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!
Half-price Yard Sale Pizza, Borough Market cooking demos, and a decadent ragù at Bodega Rita's? That sounds like a weekend of excellent eating to us.
25 things to do in London this weekend
1. Bailey's Dessert Week
23-30 September; various locations
You ever drink Bailey's from a shoe? No? Well, you're in luck, because the very first Baileys Dessert Week is coming to London to give you a little sugar. Taking place from 23 September, some of the biggest names in desserts will be getting involved in the week – including everyone from chocolatier Paul A Young to Insta-famous bakeries Lily Vanilli and Crumbs and Doilies to the two michelin-starred Sketch. All the participating restaurants and bakeries will be sprinkling their menus with innovative new ways to enjoy Baileys. Prepare your waistlines for Baileys choux pastries, Baileys cocktails, and a range of other goodies.
2. Camden Town Brewery's "can-for-can" initiative
24 September; Camden Market, NW1 8AF
Camden Town Brewery's got a fresh new beer in its Seasonal Hells range – Harvest Hells Lager, a darker roasted brew made with speciality malts that give it a rich, full flavour. That's obviously something to be excited about but with 8.4 million people in the UK reportedly struggling to afford to eat, and with one in 10 parents relying on local charities and food banks, CTB has teamed up with The Felix Project this autumn to support its mission in raising awareness of those experiencing food poverty in the UK. From September 24, the Harvest Hells Van is on tour, heading to London, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool with the UK's first 'Can-for-Can' swap initiative: swapping cans of Harvest Hells Lager for donations to local food banks in each city. Join them on 24 September at Camden Market to swap a can of any tinned food, for a can of our Harvest Hells on the house. Camden Town Brewery's also raising money for good with each beer from of its Seasonal Hells range and donating 20p from every can of Harvest Hells Lager sold within the first month to The Felix Project.
3. 50% off Yard Sale Pizza
24-28 September; 184 Hackney Road, E2 7QL
Yard Sale Pizza has opened up their latest pizza slinging premises on Hackney Road and are celebrating the birth of their new brick-and-mortar pizza baby by offering 50% off pizza at the restaurant from 24-28 for dine-in and collection. As well as half price pizza, this will also be the first opportunity to try the four brand new calzones that Yard Sale have created exclusively for the Hackney Road shop. These big behemoths are lunchtime-only however, so calzone fans will need to head down during the day to get a taste.
4. Dinings SW3 x Konotomo
24-28 September; Lennox Gardens Mews, SW3 2JH
Dinings SW3 will open its doors on 24 September to welcome Konotomo, a family-run independent brewery from Japan, for a special four-night-only collaboration. The series will kick off with an exclusive 12-seat Omakase dinner on the 24 September hosted by Konotomo's leading female brewer, Miss Arisa Kimura and Dinings SW3's Executive Chef Masaki Sugisaki, followed by a special menu running from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 in addition to the restaurant's a la carte menu. Dishes include creations like the 'Miso Koji Bouillabaisse' – made using Konotomo sake, miso from the Tajima province and Cornish seafood – which will then be paired with specific sakes available only in Japan, showcasing the depth and range of the independent brewery's produce. The Dinings SW3 x Konotomo collaboration will kick off with a special Omakase dinner of only 12 seats on 24 September at 6.30pm.
5. Join in with Carousel's 5th Birthday celebration
24-29 September; 71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB
Carousel will mark its fifth birthday this September with a series of tasty events. Opened in 2014 by entrepreneurial cousins Ollie, Ed, Will and Anna Templeton, the team will be celebrating the milestone in style, with a curated list of speakers, exhibitions, and an all-star line-up of chef residencies. The week-long chef residency line-up will start on September 24 featuring ex-Relæ chef Kieran McLaughlin of cult Copenhagen seafood restaurant, La Banchina. Shortly followed, on Wednesday, September 25, by Céline Pham of Tontine, Paris before legendary chefs Santiago Lastra and Carl Ishizaki respectively take over the galley on 27 and 28 September. It's set to be a real week to remember.
6. 50% off at Arabic Kitchens King's Cross
25-29 September; 7 Lewis Cubitt Walk, N1C 4DT
Borough Market staple, Arabica is opening a sister site in King's Cross this October. The new restaurant will offer an almost entirely new menu of Middle Eastern-inspired plates suitable for meat-eaters, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans. Istanbul-style mussels with walnut tarator? Beef cheek borekas? Enough hummus and fava dip to sink a humped and hairy ship of the desert? Yeah, we're sold. And what's more, Arabica KX will be on soft launch from 25-29 September and is offering 50% off food throughout that period.
7. September and the Sea at The Blue Anchor
26 September; 13 Lower Mall, W6 9DJ
Iconic riverside pub The Blue Anchor is hosting a 'September and the Sea' supper club on 26 September. This seafood feast will be hosted in the pub's beautifully refurbished River Room, offering lovely views of the Thames. Take a seat by 7:30pm for a starter of white crab and red salmon ceviche followed by enticing mains like Hindleap wine steamed mussels with sticky leeks and red mullet with clotted cream potatoes, seared orange and samphire. For dessert, guests can enjoy a blackberry cobbler and Berkswell cheese with apples and pears. Priced at a hugely affordable £35pp, this five-course seafood supper also comes with the option to add a wine pairing for just £20.
8. Filthy Buns launch party at Three Compasses
26 September; 99 Dalston Lane, E8 1NH
London's bustling burger scene just got even busier. Street food newbies Filthy Buns is launching brand new kitchen residency at Dalston's The Three Compasses on 26 September and commemorating the occasion with free booze and half-price burgers. Fresh from bursting onto the London street food scene this summer, Filthy Buns offers a, er, filthy twist on British and Americana classics. Each brioche bun is loaded with 45-day, dry aged beef patties, tasty homemade sauces and pickles, real British cheeses, and punchy extras. Plus, there's equally as filthy sides and vegan options too. Beers available on the launch night from East London breweries include: 40FT, Beavertown, Five Points, Hackney Brewery, plus, there's Crate Cider or a glass of fizz up for grabs with every burger purchased.
9. National Dumpling Day at Chinatown
26 September; various locations
National Dumpling Day is happening on 26 September and Chinatown London will be celebrating by giving away over 2,000 dumplings starting from noon. Though Asia’s food landscape is geographically broad and varied, nothing unites the area quite like the humble dumpling. The diverse selection of regional dumplings in Chinatown reflects the variety and skill on the Asian continent: from Shanghainese xiao long bao to Cantonese sui mai, and Korean mandu to Japanese gyoza. To help you sample the sheer range available, Chinatown London will giveaway over 2,000 free dumplings from the likes of Dumplings' Legend, Ichibuns, Leong's Legend, New China, Olle, Orient London, Rasa Sayang, Bun House, Yolkin, Shanghai Modern and more.
10. Stephen Harris cooking demo at Borough Market
27 September; 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Borough Market will be hosting a free live cooking demonstration with renowned chef Stephen Harris on Friday 27 September from 1pm-2.30pm. Stephen, chef patron of Michelin-starred The Sportsman, will be in conversation with Borough Market's resident chef, Luke Mackay while they showcase food preparation skills and cook dishes from the best of Borough Market's fresh produce. Together these two veterans of the game will demonstrate some delicious recipes for you to taste using seasonal fish, meat and vegetables sourced that morning from the Market's expert traders.
11. Bodega Rita's x Ixta Belfrage
27 September; Unit 114, Lower Stable Street, N1C 4DR
Ixta Belfrage (chef and recipe developer at Ottolenghi) will be taking over Bodega Rita's as part of the sandwich joint's meal deal series with an exclusive ragu dish this Friday. Ixta will be closing out the summer with Bodega Rita's seventh meal deal. The ragu is based on Belfrage's all-time favourite dish of Penne Al'Aconese and will include sloppy joe with pork, chicken liver and porcini as well as cascabel, jalapeno and lardo numbing-oil drizzled on top. Pickled onions, jalapenos and cucumber will be served on the side. As part of the meal deal, Fonzies cheesy corn snacks will feature as a snack and guests can toast the dish with a Ramona pink grapefruit wine cooler made with organic Sicilian Zbibbo grapes or a non-alcoholic drink of crodino spritz. Ixta Belfrage's Sloppy Joe with Pork and Porcini Ragu will be available for £16 at Bodega Rita's deli starting Friday 27th September from 12pm.
12. Allpress Lates x Margot Henderson
27 September; 55 Dalston Lane, E8 2NG
The grand finale of Allpress' series of Lates is taking place this week. The ninth and final in the series will be hosted by New Zealand chef Margot Henderson and her team from Rochelle Canteen, and will take place in the Allpress garden this 27 September from 6pm. The one-off evening and will complete the celebrations of Allpress' 30th Anniversary and feature a menu of banging dishes including: braised fennel and berkswell; whole crab and mayonnaise; artichoke vinaigrette; BBQ quail and aioli; and ox tongue, green sauce and chicory salad.
13. Paradise Slice x Brooklyn Brewery
27-29 September; 108 Brick Lane, E1 6RL
This September, Brooklyn Brewery is teaming up with Vinnie's Pizzeria to bring the real NYC pizza and beer experience to London, for three day pop-up at Paradise Slice's Brick Lane spot. Brooklyn Brewery will be flying the crew from East Coast institution Vinnie's Pizzeria to celebrate the iconic pairing of beer and pizza. The one of a kind menu will feature three limited edition pizzas paired with three brews. The Vodka Masala Slice (a slice that combines the UK's most popular curry, chicken tikka masala, with the traditional Italian-American vodka sauce) is paired with Brooklyn's hoppy, juicy and dry Defender IPA. The Elote, a Vinnie's Pizzeria favourite, comes topped with Mexican corn, aioli, feta, coriander and tajin spice an intoxicating combination of chili peppers, lime and salt, and will be matched with Brooklyn Brewery Lager. Brooklyn's Special Effects, the brewery's first foray into low-alcohol beer, has been chosen to go with the Special Effects pizza – vegan slice covered in grilled vegetables with beetroot and horseradish sauce.
27-29 September; West Handyside Canopy, N1C 4BH
From 27-29 September, Canopy Market will be collaborating with The Cider Box to host Ciderfest; a one-off celebration of the UK's diverse and ancient cider heritage. Expect an exciting line-up of cider-makers to central London for a 3-day cider event showcasing makers from all corners of the cider making fraternity, as well as a packed programme of activities including cider tastings, demonstrations and food pairing sessions, all under West Handyside Canopy's beautifully restored Victorian glass and steel roof. Focusing on high-quality independent producers, the line-up includes ten makers from all over the British Isles including: Hallets; Ascension Cider, Loxley Cider, Severn Cider; and Local Fox. Live music and food stalls round off the apple-heavy offering.
15. Balans x Gymbox
28 September; 123 Victoria Street, SW1E 6DE
Hard seltzer brand Balans have teamed up with gym chain Gymbox to offer those of you who like drinking just as much as you like exercising a free bespoke gym sesh that also involves drinks and DJ. The workout will run on Saturday afternoon and involve a unique hybrid class with half HIIT training and half yin yoga to give participants balance throughout the body and mind. The class will then end with a DJ and alcoholic drinks from Balans – which is very much how we'd like to end all our workouts from now on.
16. Dominique Ansel Bakery turns three
28-30 September; 17-21 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9RP
To celebrate three years of Dominique Ansel Bakery being in London (and three years of the fêted pastry chef ruining our diets) the iconic bake shop will be serving limited edition items inspired by the menus of Dominique Ansel's bakeries in New York and LA over the weekend. These specials include the 'Haute Dog', the 'Black Truffle Honey Cheesecake' and 'Ice Cream Sundae Religieuse'. Complimentary "Sweet Birthday Surprises" from Chef Dominique's signature pastry collection will also be given throughout the day on 30 September.
17. Sunday Sessions at Hoppers
29 September; 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Yes, summer might have made its way out the back door without so much as saying goodbye, but the Sunday Sessions crab feasts at Hoppers Soho are back again – so life's not all that bad now, is it? From 29 September guests can expect to dig – in true Jaffna-style – into a spicy, fiery crab curry, so good it'll make you forget that the colder months are quickly approaching. Karan Gokani and the team will be cooking up a storm in the kitchen, including one-off specials such as fried sprats, chilli garlic mussels with string hoppers, crab curry, coconut bread and much, much more.. Tickets are priced at £40 per person.
18. East Village Cheese and Beer Fest at Mother Kelly's
29 September; 27-30 Victory Parade, E20 1FS
The annual East Village Cheese & Beer Fest returns on Saturday September 28th.Together with GetLiving, Mother Kelly's has been given a very exciting opportunity to curate the festival.Come along and enjoy an afternoon of delicious cheese and beer from over 20 independent brewers and cheesemongers. On the beer side of things you can expect faves like Partizan, SIren, Mothership, Three Hills, Mondo, and more while the dairy department will see crowd pleasers such as Neal's Yard, Drunk Cheese and I Am Nut Ok take charge. Adding to the occasion will be Micks Garage DJs, expert talks from a beer sommelier and cheese affineur, and a range of street food vendors.
19. Borough Market Tasting Tour
29 September; 1 Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE
Meet in Mimo's cookery school – located in one of Borough Market's lovely historic buildings – to take part in a multi-sensory tour spanning the sights, smells, sounds, sights and tastes of Borough Market. Yes, we've all spent a good portion of our lives queuing up at Padella but this is a great opportunity to find out why this culinary mecca is loved by so many. With Mimo's expert guide, you'll be able to select some of the best produce on offer to take back to Mimo's premises with a wine pairing to finish as you dine around the table in a luxurious private dining room.
20. Bread Ahead Branston sourdough masterclass
29 September; 249 Pavilion Road, SW1X 0BP
In celebration of Sourdough September, Bread Ahead Bakery School is hosting a quirky new London sourdough masterclass. The limited-edition three-hour workshop will feature a twist on the traditional sourdough recipe by incorporating the nation's beloved Branston Pickle. Led by the team from Bread Ahead, attendees will be taught the art of baking the perfect Branston pickle loaf, to create the ultimate cheese and pickle sandwiches. The three hour class is exclusively available for £35 per person.
21. Polpo's 10th Anniversary
30 September; 41 Beak Street, W1F 9SB
On Monday 30 September, Polpo will be celebrating 10 years in Soho with a party and a cicchèti feast at the group's original Beak Street location. Founders Russell Norman and Richard Beatty have invited top chefs Angela Hartnett, Francesco Mazzei, Florence Knight, Stevie Parle and Rachel Roddy to join them for one night only, each contributing a dish to the feast. The celebrations will kick off at 5.30pm, with partygoers invited to enjoy spritzes, negronis, bellinis and cichèti all night long at the bar, before following the neon red arrow downstairs for a live DJ set in the Campari Room. Those looking to feast can buy tickets for a celebratory long table dinner at 7.30pm for an elbow-to-elbow Venetian meal from the Polpo team and the five chefs.
22. 'Not Native' chef series with Whole Beast
30 September; Southwark Street, SE1 1TU
As part of Native's 'Not Native' guest chef series, Whole Beast are coming to play at the London Bridge restaurant. Sam Bryant and Alicja Specjalna first met amidst salt and smoke at Coal Rooms Peckham (no bleeding stars in sight) but the duo are now going properly primitive with their nose-to-tail concept, Whole Beast. Using flame, smoke, ember and ash to achieve subtle variances in flavour and texture, the pair pride themselves on using every element of the animal to ensure that absolutely nothing is wasted. Expect meat, meat, and more meat.
23. Mark James at Angelina
1 October; 56 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH
Embark on a culinary adventure at Angelina with award-winning artist and filmmaker Mark James. As you sip cocktails from Golden Gai – a hidden drinking den designed by Mark himself – James will share how his time in Tokyo's Shinjuku district shaped its construction and his own work. You'll be able to enjoy a cracking eight-plate sharing menu of Japanese-Italian dishes like unagi risotto with burnt soy butter and dashi and sweet black sesame and milk chocolate panna cotta. Those feeling up for a big night can spice things up with an additional wine pairing.
24. Adam Handling guest chef series
1 October; 45-47 Hoxton Square, N1 6PD
This October, top chef Adam Handling is launching a brand-new guest chef series at his award-winning restaurant The Frog Hoxton. As part of Adam Handling's initiative to offer up-and-coming chefs a platform to showcase their talents, The Frog Hoxton guest chef series will see an exciting line-up collaborate over the next couple of months. For one night only, chefs are invited to create a unique menu showcasing their individual style while getting full reign of Adam's vibrant East London restaurant. Kicking off the series of chef collaborations on October 1 will be foraging duo Jamie and Tasoula from 'Foraged Fellas' who aim to immerse guests in their fully interactive dining experience.
25. Sabor's new cocktail list
35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR
Sabor is launching a cocktail list inspired by Spanish ingredients, including five new drinks to sit alongside their celebrated Sangria on tap. If that sentence alone doesn't get you excited, there's got to be something seriously wrong with you. Developed with the bar team and co-founders José and Nieves, the drinks list has been designed to complement the food and flavours of the bar snacks and counter menu. They are naturally lower ABV cocktails and have each been built around quality Spanish ingredients, from oranges and almonds to paprika and Padron peppers. Serves like the Fino Negroni (fino sherry, victory bitter and lustau vermouth) and Agua de Valencia (gin, orange leaf, orange blossom, blood orange and cava) look set to pair perfectly with Sabor's first-rate tapas selection.