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: 20 not to miss
1. London Mezcal Week
Where? 15-21 July; TT Liquor
Mezcal is the magical Mexican spirit made with agave that currently has bartenders in a spin. Why? Possibly because drinking it (sometimes) leads to minimal hangover; definitely because it's absolutely delicious. But don't just take our word for it – make sure you reserve 15-21 July in your diary for London Mezcal Week, a six-day celebration of all things agave with supper clubs, seminars and more. The Cellar Bar at Kingsland Road's TT Liquor is being taken over by some of the world's best mezcal bars for the duration of the week, with a cocktail menu designed to showcase the spirit's range and versatility. The icing on the cake is the agave tasting festival at TT Liquor on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July, where you'll be able to sip your way around more than 40 brands of artisanally produced mezcal, tequila, raicilla and sotol (all spirits made with agave plants). There'll be guided tastings with mezcaleros who have made the journey over from Mexico... and rumour has it that there's an Afterparty Agave bar takeover on the Friday, too.
2. Bunga Bunga’s Summer Spectacular
Where? 5 June-31 August; 167 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PG
Bunga Bunga’s Summer Spectacular Forget about coughing up for a jolly abroad this summer and treat yourself to a trip on the Tube instead, because Bunga Bunga is bringing a taste of the Italian Riviera to Covent Garden (as long as your idea of the Italian Riviera consists of a aeroplane-themed party, that is). Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 June to the end of August will see Bunga Bunga delivering a fun-filled food and drink experience like no other. A flight on Bunga Airways includes a four-course Mediterranean meal (feat. metre-long pizzas), a variety of immersive in-flight entertainment, live DJs and late-night karaoke. This is your captain speaking: prepare for a night you won’t want to forget (but that you might anyway)
3. Just Eat's Taste Adventure Food Festival
Where? 26-27 July; 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL
Now in its fourth year, the Just Eat Food Festival is back with a bang. Head for live music, cocktails galore and all their most ordered takeaway dishes - think pizza, burgers and more bubble waffles than you can shake a stick at. There's immersive dining, too - follow the six different taste trails and build your very own taste adventure based on your likes and dislikes. Secret staircases and other mysterious routes lead you to your own delicious world of food wonder. Yeah, it's going to be quite something.
Plus, with celebrity guests spanning Dua Lipa, Nicole Scherzinger, Professor Green, Pixie Lott, Ella Eyre, and Marvin & Rochelle Humes, you won't be in bad company.
4. Whitley Neill's African Sahara at Mr Fogg's Society of Exploration
Where? All summer; 1A Bedford Street, WC2E 9HH
Channel your inner Dr. Livingstone this summer with Whitley Neill Gin at a theatrical cocktail bar that’s been done up in the style of the African Sahara. Seeing as Whitley Neill’s is made using a spate of African botanicals including superfruit baobab and cape gooseberry, Mr Fogg’s has created an immersive “Summer Safari” decked out in vines, plants and other paraphernalia.
5. Covent Garden Sunday Sessions at London in the Sky
Where? Every Sunday until 15 July; The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
Swap out over-cooked beef for a sky-high dining experience you won’t forget this summer with London in the Sky’s weekly Sunday Sessions. Taking place every Sunday (duh), you can expect international DJs, musicians and plenty of cocktails to keep you entertained for the flight – all while you’re suspended 100ft in the air, of course. With your feet dangling over the capital and a G&T in your hand, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a fault with the city we all call home.
6. North Greenwich National Geographic Traveller Food Festival
Where? 20-21 July; 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH.
The inaugural National Geographic Traveller Food Festival is coming to London’s Business Design Centre on 20-21 July to ply intrepid eaters with a real taste of the globe. Expect an exhibition floor aimed at introducing punters to the world’s most exciting cuisine and a range of cooking demos and interviews with top tier chefs and food personalities such as Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, and Adam Handling. It’s the perfect chance to expand your palate and set your tastebuds off on a well-earned voyage to international flavour town. Which is as good a reason as any, if you ask us.
7. WingJam London's Chicken Wing festival
Where? 5th - 7th July; 133 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST.
Bulleit Frontier Whiskey and London’s most exciting chicken wing festival, WingJam, have joined forces, dishing up American-style Whiskey and Wing glory, to Londoners. If whiskey and chicken wings are your thing, head down to Bussey Building in Peckham Friday 5th to Sunday 7th July for WingJam’s chicken wing festival and rooftop party. Your £13.50 ticket includes a cocktail from Bulleit Whiskey’s pop-up bar, plus you'll have access to chicken wings made by some of the country’s top street food vendors. Think sticky, crispy or spicy wings for just £1. Need we say more?
8. Jamavar Women's Club
Where? 29 July-12 August; 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF
Jamavar Women's Club is returning for its third year this summer. Held in the Mount Street restaurant's bar on Monday evenings, this series of events will gather together inspirational women to allow them to celebrate their diverse talents, share stories, ideas and advice. Speaking at the inaugural evening on the 29 July will be author and BAFTA Award winning presenter of Newsnight, Kirsty Wark. Up next, Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor, will take to the helm on 5 August. To conclude, 12 August will see Liz Johnson the British three-time World Champion and Paralympic swimmer take to the stage. Executive chef Surender Mohan has created a bespoke three-course menu for the series. You can select from a host of Jamavar dishes like bhatti ka paneer, kofta dil kush, murgh aloo, and a whole lot more deliciousness. Although blokes are welcome to attend they can only do so as a guest of female ticket holders. Tickets are £55 and inclusive of a welcome glass of champers, canapés and a three-course dinner.
9. Heddon Street Kitchen roof terrace
Where? July until September: 3-9 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BE.
There are so many rooftop terraces in London to choose from, it's sometimes hard to know where to start. But this summer, Gordon Ramsey's Heddon Street Kitchen are making it easy for rosé fans with their all new Belsazar-inspired drinks menu, including - drum roll please - the ice cold frosé (that's frozen rose, fyi). Plus, it's hidden just a small walk from Regent Street, so you can enjoy your grown-up slushy - served straight from a machine, of course - until September.
10. Berners Terrace’s with Bombay Samphire
Where? All summer, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG
Berners Terrace has been adorned with flowers and ivy to provide you with an escape from the city smog right smack bang into the English countryside. It’ll showcase Bombay Sapphire’s English Estate gin, which infuses the familiar citrus notes of Bombay Sapphire with Pennyroyal mint, rosehip and toasted hazelnut botanicals.
11. Orrery’s Provence Terrace
Where? All summer, 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
This summer, Orrery has teamed up with Moët & Chandon and L’Artisan Parfumeur to launch a sun-soaked summer rooftop terrace. The south-facing terrace will be lined with groves of lavender, rosemary and olive trees, and guests can enjoy the exclusive terrace menu al fresco alongside a trio of cocktails especially for the terrace, each paired with a specific L’Artisan Parfumeur scent to boot.
12. 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.
13. 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...
14. 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.
Where? 30 May-13 July; 30 The Queen's Walk, SE1 8XX
Drink enough cider here and – just like John Mayer predicted – your body will turn into a Rekorder-land. And that's a good thing, we suppose. Rekorderlig has brought London's first ever mixed reality bar to the Southbank. The multi-sensory experience intends to transport Londoners to Rekorder-land, a place where sun-seekers can come together and enjoy a wonderfully Swedish world of Midsummer. All visitors to Rekorderlig's mixed reality bar have to do is step through a portal and enter Rekorder-land – a hyper-real world where the flavours of the Swedish cider are brought to life. The multi-sensory experience, powered by Magic Leap, has been created in partnership with Director of Immersive Experiences Connie Harrison. Sip on all your Rekorderlig favourites, including the much-loved and super refreshing Botanicals range, and sample some exclusive Rekorderlig cocktails while you're at it, too.
16. St Ermin’s Summer Terrace
Where? St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, SW1H 0QW
This summer, St. Ermin's Hotel's al fresco terrace has been transformed to celebrate Provence rosé wine. Simply enter the hotel and the scent of lavender and the aroma of Provençal food will immediately transport you from the capital to that lovely little sun-drenched region of France. You can relax under elegant parasols and enjoy the beautiful urban idyll up above St. Ermin's pretty tree-lined courtyard, a stone's throw from St James's Park. A refreshing selection of Château la Gordonne rosés will be available by the glass, the bottle, the flight and even in the form of a frozé featuring Les Gravieres Rosé. Perfect for a summer’s evening.
17. Jaltarang at Kutir
Where? 4 July-31 August; 10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS
This summer, chef Rohit Ghai is putting a big emphasis on the sea part of Chelsea via the introduction of a brand-new Jaltarang (“from the sea”) menu to Kutir. The five-course menu is washing ashore in West London on 4 July and will consist of seasonal seafood and summer bangers like: soft shell crab with chickpeas, coconut, curry leaf and tomato; hand-dived Scottish scallops with aubergine fritters and mustard; prawns with mustard, mooli and salty fingers; and coriander Scottish lobster with black pepper, cumin and todi vinegar. Dessert options include your pick of either chocolate with banana, Valrhona chocolate crisps and chilli or mango cassata with cranberry, pistachio and pink peppercorns. There’s only one thing to do this summer and it’s go to Chelsea: because darling it's better, don’t where a sweater, take it from me.
18. Escape the city with Story by the Sea
Where? 2 August-14 September; Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, Carbis Bay, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2NP
How many people are going to St Ives? Well, you and your best mates, when you find out what's going on down there this summer. Yes, we know, this is the London pop-up guide, but if you want to take in a slice of the capital during a late-summer break to the South West, there's nowhere better to do it than Story by the Sea, a restaurant residency from the always excellent Restaurant Story. Tom Sellers and his team have closed the London restaurant temporarily to bring the whole team down for a restaurant experience with a difference. As well as fresher-than-fresh Cornish fish and seafood used in creative, contemporary dishes by the Story team in its Carbis Bay setting (like the signature Storeos, pictured above), there's also altruism at its heart: the whole project is a partnership with Parley and a group of contemporary artists to raise funds to clean up plastic waste from the UK's oceans through limited-edition upcycled tote bags.
£95pp for lunch, £125pp dinner. Get tickets at eventbrite.co.uk
19. ALL'ARCO X Polpo
Where? 30 July-1 August; 1 Beak Street, W1F 9SB
From 30 July-1 August, Venetian bàcaro, ALL'ARCO, is journeying to London for a residency at POLPO's Beak Street premises. Chef Matteo Pinto, who co-owns and runs the Venetian hole-in-the-wall dining spot, will be recreating the restaurant's celebrated menu of cichèti by taking over the entire bar area at POLPO. Named after the crumbling stone arch in the alley outside, ALL'ARCO embodies the distinct flavours of Venice, serving classics such as: sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines) and baccalà mantecato (creamed salt cod). Just like its Venetian mothership, the Soho pop-up will be pouring plenty of spritz, bottle-fermented Prosecco and young northern Italian wines.
20. Kricket Guest Chef Series
Where? 3 September-1 October; 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR
This September, Will Bowlby, chef and co-founder of Kricket, will welcome five chef friends to his restaurant in West London's Television Centre to cook up a series of feasts in aid of Apne Aap Women's Collective, an anti-trafficking organisation that serves women and their children in Mumbai. Priced at £40 per head, tickets will include a welcome cocktail and three-course sharing menu, with each chef merging their unique cooking style with Will's modern take on Indian food, using the highest quality British produce. John Chantarasak is kicking things off on 3 September and you can expect a host of talented chefs such as Pierre Koffmann, Tom Griffiths, Ben Marks, and Valentine Warner to follow suit. Book your tickets soon to avoid missing out on these feel-good, taste-good culinary occasions.
21. Mount Gay X Madison 'Time Well Spent' Rooftop Terrace
Where? Until September; One New Change, EC4M 9AF
You know Madison. Even if you haven't been there, you've seen it: people from the City and across the London boroughs inhabiting that hazy space between post-work drinks and all-out party, all with that backdrop, the dome of St Paul's adorning the skyline like a super moon. This summer, Barbadian rum distiller Mount Gay has set up shop on one sunny corner of the terrace, serving a menu of rum cocktails including the Caribbean Aperitivo, Roasted Piña Colada and Timeless Strawberry Mojito (using clarified strawberry syrup) created by bar manager Eduard Balan – all of which bring a characteristically Bajan feel to proceedings and are perfectly suited to sipping in the summer sun. Instagram photo optional but encouraged.