London Cocktail Week: The Highlights

lcwLondon Cocktail Week returns on October 3rd with a packed schedule of boozy parties, pop-ups and masterclasses. The events always fill up fast so head over to the LCW website to reserve your space. Here are some of this year’s highlights:

As ever, our favourite part of London Cocktail Week is the wristbands that entitle you to £5 cocktails at 200 of London’s best bars, plus a ton of extra perks. This year’s line-up includes hot newcomers like 100 Islington, The Four Sisters Townhouse, and Talli Joe. There’s a handy map to help you plan the ultimate cocktail crawl and you can use the OpenTable app to find somewhere to eat along the way.

You can collect your wristband from The World Class House (a multi-storey hub in Piccadilly Circus) or the Cocktail Village, which is returning to Spitalfields for its second year. The village is open all week with pop-up bars, trucks and even bicycles selling bespoke cocktails from top booze brands.

Time to start planning your cocktail adventures! If you need ideas on where to eat, ask our experts on twitter.

Introducing City of London Restaurant Week!

City of London Restaurant Week

This autumn, we’re launching our first City of London Restaurant Week! From 19th September to 2nd October, we’re giving you the opportunity to dine for less at some of the most iconic restaurants in the Square Mile. From celeb chef dining destinations to restaurants with stunning views, this is your chance to dine in style without breaking the bank.

Visit the City of London Restaurant Week page to browse and book offers at top restaurants like Yauatcha City, Sosharu, Galvin La Chapelle, and Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. Try fusion cooking at its finest with 25% off at The Modern Pantry or enjoy some of London’s best barbecue at HotBox. There are so many great offers to choose from, so don’t miss out – find your perfect table today!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for foodie tips and dining inspiration during the City of London Restaurant Week. We would love to hear about your favourite City restaurants, so please tag your recommendations and photos with #EatTheCity so we can check them out.

Waiter, I can’t hear my food: Survival tips for noisy restaurants #hackdining

So, you recently enjoyed a tasty meal at a noisy, hip restaurant only when you were headed home you noticed your ears and head were throbbing leaving you wondering if you had just dined at an industrial construction site? Don’t worry, you haven’t suddenly morphed into your grandparents (unless you’re also dining at 4:30PM), and you probably aren’t imagining things either. You’ve just entered the increasingly common, ear-splitting world of high-volume modern fine dining.

BusyRestaurantPart of this trend is economics: an environment of loud music creates a party-like atmosphere and, it turns out, is a proven method to boost alcohol sales. More booze, more profits. A collateral effect is that it also tends to drive customers out faster… tables turn quicker, more profit.

So, what to do about noisy restaurants? Unless you’re regularly packing ear plugs, here are some more practical tips that might help:

1. Do some homework. If you’re unsure about your destination’s atmosphere and you need a place with a quiet vibe, do some research on what kind of acoustic environment to expect; reading through recent reviews on OpenTable is a good place to start. You may not mind a full-on raucous hoopla on a casual night out with some friends. But if you are taking out your future in-laws for the first time, you’d be well advised to head someplace you can savour their every word.

2. Share your beef. If you find yourself sitting inside a human snare drum, don’t be afraid to ask the management to adjust the volume. Just know that they may well resist. One critically-acclaimed but infamously cacophonous Italian eatery has been known to inform their customers that neither the music selection nor the decibel level are negotiable and have gone so far to nudge their diners to head elsewhere if it’s not to their liking. Other, less rigid restaurants, however, typically strive to keep their customers happy and may bend to accommodate your polite request.

3. Relocate. Even the loudest places may have a cosy nook or two where lip reading is not required. Ask to move as soon as you can so you don’t hold up your meal. It’s a hassle to move tables, but it’s a better option than suffering in silence. Well, not exactly silence, but….

4. Improvise… If you’re stuck in a gastro rock concert, try and make the best of it. I’ve been on many a meal where guests sneak outside for frequent non-cigarette breaks to clear their heads. Large groups can swap seatmates after each course so they have a snowball’s chance of talking with and hearing someone across the table. This may drive your waiter a little crazy when they try to figure out who got which dish after a round of musical chairs but it also sends a subtle message to management.

Are you bothered by noisy restaurants or do you like it when eateries pump up the volume? Share your thoughts here or over on Facebook or twitter.

This is a guest post from Stan Sagner – a former chef, now a NYC-based food and travel writer.

New OpenTable restaurants: Ormer, Sagardi, Menagerie & more

Looking for somewhere new to eat this month? Check out some of the great new restaurants that have recently joined OpenTable, including some of London’s hottest newcomers.

OrmerOrmer – This Mayfair newcomer is overseen by chef Shaun Rankin, who owns the critically acclaimed Ormer in Jersey. His passion for the island’s produce is reflected in the menu – expect fresh lobster, hand-dived scallops, Jersey royals, and shoreline foraged herbs.

Sagardi – Take a trip to San Sebastian via Shoreditch at new Basque restaurant, Sagardi. They’re serving delicious bite-sized pintxos, Basque cider, and incredible cuts of beef and whole fish cooked on the grill.

Bubbledogs – On restaurant-lined Charlotte Street, Bubbledogs stands out from the crowd with its unique offering of grower Champagnes and hot dogs with globally-inspired toppings. Pop in after work for fizz, dogs and tater tots, or kick-start your weekend at one of their Saturday brunch parties.

Scott’s – This Mayfair institution is the perfect setting for a night of seafood, Champagne and celeb spotting. It serves the finest oysters, seafood platters, and sustainable fish in effortlessly glamorous surroundings.

Oldroyd – We’re thrilled that this award-winning Upper Street gem is now bookable on OpenTable. Owned and run by former Polpo chef, Tom Oldroyd, it serves a daily changing European menu built around seasonal British ingredients. The handsome upstairs dining room is perfect for cosy date night dinners but fills up quickly, so book ahead!

Park Chinois – Looking for somewhere totally decadent to dine this month? Head to Mayfair for dim sum and cocktails in the Salon de Chine, or book a table downstairs at the ultra-luxe Club Chinois and linger over exquisite Chinese dishes.

Also new in London: Suvlaki; Les 110 de Taillevent; Mac & WildLyle’s; Clipstone; Samarkand; and Bombetta.

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Menagerie – Shaking up the Salford dining scene this month is Menagerie, a contemporary American restaurant serving dishes like lobster Rockafella, flat iron steak and XO crab doughnuts. The interior is equally impressive, with a bar covered in gold leaf, cocktails garnished with flaming £20 notes, and a neon-lit catwalk for live entertainment.

The Elephant – At Simon Hulstone’s award-winning Devon restaurant, diners can sample the finest local ingredients whilst enjoying the view over Torbay harbour. Wine enthusiasts will approve of the concise list of hand-picked bottles.

Halloumi – Beat the end-of-summer blues at this cheery Glasgow newcomer, which serves authentic Greek-Cypriot mezze. Snack on fresh dips and salads and then tuck into classics like beef stifado, grilled octopus and spanakopita.

Source – Already a hit with OpenTable diners, Source serves ‘slow meats, superfoods and tasty vegetarian dishes’ in the heart of York. Choose from BBQ pulled pork or 48-hour beef brisket, or go meat-free with their hearty salads, shakshuka and daily changing risotto. The laid-back vibe makes it a top spot for mid-week suppers.

William de Percy – Escape the hustle and bustle at William de Percy, a French-inspired gastropub and boutique hotel in Northumberland. We love the sound of their savoury crêpes and French onion soup made with Newcastle brown ale.

Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news on the latest restaurant openings and other foodie inspiration.