We know, we know, there are enough pop-ups, one-off dinners and and food and drink-related events going on in London at any one time to blow your mind, not to mention seriously clog up your calendar.
So how do you know which ones are really worth going to? That's where we come in: we've cherry-picked our very favourite – and ergo the very best – food goings-on to make it that tiny bit easier.
Sit back, relax and peruse our guide below, safe in the knowledge that people with truly impeccable taste have deemed that brand-spanking-new pop-up absolutely worth the two-hour wait.
You are very welcome indeed.
The London pop-up guide: 28 not to miss
1. Bombay Talkies at Bombay Bustle
Where? Every Monday until 15 April; 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA
Why? Dinner and a movie just got an upgrade. But there's a catch: popcorn is off the menu. Instead, at Bombay Talkies – a series of film nights hosted at Indian restaurant Bombay Bustle – expect to tuck into poppadoms, banana chips and canapés washed down with a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne before settling down for a film and three course meal created by executive chef Surender Mohan. The pop-up cinema runs until April and is inspired by the original Bombay Talkies, the movie studio which revolutionised cinema in Mumbai in the 1930s. Experience all this and more for just £52pp every Monday.
2. James Donnelly residency at Bermondsey Bar & Kitchen
Where? Until end of year; 40 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD
Why? No stranger to the occasional residency, chef James Donnelly has followed his successes at The Sun and 13 Cantons and Louie Louie with this residency at Bermondsey Bar & Kitchen. Cooking up modern takes on classic British fare with a commitment to championing the nation's independent food producers, Donnelly has extended his residency until the end of the year. Which is great news for you and me when delicacies like Gloucestershire pork belly and roasted plaice have a, well, place on the menu. Donnelly's fish is additionally sourced through Henderson Seafood – a family-run operation that nets seasonal fish from the Devon coast – and his meat and vegetables from a host of local farms. It's root-to-leaf and nose-to-tail done right.
3. Brixham Lunch Menu at Wright Brothers
Where? Monday to Friday from 12-3pm; various locations
Why? Seasonal, sustainable and savings might just be three of our favourite things – which, given that they're the three ideas that underpin Wright Brothers' two-course set lunch menu, might make this £20 spread one our favourite offerings in town. It's no £3 meal deal, sure. But if you have clients or parents hanging around, the Brixham Lunch Menu one might just be for you. The two-course set menu will feature a variety of seasonal catches for just £20 per person. Dishes change every week, but since Wright Brothers is known for sourcing the freshest fish around, you know it's going to be good. Plus, it's only available between 12-3pm every week day until March, so the race is on to try it all...
4. Switchback Supper at Soane's Kitchen
Where? 2 May; Pitzhanger Manor, Mattock Lane, W5 5BE
Why? If you're familiar with Alex Head, her café and catering company Social Pantry, or her restaurant Soane's Kitchen, you'll know she's incredibly dedicated to helping former prisoners find their way into work through charities including Key4Life and Switchback, mentoring them and employing them across her venues. May's Switchback Supper, in association with the latter, will be a feast created, prepped and served by young men from Switchback's incredible programme, giving them a big hit of hands-on experience. The menu includes canapés, a welcome drink and three courses.
Tickets are £50; buy at designmynight.com
5. Elizabeth Haigh at Maslow's Mortimer House
Where? 2 May-27 June; 37–41 Mortimer Street, W1T 3JH
Why? This spring sees members' club Maslow's Mortimer House kick off its Guest Chef series with the super talented chef Elizabeth Haigh of Kaizen House. Launching 2 May, Haigh, who previously garnered a Michelin star at Hackney outlet Pidgin, will be present at the premises for an eight-week residency. Drawing inspiration from her British and Singaporean heritage, as well as the city of London itself, Elizabeth's food combines her love of wood-fired cooking, subtle detail and bold flavours for a range of imaginative (and delicious) dishes. Her a la carte menu, exclusively created for the residency, will feature dishes such as ox cheek rendang buns with fermented sambal, udon vongole with pickled wild garlic, barbecue aged beef with black sesame béarnaise, fried carrot cake with sambal belachan chilli, truffled roti with curried lamb sweetbreads, and miso and kaya "toast" caramel ice-cream.
6. Tillingham Bottling Party at Leroy
Where? 12 May, 5pm-11pm; Leroy, 18 Phipp Street, EC2A 4NU
Why? Honey Spencer's BASTARDA will be taking over Leroy in Shoreditch with Tillingham Wines to celebrate the Real Wine Fair (taking place 12-13 May in Tobacco Docks). Equipped with an entire barrel of new release wine, BASTARDA will be live-bottling while Leroy breaks rank from its usual Michelin-starred offering to grill up lamb skewers from Tillingham's farm in Sussex. BASTARDA and Leroy will be curating a one-off wine list comprised of their favourite producers from the fair. The event will run from 5pm to 11pm and tickets are £20 which includes entry and a carafe of freshly-bottled wine.
7. Paris Meets Pondicherry menu at Bistro Vadouvan with Éric Chavot
Where? From 20 March; 30 Brewhouse Lane, Putney Wharf, Putney, SW15 2JX
Why? From 20 March, Putney riverside restaurant Bistro Vadouvan will be teaming up with Michelin-starred chef Éric Chavot for the launch of a new 'Paris Meets Pondicherry' series. Having learned his trade under the tutelage of chef Chavot, Bistro Vadouvan's head chef Durga Misra will be joined in the kitchen by his former mentor to launch a menu inspired by the cities that best encapsulate his own cooking style. Guests will have a choice of two dishes for each course. Which means you can expect to make heart-wrenching choices between delicacies like beetroot croquette or beef tartare. The menu, which costs £35 and includes an arrival cocktail, will be available Tuesday-Sunday from 5.30pm for two months. Book yourself a spot via bistrovadouvan.co.uk.
8.Vincent Van Gogh-inspired lunch menu at Rex Whistler
Where? 27 March-11 August; Tate Britain Art Gallery, Milbank, SW1P 4JU
Why? Inspired by Van Gogh's vivid colour schemes and the Dutch flavours he favoured, Rex Whistler restaurant head chef Alfio Laudani has developed an artsy tasting menu and reduced three-course lunch menu to celebrate the Tate Britain's latest Vinnie Van Gogh collection. Expect literally tasteful homages to the painter like a Gevulde Koek dessert (a popular Dutch almond tart) that sits on a stroke of turquoise absinthe paint designed to reflect the brush stroke technique and colours in Starry Night on the Rhône. It's the sort of food that's nearly too pretty to eat. The tasting menu costs £55 and pre-booking is required.
9. Ghana Kitchen at The King & Co
Where? 1 April-1 June; 100 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7BZ
Why? Renowned chef Zoe Adjonyoh is bringing her popular Ghana Kitchen back to The King & Co for a highly-anticipated two-month residency. The menu will showcase traditional Ghanaian ingredients using modern methods and feature a mix of Ghana Kitchen classics like okra fries, JFC (Jollof Fried Chicken) and red red vegan bean stew, alongside exciting new dishes. Zoe's groundnut stew also returns with languidly slow-cooked lamb shank, with diners having the option to feast on pork belly brined with Supermalt and plantain and an array of other hearty dishes.
10. Hanami at Nobu Hotel
Where? 5 April-2 June; 10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Why? Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch and The House of Suntory are launching 'Hanami' – what promises to be a delicious outdoor celebration of Japanese craftsmanship and the Sakura bloom. Available from 5 April until 2 june, the terrace at Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch will be transformed into a cherry blossom-covered paradise. It'll not only look great, but taste good, too. The menu at Hanami will offer a selection of distinctive new dishes inspired by the local area alongside the more traditional Nobu-Style bar snacks and world class sushi. Which means Shoreditch-style fish and chips and Toro Avocado on a tofu bun with Matsuhisa dressing are both on the menu.
11. 'Meal Deal' guest chef series at Bodega Rita's
Where? 19 April-26 May; Unit 114 Lower Stable Street, N1C 4DR
Why? Bodega Rita's, Coal Drops Yard's resident deli and sandwich store is launching a series of guest sandwich 'Meal Deals' featuring some of London's brightest restaurant stars. The bodega will welcome a selection of London's most exciting culinary talent over the upcoming months – including Brat's Tomos Parry and Anais van Manen from Taiwanese favourite, BAO. Chris Leach (of Sager + Wilde and Petersham Nurseries) will kick off the series on Friday 19 April with a Fried Ciccioli and Smoked Apple Ketchup Sandwich. The limited-edition sandwich will be available at the bodega from midday on Friday and can be purchased individually or as part of a Meal Deal combo. Starting from £15, each sandwich can be matched with a selection of drinks and snack combos from the bodega. On Friday 26 May, Bodega Rita's will welcome Nud Dudhia, Head Chef and co-founder of the Clerkenwell and Soho taquerias, Breddos Tacos. Edgar Wallace, ex Koya chef, will launch his own sandwich on Friday 3 May. The series will be ongoing throughout the summer, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.
12. 'Strictly Bangers' at Salon
Where? 2 May; 20 Market Row, SW9 8LD
Why? The Salon team are back this May with a 'Strictly Bangers' series of events at the Salon Wine Store. The nights aim to brings together the group's passion for banging wine and great music. To kick things off on 2 May, Aimee Hartley will be bringing her Genuwine party vibes while serving a selection of her favourite wines from small talented producers. Definitely worth a punt for those who like their wine natural and their music natty.
13. Margarita Rumble
Where? 5 May; 369 & 370 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB
Why? Dust off your lycra, embrace your inner luchador and give your liver a pep talk because on 5 May the Margarita Rumble – a bottomless festival celebrating the beloved cocktail – is arriving in the city. Taking place at London Fields Arches, the rumble is a bottomless festival that pits top bars and mixologists against each other to find the UK's best tequila cocktail. The festival is split into two hour sessions where guests can enjoy bottomless margaritas and vote on their all-time favourite once they've sampled each drink. Competitors include Caban Brasil, Tequila Mockingbird, Nine Lives, Cafe Pacifico, Benito’s Hat, 12:51, Lupita, and more ace London operators. As if that wasn't enticing enough, chef James Cochran will be on hand to supply the food.
14. AngloThai at Counter Culture and The Dairy
Where? 8 May-29 June; 16 The Pavement, SW4 0HY
Why? John Chantarasak and Desiree West’s AngloThai is going be at Clapham restaurants, Counter Culture and The Dairy, for the months of May and June. AngloThai delivers a punhy mix of traditional Thai recipes and flavours with modern techniques and seasonal British ingredients. All paired with a low‐intervention natural wine program. AngloThai’s menu at Counter Culture will change according to seasonality, with some of the dishes to include: Brixham crab and wild ramson broken rice; root vegetable som tam, salted duck egg and cobnuts; duck hearts, XO chilli jam, three cornered garlic; and Thai doughnuts and pandan leaf custard. In addition to AngloThai taking the helm at Counter Culture, the duo will also be curating a revolving door of chefs and wine experts (like Andy Oliver, Honey Spencer, and Tongton Ren) for a series of collaborative Sunday dinners at The Dairy. Clapham just got a hell of a lot cooler.
15. Offal Monday: Smoking Goat x Breddos Tacos
Where? 13 May; 64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
Why? On 13 May, Smoking Goat will join forces with Breddos Tacos co-founder Nud Dudhia for the latest instalment of their nose-to-tail feast, Offal Mondays. The menu will provide an organ-heavy mash up of Smoking Goat head chef Ali Borer and Nud Dudhia’s respective cooking styles. Expect dishes like: sweetbread prik laap with chili piquin; deer liver laap tetela; pig skin salad with tobiko; mam haggis quesadilla; and steamed calves' brains tostada. Smoking Goat's bar manager Kajsa Renmaker will be mixing up cocktails on the night including a Thai style michelada and a special Mezcal sour with lychee, created for the evening. Come along for an offal-ly good meal.
To book your place email: email@example.com
16. Manuel Maldonado at Bar Douro
Where? 21 May; Arch 35B Union Street, Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD
Why? The final event in the series will see Manuel Maldonado take centre stage. Having worked with Jose Avillez at Belcanto and at Singapore's cult Burnt Ends, Manuel is one of Lisbon's most exciting chefs and currently heads up the kitchen of 100 Maneiras and Bistro 100 Maneiras, which topped Monocle's 2017 list of the world's best restaurants. With culinary influences from Bosnia, Portugal, France and Italy, 100 Maneiras is regarded as having one of the best tasting menus in Lisbon, with an immersive dining experience and interior setting to match. Maldonado will prepare a very special five course menu, priced at just £55 per person. Menus can be accompanied by an optional wine pairing (priced at £30), curated by Bar Douro's founder Max Graham, that features interesting, boutique producers little known or unavailable in this country.
17. St Germain x OXO Tower Terrace
Where? 21 May-30 June; Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Why? From 21 May to 30 June, visitors to OXO Tower Bar can discover the elegant world of French spritz through an exclusive cocktail menu created by St-Germain – the world's first French elderflower liqueur – in a range of drinks that have been created in collaboration with some of London's finest bartenders. The cocktails will be available on the flower-festooned 'Summer in Bloom' rooftop terrace at OXO Tower Bar, offering you and your drinking partner a pretty banging view of the River Thames and London skyline. The bespoke cocktail menu features three decadent spritzes from the How to Spritz French Fluently' cocktail book alongside three new cocktail creations from Paulius Patumsis, Head Bartender at OXO Tower Bar.
18. Chelsea Barracks Kitchen by Ollie Dabbous
Where? 21-25 May; Chelsea Barracks, 1 Garrison Cl, SW1W 8BG
Why? Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous has announced the opening of a pop-up restaurant, Chelsea Barracks Kitchen by Ollie Dabbous. Situated at the heart of London's new Chelsea Barracks development in Belgravia, the restaurant will be open from 21-25 May to tie in with the hugely popular Chelsea Flower Show 2019. The restaurant will be conveniently located a short walk from the show and will feature a fine-dining experience, a walk-in brasserie, a deli, and a bar with grazing menu. Sounds pretty serene to us.
19. Taco Wars at Dinerama
Where? 21 May; 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ
Why? Taco Wars is back, baby. Which means eight of London's most influential restaurants and taquerias will be competing for a £2,500 prize and the Corona Cup at Dinerama on Tuesday 21 May. Each trader will be creating a taco they think is worthy of being crowned Britain's best with the winner being judged by none other than… you. Tickets cost £40 and give you a mate access to eight tacos – one from each trader competing – plus an ice cream taco, a bottle of Corona and a Patron Chilliback. This year's crop of taco slingers will include defending champions Breddos as well as 2013 victors Luardos. These wily veterans will take on some powerful newcomers in the form of Club Mexicana, Santo Remedio, White Men Can't Jerk and more. Enlist in the great taco war today.
20. Iftar with Dishoom
Where? 22 May, 20:00-22:30; West Handyside Canopy, N1C 4BZ
Why? To celebrate Ramadan, Dishoom are bringing guests of all faiths together to share a traditional Iftar (the meal with which Muslims break their daily fast at sunset during Ramadan). Dishoom's Iftar will be a tasty and welcoming affair, offering a rare opportunity to experience the call to prayer and break fast with others in an open space beside Granary Square. Prayers will be followed by a communal feast of festive Dishoom dishes, including nalli nihari biryani, pau bhaji and dahi vada. Tickets are priced at £12 with all proceeds supporting Dishoom's long-term partner, Akshaya Patra, a charity working towards ending hunger as a barrier to education in India. Which all sounds amazing to us. Tickets are available now.
21. Le Cordon Bleu Guest Chef Demonstration with Matthew Zubrod
Where? 22 May; Le Cordon Bleu, 15 Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2LS
Why? Coming all the way from Aspen, Colorado, chef Matthew Zubrod will be visiting London's Le Cordon Bleu culinary school for a special guest chef demonstration. Zubrod's style of New American cooking encompasses a variety of flavours informed by Alpine and coastal influences from his time working in the Rocky Mountains and by the Pacific Ocean. At The Little Nell restaurant, Zubrod championed the ethics of farm-to-table cuisine, incorporating regional and seasonal products and a commitment to an unpretentious (but delicious) dining experience. He'll be bringing that same vibe to London's finest culinary institute. This free event is available on a first come, first served basis, so register soon to avoid disappointment.
22. The Chase with Wolf Blass
Where? 30 May-1 June; Bernie Spain Gardens, South Bank, SE1 9PP
If you’re asking us, it’s not a proper summer without a little bit of World Cup fever. And from Thursday 30 May, it’s on: England take on South Africa in the curtain raiser of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup – but more importantly, you’ve got a new place to enjoy the opening weekend of the action with a glass or two of wine. Complete with a sensory wine pairing experience, snacks from the Cheese Truck and the game shown live on the (hopefully) sunny South Bank, Aussie winemaker Wolf Blass has pulled out all the stops to help get the tournament off to a stormer. The pop-up launches on 30 May with a special Q&A with former Australia men’s skipper Michael Clarke and England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards, who’ll be discussing their storied careers, as well as giving some predictions for the tournament ahead. Howzat for a night out?
Tickets to opening night Q&A and tasting £15, sensory wine experience £6.50; eventbrite.co.uk
23. Take a food and photography workshop at Narroway Studio
31 May-1 June, Narroway Studio, 422a Mare St, E8 1HP
Issy Croker and Emily Ezekiel are firmly bedded into the London food and drink community, having styled and photographed food for loads of chefs and publications. These days, they're helping keen amateurs turn their passion into more than just a hobby, with regular workshops at their studio space in Hackney. At the next one – Summer Food Photography and Styling – takes place across Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June, 10am-5pm, and will provide you with a massively hands-on lesson in cooking, styling, lighting and more. As you'd expect, lunch will be provided, as well as snacks and drinks.
Buy tickets at billetto.co.uk
24. Staropramen Supper Club at Bryn Williams Restaurant
Where? 5 June; Somerset House, WC2R 1LT
Why? To celebrate its 150 year anniversary, iconic Czech beer Staropramen is hosting an exclusive supper club at Somerset house in partnership with Michelin star chef Oldrich Sahajdák of Prague's La Degustation. Sahajdák has crafted a menu true to traditional Czech cuisine with dishes dating back to the 19th century, offering a taste of the past with an added splash of sophisticated modern twists. Expect ingredients and dishes including sweet dumplings with poppy seeds, pickled mushrooms, a red berry and Kohlrabi combination, as well as a candied rhubarb topped pork. And beer, too. Lots of beer.
25. Half-price food at Ooty Station
Where? 7-16 June; Ooty Station, 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
The latest venture from the talented team behind south Indian restaurant Ooty, Ooty Station is opening on 7 June to offer a range of Indian-inspired bar snacks, lunch items (think: malli chicken wings, mutton methi samosas and light-as-air dosas) alongside a cracking selection of cocktails and beers. With an off-street outdoor terrace and counter bar dining inside, it's set to be an ideal place to laze away a couple of languid hours on a hot summer's day. To celebrate the opening you can nab yourself 50% off food from 7-16 June. And, as if that wasn't tempting enough, Ooty Station is also going to be showing the Cricket World Cup on its wide-screen TV. Howzat?
26. Celebrate Eid with Dishoom and Dinerama
Where? 11 June, 18:00-22:30; 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ
Why? Dishoom and Dinerama's Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan promises to be a cracking event for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Bringing traditional Sufi qawwali music and a fully halal food line-up to Dinerama, the evening intends to bring people of all backgrounds together for an evening of food, live music, spoken word poetry and prayer. Because the one thing we’ve all got in common is a love for some excellent eating. Guests can enjoy a diverse line-up of artists and performers alongside street food from Dinerama's resident traders and Dishoom's own pop-up food stalls. Tickets are £8 including entry and entertainment. Get yours now before they're all gone.
27. Rice Guys and Ping Coombes collab
Where? 12-14 June; Various locations
This summer, street food Rice Guys are teaming up with Masterchef alum, Ping Coombes to launch a special one-off dish. Launching 12 June, the chilli bean, hibiscus and pineapple pork dish will celebrate Rice Guys and Ping's Chinese heritage. The dish will be available for lunch (for a limited time) at the Rice Guys street food truck at various locations as follows:
12 June – Broadgate Circle & West India Quay
13 June – City Point & Paddington Merchant Square
14 June – King's Cross Granary Square & St. Katharine's Dock
The dish will be served up alongside Rice Guys' classic Hainanese chicken rice.
28. The Norfolk Boys Menu at Dukes London
9 July; 35 St James's Place, SW1A 1NY
Mayfair hotel, Dukes London, is delighted to announce a one-off gastronomic evening on Tuesday 9 th July at the hotel's signature restaurant, GBR . Inspired by their joint Norfolk heritage and fond memories of summers spent on the north Norfolk coast, longstanding executive head chef, Nigel Mendham, will join forces with Michelin-star chef, Tom Aikens to create a one-off, six-course Norfolk Boys tasting menu. Using local produce from their trusted Norfolk suppliers including Nurtured in Norfolk, they will draw on memories of sandy beaches, clam-picking and crabbing. Priced at £125 per person, a donation from each ticket sold will go to one of Dukes London's favourite charities - Hospitality Action - which offers vital assistance to those who have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.