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Alexi Duggins

Alexi Duggins

Alexi Duggins is Time Out's former London Editor at Large.

Articles (23)

London’s best escape rooms

London’s best escape rooms

After being locked down for great swathes of 2020 and 2021, you may think that the last thing you want to do is voluntarily imprison yourself, but the great thing about escape games is that you have the power to release yourself if you keep your wits sharpened. So grab a bunch of thrill-seeking, puzzle-solving mates and sign up for one of the many live escape room experiences London has to offer. These range from the traditional locked-room escape mission to a ‘Sherlock’-themed mystery and an all-out recreation of the ’90s TV show ‘The Crystal Maze’. Whichever you choose, your group will have to help each other to solve puzzles within a strict time limit. Our advice? Pick your teammates wisely.  Start the fans, please! RECOMMENDED: 101 things to do in London.

Off-limits London: Five hidden places we never get to see

Off-limits London: Five hidden places we never get to see

London's full of clandestine places that most of us will never be able to see: behind-the-scenes, closed off portions of important institutions, or derelict venues that have been sealed up for decades. Our capital is rich with these mysterious pockets of space – a room containing everything that has ever been left on public transport, a spookily neglected Victorian theatre, a workshop used to refurbish giant spiders. Intrigued? We thought so. In the spirit of revealing some of the city's more special sights, we bring you a selection of some of our favourite off-limit parts of London. Consider this your Access All Areas pass to the city. RECOMMENDED: discover more bits of secret London 

The best online escape rooms to try from home

The best online escape rooms to try from home

Online escape rooms take place entirely through your screen, and even though it’s a novel concept dreamt up during the Covid-19 lockdown, there are already many variations of the genre. Some blend the code-cracking with a bit of interactive theatre using Zoom, others use a digital version of an escape room that can be played through an avatar. London escape rooms have now reopened, but unlike the virtual Zoom quiz boom, these online replacements seem to have stuck. Want to assemble a team and try one for yourself? Here are four online games that have proved themselves to be more than a lockdown fad. Want some more ideas for hosting a virtual fun night? Get friends and family living at distance together by playing some of our best online party games, testing your knowledge with online trivia games or getting messy with drinking games you can play over a screen.

The best online escape rooms to try from home

The best online escape rooms to try from home

Online escape rooms take place entirely through your screen, and even though it’s a novel concept dreamt up during the Covid-19 lockdown, there are already many variations of the genre. Some blend the code-cracking with a bit of interactive theatre using Zoom, others use a digital version of an escape room that can be played through an avatar. London escape rooms have now reopened, but unlike the virtual Zoom quiz boom, these online replacements seem to have stuck. Want to assemble a team and try one for yourself? Here are four online games that have proved themselves to be more than a lockdown fad. Want some more ideas for hosting a virtual fun night? Get friends and family living at distance together by playing some of our best online party games, testing your knowledge with online trivia games or getting messy with drinking games you can play over a screen.

Top Boy's back: Kano, Ashley Walters and Micheal Ward spill the new series' secrets

Top Boy's back: Kano, Ashley Walters and Micheal Ward spill the new series' secrets

The reason that you are reading this is a five-year old Instagram photo. It’s slightly pixelated and features Ashley Walters with the kind of mournful expression that suggests he’s just eaten a bad prawn. But its significance comes from being a still of Hackney-set TV drama ‘Top Boy’ posted by rap megastar Drake. And that he captioned it ‘Real bod man’. People assumed that this was the Canadian MC’s misguided attempt at pronouncing ‘bad’ in a London accent rather than a lusty appraisal of the ex-garage star’s torso. And with it began years of frothy headlines speculating that Drake might be working behind the scenes to revive ‘Top Boy’s true-to-life portrayal of the crime-ridden lives of youngsters on Hackney’s estates. Until, three years later, the announcement arrived: ‘Top Boy’ was back, renewed for a ten-episode series on Netflix, with Drake as executive producer. But it wasn’t entirely down to the ‘Hotline Bling’ star. ‘I was hearing stories that Jay-Z loved “Top Boy” before the Drake thing,’ says Walters – the So Solid Crew star-turned-actor – as he tucks into a pot of granola in a Shoreditch photo studio, chatting ahead of the drama’s relaunch. ‘It struck a chord with people all around the world.’ ‘Yeah, it was just amazing how wide a demographic the show had,’ chips in one of the show’s other leads, Kane Robinson, aka Kano, one of the brightest lights of UK grime. ‘I’d be in the petrol station and people would come up to me at the pumps to talk to me about “Top Boy”.

28 corner-shop crisps ranked worst to best

28 corner-shop crisps ranked worst to best

Forget fancy tacos and middle-class burgers – crisps are the REAL London street food. But which is London’s best salty, packet-based treat? We scoured ten London corner shops and rigorously taste tested the crisp brands that cropped up time and again. And, by ‘crisps’ we mean ‘crisps’. Not ‘Mexican taco rolls’ or ‘Indonesian-style crackers’ (we’re talking to you, Phileas Fogg). Read on for the ultimate guide to the best crisps London has to offer. RECOMMENDED: All 32 Pret sandwiches ranked worst to best

What’s the deal with AJ Tracey?

What’s the deal with AJ Tracey?

He’s throwing devil horns with his fingers. I’m guessing: he rawwwks?Nope. AJ Tracey is a 23-year-old MC from Ladbroke Grove who’s been making serious waves within the world of grime since 2015. But he doesn’t have an MC name!Actually, he does. He was born Ché Wolton Grant, but he decided to call himself ‘AJ’ because of his love of Armani. The ‘Tracey’ bit came from a really intimidating guy he knew who was called Stacey, because according to him: ‘I thought: If a man has a girl’s name and he’s still scaring people, then maybe I should try doing it so I can be that guy.’ He looks kind of familiar…Hmm, well you may recognise him from Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter account. During the election, he filmed a personal video message urging people to vote Labour. Also, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy – which happened right on his doorstep – he was very vocal in condemning the government’s response, with the likes of Naomi Klein tweeting a video interview that he and his brother did with The Guardian. Naomi Klein, eh? So he’s got celebrity connections?Sort of. After he made probably the best grime track of 2016, ‘Thiago Silva’ (co-created with fellow rising star Dave), Drake shouted him out on his Beats1 show. He’s worked with garage legend MJ Cole and appeared on a remix alongside hip hop megastar A$AP Rocky. While he grew up on the estates of west London, his dad was a rapper who once had a video that went to the top of MTV’s video chart. Sadly, AJ refuses to reveal his old man’

What’s inside London’s mysterious green huts?

What’s inside London’s mysterious green huts?

The next 1,000 or so words are brought to you by booze. Specifically, enough booze to screw up your balance, blur your vision and leave the horizon tilting like a seesaw under a Sumo wrestler’s bum. Because this article is about a collection of mysterious green wooden shelters that owe their existence to one thing: pissed-up cab drivers. Or, more accurately: pissed-up Victorian cab drivers. In nineteenth-century Britain, pubs were where cabbies who drove horse-drawn carriages sheltered from the rain. Or bought hot food. Or did things like get so drunk on duty that, if you got in their cab, you’d be putting your life into the hands of someone whose driving was as trustworthy as Brian Harvey’s. So, in 1875, a newspaper owner who didn’t fancy having his cab driver reverse over his own face decided to set up the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund – a charity dedicated to funding shelters that would let taxi drivers get some hot food and caffeine into them. And not get blind drunk.   There were originally dozens of the wooden shelters, all exactly the length of a horse and cart and featuring a brass rail for the horses to be tied up to. Today 13 of them remain – bright green, Grade II-listed chunks of London history that serve up super-cheap breakfast food so hearty that in 2015 we included the Hanover Square one in our list of ‘best bacon sandwiches’. Most people tend to pass them by, either thinking they’re public toilets or failing to recognise them at all. Not that i

'Black Mirror'ın yaratıcısı ve yazarı Charlie Brooker'la tanışın

'Black Mirror'ın yaratıcısı ve yazarı Charlie Brooker'la tanışın

Gerçek hayatta tanıştığın insanları en çok hangi özelliklerinle şaşırtıyorsun sence? Asık suratlı oluşum abartılıyor. Ayrıca insanları karşıma almayı sevmiyorum. İnsanların düşündüğü gibi sarsılmaz düşüncelere sahip değilim, beni fikirlerimden kolaylıkla caydırabilirsiniz. Televizyonda sürekli çatık kaşlarımla görünüyorum, gerçek hayatta ise tam bir hödüğüm. Beceriksiz, budala ve dangalak adamın tekiyim. Eski Britanya Başbakanı David Cameron’ın bir domuza uygunsuz hareketlerde bulunduğu iddiası ortaya çıktığında sen çoktan ‘Black Mirror’ için benzer bir hikâye anlatan bir bölüm kaleme almıştın. İddiaları duyduğunda neler hissettin? Hakikat diye bir şey olmadığına ve benim kafam karışsın diye yaratılmış bir simülasyonda yaşadığıma bir süreliğine gerçekten inandım. Çok ama çok garipti. 'San Junipero' bölümünden bir sahne ‘Black Mirror’ın uluslararası başarı yakalaması garip geliyor mu sana? Evet, çok acayip bir durum. Çok garip şeyler yaşadım bu konuyla ilgili ama anlatabileceğim enteresan bir anekdotum yok maalesef. ‘Black Mirror’ın artık bir Netflix dizisi olmasının da etkisiyle büyük yıldızlarla çalışma fırsatı yakalamaya başladın. Jerome Flynn ile çalışmak nasıldı? Harika bir adam Flynn, birlikte çektiğimiz bölümde de muhteşemdi. Sanırım dünyada daha çok ‘Game of Thrones’daki Bronn karakteri olarak tanınıyor. Robson & Jerome grubuyla ‘Unchained Melody’ parçasına getirdikleri yorum yüzünden ondan intikam almam gerekirdi aslında. Şaka, hiç böyle bir şey düşünmedim tabii. Z

Top five awkward moments at the Christmas party

Top five awkward moments at the Christmas party

When the final month of the year rolls around it can either bring with it the best of times or the most embarrassing of times. We're putting our money on the latter. Because when the boss's bar tab comes out, so do the pained conversations with what's-his-name from the other side of the office or the stragglers' (we're looking at you) undignified dash for the last dregs of booze. Here are the most five awkward moments that can plague the Xmas party.

Five hangover cures tried and tested

Five hangover cures tried and tested

It’s Christmas party season! Which means only one thing: a month of wretched, brain-mangling hangovers. Don’t worry, though. Hangover cures are everywhere now, so in the name of research, we tested five of them out. This is for your benefit, you understand: not because we need to get rid of our hangovers or anything. Ahem.

Five upsides to your festive hangover

Five upsides to your festive hangover

Sure, you feel rotten. But you’re never gonna get through this hangover if you’re going to fixate on its downsides. What you need is a little positivity about your post-booze slump. Now if only someone had written a handy guide explaining five positive ways to think about hangovers. Oh wait: we have. Here they are.

Listings and reviews (57)

The Heron

The Heron

4 out of 5 stars

As unlikely venues go for lip-smacking Thai food that transports you straight to the streets of Bangkok, this pub-and-dining-room in a Paddington back-street has to top the list. The street-level boozer is so full of bric-a-brac and royal memorabilia that it’s like an antique shop run by a die-hard monarchist. A cosy log fire expels flames alongside a display cabinet of Victorian medicine bottles, black-and-white photos of the Queen Mother and a Henry VII diorama which proudly bestrides the wall when the big screen isn’t down for the football. But in its basement lies a bright yellow restaurant serving flavour-packed Thai cuisine so unadulterated for Western tastes that calling it spicy doesn’t really do it justice (try ‘made us feel as though our mouths have spontaneously combusted’). A starter of plah goong was a salad of expertly butterflied prawns packed with crunchy coriander stems, served with a crazily zingy, citrussy, sweet dressing (which left us wanting to plunge your tongue into a stranger’s pint). The pleasingly chewy noodles, big curds of egg and monster crustaceans in a portion of prawn pad thai felt hearty and rustic (as well as making you wonder what the days when you could feel your lips were like). A sour, orange curry of gang som goong kai cha om is not the sort of dish you usually see in Thai restaurants – all tart and tamarindy and wonderful, full of chunks of ‘omelette’ that are hefty portions of green veg in a light egg coating. It was also the only dis

Mamuśka

Mamuśka

3 out of 5 stars

Now in its third location, long-running Polish restaurant Mamuśka has upsized to the kind of gigantic industrial railway arch that feels as though it should be a nightclub: aided by the pumping soundtrack of Sean Paul and Euro dance that thumped away on our 8pm midweek visit. A selection of McDonald’s-style automated screens now join the counter staff from which you order the hearty, rustic Polish cuisine, before waiting for your order number to be called. The gut-busting portions attract a diverse (if Polish-heavy) crowd, from party-frocked women carb (and vodka)-loading before hitting the town to thirty-somethings in comfortable jumpers charging their phones over pierogi and a chat. A big stack of potato pancakes came with a beautifully caramelised crust, topped with huge chunks of pork and a molten layer of cheese, while a starter of dill-sauce-coated herring was served with an impressively warm hunk of home-made bread, tiger-striped with char marks. The pierogi were the stand-out, though: a cheese version was all gooey centre, topped with crisp bacon bits – great hangover food, which is apt given its vast booze selection of 30 vodkas and 40 beers. Prices aren’t as low as they once were: £15 for two beef cheeks is pushing it for somewhere playing club hits circa 2006 and seating diners at beer garden wooden tables and benches. But for mega amounts of warming, Eastern European comfort food, Mamuśka is still well worth a look.

Flight 338 escape room

Flight 338 escape room

Billing itself as ‘the world’s first escape room on a jet plane’, the main draw at this two-game venue is Flight 338, an experience where you’re locked into an actual airplane (which, sadly, stays on the runway). You’re told you’re a prisoner en-route to your trial, put into a jumpsuit and then frogmarched to your seat, before a mechanical malfunction gives you one hour to escape before the plane takes off. Hosts are in-character as prison warders with a script that’s genuinely very funny, adding a nice immersive layer to puzzles that involve sifting through suitcases and checking flight manifests as the clock ticks down to zero. It’s just the right amount of challenging, cleverly designed and full of satisfying puzzles. They’ve also recently added a Breaking Bad-themed game to their roster. It’s here until April and we can really see it taking off – although not literally. 

Patogh

Patogh

3 out of 5 stars

Chargrilled Persian kebabs are the order of the day at this tiny Edgware Road eaterie. A variety of charcoal grilled, lamb and chicken offerings come either well done, normal or ‘juicy’. The latter of which is no understatement – a skewer of lamb pieces was all moist and coated in earthy spice marinade while boneless chicken came so tender it could have been a crooner in a past life. Minced offerings were less convincing: lamb tending towards the bland and greasy, with a strange bend in the middle. Sides impressed, though, including buttery saffron rice and a ‘big special bread’ that came as a giant oval of smoky, buttery flatbread that was as much sesame seed as dough: soft and pillowy at the edges leading in to air pockets and pleasingly crisp char-marked at the centre. It’s very much a no-frills dining experience – cash only, BYO booze, plus a tiny downstairs that leaves you knocking elbows with fellow diners, but that’s part of the charm. The bargain prices are enjoyed by Arab tourists and a post-pub crowd, all in an environment whose rugged plasterwork makes you feel as though you’re dining inside a cave soundtracked by Middle Eastern pop.

O Moinho

O Moinho

3 out of 5 stars

For many Londoners, the beauty of this city is its diversity. And this basic Portuguese eatery overflows with cultural charm. Diners wander in off the street, loudly greeting other guests in Portuguese, embracing them like long lost family. Strings of paper flags of red and green hang around TVs showing Primeira Liga football, overlooking earthy yellow-painted walls that give it the rustic feel of somewhere straight out of the Algarve. Eating here is a way to feel like you’ve travelled across the continent, while still being able to see a Tesco Express from a window seat. The food is more mixed. Its seafood menu is a highlight, with a starter of king prawns so big they looked like something from a sci-fi story. A huge portion of clams came bobbing in a lake of olive oil accompanied by delicious but date-ruiningly big chunks of garlic. And despite the bland sauce in a main of monkfish rice, the seafood was so tender it was like eating a fishy cloud. A mixed grill was less impressive, with overcooked meat that could have doubled as shoe leather, charcoal-smoked to the point of medicinal. There’s a distinctly 1980s feel to the dessert selection, as well, with a zingy passionfruit cheesecake coming with a thoroughly retro wafer and a pat of squirty cream. Really, though, this eaterie’s charms lie less in the cooking and more in feeling like you’ve gone on an exotic Portuguese-infused holiday… to Stockwell.

Agile Rabbit

Agile Rabbit

3 out of 5 stars

Dinner in Brixton Market means three things: cheap prices, no-frills decor and an energetic vibe that buzzes harder than a bee on MDMA. And the Brixton Village outpost of small independent pizza chain Agile Rabbit lives up to expectations. Amidst DIY interiors encompassing home-made shelving units, the air is heavy with conscious ’90s hip hop and young couples in matching lumberjack shirts clinking Brixton Beer bottles. The pizzas are impressive, with a scamorza-topped five-cheese option having an enjoyably crisp base and a four seasons calzone proving a puffy beast decorated with pleasing char marks. It was filled so generously that sliding a knife through it left its serving board so covered with red sauce it looked like a homicide scene. Less accomplished were the supplementary options, with small plates proving either disappointing – dry and flimsy garlic bread, buffalo mozzarella salad with chewily claggy cheese – or non-existent, with two of the three salads and an advertised dessert of ‘sweet pizza’ unavailable. However, this clearly isn’t a venue that’s intended for a proper sit-down meal. On a Friday night visit, it only started to get busy at 9.30pm as people arrived to drink shots at the bar or order takeout pizza by the slice from the counter. Frankly, at £2.50-£3.50 a slice for an impressively topped, crispy offering, it’s not hard to see why this venue’s real strength lies in its takeaway service.

Banh Bao Brothers

Banh Bao Brothers

3 out of 5 stars

If there were ever a restaurant with its eyes on the Insta potential of its decor, it’s this Vietnamese eatery. Set in one of the railway arches in Waterloo’s graffiti-slathered Leake St tunnel, you step in past a neon sign of Asian script. Two ten-foot-tall fake cherry blossom trees brush their plastic fronds against towering brick walls. Sheets of metal are broken up with projections of a verdant green bamboo forest. On my midweek visit, two hipster-ish pals sat tilting their beanie-clad heads upwards to gaze at shimmering pink foliage projected onto the ceiling and announced ‘This. Is. SO. Cool.’ The menu’s a mix of small bites and large dishes, which most diners were blending into a multi-course meal. The titular baos they serve are closed Cantonese style buns rather than the Taiwanese sandwich-style hirata bun beloved of Yum Bun and Bao customers. But an OG pork bun was somewhat underseasoned. A rack of pork ribs melted tenderly from the bone, but was pointlessly served with a bowl of sauce identical to the glaze – as though the chef had cooked extra and hated to see it wasted. And grilled aubergine, though punchily flavoured with red chilli, fish sauce and peanuts, was undercooked to the point of toughness in parts. A perfectly nice place to eat, but the food simply isn’t the forte. You go so you can point your phone up at the fake plastic trees and get that perfect pic for the ‘Gram.

Wright Brothers Borough Market

Wright Brothers Borough Market

4 out of 5 stars

To say that the flagship branch of this seafood restaurant is dinky is a serious understatement. On a weekend evening, just getting into the building can make you feel like an unwitting participant in a game of human pinball. But once in, it’s the teensiness that makes it so vibey. It’s a buzzy little room of high-backed stools full of quirky seafood-based decor (cutlery in an old anchovy can, mannequin holding an oyster knife) whose kitchen is so open plan that there’s literally nowhere you can sit without hearing the sizzle of frying fish. Seriously, you can see everything: the furiously shucking chefs, the blue fly-killing lights, the metal sink in which a moustachioed lookalike of a retired 1980s German footballer scrubs dishes. Everything. The cooking trades off the freshness of the seafood sourced by the restaurant’s specialist wholesale company. Each seat comes with a ready-made revolving iron circle built into the counter to host a platter of crustaceans, with most diners sitting in front of hubcap-sized metal dishes of crushed ice with oysters splayed in their midst. Even if you’re a member of the ‘they taste like a mouthful of dirty seawater’ brigade, the shellfish is worth trying. Baked oysters Rockefeller came with a slight aniseed tang to lighten a spinachy topping as rich as the financier they’re named after. A starter of meaty whelks as pretty as Guylian chocolates was served simply with a sweet mayo. Crustaceans aside, a cuttlefish stew was all squidgy hunks o

Polpo Soho

Polpo Soho

3 out of 5 stars

Ten years since it opened, Polpo’s forte remains its ambience. The vibe at this Venetian small plates restaurant is cosy, with low ceilings, rustic Italian cartography on the walls and light bulbs rendered atmospheric by hanging sheets over them. The food is more of a mixed bag. Some of the sharing platters were decent. An impressively thin prosciutto and gorgonzola pizzette’s crust was mottled with wood ash, topped with thick-cut cured meat and flecked with parsley, while a spicy pork and fennel meatball came in a rich, parmesan-scattered tomato sauce. For dessert, a portion of tiramisu was creamy and delicate. But plenty of dishes underwhelmed. A zucchini, basil and parmesan salad was so ludicrously dosed with the salty cheese that it looked like an avalanche and tasted like a swig at a bottle of table salt. One solitary leaf of basil broke up the flavour. An artichoke and leek risotto lacked richness while a sliced rump steak was so over-seasoned that it felt like the chef must have been sponsored by Maldon. The hipster crowd that once frequented this, the original branch, has long gone: on a midweek visit, it was impossible to locate a single diner under 35 amid swathes of blazers, v-neck jumpers and couples who looked like their eating speed was being dictated by their babysitter’s price tag. But the hubbub of low chatter teamed with smiley, super-friendly service, makes for a very pleasant evening.

Murger Hanhan

Murger Hanhan

3 out of 5 stars

Specialising in cuisine from the north-central Chinese city of Xi’an, this upmarket restaurant is named after a hot meat sandwich, or ‘murger’, whose clay-oven-baked bread’s recipe is believed to pre-date Christ. My advice, though, is to skip past it, to the dish where that same meat patty gets mangled into tiny pieces and put into soup. The lamb murger soup was a revelation: claret-hued lamb slices bobbed in an intense, rich broth, whose silken belts of hand-pulled noodles were topped with murger bread morsels that had taken on the texture of al dente pasta. On my mid-week visit, the largely Asian crowd that filled this contemporary, chic take on the original Euston branch had also shunned the murger for big, steaming bowls of mega-fresh hand-pulled noodles – particularly the lip-numbingly spicy biang biang version. It’s not unusual to hear these kind of wide, flat noodles referred to as ‘belt noodles’. But given the insane proportions of these ones, the description feels particularly apt – they’re so oversized, you could genuinely use one to keep your trousers up. As for the murgers, they weren’t great. A pork version was dryer than one of Theresa May’s speeches, the spicy beef murger dripped with oil and the bread in both was disappointingly claggy. So do go. Just go for everything but the murger.

Modern Fables Escape Room

Modern Fables Escape Room

5 out of 5 stars

Modern Fables isn’t just an escape game but a borderline immersive experience. You’re told that you’re heading to a bar called The Escapist to help out due to the owner’s disappearance. On arrival, you walk into an eerie warehouse space where black-and-white films flicker over candlelit room. A slightly unsettling barman appears, takes you into a recreation pub and unnervingly gives you the story of the mysterious vanishing of the landlady, while 1940s jazz crackles from a radio. You’re left alone, you find a secret door and suddenly you’re plunged into the mystery around the owner’s disappearance, taking you through a series of inventive challenges and impressively built sets whose dedication to a consistent backstory is a cut above most other London efforts. Is its location a bit off the beaten track? Yes. Is it also one of the most well-thought-through escape games that London’s seen in a long time? Also yes. Other escape games take note: the bar has just been raised.

Suvlaki

Suvlaki

3 out of 5 stars

Britain might have really gotten its head around excellent street food in the last five years or so, but the Greeks have had it nailed since they started mass-peddling souvlaki in the 1950s. Take meat, add tzatziki and salad, roll up in a pillowy pitta, bite in and yell ‘YUM!’. Brick Lane’s newest Hellenic eatery has named itself after the dish – minus the ‘o’ – and opened a dinky, fun dining room that’s the sister to a Soho branch. There’s a real sense of fun to the place: smiley staff, buzzy conversation, a tucked away booth labelled the ‘Naughty Corner’... and that’s before you realise that the menu offers shots of ouzo for £3. The food was good-to-average: the pulled pork and orzo pasta combo of ‘pork kritharaki’ was all melty brilliance and the lamb chops came beautifully pink, salty as a sailor’s brow and served with a slice of lemon, in authentic Greek style. The souvlaki range was surprisingly variable for a supposed signature dish, though, with a spicy prawn version featuring chewy crustaceans suffocated by a vast pile of mega-greasy, deep-fried kale. But kormos (chocolate biscuit cake) came with shots of mastiha liqueur for £3. Which perhaps explains the reason that, as we left, one female diner was attempting to dance with a waitress. We’ll say this about the place: it definitely has a party vibe. Will its souvlaki make you want to yell ‘YUM!’? Depends on which one you order.

News (84)

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ review: ‘A tour de force of wobbly-eyed emotion’

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ review: ‘A tour de force of wobbly-eyed emotion’

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest musicals are coming to YouTube, and this Easter weekend’s release is ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (obviously). The production was filmed on an arena tour of the UK in 2012, and stars Tim Minchin, Mel C, Chris Moyles and Ben Forster. Fancy a sneak preview? Here’s our review of the opening night at The O2 back in 2012… Before a note is sung on the opening night of this arena-touring Andrew Lloyd Webber revival, there’s already a waft of anachronism about it. This is, after all, a show whose attempts at cutting-edge modernisation involved picking its lead via flop ITV talent show ‘Superstar’. Which lends it all the contemporary credibility of a drunk uncle dancing at a wedding. And, surprise surprise, a pall of ludicrousness hangs over director Laurence Connor’s revival of Webber and Tim Rice’s 1971 smash like the smell of the bland, overpriced burritos in the foyer. Disembodied social networking messages like ‘Wots the buzz?’ (sic) float across designer Mark Fisher's backdrop of pseudo-Banksy murals as crusties set up pop-up tents in an attempt to recast Jesus’s disciples as the Holy Land equivalent of the Occupy movement. Mel C is a riot grrl Mary Magdalene whose insurrectionary kit includes a little essential oil for a shoulder rubdown. Tim Minchin’s a dreadlocked keffiyeh-sporting Judas Iscariot who lugs his black backpack around as a curious post-7/7 signifier of evil. A bevvy of white-corset-clad babes in angel wings suggest the Garden of Gethsema

What the cluck? It's been 10 years since 'Junior Spesh'

What the cluck? It's been 10 years since 'Junior Spesh'

You know you’re getting on a bit when your favourite viral videos are nearly old enough to enroll in secondary school. For fans of comedy, the chicken-based grime track ‘Junior Spesh’, prepare to feel old: this week marks ten years since it was released into the world. If you’ve never seen it, ‘Junior Spesh’ is a jokey homage to the £1.50 junior special meal served at Canning Town’s Southern Fried Chicken, the closest poultry outlet to the studio where a group of east London teens were recording grime tracks under the name of Red Hot Entertainment. It was never intended to be released. But when it somehow leaked, the reaction prompted MCs Jaxor, Klayze Flaymz, Terra & Ray to film an impromptu video. Which is how nearly a million people came to see the lads goofing about outside SFC while holding up cans of knock-off Fanta and miming along to lyrics about ‘Dr Pep’, ‘ketch’, ‘mayonnaise on the left’. And constantly stressing that £1.50 price point over tongue-in-cheek gunshot sound effects. Whilst the number of views it earned doesn’t make it London’s quintessential viral smash – it’s a fifteenth as watched as ‘One Pound Fish’ and a third as popular as a pirouetting Buckingham Palace Guardsman – within grime its impact was humongous. Over the years, it’s been bigged up by Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle, inspired an eponymous fried chicken blog written by Rinse FM DJs Elijah Butterz, Slackk and Bok Bok, and even earned Red Hot Entertainment their own freestyle session on West

Milkmen still exist in London – and thanks to hipsters they're doing alright

Milkmen still exist in London – and thanks to hipsters they're doing alright

Newsflash: milkmen still exist. Alexi Duggins goes on a round and finds out about saving pensioners’ lives, fighting off gunmen and ordering sourdough on Twitter ‘Warning! Your local milkman does not carry cash. He is protected by a personal alarm!’ It’s 3am in the South Woodford depot of Parker Dairies – one of London’s last independent milk delivery companies – and these words are shouting from the window of a 1970s electric milk float. The warning is emphasised by a drawing of the disembodied head of a 1980s policeman, which, frankly, does nothing to detract from its ludicrousness. Someone mug a milkman? Do they think criminal masterminds are drawing up plans for audacious smash-and-grab heists on their small-change pouch? Don’t think so. ‘Actually, someone tried to mug me at gunpoint once,’ says Steve Hayden – the dairy’s top-selling milkman – as he spots me reading the sign. He notices my look of shock and adds: ‘I know, the last thing you expect when you’re on a milk round is for someone to pull a gun on you.  I threw a pint of milk at them and they legged it.’This is the kind of mindblowing titbit that you get again and again when you spend a few hours in Steve’s company. My plan had been to find out about the state of London’s (presumably dying) milk delivery industry by going on a round. But within minutes of starting to load up one of the  electric floats that Parker still uses it becomes clear that today’s going to have a few surprises in store.    ‘It’s all about

Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl has launched go karting on ice

Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl has launched go karting on ice

It’s not really a good idea to drink and drive, unless you fancy a spot of rent-free accommodation with its own in-built metal bars. To rink and drive, though? Totally different thing. At QUEENS – a recently trendified west London bowling alley and ice rink – they’ve started running sessions of go karting that take place on ice. They cone off the centre of the rink and then get you and five others to race laps around the outside for a 30-minute session in petrol-powered karts that can do up to 20mph. As you don a protective suit to keep you dry from rink spray and hop into the kart, you realise that are no chains on the tyres – and that this is going to be skiddy. ‘Go gentle on the accelerator at first,’ yells our instructor as we all try to move off by flooring it and the tires end up spinning against the slippery surface. More gentle pressure applied the kart zooms off and starts doing laps – big, slidey laps. The more you put your foot down, the more chance there is of spinning out on corners and operating it proves a tricky blend of going fast enough to not be overtaken, but not going so quickly that you end up sliding off into the barriers. Crashes happen a lot, but that’s part of the fun. This isn’t normal go-karting: it’s extreme go-karting.  By the end of the sesh, we’ve seen more spinning than a trendy gym. There have been more bumps than in a maternity ward. It’s been brilliant, skid-based fun – perfect for birthdays or stag dos or just groups of mates who want a fu

Everything you need to know about Crystal Maze Manchester

Everything you need to know about Crystal Maze Manchester

It’s a-maze-ing! There’s no place like dome! And other ‘Crystal Maze’ puns! On April 1, the long-awaited real-life version of the ’90s game show finally opens, and last week we went inside for a sneak peek. What can we tell you about it? Lots, actually. Read on for our guide to everything you need to know about the new Crystal Maze game.  1. It's VERY much like the original TV show Fans of the Channel 4 gameshow: prepare to feel exactly like you're in the Channel 4 gameshow. As you work your way around the four different zones (Aztec, Medieval, Future and Industrial – none of that weird business with the Ocean zone), you're forced to sprint about in an utterly unnecessary manner, just like on telly, back in the day. The Crystal Dome is an exact life-size replica of the original. And, like the original, you're led around by a maze master who occasionally touches his earpiece and says things like: 'Oh, I'm sorry! We don't have enough time for another game in this zone!' In fact, the only real difference is the lack of Richard O'Brien as your host. Instead, you begin with an old-school TV showing you a montage of O'Brien's best bits and then an introduction to your host: an actor playing an enigmatic maze master. Ours was an unbelievably fun and energetic, steam-punky young lady who told us she was called Martine Clunes. Which we're pretty sure is her real name.  2. You don't need to worry about being locked in   As in the TV show, failure in some games will lead to you being

Gone to the dogs: London's last greyhound track is closing this weekend

Gone to the dogs: London's last greyhound track is closing this weekend

Nearly 100 years of history comes to an end this week as the last greyhound track in London closes. Saturday sees the final ever dog race at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium before it’s torn down to enable AFC Wimbledon to build a stadium on the same spot. It’s a sad end to an unbelievably colourful sporting history that once saw up to 90,000 people attending big races, the occasional riot and a bizarre period during the 1930s when an entrepreneur imported 12 cheetahs to race on the track. In future, Londoners wanting to see dog racing will have to travel to Romford or Crayford, but you can head to Wimbledon this weekend for a last chance to partake in a slice of London history. We’d highly recommend it. Plus, it’s like nothing else you’ll find in London. And after Saturday, you can take that literally.  Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. Earlsfield rail. Sat Mar 25, 6.30pm. £7 entry. Feeling nostalgic? These archive photos show what London’s public transport used to look like.  

In pictures: get a sneak peek inside London's new code-breaking cocktail bar

In pictures: get a sneak peek inside London's new code-breaking cocktail bar

When Alan Turing figured out how to crack coded Nazi messages during WWII, we’re guessing that kooky mixology wasn’t uppermost in his mind. But new pop-up cocktail bar The Bletchley (from the creators of naked restaurant The Bunyadi) has installed replica Enigma machines at its tables and is challenging drinkers to use them to send messages to the bar staff and play games to bag themselves drinks. The machines will also create a code based upon a customer’s name and taste preferences so that bar staff can make them a bespoke cocktail. The exact mechanics of it may leave you confuddled, but that’s no problem: while you play with your cool code-breaking machine you get three cocktails’ worth of booze in two hours, so being a tad stupefied is probably par for the course. Get a sneak peek of the bar: The Bletchley opens on Friday. The first month is sold out but tickets for next month are being released for Time Out readers at noon today via www.thebletchley.co.uk.

Break into the Tower of London in a new immersive game

Break into the Tower of London in a new immersive game

Ever thought about breaking into the Tower of London? You have? POLICE! Joking. But in the Tower's new immersive experience, The People's Revolt, you can do exactly that. The idea is that you're a member of a revolutionary cell whose aim is to break into the home of the crown jewels, so you assemble at Tower Hill station, meet a member of the resistance and then spend the next couple of hours sneaking through corridors, dodging guards and putting on highly dubious disguises.  Frankly, the fact that you get to do it all while inside one of the most securely guarded locations in Britain is amazing. Even better, we've negotiated three hundred tickets for Time Out readers to go to shows happening on March 23-25, which will be released from midday today. Head to hrp.org.uk/thepeoplesrevolt if you want to pick them up. The People's Revolt runs between March 7-25. £25.50.  Check out London's best treasure hunts and immersive games.

There's a new immersive bar in Waterloo – and it's run by the Devil

There's a new immersive bar in Waterloo – and it's run by the Devil

In many ways Satan is the ideal pub landlord. He has the best tunes, so the jukebox would be killer. Even in winter his pub would be snuggly and warm. Also, he's unlikely to be too judgy about you getting hammered and doing stupid things. We'd drink there over an All Bar One any day. This is presumably the train of thought behind The Neath: an immersive pop-up bar created by a team of people who've been involved with the Crystal Maze Live Experience, Time Run and the 'Twin Peaks' restaurant. It's in The Vaults under Waterloo, and – as well as being run by Beelzebub – has actors playing characters from myths and legends crammed into every nook and cranny, offering you individual experiences you can partake in (think having a seance with a witch or bartering souls with a dodgy market trader). Each one is also produced by one of a megalist of supremely talented immersive theatre companies – one was devised by some of the brains behind Punchdrunk, another by the peeps who created Zombie Blitz, one by the peeps who turned Battlefield Hardline into a real-life game. It sounds AMAZING.  Here's the best bit, though: you know how immersive experiences like Punchdrunk often leave you feeling like you wish you could do it all over again in order to check out the bits you missed? Well with The Neath, you can. Once you've bought a ticket, you can revisit as many times as you like. Which, presumably means that you'll have a devil of a time.  The Neath runs Feb 22–26 as part of Vaults Festi

In pictures: Borough Market's new pop-up restaurant

In pictures: Borough Market's new pop-up restaurant

Imagine setting up a pop-up restaurant in Borough Market and not using produce from the food stalls. You may as well wander up to a gift-owning horse and say 'Excuse me Mr Horsey, may I inspect your molars?'  Fortunately, new two-month pop-up restaurant Borough Plates does no such thing. Run by Cuisson, the brains behind Pop Down, all of its dishes are created using ingredients from the nearby stalls. But is it delicious? Sadly, we can't really review it in enough detail to let you know what you'll be eating as they change the menu weekly. Here, though, is everything we ate on our fairly decent visit last week.   Mushroom pâté, mushrooms, cauliflower Admittedly, this photo does look a tad like someone has decided to scrape their muddy boots onto a plate of lovely mushrooms. However, that brown-ish area is in fact a beautiful blob of rich mushroom pâté. It really was phenomenal.   Crispy squid, lemon curd   What happens if you zig-zag actual lemon curd across a dish and then top it with squid rings that you've encased in a curiously granular panko breadcrumb coating? This slightly odd dish, whose taste is perhaps best described as: 'Oh god! I spilt fish on your dessert!' Baked Val de Loue cheese   We don't know what a Val de Loue cheese looks like when it hasn't been baked into an oozy pool of liquid, but we're willing to bet it probably looks a tad more attractive than this. We're also willing to bet, however, that it's roughly a million times less sexy. Frankly, we're alm

A Bletchley Park-inspired cocktail bar is coming, where every drink is unique

A Bletchley Park-inspired cocktail bar is coming, where every drink is unique

When Alan Turing figured out how to crack coded Nazi messages during WWII, we're guessing that funky mixology wasn't at the forefront of his mind. But that's exactly what new cocktail bar The Bletchley aims to do with Turing's work in code-breaking. Launching at the end of February, its guests will get to sit at a 'cipher machine' that will use a code to create a cocktail recipe that's individual to each punter – and never to be reproduced by the bar staff. They'll then get to take their individual recipe home in an envelope.  Details are thin on the ground as to exactly how it works, although given that it's from the brains behind Breaking Bad cocktail bar ABQ and the naked restaurant The Bunyadi, we're guessing it'll be pretty impressive. Also, if you sign up to the waiting list, their cryptic website seems to be suggesting that recipes might be based in part on punters' names. Thus marking the first time we've ever heard of anyone being able to answer the question: 'What's in a name?' with: 'some booze, mate'. Sign up to the waiting list here. In other booze news, Little Nan's Bar is opening a theatrical bar in Catford. And check out these five tap takeovers and Tryanuary events in London this January. 

‘It sounds quirky, but it really does work’: craftivist Sarah Corbett on the power of positive crafting

‘It sounds quirky, but it really does work’: craftivist Sarah Corbett on the power of positive crafting

Sarah Corbett combined craft and activism to create craftivism, and used it to get M&S to pay the living wage. But now she might have to give it up – unless you can help… I was raised as an activist. My parents even took me squatting at the age of three. But one day I realised I’d stopped enjoying activism. I’m quite a shy person and I found that so much of political protest involved screaming at people while holding placards, or shouting at politicians to tell them how awful they were. It felt a bit like bullying, really, and it definitely didn’t agree with my sensibilities. But I hadn’t lost my desire to do something about injustice, and I kept asking myself: if we want to make the world kinder, more beautiful and more just, shouldn’t our activism be kind, beautiful and just too? Amid all the name-calling, shouldn’t we be able to do something nice? At the time, I’d started getting into cross-stitch and I wondered: could craft help to make the world a better place? So I began stitching political messages and putting them up in public as mini banners in the hope that people might share them online. I just wanted to try to start a conversation in a gentle way. Then I started a blog about it and it just took off. Suddenly I had people from all across the world asking to join in. Galleries started asking me to do events. International development charities such as Unicef asked me to create campaigns for them. One campaign we did even convinced Marks & Spencer to pay the living w