Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings review: Brunch and bottomless cocktails… what’s not to love?

© Bourne & Hollingsworth

Bringing the outdoors indoors: The Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings’ greenhouse is a light and relaxing environment
© Bourne & Hollingsworth

The Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings is the latest venture from social supremos Bourne & Hollingsworth. The company has already impressed with theirs bars Reverend RW Simpson and Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar and their events such as Blitz Party, Dark Circus and Prohibition. Last September, they added the B&H Buildings – their first restaurant – to their repertoire.

Located in Clerkenwell, just off Exmouth Market, the B&H Buildings is an all-day bar and brasserie offering a relaxed environment. Last week, I paid a visit to experience their new weekend brunch party, which offers fresh English dishes and bottomless cocktails. The first thing which struck me upon entering the venue was how light and airy it was compared to other restaurants. The interiors were inviting with lots of greenery, a good environment for the eyes after a boozy night before. The bar was full of inviting vintage-style sofas and coffee tables, while the dining area featured a mix of patterned armchairs, marble tables and garden furniture, giving a conservatory-feel.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Brunching: Potato hash with smoked salmon and fried duck egg (left) and B&H Breakfast, featuring Cumberland sausages, black pudding, tomato, poached egg and toast (right)

© Bourne & Hollingsworth

Something sweet: French toast with caramelised bananas and mixed nuts

The brunch menu features a choice of single serving or bottomless cocktails – offering unlimited refills on classics such as Bellinis and Bloody Marys for £15/£16. My companion was rather braver than me and ordered a Bloody Mary served to his preference of extra hot. I was in the mood for something a bit easier on the taste buds and ordered one of my favourites, a peach Bellini.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

An extra spicy Bloody Mary

The food menu, printed daily complete with weather forecast which was a nice touch, was a great mix of sweet and savoury, meaning it took me a while to finally commit to a dish. As good as my usual favourite, the Eggs Royale looked, I decided to try something different and opted for the Crispy Potato Hash (£9), which can be served three ways and with a choice of poached hen’s egg or fried duck’s egg. Presented in a crisp white bowl, my hash was mixed with the salmon and topped with two eggs and hollandaise sauce. The potato hash was fairly light and tasted lovely mixed with the salmon and egg. My companion went for a traditional breakfast (from £8.50), comprising of two eggs (to your preference) and toast, with a choice of three items. He decided on Cumberland sausages – which were a little crispy – tomato and black pudding, and evidently enjoyed the filling spread. I was in a rather greedy mood and wanted something sweet to follow so just about managed a second course of French toast with Caramelised Banana and Mixed Nuts (£6). It looked amazing – very gooey and sugary – when it arrived on our table and fortunately it tasted as good as it looked. It was pure indulgence.

Overall I really enjoyed the brunch. The B&H Buildings were relaxing and I found the space a really comfortable space to be in. The service was friendly and we were well attended to throughout our leisurely meal. The food was good and I thought the menu offered a good choice of brunch items. It was a great place to spend a rainy Sunday and I’ll definitely be back.

  • Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU. Nearest station: Farringdon or Angel. The weekend brunch parties run from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings website.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Celebrate World Book Day as authors share their latest reads at Seven Dials

© Seven Dials

For the love of books: Liz Hoggard (left) and Samantha Shannon (right) will be among the authors taking part in Seven Dials’ World Book Day celebration

It’s World Book Day on 5 March and to celebrate the event, Seven Dials’ Book Exchange are hosting readings from three authors throughout the week. Writers Hannah Rochelle, Liz Hoggard with Sarah-Jane Lovett and Samantha Shannon will be reading excerpts from their new books with an intimate audience. The evening events, taking place on 3rd, 4th and 5th March, will see guests treated to complimentary popcorn and prosecco while listening to the authors in action. There will also be the chance for Q&As and book signings.

Kicking off the festivities on Tuesday 3rd is Hannah Rochelle, Fashion Features Editor at InStyle magazine and founder of EnBrogue.com, a blog devoted to stylish flat shoes. After huge success of her blog, which has been featured in The Times, The Guardian, Red Online and BBC Radio 4, among others, Hannah is now releasing the En Brogue book, featuring hand-drawn illustrations, photographs and facts about her favourite flats.

On Wednesday 4th, writing duo Liz Hoggard and Sarah-Jane Lovett will be sharing some insights from their Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern Life. The life-enhancing tome offers practical, but humorous advice from a group of very knowledge women, with entries such as ‘Accepting A Compliment’,’Affairs’ to ‘Family Therapy’ and ‘Teenagers’.

Finally, on World Book Day itself on Thursday 5th, Samantha Shannon will be treating fans to an excerpt of her second novel The Mime Order, following on from her hit debut novel The Bone Season, which was set in Seven Dials. Her latest tale tells the story of Paige Mahoney’s alternate future London.

  • To confirm your place at the events, please register at www.sevendials.co.uk, with the date you wish to attend. There will also be the opportunity for a few walk in on the evening on a first come first served basis. Doors open at 6pm, and the readings will commence at 6.30pm. Seven Dials’ Book Exchange, 9 Shorts Gardens, WC2H. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Shopping with a conscience as One Good Thing pop-up store comes to Berwick Street

© Berwick Street London

The team at Soho Bikes are among the local businesses who have donated items to the One Good Thing pop-up shop
© Berwick Street London

There’s two types of shopping in life – necessity and indulgence. However, how often do you go shopping with a conscience, knowing the money you’re spending is putting something back?

Well the latest London pop-up will be doing just that – allowing you to treat yourself, while knowing the money you’re spending is going to a good cause. Leading homeless charity The Connection at St Martin’s is opening the One Good Thing pop-up shop in Soho’s Berwick Street from 2-31 March.

The public will be encouraged to donate quality fashion items which will be sold in store to help the homeless. On sale will be designer and vintage clothing, silk scarves, jewellery, leather handbags, pictures, ornaments, antiques and china. Local stores including Universal Works, Soho Bikes and Percival have already helped by donating clothes and accessories to the store.

All profits will go towards helping London’s homeless move off the streets, while the store will provide homeless people from The Connection with volunteering placements so they can gain retail experience and the skills to help them in future employment.

Lance Kuhn, Enterprise Manager, from The Connection says: ‘We are very excited about our first retail opportunity in Westminster – the London borough most affected by homelessness. I encourage any individual or business to donate and buy from our shop, One Good Thing and make the difference to a homeless person’s prospects.’

  • One Good Thing, 2 Berwick Street, Soho, W1 0PB. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. Open from 2-31 March 2015. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm. For more information, visit Berwick Street London’s official website.

To find out what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in March 2015

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Vodafone London Fashion Weekend returns to Somerset House

Spring is on its way thank goodness. It means lighter nights, warmer temperatures and Easter Holidays starting in the last week of March. This month will see lots of festivals and special events for foodies, travel junkies, fashionistas and film buffs. Of course, lots of activities are taking place towards the end in a bid to help harassed parents entertain their little angels over the Easter Holidays. Here’s a guide to what’s on in London this month…

  • 1 March : TNT Travel Show

Exclusive travel deals, top travel companies, inspirational travel seminars and discounts on travel. Tickets: Pre-registration: Free, fast track £2.50, VIP £15. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information and tickets, visit the TNT Travel Show website.

  • 1 – 8 March : WOW: Women Of The World Festival

A festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women. Salma Hayek, Caitlin Moran, Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, Bridget Christie, Shazia Mirza, Sandi Toksvig and Lady Leshurr among the featured names. Events range from free to £40. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 26 February – 1 March : Vodafone London Fashion Weekend

London Fashion Weekend follows London Fashion Week, giving access to everyone who loves fashion (who has tickets!). Tickets must be bought in advance, which are available for different prices and packages, starting from £20 for the bronze package. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple or Holborn. For more information, visit the London Fashion Weekend website.

  • 27 February – 1 March : BBC Good Food Eat Well Show

The inaugural BBC Good Food Eat Well Show comes to Olympia, bringing together healthy food brands, products and producers and featuring book signings, dietitians’ clinic and Eat Well interview stage. Celebrity guests include Phil Vickery, Jenni Falconer, Davinia McCall, Natasha Corrett, Lorraine Pascal and Liz Earle, among others. Open 10am-6pm. Tickets: £15. Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX. Nearest tube/overland: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show website.

  • 27 February – 1 MarchView Festival

Three day festival of art history, featuring debates, talks, film screenings, student presentations, exclusive museum tours and an art book fair. Some events are free, while others cost up to £10. Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information, visit the View Festival website.

  • 2 – 31 March : One Good Thing pop-up store

Homeless charity The Connection at St Martin’s is opening a month-long pop-up store in Soho’s Berwick Street, selling designer and vintage fashion, accessories and gifts. Profits will go towards helping the homeless. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-6pm. One Good Thing, 2 Berwick Street, Soho, W1 0PB. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit Berwick Street London’s official website. Read Metro Girl’s post on One Good Thing here.

  • 3 – 6 MarchDevonshire Square World Food Festival

World food market returns to the historic square in between the City and Shoreditch. Twenty stalls will be dishing up delights, including Cheeky Burger, Bull and Rancher, Arepas, Maize Blaze (100% gluten free Colombian dishes), Shrimpy, The Mac Factory, and Mark Jankel’s Street Kitchen. Open 12-2pm. Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

  • Now until 3 March : Post Pop: East Meets West

An exhibition of pop art and its influence from the US to Russia to China. Artists includ George Pusenkoff, Leonid Sokov, David Mach, Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid and Michael Lin, among others. 10am-6pm. Free. Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY. Nearest tube: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Saatchi Gallery website.

  • 4 March – 31 May : Inventing Impression

An exhibition chronicling the rise of Impressionism between 1865 and 1905 with the support of Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, including Monet, Renoir, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, and Edgar Degas. Tickets: £18 adults, under 12s free. National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the National Gallery website.

  • 5 – 9 March : Cinema Made In Italy

Film festival of the newest features from Italy at the Ciné Lumière, including Darker Than Midnight (Più Buio di Mezzanotte), Good For Nothing (Buoni a Nulla), Greenery Will Bloom Again (Torneranno i Prati), Perfidia, Quiet Bliss, So Far So Good (Fino a qui tutto bene), The Ice Forest (La Foresta di Ghiaccio), The Lack, The Mafia Kills Only In Summe (La Mafia uccide solo d’Estate) and 9×10 Novanta . Tickets: £10-£12 plus booking fee. Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensbury Place, SW7 2DT. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information, visit the Ciné Lumière website.

  • 6 March – 17 May : Jamaican Hidden Histories

Exhibition celebrating the cultural and historical links between Britain and Jamaica. As well as photographs, films and artefacts, there will also be events taking place, including talks, screenings and workshops. Open 11am-6pm daily. Free entry. Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, Southbank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information, visit the Oxo Tower Wharf website.

  • Now until 8 March : Vault Festival
© Jack Abraham

The Vault Festival returns to The Vaults underneath Waterloo station
© Jack Abraham

Six week arts festival in the tunnels beneath Waterloo, featuring 10 performances a day. There will also be free live music every Wednesday and Sunday. On Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays there will be late night parties, including a Valentine’s Ball and Mardi Gras. Tickets range from free to £15. The Vaults, Arch 233, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest tube: Waterloo and Lambeth North. For tickets and listings, visit the Vault Festival website. For more information, check out Metro Girl’s blog post on Vault.

  • Now until 8 March : Orchid Festival

An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks. The sea of colour from one of the world’s most stunning flowers will certainly brighten up a dull winter’s day. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: £15 adults or £14 concessions. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • 9 March : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema

Trader Vic’s in the London Hilton are hosting monthly screenings in their Tiki-themed bar and restaurant. This month’s screening is The Goonies. Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader’s Vic, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader’s Vic website.

  • 10 – 27 March : Drive In Film Club

A pop-up film club at Alexandra Palace, screening films including Dirty Dancing, Grease, Gone Girl, Pulp Fiction and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Rollerskating attendants will bring popcorn and snacks to your car. Price: £22 per car (all occupants included). Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. For more information and tickets, visit the Experience Cinema website.

  • 10 March – 20 April : London Handel Festival

Six weeks of concerts, talks and walks in venues, including Frederick Handel’s own parish church St Georges in Mayfair, as well as the Foundling Museum, Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St Lawrence at Little Stanmore and Grosvenor Chapel. For more information, visit the London Handel Festival website.

  • 11 – 13 March : London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival

CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) North London host a beer and cider festival. As well as over 150 beers, ciders and perries to choose from, there is also food and stalls selling merchandise. Open Wed-Thur 12-3pm & 5-10.30pm, Fri 12-10.30pm. Tickets: Free on Wed and Thurs lunchtimes, £3.50 (£2.50 for CAMRA members) all other times. Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, WC1H 9AU. Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information visit the CAMRA North London website.

  • 12 – 15 March : Affordable Art Fair @ Battersea Park

For those among us who aren’t loaded, this event is a chance for people to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There is over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale ranging for £40 to £4,000. Admission costs £10.80-£12.96 in advance, more on the door. Nearest rail: Battersea Park or short bus ride from Sloane Square tube. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.

  • 13 March : Lovely Day for a Guinness – Friday Lates @ Museum Of Brands

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day early at this late night, adults-only opening of the Museum Of Brands, which is celebrating the famous black stuff. Entrance includes free drink on arrival, themed cocktails, drinks and snacks, live entertainment including ceilidh music and an Irish treasure hunt around the museum. 6.30-10pm. Tickets; £10. Museum Of Brands, 2 Colville Mews, off Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AR. Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate. For more information and booking, visit the Museum Of Brands website.

  • 13 – 20 March : Backyard Cinema’s Awards Season @ Altitude London

Pop-up cinema company comes to Altitude London on the 29th floor of the Millbank Tower so you can watch one of this awards season’s top films while enjoying views over the capital. Food and cocktails will also be served from 1950s-style usherettes. Times vary. Tickets start from £15. Altitude London, Millbank Tower, 30 Millbank, SW1P 4RS. Nearest station: Pimlico. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s post on the awards season.

  • 14 – 15 March : FutureFest

Two day festival of innovation, featuring immersive experiences, compelling performances and radical speakers. Tickets range from £40-80. Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, Bankside, SE1 9BU. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and tickets, visit the FutureFest website. For Metro Girl’s review of Vinopolis, click here.

  • 14 – 15 March : London Super Comic Convention

The UK’s biggest comic convention, featuring the latest in comics, comic related memorabilia, superheroes and graphic novels. Tickets start from £18.50. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the London Super Comic Convention.

  • 14 – 29 March : Telegraph Hill Festival

Arts and entertainment festival in South East London, including a production of Guys & Dolls, classical concert, open studios, art shows, interactive exhibits, classes, workshops, talks, literary events, plays, performance art and music events. Lots of events are free, but some will cost. At various venues across New Cross, Nunhead, Hatcham, Brockley and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Telegraph Hill festival website.

  • 14 March – 2 August : Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

The first retrospective of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, from his MA graduate collection to his final, unfinished Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. Tickets: £17.60 adults, £16.50 OAPs, £9 students. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For tickets and more information, visit the V&A website.

  • 15 March : St Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

If you’re actually Irish or not, all are welcome to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The parade starts at 12 noon in Piccadilly, before proceeding to Trafalgar Square for the festival. The Square will play host to the free St Patrick’s Day Festival from 12-6pm, which includes dance, music, comedy, films, and a farmers’ market. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the Greater London Authority website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Check out the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square

  • 15 March : Moulin Rouge! screening @ Hippodrome

Pop-up film company Nomad set up camp at the Hippodrome Casino for one night only for a screening of Moulin Rouge! Tickets include an arrival cocktail, a £10 odd super chip and a burlesque performance by the Hippodrome Hunnies. 6pm. £25pp. Over 18s only despite film’s rating of 12 because of location. Hippodrome Casino, Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH. Nearest tube: Leicester Square. For tickets, visit the Nomad Cinema website.

  • 17 March : St Patrick’s Night Party @ View From The Shard

Enjoy the craic at the highest St Patrick’s Day party in Europe at the top of The Shard. A Silent Disco will be taking place at View From The Shard. 8pm-midnight. Tickets: £40. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest tube/train: London Bridge. For booking, visit Time Out London. Read Metro Girl’s review of the Silent Disco at The Shard here.

  • 19 – 22 March : London Ear Festival

An international, contemporary music festival, celebrating music from Britain, Austrian, Germany, Italy, Austria and Norway. Tickets prices vary. Events take place at The Warehouse (13 Theed Street, SE1 8ST) and Cello Factory (33-34 Cornwall Road, SE1 8TJ). Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the London Ear Festival website.

  • 19 – 29 March : London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

The British Film Institute hosts the 11 day festival of lesbian and gay film at BFI Southbank. Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XT. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the BFI website.

  • 19 – 29 March : Camberwell Free Film Festival

Ten day free film festival comes to SE5 featuring screenings, talks, and Q&As. Including screenings of The Lego Movie, Frozen and Pride. At various venues including Cool Cats’ Cafe, Flying Dutchman, Salvation Army, and Longfield Hall. For more information, visit the Camberwell Free Film Festival website.

  • 20 March – 6 April : Ideal Home Show

A place of inspiration for homeowners including interiors, fittings and gardens. Includes plenty of opportunities to buy things both big and small for the house and food. Celebrity ambassadors in attendance include Alan Titchmarsh. Gregg Wallace, Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, George Clarke, Katie Piper, Martin Lewis, and Suzi Perry. Tickets: Adults £12 (weekday) or £14 (weekend). Earl’s Court, Warwick Road, SW5 9TA. Nearest tube: Earl’s Court or West Brompton. For more information and tickets, visit the Ideal Home Show website.

  • 27 – 29 March : Chocolate Festival

Over 60 chocolatiers will be exhibiting and selling, including Paul Wayne Gregory, Demarquette Fine Chocolates and Damian Allsop, Artisan de Chocolat and Rococo Chocolates. Also including the Taste Zone, Cocoa Spa, Chocolate Café and Chocolate Market. Tickets: £9 in advance (£12 on the door), children £4 (£5), under 5s free. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Chocolate Festival website.

  • 27 – 29 March : Cheese And Wine Festival

Takes place at the Business Design Centre simultaneously as the Chocolate Festival so savoury fans will be in for a treat too. Opening times: Fri 27th 1-7pm, Sat 28th 10am-7pm, Sun 29th 10am-3pm. Prices TBC. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Cheese And Wine Festival website.

  • 29 March : Head Of The River Race

Four hundred crews from around the world take their boats to race 4.25 miles from Mortlake to Putney. The race starts at 2.15pm so grab a spot along the Thames to catch the action. Free. Nearest tube or train station to spectator points: Mortlake, Barnes Bridge, Hammersmith or Putney Bridge. For more information, visit the Head Of The River Race website.

  • Now until 29 March : Bond In Motion

An exhibition of over 50 James Bond vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommended. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.

© Nathan Sawaya

Art Of The Brick runs at the Old Truman Brewery until April
© Nathan Sawaya

  • Now until 29 March : Richmond Performing Arts Festival

Six week festival featuring dance, music, singing and drama at various venues across Kew and Richmond. For more information, visit the Richmond Festival website.

  • 30 March – 12 April : Chorus Festival

Festival celebrating singing as a group, featuring concerts, warm-ups and workshops. Tickets range from free to £38. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 27 February until end of March : Curl’s Best Friend pop-up

Beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics are opening a month-long pop-up cocktail bar and beauty parlour in Soho. With hair and make-up makeovers, cocktails and cupcakes available. Curl’s Best Friend, 26 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 5DE. Nearest station: Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road or Piccadilly Circus. Open Tuesday to Saturday between 11am-11pm (Noir bar open from 7pm). To book appointments and reserve tables, call 020 3620 4747 or via the free Curls Best Friend By Benefit mobile app on Apple/Android. Click here for the Amazon link to the appTo find out more, visit Metro Girl’s post on the pop up here.

  • Now until 12 April : The Art Of The Brick

Nathan Sawaya’s Art Of The Brick exhibition features a range of sculptures made from millions of Lego building blocks, from recreations of iconic artwork to new contemporary pieces. Tickets – Adults: £14.50-£16.50, Children under 12: £8-£9.50. Open daily, hours vary. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit The Art Of The Brick website. For Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition, click here.

  • Now until 12 April : Sherlock Holmes exhibition

An exhibition of the world’s favourite fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, featuring historic artefacts from Victorian London and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tickets: £12 adults, £10 concession. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and tickets, visit Museum Of London website.

  • Now until 30 August : Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition

An exhibition of the annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year – the 50th year of the competition. Although entrance to the museum is free, this exhibition is ticketed. Adults: £12.60, Children & Concessions: £6.30. Open 10am-5.50pm daily. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.

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Cocktails, cupcakes and curls: Indulge yourself at Benefit’s new pop-up in Soho

Curl's Best Friend © Benefit Cosmetics

Get your curl on at the ‘Curl’s Best Friend’ beauty parlour pop-up
© Benefit Cosmetics

Being pampered, drinking cocktails and indulging your sweet tooth are among the favourite pastimes of many women. However, the prospect of all three at the same time usually seems a bit tricky. However, from this Friday and throughout March, ladies of London are in for a treat as Benefit Cosmetics are hosting a special pop-up offering the appealing trio. Curl’s Best Friend, a three-storey curl and cocktail bar is coming to Soho, where women can be as girlie as they want.

Customers can relive elegance of the 1950s beauty parlour across three chic and theatrical floors of pampering, glamour and fun. To mark the launch of Benefit’s new mascara Roller Lash, there will be the celebration of the curl, whether it be eyelashes or hair. Located on Greek Street, the ground floor will feature a bar, serving signature cocktails and cupcakes in vintage chairs, where you can get made up with the new Roller Lash.

© Benefit Cosmetics

Indulge your dark side at the Noir bar for cocktails
© Benefit Cosmetics

On the 1st floor, the beauty parlour and curl station will be offering curly faux-blows from the hair-stylists and makeovers from the Benefit’s make-up and brow experts offering upper or brow wax and tints.

Finally, when the sun goes down, the ladies can head up to the secret Noir Bar on the second floor. The sleek, dark venue, inspired by Benefit’s They’re Real mascara, will be open from 7pm each night and serving delicious, sultry cocktails.

  • Curl’s Best Friend runs from 27 February until end of March 2015 at 26 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 5DE. Nearest station: Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road or Piccadilly Circus. Open Tuesday to Saturday between 11am-11pm (Noir bar open from 7pm). To book appointments and reserve tables, call 020 3620 4747 or via the free Curls Best Friend By Benefit mobile app on Apple/Android. Click here for the Amazon link to the app.

(NB: For those outside of London, The Benefit’s ‘Curls Best Friend’ tour parlour will be going on the road from 17 April 2015).


To find out what else is on in London this month, click here.

To read about Benefit’s World Cup pop-up bar last summer, click here.

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See the best of awards’ season with a touch of Hollywood glamour as Backyard Cinemas comes to Altitude London

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Enjoy stunning views over London before settling down to the screening as Backyard Cinema comes to Altitude London at the Millbank Tower

At Sunday’s Oscars, the great and the good of Hollywood gathered in Los Angeles to toast this year’s best performances. This year has seen a stellar turnout from British actors and film-makers, with Eddie Redmayne being named Best Actor for The Theory Of Everything and The Grand Budapest taking home four accolades. However, when it comes to watching the films on the silver screen, your local chain cinema couldn’t be further from the glamour of Hollywood.

With the Oscars capping off awards season, the team behind Backyard Cinema are hosting screenings of the some of the critically-acclaimed and award-nominated masterpieces from the past 12 months for those who haven’t seen them… or perhaps for those who love them so much they want to see them all over again. Guests will be given a red carpet welcome as they arrive at the Millbank Tower and are whisked up to Altitude London on the 29th floor. There you will be greeted by 1950s usherettes who will be on hand to serve cocktails and food during the movie. Bacardi and leading mixologist Ally Martin will be creating bespoke cocktails to add to the Hollywood glamour. There will be food available from the Skyloft restaurant, as well as popcorn and ice cream. Of course, prior to the screening, you will be able to enjoy the stunning views across the capital.

© Working Title 2015

The Theory Of Everything is one of the films on show
© Working Title 2015

  • Friday 13 MarchThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm.

  • Saturday 14 March (matinee) - The Theory of Everything

Doors 1:30pm, Last Entry 2:30pm, Film 3:30pm

  • Saturday 14 March (evening) – ‘71

Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm

  • Friday 20 MarchBoyhood

Doors 6:30pm, Last Entry 7:30pm, Film 8:30pm.

Tickets: Screening £15, screening including glass of champagne £18 or Full Monty (Film, glass of champagne and food) £29.

  • Backyard Cinema’s Awards Season runs at Altitude London, Millbank Tower, 30 Millbank, SW1P 4RS. Nearest station: Pimlico. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Bunnychow review: Hop along to Soho for hearty South African street food

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Chakalaka bunny (spicy chicken and tomato, Raita and mango chutney) served in a wholemeal bunny loaf at Bunnychow, Soho

The newest street food trend to come to London is Bunnychow, which has set up a permanent stop in Soho. Fortunately, you’ll be glad to know there are no bunnies on the menu. Rather ‘bunnys’ are freshly basked buns, which have been hollowed out and filled to the brim (and then some) with hot fillings. Bunny Chows originated in the Indian community in Durban, South Africa, in the early 1940s, with the concept of the dish being a hearty and filling meal that could be eaten on the go without plates or cutlery. Bunnychow, the brand, came to London in June 2013 with the food truck serving in Brixton, before a standalone restaurant opened in Soho in September 2014.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Madiba’s (Grapefruit juice, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) cocktail with rum

Having recently been redesigned to incorporate more seating for those who want to eat in, I paid a visit last week for dinner. The establishment is open all day, with its breakfast bunny having recently been named ‘Most Innovative Breakfast’ at the Breakfast Awards. My sister and I arrived at 6.30pm for an early dinner in between bar-hoping. At the beginning of our meal, it was fairly quiet given the time, but as our meal progressed, it started heaving with diners looking for a speedy and filling food fix.

The venue is fairly small, with wooden interiors giving an informal and warm feel. The staff were incredibly friendly and explained the Bunnychow concept as we mulled over the menu. There’s four different types of buns (supplied by the London Bakery Company), including a gluten-free one. Once you’ve decided on your bun, there’s a choice of five different fillings. You order at the counter and can either takeaway or have it served at the table after just a few minutes wait. We chose a counter-style table facing out on to Wardour Street, a great spot to people watch while you eat. Rather handily, there were also hooks on the walls so you could hang our coat up.

I opted for the white bread Veggie bunny, which came filled with Cauliflower, Chick Pea, Potato and Spicy Durban Sauce. My sister decided on a wholemeal Chakalaka Bunny (Spicy Chicken and Tomato, Raita and Mango Chutney), which is inspired by the spicy relish from the Jo’burg townships. The top of the bunny loaf is sliced off and you can decide to tear it apart with your fingers and dunk the bread like a soup or use a fork. We both ended up doing a bit of both and we got a little messy. Fortunately, all bunnys are served with wet wipes so you can clean your hands afterwards. We both really loved our meal, they were so filling and tasty. The combination of flavours is really quite different to anything I’ve tasted.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Veggie bunny (Cauliflower, Chick Pea, Potato and Spicy Durban Sauce) with white bread

In addition to our meal, Bunnychow recently introduced a range of fresh juice cocktails, alongside their beers and cider. The five different juices, with names inspired by South Africa, can be drunk virgin or you can add gin, rum or vodka to make it a cocktail. We ended up trying the Madiba’s (Grapefruit juice, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) with rum added, which were refreshing and delicious.

Overall, I would highly recommend Bunnychow as a good place to stop for food if you’re on the go or on a break from work. Although technically a fast food establishment, the cuisine is healthy, nutritious and filling. And with Bunnys at just £5 each, it is incredibly good value.

  • Bunnychow, 74 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TE. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. Open Mon-Wed 8am-10pm, Thur-Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 10am-7pm. For more information, visit the Bunnychow website.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Discover the world of wine – tasting, history and techniques – at Vinopolis

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Armed with your card charged with tokens, so you can sample different wines with ease

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Did you know champagne was invented in England?

London is the city where you can literally do most things. Now, of course there aren’t any vineyards with rolling hills around, but those wanting to taste and discover the world of wine then look no further than Vinopolis on the south bank of Thames.

After years of having it on my wishlist and walking past it countless times, I finally paid a visit to Vinopolis this month with a cousin visiting from Scotland. Arriving for a lunchtime slot, we were able to put our coats and bags away in the free cloakroom so your hands were available for holding wine glasses. We had booked the Essential Wine Experience, which comes with 7 tokens worth of tastings for £27. The price goes up the more tokens you get, depending on whether you’ve got a taste for more expensive wines or a larger quantity of wine! The tickets are scheduled in time slots because you are given a short tour and introduction to wine before you begin your self-guided tasting experience.

Before we were able to sample the drinks, we were given a 15 minute ‘How to Taste’ lesson, where you learn how to sniff, swirl and slurp with a glass of white wine. We were given great advice, such as what types of wines can keep for long or what to drink sooner and how to tell if a wine has passed its prime. There was a little bit of science involved as we learned what parts of different wines tasted like on different parts of the tongue. Following the talk, we headed into the main Vinopolis experience – a series of Victorian railway arches featuring eight tasting and educational zones. In the middle was a Tapas Bar serving food, should you need something to soak up the alcohol or accompany your drinks. Our informative guide showed us how the tasting experience worked, giving a demonstration on how to use the very easy card method to obtain the measures before we were free to start our taste experience.

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Which zone are you? Vinopolis is split into different tasting and discovery zones underneath Victorian railway arches

Vinopolis © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Sample your way around the world’s wines, 125ml at a time

The wines had been grouped into different types of zones and flavours, such as the white wine or champagne zone. You keep hold of the same glass, with water filters and sinks dotted around to rinse your glass in-between samples and refresh your palate. Although I’m a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc and bubbly, I went off my usual tastes and used the experience to sample other wines. Vinopolis guides are also on hand should you have any questions, with one able to recommend a type of red to me (someone who doesn’t normally drink it…) and I actually liked it. The various wine samples start from 1 token upwards, reflecting the quality and market value. I tried a variety, including Canard-Duchene Cuvee Leonie Brut champagne (2 tokens), Hugels Et Fils Pinot Noir (1 token) and Jean Luc Colombo Le Vent (1 token), among others. As well as handy fact boxes dotted around the experience to expand your knowledge, there were also interactive tables to help you find the right wine for you.

As well as the main wine tasting experience, Vinopolis also holds various events and drinking experiences throughout the year, including cocktail masterclasses, so there’s a lot more than just wine. There is also a spirits area where you can try Absinthe if you’re up to it! I think Vinopolis would make a great daytime activity for a hen or stag party. Overall, we had a great couple of hours in Vinopolis. There’s not many social events where you can combine drinking and learning! Admittedly, my cousin and I did end up a bit tipsy as we left, but felt much more knowledgeable when it comes to making our wine selections at a restaurant in future.

  • Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, Southwark, SE1 9BU. Nearest tube/overland: London Bridge. Opening times: Wed: 6-9.30pm, Thurs and Fri: 2-10pm, Sat: 12-9.30m, Sunday: 12-6pm. Vinopolis is closing permanently on 31 December 2015, so pay a visit before then. For more information, visit the Vinopolis website.

Why not pay a visit to Vinopolis after lining your stomach with food from Borough Market. Click here for Metro Girl’s blog on the market.

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Celebrate the Year Of The Sheep as Chinatown London marks Chinese New Year

China Town London

A sea of red and yellow: The streets of Chinatown will play host to the Year Of The Sheep celebrations
© Chinatown London

This Thursday (19 February) sees the arrival of the Chinese New Year Of The Sheep. With London having long had a large Chinese population, it’s no surprise to see the city will be hosting the biggest celebrations of the New Year in Europe. On Sunday, the action will spill beyond the borders of Chinatown into Trafalgar Square with fun and festivities to mark the advent of the new year. The Sheep (goat or ram) is known for being gentle and calm, with people being born in the animal’s years being tender, polite, shy, filial, clever, indecisive and kind-hearted.

© Chinatown London

Trafalgar Square will play host to performances from Chinese artists
© Chinatown London

For early risers, the New Year’s Parade will begin in Trafalgar Square at 10am, going through the West End before ending in Chinatown. Meanwhile, back in Trafalgar Square, a street party kicks off at noon, featuring performances from Chinese acrobatics, traditional dancers and the iconic lion dance, which will weave through the streets wishing restaurant owners good luck for the coming year. Mr Wei Ding, who performed the culture evening show for world leaders at the APEC Summit last November, is producing a variety show ‘Cultures of China, Festival of Spring’. While Trafalgar will be playing host to large-scale performances, there will also be a second stage on Shaftesbury Avenue for local acts and upcoming talent. including martial arts groups, Canto pop and K-pop. The celebrations will be hosted by British Chinese actress Jing Lusi (Holby City) and Amy Herzog’s award-winning play 4000 Miles.

And of course, no Chinese New Year celebrations would be complete without the country’s famous cuisines being represented. Over 80 restaurants in Chinatown will be offering a range of cuisines from traditional Hong Kong street food to modern Chinese fusion from Shanghai and Beijing. Among the venues taking part include the Golden Phoenix and Opium Cocktail And Dim Sum Parlour on Gerrard Street. Many eateries will be setting up craft stalls and food stands outside so you can eat on the move or take home a piece of Chinese arts and crafts.

Chinese New Year Highlights to look out for:

10am: Parade begins at Trafalgar Square, ending on Shaftesbury Avenue

12-1pm: Dragon and Lion Dance performance at the Trafalgar Square Stage

1.30pm: Cultures of China – Festival of Spring performance on Trafalgar Square Stage

3.30pm: Red Poppy Ladies Percussion Group performance on Trafalgar Square Stage

5-6pm: Finale on Trafalgar Square Stage

  • Chinese New Year celebrations will take part on Sunday 22 February 2015 from 10am to 6pm. Free. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Chinatown London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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¡Salud! Unleash your Latin spirit at Putney’s new Mexican party spot El Patron

© El Patron

A taste of Mexico comes to Putney at El Patron late night bar

Putney has long been a nightlife hub for South West Londoners. Amid the traditional pubs, chain restaurants and cheesy nightspots, there has been lacking of some cooler venues until now. Thankfully, El Patron is set to change all that. Located just a few moments from Putney station on the Upper Richmond Road, this new late-night Mexican bar will be offering over 60 tequilas, a range of cocktails and authentic street food.

© El Patron

¡Salud! A Strawberry Margarita

I went to the launch last week and have definitely found a new spot to party at next time I’m in Putney (which is quite often, given I have relatives nearby). Set over two floors, the upstairs part of the venue is a wide, light and airy space with lots of tables for those wanting an informal meal. The menu comprises popular Mexican street food, such as burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Meanwhile, the intimate basement bar’s interiors continues the Mexican theme with its bright wooden shutters and exposed brick with some dancefloor space to shake a tail-feather.

At the launch, we headed straight down to the basement where we treated to a preview of typical weekend revelries that El Patron is expecting to host. Tequila-based cocktails were the main attraction, with the talented bar staff swiftly whisking up concoctions for the thirsty guests. The drinks menu features a mix of traditional Mexican spirits and Latin twists on originals, such as Mariachi’s Martini (Patron XO Cafe, Espresso, Agave and Mozart Dark Chocolate). I went for my favourite Mexican tipple, ‘Tommy’s Margarita’, an icy mix of Arette Blanco, Agave, Lime, with the mixers toning down the tequila so it didn’t blow your head off. My friend opted for the refreshing and delicious Poncho (Arette Blanco, Coconut Kalani Liquer, Lime, Egg White, Peach and Orange Bitters), as she was looking for something a bit more subtle. Other cocktails which caught the eye, (which I will have to return to sample) were Escobar’’s Secret (Mezcal, Crème de Mure, Vanilla Syrup, Lime, Apple and Ginger Ale) and, certainly not for the faint-hearted – Scorpion (AquaRiva Blanco, Stone’s Ginger Wine, Lime, Chipotle, Falernum Liqueur, Ginger Beer and Bitters). In addition to the individual cocktails, which range from £7 to £9.50, there are also large sharing cocktails for big groups who want to share the love.

Open six days a week, weekdays are likely to be a calmer affair for mid-week drinkers and diners, with the venue opening until late at the wilder weekends with music. The house band will perform on Fridays, while DJs will entertain until the early hours on Saturday nights. The atmosphere was lively and unpretentious, with the great entertainment and spirited staff keeping the party vibe going. I’ll definitely be going back for a weekend night out and to sample some of the street food.

© El Patron

As well as the extensive cocktail and tequila menu, punters can also order Mexican street food upstairs

  • El Patron, 141 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 2TX. Nearest station: East Putney or Putney (national rail). Open: Mon/Tues: 12-11pm, Wed: 12pm-midnight, Thurs: 12pm-12.30am and Fri/Sat 12pm-2.30am. For more information, visit the El Patron website.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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