Seven winter date ideas for London foodies

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From festive markets to fireside suppers, here are ten foodie date ideas to try this winter.


Strap on your skates – If skating is on your festive bucket list, you can do it in style at Somerset House, the National History Museum, or the Tower of London. Beat the crowds with an afternoon session at the Broadgate Ice Rink, followed by dinner at José Pizarro, The Botanist or Yauatcha City.

Wrap up warm for a wintry walk – Brave the cold for a hand-in-hand stroll across Hampstead Heath and stop off at The Bull & Last for homemade charcuterie, steak and chips, or just a bottle of wine. Primrose Hill and St James’s Park are also good options, but if you want to stay mud-free you could take a walk through Chinatown and finish up in Soho for dinner at Shotgun BBQ or Zelman Meats.


Relax in front of a roaring fire – Warm up this winter with a fireside supper at top London gastropubs like The Gun, The Palmerston, and The Drapers Arms. If you’re celebrating, dine in front of the fire at the ultra-romantic Clos Maggiore or unwind with cocktails at Scarfes Bar.

Stroll along the Southbank – After some shopping and mulled wine at the riverside Winter Market, you can skate in the shadow of the London Eye, take a spin around the BUMP Rollerdisco, or grab a drink and some Scandi street food at the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, cross the bridge and head into Covent Garden for dinner at Café Murano or The Ivy Market Grill.

Carols at St Martin-in-the-Fields – If you don’t fancy skating, why not treat someone special to an evening of music in one of London’s most atmospheric venues? St Martin-in-the-Fields hosts wonderful candlelit carol concerts throughout December and you’ll need to book ahead for highlights like Handel’s Messiah and ‘The Glory of Christmas’ with the Choir of Christ’s College Cambridge. For dinner nearby, book a table at modern Indian restaurant, Lotus, or Les Deux Salons for French food and fine wine.


Tuck into a Christmas burger – If your date prefers a great burger to fussy fine dining, treat them to Shack Shack‘s Alpine bacon burger, Byron’s Father Cheesemas, or MEATmission‘s XXXMas burger, which is packed with delicious roast turkey. Our favourite is Hawksmoor‘s festive special – buttermilk fried turkey topped with a Ginger Pig sausage patty, smoked bacon, sprout tops, cheese, and spiced cranberry ketchup, plus a jug of turkey gravy to dip it in! (Available at Knightsbridge and their Spitalfields Bar).

Sample London’s best hot chocolate – Lovebirds with a sweet tooth can get cosy with a mug of hot chocolate at Rabot 1745 in Borough Market or top London chocolatiers like Rococo, Melt, and William Curley. For the ultimate lunch date, head to Chapel Market in Islington for noodle bowls at The Little Viet Kitchen and hot chocolate (in 12 different flavours!) at Jaz & Jul’s Chocolate House.

Have you got any suggestions for a great winter date? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Brunch in a bun: London’s best brunch burgers

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Burgers for breakfast? What a time to be alive! Live the dream this weekend and swap green juice and sad cereal for Bloody Marys and some of London’s finest brunch burgers.


Le Bun at Le Zetter, Clerkenwell

Le Bun are currently in residence at The Zetter Hotel, serving French-American brunch dishes like eggs Benedict with maple bacon and fried chicken and waffles with truffle butter. The brunch-in-a-bun option is the Le Truffle Cheeseburger (£7.50) – an aged brisket and chuck patty topped with American cheese and truffle mayo. If you’re really hungry, order the Truffle Double Double (two patties!) or try their smoked chipotle Bloody Mary, served with a mini cheeseburger.

When can I eat it? – Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm until December 20th.


Chick ‘n’ Sours, Dalston

If you live anywhere near Dalston, you probably know all about Chick ‘n’ Sours and their killer fried chicken, cocktails and soft serve ice-cream. At the weekends, they serve a brunch bun (£12) that wouldn’t look out of place on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Think fried thigh, fried egg and bacon topped with avocado, hot sauce and gochujang mayo – a deliciously messy way to start the day.

When can I eat it? – Saturday and Sunday 12.00-4.00pm


Bar Boulud, Knightsbridge

Feeling fancy? Head to Knightsbridge for brunch at Bar Boulud at the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The stylish but relaxed French bistro serves a luxurious 3-course brunch every Sunday and one of the options is a flavour-packed brunch burger. Topped with bacon, mushroom, cheddar, tomato confit and a fried egg, it will soak up the sins of the night before and give you the energy for a stroll around Harrods.

When can I eat it? – Every Sunday, 11.30am-3.30pm. 3 course brunch & aperitif = £39.


HotBox, Spitalfields

If you can resist their slow-smoked ribs and beef tacos, HotBox serve a seriously delicious brunch burger. They’ve topped a dry aged beef patty with smoked crispy pork belly, a fried egg, American cheese, spicy rancheros sauce and a touch of chimichurri. Feeling flash? Upgrade for £25 and enjoy unlimited Prosecco, Mimosas or Bloody Marys while you dine.


Honest Burgers (Tooting, Clapham and Liverpool Street)

We’re cheating a little with this one, as it’s more of a bun than a burger. At three of their London locations, Honest Burgers serve a brunch bun stuffed with smoked bacon, Cumberland sausage, garlic mushrooms and a fried egg. You can bring your veggie mates along because their bubble and squeak bun is pretty special too.

When can I eat it? – Times vary so check the Honest Burgers website.

Still hungry? Check out some more London brunch spots and tell us about your favourites.

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Welcome to the family! – New restaurants on OpenTable

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Feel like you’re going to the same restaurants time after time? Give your favourites a break this month and check out some of the fantastic UK restaurants that have joined OpenTable recently.


Sexy Fish – This stunning Asian seafood restaurant is one of the hottest new openings of 2015. Expect jaw-dropping décor, flawless sashimi and tempura, and an Instagram-worthy treasure chest cocktail.

German Gymnasium – This Grade II-listed building (and former gym) has been transformed into an all-day restaurant and grand café serving Mittel-European dishes. After cocktails in the Meister Bar, tuck into comforting classics like veal schnitzel, beef goulash, and slow-roast duck with spiced orange sauce.

Big Easy Canary Wharf – At Big Easy’s huge new restaurant, you can satisfy your BBQ cravings with slow-smoked brisket and Carolina pulled pork or tuck into grilled lobster, jumbo shrimp and mac ‘n’ cheese. After dinner, chill out with in the rum lounge and enjoy the views of the Canary Wharf skyscrapers.

The Ivy Café – Now open in Marylebone, The Ivy’s newest sibling is open all day serving comfort food classics and delicious brunch dishes in suitably glamorous surroundings.

Darbaar – After more than a decade working at The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen, chef Abdul Yaseen has opened his first solo restaurant. Darbaar serves dishes inspired by the banquets of the Indian Royal Court like hyderabadi kid goat biryani, ‘sigri’ masala quail, and wood-fired ‘nanzas (naan pizzas).

Also new in London: Mole Taco Bar; Foxlow in Balham and Chiswick; Gunpowder; Porky’s BBQ (Camden); Copita Del Mercado; and two new pop-ups, Le Bun at Le Zetter and Wunderlust in Deptford.


Peace & Loaf – Headed up by MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Dave Coulson, Peace & Loaf is the place to go for innovative British cooking in Newcastle. The menus change often to showcase the finest seasonal ingredients and the wine list offers something for all tastes and budgets.

Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias – At this beach-front restaurant on the North Wales coast, Bryn’s team of chefs turn local, seasonal ingredients into extraordinary bistro-style dishes. Locals can drop in for breakfast, linger over Sunday lunch, or go for dinner and share their famous fish pie or slow-cooked lamb shoulder.

Quill – Quill is a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar that recently opened in Manchester. Book now to enjoy an evening of fine wine and ambitious British dishes created by head chef Curtis Stewart.

New Chapter – This Edinburgh newcomer serves Scottish dishes with a European twist in a light and airy dining room – perfect for laid-back lunches or date night dinners. Try the haunch of venison with game and sauerkraut pithivier or lightly spiced monkfish with braised pig cheek.

Button Street Smokehouse – If you like your meat smoked low and slow, this Liverpool smokehouse will definitely hit the spot. Swing by for beers and bourbon, fantastic burgers, and huge BBQ sharing platters.

Mowgli Street Food – Swap your usual Manchester curry house for a healthy and authentic Indian meal at Mowgli. The menu is packed with street snacks, curries, spicy grilled meats and plenty of veggie options.

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London, New to OpenTable. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Grilling the Chef: We talk to Wahleeah’s Dave Ahern

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2015 has been a great year for restaurants, with over 230 new openings in London alone. Among the newcomers is Wahleeah, a neighbourhood restaurant in Fulham that’s already impressing the locals. We caught up with owner and head chef, Dave Ahern, who worked as a management consultant before pursuing his passion for cooking at The Ship and successful residencies like Burger Breakout.


So Dave, there’s a strong focus on great beer at Wahleeah – what inspired the concept?

I guess the concept grew from my belief that neighbourhood restaurants should never have to be a compromise, no one should have to choose between going somewhere good to eat or somewhere local. I looked at the amazing neighbourhood restaurants in Brooklyn and how they were constantly pushing the boundaries of what a neighbourhood restaurant could produce and felt that London should have a restaurant that was willing to take that kind of restaurant too.

Cooking with beer has long been a passion of mine, I believe that in most countries people’s taste in food developed alongside a taste for beer. Beer has long been the drink of the working classes and they are the ones who shape a country’s cuisine. Cooking with beer presents a much greater technical challenge that cooking with wine but it allows you to develop far more interesting dishes as you can isolate the different flavours within the beer. We do however offer a small wine list for those who refuse to let go of the grape

What’s your favourite dish on the menu? Anything we should definitely order?

It seems very hackneyed to say it but I like every dish on the menu. Everything is made from scratch here, and I mean everything. We make the salt and pepper that goes on the tables, we make our own cheeses, smoke and cure all our own meat and fish, make our own flour, all our own stocks and sauces so it is natural that I’m proud of everything on the menu.

If I was to make any suggestion it would be to try the matched beer pairing on a dish, Phil Harding of Boutique Bar Brands helped us put the pairings together and they really do elevate the food.


Tell us about the Monday Night Takeovers – what can we look forward to?

I love seeing other people cook and doing guest chef nights is a great way to get to spend time in a kitchen with other chefs that I admire and rock out on a service with them.

Our first chef is Grant Hawthorne who will be doing a Taste of The Cape on the 9th of November, showcasing the best in South African cuisine from his homeland of Cape Town. Grant is probably best known for his African Volcano Peri Peri sauces and his stall at Maltby Street market but he is an award winning and exceptionally accomplished chef who has been a huge influence on me in my time in a kitchen.

Bringing back Burger Breakout on the 16th of November was a must, I know I am biased but no other burger joint shook up the scene like we did. Operating out of a tiny kitchen with a ramshackle brigade and patched up equipment we just refused to believe that burgers had limits, that you couldn’t take the very best ingredients, classical flavour combinations and a high end approach and spin the whole thing into an amazing burger. It is also the first kitchen my sous chef Dave Paton worked with me in so both of us can’t wait to dust off the old burger flippers one more time.

(Visit the Wahleeah website to find out about future takeovers from The Rib Man and Sabrina Ghayour).


Did you consider other locations before deciding on Fulham?

We looked at a lot of sites all over London, we were focused on a neighbourhood restaurant though so we discounted a lot of central locations in favour of finding the right location. I think London has some really great neighbourhoods but a lot of them are poorly served for good places to eat and drink.  When we walked into the site that became Wahleeah I just knew we could do something very special here.

When you have time to travel, where’s your favourite foodie destination?

New York! No question for me, there is an energy to the food scene there that is almost palpable. Expectations of diners are extremely high and chefs have to be on their game on every service. I have a very deep desire to cook in NYC and hope to realise it next year.

Vist OpenTable to book a table at Wahleeah. You can follow Dave on twitter – @CorkGourmetGuy.

Tags: Celeb Chef Interviews, City Guides, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Skate and Dine: The UK’s best ice rinks (and where to eat nearby)

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With only 43 days until Christmas, we’ve started to fill our diaries with festive lunches, shopping marathons, and trips to some of the UK’s best ice rinks. Strapping on your skates is the perfect way to kickstart your Christmas spirit, especially if you refuel with a delicious dinner afterwards! Here are some of our favourite ice rinks and our top tips for where to eat nearby.


Ice Skate Birmingham – 14th November 2015 – 10th January 2016

Situated close to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham’s ice rink can accommodate 300 people at any one time! There are penguin skating aids to keep the kids upright and an Ice Lounge where the grown-ups can enjoy mulled wine and cider. For dinner, try Fleet Street Kitchen for deli boards and chargrilled meats, Lasan for some of the best Indian food in town, and Pasta di Piazza for a family-friendly feast.

Ice Skating at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey – 20th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Skate on the banks of the Thames in front of King Henry VIII’s magnificent palace, which is 500 years old this year. Book in advance to dine at award-winning restaurants like The French Table, Retro Bistrot and The Foresters – they’re all only a short drive away.

Glasgow on Ice, Glasgow –27th November – 31st December 2015

Glasgow on Ice returns to George Square this year for five weeks of skating, fairground rides and festive fun. You can warm up nearby with pizza and cocktails at SoHo, curries at Café India, or superb steaks at Alston Bar & Beef. For a real treat, head to Hutchesons and splash out on the Chateaubriand for two to share.


Skate at Somerset House, London – 18 November 2015 – 10 January 2016

Skate in the splendour of the stunning Somerset House courtyard, just a stone’s throw from Covent Garden. There are lots of great restaurants within walking distance, from grand brasseries like The Delaunay and Balthazar to iconic dining destinations like J Sheekey and The Savoy Grill. For something a little more casual, there’s Champagne + Fromage, Big Easy and Flesh & Buns.

Manchester Ice Rink – 12th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Located just over the bridge from Spinningfields, the Manchester Ice Rink is perfect for a family day out or an evening of skating with friends. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, cross the bridge for tapas at Iberica or turn skate night into date night with a special meal at Hawksmoor or Quill.

Princes Street Gardens Ice Rink, Edinburgh – 20th November 2015 – 4th January 2016

After a trip to Santa’s Grotto or a ride on the Big Wheel, get your skates on and take a turn around Edinburgh’s glittering ice rink. You can refuel afterwards with French favourites at Café St Honoré or enjoy modern Scottish cooking at WHISKI Rooms or Angels with Bagpipes.


Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton – 7th November 2015 – 17th January 2016

With the former Royal Pavilion palace as a backdrop, this is one of the most beautiful ice rinks in the UK. There are lots of places to eat nearby, including British bar-restaurant No 32 and award-winning vegetarian eatery, Food for Friends. OpenTable diners also love the authentic Indonesian dishes at Warung Tujuh and GB1 at the Grand Hotel for fresh fish and oysters on the seafront.

Eyeskate, London – 14th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

After checking out the Southbank Winter Market, you can skate in style at the huge riverside rink beneath the London Eye. The excellent Skylon is only a stroll away or you can cross the bridge for supper at Terroirs, The Strand Dining Rooms, or The Ivy Market Grill.

Looking for the perfect festive lunch spot or somewhere to dine on Christmas Day? Try a search on OpenTable or ask our experts – we’re only a tweet away…

Tags: Birmingham, City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London, Manchester. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Your guide to the UK’s best winter food festivals

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With less than 50 days until Christmas, it’s time to start hunting for stocking fillers and gourmet gifts for all your foodie friends. You can find some fantastic artisan treats at these winter food festivals, as well as celeb chef demos, street food, tastings and more. Tickets are on sale now – don’t miss out!


BBC Good Food Show, London – 13-15th November

There’s lots to look forward to at this year’s BBC Good Food Show, from chef demos by Tom Kerridge and Michel Roux Jr to pop-up restaurants by Blue Elephant and Café Spice Namaste. You can get your cookbooks signed by Mary Berry and José Pizarro, relax in Craft Beer Corner, or try your hand at cocktail making. Tickets cost £23.50 and include entry to the Bakes & Cakes Show.

Foodies Festival, Edinburgh – 13-15th November

Visit Foodies Festival for a festive feast of top chefs, artisan producers, street food and food and drink masterclasses. Sample and shop from over 150 artisan producers in the Christmas Market, enjoy a glass of fizz at the Champagne Ski Bar, or make gingerbread men with the kids in the Elf Cookery School.

Foodies Festival will also be popping up in London and Harrogate this winter.


Taste of London: The Festive Edition – 19-22nd November

The festive edition of Taste promises to be bigger and better than ever before! Head to Tobacco Dock to shop for gifts, try a tasting, and see culinary heroes like Marcus Wareing, Tom Aikens, and Vivek Singh in action. There will be taster-sized dishes to try from top restaurants like Kurobuta, Tredwell’s and Maze Grill, plus decadent desserts from the Meringue Girls and Lily Vanilli.

Get weekday tickets for £12 with our code OPEN12 and weekend tickets for £15 using code OPEN15.

BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham – 26-29th November

At the NEC this month, Atul Kochhar and Glynn Purnell will be cooking up a storm in the Winter Kitchen, while James Martin and The Hairy Bikers entertain the crowds at the Supertheatre. You can shop for gourmet goodies in the Producers’ Village or decorate a festive cake in the Renshaw Christmas School.

The Chocolate Festival, London – 4-6th December

Pick up stocking fillers and sample mouthwatering treats from artisan chocolatiers at Islington’s Business Design Centre. You can relax in the Chocolate Café, take part in a chocolate tasting, or learn more about raw chocolate in the Health Zone. Advance tickets are £12 and include entry to the Cheese & Wine festival.

Looking for a food festival near you? Search for your local area on Food Festival Finder.

Tags: Birmingham, City Guides, Featured, Food Events & Festivals, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.