Stuff the turkey. Or at least bung it in a broth or marinate it in Indian spices. And fetch a glass of sprout wine while you're at it. With less than a week to go, here’s our pick of London’s most intriguing festive food options.
How many can you feed your face with before the big day?
Noodles might not sound like the most festive of fare, but Islington’s United Ramen has put together a special bowl of turkey ramen for the occasion. It consists of a ballotine of turkey, shredded turkey leg, ginger soy brussels sprouts, cranberry and fried sage. If you want to up the Asian Christmas ante further, why not wash it down with a bubble-nog — that’s a cross between egg nog and bubble tea.
Yep, this is a real thing. The Mayfair Pizza Company’s seasonal offering includes a sweet pizza loaded with custard, brandy and redcurrant compote and pieces of Christmas pud. It’s then sloshed with more brandy, set alight and served at your table still flaming (pictured above).
Sprout sips and bacon ‘tails
Mixologist Matt Whiley has created a new take on a liquid lunch for his cocktail bar Peg + Patriot in Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel. It consists of four mini cocktails which make up a complete Christmas feast. A starter is a glass of brussel sprout wine mixed with riesling and Americano; the main course comes in two parts, a bacon-washed Cognac with prune liqueur and a mix of sage, cranberry and orange; and pudding is a heady mix of Christmas pudding-infused rum, butter syrup and egg yolk.
All three branches of Bombay café-inspired Dishoom (in Covent Garden, Shoreditch and King’s Cross) have added a whole turkey leg to their menus for the festive period. They will be prepared in the traditional Indian raan style more commonly associated with lamb — marinated in yoghurt and spices and slowly roast all day until falling off the bone — and served with a spicy cranberry chutney.
Xmac ‘n’ cheese
See what they did there? The Meat Liquor guys have laid on a menu of festive specials for the Christmas season, including this decidedly epic-sounding take on mac ‘n’ cheese. It consists of deep-fried and breadcrumbed blocks of macaroni, fused together with camembert and stilton, served with a pot of cranberry and Port sauce for dipping. It sounds rather reminiscent of that 70s classic deep fried camembert.
Pigs in peppers
These twists on pigs in blankets could be the cleverest Christmas spin-off we’ve digested. They’re bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with paprika-spiked cream cheese and chipolatas, and they’re bloody good. They come with a festive burger at Haggerston fried chicken restaurant Bird. It’s a bit of a Christmas
corker squawker itself, featuring fried chicken glazed with cranberry, sausage stuffing and panko-crusted deep-fried brie, all bundled into a squidgy bun.
The Rudolph burger
Worry not, fans of the red nosed one. The Rudolph burger at Lucky Chip (at the Sebright Arms) isn’t actually made from a flying reindeer, just non-airborne venison. The rich patty is served in a sesame-topped bun with bacon, stilton, aioli, rocket and a sweet blueberry, blackberry and gin jam. If you want to get your chops around some real reindeer, you might want to consider a visit to Finnish pop-up Tënu in Soho.
What other weird and wonderful Christmas specials have you tried around town this year, or what would you create? How about a Christmas Turkey Doner with cranberry relish and a sage flavoured pitta, or a Seasonal Savoury Trifle made with sprout jelly, parsnip custard and candied bacon sprinkles. Let us know your ideas in the comments below.