Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: beer, bones and Game of Thrones
A bone in the oven
Soho ramen restaurant Bone Daddies is launching a long-term pop-up this month, in the site that was previously Made In Italy on Old Compton Street. It will be named Bone Daddies Shackfuyu (try saying that after a few) and will be around for a year. The menu is Japanese-inspired but not at all traditional, and a niche is that almost all the dishes are cooked in a pizza oven which was already on-site. There will be just one regularly-changing main headlining at all times, alongside snacks and sides — dishes for the opening include roasted beef with kimchee, a take on mac and cheese, and fried potatoes with Japanese curry sauce. There’ll be no reservations, but we will be treated to a bar area to wait in, where a frozen yuzu margarita will be offered alongside some bottled cocktails and beers.
Meal of Thrones
In a bid to promote an upcoming DVD release, Game of Thrones creators HBO are laying on some lavish Thrones-themed banquets in the capital next weekend. Three 'All Men Must Dine' dinners will be held at the Andaz hotel in Liverpool Street, from 13-15 February. Dishes include ‘The Lies of Tyrion Lannister and his Proclaimed Innocence’ (that’s poached veal tongue with beetroot, horseradish and mustard), and are matched with “cocktails fit for a king”. Spots at the dinners are being given away free on the HBO website.
In other promotional pop-up news, a two-day-only café next week will provide you with free tea, biscuits and a comfy seat in exchange for cuddles. It’s a marketing stunt from biscuit-makers McVities and as an idea sits somewhere between the cute and the creepy. The hugs and biscuits will be at 52 Tottenham Street next Tuesday and Wednesday (10-11 February).
Fit for a Corbin and King
Restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King announced this week that they will open a restaurant in Islington in spring. The pair have among the best pedigree in the business: they originally launched The Ivy and now boast a portfolio including The Wolseley on Piccadilly, The Delaunay at Aldwych, Colbert in Sloane Square and Brasserie Zédel at Piccadilly Circus. They’re on a bit of a roll at the moment, having opened Austrian-inspired Fischer’s in Marylebone last summer and The Beaumont hotel (along with restaurant The Colony Grill Room) in Mayfair at the end of September. Details of the new site are scarce, but we’d expect something along the lines of a grand brasserie and European-minded cooking as at their other restaurants.
London Fields laundry
Ben Spalding — former chef at John Salt in Islington, regular supperclub host and foodie to watch — is settling into London Fields for the month. He’ll be running the kitchen at The Laundry on Warburton Road until 1 March, serving food he describes as “similar but more mature” than at John Salt — where one dish famously necessitated licking a brick. A couple of the exciting-sounding dishes include ‘fried & runny Burford Brown egg, toasted cashews, medjool dates, fennel, 14 month old kimchi and raw smoked honey’, and ‘whipped tuna with a little anchovy, baby gem lettuce, frozen beetroot and pomegranate molasses’.
Move over Peroni — Italian craft beer is coming to London. Microbrewery Birrificio del Ducato, which is based near Parma, opens The Italian Job pub in Chiswick on 13 February, complete with 12 Italian beers on tap at all times. There’ll be several from the microbrewery itself, but also small-batch beers from across Italy. The gastropub-style food menu includes an intriguing hop and pork burger, as well as lots of Italian charcuterie.
This weekend, long-established Chelsea Indian restaurant Chutney Mary will close its doors to prepare for a move to St James’s. It will open in its new site in April, where it will have a stand-alone bar area, and serve breakfasts and brunches for the first time. Meanwhile, the owners will turn its existing site into more casual restaurant Masala Grill, due to launch in March. The company also owns the Masala Zone chain and Veeraswamy, which is the UK’s oldest Indian restaurant.
The team at Regent Street’s Café Royal are running a quirky alternative to BYO. A new menu allows you to bring up to four ingredients with you, discuss ideas with the chefs and then have them cooked into a bespoke four-course menu. The dinner — complete with a glass of champers, some canapés and a signed recipe from the chefs — will set you back £70 and you’ll need to be a table of four or more. As such, we reckon the idea is more focused on creating something special with that unique ingredient you brought back from your travels rather than a way to use up that butternut squash which is going soft at the bottom of the fridge.
This week has seen the opening of all-day brasserie Blixen in Spitalfields, and West Thirty Six (a sister to the Beach Blanket Babylon restaurants in Notting Hill and Shoreditch) on Golborne Road. French and American-inspired diner Counter opens under the arches near Vauxhall station tomorrow. Next week’s arrivals include chop-focused meat lair Blacklock and Asian BBQ restaurant Bó Drake, both in Soho. Also, Portrait Restaurant at the top of the National Portrait Gallery reopens mid next week after a major refurb, and if you want to get your fix of steamed bun-yielding street food stall Yum Bun, it’s good to know that they’ll be serving in the food hall at the top of Harvey Nichols all month. Plus we’ve spotted via The Peckham Peculiar that local pizza pub The Gowlett has splashed out on a restored 1980s bus and launched a mobile pizza stall called The Crust Conductor. Find it at Brick Brewery on Blenheim Grove on Fridays (5-9pm) and Saturdays (12-9pm), where its pizzas will be complemented by cocktails and craft beers.
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