Posts Tagged ‘London’
If you’re in Covent Garden, this is a must-try restaurant. Yet, from the outside, it remains discreet, so integrated in its surroundings you could easily walk past it. Still, the inside space is quite impressive, crossing all the way to the parallel road, even including a clever space in the basement, overlooking the kitchen. Stylish grey brick walls are softened by light falling from skylights, an industrial feel to the architecture mixed with designer touches, focusing on being a warm, welcoming cocoon. The perfect balance between contemporary Scandinavian chic and traditional Asian values. Because, yes, surprise, this chain is Danish, yet recognised in their country as a leader of Japanese cuisine. Their philosophy is all about quality, freshness, sustainability and a good sense of humour. Result? A zen impact, down to the pebbles supporting the chopsticks…
First – let the cheerful touristic bustle of Covent Garden fade away, relax, enjoy the peacefulness. Order some spicy edamame beans, served warm with a miso, chilli and sesame glaze. As addictive as popcorn and you won’t mind getting your fingers sticky. This is a good address for cocktails too, the list clearly oriental inspired. If you are a Hendrick’s fan, you will find the Kamahi much more interesting: a surprising mix of sochu, mint, cucumber and elderflower. Sweet, crisp green taste, very refreshing – definitely replaces Pimm’s in my book of summer drinks. If you prefer martinis, go for the Yuzu Zoo, a variation using gin, honey, umeshu and yuzu. Nicely sour, it will make your gaze sparkle, suave lyricism.
As the name suggests, Sticks’n'sushi will keep everyone happy. Sushi for me – yakitori for you. Or vice-versa. Or both, why choose after all? Bonus points for the menu illustrating every single option (since not everyone knows their kaburimaki from their futomaki). The problem is, you then want everything, really, you do. Take note to bring lots of friends next time to steal from their plates. Thankfully, a separate menu offers assortments. They did prove a lot bigger than we had imagined, always a nice surprise, especially as we passionately devoured everything.
We decided on the Greenkeeper, served on two plates. How to explain? Look at the first picture. The top line is of avocado maki, marvelous creaminess. The middle one is a mix of vegetarian daikon/cress rolls, nice and crunchy with hosomaki, avocado, cucumber, rice, spicier. It’s quite extraordinary, once you start a row, that’s it, no way to stop. Last, 3 nigiri, little cushions of happiness: tender brocoli, velvety tomato, tofu & tamari (a kind of soy sauce, sweeter with a richer texture). The wasabi has been sculpted as a delicate flower, pleasure for the eyes and tastebuds alike.
That’s not all – the Greenkeeper also includes on a separate slate a selection of yasai (raw vegetables: broccoli, carrot, juicy daikon, cabbage, peppers) with a delicious miso dip, very moreish. Another corner offers grilled edamame, another great way to enjoy a classic, smokey, charred. The yakitori skewers are lovely too – grilled vegetables really enhancing the flavours and oyster mushrooms with such a natural richness they remind me of my beloved cèpes… This is the perfect healthy treat while not sacrificing taste. Indulging without once considering the calories.
We had also ordered the Sashimi De Luxe, a feast for two, sure to delight sashimi snobs and to convert sushi fans. And what a beautiful presentation – sparkling, glacial freshness, gradually transforming throughout the meal like a Nordic ice flow. It feels like… exploring a new land but culinary wise. We started with extra thick slices of delicious salmon, tuna and yellowtail kingfish, a celebration of freshness and obviously well sourced; responsibly so one can enjoy freely and happily. Time simply stops, such difference in texture and tastes between these three varieties, barely the need to chew.
Rightfully presented on a little wooden plinth are succulent scallops, beautifully accented with orange trout roe and green lime, little saline bursts seasoning the palate. Amazing how melt-in-the-mouth this is when you are used to it pan seared… These are flanked by shake daikon rolls, white radish enclosing such divine flesh, a touch of avocado and crème fraîche on top. Crisp and refreshing, a fantastic low-carb alternative to sushi.
The tasteful squid salad offered a delightful alternative to the usual ginger, in perfect sympathy with the sea. But the Pièce de résistance, in our opinion, is the spicy tuna wrap. What an understatement! Tuna tartare, small, shiny morsels, luteous quail’s egg nestled in the midst, a touch of spring onion… and in our case, a teaspoon of decadent caviar. Wrapped in just a lettuce leaf a kaleidoscope of flavours illuminates your mouth. For some time after, those tiny black cherrybombs of sea-essence keep delighting your senses. Very tempting to eat in one go, so just as well it is slightly too big… otherwise you will have one very jealous partner!
Two vibrant sauces in cute artisanal jugs: ginger infused ‘ultimate soy’ and tangy, citrus ponzu for dipping.
Japanese restaurants usually stop their creativity at dessert, advising matcha or sesame ice cream. Not here – with two whole pages of not seen before treats. We did not even consider resisting. At least, try the Small and Sweet, a perfect selection when you have had quite a feast but need the finale. Three original bites, each on a drop of chocolate fondue: dark chocolate and caramel wrapped in sesame… white chocolate and miso with crunchy popped rice… and a very interesting raw cake with dates, coconut, orange, goji cardamom, cinnamon and more. You really have to enjoy this one slowly to understand its complexity and fully appreciate there is no flour nor egg in it.
If you still have a little space for decadence, then order the Lemon, Yuzu and Meringue: sumptuous lemon curd mixed with juicy orange flesh, contrasting with a zesty yuzu sorbet and crunchy meringue. And mini marshmallows. Because it makes the world a sweeter place. Great balance, not as sugary as you might expect and crowned with tiny lime pearls for a tequila effect.
Finish on a frothy matcha, prepared energetically with a proper bamboo whisk at your table… But you will have to come back, you know. You barely have tried a tenth of the menu!
11 Henrietta Street
London WC2E 8PY
A little while back, a Kusmi Tea boutique opened in Marylebone. It’s like having a treasure chest close to you. Like going to a beautiful parfumerie, but tea-based. Instead of gorgeous bottles: silver tin boxes, some round, others vintage-style tea caddies (sadly, they do not sell the huge ones. I dream to one day have quite a few of these!). Such a luxurious pleasure to flitter from one to the other, opening them, appreciating the perfect shape of the leaves, all slightly different, the alliances with dried fruit, petals. Like opening a storybook each time, taking a journey to a far away country.
The range really is impressive. You think you know, you have some at home, you’ve seen them in the glossy magazines. Yet, it only really hits you when you step into the shop. I was already quite fond of their Genmaicha, a green tea with toasted rice, often nicknamed popcorn tea. Their BB detox – nothing to do with dieting, it is what I would call THE anti-blues tea. You only have to smell it to feel better. Yep, that kind of tea. But there is so much more to marvel at. Like the Euphoria, well named, a blend of Argentinian maté, orange and chocolate. The almond one, as if you had just opened the pod and pressed the core between your fingers. Ginger and lemon, which must be spectacular iced on a summer’s day or as base for a fruit salad. The Zubrovka, that special grass used in vodka, intriguing. I wonder how long it would take to try them all? Could we hope for a Kusmi calendar, one teabag per day?
I inherited from my mother a love for Lapsang. Real ones – one of the first things I learnt in Paris, at the Maison des 3 thés, was that most are fake, chemical aroma. If you look closer, you’ll notice a slight oily substance in your cup, discreet but there. Most often, it is indicated on the packet but very few pay attention to it. This never happens with Kusmi Tea and I love them all the more for it, you can choose with your eyes closed and trust them. They have a classic, of course, but also a smoky Earl Grey (my favourite twist on bergamot), a Samovar, lighter but spicy and a really nice surprise, the Traktir, more intense, citrus notes and cinnamon, really robust structure.
Another amazing creation, if you fancy something really different, the Algothé. Black tea, seaweed, mint. Not too seasidey but a beautiful minerality, very refreshing. Like a light breeze, a soothing spa effect. Quite wow.
Each selection can be bought as loose in a metal tin (iconic, these days for Kusmi), refill bag, tea bag or muslin. On the shelves are all the accessories you need from a bamboo whisk for matcha to infusing spoons. A lifetime of shopping I tell you.
Do take the time to sit down, let the noise of the world fade away as they teach you about the delicacies on offer. There is a small tea room at the back and, oh! a tempting selection of cakes, all made by a French pâtisserie in London. Need convincing? Look below. The chocolate mousse, light in texture, has all the intensity of cacao and you know what? It’s sugar free. Brilliant. I personally fell for the rose cheesecake, crunchy biscuity base, perfect creaminess and a floral syrup for icing. The teapots are huge, such a good deal for £5 when you consider the price of a normal cup of tea from a chain these days! All sweet treats are at £5 and again, in this area and what that level of refinement, that’s not a bad price.
A moment of quietness, finally, in such a rough world.
15 Marylebone High St
London W1U 4NU
Time Out had crowned Scoop Best Ice Cream in London. No less. Top 5 star rating and all, praising the quality, totally melting for these gelati. Spring is back, there was a little sunshine, we stopped by, intrigued and in need of something sweet. Oh, to be welcomed by the scent of warm waffles and fresh coffee, what a nice introduction! A quick look at the winter selection and my mouth was already watering: the ice cream looked so supple, so light, I could already feel it melting on my tongue. Everything is prepared on site, explained the founder, Matteo Pantani. His eyes sparkle when he talks about the ingredients, first class all the way: the best vanilla possible, organic eggs and cinnamon, Grand Cru single origin cocoas, almonds from Piedmont. No colouring nor fake flavours here! Each year, he surprises scoop lovers with events and ideas. Ice cream cookie sandwiches. Chocolate popsicles. Cocktail-sorbets (champagne, mojito, cosmopolitan)… He was the very first one, as early as 2008, to try molecular gelato, using liquid nitrogen, giving the parlour a Harry Potter atmosphere. All the more reasons to like his Facebook page and be the first to know about his new creations.
Being chocoholics, we indulge in the 2 chocolate treats available that day. The Cioccolato Fondente offers a beautiful creaminess, enveloping the palate, gorgeous with the Sicilian pistachio gelato. Kids (or cheerful adults like me) will be easily seduced by the hundreds-and-thousands cone – adding a festive touch, makes you feel on holiday. Do try the Cioccolato Extra Fondente, a more intense sorbet (indeed, dairy free), such a long, strong bodied note. Takes me instantly back to that special hot chocolate served at a palazzo in Turin.
Every fusion is possible here. A waffle, a meringue, a cake with your gelato? Or would you prefer it as a milkshake? And of course, it’s Shrove Tuesday next week. There will be a special chocolate selection to be served on pancakes, with no less than 8 superb choices. They all look so fantastic I cannot make up my mind. I think I will need three at least! Origins will go from Ghana to Venezuela via Sao Tome – a cacao tour of the world. No, there is no way you can resist this…
Go on. There are 3 delicious addresses in London to enjoy. Ice cream on a waffle or pancake on a chilly day is guaranteed to make you feel better.
40 Short’s Gardens
WC2H 9AB London
53 Brewer Street
W1F 9UJ London
Dale Chihuly, glass-whisperer, should I say. You already know this artist for his chandelier extraordinaire in the V&A entrance, sprawling, alive, mastering the cupola entirely. His work is designed to bloom in botanical gardens, Victorian style conservatories, unroll in landscapes, appear and reflect on mirror-like ponds, compete with the most exotic flowers. The Halcyon Gallery presents his latest masterpieces, Beyond the Object. On the ground floor are some of his signatures, bright petals, transparency playing curved reflections on the walls, intricate octopi, fierce glass flames.
But go down the stairs, and wow, what a different universe entirely, words swiped away. Between Lovecraftian jungles, complex water lilies, dangerous beauties, vibrant, tantalising, daring you to touch them, ready to absorb you into their world… and mysterious ocean flora, anemones, clams, corals, which you expect to start moving any second. They belong somewhere extraordinary. Others are deliciously erotic, female. Do take the time to appreciate the architecture of each creation, the waves, the multitude of patterns on a single piece… Such power embodied in a fragile material…
Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object Until April 05, 2014 – free
144-146 New Bond Street
London W1S 2PF
London is always on the move. There’s only a fine line between popular and trendy. But one neighbourhood still seems to remain true to its original spirit: Brixton, such a marvelous melting pot. What an exotic maze, crescendo of colours! Difficult to know where to start at the first visit, so many stalls loaded with sometimes mysterious vegetables, a myriad of nationalities and languages mixing effortlessly, street foods and cafés galore, narrow streets and covered passages… Both fascinating and slightly confusing.
Fox & Squirrel has a special ”Eat your way through Brixton” walk. Not one of those tours drowning you in historical details and dates. No, this is a real human experience, getting you closer to the people leaving there, as well as a culinary travel around the world. No less than 7 finger-licking-good stops await. Further than just indulging in “real” flavours (Fresh herbs! Spices! Let alone a fantastic quality…), you’ll meet the people behind the counter, listen to their anecdotes, memories of their country, you’ll laugh with them, share your own experiences. How fantastic to see their faces lighting up when you tell them - wow, this is amazing, how do you cook this? For a few hours, you will get closer to that community, rather than just being a passer-by. Brixton, how can I say? Has a pulse. You can feel its heart beating. Laughs echo, merchants call from one stall to another. Even as bigger names make a discreet appearance, there is a real sense of belonging, of helping each other between the shops and restaurants. This is not about business. This is about living; people.
I could go on for hours, tell you a thousand details learnt during the walk. It wouldn’t be the same, you have to see it for yourself, you have to be there, to live it. And it’s so nice to just relax, follow, marvel at everything. The tour gives you the perfect landmarks you need to find your way easily next time – and you might need 2 or 3 days to really appreciate the whole place, from African fabric to the tiniest aubergines you have ever seen. Through Fox & Squirrel you will discover Ethiopian coffee in a small tent, fragrant with roasted beans and frankincense, served with ginger, such a delicate gesture when the market is so vibrant outside. There will be Ethiopian pancakes further on, injeras, with superb lamb, spinach, carrots. You’ll sip summery Portuguese wine in the street, smiling happily. You’ll discover Colombian treats: pork mixed with rice and peas, cooked inside the leg, steamed. Empanadas to die for. Arepas, galettes made with corn flour, condensed milk and cheese with a super-fresh salsa that will really wake you up. You’ll also visit a micro-brewery, inspired by the mix of ethnicities around, from the label designs to the colourful bunting, the names even reflecting the most important streets of the neighbourhood. I left totally seduced by their Electric Ale, taking a couple of bottles back with me. It’s not over yet – how about a taste of the Caribbean with cod nuggets so good they have been nicknamed a High Five to Jesus (and yes, you will agree right after the first bite), roti filled with melt-in-the-mouth veg, even goat. And there is perfect gelati two steps from there, which you can enjoy on a thick hot chocolate. So much to look at, everywhere, concluding on a ginger ale-rum-fresh ginger hot drink to warm you up…
A real paradise for foodies and photographers. Most importantly, Fox & Squirrel, rather than just taking you along from one spot to another, really make you feel the magic, the warmth of this neighbourhood. At the very end, you will absolutely want to live here, plunge yourself in that atmosphere every day, go back to this after work. No varnish, a particular aura - everything feels… so real. In three and a half hours I would never have seen that much on my own. Let alone talk to anyone there. Or know which addresses were the best. Go for it, don’t hesitate, what a change of scenery!
The countdown to Valentine’s day has begun. A quick search on Google is likely to drive you crazy. Is there a life beyond the endless list of restaurants just proposing a menu but no originality, the complimentary red rose, the London eye and boat trip on the Thames? It took some work but we found 20 heart-melting propositions to make the 14th more special. A good start is to get the book London for lovers, for a lovely walk around the city (and the perfect stops to wow your soulmate). Not enough? We also have 65 romantic ideas for London here.
1. Bedtime stories for adults? Yes, at 40 winks, the most atmospheric house I have been to. These tales will be romantic, funny, erotic, a different kind of love declaration. You will forget time completely, it is so cosy. Oh, and there are gin cocktails too. Feb 12 and 13, check the FB page.
2. Travel in time - The British Library will have a Georgian Ball with baroque orchestra, quadrille, banquet inspired by historical recipes, entry to the Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain exhibition too.
3. At the Churchill War Rooms, you’ll get a chance to dance the swing, write a real love letter (handwritten, I mean, no digital here!) and sip on Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne.
4. Why not ask Michael Bianco of Elephant Lane Studios to ‘Write a Song for the One U Love’ - based on your words, your passion, your memories. Think about it, your very own song!
5. Go to One Aldwych - the Lobby bar that does the best cocktails in town, trust me. Insist on the “For Love” one: chilli infused vodka, ginger and lemongrass cordial, rhubarb liqueur and lemon juice. That’s sure to be an aphrodisiac.
6. An afternoon tea at The Waldorf, with a pianist playing, is already a treat. For Valentine’s day, it will be cherry themed, even served with a glass of Visciolata, an irresistible Italian cherry-infused wine.
7. RichMix offers poetry workshops around the L word. These days, love declarations are so often digital that adding beautiful words to paper is even more precious. Why not go together and exchange at the end of the session?
8. I’m not saying this because I’m a froggie, but nothing sounds more romantic than a touch of French in the evening. The Royal Albert Hall will have an ‘Oh la la!’ jazz evening with Parisian folk music, champagne and dessert to be shared. Convinced yet?
9. Ask the so very trendy Fox and Squirrel to do, bespoke, the perfect London walk for you. Ask them by email about their ’Routes for Romance’, in which the journey and the couple’s story are illustrated by a London-based artist before being posted to you.
10. Have a different look at the National Gallery - this bacchanalian tour will tell you all about the romantic and erotic details of their paintings. Followed by dinner at the Blacks private member club.
11. On a tight budget but still would like to get flowers for your better half? Go to Covent Garden – Wilkinson will have a pop-up there, to give you a shave for free and then give you a bunch of blooms. Life doesn’t get easier than that.
12. Oh, of course, there are plenty of restaurants in London. But I really like the idea of Carom’s tealight lounge, filled with candles. The Valentine’s day menu finishes on a dessert feast: Sweet Lime Cheesecake with a berry coulis, Carom’s Chocolate Mousse, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Heart-shaped toasted sandwich with saffron/nuts/cherry/chocolate, Eden’s slow-roasted apple crisp, Chocolate Heart, Chilli Hot Chocolate Sauce. I mean, come one, surely there’s no hesitation?
13. The Museum of London has planned a special late evening all around the art of seduction – you will learn about Londoners’ courting dances past and present from the Charleston and disco to raving. Drink absinthe. Listen to the philosphy of pleasure. See erotic 18th century tiles. And so many more unusual things.
14. Lovers of literature should try Keat’s House which you can explore on the 14th by a torch light – lovely touch. There will be poetry, games and champagne to make you sparkle with happiness.
15. The Institut Français will project Love is in the air (who better can you trust but the French on love, right?). The main actress, Ludivine Sagnier, will be there to answer questions. A nice opportunity to do more than “just see a romantic movie”.
16. The Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum invites you to indulge in their cocktails, then sit down for a gourmet dinner: Moroccan spices and decadent chocolate made by a BBC chef followed by a candlelit visit of the museum. Afterwards you are invited to enjoy their rooftop garden with a nice fire to toast marshmallows on, petits fours and sparklers.
17. Talking about extraordinary dinners, Edible Stories really wows me: a meal in 9 courses alternated with storytelling, clues, interaction with the food and people around you. A feast but also an experience to be shared.
18. Sip one of the Love Potions created by Bam-Boo and served in mini bottles: Heartbreak Healer, Cupid’s Kiss, Lovers’ Liquor and Ever After Elixir.
19. If you are into a gothic touch or simply a dramatic effect, try the famous Miss Cakehead’s bouquets. This year, she is replacing champagne by the much more extraordinary Kraken rum, which comes with a choice of two messages: TAKE ME WHOLE’ or ‘SWALLOW ME PIECE BY PIECE’. Kraken is a monster squid which inspired her to add ink to the water in the flower’s vases for a spectacular result. Alternative and very original.
20. The Nomad Cinema is back. The 14th is already sold out but there are still tickets available for the 15th, in the heart of Hyde Park. Yes, yes, don’t worry, it will be well heated. The decoration will be inspired by a treehouse, there will be prosecco on arrival, ball room, marshmallows to be toasted, silhouette portraits to be made…
The Chinese Cricket Club being considered one of the best Sichuan restaurants in London, what better place to enjoy a culinary feast for the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the horse? Named in honour of the national sports team, you will find illustrations, bats and balls here and there on the wall, mixed with calligraphies. In the evening, the light is dimmed to a soft golden colour – ideal for a romantic dinner or just the soothing atmosphere.
I stopped close to the bar, intrigued by the bottles below. These are Lucky Beers, very difficult to find in the capital. Apparently, rubbing the Buddha’s belly brings luck your way. You can also enjoy it in one of the special cocktails created to pair the Chinese new year menu served until February 5th. The Red Lotus is an exotic version of the Bloody Mary: Lucky Beer, tomato juice and Asian Spices. Other nectars are on offer: Year of the horse martini (with a dash of ginger liqueur), Lychee martini, Singapore Sling, Passion Fruit Martini.
Quite a choice! We focused on the Cricket Club Fizz which comes complimentary with this special menu. Pommery, Midori, apple juice: pleasant tingling from the bubbles melting into honeyish melon and green apple, ideal to go with spicy notes later on, a great way to highlight crispy champagne.
One of the Chinese Cricket Club’s specialities are the dim sums and they are gorgeous indeed. Generously filled, light but super tasty. Three varieties are brought as starters and disappeared from our plates in no time: steamed pork bun, fluffy sweetbread, filled with melt in the mouth barbecued meat… Prawn Har Gao, unctuous ravioli filled with delicious prawns… and spring rolls, crunchy, filled with tender transparent noodles and vegetables. Just a little chilli sauce on this, ah, heavenly. Enjoy with a glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Gran Hacienda, for its intriguing notes of grapefruit, basil and freshly cut grass.
We continued on a refreshing touch - a classic of which I will never tire. Leave the chopsticks aside, like French fries, this one is better eaten with your fingers. Easy but such a delicate comfort food: fill a leaf of lettuce with spring onions and cucumber thin sticks, add some superbly cooked duck breast (melt-in-the-mouth yet with crispy touches here and there, making it terribly moreish), finish with a drizzle of Hoisin sauce. You know you should be reasonable, reading the menu there are 4 other treats coming up but yet, that duck… You just have to try it once more…
And suddenly your table is filled with plates. It would be worth going through this part blindfolded to enjoy each aroma separately, focus on the intense flavours of each creation. First the Yangzhou fried rice jewelled with salty pork, corn, egg yolk cooked as an omelette, soothing, rebalancing the palate, a dish you’d want on every rainy day. Then, mmmh, the grilled jumbo prawn on a hotpot. When I lived in Tahiti, I was very fond of chevrettes, a local greyish prawn, almost plump, very refined. I had completely forgotten about these, never having found an equivalent in the last 18 years. These brought the memory straight back. They’re that good, that generous, that elegant in taste. And served with a silky broth rich in vegetables: bamboo shoots, mange touts, mushrooms, red pepper, carrots carved as flowers. Then there is the sea bass, the flesh coming apart beautifully at the tip of your chopsticks, no addition to it, perfect, just a hint of ginger and a light soy sauce. Last, but definitely not least, the pork so tender it seems to almost liquefy in your mouth in a fireworks kind of sauce, sweet and sour of course but so powerful, so well balanced between the sugar and tangyness it blanks your mind for a few seconds. And the ever-so-juicy pineapple wrapped in this…
The Chinese New Year Menu includes a Cricket Club Fizz cocktail, 3 dim sums, a middle dish, 4 mains and a dessert. Available until February 5th, 2014 at £79/person.
Chinese Cricket Club
Crowne Plaza London – The City
19 New Bridge Street
London, EC4V 6DB
Because London, with its urban jungle, its forests of glass towers, its roaring doubel deckers… also is a green city and I’m not just thinking of the Royal Parks. There are so many secret squares, tiny places, unknown to tourists.London out of sight took me a little by surprise. I have been walking through the capital for 10 years now. Some of the names in that book I recognised of course, were familiar even though I had not necessarily stepped in. Little details on the pictures intrigued me. Made me want to finally visit them, take the time to spend more than a few minutes, go back to others. Because I wasn’t aware of that particular mosaic. Or that sculpture really intrigued me. Or this romantic path really is inviting, has to be seen. How about these intricate bird boxes, Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Garden? And did you know London has a Tibetan Peace Garden? That you can see otters elsewhere than in the London Zoo? And so many more inspiring ideas.
A very happy new year to you, my friends! May it be sparkling and magical. Are you back in London, not so much in the mood for work, dreaming of the holidays, wanting to enjoy that freedom a little longer? Read along, we have 10 fun ideas to enjoy the city this weekend:
1. A café dedicated to modern football, rightly named Café Football, has just opened in Westfield. Check out those desserts!
2. On Saturday, mark the end of the twelve days of Christmas on Southbank. You will meet The Green Man, a deity from ancient times, Mummers recreating the fight between St George and the dragon, King Bean and Queen Pea… More details on the Twelfth night celebrations here.
3. Have a look at the irresistible London watercolours by Liz Watkins.
4. Dream of escapes and freedom at the London Boat Show.
5. Marvel at the engineering work behind the Tube.
6. Let’s dance! This Grand Midwinter Folk Ball focuses on the French bourrée, waltz, polka, Breton music, accordions… and more, this Saturday.
7. Have a look at these refined pieces at the V&A, contemporary art inspired by Islamic traditions.
8. The East Greenwich orchard is feeling festive this Sunday – there will be singing and lots of kids workshop, a nice occasion to enjoy the fresh air.
9. On Sunday, the Geffrye Museum says good-bye to Christmas – huge fire in which holly and ivy will be burnt; songs, mulled wine… Join the cheerfulness!
10. Did you know the V&A also shelters a gallery dedicated to the theatre? Clothes, posters, stage artefacts… (including some from The Lion King musical if you want to wow the kids). There is a free guided tour every day if you want to know all sorts of anecdotes and little secrets.
Bye, Christmas, hello holidays! Looking for fun ideas for this relaxed weekend? Well… how about pretending you’ve gone skiing and stopping at these alpine-style pop-up bars and restaurants? By the way, did you know The Berkeley has a winter cinema? Gorgeous and luxurious, themed around a forest, complete with wooden chalets and furs. Quite a unique experience. 10 more fun suggestions below.
1. On Friday, imagine London in Dickens’ times with this themed walk.
2. Or why not go, still on Friday, for this Christmas lights walk. Includes secret passages and perfect pubs.
3. Ever fancied visiting the Harry Potter studios? It’s all about snow at the moment. Even more magical than before.
4. Have a look at the Wartime Christmas exhibition at the Imperial War Museum - there are activities for the kids too. An interesting way to show them that they should count their blessings!
5. Hooray! A pub in Clapham is dedicated to craft beer.
6. The Prince Charles Cinema plays the Indiana Jones trilogy. Go on, you know you want to.
7. Each Sunday, a magic carpet settles in front of a painting of the National Gallery, a different one each time. Kids can listen to fascinating stories for 30min. Yes, it’s free.
8. Ever noticed the magnificent conservatory in The Barbican? It’s the second biggest in London and sadly is rarely accessible. Though it will be open to the public this Sunday, go!
9. Learn all about the secrets of the Hammersmith and City Line.
10. Love a good book? Especially when chosen in a independent bookshop rather than Amazon? This free app lists all the boutiques you must visit in London.