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!
Ever wanted to learn how to decorate a cake with Cutter & Squidge? How about eat a collaboration between two of London's most iconic restaurants? That sounds like a weekend of excellent eating to us.
25 things to do in London this weekend
1. The Clumsies at The Churchill Bar & Terrace
Until 2 October; 30 Portman Square, W1H 7BH
World-famous bar the Clumsies will be taking over The Churchill Bar & Terrace for an exclusive pop-up until 2 October. As a staunch Greek favourite, and the brainchild of leading bartenders Vassilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis, Clumsies has curated a unique menu of five cocktails, available exclusively this London Cocktail Week. Three of these will be their signature cocktails – the Aegean Negroni, Mediterranean Gimlet and Fortified Baklava Wine -– while two new serves have been made specially for the takeover – the Popeye & Olive and the New Fashioned. Throughout the pop-up, there will also be a daily bespoke cigar and cocktail pairing menu, chosen by The Clumsies team, which will include a selection of cocktails outside of the takeover menu.
2. The Botanist Gin at Carousel
71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB
Gin lovers and wild food enthusiasts alike are invited to enjoy this series of special Wild Dinners hosted by The Botanist Gin at Carousel. The innovative evenings will include a five-course culinary tour of wild and seasonal UK produce, created by Nick Weston of Hunter Gather Cook, along with paired foraged The Botanist cocktails crafted by Abigail Clephane, The Botanist Gin's UK brand ambassador. The menu will feature the best in wild and foraged food that the UK has to offer, including Douglas fir cold smoked fallow deer, grilled wood pigeon breast, and blowtorched pheasant, and paired cocktails including a fruity Fig Leaf, a nefarious Nettle Gimlet and an earthy Truffle Martini.The Botanist Gin's Wild Dinner at Carousel is open until 5 October, with the bar open at 7pm and a dinner start of 7.45pm. Get your tickets today.
3. Bodega Rita's at Frieze Art Fair
3-6 October; Regent's Park, Chester Road, NW1 4NR
Grab your best tote and get ready to eat: Bodega Rita's will be running a full service, 70-cover restaurant at Frieze Art Fair in Regent's Park this weekend. Chef Gabriel Pryce is serving a full a la carte menu complete with dishes like low and slow lamb ribs, watermelon panzanella, tacos de carnitas, and more. The bar will serve an extensive selection of drinks, including natural and low intervention wines on tap, alongside an extended bottle list. Hell, there's even a group menu designed for 6-10 people that comes with an accompanying drinks pairing. If you're looking to relive the halcyon days of Rita's, the Frize Art Fair is where you're gonna want to be.
4. Frieze menu at Palomar
3-6 October; 34 Rupert Street, W1D 6DN
Fan of tasty tasting menus? Us too. Which is why we're fairly pumped that The Palomar has partnered with Ruinart to design a one-off feasting menu that'll be served from 3-6 October. The Palomar have worked with Ruinart to create a new menu that focuses on the earthy flavours of root vegetables. While still reflecting the restaurant's modern Jerusalem flavours, the new £55 feasting menu will feature the usual Palomar starters of kubaneh ans beetlabneh (a labneh served with beetroot) followed by sharing main courses such as wild seabass tartare with pickled carrot; harissa chicken with Jerusalem artichokes; cauliflower salad; and the classic Palomar josperised octopus with kohlrabi. The menu is designed to be enjoyed with a glass of Ruinart N.V. Brut Champagne – a bev that's included in the menu price.
5. Speak Low x Sartoria
4 October; 20 Savile Row, W1S 3PR
On Friday 4 October, Savile Row's Sartoria's Libare Bar is getting jazzed up by two of the world's best bartenders: Kris Du of Shanghai's Speak Low Bar, and Dario Schiavoni of Beijing's Bvalgari Hotel. Du will be rolling out Swing Low's favourites to London for the first time: Into the Woods – an umami-fied old fashioned (ealnut fat washed whisky, Reishi mushroom maple, chocolate and Angostura bitters); Natural Unnatural Wine – a cocktail inspired by the crisp refresh of white wine (Bombay Sapphire, passion fruit, apple vinegar) and Tomato Sap – a refreshing and woody savoury sip (Dill gin, Masthiha, St Germain, tomato water and lemon juice). Shiavoni's three carefully fused Italian and Chinese-inspired drinks include Shanghai Glamour (Matusalem rum, Campari, ruby port, house-made grenadine topped with Champagne) a Mustaccioni (Tequila Reposado, rosso vermouth, ruby port and Campari) and the Beijing (Fernet Branca, Amaro Montenegro foam, Sichuan pepper, house-made orange soda and lemon syrup).
6. The Coral Room x Paradiso Bar
4 October; 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Barcelona's Paradiso will be leaving its charming hideaway and heading to the vibrancy of Bloomsbury's The Coral Room on 4 October for a night of drinks and debauchery. The speakeasy, which currently sits at #37 amongst the bars listed in The World's 50 Best, will be treating Londoners to a selection of its innovative cocktails for the evening. Head bartender Giacomo Giannotti and his team will be bringing a list of four of their award-winning cocktails to The Coral Room. Don't miss out on this chance to sample some of Spain's finest serves.
7. Ascot Beer Festival
4-5 October; High Street, Ascot SL5 7JX
Check out the Autumn Racing Weekend and Ascot Beer Festival from 4-5 October for weekend of horses and beer that combines top class flat racing and an extraordinary selection of nearly 200 real ales, ciders and perries. Even if you're not super mad on horse racing, you'll be well catered for in the thirst department as the Grandstand concourse of the track has been transformed into the ultimate local pub. Visit the Ascot Bier Haus on the Saturday and you'll find the festival spring to life with German music, bratwurst, one-litre steins of beer and more, too. Wunderbar.
8. Durga Puja at Fatt Pundit
4-8 October; 77 Berwick Street, W1F 8TH
Celebrate the festival of Durga Puja at Fatt Pundit from 4-8 October. Why? Well, we're about to tell you why. Be patient. As a dedicated Indo-Chinese restaurant, Fatt Punditt will be paying homage to Kolkata's Durga Puja festival by serving the style of food cooked in the Tangra district of Kolkata. One of the Durga Puja traditions in Tangra involves offering the Gods dishes of noodles and Fatt Pundit will respect the festivities by serving a bowl of Chow-mein to all diners, on the house. A menu of new dishes will also be launched. Small plates inspired by the street food carts like kid goat momos with garam masala, cardamom and ginger; spicy lollipop chicken and crackling spinach with a yoghurt topping; and pomegranate and rabbit wontons. Discover what Hakka cooking is all about this weekend.
9. Seafood Week specials at Jidori
4-11 October; 89 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB
A mixture of traditional Japanese flavours and the best of British seafood can be found at Jidori from 4 October in the form of the restaurant's Seafood Week specials. Diners can feast on signature yakitori specials from head chef Brett Redman that include mackerel with fresh horseradish and salmon belly served with coriander and yuzu kosho. Those yakitori will be cooked over custom-made Kama-Asa Shoten grills sourced directly from Tokyo. The Seafood Week specials are priced at £6 for two skewers.
10. Seafood Week specials at Akira
4-11 October; 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA
Sea urchin three ways: that's the louche dining experience that Akira are promising customers this Seafood Week. Expect uni vessels like a salmon and tuna egg crêpe roll and truffle cream sauce and sea urchin sashimi with Tosa jelly to take your palate on a briny adventure. It's called the foie gras of the ocean for a reason.
11. Seafood Week special at Imperial Treasure
4-11 October; 9 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE
Make a visit to Imperial Treasure from 4-11 October to sample one of the most outlandishly delicious sounding dishes we've come across recently: the mapo tofu lobster. Priced at £112 and capable of serving up to four people, this decadent dish includes traditional Sichuan tofu in a punchy chilli bean broth that's given the punchiest of punches by the presence of a fresh whole lobster.
12. 'Peach Please' at Funkidory
4-13 October; 42 Peckham Rye, SE15 4JR
If you're looking for a hip and happening place to spend London Cocktail Week, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Funkidory. This Peckham joint is an independent, small and perfectly formed cocktail bar that'll add at least a hundred cool points to your dating resume. During LCW, the absolute must-order is the bar's refreshing 'Peach Please' cocktail. Garnished with a rose and hibiscus flower dust, that cocktail contains Grey Goose La Vanille, white peach juice, yoghurt and cardamom syrup. Does that sound delicious? Of course it does. Do you want one now? Of course you do.
13. Passoã Pornstar Martini at The Cocktail Village
4-11 October; 146 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
Head on down at the Old Truman Brewery this London Cocktail Week for a Passoã sunset-inspired pop-up and celebration of the Pornstar Martini. Expect a selection of Porn Star Martini cocktails both new and old alongside some top notch interactions. Piñatas full of prizes? Interactive photobooth? Deck chairs for chilling with a cocktail in hand? Life's a beach.
14. Claridge's NYC cocktail collab
5 October; Brook Street, W1K 4HR
On Saturday 5 October, the award winning team behind the NYC bars at The NoMad and Eleven Madison Park will be taking over the bar at Claridge's for a London Cocktail Week collab. For one night only, Leo Robitschek, Pietro Collina and their team will host an exclusive cocktail debut ahead of the opening of Davies and Brook: the new restaurant from chef Daniel Humm. The takeover will provide guests with a sneak peek of what to expect before the resto opens its doors for business. Expect cocktails like a Spanish-inspired Dirty Martini (made with butter washed Absolut Elyx, Castelvetrano olives and boquerones) and an Espresso Martini muddled with Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur, milk washed Absolut Elyx and Linie Aquavit. Each cocktail is priced at £15 with the Dirty Martini available to London Cocktail Week wristband holders for £6.
15. Brunch at the Double Standard
6 October; 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
Good news brunch lovers: Double Standard, the chic and swish bar and restaurant from chef Adam Rawson at The Standard hotel, has launched a new brunch menu. And spoiler warning: it's very good. Available on Sundays from 11am to 5pm, the menu offers Rawson's take on American diner classics. Who in their right mind could say no to a portion maple cornbread with toasted corn, fried egg and padron peppers or hot fried chicken with buttermilk pancake and hot sauce? Not us, we'll tell you that. The DS menu also features brunchified bangers like crab mac 'n' cheese with poached egg and a gutsy brunch burger with aged beef, bloody mary ketchup, American cheese, pickle, celery and fries. That one vegan friend you've got can tuck into a bircher bowl rammed with as much delicious chia seed goodness as humanly possible while you both go H.A.M. on the bloody marys and mimosas.
16. "The Queens, The Pickle and The Police" at Fitz's
6 October; Russell Square, WC1B 5BE
New gin on the block Stranger & Sons is teaming up with Fitz's this London Cocktail Week to create an immersive experience known as the "The Queens, The Pickle and The Police". The event will follow Stranger & Sons' history of hosting weird and wonderful parties, transporting guests on a journey to gin's homeland of India, fuelled by plenty of "Indian spirited" cocktails from some of the world's top bartenders. The journey will begin at a traditional Ittar stall as guests enter Fitz's before being treated to a complimentary cocktail and asked to select their favourite fragrance from an array of scents. That choice will identify which of the bespoke Stranger & Sons cocktails will be available to them once inside, where award winning mixologist Beckaly Franks (of The Pontiac, Hong Kong) will join "The Queens" of Fitz's to celebrate women in the drinks industry. You can anticipate some excitement from "The Pickle" and "The Police" aspects of the event as well. Just don't expect a tantric sex session with Sting and a jar of dill pickles. There's none of that to be found here. Entry is free while canapés and a live brand should keep you chugging along till late.
17. Quo Vadis & Friends: The Marksman
9 October; 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
When you look at the landscape of the London dining scene it's hard to think of two restaurants that make a better fit than Quo Vadis and The Marksman. Both of these restaurants are stone cold British classics and the chance to eat their food at the same time seems to be one that's too good to pass up. This supper sees Jeremy Lee invite the Marksma to Soho for an evening of proper pub food, focusing on exceptional London-sourced produce with a nod to traditional practices such as baking and curing. The Marksman's chef-owners, Jon Rotheram and Tom Harris, will join the QV kitchens to whip up a meal you won't forget anytime soon. Held in the 2nd floor Quo Vadis 'Marx' and 'Leoni' private dining rooms, after dinner, guests are welcome to move down into the QV Club for some post-supper entertainment.
18. Rosa's Thai PA at Rosa's Thai Cafe
Available from 1 October; various locations
There's nothing quite like sipping on a cold one and getting slightly bevved while you work your way through a rifling hot bowl of drunken noodles, is there? This October, Rosa's Thai Cafe has launched its very first house beer – a unique Thai-inspired craft pale ale infused with lemongrass and lime that will be available at all Rosa's sites from 1 October – to show you just how glorious that combo can be. Containing ingredients sourced directly from Thailand, the beer has been designed to pair perfectly with Rosa's punchy dishes. We'll drink to that. We'll drink lots to that.
19. Patty&Bun x GIRLvsCANCER
Available from 1 October; various locations
Patty&Bun is joining forces with their friends at GIRLvsCANCER to create a collaboration burger and limited-edition T-shirt to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. The special burger, 'The Rack', will feature an aged beef patty, BBQ brisket burnt ends, Ogleshield cheese, pickled red chillies, mayo, and red onion in a soft brioche bun. For each burger sold, £2 will go to support four GIRLvsCANCER charities, including CoppaFeel!, Future Dreams, Trekstock & Look Good Feel Better. GIRLvsCANCER has released a range of boobie emblazoned slogan t-shirts in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of checking your breasts. 'The Rack' will be available across all Patty&Bun sites and the limited-edition tees will be available to buy from the GIRLvsCANCER online shop from 1 October.
20. Adam Handling's 'shared roots' menu
Until 13 October; 75 Sloane Street, SW1X 9SG
As part of Ruinart's partnership of Frieze, Adam Handling has created a bespoke menu inspired by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz's 'Shared Roots' exhibition. Handling's menu extends over five courses and focuses on his commitment to sustainability. Highlights include dishes like: 'chicken butter and bread with cheese doughnuts', 'duck with wild herbs and Ruinart vinegar' and 'grapes, grapes and more grapes'. The 'Shared Roots' menu will be available at Adam Handling Chelsea at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel until Sunday 13 October.
21. Ollie Dabbous at The Cinnamon Club
Until 13 October; The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
Starting from 30 September, Vivek Singh – exec chef of The Cinnamon Club in all its various forms – will team up with three of London's top chefs to celebrate the game season at his flagship restaurant, The Cinnamon Club. Highlighting the myriad ways these seasonal meats can be utilised, each chef's dish will be on the menu for a two-week period alongside all The Cinnamon Club classics. First up is HIDE's Ollie Dabbous, showcasing his quirky take on traditional venison cookery with a dish of spiced venison loin cooked over charcoal with fennel yoghurt, pumpkin and pistachio pilaf.
22. 'The TEXAS' at Honest Burgers
Until 28 October; various locations
Everything's bigger in Texas – flavours included – and the hype around Honest Burgers is going to be a hell of a lot larger this month thanks to its new monthly special. Christened 'the TEXAS' (all caps because it's just that big), this collab with the team over at Bull's-Eye BBQ sauce combines Honest beef with steak chilli, Monterey Jack, Bull's-Eye BBQ sauce, crispy onions, sour cream, lettuce and pickles. The chilli is made by Honest using the very same chuck steak that goes into their patties. Because nothing tastes better than meat on meat, baby. Served with Honest's signature homemade rosemary salted chips, the TEXAS is priced at just £12.50.
23. 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.
24. Manifesto x Brindisa
Until 31 October; 148 Northcote Road,SW11 6RD
It's hard to go wrong with a pizza, really. And it's even harder to go wrong with a pizza topped with quality cured meats. Which is why, for the whole of October, pizzeria Manifesto will be launching a new guest pizza: the Brindisa Clásica. Manifesto will be transforming the flavours of Brindisa's iconic borough market sandwich into delicious pizza form. Manifesto's slow-proved, organic biga style pizza dough will be doused in the pizzeria's classic tomato base before being scattered with spicy Alejandro chorizo, strips of piquillo peppers, Garrotxa cheese, and traditional Catalan goats cheese. The Brindisa Clásica will be available to eat in or take away.
25. Cake decorating masterclass at Cutter & Squidge
20 Brewer Street, W1F 0SJ
If the Great British Bake Off has got you itching to make some sweet treats, you're in luck. Cutter & Squidge, London's only all-natural bakery, has got a series of cake decorating masterclasses that are perfect for letting your creativity run wild. These hands-on decorating classes are aimed at teaching cake enthusiasts all about how they can use natural colourings to achieve supernatural results. Decorating techniques and in-depth cake knowledge will also be imparted as you'll come out of a class able to design and create your own cakes, skilled in the art of butter-creaming and more than capable of construct an aesthetic semi-naked layer cake like you're goddamn Christina Tosi.