The team behind one of London’s most memorable pop-ups is reuniting. Some of the flatmates from Notting Hill hangout The Little Yellow Door (TLYD) will be moving into together a few miles away on Fulham Road. The Little Blue Door will be opening for a housewarming on 2 May 2018 with their special brand of cocktails, food and fun.
Located in SW6, The Little Blur Door is a versatile, late-night neighbourhood bar and restaurant. The concept is a fictional flatshare, with the housemates welcoming you in for weekly parties and social soirees. Expect the unexpected, such as drinking cocktails out of a cafetière, dancing on tables or sampling an international tapas-style menu. Stepping behind that blue door, the flatmates’ new home will be bigger and brighter than their yellow predecessor. The venue will be decked out like a real home, with mismatched furniture and quirky ornaments and pictures from the flatmates’ world travels.
Throughout the week will be series of events, such as Two’s Company nights for friends and double dates, Thursday singalongs around the piano and the emoji menu, where guests can order food and drink by texting their favourite characters. On Friday and Saturday, the flatmates will be hosting their legendary dinner parties, which sold out for three years straight back at TLYD. Expect an evening of free-flowing fun, food and booze with a host of dinner party games.
So foodies, what can you expect behind TLBD? Well, the menu has been inspired by the flatmates’ latest travels, such as Mezze Dishes served with Pea and Dill Falafel and Cranberry; or Carrot and Cumin Slaw and Crudité Platters with Beetroot Hummus, Zhoug and Feta; Garlic Whipped Avocado, Chilli and Coriander and Labaneh; Smoked Aubergine, Cucumber and Shallots. Some old favourites will be back on the menu, including Kami’s Hot Wings (Cayenne Glazed Wings served with a Blue Cheese Dressing and House Pickles) and Cam ‘N’ Bert’ (Baked Camembert served with Truffle Honey, Roast Pear and Sugared Almonds). In honour of the newest flatmate, American hotshot Hunter, there will be some East Coast treats such as Gravalax NYC deli style with Dill Sauce, Cucumber, Black Radish and Nigella Seed Salad, served with bagel crisps, and Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Fondant served with a Reese’s Biscuit. Meanwhile, the hangover-fighting brunches will kick off the weekend mornings, with bottomless food and drinks, an egg station and a BIY (Blend It Yourself) cocktail. On Sunday afternoon, you can head to TLBD for a traditional roast with all the trimmings, while enjoying their ‘Sunday Papers’ program of movies, sport, debates and retro gaming.
When it comes to cocktails, there will be creative concoctions inspired by flatmates’ favourite things. Coffee and Cigarettes is a smooth espresso martini served with a surprise on the side, while Crimes of Passion is a twist on a Pornstar Martini served with a sweet treat. There’s also a private hideaway in the study, with pool table, fancy dress, retro consoles and karaoke for those who ask nicely.
- The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. Open: Wed-Thurs: 6pm-12pm, Fri: 6pm-1.30am, Sat: 11.30am-1.30am, Sun: 11.30am-6pm. Tel or Whatsapp: 07538 229 096. Email: Justknock@thelittlebluedoor.co.uk. For more information, visit The Little Blue Door website.
The capital is a hub for world cultures, but how often do Londoners celebrate home-grown food and traditions? This month, why not head to London’s oldest food market to mark St George’s Day. Taking place a day earlier on Sunday 22 April 2018, Borough Market are hosting a celebration for the Feast of Saint George. Borough Market will be exploring the English and international heritage of St George through an afternoon of food, music, stories and theatre.
Foodies will be spoiled for choice with the market’s traders offering delicious St George’s day food to sample or take home. Choose from the best of English produce, from Colchester oysters and Tamworth pork to Melton Mowbray pies and Cheddar cheese. As St George is also the patron saint of other countries such as Georgia, Ethiopia, Greece, Turkey and Catalonia, expect to see traditional food delicacies from around the world. As St George is the patron saint of butchers and shepherds, chef Luke Mackay and Northfield Farm will be giving free butchery and cooking demonstrations to help you get the most from your meat.
Throughout the day, there will be plenty of family friendly entertainment. Children and adults can enjoy an interactive performance of St George and the Dragon by local theatre group The Lion’s Part. Of course, no St George’s Day celebrations would be complete without maypole dancing. Folk Dance Remixed will be performing a musical merger of traditional steps with hip-hop moves. Visitors will be invited to create ‘wraps ‘n ripples’ and ‘waves ‘n breaks’ around a bespoke 12ft maypole. The Castellers of London will be practising a Catalan tradition of constructing a human tower. Meanwhile, 4-9 year olds can learn about food provenance and the process of farming through games, interactive learning and activities with the National Farmers Union in the Discovery Barn.
As well as the St George’s Day festival, there will also be other foodie events for April’s St George’s Residency in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen. Leonardo Rivera Ruiz, group head chef of Brindisa Kitchens, will be hosting a Catalan cooking demonstration on 12 April. A week later, Alissa Tomoshkina, founder of KinoVino, will be exploring Georgian and Russian cuisine on 19 April.
- The Feast of St George takes place on 22 April 2018 from 12pm-4pm. At Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in April, click here.
Sketch is a unique London restaurant offering a diverse selection of bars and dining rooms. I first visited Sketch about 10 years ago and enjoyed the tasting menu at the Lecture Room. More recently, my boyfriend surprised me with Afternoon Tea at Sketch’s famous Gallery, of which I’d heard many great things.
The Gallery is a modern European gastro-brasserie at the back of Sketch. The dining room is a square windowless room with a domed roof and pinky bronze panelling at the bar. The room is painted in pale pink with matching, plush velvet furniture – a sort of mix between a princess bedroom and a Mad Men 1960s vibe. The walls are covered with drawings by British artist David Shrigley (famous for the recently departed ‘Really Good’ sculpture on the Fourth Plinth). Since my visit, Shrigley’s 239 black and white drawings have been replaced by 91 of his newer pieces so in terms of décor, there has been a slight change.
Admittedly, the Sketch Classic Afternoon Tea is more expensive than others, but in hindsight the overall experience surpasses its cheaper rivals so you can see the difference. The Sketch Classic Afternoon Tea starts at £59pp, with the option to add-on Champagne. As we were celebrating a special occasion, we pushed the boat out and added Pommery Brut Rose. I’m normally one for traditional Champagne or Prosecco, but being in such a pink room, I felt inclined to follow the theme and opt for rose. The bubbly was served in a huge martini-style glass with long stem – which kind of reminded me of the stretched out dimensions in the Shrigley artwork surrounding me. There is a huge selection of tea in the menu and it took a while for us to commit to one type, before I finally decided on an old favourite, Earl Grey. I particularly liked the china, designed by Shrigley and available to buy. The crockery features quirky slogans such as ‘it’s not OK’ on the sugar bowl or ‘forget about it’ at the bottom of the tea cup. Read the rest of this entry
The address 100 Wardour Street has long been associated with Soho life – be it as a restaurant, bar or nightclub. I had visited various establishments on the site over the years, including Floridita and Meza for meals and cocktails. However, in 2016. the venue was reborn as 100 Wardour Street, a dining, drink and live music destination.
The 100 is split across two floors – a lounge area on the ground for more casual drinks and all-day dining, while the grand basement space features the huge restaurant and club. After dropping off our coats in the cloakroom, we wound our way down the grand staircase to the atmospheric basement, with low-lighting and designer furniture. The main focus of the room is the stage, which hosts live music throughout the week.
We were shown to a cosy booth, with room for five of us and space to look out across the expansive room. We kicked off proceedings with an apéritif, as I chose a ‘Respect Your Elder’ (Tanqueray Gin, Elderflower Tonic, garnished with lemon and edible flowers). Our party had opted for the set menu, with four options in each course. To start, I had the Crispy Baby Squid, Fennel Salad and Yuzu Dressing. What I liked about it, is that it wasn’t as greasy as regular calamari and had a lighter feel.
Confit Duck with Braised Escarole, Piquillo Peppers and Olives
The mains available were mostly traditional British-European offerings, such as Roast Pork Belly, Confit Duck and Rigatoni. However, I settled on the Grilled Scottish Salmon Fillet and Warm Vegetables à la Grec. The salmon was cooked well with a crispy skin (if you like that sort of thing). By salmon standards, it was OK, but could have done with more a bit more flavour. Meanwhile, a few of my table opted for the Confit Duck, served with Braised Escarole, Piquillo Peppers and Olives, which was a universal hit.
To finish, I couldn’t resist the Chocolate and Peanut Butter brownie with Milk Ice Cream. The brownies itself was pretty rich as you can imagine, but the subtle flavour of the ice cream really diffused the sweetness and complemented it well. Meanwhile, I had also been enjoying a saucily named cocktail ‘The Madame’ (Vodka, Lemon Juice, Apple Juice with Mint), which was refreshing with just the right amount of fruitiness.
Overall, we had a great evening. I really liked the venue and atmosphere. The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive. Although my mains was OK, I really enjoyed my starter, dessert and cocktails. I would definitely return.
- 100 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TN. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square. For booking, visit the 100 Wardour Street website.
For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.
When I first heard about Scottish game restaurant Mac & Wild, I initially dismissed the cuisine as not for me. As a pescatarian, the likes of haggis and venison are off-limits to me. However, after hearing good buzz about it and realising they have menu options for me, I decided to give it a try. A freezing night in February seemed the perfect time for some Scottish fare, with my carnivore boyfriend on hand to sample the meatier options.
Mac & Wild initially started out as a street food stall, bringing Scottish culinary exports to Londoners, before opening a pop-up, and today has two permanent restaurants in the West End and City. The menu prides itself on offering seasonal Scottish produce sourced from hand-picked suppliers in the Highlands. If you’re expecting a Scottish theme restaurant, you’ll be disappointed as there are no ginger wigs or tartan costumes in sight. The Fitzrovia branch has gone for a modern, rustic-inspired look with handmade tables made from old trees, brown leather cushions and black and white landscape photographs of the Highlands. As we sat down to our table, my immediate thought was how cosy and warm it was. A posey of Scottish thistles in an Iru Bru can masquerading as a vase was a quirky touch which made us chuckle.
Having noticed the iconic orange can on our table, I knew I had to try to the Irn Bru Daiquiri as my apéritif when I saw the cocktail menu. Admittedly I had forgotten what Irn Bru tasted like as it had been decades since I last drank it. While I approached the drink with scepticism, I was pleasantly surprised and it went down a treat. Served in a martini glass, it consisted of Ron Matuselum Platino Rum, Irn Bru reduction, Angostora Bitters and Lime – a sweet concoction. Meanwhile, my companion opted for The Forager, billed as a Wild Old Fashioned, made with Glenkinchie 12yo, foraged pine needle tincture, double infused heather honey and finished with barrel-aged bitters, which he said was an interesting twist on his favourite cocktail.
When it came to starters, we both chose fishy ones. As I was anticipating a three-course meal, I decided on a lighter starter – Inverawe Smoked Salmon served with sourdough, whipped butter and lemon. The salmon was so fresh and rich in flavour and served with the bread, it didn’t linger long on my plate. Meanwhile, my boyfriend had my second choice, the brilliantly named Cullen Skink. To the uninitiated, it’s a classic Scottish soup made with smoked haddock, potato, onion, chives and dill. He praised the flavour and it’s suitability for a cold winter night. I tried a sip and thought it was delicious – definitely one to order on a return visit. Read the rest of this entry
You don’t have to be Scottish to celebrate Burns’ Night, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. January 25 is an annual festivity to mark the birthday of Scottish poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns, who died in 1796. Traditionally, a meal of soup, haggis, tatties, neeps and lots of whisky is served to celebrate his life and poetry. With a host of Scots living in the capital, there are tons of Burns’ Night celebrations on around town.
- Burns’ Dinner and Music @ Boisdale (22 – 27 January)
Scottish restaurant chain Boisdale will be hosting a series of Burns evenings, featuring special three or four-course meals, with live music in some venues (each branch’s menu choice and price differs). Menus from £35.
– Boisdale – Four branches in Canary Wharf, Belgravia, Bishopsgate and Mayfair. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.
- Burns events @ Barworks (various venues) (22 – 27 January)
Barworks will be running special Burns events at a selection of their bars and restaurants across the capital. Haggis and Neeps & Tatties will be on offer, as well as a dram of R&B Distillery’s Raasay While We Wait. Meanwhile, Harrild & Sons in Farringdon will be hosting a three-course traditional supper on actual Burns’ Night, coupled with Scottish cocktails which includes the Grain & Ginger a of R&B Distillers’ Borders Single Grain Scotch Whisky with fiery Ginger Ale. From 7.30pm. Dinner: £45 pp including whiskies.
– Venues taking part included the Slaughtered Lamb, Exmouth Arms, Well & Bucket, Harrild & Sons and Singer Tavern. For more information, visit the Barworks website.
- Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (22 – 28 January)
Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events. Including Whisky and Beer Pairing, Haggis Making Masterclass, Whisky Tour Tasting Experience, Whisky and Chocolate Pairing Masterclass and traditional Burns’ Night menu. Throughout the week, customers can order Mac & Wild Haggis, Neeps & Tatties Burgers and Rabbie’s Drams whisky flights.
– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website.
- Whisky 101 @ The Gallery (25 January)
The Gallery bar has created a special Robbie Burns drinks menu featuring their favourite whiskies and beers, including Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve and beer and whisky pairings including Chivas 12 with 6° North Four Saisons. Open 12pm-12.30am. Free entry.
I really like the idea of cafes that turn into cocktail bars and have started to make a byline for them in the past year. Earlier this year, iconic north London music venue The Garage had a major refurbishment and makeover, with a new standalone all day bar and café The General Store opening next door.
Last week, I popped ‘up north’ to check out it out and also sample their new summer cocktail menu. Taking over the site of the former gloomy Mini-Bar, the light and contemporary General Store could not be more different. The venue brings a slice of old town Americana to Highbury Corner, with vintage gas pumps, huge US fridges, cosy leather booths and retro tiling. The GS serves coffee, cake, cocktails and craft beer so enough to keep you watered from daytime to night.
Arriving on a warm summer evening, my friend and I were definitely in the mood for cocktails. The menu features some classic drinks with a twist, such as the General Store Mai Tai (Hibiscus-infused rum with lime juice, sugar and coconut water) served in a short glass, which my friend noted had quite the kick. I was in the mood for something lighter (and can’t resist elderflower) so went for the English Garden (Hendricks Gin and Elderflower Liqueur shaken with Apple and Lemon), which was very refreshing. With such tempting concotions on the menu, I threw caution to the wind and mixed my spirits, opting for a Apple Caipirinha (Cachaca Rum served with Sherry, Apple Juice, Syrup and served over Cubed Apple), which was the right amount of sweet and strong.
Accompanying our cocktails, my pal and I decided to share a slice of cake. I gave him free rein to surprise me with his choice. When he came back with a gluten-free piece, I was initially sceptical as previous experiments with GF haven’t worked out well for me in the past. However, I’ve got to praise the GS for baking a thoroughly delicious GF chocolate and raspberry cake, it was delicious.
Overall, it’s a great spot to catch up with friends over coffee or a cocktail. Located next door to The Garage, it’s a perfect location for pre or post gig drinks, with the venue open until 3am on weekends if you’re up for a big night. Having met friends often over the years in the area, it’s good to see a decent drinking venue on Highbury Corner at last.
- The General Store, 20 – 22 Highbury Crescent, Highbury East, N5 1RD. Nearest station: Highbury & Islington. Open Mon-Wed 10am-11.30pm, Thur 10am-1am, Fri-Sat 10am-3am, Sun 12pm-11pm. For more information, visit The General Store Facebook page.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
While a lot of people enjoy sparkling wines, London’s champagne bars tend to be rather exclusive and expensive destinations. With the rise in popularity in the more affordable Prosecco and Cava in recent years, the capital has been ripe for an alternative. Opening in Soho this summer is the capital’s first dedicated sparkling wine bar. Fiz Bar is having a 10 week residency at the Lights Of Soho, offering a range of bubbles and food.
I popped (excuse the pun!) along with a gal pal last week to check it out in its first few days. The venue has taken over the ground floor of members’ club Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street. Immediately walking in the atmosphere was a world away from champagne bars – bustling, casual and full of energy. We pulled up a stool at one of the side tables so had a good vista of the busy bar and kitchen area. The drinks menu features a range of sparkling wine including Prosecco, Cava, English sparkling, Cremante and more by the bottle or glass, with most of the latter in the £5 range. If you’re with a friend who’s not into wines, there’s also a small selection of other drinks, including cider, lager and spirits to keep them refreshed.
As the day on question was pretty hot and summery, I was in the mood for some sparkling rose so started with the Paternina Cava Rose, a fruity wine which went down very well. Next to shake things up I hoped across the Mediterranean to Italy for a glass of Canal di Rajo Lemoss Frizzante, which had a fuller aroma and richer taste because it was unfiltered. Finally to finish off, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of the 47 AD Prosecco, a lovely soft and refreshing wine.
Of course, with all this quaffing going on, it was only sensible we should be lining our stomachs too. Quite wisely, Fiz Bar serves a mix of buns or sharing dishes ranging from £3.75 to £9.50. We opted to share the Grilled asparagus with salsa verde; Smoked Trout with Fennel, Dill Pickles and Charcoal Sourdough; and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Comte, Emmental and Ogleshield. All three dishes were delicious. I thought the charcoal sourdough was particularly interesting, with the trout absolutely yummy. The grilled cheese was very naughty, but incredibly moreish.
Overall, Fiz is a great addition to the London bar scene, offering something different from craft beer houses, champagne bars and speakeasies that are becoming so commonplace. The staff were really friendly and the quality of the food and drink is exceptional. Fiz Bar is in residence until August so check it out while you can.
- Fiz @ Lights Of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Open Mon 6pm-11.30pm, Tues-Thur 10am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am; Sun 12pm-4pm. For more information, visit the Fiz Bar Website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Vauxhall’s main streets and stations is a little summer oasis. Returning for a fourth year is the Vauxhall Street Food Garden, an open-air garden full of food, drinks and entertainment. Open every weekday and selected weekends, the Garden is a great spot for lunches or summer evening socialising.
Situated just moments from the train and tube station, the Garden is a free-to-enter urban space featuring street food stalls with food and drink from around the world. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with offerings from City Burger, Win & Lily, Beefcake London, Big Mama Food, Feast UK, Macstreetboys, Opa Opa, The Wrap Game, Malobi’s Joint, Bulgarian Grill, CARIB Catering, Laurel Foods UK, Dogers, Fratelli Diteglia UK, Kerbside Kitchen, Mackie Jerk Stop, Sfornat, Smokings Barbecue, Texas BBQ, Wandercrust, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Bam Boo, Biff’s Kitchen, Food Gangnam Style, Magic Churros, The Lo Food, Frakes Malay, Cubano, Don Donburi, Eat Well, Jam Rocks, Kuzinaki, Sweet Nothing Bakehouse, Crazy For Pasta, Arostape Italian Skewers, Yaay Yaay, and more.
Meanwhile, visitors looking for some alfresco drinking can check out the The Smirnoff Bar and the Red Bull Lodge. There will be a wide choice of soft and hard drinks, with Love Taste making fresh fruit smoothies daily. As well as serving seasonal cocktails and mocktails, the Red Bull Lodge will be hosting the daily entertainment programme. Among the fun events on offer will be Monday Movie Nights; monthly Tuesday events with London Gaymers; Wednesday Quiz Nights; Thursday dance classes; charity events; and wine tastings (11 July, 8 August, 12 September). Meanwhile, the selected weekend openings will have more entertainment, including DJs and the full line-up of food and drink stalls. For those looking to make a party of it, there are beach huts available for hire and a massage service.
- Vauxhall Street Food Garden is open from now until September 2017. Open Mon-Fri: 11.30am–10pm. Open weekends: 1-2 July, 5-6 August, 9-10 September. Free entry. Located at 6A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1RT. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Street Food Garden website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
Shopaholics rejoice! There’s a new festival where you can get your summer wardrobe sorted while indulging your appetite and your passion for Prosecco.
This Saturday 10 June, over 100 shops, bars and restaurants will be taking part in a free shopping and food event. Fashion Feast in Seven Dials will feature a host of events, freebies, entertainment, workshops and exclusive offers.
The streets of Seven Dials will be closed to road traffic with an urban garden popping up around the central dial monument. London steak specialists Hawksmoor and Fords Gin will be serving free gin and tonics on the lush summer lawn dotted with deckchairs. There will also be free taco tasting from Monmouth Kitchen. Meanwhile, there will be free ice cream from the Benefit van on Shorts Gardens, where Japanese tea specialists My Cup of Tea will also be offering free iced teas.
Foodies will be able to pick up some cooking tips from the ‘In The Kitchen With…’ stage hosted by Jamie Oliver’s social protégé vlogger Katie Pix. Chefs from the area’s restaurants, including Native, Hawksmoor, Chick ‘n’ Sours, Monmouth Kitchen and Talli Joe, will be showing visitors how to make their signature dishes.
Diners at some of Seven Dials independent eateries, Cure & Cut, Canela and 26 Grains, will be able to enjoy their dishes outside for an afternoon of alfresco dining. While chowing down, visitors will be entertained with live music from Entrée and London 5-piece band Version.
For those in the mood for a pamper, there will be a Sassoon styling station for quick up dos and haircare advice; skincare experts Fresh and Neal’s Yard Remedies giving beauty tips and demos; Murdock London providing outdoor barbering and Another Space fitness experts putting on spin performances. Fashion fans can head to the pop-up style hub on Neal Street to check out the brands from Seven Dials and enter a competition to win a £1,000 shopping spree. There will also be a photobooth to capture your fashion moment.
If you’re in the mood to shop, brands across Seven Dials will be offering up to 25% discount. Register for a free ticket to obtain discounts at over 30 fabulous names, including Caudalie, Ron Dorff, Larsson & Jennings, Coco de Mer, Frame Set and Match, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Ollie Quin, Office and Offspring.
- Seven Dials Fashion Feast takes place on 10 June 2017. From 12-5pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register for your discount, visit the Seven Dials website.
For a guide to what else is on in June, click here.