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 special pizza offerings from Yard Sale Pizza to secret summer spritz, there's plenty on this list that should whet your appetite.
15 things to do in London this weekend
1. Keep caffeinated at Mr Black’s Espresso Martini Festival
7-11 August; various locations
The guys behind coffee liqueur Mr Black have decided to bring the Espresso Martini Fest back to London from 7–11 August. This caffeine and alcohol heavy event will see top bars across the capital serve £6 variations of the celebrated cocktail. The likes of Opium, 68 and Boston, El Camion, TT Liquor, The Ten Balls and Looking Glass Cocktail Club will all be participating in the third year of the festival. There will also be events happening in bars throughout the city, including masterclasses with Mr Black coffee ambassador Martin Hudak to help you make your own banging cocktail. In order to take advantage of the offer and enjoy some cheap cocktails, all you coffee junkies need to do is download a totally free digital pass.
2. Celebrate Yard Sale's 5th Birthday
Until 8 August; various locations
Good news pizza fiends: Yard Sale Pizza is celebrating its fifth birthday this week and is really doing it in style via offering punters like you a whole host of discounts and competitions. Until 8 August, Yard Sale's classic Margherita pizzas will cost you just £5 for eating in and collection. Not only that but Yard Sale will also be giving away four Gozney Roccbox Pizza Ovens, one through an Instagram competition and the other three will be given away Willy Wonka style – all you have to do is order online for delivery or collection from 6-8 August to get your hands on one of three winning golden tickets. Just make sure you quote 'HAPPYBIRTHDAY' when ordering online to be in with a shot at the prize.
3. Taste the sea at The Curtain's crayfish party
8 August; 45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
The Curtain is bringing a taste of Sweden to London with an alfresco crayfish party. Yep. There ain't no party like a crayfish party. Named Kräftskiva, this traditional summer time repast is a staple in Nordic countries, having originated in Sweden to mark the start of crayfish harvesting season. Hosted in The Curtain's signature restaurant, Red Rooster, the celebration pays homage to its founder and culinary director, Marcus Samuelsson, and his Swedish upbringing. Doors open at 7pm, and guests will be welcomed on arrival with an Aquavit cocktail. Tickets are priced £40 without alcohol and £50 with.
4. Get your meat on at Camden Big BBQ
9-11 August; North Yard, Camden Market, NW1 8AH
Forget about the hassle of lighting up a disposable barbie for a few burnt chipolatas in the park, mate. It's not worth it. Leave it to the professionals and get yourself to the Camden Big BBQ this weekend instead. Watch live demos and masterclasses on global BBQ techniques and influences (we’re talking Afghan, traditional tandoor, open fire Asador, low and slow), drink unique cocktails (we’re talking smoked negronis, bbq bacon bloody marys) and pick up insider tips on how to master the grill. Hosted and curated by BBQ aficionados the BBQLads, the free weekend will see Camden Market's North Yard decked out with grills and live fire cooking pits preparing BBQ specials and exclusives from across the North Yard's restaurants. Pig's heads and trotters? You'll see us there.
5. Win bragging rights at Flat Iron Square's games night
10 August; 64 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
Get your game on this weekend at Flat Iron Square. Festival games maestros The Provibers (Elrow Town, Snowbombing) have launched a new weekly night of fun and games with an emphasis on providing some healthy competition and potentially creating some not-so healthy grudges. Join them every Saturday evening from 6–10pm for a free, immersive games night with a host of weird and wonderful games. Even if you're not a gamer, Flat Iron Square also offers two intimate roof terraces for those in-the-know, a wine bar and a handful of sit down restaurants including Bar Douro and Lupins.
6. Pull a Dinerama all-nighter
10 August; 32-37 Cowper Street, EC2A 4AP
On 10 August, XOYO will be hosting an all day party of food and frivolity at Dinerama that’ll be going on until 10pm before moving to XOYO until 4am. Now, that’s what we call large. With a line-up curated by Late Nite Tuff Guy and choice of the best street food the city has to offer (including cocktails, beers and banging music) this is the top destination to lap up those ultimate London summer vibes. We can't think of a better one-two punch combo for a Saturday night than street food and a heavy session.
9. Eat Brendan Fong's food at the Pachamama Brunch Club
11 August; 73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HR
Brendan Fong (formerly of Sydney's lauded Mr Wong restaurant and current executive chef at Ichibuns in Soho) will be heating up Pachamama East this weekend with John Javier. Fong will be serving some lesser-known regional Chinese dishes – like a punchy plate of raw hamachi, bonito soy, cloud fungus and brown butter – as well as others that bear the hallmarks of his own unique Australian culinary experience. Be there, or be sourly disappointed.
7. Nutshell soft opening
Until 11 August; 30 St Martin's Lane, WC2N 4ER
Nutshell is offering diners a 30% discount on food during the restaurant's soft launch period until the end of 11 August. Born from Marwa Alkhalaf's love for the home cooked dishes that her partner, Mohammad Paknejad, grew up eating in Tehran, Nutshell is the latest restaurant to open up on St Martin's Lane and looks set to be a corker. Head chef Jeremy Borrow (formerly of The Palomar) will be on the hots in the kitchen, serving plates of food where provenance is of utmost importance. Natoora supplies the seasonal vegetables and fruit, Woods Day Boats delivers the sustainable fish daily from the Dorset coast, and H.G. Walter provides the meat from premium British farmers. Sounds great to us.
8. Channel your inner influencer at a bottomless Nobu pink brunch
10-11 August; 10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Available every weekend throughout August, this Nobu brunch was pretty much designed with your Instagram feed in mind. Guests can revel in two hours of unlimited pink prosecco and specially curated 'Japanese Palomisha' cocktails along with unlimited access to Nobu's famed brunch and dessert. Complete, of course, with freshly-made sushi and cold dishes and a selection of desserts – all for £75.
9. Pidgin x Pophams
12 August; 197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ
Hackney favourite Pidgin is celebrating its 4th birthday and, to mark the occasion, founders James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy will be hosting a one-off supper club on 12 August at Pophams bakery in London Fields. The menu will be cooked by the duo on the evening alongside a dessert created in collaboration with Popham's head baker Florin Grama. Expect dishes like: whipped mortadella, Korean-style ramerino in culo, hampshire lamb, miso milk ice cream, and many, many more. Tickets for the supper club are priced at £50, with all profits going to Made in Hackney – the UK's only 100% plant-powered community cookery school and charity helping Londoners grow, cook and eat more plants. There will also be a raffle on the night, with prizes including a dinner for two at Pidgin, two spaces at Rosie Ramsden's Charcoal Art and Supper Club, Dinner for two at Hawksmoor and a bottle of Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve NV English sparkling wine from Drop. As a nod to Herlihy and Ramsden's Secret Larder days diners will be welcome to bring their own wine at no extra cost. Bosh.
10. Discover the Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden
Until 30 August; 26 St John's Lane, EC1M 4DA
In the middle of bustling Farringdon, hidden behind some ivy covered walls, is where you can find the Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden. Just how secret is it? Well, the fact that we're even writing about it would suggest it's not that hush-hush, really. But the garden will be unlocking its doors on 8 August and serving a menu dedicated spritz cocktails for you to sip in the summer sunshine. Filled with medicinal herbs and plants, the heart of the garden is home to a 200-year-old olive tree which will provide a beautiful shaded spot to sit under, spritz in hand. Which all sounds very Midsummer Night's Dream. And very nice.
11. Test the waters at Latteria
10-11 August; 56-58 Essex Road, N1 8LR
Fancy branching out from Ciao Bella and trying out a new Italian this weekend? North London newcomer Latteria isn't a bad shout. The cafe, restaurant and bar draws its inspiration from the pasticceria, panino shops and pizzerias in Milan. Which means everything from the cakes, pastries, pizza and fresh pasta is made in-house, with ingredients sourced from Italy. Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and aperitivo, Latteria is capable of catering to your every whim and desire. Whether or not you still end up going back to Ciao Bella again next week is up to you.
12. Explore the Seven Dials Food Month
Until 31 August; various locations
Seven Dials is celebrates its exciting selection of food and drink throughout August with a special month long featuring secret menu trails, special events, promotions, and more. The Seven Dials Food Month sees the launch of a secret menu trail where guests can enjoy an exclusive dish or drink at over 20 restaurants, cafés and bars in the area. Marcus Wareing's restaurant Tredwells will be offering an exclusive menu, featuring three courses classic seasonal British ingredients courses and a 'Gunpowder Gimlet' summer cocktail for £29. The Barbary will be offering a special drink, the 'Rose Blush' especially for the month while, next door, English Coffee House Jacob the Angel is launching an exclusive pastry in the form of a decadent chocolate and tahini slice. With guest doughnuts from St John and fried chicken galore from Chicken ‘n’ Sours, the Seven Dials Food Month has got a little bit of everything for the gourmands inside all of us.
13. Soak up the 'Summer of Limoncello' at Mercante
Until 30 September; Sheraton Grand, W1J 7BX
Thirsty? Good. Because Mayfair restaurant Mercante has launched its 'Summer of Limoncello' terrace. Created in partnership with Pococello, the terrace is offering sun worshippers the chance to tuck into limoncello based cocktails and a refreshing limoncello-based menu of traditional Amalfi cuisine. Included among that roster of drinks is the Sunshine Spritz: a limited-edition cocktail with a lemony twist that’s made from the Amalfi lemon-heavy Pococello. The spritz is a medley of prosecco, Pococello and soda water. Your limoncello game just got a massive upgrade.
14. Indulge in a prosecco picnic hamper at Theo Randall at the InterContinental
Until 30 September; One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY
Summer means prosecco, right? Yeah, we thought as much. So does Theo Randall at the InterContinental. The fine-dining Italian restaurant has launched a prosecco picnic hamper menu for the summer months. Curating a selection of his favourite summer dishes, Theo has created a menu that allows guests to indulge in the fineries of Italian cooking with bubbles from Villa Sandi. The menu offers guests the choice of 10 exceptional dishes including prosciutto di Parma with Charentais melon, and grilled and marinated aubergines, zucchini, fennel and red peppers. Each hamper will be accompanied by a bottle of Villa Sandi Prosecco or Sparkling Rosé between two. The prosecco picnic hamper menu will be available for £49pp until 30 September and is bookable via the restaurant reservations line or the website.