The London List Abroad Review: Catch Restaurant, Santa MonicaThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 8 Jun 2014

Located in the majestic Casa Del Mar hotel, just off the Santa Monica beach, Catch is a restaurant that makes the most of its magnificent surroundings. Walking into the dining hall, you are greeted by swathes of light and remarkable views of the beach and sea. With floor to ceiling windows for the outward facing walls, sitting overlooking the sand feels like you are dining right out on the beach. Show the rest of this post…


With the sun beating down outside we opted for cocktails rather than wine, and Catch’s signature cocktail with tequila comes highly recommended, as does the Perfect Pear with vodka.

As you might have guessed from the location and the restaurant’s name, Catch specialise in seafood, so after the moorish cheese sticks it was only fitting that we go for the Catch of the Day. Today that was salmon, served with a green salad, tomatoes, sofrito and thick cut fries.

The perfectly cooked salmon was beautiful, light and flaky and so fresh it could have been caught barely a few minutes before. Fresh and flavourful ingredients was a theme throughout the dish and the ingredients didn’t need too much beyond seasoning. The tomatoes were fresh and plump like only California knows how and the thick cut fries were the best I’ve had in years. The sofrito, however, was the real revelation. A kind of fresh, chunky salsa, the dish came with a small pot but I could have eaten an entire bowl. Perfectly marrying all of the elements of the dish, the sofrito was so aromatic and flavourful, it stole the show even ahead of the delicious fish.

For desert we chose the indulgent Chocolate & Espresso Tart With Warm Salted Caramel Sauce. A well balanced tart, effortlessly blending the hard chocolate and espresso flavours, the warm salted caramel sauce was a great accompaniment, bringing a sweetness to the dish.

The atmosphere at Catch is relaxed, fitting the beach-side location perfectly. The staff are helpful and attentive but won’t crowd you during your meal. There is an amazing sense of grandeur when you walk into the hotel and it is matched every step of the way but the food. The ingredients used in the dishes are so fresh and flavourful, it would be easy to over-work and over-complicated the food, but everything is measured perfectly.

Catch comes highly recommended and is a unique experience being so close to the beach. Be sure to request a table by the window when making reservations as the best spots can go fast. We’ll be going back.

For reservations and more, please visit:
Catch at the Casa Del Mar Hotel, 1910 Ocean Way Santa Monica, CA 90405




The London List Abroad City Guide: The best things to do in Downtown Los AngelesThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 28 May 2014

The sprawling metropolitan city of Los Angeles is completely unique, its relaxed West Coast lifestyle offering so much diversity and so many things to do. To make the most of your time in LA, we always bunch our itinerary into neighbourhoods, so we’ve broken our city guide down too. Read on for our favourite Downtown hotspots, stores and eateries, and check out West Hollywood, Arts District, Venice and our favourite Attractions in the rest of the guide. Show the rest of this post…

Grand Central Market (above)
A Downtown landmark and tenant of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917, Grand Central Market is Los Angeles’ oldest and largest public market. Still home to stalls selling local produce, more recently the market has become a hotspot for some of the best pop-up restaurants in the city. Home to Belcampo Meat Co. burgers, the somewhat crudely titled – but undeniably delicious – Eggslut, G&B Coffee, our desert choice McConnell’s ice cream and many more, come with friends and choose from a real worldwide cuisine.
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013


Bäco Mercat/Bar Amá/Ledlow/Orsa & Winston
Josef Centeno’s takeover of Downtown 4th and Main sees four restaurant/bars within a single block radius. From the signature “Bäco” flatbread sandwiches at Bäco Mercat (pictured), to Bar Amá’s free-wheeling Tex-Mex, the remained Modern American cuisine at Ludlow, and – possibly the pick of the bunch – Orsa & Winston’s Asian-Italian tasting menus, each of Centeno’s downtown restaurants has a relaxed and playful vibe, all within walking distance of each other. By the time you are reading this, there will probably be a fifth and sixth member of “Centenoland” too.
Bäco Mercat, 408 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Bar Amá, 118 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Ledlow, 400 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Orsa & Winston, 122 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013


Tanner Goods
Fine leather goods originally out of Portland, Tanner Goods’ amazing range of hand-crafted products spans wallets, cases and every other form of leather accessory. While Tanner Goods have expanded to carry shirts, denim and other mens and womenswear, our favourite thing in the store is the build-a-belt wall. With over ten shades of leather, multiple widths and lengths, just add your buckle for the perfect custom belt, put together right there in the store.
860 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014


Oak Los Angeles
Opening just this March, Oak’s LA store is their West Coast flagship and only the fourth brick-and-mortar residence worldwide. The rough-and-ready store fits the apparel perfectly, their deconstructed jackets, slouchy daywear and worn-in denim is minimalist and best in monochromatic black and white. They run great quarterly sales too.
910 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015


Acne Studios
Another in the burgeoning Downtown LA retail scene, Acne Studios’ store in the Eastern Columbia Building is a futuristic space carrying their whole high-ticket range. Popular with hip and stylish Los Angelinos, the Swedish store has become a must-visit on the tour of Downtown shop spots. Though beware the pushy staff because that shirt or jacket is probably already more than you can afford.
855 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014


The Varnish
With live jazz every Sunday-thru-Tuesday, The Varnish is your classic speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge with a Los Angeles twist. From local nightlife veteran Cedd Moses, The Vernish takes up residence in the back of the newly refurbished Cole’s french dip sandwiches restaurant, and offers a range of exquisite cocktails from our favourite the Rum Old Fashioned to the tequila-tastic Medicina Latina.
118 E 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Check out our favourite West Hollywood, Arts District and Venice hotspots, plus our favourite Attractions in the rest of the guide.

The London List Abroad Review: The Standard, HollywoodThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 11 May 2014

The Standard, Hollywood, shouldn’t need an introduction. One of the most iconic hotels in the world and part of a brand that has become a bastion of cool, the boutique hotel has glamour running through its veins, with the likes Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Benicio del Toro all early investors. Show the rest of this post…


Originally built in 1962 as the Thunderbird Motel, The Standard, Hollywood, retained its vintage look and sits right in the heart of West Hollywood. Walking distance to the restaurants, bars and clubs of the Sunset Strip, The Standard, Hollywood, is equally well connected to go further afield.


Just short drive to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City or the La Brea area, while the Metro Rail from Hollywood and Highland links north to Studio City and south the Downtown LA and beyond.

In expansive LA, it’s a blessing to have some much to do on your doorstep. Amoeba Music and the ArcLight Cinema sit further along Sunset Boulevard, while Opening Ceremony and the stores of Melrose Avenue and The Grove are to the south.



We stayed in an X-Large room, and though the expansive floor space was relatively sparsely filled with furniture, the space really worked. Like walking onto the set of Mad Men, the midcentury inspired king-size bed was a dream while a daybed sofa was perfect for lounging in front of the big TV.




Thanks to the famous billowing walls, most rooms comes with a balcony and views of the pool or city skyline. We’d recommend asking for a room facing downtown LA as though the pool area is gorgeous, on weekends and some evenings, it can get be a little loud.

If you’ve packed 100 outfits, never fear, the big wardrobes will swallow even the biggest of suitcases with space to hang and shelves to pile upon.

The smaller rooms still feel luxurious so if you’re on a tighter budget, don’t feel like you’re missing out too much, though if you can splurge on a suite the wraparound balconies are magnificent.




The bathroom was the real showpiece of our room. With delightful orange faucets and a Hollywood mirror, the playful bathroom was split with a walkthrough basin area and shower and toilet wet room. A hand hole to turn the shower on without getting wet and a towel rail within reaching distance were both thoughtful touches.

The robes and fluffy towels were both good enough to take home too.




You could come to The Standard, Hollywood, and not make it out of the hotel for a couple of days. The famous pool has become a place to be seen in LA, and while at weekends it’s flooded with scenesters and some pretty amusing Hollywood couples, midweek it’s an idyllic paradise.



You could sneak in a few laps early morning, but the pool is more of a cool off and hang out spot, perfect for the hot Californian summer. With pool-side service and a tempting cocktail menu, hours fly by in the big sun loungers.

Throughout the hotel, including your room, it was great to hear the hotel offers free WiFi. The speed, however, was borderline unusable, and a paid premium connection didn’t prove much better. The speed is just about good enough to do some last minute day planning, but anything more, like streaming late night Netflix or Skyping with back home, is out of the question.

The overstocked minibars somewhat made up for it. Filling the fridge with tempting champagne and liquors, a box sitting on top boasted everything you might have forgotten, including an exclusive Harry’s shaving kit, popping candy chocolate bars and gifts for back home in case you forget to pick something up.


If you’ve ever dined at a Standard Hotel restaurant you’ll know how tempting the room service menu will be. While we didn’t dine in The Standard, Hollywood’s, diner-style restaurant for dinner, we did have it ordered to our room, and it was the best room service of our lives.


Open 24/7, the modern American menu is exquisite and our Grilled Pork Chop and side of Roasted Baby Carrots were a delight. The room service tray came with the cutest little bottle of Tabasco sauce too.

Though their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes for breakfast were disappointing, a Turkey Reuben by the pool made up for it, and we’d wholly recommend dining at the hotel whether you’re staying there or not.

The Standard, Hollywood, bar and poolside patio is great to catch up with friends or while away an evening.



There are quirks at The Standard, Hollywood, that I’ll admit I don’t get. ‘The Box’ art exhibit in the lobby is glass box built into the wall where a model sits every evening and does what they see fit. But The Standard, Hollywood, has built its reputation on bold moves.


While the rooms don’t offer the all-out luxury of some hotels in the same price bracket, the ambience of The Standard, Hollywood, is difficult to beat and it’s a real place to be in LA.

To experience what Hollywood is all about, you can’t go wrong, while the pool and restaurant will make staying in all that more tempting. The Standard, Hollywood, has an energy you can’t beat and it’s impossible to leave without having bundles of fun. Plus people watching by the pool every Sunday is one of the best activities around.

For reservations and more, please visit:
The Standard, Hollywood, 8300 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

The London List Abroad: Ace Hotel open their doors in Downtown LAThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 30 Jan 2014

Joining new locations in London and Panama, Ace Hotel have opened new doors in Downtown LA, renovating the old United Artists Building on South Broadway. Boasting 180 rooms, Ace’s signature style feels more at home than ever with gorgeous open piping in the bathrooms. Making the most of the Californian sun and spectacular city views, Ace Hotel Downtown LA has a pool and bar on the room, while restaurant LA Chapter is masterminded by Jud Mongell and Ken Addington, the team behind Brooklyn’s beloved Five Leaves and Nights And Weekends. We’ll be heading to LA in a couple of months so keep your eyes peeled for a full city guide and review of our favourite hotel in the city, but in the mean time, check out more shots of the Ace Hotel Downtown LA after the jump. Show the rest of this post…

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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