Ashleigh Arnott is Time Out's former London Things To Do Writer.

Ashleigh Arnott

Ashleigh Arnott

Articles (48)

The best restaurants in Finsbury Park

The best restaurants in Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park – not just home to the relentless palace of fun (aka karaoke, bowling and booze slushies) that is Rowan's – but over recent years, it's become one of London's most interesting areas to grab an extremely good meal. In this busy pocket of north London you'll find restaurants serving up unsung global cuisine, impressive small plates at classy little wine bars, wildly cool gastropubs and some of our favourite cheap eats as well (shout out to the legendary Baban's Naan on Blackstock Road). RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Islington and Angel. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

London’s best escape rooms

London’s best escape rooms

Voluntarily imprisoning yourself in a small space might not be at the top of your to-do list, but the great thing about escape games is that as you attempt to release yourself, you’ll sharpen your wits, test your agility, strengthen your friendships and have a whole lot of fun while you’re at it. 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. Gather your smartest, strongest mates and get riddling.  Start the fans, please! RECOMMENDED: 101 things to do in London.

The 13 best things to do in Reading

The 13 best things to do in Reading

The best things to do in Reading traverse the centuries, from old abbeys and castles to iconic artwork and innovative cuisines – not forgetting the taverns too, obvs. This university town doesn't get the attention that its bigger neighbours are afforded, but it’s a lesser-discovered gem with plenty to discover.  Berkshire’s biggest town is famous for its mish-mash of stately homes, shire horses, street art and spa days, with a little Home Counties character thrown in for good measure. Whether you're here for a day, a weekend or a few days, there’s plenty going on that make it worth visiting – here are the best things to do in Reading. RECOMMENDED:🏊‍♀️The best outdoor pools and lidos in the UK🏘️The best things to do in Oxford🌾The best places to visit in the UK🌤️The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The 14 best things to do in Cape Town right now

The 14 best things to do in Cape Town right now

With the Atlantic Ocean on the doorstep and Table Mountain National Park as the ‘back garden’, it’s little wonder Cape Town is hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. But beneath the visual spectacle there’s a rich cultural and historical tapestry to be discovered. Centuries of history as a trading port have given Cape Town a cosmopolitan multiculturalism that fuses warm African hospitality with Mediterranean charm. It’s a city where you’ll spend your days outdoors and your nights enjoying the city’s legendary culinary scene. Not sure where to start? Don’t miss these must-do experiences handpicked by a local writer.  RECOMMENDED: 🛏 A guide to where to stay in Cape Town🍹 The best bars in Cape Town🍴 The best restaurants in Cape Town🐧 The best beaches in Cape Town🏡 The best Airbnbs in Cape Town🏨 The best hotels in Cape Town

The 23 best things to do in Naples

The 23 best things to do in Naples

Naples, Naples, Naples. Italy’s third most populous city inspires big thoughts and strong opinions, but things are changing in the south. Naples is undergoing a renaissance of sorts, shedding its reputation for crime and embracing its many charms instead. The best things to do in Naples all involve getting cosy with the city, from its tangible history to delicious restaurants. The best pizza in Italy? You can be the judge of that. Naples is a fantastic city, one with a story to tell. Wander the streets and let that tale wash over you. This is a place that lives and breathes its history in its streets. It might just be the most authentic city in Italy. Recommended: 🍕 The best pizza in Naples🍽️ The best restaurants in Naples🏠 The best Airbnbs in Naples🏨 The best hotels in Naples Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.

The 20 best friendship movies of all time

The 20 best friendship movies of all time

Not everyone has been in love, but most of us know what it’s like to have a close buddy. So why is it that in the movies, romantic relationships get all the love? It’s high time to give it up for friendship flicks – movies about the platonic bro-downs and girl crushes that can often define our lives as much as any great love affair. So let’s raise a toast to our pals, homies, mates and BFFs – our cinematic ones, anyway. We asked the Time Out staff to name their personal favourite movies about friendship. Whether it’s between a hitman and a teenage orphan, high-school soulmates or two animated fish, we’ve spent so much time with these movie buds, we know them almost as well as our own friends. Recommended: 🤣 The 100 best comedy movies💓 The 100 best romantic movies of all-time✍ The 100 best animated movies of all-time

Boat hire in London

Boat hire in London

London can get pretty damn sweaty during the hotter months. And while day trips and seaside jaunts are great for some light relief from the heat, sometimes city responsibilities mean escaping Zone 6 just isn’t possible. If you need to swap your stuffy flat for cooler climes, but only have a few hours to spare, a boat trip might be just what you need. Luckily London is full of rivers, lakes, ponds and canals to pedal across, row down or canoe around, and we’re blessed with loads of great places to hire boats, too. Here’s our guide to the best boating spots in the city to help you cool down. Just try not to fall in! RECOMMENDED: London's best fountains

Why is everyone moving to Sheffield right now?

Why is everyone moving to Sheffield right now?

When you’re leaving a city you’ve called home for 16 years (you made me who I am, London, you grubby bastard) the new one has big shoes to fill. After many weeks of consultation my husband and I decided our relatively unambitious list of must-haves were good trains, excellent pubs and affordable property, and by the end of my first-ever visit to Sheffield we had decided to buy a house rather than rent one. ✈️ F*** this, I’m moving abroad: the Brits fed up with the cost of living in the UK You probably haven’t been to Sheffield before unless a close friend went to uni here, or you’re a massive fan of Jarvis Cocker-themed street art (or the snooker). Perhaps because it flies under the northern-city radar I assumed that its community kept itself to itself, and when we first arrived I used to admit that we moved from London with a note of shame. But when Sheffielders realised we’d chosen it simply because it’s a bloody lovely city we were met with nothing but beams of pride. The rent I was paying for a flat in south-east London got me a four-bed house here Let’s be un-British and get the money chat out in the open: we were mainly leaving London because we couldn’t afford a second bedroom. As of March 2022 the average house price in Sheffield is £202,639, compared with London’s £523,666 – considerably more achievable, and that’s even after the market became so competitive one local estate agent called it ‘bonkers’. Sophie Parsell was in the same boat: ‘The rent I was paying for

5 perfect places to play board games in London

5 perfect places to play board games in London

Once upon a time board games were synonymous with boredom; something you only dragged out if the internet was down or if your nan was over on Christmas Day. Not anymore. They’ve had something of a cool makeover in recent years, and as we all get more and more sick of staring at our phones all day long, board games are a great way to connect with friends and let off some steam IRL. When Draughts opened in London all the way back in 2014, board game cafés and bars started popping up all over the capital, making it possible to enjoy a game while getting boozy – just how your nan intended it. Now, they’re here to stay. Here are some of the best – although we should warn you, tensions can tend to run high over Monopoly. RECOMMENDED: Weird and wonderful hobbies in London.

The Ukrainian café providing comfort (and dumplings) to Sheffield’s refugees

The Ukrainian café providing comfort (and dumplings) to Sheffield’s refugees

Kalyna is the Ukrainian name for the vibrant red berries of the guelder rose, which are a symbol of hope and patriotism in the country. The berries are the subject of many folk tunes, including a marching song that went viral on Instagram earlier this year; it has since been sampled by Pink Floyd. And they garland the hand-painted panels around the front door of Café Kalyna, a Ukrainian café in Nether Edge, Sheffield. Anastasia, the artist behind the signage, can usually be found serving coffee and enthusiastically explaining the traditional dishes on the menu to non-Ukrainian customers. The 27-year-old moved to Sheffield with her partner Arseniy in March of this year. They had previously been living in Kyiv; when their apartment was bombed they fled to a church in the suburbs that Arseniy’s family had links with – it was safe because it had a basement. ‘We were there for two weeks with no light, no water, and every day we could hear “boom, boom”. Then it became really too close.’ They spent a month with Anastasia’s mother in the village she grew up in before deciding to come to the UK, both for safety and to better support their families. They chose Sheffield because she’d heard about its lovely outdoor space and felt it would be a good place to inspire her artwork. ‘I speak to my mother every day and she’s so happy I’m here, but it’s hard. Your life is just one suitcase, and you realise it will never be like before.’ The café is the brainchild of Sally Mastin, a Sheffield n

The 13 best things to do in Johannesburg

The 13 best things to do in Johannesburg

Here’s hoping you like excitement because the best things to do in Johannesburg will have you on the edge of your seat. That isn’t true if you take the Red Bus tour, as you can sit back comfortably and enjoy everything this famous South African city offers. What does it have to offer? Where to begin?Johannesburg is one of the biggest cities in Africa and the biggest in the world not built on a water source. Joburg was actually built on a goldmine, so keep that in the back pocket of your pub quiz team for future reference. Joburg has its problems, but take the proper precautions, and a fabulous city will soon reveal itself.

A local’s guide to living in Tottenham

A local’s guide to living in Tottenham

Essential information Average property prices: Flats £350k, houses £450k Average rent: £670pcm per person Nearest tube: Tottenham Hale Transport links: Overground and Stansted Express Bus routes: Too many to list!  Local MP: David Lammy (Labour) Tell me about the local tribe A megamix of ages and races with a lust for life. Tottenham has experienced its share of riots and unrest over the years, but its community is super-loyal. Any neighbourhood heroes? Skepta’s a good lad. Other surnamefree performers from Tottenham include Adele and Lemar. Whatís new in the area? The brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium glints like a sporty beacon at the top of the High Road, and is finally hosting matches. But there’s more to N17 than Spurs. The most recent addition is Roller Nation, a skating rink with a roll-in diner. Are there any community spaces? In an industrial estate just north of Tottenham Hale, Grow community garden teaches school groups about veggies. By night, they put their 5am licence and soundproof room to good use. Profits made from club nights fund more gardening. Can I grab a morning latte? Grow’s café Pluma has excellent coffee. But the earliest it opens is 11am. Good for freelancers, though. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Photograph: Adam Davy Is Tottenham family-friendly? For babyccinos and pregnancy yoga you may be better off over the marshes in Walthamstow. What’s the nearest green space? There’s Tottenham Marshes, a bucolic tangle of walking paths, canals, brambles and a

Listings and reviews (53)

Mona’s Bar

Mona’s Bar

3 out of 5 stars

Squished in among a strip of shops that, by day, let’s be honest, have a bit of the Shane Meadows about them, from the outside Mona’s Bar looks like a strong example of accidental hipster. But when the tinted glass doors open for business, it’s clear that the tan leather chairs and plush floor-length curtains are aspects of an expertly curated look, rather than relics of a business that the 1970s forgot. Tottenham is not afraid of serving up a night out to its dwellers, but largely offers boozers and spots for an all-night sesh. Mona’s is a welcome in-betweener. At the weekends, DJs playing everything from funk and soul to deep house tempt in crowds of fashionable locals. But before it becomes the most chic house party you ever saw, make sure to appreciate the cocktail menu. It offers several concoctions (each at a very reasonable £8.50): the Chelsea Girl – rose gin, triple sec, rhubarb bitters, simple syrup and lemon – tasted a little more basic than it sounded on paper but was well balanced and beautifully presented. If it’s not a cocktail kind of night there’s a small selection of local craft beers – Brewheadz often feature and do their brewing less than a mile away. The bar snack options were totally overpriced but undeniably delicious, like the pizza-flavoured pretzel pieces for £3 each. But it’s more of a liquid dinner kind of place anyway. Claim a stool near the suitably serious but fabulous bar staff and watch how the party plays out.

Butifarra

Butifarra

Please note, Butifarra is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, July 2017. Squished between Soho’s all-day buffets and grubby, perennially packed pubs is Butifarra, a casual all-day café specialising in the eponymous South American snack. In truth, they specialise in just a few things; the brief menu only includes food that they make very well indeed. A ‘butifarra’ is a Peruvian ham sandwich. They’re traditionally made with slices of spiced ‘jamón del país’ and a sort of red onion relish called ‘salsa criolla’. Here, you’ll choose from hot options beef short rib and roast pork or from a few cold-cut combinations, each of which is topped with a generous spread of sweet potato mayonnaise, fresh lettuce and that sharp, crisp red onion. Soft bread, quality fillings, a gentle crunch; everything you want in a filled roll. It even comes with crisps. They do corn bread just as well; a chicken and chorizo arepa from the all-day brunch menu is essentially a delicious, squidgy club sarnie. Weirdly, though, given the name, it’s Butifarra’s ceviche you should visit for. Perfectly fresh, not too sharp and very affordable at £6 a portion, it’s an unpretentious taste of Peru that the owners are clearly very proud of. It’s a shame they’re not as bothered about pudding, but do pick up a crumbly little ‘alfajor’ biscuit, if only for the dulce de leche filling. There’s no booze on the menu but for £5 corkage you can bring a bottle of wine, making it a bargain dinner spot, especially in spen

London Shell Co.

London Shell Co.

4 out of 5 stars

Given that it involves a cruise, award-winning wine and oysters, you might assume that London Shell Co is the capital’s fanciest supperclub. Then you realise that two dozen tourists are watching you over their neon noodles as the barge navigates Camden Lock and you feel like a right ponce. But while it’s an unquestionably posh affair, this is an event born of a love of food, wine and good times, something that’s apparent from the moment you climb aboard. Siblings Harry and Leah Lobek decided last year that serving seafood dinners with perfectly paired booze would be much more fun than their day jobs. Several successful sittings and a booze cruise or two later, they realised they were going to need a bigger boat. London Shell Co’s current incarnation sees guests board a drab-but-comfortable barge in Camden which chugs out to Little Venice and back again, accompanied by sweet-voiced jazz standards and the odd sea-related poem. The food is excellent, particularly a creamy clam chowder that arrived in a hollowed bread roll as if we were in the Hamptons in 1984. A word of warning, though: do not come hungry. Portions were small enough that there was talk of going to the local chippy among the disembarking passengers. But at £40 for a three-course lunch and rather too much wine (and dangerously moreish cider brandy), it’s still great value. And still the classiest floating seafood boozathon in town.

Molly Bakes

Molly Bakes

Please note, Molly Bakes is now closed. Time Out Food editors, November 2017. The heart-attack-in-a-cup that has taken Instagram by storm has its home in Dalston at a cute little coffee shop called Molly Bakes. If you have a family history of diabetes, this place is not for you. There’s a counter full of cupcakes, brownies and cookies, and not a savoury in sight, but it doesn’t matter because your first visit is always for the same reason: to order one particular monster dessert. A freakshake is actually just a massive milkshake, albeit one topped with an insanely daunting pile of squirty cream, chocolate sauce, wafer sprinkles, Oreo chunks and a cookie/brownie topper. As frozen, sugary, milky drinks go, it’s a market leader: the shake itself is delicious. Chocolate is the most popular flavour, unsurprisingly; peanut butter brings a welcome saltiness to the equation; caramel is for those who use Sensodyne; and raspberry is, according to the waitress on my visit, ‘pink!’. The staff are as chirpy as you’d need to be to blend unnecessarily gluttonous drinks all day. On a rainy Friday lunchtime, half the customers were locals dropping in for a coffee, so it’s not just about the gimmicks. But as good-looking, affordable and welcoming as Molly Bakes is, ultimately it’s all about the freak show.

Lady Mildmay

Lady Mildmay

4 out of 5 stars

Mildmay Park, a road now home to little more than a former railway station and a big tiled library, was the namesake of the HIV hospital that Princess Diana made famous in the ’80s. It’s also home to a different Lady: the Lady Mildmay. Welcoming staff, good booze and an irresistible menu are making this spacious pub a favourite with locals, but it’s worth a journey from other parts of town too. On a warm day the Lady’s many side doors are left wide open, and when it’s woolly jumper weather there’s a real fire to curl up next to. This commitment to comfort is typical of the pub’s approach. Staff are subtly eager to please, talking you through any toss-ups between the house gin of the day or that craft lager you’ve not tried before. The Med-leaning gastropubby menu is exotic enough to make you feel they know what they’re doing but not so exotic that your gran would be forced to ask for ‘just chips’. Dogs are allowed – always a good sign – as are board games, though it’s best to bring your own (at least that way you’ll know the Scrabble will still have all the Bs). And one final jewel in the already sparkly crown is the Sunday roast which could please even the Duke of Edinburgh. With its fluffy Yorkshires, tender meat, rich gravy and cauliflower cheese, it’s so desirable that you’d be wise to call ahead and pre-order. So go out in Newington Green this weekend. This Lady may be next in line as queen of our hearts.

H.en

H.en

Please note, H.en is now closed. Time Out Food editors.  Hen, an Upper Street restaurant most noticeable for the giant egg painted around its door, is the second outlet of a much-loved Brighton spot serving good-quality chicken in trend-conscious but never ground-breaking ways; fried with Memphis-style barbecue sauce, grilled with Korean glaze, that sort of thing. But for London – a city that really knows its chicken – this is a pretty poultry offering. Despite the decor being a tad ‘Ikea showroom’, the restaurant is comfortable, and staff greet you with smiles as bright as the colour scheme. At £9 a go, including chips, the vast chicken burgers offer undeniably great value for money, but look more exciting than they taste. Everything on the table needed more seasoning and most of it was supposed to taste of something more than it did. The sweetcorn’s promised ‘chicken skin butter and paprika’ was, heartbreakingly, undetectable. Trying chicken feet for the first time has made me want to order them again, albeit only to establish whether or not they’re actually supposed to taste of chip shop scraps. The service – enthusiastic at first – became more and more difficult to attract as the restaurant filled up. I had to come over all meerkat to get hold of a dessert menu; these efforts were quickly regretted, as the puddings all turned out to be either stodgy or gluey. If you’re looking for an unchallenging belly-filler then Hen can provide – but given the many excellent meal optio

Good and Proper Tea Leather Lane

Good and Proper Tea Leather Lane

4 out of 5 stars

Gingham tablecloths and teapots that look like cottages have no place in the Leather Lane branch of Good & Proper Tea, which is the second permanent outlet for Emilie Holmes’s booze-free-brew-focused business, and the first with indoor tables. She started out peddling her perfect brews from a van at London street food markets, before putting down roots in a dinky Old Street unit, followed by this modern central spot. It’s a haven of calm compared to the mania of lunchtime Leather Lane just outside. A winning combination of wooden shelving, exposed filaments, spiky houseplants and plush grey cushions make it feel a bit like you’ve ordered tea in a Swedish bookshop; most soothing. Given that it’s competing with dozens of market traders, it’s probably wise that Good & Proper Tea only offers one savoury dish at a time (not counting the excellent homemade sourdough crumpets and hefty sausage rolls), but it was a bit disappointing that the tuna Niçoise salad was no better than something a targeted fridge forage could produce. It’s not really about the food, though. The tea truly is the star here. Charming staff can guide you through a choice of 25 varieties. It should be obvious from the name of the place, but it took me two visits to twig that there isn’t any coffee here. Bean geeks will nevertheless enjoy the use of the scientific Steampunk Brewer machines, all pre-programmed to know exactly how long each tea blend should be bubbled and soaked for. And flat whites are replaced by

Zia Lucia

Zia Lucia

4 out of 5 stars

Zia Lucia is your new favourite non-family member. The name is Italian for ‘Aunt Lucy’, and the kindly looking lady smiling out at you from its logo was the inspiration for this lovely neighbourhood pizzeria, opened by Highbury locals Gianluca and Claudio in June 2016. While its branding, flavours and atmosphere are bang on-point, the place still pulses with the sort of old-fashioned charm you only find at an Italian family feast. Different doughs give the menu its USP: there’s a deliciously nutty wholemeal option, an impressive-looking vegetable charcoal one that’s said to ease digestion, and a gluten-free crust that’s been getting rave reviews from those avoiding nature’s elastic. They’re interesting, but they don’t exactly transform the flavour, and at £1.50 extra per pizza, quietly push the bill away from bargain status. Toppings are mostly the more interesting classics – ’nduja, aubergines, broccoli and speck ham (not all at once) – but the pizza chef has added a couple of haute Italian options: the Arianna with mozzarella, sausage, taleggio, pecorino and truffle honey could almost be Caesar’s breakfast buffet. It doesn’t matter what you end up ordering, because every last ingredient is of the utmost quality. Even the flour is the most expensive on the market. This attention to flavour is particularly apparent in the ‘Tagliere’, a sharing board of meats and cheeses that are all cut to order and marvellously fresh. The mortadella is sourced from Bologna, and is the best I

Casa Tua King's Cross

Casa Tua King's Cross

3 out of 5 stars

Italian restaurants often do pretty much nothing to dispel the stereotypes of their own menus: all pasta, focaccia, mozzarella and Parma ham. There are pros and cons to this; Italian food is delicious by nature so it’s hard to mess it up, but it’s also unlikely to blow your tastebuds’ socks off. This cute little café-bar on a King’s Cross backstreet is a good example of this Italo-limbo. It’s a lovely place to linger over a light lunch and a good coffee thanks to its handful of pavement tables exceptionally friendly owner. Their traditional Roman carbonara comes with beautifully fresh pasta and meaty guanciale, but little flavour to coat them. From Wednesday to Saturday evenings you can stop for aperitivo, sipping an exemplary Aperol spritz as they bring a selection of snacks to the table. You can’t go wrong with pistachios, bresaola, taleggio and the like but the dinky bite-size sandwiches had been on the counter too long, and crispy squid needed seasoning. And aioli. Despite the hit-and-miss menu, it’s easy to get fond of this place. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is more cosy than a hug from Pavarotti. Because when it comes to Italian food, let’s face it, their mid-range is always far more desirable than ours.  

Ghetto Grillz

Ghetto Grillz

3 out of 5 stars

This ain't how they do bagels on Brick Lane but we're Ok with it; the Ghetto Grillz signature is a New York Reuben bagel melt. They pile their chewy dough-loops high with salt beef brisket, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and a LOT of cheddar, then grill it until the cheese has formed a melty, crispy crown around its edges. A melt so filthy that Reuben himself would probably drool over it.

Other Side

Other Side

The chicken in these burgers comes in such big portions you might wonder where they're raising giant birds. It comes on top of perfectly crunchy pickles and, if you can handle it, drenched in smoked honey butter.

Makatcha

Makatcha

4 out of 5 stars

Our resident expert on rendang informs us that Makatcha's food is a bit sweet to be authentic, but we'll be going back to make sure, because theirs is a very good curry indeed. Tender beef, rich sauce, fluffy rice and crunchy little pickles make for a meal that's at once interesting and comforting: the David Attenborough of street food.

News (54)

Nine of London’s foodiest festive treats for kids

Nine of London’s foodiest festive treats for kids

Try as you might to avoid it, you will end up running around London doing last-minute Christmas shopping, and if you have the kids with you, it will be even more difficult and painful. But what will make it bearable is tracking down these indulgent festive treats from across town as you dash from shop to shop. They’re delicious enough to keep the little’uns satisfied (and quiet) while you panic about trying to find suitable gifts. Merry Christmas, you. Classic Fondue at Androuet, £13 No human can refuse fondue – its warm, gooey state makes your very stomach demand more. Kids in particular are obsessed with it, because it’s basically exceptionally delicious hook-a-duck. So grab your long stabbing-stick-slash-fork and dive right in.Why kids will love it It’s imperative to shame the grown-ups when they lose their bread in the thick cheese gloop. Old Spitalfields Market, 10a Lamb St, E1 6EA. Tube: Liverpool St.  Mini Chanukah Doughnuts at Carmelli Bakery, 65p Given that Chanukah is a celebration of oil, then the least we can do is eat deep-fried food to celebrate. Kosher bakery Carmelli has been frying seasonal treats for 30 years now, but their array of doughnuts is still super-fresh.Why kids will love it: Even if you’re not lighting eight candles you may eat eight doughnuts. 126-128 Golders Green Rd, NW11 8HB. Tube: Golders Green. Santa Religieuse at Dominique Ansel, £7.50  Claim a seat in this world-famous pâtissier’s London branch to tackle this double cream puff. Trad

Fowl play: find a chicken and get your burger for free at Byron

Fowl play: find a chicken and get your burger for free at Byron

Why did the burger-lover cross the road? To find one of the tiny toy chickens hidden near Byron restaurants this weekend. The eagle-eyed punter hunters who find the little birds and bring them into their nearest Byron will be rewarded with a free 'Clucky Balboa', the new chicken burger special. The sandwich sounds far from fowl: buttermilk-fried (or chargrilled) chicken breast, piled with guacamole, sriracha mayonnaise, pickled red onion, pickles and iceberg lettuce. Go ruffle some feathers. The Byron chickens will be hidden near London restaurants on Friday October 7, Saturday October 8 and Sunday October 9.

Tuck into a two-course dinner at Chicken Shop or Dirty Burger for less than a tenner

Tuck into a two-course dinner at Chicken Shop or Dirty Burger for less than a tenner

We've loved Chicken Shop's juicy rotisserie birds and the exemplary patties at Dirty Burger ever since they first roosted in Kentish Town, and now that there are branches all over London they're a go-to for a delicious, affordable neighbourhood meal. So this special offer is both exciting and dangerous, because getting a chicken/burger plus a side for £6 makes this meal out cheaper than your average trip to Pret. For £3 extra you can add on one of their puddings, too. I'll be the girl in the Holloway branch with my face in the apple pie. Get the Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger deal.

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory

Hold up. We're growing cocoa beans in Shoreditch now? Not quite; most of the beans are grown in Madagascar and Tanzania, but the team from Mast Brothers work closely with the farmers then complete the whole bean-to-bar process right here in London.  So east London's good for more than jellied eels... Seems that way. The company’s award-winning recipes and bespoke bits of equipment were developed by Rick and Michael Mast at their New York headquarters, but all of the Mast Brothers chocolate that’s sold in the UK is made here. Will they let me shove my face into a vat of chocolate? Obviously not – we all know what happened to Augustus Gloop. But their fortnightly Tasting Room sessions involve plenty of cocoa rich mouthfuls. As well as the bars, they’ve got a fine line in drinks, including collaborations with local companies Square Root soda and Goodbeans, who make cold brew coffee. There’s even a non-alcoholic chocolate beer.         But can I at least get my hands dirty? With the relevant gloves and hairnets, sure; they run monthly chocolate-making workshops, during which you’ll handle and taste fresh cocoa pods, grind nibs and see the bars into their wrappers ready to fill the onsite shop (or your belly). You could just skip the hard work and buy a bar, of course. The flavours – everything from smoke to toasted milk – are as enticing as the beautiful packaging.         Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory is at 19-29 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ the nearest station is Shoreditch High

East London goes Gaga: Lady Gaga played a secret show at Moth Club last night

East London goes Gaga: Lady Gaga played a secret show at Moth Club last night

The ever-ridiculous Lady Gaga graced Hackney with her presence last night (Friday) in a surprise performance at Moth Club.   A photo posted by Jenn Five (@jennfive) on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:19pm PDT The pop star's new single 'Perfect Illusion', which has a production credit for Mark Ronson, was released first thing Friday morning, and by the afternoon online rumours were flying regarding the launch party.   A video posted by Dine (@plantagerie) on Sep 9, 2016 at 5:27pm PDT In reality the gig was more of a guest appearance – the Lady herself only performed the new single and her mega-hit 'Bad Romance' – but when you're wearing micro-shorts as sparkly as the stage you're on does it even matter?   A video posted by Ashleigh Kirkland (@ashleighlouisek) on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:17am PDT The hot, sweaty crowd had been waiting for nearly two hours by the time she appeared, so it was no small mercy that she'd brought Ronson along to DJ as the warm-up act. He played 'Uptown Funk' twice, but then it is an absolute banger.   A photo posted by Dine (@plantagerie) on Sep 9, 2016 at 4:26pm PDT Hopefully Gaga now has a taste for our Eastern nightspots. The meat dress would go down a storm in The Dolphin.   A video posted by April Showerzzz🐬 (@aprilshowerrrzzz) on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:53am PDT In the mood for music? Check out our guide to over 600 gigs still to come in September...   A photo posted by daisy hawkins (@popsthecatt) on Sep 9, 2016 at 5:58pm PDT    

Kerb your enthusiasm: the top ten traders at Kerb's Camden market

Kerb your enthusiasm: the top ten traders at Kerb's Camden market

Camden Market’s West Yard has had a street food makeover courtesy of Kerb. Ashleigh Arnott eats her way through every stall I've loved Camden ever since a Punkyfish hoodie was the only thing on my teenage wishlist. I’ve lived in or near NW1 my whole London life, and I remember the day I realised, with sadness, that the only food stall in the market I liked had been replaced by another chippy. It had been years since I’d visited, but in the past week I’ve been three times. All because of Kerb. A street food collective championing independent London traders, Kerb runs lunch markets all over town. High standards and well-tuned tastebuds mean their roster is second-to-none. I have never had a dud lunch from a stand bearing their logo. The fact that they’ve revamped the West Yard (the cobbled bit next to the canal and behind Lock 17) is a big deal for both the traders – with some existing stalls displaced – and the locals, who will be seeing many new faces, dozens of dishes and some party-friendly opening hours. With 34 stands trading seven days a week, choosing just one dish is a challenge. So we’ve eaten our way through the lot and here are our top ten traders. If you still can’t choose, go on a Friday or Saturday for an all-dayer. They’re open 11am-11pm, which means at least three meals, right? 1. Kimchinary   A photo posted by Hanna Söderlund (@kimchinary) on Aug 2, 2016 at 3:42am PDT   2. BBQ Dreamz   A photo posted by BBQ Dreamz (@bbqdreamz) on Jan 28, 2016 at 12:4

We feathered up for Notting Hill Carnival with the mas-making pros

We feathered up for Notting Hill Carnival with the mas-making pros

Mas Making? What's that?  Basically, sticking loads of shiny stuff together with a glue gun. Once there are enough sequin braids, feathers and bright colours to pimp a circus tent they are combined to create costumes for the mas parade at Notting Hill Carnival. It's a technicolour fashion-cum-craft-athon. I'm familiar with the feathers, but what did you call it? 'Mas' comes from masquerade – the mas band from Sunshine International Arts, who run these workshops from their Loughborough Junction base, have been a part of the Notting Hill Carnival parade for over a decade, led by the fantastically creative Ray Mahabir, a designer originally from Trinidad. Every year his costumes which express a different theme, so that the dancers represent a message while they party their way around west London. Is their workshop like a drag queen's mind palace? It's actually surprisingly calm and organised, though naturally there are plenty of impressive headdresses and other accessories to admire, from parades past as well as this year's work in progress. Though if you do want to help out you may end up sporting an accidental feather or two. There are 30,000 of them in the 2016 design, so chances are pretty high. Especially as I'm not that crafty... Don't worry if you were the kind of kid that ate the PVA glue; the help required is all easy enough that you can shimmy to the Soca music while you glue. Ray's intricate design are cleverly built from many simple parts, so even the least creative

Celebrate Lola's Cupcakes' tenth birthday with FREE CAKE!

Celebrate Lola's Cupcakes' tenth birthday with FREE CAKE!

Is it really ten years since cute, colourful, sugar-laden cupcakes took the treat world by storm? It must be about that, because London favourite Lola's Cupcakes will celebrate its tenth birthday on August 15, and they'll be celebrating by handing out freebies. Every branch in London will have a '10' made out of cake and will be giving away slices of it on a first-come-first-served basis until there's not a crumb more to be shared. Which I guess means cake for breakfast? Woohoo! Visit any branch of Lola's Cupcakes on Monday August 15 for your free cake

Get your food book fix at Whet this summer

Get your food book fix at Whet this summer

Do your bookshelves heave with the works of Delia, Hugh, Jamie and Nigella? Was the last novel you read called 'Toast'? Do you skip straight to the 'Cook' section of the weekend paper? Get thee to Whet, a pop-up bookshop selling only food-related publications. As well as classic and modern cookbooks that will improve any cook's repertoire, there's a selection of food history books, some more general food writing, novels that are obsessed with what their characters are eating and a colourful collection of independent magazines. The stock is beautifully curated by Sarah Lo, who normally works at a nearby bakery, and who can help you to choose if you need the help (and make you feel less guilty when you pick up more than you intended to). Your commute entertainment just got a lot more delicious. Whet is open 11am-5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of September at the back of TripKitchen in Haggerston.

Secretly brilliant bits of London: London Centre for Book Arts

Secretly brilliant bits of London: London Centre for Book Arts

'Book Arts' as in illustration? More the art of making a book. This artist-run studio offers access to printing and binding facilities as well as the instruction you’ll need to become a dab hand at using them. Want to lay out your own letterpress Christmas cards, or use a trendy risograph to print your long-awaited zine? This place will help your design abilities turn over a new leaf. But I can barely even manage the colouring-in trend! Don’t panic – you don’t need to be arty to create something beautiful here. Use the collection of antique lettering to create anything from invites to banners on the letterpress printers, mix your own psychedelic masterpiece in a paper-marbling workshop or make your memoirs look magnificent with an introduction to bookbinding.     Actually I did do a lot of paper-marbling in the '90s... No problem, craft friend. The studio is open access so if you already know how to use the equipment you can buy a studio pass, or even become a member. There are always experts on hand to help you find what you need, and you can use the little kitchen to make as much tea as your creative juices require. I'm not good with commitment, can I just look at everyone else's prints instead? Pop by any time to browse the lovely little shop and watch the members at work. Hopefully you’ll be tempted into booking (wahey!) into one of their introductory courses, most of which cost £85 for non-members. London Centre for Book Arts is at Unit 18, Britannia Works, 56 Dace Rd

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Angels Costumes

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Angels Costumes

Isn't Angels a fancy-dress shop? Well, yes. If you recognise the name from your annual Halloween costume hunt that’s because this world-famous costumiers also runs a fancy dress shop on Shaftesbury Avenue. But its main business is making the clothes on the telly and the silver screen look picture perfect (and historically accurate).             So it's a huge wardrobe for celebs? Not just huge, enormous. Its purpose-built premises in Hendon has eight miles of clothing rails, all packed with garments in every shape, size, colour, style and era. As well as a near infinite number of coathangers, the building houses design studios, a tailoring department, offices and a fridge full of fur. A fridge? Moths don’t like the cold. Of course.         So why would I want to visit? Because it’s amazing. You’ll see dresses that were made in the nineteenth century, epaulettes designed especially for ‘Dad’s Army’, pretend chainmail, real chainmail, royal wedding replicas and hundreds of Santa suits. Try to spot the outfits that appeared in the 35 films that have won the company Best Costume Oscar – among them ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Titanic’ – or just enjoy the fact that Leonardo di Caprio wore something that’s now hanging in your vicinity.         Celeb sweat and sequins? When can we go? Its fantastic tours run several times a month on selected weekdays and cost £20. Email tours@angels.uk.com for upcoming dates and to book your place. Angels Costumes can be found at

Help to spruce up central London's loveliest community garden

Help to spruce up central London's loveliest community garden

The Phoenix Garden is one of those places that you don't really want to shout about too loudly. It's an oasis of calm tucked between Shaftesbury Avenue and St Giles, and the best bit of green in central London (it also happens to be right next to the Time Out office). We've been deprived of our lunchtimes there this year, as they're busy building a community centre in one corner, and are getting ready to re-landscape some of the existing garden. If, that is, they make it to their fundraising target; at the time of writing they're £6,000 short of their £18,842 target. As well as ensuring the garden can afford the improvements they need for their accessible paving, wildlife habitats, volunteer training and sunny lunch spots, helping The Phoenix Garden to reach its target will mean they receive an extra £10,000 pledge from the GLA. So give a tenner and you're basically giving double that, and you'll be able to enjoy the garden and its flora and fauna safe in the knowledge that you're part of the team that supports it. The Phoenix Garden is due to re-open in late August. Help them to reach their funding target on Spacehive.