Whatever your thoughts on Walkabout, it certainly isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you, then let us present you with seven alternative ways to eat, drink and be merry Down Under-style this Sunday, as Australia Day comes around once more.
1. Taste Australian wine
For one day only, the London Bridge-based church of wine that is Vinopolis is putting on a special masterclass in vino from Down Under. The tasting starts at 2pm, lasts for 90 minutes and costs £35 per person. It will be a relaxed affair exploring six grape varieties that showcase the diversity of wine on offer from Australia. As always with Vinopolis, you can expect to soak up as much knowledge as you do wine.
2. Eat an Aussie breakfast
Don’t know what a Full Aussie breakfast consists of? At this Battersea all-day bistro, it includes everything you’d expect from an English one with added rissoles (meatballs). Other options include a vegemite-laced cheese on toast and a BBQ corned beef hash with a poached egg. Breakfast is served from 10am to 12pm, when an Australian lunch menu will start, both options are online here.
3. Take a bite out of Skippy
Or at least eat some kangaroo meat. You’ll find kangaroo steaks at Vivat Bacchus wine bars in Farringdon and London Bridge; marinated kangaroo skewers at wacky but expensive Archipelago in Fitzrovia; and kangaroo burgers on Entrée’s lunch menu mentioned above. Kangaroo burgers and steaks will also be available (along with emu burgers) at Geronimo Inns pubs all across London, including The Fentiman Arms in Oval, The Prince Albert in Battersea, The Adam & Eve near Oxford Circus, The Betjeman Arms in Kings Cross and The Bull and The Cow in the Westfields. You can also buy the raw meat to cook at home from The Exotic Meat Company at Borough Market.
4. Drink a Flat White
This is the coffee of choice Down Under, and was brought to London by Australians and New Zealanders in the first place. While flat whites are now available at any decent coffee shop, we can recommend the three-strong café group that contains Lantana in Fitzrovia, Ruby Dock in Camden and Salvation Jane in Shoreditch for not just the coffee but also dishes such as corn fritters with streaky bacon or coconut French toast with ricotta, lime syrup and pistachios. Further west, Barossa in Fulham also serves the coffee along with Aussie-styled plates like avocado on toast, blueberry pancakes and toasted banana bread.
5. Pay a visit to the King Of Ladies Man
This dubiously titled, apostrophe-lacking joint is the sister (or should that be brother) bar of Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town — the basement bar that’s tucked away behind a fridge door in the Spitalfields Breakfast Club. Similarly, you access the Ladies Man via a secret door in a launderette attached to Battersea’s version of Breakfast Club. This Sunday it’s well and truly got Aussie fever. From 10am-5pm, expect special dishes such as bonza beef and beer sausages and chocolate and coconut Lamington cakes, as well as Cooper’s Pale Ale (it’s Australian, and it’s a lot better than Foster's) available at the 'special' price of £3.50 a pint.
6. Have a rooftop barbie
Some of you may be able to do this in your own building. Those who don’t have any outside space, or don’t want to aggravate the neighbours or invalidate their home insurance can always head to the Wig Wam instead. On top of the Queen of Hoxton, this wintertime event space will host a surf ‘n’ turf grill from 1pm until midnight, along with rum-based shark bite shooters, a four-hour set from Australian dance group Light Year, and the whole Triple J Hottest 100 chart live. If you don’t know what that is, click the link.
7. Eat at Bill Granger’s
He’s Australia’s version of Nigella Lawson. Only male. And minus recent events. Whether it's Australia Day or not, us Londoners can sample his casual Antipodean fare anytime via his Notting Hill restaurant Granger & Co. The menu features plenty of fresh, zesty salads and Asian-inspired flavours, along with a gutsier BBQ section of grilled meat and fish. It’s busy at the best of times here and they don’t take bookings, so be prepared to wait if you do pop-by on the big day itself.