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 a Chinese food festival to a brand-new toastie menu from a Dalston favourite, this here weekend guide has got a little bit for everyone.
13 things to do in London this weekend
1. Embrace the meat sweats at Meatopia
30 August-1 September; Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF
Vegans look away now. Seriously. Scroll on to the next entry. We mean it. Because Meatopia is taking over the Tobacco Dock this weekend for three days of meat-soaked heaven. Meatopia 2019 promises to be one of the hottest tickets in town, with more delicious dishes, drinks, fires and music than ever before. Some of the sought-after chefs appearing at Meatopia this year include Tom Brown, James Cochran, Ramel Scully, Nieves, Barragan Mohacho, Will Bowlby, David Carter, Aminder Sandhu, Siam Sattayaphan, and *breathe* more. All will be showcasing unique dishes never seen on their respective restaurant menus. Music from the likes of Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin Criminals, Tom Findlay of Groove Armada and Olugbenga of Metronomy will keep your ears fed while you tuck into live demos, talks and workshops at the Cutting Room stage. TAPtopia also makes a welcomed return with beers, ciders and craft cocktails curated by beer aficionado Melissa Cole.
2. Learn a little at the Chinese Food Festival
30 August- 1 September; Potters Fields Park, SE1 2AA
The Chinese Food Festival is returning to celebrate its 5th anniversary this year and bringing with it a selection of London's finest Chinese food to Potters Field Park. To mark the demi-decade of its existence, the popular festival will be actively themed to pay homage to its London home. Big hitters like Master Wei, Three Uncles, Ugly Dumpling, Wheelcake Island, and Liu Xiaomian will all be attendance. If – as well as eating it – you want to learn a bit more about Chinese cuisine, you can always head to the Lee Kum Kee Chinese Kitchen by School of Wok where Chef Jeremy Pang and his team will be teaching guests the skills needed to create perfect Chinese dishes. You can master everything from mixing dough to steaming the perfect bun.
3. Visit the Heinz Beans Museum
30 August-1 September; 5 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JB
Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you learn about them, the more you become smart. The official Heinz Beanz Museum is opening its doors in London this August to celebrate the 150th birthday of Heinz, exploring everything that the public loves about the humble bean. With interactive experiences and exclusive personalised cans available at the pop-up museum, the experience is a must for anyone who's ever cracked open a tin of the good stuff. Entry is free and the pulse-themed curios won't be around for long, so make sure don't miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to use the Instagram caption: "bean there, done that".
4. Eat at Urban Food Fest's Shoreditch Saturdays
31 August; 162-167 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU
Open every Saturday from the start of March to mid November at Euro Car Parks, the Urban Food Fest Shoreditch street food market is free entry from midday to midnight for anyone who's up for a bit of a day of it. Featuring 15 different street food trucks and stalls, craft beers and ciders, unique cocktails, wines and prosecco, there's something here to satisfy everyone's groaning appetite for weekend pints and plates. Ping-pong tables, giant jenga, board games and a chill out seating area will keep you occupied as you make the most of the 2-for-1 happy hour drink offer using the code #ShoreditchLove. Wasn't sure what you were up to this Saturday? We hope you're pretty sure now.
5. Make the most of The London Mela
31 August- 1 September; Uxbridge Road, UB1 3AL
Formerly held in Gunnersbury Park, this multi-arts event that salutes all that's wonderful about London's south Asian cultural scene is heading to Southall Park this year. It's a fantastic occasion for a great family day out in the city. Southall is, after all, home to London's largest South Asian community and will be the perfect place to watch British, Asian and international artists as well as dance, cabaret, circus and street theatre performances. That's your hunger for music quelled, but what about your insatiable desire for good food? Well, the festival also boasts one of the biggest Asian food markets in London, Taste of Asia, with hundreds of vibrant dishes on offer throughout the park. So stop worrying and enjoy yourself!
6. Live your best avo-life at the London Brunch Fest
31 August- 1 September; 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QR
The London Brunch Fest – London's only festival dedicated to, er, brunch – is back again this weekend. Bringing dishes from all corners of London, chefs from each selected Brunch Headliner will be creating an exclusive dish specially for the festival that guests will be able to sample over these two days. From Avobar's avo boat topped with cured salmon and a turmeric poached egg with avodaise and caviar to Brickwood's The Bomb! banana bread with cacao cream, salted peanut butter and pecan brittle, topped with shaved Tim Tams, guests will have a whole range of dishes to try from London's "brunchiest" cafes. Not only that, but for each ticket and each dish sold, a meal will be donated to the charity, Magic Breakfast. Now that's how we like to start the day.
7. Get 50% off food at Berto
31 August- 6 September; 155 Holloway Road, N7 8LX
The new hand-made pasta concept, Berto from the team behind neighbourhood pizzerias Zia Lucia will launch on Holloway Road this weekend. To celebrate its brand new opening, from Saturday 31 August until Friday 6 September Berto will be offering 50% off food. That food includes a range of hand-crafted pastas like fresh egg tagliatelle and pappardelle, vegan pici, gnocchi and filled pasta such as ravioli, all effortlessly dressed with classic and inventive sauces and made with the finest Italian produce. Just as Zia Lucia uses different flours to create four signature pizza doughs, Berto will serve a selection of pasta doughs made from traditional, wholemeal and gluten free flours. Sounds pasta-tastic.
8. Be a Gelato Chef for a Day at Unico Gelato & Caffé
1 September; 37 Pembridge Road, W11 3HG
Last weekend might have seen Notting Hill get taken over by Carnival, but this weekend you'll be able to find a far more cooling and relaxed ambience in the area. Namely thanks to this neat workshop at Unico Gelato & Caffé. If you are a gelato lover looking to get involved in the behind the scenes creation of the frozen treat, then this gelato making experience is ideal for you. It's a workshop designed for you to learn and explore behind the scenes of how an authentic, artisanal gelato is handcrafted. You can find out how the ingredients and temperature impact the final result to create a unique flavour and creamy texture. You can find out what makes them so delicious. After leaving the laboratory, you'll be able to surprise your guests with your original handcrafted gelato at your next social event. And, c'mon, who doesn't love the person that rocks up to a party with fresh gelato?
9. Drink your way around the Rainbow Nation at WineFest South Africa
1 September; 89&1/2 Worship Street, EC2A 2BF
Leave your bordeauxs and your vinho verdes at home, this weekend is all about the wine of South Africa. WineFest South Africa has launched this year and intends to bring a crowd of South Africa's most respected winemakers to East London. Meet the winemakers themselves and chat to them about what makes each bottle tick while you taste from hundreds of the Cape winelands's best wines and discover some new gems to enjoy. The event will run in two separate sessions and will also be available to buy by the glass. Food trucks at the venue will additionally offer some heerlike South African cuisine for you to gnaw on as you drink.
10. Don't be a jerk at the London Jerk Festival
1 September; 90 Wallis Road, E9 5LN
The London Jerk Festival – sponsored by Grace Foods UK – is coming to Hackney to make sure you get your fill of barbecued eats this Sunday. The canal-side location will bring buckets of vibes and enough food, music and culture offerings for the whole family. And when they call it a jerk festival, they really mean it. You can go to town on jerk chicken, vegan jerk, jerk prawn, jerk pork, jerk wings, and even jerk dogs. That's far from all that's on offer as well. Expect a hot wing challenge, a patty eating competition, cooking demos, free food samples, rum punch, a dominoes competition, face painting, live talks, a raffle, and so much more.
11. Try Pizza Pilgrims's brownie pizza
Until 19 September; various locations
Always had a bit of a sweet tooth? More of a muscovado than marinara fan, are you? Well, Pizza Pilgrims's latest guest pizza collaboration with Cupcake Jemma should be right up your alley. This Biscoff S'more Brownie won Pizza Pilgrims' birthday pizza competition and will be available to keep your sugar levels satisfactorily high throughout the next month. Jemma, founder of London bakery Crumbs and Doilies, has created a 'za featung mascarpone, Biscoff cream, marshmallows and a ball of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with crumbs of her signature brownie. The pizza is available at all 11 Pizza Pilgrims locations, until 19 September, for the price of £7.
12. Brave yourself for the Dominator X wings
For a good few years now Thunderbird Fried Chicken's habanero wings have held the title of the hottest wing in the eatery's arsenal. Until now, that is. The deep-fried bird experts have created a brand new off-menu wing known as the Dominator X. The flaming hot new wing is a debut recipe from Dominic Pierre-Packer, Operations and Training Manager at Thunderbird, who created the wing after feeling that Founder Matt Harris' habanero wings just weren't quite hot enough. Coated in lashings of Thunderbird's Chipuffalo sauce and coriander, the Dominator X wings have been made nuclear with the addition of dried ground chipotle and habanero peppers. The Dominator X wings will be available across all three Thunderbird Fried Chicken sites, all you've got to do is simply quote 'Dominator X' to a member of the Thunderbird team if you really do feel brave (or mad) enough to feel the heat.
13. Get stuck into Red Hand's new menu
36-38 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XJ
Dalston local Red Hand (home to more beers, wines, spirits and cheese toasties than you can shake a stick at) has just launched a brand new list of toasties for you to enjoy. Created by chef Rebecca Lever, the menu will reflect what's in season with flavour combinations designed to compliment the range of craft beers and spirits on tap. New dishes include: Morbier Ash featuring Morbier Ash cheese, spicy black beans, lime and coriander, served with pickled jalapeños; Salami & Blue with Bleu D'Auvergne, Finnochiona salami, pickled fennel and rocket, with black cherry sauce; The Schnitz comprised of vegan cheddar, tofu schnitzel, smoky vegan mayo, cox apple and lemon balm with pickled caper berries. All come served in square white sourdough (with crisps) and cost £7.50 each.