It's finally the weekend after the hottest week in the UK to date - and now that you've survived the heatwave, you deserve something fun to do! Check out what's going on in the capital from 26 to 28 July...
Feast on paella made by a three Michelin-starred chef
You may think it's too hot to eat paella, but if it's cooked up by three Michelin-starred chef Quique Dacosta, how can you really say no? The Valencian chef has just opened his first international restaurant Arros QD, located by Oxford Circus, and it is hands-down one of the best culinary launches 2019 has seen. Staying true to Quique's unique style of cooking, the menu focuses on traditional paella big serves as well as more modern recipes. The purists may want to go for the Paella Valenciana, made of rabbit, chicken, garrafo bean, rosemary and aioli, and beautifully served in a gargantuan dish. The rice was cooked to perfection, with the extra crunchy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan – make sure you scrape until you have every last spoonful. The more adventurous may want to try the contemporary black squid ink rice, which was just exceptional. Served on a small rectangular pan, the thin layer of rice is peppered with calamari, artichokes, dill and oyster aioli. This truly was a showstopper, as were the cheese stones to start. A bit Heston Blumenthal-esque, the black stones are filled with creamy manchego cream, parmesan and cocoa butter. It's a real wow dish to kick off your meal. The Neapolitan cracker topped with anchovies and black olives and sprinkled with tomato powder was also like something we'd never tried, or seen, before. Each dish was a piece of art that kept our excitement levels high, all the way through to dessert when we were presented with a cheesecake. But this wasn't your average cheesecake. The crumbly base was deconstructed (very on-trend these days) and layered with forest fruits, served with biscuit ice cream and topped with sheets of almond paper carefully balanced in a vertical position. The food is enough to pull you in to Arros QD, but the ultra-chic design of the restaurant – very New York cool – is an extra bonus.
Sip tea and read books at Teatulia
On Neal Street in Covent Garden you will come across Teatulia, a stylish tea shop crammed with books, sweet treats and a cocktail list to die for! This cocktail bar is absolutely one for book fans to visit, as you can sip on a lemongrass mojito or an oolong old fashioned while settling down with a good novel! The space is roomy enough that it never feels crammed, and yet has a cosy, friendly atmosphere. During your visit, you can also pick up a pot of their amazing home grown tea, made from Tetulia on the Indian border of northern Bangladesh. We would recommend the jasmine!
Find out more here
Check out the latest foodie craze
Head down to Mother Kelly's courtyard in trendy Bethnal Green and head to Sugoi JPN's NoriTacos for the latest foodie trend. Made by a husband-and-wife team who have spent over a year perfecting their recipe, NoriTaco's are a crispy seaweed tempura shell shaped like a taco, packed with sushi rice and Japanese-Latin toppings, which include everything from veggie to chicken teriyaki. Prices start from just £4.80 - so you will be able to really indulge!
Visit the website to find out more
Opt for something healthy
Ping Pong has created a brand new Summer of Health menu, which have made in collaboration with nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert and Ruby Wu, Ping Pong's Dim Sum Master. The menu will be available in all seven of their restaurants until the end of August. Dishes include Miso Aubergine Dumpling, Okra and Cod Dumpling, Re-Fresh Quinoa, Ginger & Miso Salad and Red date & coconut pudding - delish!
Enjoy a summer cocktail in style
Treat yourself to a cocktail or two while shielding from the current UK heatwave by heading over to The Donovan Bar in Mayfair this weekend. The stylish venue has an impressive range of unique cocktails to try, all of which are named after famous faces who have been photographed at the bar. We recommend The Twiggy – made with vanilla vodka, coffee, passion fruit, egg white and champagne, and the sixties-inspired Flower Power – with gin, lavender honey syrup, litchi juice and lemon.
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside (to play golf)
Fancy going to a beach party WITH golf? Swingers are hosting a massive Beach Party in their West End site on Tuesday 30 July. Head over there at 6pm for a night full of cocktails, ice cream and street food – yum! The event will have plenty of beach-themed fun, from beach balls to giant deckham, alongside beach-themed crazy golf – but will you get a hole-in-one on the Big Wheel and Helter Skelter courses?
Tickets are £13 per person, visit here to find out more!
Try the new seafood menu at The Real Greek
If the warm weather has you gravitating towards lighter food, you may want to check out the summer seafood menu at The Real Greek, served exclusively at their Bankside branch. Paying tribute to Greece's 6,000 islands, the new menu features all kinds of coastal-inspired dishes, including a whole seabass baked inside a salted bread crust. The Aegean octopus salad is served with colourful mixed peppers and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, and while the flavour of the peppers overpowers the actual octopus, it makes for a refreshing dish. The seafood-stuffed cabbage, on the other hand, has a more distinctive flavour and is slathered in Ouzo and dill sauce, so might not be everyone's cup of tea. The classic cold and hot meze dishes are also available on the menu, and you can never go wrong with lamb kefte, stuffed vine leaves and flatbread and hummus. The staff at The Real Greek are also incredibly welcoming and embody the true meaning of Greek hospitality, plus the Bankside branch has an outdoor terrace, with views over the Thames.
Relax on a beautiful rooftop bar with panoramic views of London
High above the former Old Street Magistrates Court, now the legendary five-star Courthouse Hotel, Upper 5th stands out as one London’s chicest rooftop getaways. It is complete with a new décor including the Manhattan Station, serving Manhattan cocktails in an exquisite range of flavours, and the Bloom Room; bursting with fresh flowers and perfect for warm afternoons and long summer evenings. With Executive Chef Andrea Cirino at the helm, the season’s New York theme will translate via a brand-new menu inspired by the city that never sleeps. The menu includes delectable dishes including the Empire Steak Burger, The Deli Charcuterie & Cheese Board and Aubergine caviar with sundried tomato & crostini, as well as the Upper 5th Cheeseburger with market greens & club sauce and the Big apple NY hotdog with caramelised onion and mustard relish. Cocktails, luxury food and friendly staff - what more could you want? We seriously recommend checking the Upper 5th for refreshing after-work drinks.
Tuck into avocado fries at Chelsea Courtyard
In a corner of the gorgeous Chelsea, just a short walk from South Kensington tube station, you will come across the Chelsea Courtyard, a secluded and pretty outside area serving happy hour cocktails along with an inspired array of snacks, from avocado fries to truffle fries to slider burgers. It is perfect for a July day in the summer sunshine, so head over and grab yourself a Pimms!
Find out more here
Book tickets for The Big Feastival this August weekend
Alex James will host the eighth edition of The Big Feastival on his Cotswolds farm this August Bank Holiday, 23 – 25 August. Michelin star chefs live on stage, award-winning street food and an exciting programme of family entertainment, The Big Feastival has something for everyone. Dermot O’Leary, Jodie Kidd and The Cuban Brothers have just been announced for Bedtime Stories. At the end of each day they will be reading a bedtime story of their choice in the Big Top Tent. The Big Feastival will be kicking off with a belter of a start thanks to none other than the platinum-selling Rudimental and their Friday night DJ set. The party continues on Saturday night with Grammy Award winner, Jess Glynne, taking centre stage. The festival will come to an epic close on Sunday night with one of the most extraordinary acts in British music, Elbow. The weekend will also feature singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi fresh from his breakthrough hit Someone You Loved and indie-rock band The Zutons who shot to fame with the original Valerie. Along with producer and DJ Jonas Blue, acoustic singer Jack Savoretti, Jade Bird, Nina Nesbitt, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Grandmaster Flash, Sleeper, Dodgy, The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show, DJ Luck & MC Neat, BBC Music Introducing: Little Brother Eli, Barns Courtney, Four of Diamonds and Duke, festival veterans The Cuban Brothers will also be adding their distinctive blend of music, comedy and dancing entertainment.
For full information on the music, food and family programmes and to purchase tickets, visit: www.thebigfeastival.com
Have your favourite takeaway at Just Eat food festival
Just Eat Food Fest will offer two days of live music, cocktails and takeaway dishes - with an immersive twist. Guests can follow up to six different tantalising taste trails making choices at key points which will influence the taste adventure each guest will experience across the various festival zones. Secret staircases and other mysterious routes will lead festival-goers to their own delicious world of foodie experiences. Visitors will celebrate summer with classic takeaway dishes, new flavours and unique experiences - the world will be their oyster. Or burger, or even bubble waffles.
Friday 26th July 5-11pm. Saturday 27th July 12-11pm. 93 Feet East, 150, Brick Lane. E1 6QL