Weekends are for fun. Weekends are for friends. Weekends are for fitting in as many activities as you can possibly cram in over such a brief – but enjoyable – period of time. Our favourite way to spend our days off is, of course, by eating great food and drinking great drinks. Living in a city like London, you'll never be lacking for a range of ace and tasty events running over the weekend. But choosing which ones are worth your precious presence (and, moreover, worth the Google Calendar invite) is a bit more difficult.
After all, there's nothing worse than spending your Saturday and Sunday at an event with limp burgers and weak cocktails. To help you make the most of your time off work and away from your glass office, we've created this handy little weekend round-up of the best food and drink events going on across the city. Anything you think we missed out? Well, feel free to be in touch with the events that you think we should be covering next week!
From the opening of cult Japanese coffee shop % Arabica to the Oded Oren's first brick and mortar premises, there's plenty of exciting eating and drinking opportunities going on this weekend.
14 things to do in London this weekend
1. Piemonte Menu at Bocca di Lupo
Until January; 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
Just in time for truffle season, Bocca di Lupo is introducing a shiny new Piemonte menu stacked with a variety of white truffle-focussed dishes. Until December before black truffles take over the reins in January and February. Plates of truffle goodness include: battuto of fassona rose veal tarte with nutmeg and oil; tajarin pasta with duck egg and parmesan; agnolotti dal plin with veal, bone marrow, and sage sauce; a whole roast partridge; and a sweet tartufo of ricotta gelato and white chocolate. The restaurant's even offering you the chance to bring in your own truffles for them to use at no extra cost. Weird? A little. Delicious? A lot.
2. Doña bar opening
From 31 October; 92 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7NY
Launching on on Thursday 31 October, Doña is a new pop-up mezcal bar from mezcal enthusiast Thea Cumming and Lucie Massey. Combining mezcal, music and a female-led cutting-edge programme of entertainment, the bar's opening weekend promises to be a wild Day Of the Dead celebration. The basement bar is inspired by the vibrant colours of Mexico and the sultriness of a 1920s Harlem jazz club, featuring plush velvet banquet-style seating, atmospheric low lighting and candles with hues of crimson, scarlet and pink throughout. From Wednesday to Saturday, Doña will open its doors and serve a selection of high quality Mezcal cocktails. To accompany the cocktails, live music will also take place every night, placing a spotlight on female performers. Fridays at Doña will have a female focus and each jazz night will feature an array of up-and-coming male and female performers.
3. Halloween and Day of the Dead Weekender at The Lock Tavern
31 October-2 November; 35 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
The Lock Tavern is set to be the place to get your fill of ghostly boos and great booze this weekend. The Camden fave is celebrating the double whammy of Halloween and Day of the Dead with three raucous nights of great tunes, vibes and many, many pints. Teaming up with their friends at Crystal Head vodka to bring sharing-size cocktail bowls and limited edition Crystal Head espresso martini shots (which might just be able to keep you awake from 31 October to 2 November), The Lock will also be serving pours from its extensive selection of beers, wines and spirits. Expect live music and DJ sets throughout the weekend from top artists like Dan Mill and Rowena. Entry is free, costumes are optional.
4. Day of the Dead Fiesta with Don Julio
Until 1 November; 10 Dover Street, W1S 4LQ
This November, to mark Día de los Muertos, Don Julio is presentomg the ultimate Day of the Dead Fiesta at contemporary Latin American restaurant MNKY HSE. Taking place on the evening of 2nd November, MNKY HSE will offer a bespoke, sharing menu featuring dishes such as Roasted Prawn Tacos and Chicken Fajitas to celebrate a haunting evening. Guests will receive a complimentary Don Julio cocktail, to kick off the party celebration in true Mexican style. On arrival guests will be welcomed with a complimentary DJ in HSE cocktail served in a Don Julio skull mug, a fresh-tasting drink made with Don Julio Blanco, green chartreuse, lemon juice, ferdinand grape syrup, Yuzu Juice, elderflower liqueur and fresh grapes. An exclusive sharing menu on the night will feature favourites like chicken fajitas and roasted prawn tacos. Nice.
5. Dia de los Muertos at Plaza Pastor
1 November; Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
On Friday 1 November, Plaza Pastor will host a Dia de los Muertos-themed fiesta featuring a special a DJ set from Severino (Horse Meat Disco). Taking place the evening before Mexico's official Day of the Dead, Plaza Pastor will honour this celebration of the departed with food, drink, a live Mariachi band, DJs, face painting, and a hell of a lot of fun. All you need to do is book a table for the night or simply turn up after 9.30pm for the drinks and dancing portion of it all. Attendees will also receive a special El Jimador welcome drink; either a ponche (basically a Mexican hot toddy with fruit) or a straight up tequila shot. The full Plaza Pastor menu will be available for those with dinner reservations, along with a special occasion sharing dish of Barbacoa: spiced lamb shoulder and leg, cooked overnight, served with its roasting juices, tortillas, chopped white onions, coriander and morita salsa. Severino will play a 2-hour set from 9.30pm and guest DJs will continue until 1am close. Costumery and tomfoolery are highly encouraged.
6. The Laundry launch
From 1 November; 374 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PL
The Laundry, a new neighbourhood bistro and wine shop, is opening up in Brixton on 1 November. Complete with Australian head chef, Dylan Cashman, The Laundry will occupy Walton Lodge and be open all day, The menu will focus on the classics and use the very best British produce from the likes of Natoora, Pesky Fish, and The Cornwall Project. Plates include Hereford beef tartar, fermented chili, prawn oil, mustard seeds, beer pickled onion and beef fat potato chips; croque madame on sourdough with gruyere béchamel and free range egg; chicken liver parfait, duck ham, pickled mushrooms and housemade milk bread; and vesuvius tomato, aioli, pickled shallots, cheddar, and rocket on a crisp crumpet. With 50 wines on the main list spanning from old and new world regions, you won't exactly struggle to find something to enjoy at The Laundry.
7. % Arabica opening
From 1 November; various locations
Who's for coffee? Japanese speciality coffee brand % Arabica is launching in the UK with two London outposts officially opening on 1 November. % Arabica will open its flagship store in East London's Broadway Market and Covent Garden will see a sister site situated on King Street. If you like your coffee as hot as your new openings, you're going to want to sample what % Arabica has got to offer.
8. Simplicity Burger launch
From 1 November; 202 Brick Lane, E1 6SA
All natural, no bullshit, plant-based burgers? Sounds good to us, especially when those meat-free patties are coming from a chef of Neil Rankin's exacting pedigree. Acclaimed for his time at Smokehouse, Temper and Pitt Cue, Rankin will be adopting the same standards and meticulous approach to the provenance and preparation of meaty ingredients to serve his plant-based burgers. Beyond a pressing need for greater sustainability, Simplicity Burger aims to prove that plant-based food can also be a no-brainer in terms of both quality and cost. Its burgers use fresh, carefully sourced ingredients, with everything made on-site. Prices range from £7 for the 'simplicity' burger to £12 for the 'Big Double'. Plus, they're zero waste. How great is that?
9. Día de Muertos with Patrón Tequila
1-3 November; 19 Greek Street, W1D 4DT
This Día de Muertos, Patrón Tequila is taking over 19 Greek Street for a three-day immersive experience featuring themed artworks, a tequila education experience and oodles of cocktails. A theatrical parade will careen through the streets of Soho on 1 November. Where guests will be presented with an eye-captivating façade covered in Día de Muertos Marigold flowers, before entering and delving into the festival journey with Patrón Tequila. Across the venue, visitors will be immersed in the iconography of the holiday, learn about tequila and expand their palate through tastings of Patrón Día de Muertos cocktails. Also joining the celebrations, are some of the best bars in central – including 100 Wardour Street, Chotto Matte, Soho Residence – where drinkers can enjoy a signature Patrón Día de Muertos cocktail.
10. 50% off Rosa's Thai in Clapham Junction
3-4 November; 54 Northcote Road, SW11 1PA
It's not as if you ever really need an excuse to eat your bodyweight in pad thai, but getting 50% off the foodstuff is a pretty good excuse if we've ever heard one. To celebrate the launch of its new restaurant opening on Clapham Junction's Northcote Road, that snazzy, shiny branch of Rosa's Thai Cafe is offering diners 50% off their food bill from 3-4 November. Drunken noodles and a massaman curry for half the price? You had us at drunken.
11. The Artesian bar take over
5 November; 1C Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B 1JA
The Artesian is having an all-female takeover on 5 November that intends to highlight the talent and insight of some of the leading women within the bar industry. Throughout October, the Take Over series has featured some of the world's best bars and their bartenders, including The Clumsies and Manhattan Bar. Now adding an extra date to the bill, Bar Manager, Anna Sebastian, has invited industry peers who are excelling in a space traditionally perceived as a male-dominated. From 7.30pm, the Artesian bar will shine a light on those at the top of their game, combining the resident Artesian team and female guest bartenders including Pippa Guy, Keila Urzais de Calignon, Sophie Bratt, and many more talented individuals.. On the cocktail list there will be a variety of classics and more out-there serves. Cocktails will be priced at £14 which will include a £1 donation to charity, Healthy Hospo – a charity that works to build a healthier, happier, more sustainable hospitality industry tackling mental health and wellness through online education and workshops.
12. Goldstep bar opening at Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes
32-36 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA
Kingsland Road's Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes is celebrating 18 years of existence by opening an all-new cocktail bar in its edgy-as-it-gets premises. Enter Goldstep. While the original venue remains very much alive and kicking, a tequila and mezcal bar will be taking over the basement from October. With a wealth of artisan tequilas and mescals in stock, patrons will be served by a mixologist who will talk them through the options, discuss their personal favourite drinks and develop variations to suit their personal tastes. The walls have been washed in a gold light and an installation of televisions blinkering with Mexican films and commercials from the 70s and 80s will satisfy those seeking an instagrammable drinking experience. The agave-based menu showcases 60 different rare and fine mezcals and tequilas that will change on a regular basis. Bottoms up.
13. Haché's new Beyond Meat menu
Good news for those mindful of their meat consumption: highstreet faithful Haché's new autumn menu has just launched, and its got a big focus on meat alternatives. Haché has added three new burgers made using Beyond Meat patties: a classic natural, a cheeseburger with Violife cheddar 'cheese', and a Beyond le Fumé theatrical burger served under a smoke-filled dome. And that's not all. Every quarter Haché partner up with a female chef to create a bespoke collaborative burger, they chose a charity and £1 from the sale of each burger is donated. This time round Haché is working with Laura Sheffield from Corazon who created a Mexican-style Ranchera burger which is available in all Haché with a donation going to this wonderful project in México city to help fight illiteracy in primary school children.
14. Oren opening
89 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB
After a string of successful pop-ups and residencies showcasing his unique style of cooking combining Israeli and Middle Eastern influences, Oded Oren has finally opened up his first restaurant – the inventively named Oren – in Dalston. The 35-cover restaurant and bar is on Shacklewell Lane and features dishes like ox Cheek and hummus, made with the finest tahini in Israel from Mount Gerizim, as well as Oren's Jerusalem mixed grill with tahini and turmeric pickled mango. Snacks and starters will include grilled lamb sweetbreads and za'atar; cured sardines with Cretan olive oil; brill tartar with raw courgette and laben kishk; and burnt aubergine with tahini. Larger dishes feature Oren's signature Monkfish chraime and hand-rolled couscous among other bangers. Don't forget to grab a glass of low-intervention wine. You are in East London, after all.