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!
Whether you're celebrating Diwali at Dishoom or simply celebrating the weekend with a bottomless brunch, there's plenty of excellent eating and drinking opportunities going on this weekend.
23 things to do in London this weekend
1. Chocolate afternoon tea with Tony's Chocolonely
14-20 October; 350 King's Road, SW3 5UU
This is one for all the chocoholics out there: Bluebird Chelsea has teamed up with Tony's Chocolonely to create London's first all-chocolate afternoon tea. The afternoon tea will be available from 14-20 October and feature a chocolate-infused three-tier tea stacked full of Tony's creations. Executive pastry chef, Curtis Poole, has created some inventive confectionery themed delights, including: a golden half sphere made from Tony's dark chocolate; a smooth and creamy choux bun filled with Tony's milk hazelnut; a decadent tart created with Tony's milk caramel sea salt chocolate ganache; and a rich chocolate bar with Tony's milk honey almond nougat. The treats will also be served up alongside some scones (enhanced with Tony's newly launched white raspberry popping candy) with clotted cream and strawberry preserve and an array of quintessentially British sandwiches. Aligned with Tony's Chocolonely's core mission to make all chocolate 100% slave free and timed to coincide with UK Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October, Bluebird will be donating £1 for each afternoon tea to The Chocolonely Foundation.
2. The opening of Wilder
From 16 October; 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD
New restaurants? We love 'em, and we love the sound of this new Shoreditch spot from chef Richard McLellan. Launching on Wednesday 16 October, Wilder is inspired by McLellan's supper club of the same name. With the aim to have 100% of its produce sourced from the British Isles, all of the food at Wilder will be as sustainable and local as possible. That means vegetables harvested from a local Clapton allotment, Seafood sourced from Cornish company Fish for Thought, and Longhorn beef from the English Farm in Henley. The menu at Wilder will constantly evolve in line with the shifting seasons. Sample dishes for October will include bread cracker with carrot emulsion and carrot oil; venison, beets, elderberries and rye; plaice, cockles, black cabbage and gutweed; and meadowsweet with white chocolate and fig leaf oil. The wine list is curated by consultant Lucy Ward, previously of Dinner by Heston and Noble Rot, and the front of house-team will be headed up by general manager Rachael Martin, previously of Som Saa in Spitalfields.
3. Beer tasting at SFG Club with Melissa Cole
16 October; 7 & 8 Stratford Multi-storey Car Park, E15 1BB
Head on down to the Hops on Top tent at SFG Club for a free beer tasting sessions with Melissa Cole on 16 October. The respected beer sommelier, writer, taster and educator will be on hand to help beer-lovers sip their way around the continents.
4. Elizabeth Haigh at Blenheim Forge
17 October; Arch 229 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
On Thursday 17 October, Peckham-based knifemakers Blenheim Forge are hosting a one-off ticketed dinner with chef Elizabeth Haigh to celebrate the launch of a limited edition Chinese cleaver knife that's been specially designed in collaboration with Elizabeth. Sharp knives and sharp cooking? Those are, like, two of our favourite things. Hosted at Blenheim Forge's live workshop, the evening will see Elizabeth prepare a huge barbecued feasts. Expect sharing platters stacked with roasted char siu pork, achar pickles, Singapore chilli crab, and roasted pineapple over fire with kaya caramel. The blacksmith machines in the forge will also be fired up for the evening, with founders James and Jon demonstrating the processes used to forge the Chinese cleaver, as well as a selection of their other classic knives. Guests attending the dinner will even have the chance to get their hands on one of the exclusive cleavers before they go on sale to the public on 18 October.
5. Rioja Festival
17 October; secret Southbank location
Secrets are great as long as they're not about you. So, here's a really great secret we'd love to tell you about: a Rioja Festival is coming to London at a secret location on the Southbank this Thursday. From 7–9pm you can join fellow wine and food lovers for a night of a hundred Riojas, innovative food pairings, live jamón carving, expert-led speed tastings, and fun fiesta vibes. This Rioja Festival is set to showcase the full line-up of wine that comes from the region. All, of course, matched with some tasty food. The festival has collaborated with executive chef Nacho del Campo to create some top tapas dishes designed to be paired with Rioja. Del Campo will also be there to serve up jamón serrano on the night, and if all you want to do on the night is find "the one", you can always join in on a speed tasting "get to know Rioja" sessions, hosted by a wine expert who'll introduce you to some suitable suitors.
6. The Pigeon's first birthday
18 October; 41 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
Independent Bermondsey-based craft brewery Anspach & Hobday is celebrating one year since the opening of The Pigeon, the brewery's craft beer-focused bar in Camberwell, with a beer, pizza and wine party. The event will be taking place on 18 October from 5pm with patrons able to sample a wide-range of A&H's cracking beers along with locally sourced (free) pizza and high-quality wine. Entry is also completely free. Didn't have any Saturday night plans? Well, you do now.
7. Zoe Adjonyoh at Mortimer House
18 October-9 November; 37-41 Mortimer Street, W1T 3JH
Chef Zoe Adjonyoh is going to be taking over Maslow's Mortimer House this month for a stint in the restaurant's kitchen. Following the success of previous chef residencies from Elizabeth Haigh, Oli Brown and Luke Selby, Ajonyoh will bring a generous bite of her Zoe's Ghana Kitchen experience to Fitzrovia. Dishes on the menu include goat and groundnut stew; spinach and agusi; jollof rice; lime and chilli-salted cassava crisps; kelewele; Ghana ghal with banku crisps; and a couple more crowdpleasers. Zoe will be at Mortimer House until 9 November and reservations are open now. Don't miss your chance to sample her excellent cooking.
8. Orrery x Francesco Mazzei truffle dinner
18 October; 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
On Thursday 18 October, French restaurant Orrery will be collaborating with award-winning chef Francesco Mazzei to create a menu that celebrates all that's wonderful about the truffle for one night only. The collaborative truffle menu will celebrate truffle in all its complexities and bring a mix of French and Italian culinary classics together. Mazzei and Orrery's chef patron Igor Tymchyshyn will be combining their French and Italian influences for a six-course dinner with dishes including aged beef battuta with marsala zabaglione, roasted cauliflower with celeriac purée, caramelised onions and vegetable crumble topped with shavings of white truffle, and smoked burrata tortelli with burnt butter and grana padano.
9. Mikkeller Bar London’s 1st birthday
19 October; 2-4 Hackney Road, E2 7NS
Head on down to Mikkeller Bar in Hackney to celebrate the venue's first birthday this weekend. Why? Beer, that's why. Alongside the consistently fantastic line-up of your favourite Mikkeller beers, they'll be plenty of great guests around like Warpigs Brewpub Copenhagen, The Alchemist, The Veil Brewing Co., The Kernel Brewery, Donzoko Brewing Company, and more for you to sample. Cheers to that.
10. 5 years of The Understudy
19 October; National Theatre, SE1 9PX
The National Theatre's craft beer bar The Understudy is celebrating its 5th birthday with a beer bash featuring some fresh and juicy international pours from the likes of The Kernel, Omnipollo, Augustiner, and De Ranke. All beers will be priced at £5 and Burgerworks will be on hand to provide you with some much-needed stomach lining in the form of dirty burgers, bacon mac 'n' cheese fritters and fried pickles. With the Zilla Night DJs on the decks you'll struggle to find a better evening going.
11. Santiago Lastra: Mexican Soul supper club
19 October-11 November; 1 Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE
Folks: it's time to get excited. Ahead of the hotly anticipated opening 2020 of his debut restaurant Kol. Santiago Lastra is bringing a series of dinners to London Bridge this autumn. The supper club series will see Santiago showcase his acclaimed Mexican cuisine at Mimo London on eight individual evenings throughout October and November. Taking place on Mimo London's first floor open kitchen and dining space overlooking Borough Market, there will be two sittings per evening for 20 guests at a time. Santiago's intricate menu – demonstrating an authentic Mexican cooking style and using the finest British ingredients – will be served as diners learn of the extraordinary influences, techniques and flavours that have placed his food firmly on the international culinary map. On arrival, guests will also be welcomed with a cocktail created by Oaxacan mezcal producers, Dangerous Don. For an additional £30, guests can try a selection of wines sourced from biodynamic and natural winemakers from Central and Eastern Europe.
12. LINO's Salvage Weekend Brunch
From 19 October; 90 Bartholomew Close, EC1A 7EB
Lino is introducing a new 'Salvage Weekend Brunch' that'll be launching every Saturday from 19 October with free-flowing drinks, music and a carefully curated menu. Located in the City, the restaurant and cocktail bar bakes, ferments, pickles and cures as much as possible in-house, with a focus on wasting as little, and re-using as much as possible. Head chef Richard Falk has created the spread of Lino's brunch stacked with classics like smoked salmon, soft boiled egg, radishes and toasted house baked sourdough; buttermilk waffles with candied peanuts, maple syrup and fried chicken; salt cod brandade, radishes and home-made crisps made from leftover potato skins. Free flowing drinks come in the form of brunch cocktails including a punch made from bin end wines, homemade vermouth and cordials from spent ingredients. Other options are available in the form of prosecco and London Brewing Co's Upright IPA. The salmon is cured in-house, sausages are made in the kitchen from scratch, and even salt cod brandade is made from the offcuts of fish dishes leftover from daily operations. It's brunch with a difference.
13. Sunday roast at Four Legs
From 20 October; 4 Compton Avenue, N1 2XD
You've had the burger, now it's time you had the bird. And the beef. And the John Dory, for that matter. Four Legs – the chef duo of Jamie Allan and Ed McIlroy famous for London's hottest burger – are launching a brand-new Sunday roast menu at Islington's The Compton Arms starting from 20 October. Working closely with suppliers, the Four Legs cut of roast beef will vary depending on availability each week. But just imagine a sirloin served with crisp roast potatoes, beef gravy and an obligatory fluffy Yorkshire pudding. Pair that with other menu staples like a whole roast chicken doused in fresh herbs and chicken sauce that comes with fries and a potent aioli and a regularly changing fish dish, again dependant on availability. Whole John Dory with brown butter and capers? Yeah, that'll do nicely. Finish off with the bread pudding with butterscotch sauce and a Sunday siesta will be well and truly on the cards.
14. Smoke Sundays at Honey and Smoke with Ben Chapman
20 October; 216 Great Portland Street, W1W 5QW
This October, Honey & Smoke will be celebrating its third birthday with Smoke Sundays – a series of three special feast events in collaboration with three of Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich's favourite fire-loving chefs. Gill Meller, Ben Chapman and Olia Hercules, will be sharing their stories about making a life in food for a live recording of Packer and Srulovich's podcast before taking to the grills to cook a one-off sharing feast. 20 October will see Ben Chapman, co-founder of award-winning restaurants Kiln, Smoking Goat and Brat, join the series with a menu of dishes inspired by his recent travels.
15. Diwali masterclass with Atul Kochhar at Kanishka
20 October; 17-19 Maddox Street, W1S 2QH
Diwali celebrations are kicking off on October 20 at Atul Kochhar's Kanishka with a special masterclass held at the restaurant. The masterclass runs from 9.30am and will involve guests getting down with breakfast nibbles and traditional Indian chai before getting taught by Atul himself about Diwali traditions, and how to create savoury Diwali treats and mithai. The Masterclass is a personal one-off experience, and following the class, a leisurely lunch will be served for all participants. The price for the class and lunch is £185 and also includes a cookbook and apron.
16. Celebrate Diwali with Dishoom at Dinerama
22 October; 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ
If there's one thing we love more than alliteration here at Foodism, it's a food festival. Which is why you can guess that we're fairly pleased that Dishoom is once again celebrating Diwali at Dinerama with another cracker of an event this year. Taking place on 22 October, this festival of light boasts a never-seen-before line-up of South Asian musical talent as well as first-class vegetarian street food. People of all backgrounds, faiths and persuasions are invited to share in the spirit of Diwali and bask in the lights and splendour of the venue. All, of course, while filling yourself with food from Dinerama's resident traders and Dishoom's very own pop-up stalls. Guests can get intimate with Dishoom's jackfruit biryani and a brand-new shakarkandi chaat street food creation from Chef Naved. Tickets are priced at £8 and £1 from each ticket will be donated to Seeds of Peace, a charity working with young people in areas of conflict to breakdown barriers and inspire peace. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
17. Oktoberfest at The Drop wine bar
22 October; Unit 22-24, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DH
The Drop wine bar is hosting its next Drop-In event on 22 October, and it's going to be large. From 6pm, The Drop will host a casual and un-ticketed Oktoberfest-themed night, with a focus on German wine, beer and bratwurst. Head chef Karan Ghosh will be grilling bratwurst sausages (pork and vegetarian) on a Green Egg alongside sauerkraut, potatoes and a selection of pickles, mustard and sauces. And, before you ask, yes, there will be currywurst. For dessert you can get stuck into traditional German Kaiserschmarrn with warm chocolate sauce. On the wine side of things you can expect a selected list of German wine including two bottles from Andreas Bender (a well-rounded yet sharp weissburgunder with hints of stone fruit, and an unusually gamey pinot noir) as well a deliciously dry, crisp riesling from Koehler Ruprecht and Melsheimer's sparkling riesling. A special Bavarian lager will also be on the menu for the night. Wunderbar.
18. Santo Remedio x José Manuel Baños
22-24 October; 152 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU
The whole point of a chef collab is to allow people the chance to try out a menu they've never sampled before; a melding of culinary cultures that often brings out the best of both parties involved. This collab sounds just like that sort of thing. Santo Remedio's Edson Diaz Fuentes has brought in José Manuel Baños, recognised as one of Mexico's most inventive chefs, from his native Oaxaca for this exceptional five-course tasting menu. Running from 22-24 October, each sitting will offer diners a unique and rare occasion to sample modern Oaxacan cuisine as well as a range of traditional dishes from the region, paired with award-winning mezcals from Corte Vetusto, Mexican wines and Ocho Reales artisanal Mexican beer. Expect dishes such as quail with a chocolate sauce, arroz milpa with duck chicharron and squash blossoms and a tamale served with one of Oaxaca's most refined and complex sauces: chichilo molé. Those who aren't happy with meat will also be well-catered for with a full vegan tasting menu of plates like Jicama tiradito and roasted cauliflower with green molé.
19. Diwali at Ooty
24 October; 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
Waltz down Baker Street to Ooty on 24 October for a Diwali dinner to remember. Offering 30% off food and performances from acclaimed Indian dance troupe The Bollywood Co for the occasion, this dinner also coincides with the launch of Ooty's new à la carte menu. What luck! Choose from new starters including a punchy yellow chilli and mustard salmon with burani yoghurt, saffron cream and cucumber roll or a tamarind-glazed peppered quail with a side of quinoa squash cake and a quail scotch egg. New mains include a fragrant Hyderabadi dum gosht biryani, rifling with tender lamb and apricot, and an upmarket take on the street food favourite of ragda chana. And that's not even mentioning the cracking vegetarian options and the decadent in-house desserts. Ooty's Diwali dinner will take place from 6-11pm. Be there.
20. Black pudding burger at Burger Boy
24 October; 51-53 Rupert Street, W1D 7PQ
Black Pudding Day is 24 October. Why do you need to know that? Well, Street Food Union's resident burger dons at Burger Boy are releasing a limited-edition menu for the occasion that'll feature a classic 30-day-dry beef patty fused with Clonakilty Black pudding, topped with red onion and lettuce, wedged in a delicious soft brioche bun. Yep. It's the closest thing we're getting the Bleecker Black in 2019. Pair that burger with crunchy deep-fried black pudding crisps with a tangy chipotle mayo or get a black pudding crumb sprinkled over your fries to do the day in style. It's available for one day only. Be quick.
21. Try the Pachanga brunch at Arepa & Co.
254 Paradise Row, E2 9LE
Ever had a Venezuelan brunch before? No? Well, now's your chance. Venezuelan restaurant Arepa & Co is launching a new 'Pachanga brunch': a bottomless offering that will be held every Saturday and Sunday at the Bethnal Green restaurant. Arepa & Co's inventive Venezuelan dishes can be paired with rum-spiked sugar cane lemonade and glasses of fizz, all accompanied by a live DJ. Snacks and small plates like yuca chips and canoa de maiz are followed by desayuno criollo – the Venezuelan version of a full English that comes complete with scrambled eggs, sofrito, shredded beef, creamy black beans, ripe plantains, cheese, and a choice of arepa or cachapa to mop up the dregs. Arepa & Co is even doing its own spin on avocado toast (a fluffy arepa topped with avocado, chilli, spicy salsa verde and a handful of peppery rocket) and pancakes.
22. London Restaurant Festival
Until 31 October; various locations
OpenTable has partnered up with London Restaurant Festival for a series of exclusive festival menus across the capital. From October 1-31, these special menus will showcase a number of bespoke menus that highlight what makes London's dining scene so diverse. Themes include 'London Legends', 'Amazing Spaces', 'Talk of the Town', 'Avant Garde', 'Flights and Pairings', and 'London with a View'. But all you really need to know is that the likes of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Roganic, Indian Accent, Palatino, Gaucho, and more are all taking part. Find out the full list of restaurants and menus at the below.
23. Visit Crudo
35 Riding House Street, W1W 7EA
If you're into casual dining concepts that make grabbing a quick lunch a lot easier, you should check out Crudo this weekend. Crudo is a cevicheria that specialises in ceviche (duh) where you can design your own ceviche bowls from scratch as well as choose from a menu of the outlet's own curated options. Whether eating in or taking away, it's nice to know that you can get something better than a limp sandwich when you're scuttling about the area. It's fast, affordable, and in Fitzrovia: check it out.