'Tis the season for indulgence, but London has upped its game since the days of limp Christmas sandwiches and lukewarm Christmas coffees. Among the many festive menus popping up in the capital's restaurants are the delicious, the extravagant and the ridiculous born predominantly of the food PR industry jumping on the Christmas bandwagon. Here are our picks of London's Christmas 2018 food:
Shake Shack's Xmas Shack 2018
A special burger's been added to the menu at this American fast food favourite. The Xmas Shack consists of crispy chicken breast topped with gruyere cheese, pickled shallots, cranberry bacon chutney, sliced kale and gravy mayo. Honestly? We were on board until the kale.
The drinks menu has had a couple of additions too; mulled wine and hot chocolate are available for the Christmas season, along with the Christmas Cookie Shake. It's one of the chain's eponymous milkshakes, made with sugar cookie frozen custard, topped with whipped cream, crumbled shortbread and red and green sprinkles.
Available at all UK Shake Shack branches, 21 November-8 January
Hipchips's Crispmas dinner 2018
Hipchips — the Soho restaurant whose menu consists entirely of crisps and accompanying dips — has put together a Christmas menu, completely in crisp and dip form. The flavours are smoked salmon and pickled cucumbers to start, a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and cranberry sauce for main, and a sweet Christmas pudding and brandy butter to finish off. All made from crisps.
Hipchips Soho, available from 1 December
All Star Lanes' Christmas burger
Bowling plays second fiddle to the food at All Star Lanes. The above monster is the Christmas burger; turkey with a crispy Southern-style coating, sage & onion patty, lettuce, baconnaise and red onion & cranberry relish, topped with a pig in blanket and served with chicken crackling. If that's not feast enough, a pigs in blankets hot dog, maple-glazed wings, and treacle-glazed ham hock are also on the festive menu.
All Star Lanes (Brick Lane, Holborn, White City, Stratford City), available now until Christmas.
Mince pie samosas at Kennington Tandoori
One item in particular caught our eye on the festive menu of this south London Indian restaurant; mince pie samosas. The dessert item offers an Indian twist on the British Christmas favourite, and is served with mango kulfi (an Indian dairy dish similar to ice cream).
Kennington Tandoori, available throughout December
Battered Brussels sprouts and naughty/nice chips at Poppies
Demonstrate your allegiance to the naughty or nice list by choosing whether you sprinkle red glitter or charcoal powder on your chips at Poppies in Soho. The traditional, 70s-style fish and chips shop is all jumping on the battering bandwagon, by serving up battered Brussels sprouts. Lovely.
Poppie's Soho, available 1-24 December
The mince pie croissant at Paul
Not for the first time, French bakery chain Paul sells a mince pie croissant. It's exactly what it sounds like — an all-butter croissant, filled with sweet mincemeat. Feeling fancy? Splash out on an almond and apricot mince pie croissant. Too far, we think.
Paul, locations across London, available now until Christmas.