The Wolseley has only been open since 2003, but has steadily become an institution on the London dining scene. I’ve wanted to go for years and have heard many friends raving about dinners and brunches. I finally went for Afternoon Tea with a friend recently and thankfully was as good as I hoped.
The building itself features an impressive façade which really stands out on Piccadilly. It was originally a car showroom, Wolseley Motors Ltd, when it was built in the early 1920s, with the architect William Curtis Green taking inspiration from Venetian and Florentine design. Unfortunately, the car business didn’t last long and the building was taken over by Barclays Bank in 1927.
The Wolseley is described as a ‘café-restaurant in the grand European tradition’ and upon walking in, it did remind me of some of the grand cafes in Paris and Budapest I have been in. High ceilings, sweeping staircases, large windows and marble made for a dramatic setting.
I visited recently with a friend for a belated birthday celebration on a Friday afternoon. We were seated at a lovely black wood and marble table, which just about had enough room for our numerous plates and cups we would accumulate during our setting.
When we booked, there were various options of Afternoon Tea, depending on your appetite and if you wanted to add some fizz. We initially decided on the traditional Afternoon Tea (£23.75), before ‘upgrading’ it to The Wolseley Champagne Tea at £33.50 per person when we arrived.
We decided to have the champagne first – perhaps unwise on an empty stomach – which was light and refreshing. For tea, they have a wide choice as you would expect, including their own blend, with myself plumping for Earl Grey. The tea was presented in sterling silver teapots and brewed with tea-leaves, so you’re able to fully taste the flavour and aroma of the tea.
When it came to the food, we were presented with a three-tiered cake stand featuring assorted finger sandwiches, fresh fruit scones and a selection of pastries – all made on site. On the day in question we visited, the desserts were Battenberg, Cherry & Pistachio Cake, Rhubarb Tart, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Éclair and Vanilla Cheesecake, which were all delicious and presented beautifully. The scones were probably my favourite and I liked the little touches of the silver serving spoons for the clotted cream and jam actually embossed for their purpose. As I’m a pescatarian, I warned The Wolseley ahead of time about my dietary requirements so they were able to give me a good selection of non-meat sandwiches.
As we expected, the service was top-notch. our waiter was very attentive, giving us refills of tea and sandwiches. We were rather leisurely as we paced ourselves with such a lot of food and didn’t feel under pressure to move on. Overall, the food, service and setting were brilliant and I highly recommend it. For those looking for a traditional English afternoon tea, I think you’d be hard pressed to find better.
- The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, St James, W1J 9EB. Nearest station: Green Park. Afternoon Tea is served from 3-6.30pm Mon-Fri, 3.30-5.30pm Sat and 3.30-6.30pm Sun. For more information and booking, visit The Wolseley website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
The summer is in full swing and with the school holidays kicking off at the end of the month, it means there’s plenty of free events on around town. Of course Wimbledon is easing us into the month with plenty of free screenings on around town if you haven’t been lucky enough to get a ticket. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to what’s on in London this month.
For a guide to London’s pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
For Metro Girl’s guide to Wimbledon screenings and parties, click here.
- 30 June – 5 July : Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Flower show in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, featuring three zones Inspire, Grow and Escape. Celebrity and expert speakers include David Domoney, Charlie Dimmock, Rachel Allen, James Wong, Jonathan Moseley and Mig Kimpton, among others. Advance tickets range from £19.50 to £35 depending on full/half-day and membership. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest train: Hampton Court (from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the RHS website.
- 1 – 12 July : East End Film Festival
Diverse film festival including premieres, industry masterclasses, Q&As, screenings and immersive live events at venues across the East End. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website.
- 2 July – 18 October : Audrey Hepburn – Portrait Of An Icon
Exhibition of photographs of the late, great Audrey Hepburn. Featuring images by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, plus family snaps and behind-the-scenes. Tickets: £9-£10. National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Leicester Square. For more information and tickets, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.
- 3 July : Don Giovanni on the BP Big Screen
Performance will be beamed live from the Royal Opera House to big screens around the UK, including Trafalgar Square, Canada Square Park, Lyric Square Hammersmith and Walthamstow Town Square. Free. 7pm onwards. For more information, visit the Royal Opera House website.
- 3 – 5 July : Foodies Festival @ Alexandra Palace
Enjoy fine food and drink, teach your kids to cook in the Children’s Cookery Theatre, listen to live music, tea dances, vintage kitchen market and watch chefs in action such as John Whaite, Adam Handling and Aldo Zilli. Tickets: £10-£15. Fri and Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.
- 4 – 11 July : The Streatham Festival
Eight day festival in Streatham with this year’s theme of ‘coming of age’. Featuring dance, comedy, music, workshops, arts and crafts, writing, film and talks. At various venues across Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website.
- Now until 5 July : Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
Nine day celebration of free outdoor performing arts, including theatre, dance, and street arts. At various venues across Greenwich and Docklands. For more information, visit the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival website.
- Now until 5 July : Hampstead Summer Festival
Now extended to two weeks long, the festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Big Fair on Heath Street (5 July), open art competitions, poetry, art and literacy events, pub quizzes and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the Hampstead Summer Festival website.
- 9 – 11 July : The Greatest Spectacle Of Lucha Libre
A celebration of Mexican wrestling, food and entertainment. Tickets: £20-£45 (discounts available for children). York Hall, Bethnal Green, E2 9PJ. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information or tickets, visit Lucha Libre World website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.
The Great Fire of London ravaged the City of London in 1666, altering the cityscape forever. However, despite the fire ending around Giltspur Street just 300 metres away, one home dating to before the fire still survives today.
Located in Smithfield beside St Bartholomew The Great Church is what is said to be the oldest house in the City of London. The name Cloth Fair stems back to the annual cloth fair held in August in the churchyard of St Bartholomew, which has stood on the site since 1123 when it was an Augustinian Priory. The fair was originally a trading place for merchants, but its popularity meant other attractions became popping up including freak shows, music and other stalls. It later became known as the Bartholomew Fair and ran until 1855. It was only after the dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII (1491–1547) that the priory was reduced and houses were allowed to be built in the area. Located in what is known as the Farringdon Without ward of the City, 41-42 Cloth Fair is the only home on the road surviving from that period. The building dates back to the late Tudor/Jacobean period, having been constructed between 1597 and 1614.
When the building of 41-42 Cloth Fair was completed in 1614, it was part of a scheme of 11 houses with a courtyard in the middle called ‘the Square in Launders Green’, named so because it was on the site of the priory’s laundry. Amazingly, the houses managed to survive the Great Fire when it struck 52 years later. Records show they were unscathed due to being enclosed with the large priory walls. The decades and centuries went by and the buildings remained – if a little ravaged by time – until the early 20th century. In 1929, 41-42 Cloth Fair was earmarked for demolition by the Corporation of London as part of its slum clearance programme on the grounds of public health. Fortunately it was saved when it was bought for £3,000 freehold, before being restored by Paul Paget (1901-1985) and John Seely (the 2nd Lord Mottistone) in 1930, who used the building as their home and an office for their architectural practice until 1978. It obviously survived The Blitz and was converted into offices in 1979 after it was sold by Paget and Seely. Over the 80s and early 90s it was rather neglected, but fortunately bought in 1995 and extensively renovated to the home you see today, with the co-operation of English Heritage, Royal Commission of Historic Monuments and the City of London Corporation.
The ground floor exterior is probably the most changed today and looks pretty modern. However, if you look up at the first and second floors, the rectangular timber bays with led glass windows and their pediment crowns are evidence of its history. Today the address is a Grade II-listed four-bedroom home with roof terrace worth several million pounds. In 2000, the building was honoured with the City Heritage Award for being an asset to the local area. Among the famous people to have visited the house include Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900-2002). There are rumours that skeletons are buried in foundations of the building, which could be plausible given its location so close to the church.
Meanwhile, when you’re in the area check out 43 Cloth Fair next door – a Georgian house which was formerly home to Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984), a writer and broadcaster who was a significant figure in the heritage movement and fought to save many historical buildings from demolition. A blue plaque notes the former resident and today you can rent the house for a holiday let from the Landmark Trust.
- 41-42 Cloth Fair, Smithfield, EC1A. Nearest station: Barbican or St Pauls. Please note this is a private residence and not open to the public.
To read about the nearby Golden Boy Of Pye Corner, to commemorate the end of the Great Fire, click here.
For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.
To many of us, the chance of winning something in a sporting event seems rather far-fetched. How many of us would love to win the London Marathon, but the lure of another pint of cider and a five-course tasting menu at the new pop-up is just too powerful?
Well, for those lacking in athletic ability, The Chap Olympiad could be right up your street. Returning to London on 11 July, Britain’s most eccentric sporting event will celebrate ‘sporting ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases’. Hosted by The Chap magazine and Bourne & Hollingsworth (famous for Prohibition, The Blitz Party and 90s: The Playback Party), the day will feature sporting events, live music, side shows and traditional British food and drinks… all while dressed in dapper, vintage style.
The events for the 2015 tournament include:
– Gentlemen’s Club Golf: contestants must hit a bowler hat into a large fishing net using a walking stick.
– Swooning: one for the ladies. A line of chaps faces a line of chapettes, and the chaps have to induce the ladies to swoon through any means possible.
– Tea Pursuit: contestants cycle around the track transferring a cup of tea from one rider to the next. The winning team will be decided by the measure of tea remaining in the cup.
– Not Playing Tennis: gents or ladies seated in armchairs play a game of tennis without getting up. The tennis ball is suspended on a wire strung between two hat stands.
– Bread Basketball: 12 contestants are invited to dine at a table in the middle of the track. A team of servants at each end of the table engage in playing basketball with the bread and the breadbasket, across the table, while the dinner guests try to get served.
– Moustache Wrestling: two contestants must pluck a single hair from their opponent’s lip weasel. If the whole moustache comes off, the opponent is immediately disqualified for twirling under false pretences.
– Briefcase Phalanx: a line of ten chaps and chapettes, dressed for the office and clutching briefcases and handbags, creates a phalanx. Lone contestants must charge at them and try to break through to the secretary on the other side.
– Bakewell Battles: contestants fight it out armed only with silver cake slices and Bakewell tarts.
– The Pipeathlon: six contestants complete a 10-yard course using three disciplines – pipe smoking, cycling and being carried by their servants.
– Umbrella Jousting: two contestants, armed only with brollies and briefcases, must go at one another on bicycles and attempt to knock each other off.
When you’re not trying your hand at the events, guests will be entertained by big bands, quartets, pianists and cabaret singers, as well as radio plays, country fair side-shows and lawn games. Bourne & Hollingsworth will be providing their classic cocktails, as well as beer, wine and soft drinks, while lunch and supper will be served for hungry guests. Ticket holders will be encouraged to come in period dress and immerse themselves in a rather more gentlemanly and ladylike way to live.
- The Chap Olympiad takes place on Saturday 11th July 2015 at Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3ES. Nearest station: Goodge Street. From 12pm until dusk, games begin at 1pm. Tickets: £25 (sold in advance via Ticketporte or tel: 020 7636 8228). For more information, visit the Chap magazine website or Bourne & Hollingsworth.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
It’s that time of year again – when the country goes tennis mad for two weeks during the Wimbledon tournament. Due to work, money or luck, not all of us will be sitting in centre court watching the action for real in SW19. However, not to worry, as plenty of venues are getting in on the action if you wanted to match the game on the big screen with a bit of atmosphere. Some screens are even staying up a bit longer for the Tour De France, Ashes Test Matches, Grand Prix and Golf British Open Practice Day. So what are you waiting for, grab your tennis whites and get ready to eat your body weight in strawberries and cream!
Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to some of the Wimbledon screenings and celebrations on in London…
- 29 June – 12 July : Live Tennis In Hammersmith
Watch the action from Wimbledon as part of the I Love Hammersmith Summer Festival. The action will be beamed live on to a big screen in Lyric Square while deckchairs will be provided. 12-8pm daily. Free. Lyric Square, Hammersmith, W6 0ED. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information, visit the Hammersmith London website.
- 29 June – 12 July : Great British Summer
Sit in deck chairs to watch screenings of Wimbledon tennis at three venues across the capital. All open daily during the tournament from 12-10pm. Free. For more information, visit the Great British Summer website.
– One New Change, 6th floor roof terrace (Cheapside, EC4M 9AF. Nearest tube: St Pauls)
– Cardinal Place, 1st floor roof terrace (Victoria Street, Victoria, SW1E 5JD. Nearest tube: Victoria)
– New Street Square (located off Fleet Street, Holborn, EC4A. Nearest station: Chancery Lane or City Thameslink).
- 29 June – 12 July : Strawberries And Screen
Watch the tennis for free at Kings’ Cross on deckchairs. Lewis Cubitt Park, Handyside St Kings Cross, N1C 4UZ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Kings Cross website.
- 29 June – 12 July : Wimbledon @ Bluebird
Bluebird in the King’s Road will be hosting screenings of Wimbledon on a giant outdoor screen in their sunny courtyard. You can watch the action while sipping champagne or Pimms from the bar or eating from the café menu. On the Men’s Finals day, they will be serving a special menu. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.
- 29 June – 12 July : Wimbledon @ M Restaurants
The City’s hot new dining and drinking destination will be creating some special Wimbledon-themed cocktails to sip while watching the action on one of their big screens. Why not order a Murray Martini, the Federer Fizz, Nadal Nigroni and Djokovic Daiquiri while standing on the specially turfed bar area. Big tennis fans can also rent the private den for screenings with their own personal staff to serve food and drink during the matches. M, 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2 8HP. Nearest station: Bank or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the M Restaurant’s website.
- 29 June – 26 July : More London Free Festival
More London will be screening the tennis, as well as the Tour De France, Ashes Test Matches and Golf British Open Practice Day. Times vary. Free. The London Riviera pop-up nearby will be serving food and drink. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information, visit the More London website.
- 29 June – 18 August : Summer Screens @ Canary Wharf
Grab a blanket or a picnic and watch some of the summer’s biggest sporting events on the big screen, including Wimbledon tennis, Grand Prix, British Golf Open and live opera from the Royal Opera House. Free. Times vary. Canada Square Park, Docklands, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.
- 30 June : Mr Fogg’s Wimbledon Soiree
To celebrate this year’s Wimbledon, Mr Fogg will be hosting a soiree in partnership with Champagne Lanson. The bar will be transformed with vintage tennis rackets and memorabilia, while the new Hendricks Botanical Garden will be transformed into a grass tennis court so guests can play a friendly tournament (with purchase of a glass of Champagne Lanson white label). Mr Fogg’s will be serving tennis classics such as strawberries and cream, scones and homemade Tipsy Lemonades as well as some new tennis-themed cocktails, such as The Royal Serve, A Bloomin’ Raquet and Fair Game Martini. Open 5pm-1am. Mr Fogg’s, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD. Nearest tube: Green Park. For more information, visit the Mr Foggs website.
- 7 – 10 July : Wimbledon Live @ Baker Street Quarter
The Summer In The Square event returns to the Baker Street Quarter, with film and sports screenings. Wimbledon will be screened daily over four days of the tournament. Free. 11am-10pm. Portman Square Garden, Marylebone, W1H 6LT. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.
Or for a guide to open air film screenings in London this summer, click here.
Alice’s Adventures Underground review: Feel like a child again on a fantastical immersive theatre experience
Immersive theatre and cinema has been steadily growing in popularity in London in recent years, with Secret Cinema and Punch Drunk two stellar examples. With the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland this year, theatre company Les Enfants Terribles have created an immersive journey into Wonderland in the vaults below Waterloo station.
My friend and I paid a recent visit on a Sunday afternoon. It’s admittedly a bit tricky to review as different groups have totally different experiences and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for any potential visitors so I will try to give a flavour of what to expect. Photos aren’t allowed (except in the Wonderland bar afterwards) so you are free to fully immerse yourselves in the experience without the distraction of cameraphones.
After arriving 15 minutes before our allotted time, we were put into a large group and shown into a dark, messy room full of Victoriana – the study of Lewis Carroll. It isn’t long before we were given the choice of ‘Eat Me’ or ‘Drink Me’, splitting the group in half. We chose ‘Eat Me’, so ended up going through a special door. It wasn’t long before our groups are split in half again. As our journey continued, we were taken from room to room where we met characters from Wonderland, including the White Rabbit, the Playing Cards and a female version of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Throughout the experience, there is plenty of opportunities for interaction with the residents of Wonderland. I had a brief exchange with Alice, while my friend spoke to one of the Hearts playing cards.
One of the highlights was the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – where all our original group were reunited for a fantastically chaotic tea party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the sleepy Dormouse. My friend and I admitted we wished we had our cameras because it was such a fantastic sight. After finally getting the chance to see the terrifically scary Queen Of Hearts at the climax of show, we emerged into the atmospheric Wonderland Bar. The bar serves suitably themed cocktails and nibbles, but is also open late on Fridays and Saturday with live music and DJs.
My friend and I totally loved the show. It was a surreal and entertaining experience. The cast were brilliant and it is really down to them that the theatrical journey was so real. I was a fan of Alice In Wonderland when I was younger and the production really made me feel like a child again.
- Alice’s Adventures Underground takes place at The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD until 30 August 2015. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tickets (should be booked in advance for specific time slots): Tues, Wed and Sunday £35, Thurs £40-£47.50, Fri and Sat £47.50. For more information and booking, visit the Alice’s Adventures Underground website.
For a guide to what else is on in London, click here.
It’s not often we see our home city as ‘glamorous’ in comparison to places like St Tropez and Miami Beach. However, when the sun is out… and you’re not stuck in a stuffy office – London is pretty fabulous. This summer, there will be one pop-up with a more chic location than most.
Overlooking the River Thames, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London this summer will be an immersive new drinking and dining experience. The London Riviera is a five-month bespoke pop-up bar which will offer an alfresco venue to kick back and relax on a warm summer evening or weekend. Taking inspiration from Miami and the French Riviera, the venue has been created by Hollywood film designer Sonia Klaus with palm tress, pink flamingos, giant pineapples and comfortable day beds.
For customers feeling peckish, there will be fresh sharing menu from Ceru restaurant. The menu, created by Executive Chef Tom Kime (previously of The River Café, Le Pont de la Tour and Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant), will be ever-changing throughout the summer, inspired by Mediterranean street food. Samples dishes include Pancar (roast beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and pistachio), Fadi (fried baby courgette purée with tahini, roast garlic, yoghurt & lemon) and Spicy Roast Red Pepper dip with chilli, walnuts & pomegranate molasses, all served with freshly baked pita; Crisp apple, pomegranate & mint salad with green chilli, lemon & roasted pine nuts; Salad of baby spinach with labneh, dried cranberries & toasted flat bread with za’atar; Ceru’s signature Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Shawarma Spices; and Kebab Karaz Spiced Baked Meatballs with sour cherry and cranberry.
The bar will be serving a range of drinks, including organic coffee, freshly pressed juices, mocktails, craft beers and exotic cocktails for you to sip while lounging and enjoying the views. Every Wednesday, the Cîroc School of Mixology will be giving classes so you can learn to make your own Cîroc vodka cocktails. Other events over the summer include Tom Kime’s Supper Club and weekend ‘Love Brunch’ parties.
I went along to the launch this week and was immediately wowed by the design of the place, bringing a real sense of colour and fun to what is usually grey and metallic surroundings. As a frequent visitor to the Southbank, I’ve long adored the views from this part of the capital so the chance to enjoy them in a venue for eating and drinking is a real plus. I tried some Cîroc pineapple vodka cocktails which were sweet, fruity and delicious. The day beds were particularly comfortable and I could well see myself lounging on one on a hot Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
London Riviera is part of the More London Free Festival, which runs until the end of September. Amongst the highlights of the festival include free film and sport screenings, live music and theatre.
- London Riviera, Queen’s Walk, More London (next to City Hall), SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. Open daily 8am-10pm from now until 31 October 2015. For more information, visit the London Riviera website.
To find out what else is on in London in July, click here.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Headlining this summer’s London Wonderground is Scotch & Soda, a fusion of circus and jazz. The show takes place in the atmospheric Spiegeltent, which really gives a fringe festival vibe. The production features Ben Walsh and the Crusty Suitcase Band, who provide the music while Company 2’s acrobats perform death-defying feats.
At the heart of the show is The Crusty Suitcase band, who perform a sort of hillbilly jazz on a mix of traditional and quirky instruments. Company 2 is an ensemble of Australian circus artists who previously brought the hugely successful show Cantina to Wonderground in 2012. The band and acrobats have taken on characters inspired by the Australian outback and historical circus acts. While the other characters weren’t so clear to me, Mozes is suitably bizarre and eccentric as The Bush Stranger, who kick starts the laughter by flashing the audience, while whizzing around in his clog-style roller-skates.
The premise of the show is a hillybilly, Victoriana get-together over a few drinks and music with the ‘party tricks’ on a whole different level to what we’ve seen before. The tricks start on a small scale with Chelsea McGuffin walking a ‘tightrope’ made of champagne bottles, before building in size and grandeur. There were many moments during the show when I held my breath in anxiety as the performers were suspended from the trapeze or balancing precariously on a huge pile of boxes. I was awed by the strength of the acrobats as the female performers supported the weight of Mozes hanging off them on the trapeze or David Carberry carrying two acrobats on his shoulders while cycling. An interlude from the fast-paced action with a bird act was cute, but a bit underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the show.
Overall, the 70 minute show flew by thanks to musicians and circus artists, who complemented each other well and had a great sense of camaraderie that spread to the audience. The show certainly livened me up on a Friday evening after a long and tiring week at work. Whether or not you’re a circus aficionado, few couldn’t fail to be won over by Scotch & Soda’s cheeky, energetic and skilful brand of music and mastery.
- Scotch & Soda is on at London Wonderground in Jubilee Gardens until 2 August 2015. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tuesday to Sunday 7.30pm, Sunday matinees 4pm, No performances on Mondays or 14 June, 15 June, 16 June, 17 June, 14 July and 28 July. Tickets: £12.50. Suitable for ages 12+. To book phone: 0844 545 82820844 545 8282 or visit www.londonwonderground.co.uk or www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
- London Wonderground runs at Jubilee Gardens from 7 May until 27 September 2015
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
We all know about pop-ups, but luxury gastronomy expert Cuisson are bringing a new dining concept to London this summer – the POP-Down. The new venture, which will launch on 12 June 2015, will see diners offered a creative and high-quality menu at an affordable price compared to other supper clubs. The menu (which will change every month), will consist of four courses, fusing French cuisine with modernist technique and an element of playfulness. Accompanying the food will be a signature Cuisson cocktail.
The POP-Down will be located in a spacious basement at Borough Barista in St James, with room for 38 guests. An open kitchen will allow diners to watch the chefs in action, who will be able to mingle with their guests and even ask them to help plate up.
Meanwhile, for those with a sweet tooth, there will also be the POP-Down Dessert Bar, where diners can indulge in three courses of desserts, matched with some specially selected wines.
Examples from the menu include:
Crispy tortilla and prawn chorizo.
Chicken liver parfait with charred pineapple and candied walnuts.
Salmon with fennel, cucumber and vanilla.
White truffle and saffron crème brûlée with yogurt sugar and summer fruit.
Examples from the dessert menu include:
Carrot cake pot with dehydrated carrot tuile and carrot salad.
Almond custard, mint jelly, chocolate caviar and black sesame tuile.
Marinated strawberries, black olive caramel and almond shortbread.
- Cuisson Presents POP-Down-Dining and Desserts is located in the basement at Borough Barista, 15 Charles II Street, St James, SW1Y 4RW. Nearest station: Green Park. Starting on 12 June 2015, it will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7.30pm onwards. Tickets: £39 for 4 courses at the restaurant, £25 for three dessert courses (available to purchase in advance through Grubclub). For more information, visit the GrubClub website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.
I’d been hearing great buzz about long-term pop-up Beehive Place for a while and last month I finally got a chance to sample their culinary creations. Located in a former Victorian hayloft in Brixton Market, Beehive Place is a collaboration between Chef Sam Hodges and Restaurateur Theo Cooper (Chateau Marmot). The menu changes every week and uses sourced, seasonal ingredients from farmers and foragers.
A friend and I paid a visit on a Saturday night and it was a full house. We arrived half an hour before our seating and the bar area was already buzzing with customers sampling the unique cocktail menu. We took our seats on one of the large shared table and started with ‘Apearatif’ cocktails (Beehive honey, pear and raspberry purée, Beehive rhubarb gin, fresh mint spirit and sparkling wine), which was juicy and refreshing. Aside from their cocktails, there is also the opportunity to have your wines matched to your courses should you wish.
Each table was assigned a waiter/waitress, who went beyond the usual job description and took us on a culinary journey through our courses. Our waitress was friendly, attentive and incredibly passionate about the dishes, ingredients and where they came from which was great to hear. As both my friend and I are pescetarians (which we warned Beehive about in advance), the kitchen had made an alternative menu for us from the five-courses detailed on our tables.
To start, we had a radish salad topped with ‘Potash Farm’ walnuts (without the Longhorn topside meat option), which was a light, but flavoursome dish. Next up was Isle of Man scallops and foraged sea aster, two rare food options. The scallops were the smallest I’ve ever seen, but were sweet and delicious, while the aster was an unusual taste, but really enjoyable and overall, my favourite dish of the night. The third course was a new adventure for me as it was my first time eating goose egg. The ‘Clarence Court’ egg was served with ‘A.E. Brown’ asparagus on a bed of rye. My friend and I commented how easy it was to cut and eat the asparagus. The creaminess of the egg really complemented the crunch of the rye underneath.
Our penultimate course before dessert was the very unusual ‘Chicken Of The Woods’ mushrooms, served with broad beans on sourdough bread (Meat option being ‘Capestone’ rock hen, beans, black garlic, Jersey royals and wild sweet cicely). The Chicken Of The Woods were certainly, for me, the most adventurous ingredient on the menu. My friend and I debated what they looked like (I thought halloumi). I found the texture and taste very different from usual mushrooms, but the slight sweetness was really tasty. Finally, we got our sugar hit with ‘Jewel’ raspberry ice cream, served in a ‘Sharpam Park’ spelt bun. It was a petite serving, but perfect after four courses and a quaint way to serve ice cream.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole Beehive Place experience. There was a relaxed and warm atmosphere and the time whizzed by as we chatted over our meal. The staff was exceptional and their enthusiasm for the food really showed. Being introduced to so many ingredients I had never heard of before meant we were really taken on a culinary journey. Beehive Place is only in Brixton until the end of June, so book a table while you can. There’s also a late night bar open on Fridays and Saturdays if you want to head down for a drink and a boogie.
- Beehive Place, 11 Beehive Place, Brixton, SW9 7QR. Nearest train/tube: Brixton. Tel: 020 7206 2376. Open Friday and Saturday nights (and some Thursdays) from 7pm. Only booking until 27 June 2015. Five course tasting menu £35, booked in advance. Limited space in bar from 7pm, full capacity with DJs from 10pm. For more information and booking, visit Beehive Place’s website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.