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!
Not only are there a load of new vegan menus out there from Pho, Yard Sale Pizza, Patty&Bun and more to help you get through Veganuary, but there's plenty of soft launches of new restaurants like Pastaio Westfield to help you get through the back to work blues, too.
11 things to do in London this weekend
1. Yard Sale vegan menu launch
From 7 January; Various locations
Vegan eating isn't just for January, y'know. Which is why Yard Sale Pizza is launching a permanent vegan menu at its many outlets across the city. Yard Sale Pizza has always dabbled with a range of vegan specials, but this year they're really going hell for pleather and launching a new trio of vegan pizzas that will sit permanently on the regular menu.The pick of the liter is the joint's tribute to the 'American Hot', featuring homemade seitan pepperoni, though the 'Truffle Shroom', and 'The Texas VBQ' also sound like stellar options. Failing that, a vegan cheese Marmite garlic bread should sort you out.
2. Last Supper in Pompeii at Dinner by Heston
From 7 January; 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Inspired by an ongoing exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum, Dinner by Heston is going to be playing host to a unique culinary interpretation of the Last Supper in Pompeii. Using the carbonised and organic remains of food unearthed by archaeologists, this 'Last Supper in Pompeii' menu is inspired by the food culture of the ancient town. Launching on 7 January 2020, the special menu will give guests a taste of history with dishes like carbonised bread of Pompeii, pickled mussels and octopus, duck and turnips, and libum: a dessert based on baked fresh cheese curds. The Last Supper in Pompeii menu will available for lunch or dinner from 7 January until 31 March, with a set menu priced at £88 and individual dishes available to order from the a la carte.
3. Free pasta soft launch at Pastaio
8-9 January; Ariel Way, W12 7GF
Fresh pasta joint, Pastaio, is set to officially open up shop at Westfield on 10 January, and is running a soft opening offer of a free plate of pasta for each guest that dines there on 8 and 9 January. No, really. All you need to do is click on the "claim free pasta" button when you're settling your bill and Pastaio staff will take care of the rest. There's no catch involved – you can eat a plate of fresh pasta and then leave or you can order plenty more food and drinks from the brand new menu. See you there, mate.
4. Ampéli soft launch
10-14 January; 18 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LZ
Taking inspiration from the modern wine-focused restaurants of Athens, Ampéli is a new Fitzrovia restaurant that'll feature a wealth of Greek and Eastern Mediterranean dishes cooked by ex-Nopi chef Oren Goldfeld. Accompanied by a list of indigenous wines from across the Greek mainland and its islands, the restaurant will have a strong focus on the innovative producers creating a stir in the country's wine scene. Ampéli will be on soft launch from the 10-14 January, offering 50% off food.
5. Order a DabbaDrop takeaway
Feel like having a Netflix and takeaway this Friday but don't want to get that post-prandial guilt about all the plastic involved? DabbaDrop is a sustainable plastic and emissions free takeaway service that delivers an ever-changing menu of plant-based, family-style curries directly to your door. All of DabbaDrop's meals are delivered in reusable stainless-steel tiffin boxes with added extras packaged in compostable paper bags and pots meaning all deliveries are single-use plastic free. Check 'em out for a takeaway with a difference.
6. Vegan feasting at Dishoom
Prevent yourself from having an aquafaba-induced breakdown this Veganuary by chowing down on some of the tasty dishes on Dishoom's vegan menu. Trot to any Dishoom for breakfast and you can have yourself a breakfast of champions in the form of a vegan naan roll, a vegan akuri tofu scramble, or a rich bowl of keema no eedu (spiced soy keema topped with salli crisp-chips). All washed down, of course, with an oat milk chai. Outside of breakfast hours you'd remiss not to try the vegan vada pau, the chole puri or the chole chawal. To be honest, it's not difficult to stick to a plant-based diet on Dishoom, and that might just keep our sanity in check this month.
7. Ladies & Gentleman Willow takeover
10-31 January; 2 Highgate Road, NW5 1NR
From 10-31 January, alcohol-free spirit Willow is taking over the Ladies & Gentleman dive bar and providing a range of low and no alcohol drinks with a maximum of 0.5% ABV. The bar will be serving Willow (an alternative low alcohol spirit which combines CBD and the taste profile of pineapple, star anise, blue agave and… cherry tomatoes) alongside a selection of low ABV beers, cocktails and low alcohol wines. Fancy a Willow Spritz? You know where to go.
8. Gunpowder Grab & Go giveaway
13 January; 4 Duchess Walk, SE1 2SD
Gunpowder Tower Bridge is launching its new Grab & Go takeaway lunch menu on 13 January and, to celebrate, the restaurant will be giving away 50 free portions of those takeaway meals on that very day. Dishes available include Karwari spiced soft shell crab butties; venison keema masala with butter brioche rolls; Punjabi saag paneer, and pulao rice. It's first come first serve, so be quick to avoid missing out.
9. Pho's new vegan menu
Pho-get about eating meat this month and head to any of Pho's 29 branches across the UK to experience the restaurant chain's brand-new vegan menu. Having added 12 new vegan dishes for Veganuary, the restaurant will be using the British-based business THIS™ Isn't Chicken in a range of starters, salads, noodle soups, rice bowls, curries and wok-fried rice. The menu will also feature "prawn-less" vegan prawn crackers and a vegan version of a traditional Vietnamese nuoc cham.
10. Patty&Bun vegan burgers
Patty&Bun is fully embracing the plant based wave this January with the launch of three new vegan versions of its famed classic burgers. Say hello to the vegan'Hot Chick', 'Ari Gold' and 'Smokey Robinson'. The vegan 'Hot Chick' will be made using a THIS Isn't Fried Chicken Patty topped with all the classic accompaniments including coleslaw, pickled cucumbers, lettuce, and smoked garlic aioli.. The vegan 'Ari Gold' will feature a plant-based patty, with vegan cheddar, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onions, ketchup and a smoky vegan P&B mayo.The vegan 'Smokey Robinson' will include a plant-based patty, vegan cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, THIS Isn't Bacon, Ketchup, and a delicious vegan smoky P&B Mayo. These burgers will join Patty's ever-expanding plant-based menu that includes THIS Isn't Chicken nuggets and a new chocolate and vanilla plant-based milkshake.
11. Palms Green soft opening
13-14 January; Unit S2, King's Cross Square, N1C 4DE
Having started out at Broadway Vegan Market, Palm Greens has launched its first standalone site in King's Cross and is commemorating the grand occasion with a soft opening offer of 50% off all of its items. That means half-price overnight oats and chunky cocoa granola bowls, half-price Mexican tostadas, half-price kale Caesar salads, half-price miso soup, and a hell of a lot of other delicious dishes for – you guessed it – half of their original price.