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 stacked Christmas sandwiches at Darby's and a decadent burger from Blacklock to a winter menu at Bellamy's that includes boatloads of caviar, there's plenty of excellent eating and drinking for you to get up to this weekend.
13 things to do in London this weekend
1. Bellamy's winter menu
18 Bruton Place, W1J 6LY
With Christmas approaching faster than a reindeer hyped up on sugar cookies, chef Stéphane Pacoud of Bellamy's has added a number of festive dishes to this iconic Mayfair brasserie's menu. Escargots en profiteroles; roast sweet potatoes and goat's cheese; skate meuniere; roast wild sea bass; and roast partridge all make an appearance. As, too, does a fairly festive sounding desert in the form of poached pears in mulled wine. In addition to the new menu, there'll also be a selection of caviar available for retail. Y'know, just in case you really felt like pushing the boat out this Christmas. Bellamy's will be open as usual for lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday and for dinner only on Saturdays during December, with the restaurant closing for Christmas from 24 December to 1 January.
2. Festive cocktails at Big Chill
257-259 Pentonville Road, N1 9NL
Neck a snazzy selection of bright and merry cocktails at Big Chill, Kings Cross this festive season. In addition to the venue's already stacked drinks menu, the bar is pouring a trio of tipples to really get the festive feeling flowing on its newly launched Rooftop Brew Stop terrace. The three new festive cocktails include: 'White Christmas' (Havana 3-year-old rum, Koko Kanu coconut rum, coconut milk. orgeat, mint, lime); 'The Grinch' (Havana 3-year-old rum, El Jimador tequila, Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka, triple sec, Blue Curaçao liqueur, Matcha green tea, Ting, apple juice); and a 'Gingerbread Sour' (Jameson whiskey, gingerbread syrup, egg white, lemon, Angostura bitters).
3. Bottles Chelsea opening
100 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AD
Bottles has ventured into West London with the opening of a new Italian wine bar and restaurant on Draycott Avenue. Bringing its signature Italian-inflected style to a light and refreshingly unChelsea-like space, Bottles Chelsea will focus on micro-producers, natural and fine wines alongside a relaxed spate of Italian small plates like arancino baccafico and paccheri with langoustine, Eryngii mushrooms and smoked butter. As well as wine the venue will also offer fresh juices and a menu of Italian aperitivo. The wine list itself will feature a range of styles, regions and indigenous grapes while also focusing on micro-producers in natural, biodynamic and organic wines. Saluti indeed.
4. Blacklock's Christmas burger
Blacklock's Christmas burger is a heaping, heaving, ho-ho-ho-ing festive food special that you're going to want to get your chops around this year. Philip Warren turkey thighs, rubbed with an in-house mix of Christmas spices, are grilled over a charcoal grill and tucked into a toasted demi-brioche bun with a Blacklock sausage and onion patty, middlewhite bacon, cranberry ketchup and greens. If that doesn't get your heart racing, then we're not sure the holiday season is for you, mate. This bad boy is available until January and costs as little as £12.
5. Whiskey & Trim with Bulleit Bourbon and Ruffians
Whether you've got a handful of end of year parties to go to, or, you want to pull out all the stops for your Christmas work do, the time has come to make sure you're looking more suave than Saint Nick this weekend. From 16 December to 23 December, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey and barber shop, Ruffians are bringing hair cuts and cocktails together for a festive 'Whiskey & Trim' collaboration. What does that entail exactly? Well, expect a traditional barbering experience with a complimentary Bulleit cocktail (either Bulleit Boilermaker or Bulleit Bold Fashioned).
6. Bun House's Christmas buns
This December, steamed bun specialists Bun House will be celebrating the run-up to Buddy the Elf’s favourite holiday with some new limited edition Christmas buns. Available up until Christmas, these cute little buns can be bought from either of Bun House's Chinatown or Boxpark Wembley sites. Each festive bun boasts a crunchy ginger nut crust and comes filled with a sweet toffee and date medley. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly what we imagine Buddy the Elf would taste like.
7. The Cheese Bar’s Christmas grilled cheese
Unit 93 94 Camden Stables, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
Camden-based restaurant The Cheese Bar will be celebrating the holiday season with a best of British cheese festive grilled cheese this December. Why? Because why not. Made with a Wensleydale cheese with glazed ham and cranberry sauce, it's a Christmas sanger that definitely falls onto the deliciously naughty list for us.
8. Darby's festive sandwich
3 Viaduct Gardens, SW11 7AY
Darby's will be celebrating Christmas with a festive sandwich called the 'Sandoclaus'. And that name alone makes it worthy of a test drive, in our opinion. In typical Darby's fashion, the sandwich will be comprised of breaded turkey meatloaf, cranberry sauce, Baron Bigod cheese, and gem lettuce inside a soft and squishy Darby's brioche bun.
9. Seven Dials Market Christmas specials
Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX
This Christmas, Seven Dials Market is putting on a festive feast for hungry Christmas shoppers like yourselves. With a variety of dishes from food traders across both the Banana Warehouse and Cucumber Alley, Seven Dials Market has got a little something going on for everyone. Yum Bun is giving its Asian menu a merry makeover with a limited-edition crispy aromatic duck croquette. Pick & Cheese will be serving up their own spin on the classics with a hot mince pie with a baked-in slice of stilton, a Wensleydale soft serve ice cream served with panettone bread and butter pudding, and a drunken port-infused stilton served alongside a slab of Christmas cake. If you find the room to top it off with something sweet stop by Hackney Gelato for a mince pie or chocolate and marmalade gelato made using fine Belgian chocolate and Seville orange marmalade. Specials are available until Christmas Day.
10. Mac & Wild festive feast
9A Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YN
Fancy a festive feast served in the back of a Land Rover? Make your way to Mac & Wild in Devonshire Square where you can find one of those vehicles decked out in festive lighting, winter pines and plenty of fur blankets. It's there that you can enjoy a three-course Christmas set menu. Begin with starters including Santa's scotch egg with cranberry ketchup and pine salt or Balvenie smoked salmon with whipped butter and lemon on fresh sourdough. After that it's time for Mac & Wild's Christmas burger with pork stuffing, a venison patty, melted Morangie brie, red cabbage, shredded sprout tops and festive fries or a full-on festive feast of roast turkey and all the trimmings. And yes, before you ask, those trimmings include bone marrow.
11. Hendrick's and Mr Fogg's advent calendar
This Advent, escape the mundanity of your choco-cardboard calendar and join Hendrick's and Mr Fogg's on a boozy Christmas countdown around London. Hendrick's has created an extensive treasure hunt this holiday season and enlisted the help of Mr Fogg's to hide 24 mysterious boxes across the bar's six sites. Christmas has come early for any Londoners looking for an adventurous advent, as you'll have the opportunity to get involved in this London-wide countdown and unlock a new door each day that contains an array of gin-spirational (sorry) seasonal surprises.
12. Ottolenghi Christmas catering
Not up for cooking this festive period? Don't worry about it, just put your trust into the warm and comforting hands of Yottam Ottolenghi. Or his crack team of chefs, to be precise. From spicy nuts to start, seasonal soups to warm up the appetite, turkey whichever way you want it – ready to roast or roasted, ready to carve or carved – through to all the sides, Ottolenghi's catering service has got it all covered. Fancy a seasoned bronze free-range turkey on your kitchen table? How about a mushroom and za'atar haggis in pastry? Yeah, we'd put the oven gloves away this weekend have your festive dinner party catered by the champs at Ottolenghi instead.
13. Tails cocktail giveaway
20 December; 37 Broadgate, EC2M 2QS
To mark the shortest Friday of the year on 20 December, Tails Cocktails will be serving up 353 Winter Punch cocktails for free. Teaming up with the bar at Mrs Fogg's, the batched cocktail experts are offering a bit of alcoholic solace on the darkest, drabbest day of the entire calendar year. To get your hands on a Winter Punch, simply flash your watch at the bartenders at Mrs Fogg’s, Broadgate Circle on Friday 20 December between 4-6pm. See you there.