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 gin festivals to half-price Indian food, here are the events that you should be pencilling into your calendar and putting on your radar this weekend.
14 things to do in London this weekend
1. Indulge in just about everything during the Waterloo Food Fortnight
27-30 June; Lower Marsh, SE1 7AB
Brooklyn Brewery are partnering with the annual Waterloo Food Fortnight to bring some great food, drink and entertainment to Waterloo from 27 June to 12 July. Events across the opening weekend include bottomless pizza and free-flowing prosecco from Crust Berows, a summer wine and cheese pairing from Unwined, pierogi making workshops with Mamuśka! Polish Kitchen and Bar and more.
2. Get served an ace Wimbledon-inspired menu at The Gun, Spitalfields
27-30 June; 54 Brushfield Street, E1 6AG
The Gun is the place to unleash your inner Jamie Murray this weekend with a menu of Wimbledon-themed specials. You can sip on a slam dunk of a cocktail in the form of the 'Webley at Wimbledon' cocktail: a combo of Bulldog Gin with Tequila Rose strawberry liqueur, and Mozart white chocolate vanilla cream. Or you can trammel your way through a 'Strawberries of All Sorts' dessert of smoked cream, vanilla, mint and strawberries. Don't worry about missing out on any of the sporting action, either, as The Gun will be screening the tennis throughout the tournament. Hole-in-one or what?!
3. Go to the launch of Circolo Popolare
28 June; 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
As the second restaurant from the Big Mamma Group – the people behind Shoreditch's OTT it-spot Gloria – Circolo is going to be the hottest opening in Fitzrovia for the foreseeable future. Try and nab yourself a table there this weekend to dine on heaping plates of pasta and metre-long pizzas. All, of course, while seated in a 9,000sq ft Italian trattoria inspired by the Sicilian coast. As well as sharing all the bells, whistles and sky-high lemon meringue pies of its sister Gloria, Circolo boasts new dishes like pork skewers al arrabiata give this new venue an extra added appeal. All sounds a bit much? Exactly.
4. Celebrate Ceviche Day at Floral by LIMA
28 June; 14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ
This special Ceviche Day (yes, that's a thing) event, hosted by Head Chef Patricia Roig, will feature a delicious array of Peruvian cuisine with a specific highlight on… ceviche. Guests will be welcomed with a pisco sour at Floral by LIMA's bar, The Lost Alpaca, before settling in to the restaurant's beautiful private dining room. A selection of traditional Peruvian snacks and small plates will be served followed by three of Patricia's favourite ceviches to showcase the dish's diversity before finishing with a refreshing lemon dessert. Tickets are £50.
5. Take part in a Negroni Masterclass at Theo Randall
28-30 June; One Hamilton Place, W1J 7QY
Want to learn how to master the perfect negroni? During this 90 minute masterclass, you'll be able to the art of perfecting three different negroni – the Classico, Sbagliato and your very own personal pour – while enjoying a selection of cicchetti from Theo Randall's menu of Italian classics. Zucchini fritti, bruschetta mozzarella, and focaccia? If that doesn't sound like the perfect drinking accompaniment, we don't know what does. This intimate masterclass will end with a Negronificio experience where you can create your own bespoke Negroni – blending your own choice of gins, vermouths and bitters to create a bespoke cocktail personal to you.
6. Hit a homerun with London Yards at Truman Brewery
28-30 June; The Truman Brewery, E1 6QL
Take yourself out to the ball game, take yourself out with the crowd; buy yourself some peanuts and… beer. To make the most of the first ever MLB London Series, Truman Brewery is hosting a three-day festival of all things baseball across the weekend. Enjoy the titans of the Boston Red Sox versus the also-titans of the New York Yankees on a big old TV screen with thousands of other raving baseball fanatics or get involved in the action for yourself in a series of pitching and batting challenges. Make sure you grab a beer, too, as MLB are collaborating with Battersea brewery Mondo on a one-off London Series brew. Street food collaborations from Capish?, Jake's Vegan Steaks, Claw and Randy's Wings will make sure you get your fill of dishes inspired by the culinary heritage of Boston, New York and classic stadium snacks.
7. Soak up some sun with Beavertown's Summer in the City
29 June; Beavertown Brewery, N17 9QP
On June 29, Beavertown will be letting off some steam with a block party to celebrate the arrival of summer. Expect 30 draft lines of everything from pale ale and session lager to sours, wheat beer and a few dirty and gritty wild beers to boot. The beer list will be a combination of beer from Beavertown as well as the hottest brews from breweries from further afield such as Thornbridge, Magic Rock, Mikkeler and more. On top of the impressive beer list you'll be able to dine at a decent range of food vendors. All pours are limited to 1/3 measures and there's no entry without a ticket.
8. Learn from the best at Le Cordon Bleu London Summer Festival
29 June; 15 Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2LS
Le Cordon Bleu London will be hosting its first ever summer festival to give a taste of the range of culinary skills, techniques and knowledge it has to offer. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy food demonstrations from well-known chefs, themed practical workshops delivered by Le Cordon Bleu's Master Chefs, successful alumni and guest chefs such as Asma Khan, Ramael Scully, and others. There will also be wine and beverage tasting workshops, a slow food market, and a pop-up bookshop from Phaidon.
9. Explore Festival 30 at Seven Dials
29 June; Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX
This free family-friendly festival includes a wealth of entertainment, crafting workshops and pop-up activities, all to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sundial Pillar and the conservation efforts of the Seven Dials Trust. For one day only, each of the area's seven interconnecting streets will be traffic free with a pop-up lawn placed around the dial and alfresco dining throughout. Which means food from the likes of Monmouth Kitchen, Flesh & Buns, Rosa's Thai Cafe, Rossopomodoro, and St. John Bakery will be available at some cracking discounts. But wait: there's more. Curators of the soon-to-open Seven Dials Market, KERB, will also bring their hand-picked street food traders to Shorts Gardens, giving visitors an exclusive taste of what's to come ahead of the market's official opening in September. Be there or be square.
10. Get down and dirty at The Mudchute Agricultural Show
29-30 June; Pier Street, E14 3HP
Living in London you rarely get the chance to see some proper countryside. You're far more likely to see city boys wearing a merino wool pullover than you are to see an actual wooly sheep. This weekend, that's set to change. Rare breed sheep from London's City Farms and beyond will flock onto the Mudchute for two days of livestock shows, a fresh produce marquee with amateur vegetable basket and baking competitions, local craft and market stalls, rural craft demonstrations, food, theatre and more. The best sheep of each breed at the show (some of them fairly ancient) will go on to compete on the Sunday in the Supreme Championship for Best in Show. Oh, and if seeing all that livestock works up an appetite, you can always tuck into food from Mudchute Kitchen, grab a cuppa from Ruby Red Tea and Coffee or absolutely freak out some animals with a juicy burger from the Omnibus Burger Van. Entry is free.
11. Try XU's new menu
29-30 June; 30 Rupert Street, W1D 6DL
Xu Teahouse and Restaurant is celebrating its second birthday this month. Which means it's only right that you go there and eat as much as humanly possible. To mark the onset of the terrible twos, XU has added some brand new menu items that will sit handsomely alongside its already classic stable of favourites. New additions to the menu include a spicy ma jian aged lamb rump served with delicious garlic tung ho and Chinese mustard greens, beautifully created hand-dived scallop and white asparagus, served with fermented tofu and scallop roe bottarga, a spring steamed egg with petit pois and enoki mushrooms; and grilled sweetcorn with a mushroom and tarragon shacha crust. If you've never eaten at XU before, this is your perfect opportunity.
12. Get stuffed at the Covent Garden Gelato Festival
29-30 June; West Handyside Canopy, N1C 4BH
Summers are practically made for sitting in the sun and eating gelato, which is why we can't think of anywhere we'd rather be during a weekend of perhaps the scorch-iest month than Canopy Market's Gelato Festival. Not only will there be plenty of gelato to sample, but the self-explanatory festival is also playing host to an international competition where 16 of the finest artisan gelato chefs on the planet will be competing to be crowned the best gelato maker in the world. Additional gelato-related activities include a gelato quiz, educational workshops from the experts over at Carpigiani Gelato University and the largest mobile gelato production laboratory in the world. Purchasing a ticket entitles you to all the gelato at the event. No 'ice cream' advocates allowed.
13. Drink all the wine with Dirt at Naughty Piglets
30 June; 28 Brixton Water Lane, SW2 1PE
Wine bar Dirt will be travelling south of the river to take over Naughty Piglets restaurant in Brixton from 2pm till… well… all the wine is gone. The wine theme of the day is all about the bubbles. This sparkling wine sesh will see Mattia Bianchi (Berber & Q Co-Founder), Margaux Aubry (Naughty Piglets owner) and Emily Campeau (Restaurant Candide wine buyer in Montreal) teaming up to serve the most obscure sparkling wine bottles they've been able to get their hands on. Filipino barbecue wizards Sarap will also be on hand to keep your stomach full of cracking food.
14. Discover a sense of Bengal at Boishakhi Meia
30 June; Wavers Fields, Vallance Road, E2 6HD
The annual Boishakhi Mela festival is returning again this summer, giving Tower Hamlets residents and visitors a chance to enjoy some of the best local, national and international Bengali arts, music, culture, and food. Free for everyone to attend, expect a buzzing atmosphere and a real sense of community.