July will see three local food festivals take place across the capital, organised by the business improvement districts (BIDs) of each area. Whether you live or work in the Fitzrovia, Waterloo or the Carnaby Street areas, or are just passing through, here are some highlights that might be worth making a detour for.
It’s the first year for Feast @ Fitzrovia, which runs throughout the area from today until Friday. Highlights include a chilli challenge, live chef demos and wine tastings. If you’re at a loose end, there’s a special literary pub crawl Monday night at 6pm, showcasing boozers frequented by the likes of Dylan Thomas and Virginia Woolf and ending with a pie and a pint at The Newman Arms. There’s also a rather special (£85) dinner at Elysée on Tuesday, with chefs from that restaurant, Pied á Terre and Fino cooking one course each. An open-to-all Independence Day street food market and English wine bar will take over Whitfield Gardens (near Goodge Street station, opposite Heal’s) on Friday, which is where you can find that chilli challenge. There are also offers on at several restaurants in the area, including Remedy wine bar and Drakes Tabanco. See an online version of the festival brochure here for full details.
The annual Waterloo Quarter Food Festival returns this week, and runs for the whole of July. It kicks off with an evening food fair packed with stalls from local restaurants and businesses (including Cubana, Konditor and Cook and Wahaca), on the square opposite the Old Vic theatre, where bake-offs, live music, and a beer and burger festival will also be held later in the month. Exotic Excess Café will pop-up on Lower Marsh on Saturday, serving smoothies made from food that would have otherwise gone to waste, and on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 July, Duck & Waffle chef Dan Doherty will set-up in a secret location in the area as part of the Chateau Marmont supperclub. He’ll create an exclusive eight-course menu for the event, based around British seasonal herbs and flowers; each day will feature two sessions accommodating just 16 diners each, so we're expecting the £95 a pop tickets (available here) to sell out fast. Many of the other events are completely free. Full details can be found here and on the festival’s events calendar.
A one day event on Sunday 20 July, Carnaby Street Eat will see 30 of the area’s restaurants, bars and cafés take to the street serving small versions of their signature dishes for £5 a pop. Dehesa, Masala Zone, Rum Kitchen, Stax and Wright Brothers are among those who’ll be taking part, while Hardeep Singh Kohli will lead a series of chef demos, and live music will bulk up the entertainment offering. The festivities will run from 11am to 6pm. Visit the Carnaby website for more information.