shrigley Ceramics range. The quirky and distinctive style is absolutely synonymous with the Sketch experience and truly makes a place setting an artwork.
Does it make us shallow if we buy things purely based on packaging? Sake, Oolong Gin and Milk Tea Old Fashioned from this Taiwanese restaurant brand come in exotic packages that make us feel like we’re wandering the aisles of a far-flung supermarket. The kid in us finds it all irresistibly tempting, and I want to put everything in my basket. We’re obviously not the only ones: Bao candles are sold out, as are many other items. Still, you can find super-cute teapots, the iconic Bao tote-bag and some properly cool prints.
Brewhouse & Kitchen
Brewhouse and Kitchen are brilliant at beer. Making it, serving it and… drinking it. Now you can do all of that (almost) from the comfort of your own home. Their Brewery Experience Gift cards are great for the budding brewer in your life. They can spend a day getting hands-on brewing and get to take away a 5 litre keg at the end. Also available to order in time for Christmas: 5 litre kegs of craft beer or lager, delivered. Cheers!
The new Dishoom online store is characteristically eclectic and hugely appealing. Their iconic bacon naan roll kit nestles next to Permit Room Collection bottled cocktails, gift coins and the Slip-Disc vinyl. But most attractive, we think, is the Dishoom cookery book and masala dabba. Dishoom: From Bombay With Love contains recipes for the classic Dishoom dishes and the pleasing metal dabba contains all their favourite spices and masalas you’ll need to whip them up. Buy this for your spouse and be the grateful recipient of unlimited Dishoom meals at home, with no queueing.
Pizza Pilgrims get first prize for ingenuity and novel applications of the good old pizza box on a regular basis, and this is the best yet. Pizza: History, recipes, stories, people, places, love is part cookbook, part guide-book, part homage to pizza – and, like them, 100% original. The book looks like a pizza box, people! Buy it.
We know – we know – they’re a brewer not a hospitality business. But Yeastie Boys are good eggs – deliciously irreverent with good looking packaging – and they’ve been supporting the hospitality industry continuously since March 2020 – right from the start of the crisis. When you buy The Reflex Lager £5 per dozen cans (or £10 per 24-pack) is donated to Hospitality Action. Slurp to support guys…
What now? Invisible chips. This is the brainchild of the fabulous Hospitality Action charity who offer vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK. Buy a portion of Invisible Chips and you’ll be directly supporting the people in the industry who need it most. They’re 0% fat and come in a variety of flavours – original, triple cooked, skin-on and dirty. Oh and don’t forget the invisible salt & vinegar and invisible tomato ketchup. What could be easier to gift-wrap?
Right, that’s your lot. Remember, #shoplocal #standwithhospitality and #fuckamazon
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