Cheese lovers rejoice! It’s time to research your Christmas dairy needs as the annual ‘An Evening of Cheese’ returns to Borough Market. On Wednesday 11 December, the historic market will be opening its doors for a late-night celebration of cheese. Over 20 cheesemongers will be showcasing their cow, goat and sheep’s milk cheese from UK and international producers. Foodies can get inspired for their festive cheeseboard by talking to cheesemongers and getting advice on drink and cheese pairings. You can also pick up cheese recipes and watching cheese-based cooking demos in the Market Hall’s Demo Kitchen.
Meanwhile, in the run-up to Christmas, Borough Market are extending their opening hours to help Londoners get prepared for their food and drink needs for the festive season. The market will be open daily until 4pm on Christmas Eve, including Sundays. There will be plenty of seasonal fun, with local choirs performing in the Market Hall, festive Demo Kitchens and Cookbook Club sessions with Angela Clutton and Ed Smith, author of the Borough Market Cookbook. Customers will also be able to use the new click-and-collect service, to make their food shopping even more convenient.
- An Evening Of Cheese takes place on 11 December 2019 from 6pm-8pm. At Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. Free entry. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
- Borough Market is open every day during the Christmas period from 4 December until 4pm on Christmas Eve – including Sundays.
For a guide to what else is on in London this December, click here.
Do you remember the wild and debauched MTV Spring Break footage in the late ’90s? This Spring, you will have the option to throw caution to the wind and party like it’s 1998 in an immersive adult playground inspired by JM Barrie’s Neverland. Over 19-21 April 2018, Park Village Studios in Regents Park will be transformed for NTV Spring Park, a multi-layered event combining food, drink and partying. Expect to see a reimagining of Peter Pan’s lost land, including hipster Lost Boys, geezer Pirates, a trustafarian Tiger Lily, a tattooed Tinkerbell and a gangsta rapping Croc.
Guests are invited to start their journey in the relative calm of the Darlings’ home, where they will be offered a drink by George and Mary Darling – parents of Wendy, John and Michael. It isn’t long, before revellers move into Neverland, where they have an array of options to choose from. For those feeling a bit peckish, the Lost Boys are hosting their street food collective, featuring a range of world foods, including fish tacos, hot’n’sour wings, brioche three-cheese toasties, dulce de leche churros, among many other treats.
If you’re ready for it, head to Tinkerbell’s Bar, an Austin-style dive bar with rockabilly memorabilia, neon signs, and thrash metal, serving Fukk’n Intense Dark’n’Stormies cocktails. Nearby is Crock’s Territory, home to hip-hop legend Croc, the unofficial king of Neverland. Check him out as he films his latest music video with his dancers and b-boys sipping malt liquor. When you want to take things up a notch, head to Neverland Camp, where zenned out Tiger Lily and her new age pals Sebastian, Ziggy et al hang out by the campfire. This chill out zone offers arts and crafts workshops, massages, guru sessions and Jarr Kombucha cocktails. Meanwhile, Jimmy ‘Ook and his pirates are hiding out in a hidden East London gangster den, where they will challenge guests to a game of red/black/high/low in the hope of winning some perks.
Finally, the night climaxes with the NTV Dance Off, where the gangs come face-to-face and show off their moves. Once the winner is crowned, guests are welcome to party to the sounds of DJ Seldom Cinq and his hype man Ya Boi JC. The event is the long-awaited return from Shuttlecock Inc, famous for their previous immersive productions Mile High, Rumble at the Deli and The Blue Lotus Opium Den.
- Shuttlecock Inc Presents NTV Spring Break is on from 19-21 April 2018. At Park Village Studios, Park Village East, Regents Park, NW1 7PX. Nearest station: Mornington Crescent. Tickets: Standard £40pp (early bird £35pp), includes entry, 1x cocktail, 2x street food tokens and all the entertainment. VIP £65pp, includes access all areas pass, min. 4x cocktails, 4x street food tokens and all the entertainment. For tickets, visit the Shuttlecock website.
To find out what else is on in April in London, 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.
Fancy a bit of Alpine action, but can’t get to the slopes? Well, the Vauxhall Winter Village is bringing some winter fun to the capital. Following their November-December opening before the Christmas and New Year break, the Village is reopening for business from 19 January 2017.
The Vauxhall Winter Village is presented by the team behind Vauxhall Street Food Garden and offers weekday lunchtime and evening venue for eating, drinking and socialising. Located just moments from Vauxhall station, the pop-up alpine ski village features plenty to keep you entertained, including a Retro Ski Wear with Cable Car Photo Booth, bookable alpine cabin booths and Winter Sports Bar screening the latest sports.
For those feeling peckish, there is a host of street food stalls, including Valcie Flavours jerk shack, City Burger, Win & Lilly’s Oriental Foods, Country Kitchen and Souper Soups and special weekly foodie pop-ups on Fridays. Meanwhile, drinkers can head to the Smirnoff pop-up bar, serving Hot Pimm’s Winter Cider, Festive Glühwein or Mulled Cider, together with spiced drinks; beer, wine, spirits and champagne. There is also the Red Bull Winter Lodge serving Red Bull cocktails while showing Red Bull TV. With the temperatures biting outside, the Winter Village is fully undercover with heating and lighting to give a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with plenty of dining areas to sit.
- Vauxhall Winter Village is open from 19 January 2017 on Monday to Fridays only from 11.30am-10pm. Free entry. Vauxhall Winter Village, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Winter Village website or the Facebook page.
To find out what else is on in London in February, click here.
When the sun comes out in London, one of the best places to be is a rooftop bar. The wind in your hair and no need to worry about the shade that inevitably encroaches on the pub gardens down below. After being somewhat neglected in the rooftop bar area compared to East and South London, West London is the destination for the next rooftop nightspot.
Launching on 31 July 2015, Storeys will be offering sky-high drinking, food and entertainment on the top of the former BBC Car Park at Television Centre in White City. The venue will be spread over two levels, covering a huge 24,000 square feet, giving stunning views over West London.
Providing the grub will be a rotating line-up of street food traders, including Le Bun (French-American fusion), White Men Can’t Jerk (Caribbean street food with a twist), Crabbieshack (soft-shell Folkestone crab burgers), Randy’s Wing Bar (buffalo wings and homemade hot sauce), En Brochette (a skewered alternative to carb-heavy street food) and Aji Ceviche (fresh Peruvian ceviche and anticuchos). On Saturday and Sunday mornings, brunch will be on offer, featuring Nicaraguan coffee, organic tea, free range BBQ sausages and smoked bacon rolls.
Meanwhile, the bars will be well stocked with a wide variety of drinks, including expertly-crafted rum cocktails from the Rum Shack and tropical fruit sharers, ice cold beer and more from the TV Bar.
In keeping with such an urban setting, the venue will feature some striking artworks including murals, art installations and bold graphic designs from young artists and London street artists. Among the various seating options will be comfortable day beds for those who wish to stretch out underneath the sunshine.
To keep you entertained while you eat or drink will be daytime game areas, evening DJs, outdoor film screenings and yoga sessions with Serene Social for Saturday early risers.
- Storeys will open from 31 July until 11 October 2015 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Open Fridays 5-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday 11am-8pm. Storeys, Multi Storey Car Park, Television Centre, Wood Lane, White City, W12 7RJ. Nearest station: Wood Lane. For more information, visit the Storeys website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.
For Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Vietnamese cuisine has steadily been growing in popularity in recent years in London. While Dalston has long been the destination for Viet food lovers, it’s about time the rest of London had some venues offering authentic and tasty Vietnamese cuisine. Last month, a new venue offering Vietnamese street food for breakfast and lunch opened in Broadgate and, this week, I went to check it out. Located in Finsbury Avenue Square, just off Broadgate Circle, Hop is the latest addition to the circle’s revitalised dining hub, which is becoming a huge draw for City workers on their breaks.
Hop is a light and airy venue with some seating should you wish to stay in. I particularly liked the fact the food was well spread out into different sections, not crammed in as you often get in takeaway venues which can make for tricky scenes in the busy lunch rush. Having visited Vietnam myself last year, I can attest the cuisine is incredibly varied depending on what part of the country you’re in. The Hop menu features various dishes from across the country, including noodle soups, protein salads, bun noodle dishes and summer rolls. Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, is famous for its Bánh Mì- a dish influenced by Vietnam’s former colonists France – which consists of a baguette stuffed with cold cuts, herbs and mayonnaise. When I was in Vietnam, I struggled to find any Bánh Mì suitable for vegetarians or pescatarians so was pleased to see Hop had a spring onion omelette one.
However, on this particular visit, I was feeling in need of a healthy boost so opted for one of the protein salads – eventually plumping for the Prawn and Mango (£4.50). Salads are rarely my first choice of food when eating out, but the ingredients used and the addition of fruit (I’ve always thought more salads should include fruit), swayed me. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed and really enjoyed my dish. The shredded vegetables, prawn and mango were well complemented with the aromatic herbs and Nouc Cham dressing.
Aside from the food, there is also a wide choice of drinks including the famous Vietnamese coffee – which should be particularly handy for busy City workers. Overall, the HOP experience was fast and friendly. The staff were informative and helpful. I found myself initially torn between dishes as they looked so appetising so I will definitely have to go back to try more. If you’re looking for healthy and tasty food on the go, then hop into Hop!
- HOP, 2 Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, City of London, EC2M 2PA. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. Open from 7-11am for breakfast, 11am-4pm for lunch. For more information, visit the HOP website.
Disclaimer: Metro Girl was a guest of Hop for this review.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
DF/Mexico is the newest venture from the people behind Wahaca. I’ve long been a fan of the Wahaca chain and Mexican food in general and am thrilled there’s finally decent Mexican food in London after years of nothingness. A close friend, who like me has also travelled around Mexico and is quite discerning when it comes to its cuisine, recommend I try it… before the name completely slipped my mind. Then on a Friday afternoon in Shoreditch, I accidentally stumbled upon DF/Mexico and instantly remembered it as my friend’s recommendation. The DF in the name is what Mexicans refer to Mexico City as, aka Distrito Federal. The premise is a modern Mexican diner serving street food. There’s no reservations and an unusual self-service system, so if you’re looking to be treated, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. However, if you’re looking for filling and tasty food and don’t have much time on your hands, this is a good place to stop.
My sister and I visited for a late lunch and were pretty ravenous by the time we arrived. We claimed a table before studying the menus – featuring a mix of burritos, tacos, salad and grilled chicken or meat. Once we were ready to order, we headed to one of the self-service touch screens, where you put your order in. I found it pretty simple and straight-forward, despite the lack of interaction with a human. We both ordered some of the bottomless soft drinks at just £2.30, which was very appealing if you’re particularly thirsty. I’m a fan of Hibiscus – a flavour I don’t find very often – so enjoyed a few glasses of it and it was pretty gorgeous I must admit. In addition to the usual soda, the venue is also licensed and serves Mexican classics such as Frozen Margaritas or Sol and Pacifico Clara beers.
Upon returning to our table, we didn’t have to wait long for our food to arrive. I ordered the MSC Fish Tacos, served helpfully upright in a taco tray. Cooked in Panko crumbs, the cod was filling and tasty – not too oily – and served with red coleslaw and Chipotle mayonnaise, which gave it a bit of a kick. Admittedly, I could have ordered more, but the lateness of the day being caught between lunch and dinner meant I was forced to reel in my appetite. Overall, the venue was light and contemporary and we felt quite comfortable stopping by for our quick eat. The food and drink were really good and the prices were very good value. Definitely a pit stop to refuel at next time I’m in Brick Lane.
- DF/Mexico, Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, E1 6QR. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street. for more information, visit the DF/Mexico website.
For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.
Update: Bunnychow in Soho is now permanently closed.
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.
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.
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 stations: 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.