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!
Hello Kitty, Temper, and Issho-Ni are all celebrating their birthday this weekend. Combine that with the soft launch of Bong Bong's Manila Kanteen and you're in for a treat of eating.
15 things to do in London this weekend
1. Hello Kitty's 45th birthday
4-24 November; Level -2 Westfield, W12 7HB
You might not have guessed it by the look of her flawless complexion, but Hello Kitty is celebrating her 45th birthday this month. To mark the occasion, from 4-24 November, Japan Centre Ichiba will be hosting a dedicated pop-up throughout the store celebrating all things Hello Kitty. Visitors to Ichiba will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive Hello Kitty menu, take home unique branded merchandise, and even meet the birthday girl herself. The pop-up menu will feature some of Japan Centre Ichiba's most-loved dishes: a traditional ganso tonkotsu ramen topped with soft boiled egg, vegetarian natural ramen with tofu and chicken katsu curry as well as creamy matcha sundaes and Hello Kitty-shaped fluffy custard bao buns to round things off nicely.
2. Temper's 3rd birthday celebrations
5 November; 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF
There's an awfully good reason to remember the 5th of November. And that reason is that Temper Soho is throwing a '3 Beast Feast' to celebrate its 3rd birthday. Famed for whole animal BBQ, Temper will be paying homage to its third year of existence by continuing to do what it does best. For £25pp diners can get stuck into a meat feast of oak smoked goat, pork and beef, served with a selection of sides including paratha, kimchi, their famed beef fat potatoes with Ogleshield cheese and charred hispi cabbage.
3. Issho-Ni's 1st birthday
5-10 November; 185 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AB
Issho-Ni turns one this month and the East London restaurant is celebrating with free cocktails and free sushi rolls for those who dine in (and spend over £20 per table) from 5-10 November. Customers will be treated to 'Our Roll' (a roll filled with salmon, tuna, seabass, takuwan, cucumber and topped with caviar, tobiko, salmon skin, truffle mayo) and 'Our Punch' (a delicious combination of roku gin, rum, assam skin tea, bittermelon rice tea and okinawa sugar) on the house alongside the classics from Issho-Ni's Japanese menu.
4. The Alchemist tea-leaf readings
6 November; 145 City Road, EC1V 1LP
Known for its theatrical cocktails, The Alchemist has taken has taken its cocktail offering up another echelon of extra by adding professional tea-leaf reader Gail Hart to the team. Hart will be hosting sessions every Wednesday evening for six weeks, reading leaves and making predictions as we head into 2020. The sessions will be available to book from 7pm – 9pm and will be £15 for the Deja Brew cocktail and a full 15 minutes reading with Gail. We're not exactly fortune tellers ourselves, but this sounds like it's going to be good. Probably.
5. The House of Machines Takeover at Mark's Bar
6-9 November; 66-70 Brewer Street, W1F 9UP
To celebrate Old Fashioned Week this year, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is bringing a taste of LA to London's Bankside, with iconic international cocktail bar, The House of Machines.Taking place over four days, The House of Machines will be at Mark's Bar Bankside from 6-9 November with renowned bartender and mixologist Amanda Colom flying in from LA to take up residency at the bar. The takeover will see bespoke Bulleit cocktails, whiskey tastings and an unforgettable party night on 8 November. Throughout the takeover guests will be able to enjoy a specially created bar snax menu from Mark Hix, paired with Bulleit cocktails. Guests can enjoy a Bulleit Old-Fashioned for only £6 all evening on 6 November from 6pm.
6. Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover at The Islington Town House
7 November; 13 Liverpool Road, N1 0RW
On 7 November, The Islington Town House is hosting a 'Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover' from 6pm. For one night only, Tiny Rebel is providing seven different beers on tap, featuring some of its most unique flavours like 'Pump Up The Jam' (a jam doughnut pale ale) and 'Strawberry Bomb' (a strawberry sour flavour) alongside its more mainstream beers. The fun doesn't stop there, either – expect beer paddles on hand to help you try out multiple crafts, an opportunity to meet the brewer with gin tasting and talks about beer, as well as a raffle to win a special hamper of goodies. See you there.
7. Bong Bong's Manila Kanteen Soft Launch
7-9 November; 460 Hackney Road, E2 9EG
The founders of BBQ Dreamz are finally opening their first permanent site in Bethnal Green and you can get 50% off food until 9 November. Bong Bong's Manila Kanteen will bring together a host of Filipino favourites in a buzzing, vibrant space, with South Asian cocktails and beers, as well as a weekly Sunday kamayan, a traditional communal feast. Expect dishes such as satay duck heart skewers, lechon kawali, and la paz batchoi. With an emphasis on small-batch Filipino producers, the cocktail menu includes plenty of Don Papa sugar cane rum and Tarsier Boracay Gin. On draught you can find San Miguel, the most popular beer in the Phillipines, as well as Red Horse, the brewery's export-strength lager. Bong Bong's Manila Kanteen soft launch begins on 7 November and ends on 9 November with the restaurant opening fully for dinner on Thursday 14, and for lunch on Monday 18.
8. Mondo Good Harvest Festival
9 November; 86 Stewart's Road, SW8 4UG
Head on down to Mondo Tap on 9 November for a mini-festival of beer, bluegrass and chili con carne. Which we think we can all agree are some of the greatest joys in life, right? Beer from 2nd Shift Brewing, Braybrooke Beer, Fierce Beer, The Five Points, German Kraft and Are Bryggcompagni will be up for quaffing alongside three chili dishes from the amazing 10 Greek Street, Dishoom and Prairie Fire BBQ, plus a Mondo cook off. Live bluegrass'll be on throughout the day. Grab yourself a ticket and pull up a hay bale for what looks like the last great beer festival of the year.
9. Mele e Pere's Sunday Roast all'Italiana
10 November; 46 Brewer Street, W1F 9TF
Roast heads are in for a treat as Mele e Pere is launching its Sunday Roast all'Italiana: a four-course feast designed to be shared among your closest chums with a regional wine pairing, changing every week. Head shef, Andrea Montovani, has created a menu of regional favourites with includes antipasti like Ascolana olives stuffed with spicy nduja, Prosciutto di Norcia with crispy gnocchi fritti and grana Padano. As for the primi, there are two choices of pasta, made fresh in house daily: tagliatelle, with slow cooked beef ragu, or broad belts of pappardelle with wild mushrooms. Secondi options include a tender roasted porchetta, stuffed with apple and sage, or Welsh Black Angus alla Fiorentina. To drink, a selected wine will be available by the glass every Sunday, each from a different region of Italy.
10. Throwback Tea and movie at Lyaness
10 November; 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
Like films? Like cocktails? Like, that's totally awesome! Because Lyaness has teamed up with the Curzon cinema situated in Sea Containers London for a proper throwback dining experience. Guests can enjoy a classic 80s movie in the Curzon followed by Afternoon Fancy Tea in Lyaness – a tongue-in-cheek take on a high-end 80s dinner party with a Mr Lyan twist and cocktails created by the talented team. Guests will be served a menu of typical English party foods from sausage rolls and devilled eggs to trifle and eclairs, alongside expertly-crafted cocktails. The first of the Throwback Tea & Movie Sessions will take place on 10 November with a screening of The Breakfast Club. Don't you forget about that.
11. Kanada-Ya turns 5
11 November; various locations
Kanada-Ya, one of our favourite ramen restaurants here at Foodism, turns 5 this month. To celebrate, the restaurant is giving away exclusive tote bags designed by five of the UK's leading foodie influencers, as well as offering 50% off the entire bill across all three sites on 11 November 2019. The line-up of influencers turned artists include Clerkenwell Boy, Milly KR, Mondo Mulia, Samphire & Salsify and KS Ate Here. Limited editions of each bag will be handed out on 11 November from midday across all three Kanada-Ya sites. Bag-grabbers will have to order food in order to claim their bag, and to tempt them to pop by even more, Kanada-Ya is offering 50% off the entire bill that day. Tonkotsu and ramen-lovers alike are advised to get down early to avoid missing out.
12. Honest Burger x Petare masa fried chicken burger
Until 25 November; various locations
This November, Honest Burgers is teaming up with Venezuelan fried chicken expert Petare to bring a special one-off collaboration burger, called the 'Masa Fried Chicken, to all Honest sites and into your gaping mouth. Available until 25 November, the burg combines a buttermilk fried chicken thigh with bacon, American cheese, guava glaze, charred corn slaw, habanero mayo, lettuce and pickles. If that hasn't got your salivary glands working overtime then there's something seriously wrong with you.
13. Le Bun residency at Old Bengal Bar
Until 30 November; 16 New Street, EC2M 4TR
New Street Grill and Old Bengal Bar is set for a four-week residency with burger purveyors Le Bun. Guests can indulge in a mouthwatering menu which will include the classic Le Truffle Double Double burger, Le Truffle Cheeseburger and new additions such as the Truffle Honey Bacon Burger and the Le Royal Cheeseburger. Le Bun and New Street Grill have also teamed up with four burger experts @theburgerlist, @TheBiggestLew, @LaurenwCapulet and @fitwaffle, to create four exclusive burgers, each a take on the classic Le Bun burger.
14. Flat Earth Pizza #CookForSYRIA
Until 30 November; The Hive, 286-290 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA
Flat Earth is supporting #CookForSYRIA by donating £1 from every Syrian-inspired pizza sold this November. Celebrating the rich culture and delicious tastes of Syria and surrounding area, while using primarily British ingredients, this limited edition pizza is made with Flat Earth's signature dough, created using a mix of Gilchester's and E5 Bakehouse's organic, slow-proved and unprocessed heritage grain flour. Topped with a radish pesto, za'atar halloumi, fermented cherry tomato bombs, house slaw, a pickled chilli and radish garnish, drizzled with beetroot hummus, this pizza has the feel of a deconstructed kebab made with love. The za'atar halloumi is created in Yorkshire by Razan Alsous. Razan came to the UK in 2012, fleeing the Syrian war with her husband and young children. Facing difficulty finding a job in spite of her pharmaceutical degree and experience, Razan took matters into her own hands to create the Syrian squeaky cheese she missed so much.
15. Club Mexicana's nacho pizza
Until 30 November; 90 Amhurst Road, E8 1JH
Inspired by Club Mexicana's famous loaded nachos, The Pembury Tavern has created an exclusive pizza to tempt the meat eaters during World Vegan Month. Available for one month from Friday 1 November, the exclusive offering will be complemented with a selection of delicious vegan Five Points beers, including the first pour of a vegan version of their Five Points Best, alongside the usual classics like Railway Porter and JUPA. Stone baked in a traditional coal oven for a crispier crust the 'It's Nacho Pizza, It's Club Mexicana's' features a fiery combination of roasted red pepper queso, vegan chorizo, guacamole, pickled chillies, pink onions, chipotle mayo, coriander and Mexican hot sauce.