Every year, the UK throws away an estimated £13 billion worth of food that could be eaten. Pretty disgusting figures I’m sure you’ll agree when so many people are starving or struggling to afford nutritious meals. A lot of the blame can be put on people not knowing the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates or the volume of BOGOF deals at supermarkets, meaning we are buying more food than we need.
One group of young Londoners are doing something about it by selling surplus food in the school playground and to the local community. Over 400 children aged 5 – 12 years from West London have just launched Bubble & Squeak, a new initiative named after the classic English dish made from leftovers.
The Bubble & Squeak gang aim to take surplus edible food from local businesses, markets and supermarkets and redistribute it to the local community on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis. The children from Old Oak Primary School & Old Oak Community Centre are hoping to change attitudes to food waste and give less fortunate families the opportunity to buy healthier ingredients.
Having launched last week, Bubble & Squeak are currently crowdfunding to raise £4,500 for a customised shipping container to store the surplus food and sell from. The deadline is 23 May 2017 so if you can, please donate to this worthwhile cause.
- To donate to Bubble & Squeak’s campaign before 23 May 2017, visit their crowdfunding page here. Or to find out the latest new from the kids and their mission, visit their official website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.
Tredwells regularly appears on lists of London’s top eateries, having been named London Restaurant of the Year by the AA. Located on bustling Upper St Martin’s Lane, Tredwells is a foodie haven with contemporary British cuisine by top chef Marcus Wareing. To celebrate my sister’s birthday, a group of five of us headed to the venue for dinner and had my expectations surpassed.
Entering the sleek, dark venue, we were guided to one of the cosy booths (who doesn’t love a booth?). We opted for the set menu, featuring three courses, a cocktail and chocolates to take home for £28. Firstly, we all enjoyed the refreshing and light Grey Goose Mint and Chamomile Fizz cocktail which kicked off the festivities nicely.
To start with, I opted for a rather unusual, but intriguing dish – Sweetcorn Mousse, Pickled Mushroom, Truffle and Sourdough Croutons. As it featured some of my favourite foods, I was easy to please, but I invited some of my party to try my dish and it was universally pleasing. Meanwhile, some of my fellow diners opted for the Crispy Cod Cheeks with Kimchee and Buttermilk, which were light with a bit of a kick thanks to the Kimchee.
For mains, a popular dish on our table was the Chargrilled Hangar Steak with Braised Shallot and Peppercorn Sauce. The meat was cooked perfectly to everyone’s specifications and the sauce was commended for its taste. Meanwhile, I was enjoying the lighter dish of Slow Cooked Cod, Caramelised Celeriac, Remoulade and Walnut Pesto. The accompaniments and sauces really gave a different, refreshing approach to the fish and provided an interesting variety of flavour.
Finally for dessert, there was no question I was going to have the Salted Caramel Soft Serve with Honeycomb. I love both salted caramel and honeycomb, but rarely indulge. As I anticipated, it was super sweet, but if you’re up for the sugar hit, it’s great. I did manage to sample a bit of the Valrhona Caraibe Chocolate, Basil and Lime, with the latter ingredients breaking up the intensity and richness of the chocolate.
Our party universally enjoyed our food, but what really stood out to us all was the exceptional service. Our waitress knew the menu inside and out and could give us in-depth descriptions of unfamiliar flavours or ingredients. When she recommended things to us, she was sincere and enthusiastic. The darkness of the venue, coupled with the fact we were seated in our own booth, heightened the intimate feel to the evening. I’m definitely heading for many a return visit.
- Tredwells, 4A Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9NY . Nearest station: Leicester Square. For booking, visit the Tredwells website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Despite the recent trend for clean-eating, if many people are honest with themselves, eating a pizza is a lot more appealing than a salad (well, it certainly is to me!). But how many of us have actually made our own pizza from scratch?
Well, Covent Garden’s newest eating venue BungaTINI is offering diners the chance to enrol on pizza making classes. From 11 April, the Italian eaterie will be hosting weekly classes every Tuesday. The fun-filled lessons will include a welcome drink and 90 minutes of kitchen tuition.
During the evening, the aspiring pizza chefs will be taken through lessons on the history of pizza, dough making, dough throwing, pizza topping and, finally, pizza eating. While working up an appetite in the kitchen, guests will have a choice of a complimentary Peroni, Prosecco, Aperol Spritz or red or white wine. After eating the fruits of their labour, guests will receive a goodie bag full of treats and a group photo.
BungaTINI is a new all-day pizzeria and aperitivo bar from the same team behind the famous Bunga Bunga in Battersea. For those in the mood for some late-night revelry, diners can pass through a meat locker door to Bunga Bunga Covent Garden next door for some singing and dancing action.
- Pizza Making Classes at BungaTINI take place every Tuesday from 6.30pm-8.30pm. £28pp. BungaTINI, 167 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PG. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Holborn. For more information, visit the BungaTINI website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in May, click here.
Forget boring quinoa! For me, a hearty weekend brunch has got to come with baked beans. Heinz Beanz have been satisfying British appetites for over 100 years and, this year, marks the 50th anniversary since the ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ advertising slogan was first coined.
This spring, Heinz are celebrating 50 years of its Beanz slogan by launching a pop-up bar in London’s iconic Selfridges department store. The counter will be serving Beanz with a modern twist, including with crispy bacon, with smoked ham hock or scrambled egg. There will also be the chance to opt for an additional cheddar cheese topping.
Meanwhile, Heinz is also launching a limited edition can to mark the anniversary. The commemorative design will only be on sale in Selfridges, featuring different iterations of the Beanz Meanz Heinz slogans, such as Beanz Meanz… Yummz, Famz, Chatz, Spudz, Eggz, Morningz and Brekkiez. Meanwhile, Beanz fans will also have the opportunity to buy 50 collectable cans numbered individually and personally signed by copywriter Maurice Drake, who came up with the slogan in 1967. Proceeds of the cans will go to The Ideas Foundation, a charity which identifies and nurtures creatively gifted 13-19 year olds, as well as working to increase diversity in the creative industries.
- The Beanz Meanz Heinz Pop-Up Bar is open from 27 March – 23 April 2017 at the food hall in Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1A 1AB. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. Opening hours Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 11.30am-6pm. For more information, visit Selfridges website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in April, click here.
The Langham Hotel is one of the capital’s most established luxury accommodations, having been housing visitors to London since the 1860s. The hotel’s Palm Court has been serving Afternoon Tea since 1865 and remains a popular destination for foodies seeking their scone fix today. However, cakes aside, the Palm Court also offers regular dining featuring British and international cuisine, which I recently experienced.
With a relative visiting from the United States, we booked a table at the Palm Court for an evening of fine dining. When we first arrived, I was struck by how intimate the venue felt – it was a lot smaller than I anticipated, but in a good way. The selection of armchairs and sofas looked comfortable and inviting, while the Art Deco interiors was certainly to my taste. Adding to the atmosphere and a total surprise to my group was the live jazz performances, which happens every weekend.
We were shown to a cosy table for three with our own individual armchair, which was lovely to sit on. For those looking for good value fine dining, I can highly recommend going for the set menu, as we did. Three courses and a glass of bubbles for £35 per person. We kicked off proceedings with a flute each of Barbameto Prosecco Millesimato, which was light and not too sweet.
The set menu had a choice of three starters, so I opted for the Isle of Wight tomato salad with burrata and garlic croutons. The portion of burrata was particularly generous and incredibly creamy. Meanwhile, my companions opted for the classic chilled vichyssoise with crème fraîche and chives – another smooth creation which they said was delectable.
Being a pescatarian, I only had one option for mains on the set menu, another cheese-based offering – Buffalo ricotta and spinach ravioli with sauce ‘antiboise’. The ricotta wasn’t too over-powering and the dish had elements of sweet and savoury flavours which actually worked really well. Meanwhile, one of my family chose the Guinea-fowl supreme, served with summer savory and ‘petits pois francaise’, which they heralded as a delicious dish.
Finally, my favourite course – dessert – that I always hope to have room for, but sometimes have to forgo. Fortunately, my visit to the Palm Court was not one of those times so I ordered the Langham chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis and caramelia pearl, which was served with strawberries. Unlike so many other chocolate mousses, this wasn’t too rich and was surprisingly light, partially helped by the fruity accompaniment.
Overall, we had a superb evening. The food was enjoyable and well presented, with the set menu offering a great option for good value fine dining. The service was fabulous and the live music really added to the atmosphere. I was in awe of the stunning interiors which gave me plenty to hold my gaze during the meal. I’m planning a return visit for their famous afternoon tea.
- Palm Court at The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent street, Marylebone, W1B 1JA. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Regent’s Park. For booking, visit The Palm Court’s website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
January 25 is an annual celebration for Scots to mark poet Robert Burns’ birthday. Traditionally, a meal is hosted to celebrate the life and poetry of Robbie, with soup, haggis, tatties, neeps and lots of whisky being consumed. With a host of Scots living in London, it’s no surprise there’s plenty of Burns’ Nights events on in the capital. Here’s some of the events on around town.
- Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (23 – 27 January)
Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events. Kicking things off is a Haggis Making Masterclass (23 January), followed by Whisky and Beer Pairing Masterclass (24 and 27 January). On Burns’ Night itself, both branches of the restaurant will be offering a special Burns Set Menu, including a suitably Scottish host to address the haggis and the option of washing down each course with a specially paired whisky. There will also be Burns’ specials on the menu all week, including Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, a Burns Whisky Flight and a Bobby Burns Whisky Cocktail.
– 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 : Siren Of The Glen @ The Gallery (24 January)
The Gallery are kicking off Burns’ celebrations one night early with an evening of whisky and beer pairing. Siren Craft Beer Co. and The Glenlivet. Guests will be able to get educated while sampling the good stuff. 7pm-11pm. Tickets: £20 (include four flights of whisky samples, four samples of beer and food pairings).
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to be a chocoholic. So fans of the sweet stuff may be a tad excited to hear about a special pop-up coming to London this festive season.
Italian chocolatier Ferrero Rocher are launching a pop-up dessert destination at St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden. Opening on 1 December 2016 for just 10 days, guests will be able to explore the after-dinner chocolate in a multi-layered dining experience at Dolce.
Customers will savour a tasting plate of five mini hand-crafted desserts curated by Cuisson head chef and director Paul Hannagen. Then to finish will be a classic Ferrero Rocher with its smooth combination of chocolate and hazelnut.
- Dolce by Ferrero Rocher, 21 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden, WC2E 9AB. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. Open from 1-11pm. Sessions last 45 minutes: £10 for walk-ins and £15 for pre-booked slots (includes a glass of Prosecco). For more information, visit the Dolce by Ferrero Rocher website.
For a guide to what’s on in London this December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
For listings of London’s pop-up ice rinks this festive season, click here.
Aquum has been one of Clapham’s late-night staples since it opened back in 2007. However, with nightlife appetites evolving in recent years and becoming more food orientated, it’s time to roll with the changes. Last week, I was invited to the re-launch of the Clapham High Street venue, which has added to new dining element to its drinking and dancing hotspot.
Aquum has had a makeover in both its design and its format, with the addition of a restaurant making it a more versatile day-to-night destination. Taking over the kitchen is Head Chef Anastasios Tologlou (previously at Medlar, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Coloniales Huerta in Valencia), who has conceived a menu inspired by his Greek roots and his experience in some of the world’s top restaurants. The new menu features a variety of light dishes, sharing plates and mains. During the evening, we tried some delicious tasters, such as the Razor Clam and Black Eyed Bean Salad and the particularly fun Halloumi Martini – described as a ‘modern twist on the classic Cypriot dish’, featuring grilled Halloumi cheese soaked in a herb essence.
While Aquum hopes to attract a wider audience for its restaurant, it will continue to stay open late on weekends for DJs taking to the decks. The venue’s mixologists have created a new menu, full of original cocktails and twists on some old classics. We started with some Kir Noirs (Pinot Noir syrup, cherry syrup and Mercier Champagne), which were refreshing and subtly sweet. Next up, was the very girlie-named Twinkle, which appealed to me because of its elderflower ingredient – which has been having a resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years and is one of my favourite flavours. Served in a martini glass, the combination of Elderflower cordial, Eristoff vodka and Mercier Champagne managed to taste both strong and light at the same time. A few of those and you’d be well on your way to a good night out!
Aside from the new eating dimension, the venue has also had a design makeover. Aquum is now spread across four levels, with a second bar and private dining/events space available. The white leather seating has been stripped out for a more contemporary stone and dark leather seating. Many of the nightlife venues on Clapham High Street have been looking rather tired of late, so it’s great to see one of them taking a new approach. Both the drinks and food I sampled so far were different and delicious, so I look forward to returning in future for a weekend which will start with dinner and end with dancing.
- Aquum, 68-70 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL. Nearest stations: Clapham North, Clapham High Street or Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Aquum website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Chocolate… it’s one of those foods most of us just can’t live without. With National Chocolate Week coming up soon (10-16 October 2016), what better excuse than to delight your sweet tooth with some of the finest cocoa treats.
For those who like their chocolate with a bit of a kick, acclaimed London restaurant The Cinnamon Club is devising a special menu to mark NCW. The Westminster eaterie’s Executive Chef Vivek Singh has teamed up with master chocolatier Paul A Young to create a taste adventure. Three unique chocolates represent a starter, main and dessert. To start, bite into the Lime Pickle Caramel with single origin 64% Madagascan dark chocolate, sea salted caramel, The Cinnamon Club’s lime pickle and a gold leaf flourish. Moving on, the Cumin & Almond Truffle features bitter 66% Grand Cru dark chocolate, sweet almond puree, cumin, coriander seed and is coated with toasted naan crumbs. And to finish, the Paan Truffle includes paan, tobacco, rose petal preserve, condensed milk, peppermint and white chocolate with rose petals. For those with a bigger choco-tite, there will also be a limited-edition dessert of dark chocolate paan and caramel muri bar served with carrot halwa and clover ice cream.
This special menu will be available at the Indian fine dining destination from 10-30 October 2016. Guests who order the Chocolate Week dessert will also be given three Paul A Young truffles to take home.
Meanwhile, Vivek and Paul will also be presenting a collaborative demonstration at The Chocolate Show at Kensington Olympia on 14 October at 5pm. The three-day event will feature talks, demonstrations and interactive workshops from acclaimed chocolatiers and chefs.
- The Cinnamon Club, Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, Westminster, SW1P 3BU. Nearest station: St James, Victoria or Westminster. For more information, visit the Cinnamon Club website or tel: 020 7222 2555.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.