Sonya Curnow is Time Out's former London News and Events Editor.
The best pottery classes in London
Londoners are potty for clay. Places on pottery courses across the city are getting snapped up quicker than a discounted Edmund de Waal vase, so if you want to sink your hands into some wet clay and imagine you’re in ‘Ghost’, you’d better book your London pottery class in advance. Here are four things to remember before you get behind the wheel: Be ready to get messy Bring an apron, unless you don’t mind walking around in clay-splattered clothes for the rest of the day. Stay centred It can take a while to centre your clay on the wheel, but it’s worth getting it spot-on so your pot’s walls are an even thickness. Go slow Any quick movements can throw your pot off-centre and that can be the beginning of the end. Be philosophical Just when it looks like you’ve made a beautiful vase, it collapses! Take a deep breath and start again. That one just wasn’t meant to be. Recommended Need for more inspiration for new hobbies? Check out our list of the best classes in London.
In pictures: life on Ridley Road, Dalston’s buzzing street market
Giant snails, fresh naan bread, slabs of cocoa butter and hot gözleme: you can find them all on Ridley Road. This multicultural artery opposite Dalston Kingsland station has been an integral part of the Hackney community since the 1880s, and today there are more than 150 stalls and shops selling Afro-Caribbean, Asian and Turkish wares six days a week. But as gentrification races through Dalston (there’s even an M&S now), Ridley Road faces mounting interest from developers, which currently sees the indoor Shopping Village threatened with demolition. To document this pivotal period, Future Hackney (a National Lottery-funded collective of visual artists and storytellers) has set up camp on the market strip. Working with young residents, it’s using street photography and a makeshift studio to capture strikingly honest portraits of the diverse local community. This autumn, the results will cover the Shopping Village building as it meets its fate. Until then, you can follow Future Hackney’s progress on Instagram for the latest from one of London’s most fascinating streets. Photography by Future Hackney.
7 great giftable experiences
Physical presents are out, memorable things to do are in. Everyone has that one friend or family member who is just impossible to buy for, so instead of trawling around Christmas markets and getting squished on Oxford Street, why not get them an unforgettable London day out instead? Send the Londoner who has everything to a group harmonica class, turn them into a London Zoo keeper for a day or pay for them to abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Maybe check how they feel about heights before you splash out on that last one…
In pictures: a trip up the Walkie Talkie (aka 20 Fenchurch Street)
Last week, I donned my hard hat for a trip up the skeleton of the new kid of the London skyline, the bulbous 20 Fenchurch Street with ‘more up top’. The new 38-floor skyscraper, already affectionately known as ‘The Walkie Talkie’, is set to open in 2014 and will be packed full of lovely new offices of various sizes (19% of space has been pre-let). However, unless you’re planning on relocating your business to greater heights, I don’t expect this aspect to be of great interest to you. Instead, we’re most excited about what will be happening on those crowning floors: the Skygarden. It’s yet to be confirmed exactly what will be in the huge glass atrium apart from some plants and a still-to-be-decided restaurant, but, unlike the Shard, we do know that it will be free to go up and take in the view. And it is quite a view. The core of the building is already built, with the rest of architect Rafael Viñoly’s curvy shape rapidly developing around it. Here are a few snaps from our peek around the site and ascent up the tower...
So you've never been to... Longplayer?
In a nutshell: Longplayer is a 1,000-year-long piece of music composed by Jem Finer (guitarist from The Pogues), which you can listen to in a lovely old lighthouse in Docklands. Where is it? Swerve around the A-roads of East India Dock, duck down Orchard Place (less scenic than it sounds) and you’ll come to arts hub Trinity Buoy Wharf. Go past Fat Boy’s Diner and the colourful work studios of Container City to find London’s only surviving lighthouse. What does it sound like? You won’t find any ‘Fairytale of New York’ vibes here. Finer has created a piece of music with singing bowls. The effect is a constant harmonious hum that can be heard resonating throughout the lighthouse. It started playing on December 31 1999 and has been going ever since, organically developing with no repeats. (Although every time we go it sounds pretty much the same!). What makes it great? Visiting Longplayer is a magical experience. Climb up to the glass lantern room at the top of the tower and gaze out at the panoramic view of the Thames and beyond. The enchanting echoing sound makes everything feel cinematic – perfect for romantic moments or just staring out over London contemplating the meaning of life. When should I go? It’s open every weekend. Times vary throughout the year though, so be sure to check before you go. Read more in our 'So you've never been to...?' series
Adam Driver: 'I am always proud to be an American'
Adam Driver rose to fame playing Lena Dunham’s complicated but swoonworthy boyfriend in ‘Girls’, and his unconventional sex symbol status – and career – has been soaring ever since. Something about the intense, troubled but fundamentally decent characters he often plays has people captivated. (Okay, me too, I admit it.) I’ve liked him in all his roles, even as the goth villain in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (who doesn’t love a bad boy?). In his latest film, ‘Paterson’, directed by Jim Jarmusch, Driver plays a bus-driving poet and loving husband – a role which will do nothing to crush the crushes of his ever-growing fanbase. Filming has finished on the final season of 'Girls'. Have you got a theory about why it's so popular?‘I think it was the three-dimensional female characters and the mess around it. Whether you like Lena’s writing or not, she is great in telling a story in her voice.’ 'Girls' captured the new generation of millennial feminism. Do you call yourself a feminist?‘No. Not because I don’t think that the cause is just, I’m just not into labelling or calling myself anything.’ Lena Dunham has called out sexism in the industry, pointing out that you've had major roles after 'Girls', whereas the female actors haven't. What do you think about that?‘I definitely think that the material women are given often isn’t three-dimensional at all and it’s very much in support of a man. The opportunities are just not there. Guys can be messy and get a more broad range of thing
Ira Glass: 'It’s like ‘This American Life’, plus dancing'
You’re probably more familiar with Ira Glass’s voice than his face. He’s been filling the ears of radio and podcast listeners for the past 20 years as creator and host of ‘This American Life’. Each week, the show uncovers small, powerful, funny, sad, surprising and true stories that explore what it means to be human. It has inspired a wave of broadcast journalism that uses tools of fiction: narrative, character and emotion. The hit investigative podcast ‘Serial’ is a spin-off from ‘This American Life’ and Glass serves as its editorial advisor. More recently, he moved from studio to stage, performing in the storytelling and dance bonanza ‘Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host’. After touring the world, the show is finally coming to London. There have been almost 600 episodes of ‘This American Life’. Why has it been so successful? ‘We’re choosing things that we feel strongly about and that we respond to in a crude, primitive way. It’s fun to hear a good story and we spend a lot of time finding the great ones.’ What do you look for in a story? ‘There has to be a good, surprising plot and it’s best if it drives towards some thought about the world that you haven’t thought before. There also has to be somebody that you can relate to and invest in.’ What has the popularity of ‘Serial’ meant for you? ‘It brought people to podcasts who’d never listened to one before. Twelve million people listened to each episode of the first season. It came out just as Apple put an automatic pod
The 50 best TV series streaming online now in the UK
Can't live without your favourite TV series on Netflix? Addicted to TV shows on iPlayer? It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago we’d have to wait a whole week between each episode of our favourite series. Now we can binge on entire shows, one after the other, on the day they’re released. Plus, there’s a huge archive of shows on so many different streaming services – from Netflix to All4 – that you can easily feel a bit overwhelmed with choice.That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of our critics' favourite TV series streaming online (legally) right now in the UK. From rom-coms to dark thrillers, teen drama to sci-fi, we’ve covered all bases and moods. This is an article to bookmark. If there’s a great show we’ve missed then let us know in the comments below, or if you fancy a movie check out our pick of the 25 best feelgood movies on Netflix or the best horror movies on Netflix.
John Waters interview
Although best know as the maverick pencil mustachioed filmmaker behind notorious lo-fi cult classics like ‘Pink Flamingos’, and more mainstream family fun including ‘Hairspray’, John Waters hasn’t actually made a feature film in over ten years. Instead, these days he channels his sardonic social commentary into writing and artworks. This is Water's first London show and it’s a continuation of his studies in bad taste, sex, death, depravity and celebrity. How can the man who was once crowned the Pope of Trash continue his reign of shock and subversion when NSFW has become the norm? By trying to make people laugh and see things in a different way, John reckons. The 69-year-old Grandfather of Filth talks us through seven of the key works on show.
Everything you wanted to know about Kinky Salon
What comes to mind when you imagine a ‘sex party’? An elite invite-only orgy in a swanky pad? Maybe a suburban ‘keys in a bowl’ swingers shindig? Or maybe just a common search term on Pornhub? Rarely do people think of creativity, community or a dress code that’s more ‘Blue Peter’ than ‘Betty Blue’. Kinky Salon London is just that. Yes, people have sex at this arty, sexy party, but it’s more about creating an inclusive, alternative, fun ‘sex positive’ night out than just having a heaving fuckfest. Parties are typically held in warehouse spaces, not Mayfair mansions, and KSL’s guests are bound by a code of conduct they describe as ‘feminist leaning’, where consent is key. But play by the rules and anything goes, as one of KSL’s co-founders Tobias Fauntleroy Slater (pictured) and other team members explain. Who can come? ‘We welcome people from any race, gender, sexuality, age or disability status. Whatever your sexuality, you’re all welcome. Our community is there to make people feel better about sex and realise that the way they want to be is not wrong. It’s gorgeous, fun and right.’ What should I wear? ‘There’s a silly theme for every party – something imaginative that lends itself to dressing up on a budget, instead of predictable or expensive fetish wear. It levels people – everyone looks equally ridiculous. It’s about laughing at yourself instead of the expectation that you have to be your sexiest self. There are people who like to get really creative. One of our guests s
Listings and reviews (12)
Davenports Magic Shop
If Harry Potter has taught us anything, it’s that magical places are hidden in the most unlikely and mundane corners of London. And fittingly, if you want to make like a real magician, there’s only one place to go: the depths of Charing Cross station, where you’ll find Davenports. Opened in 1898 by 16-year-old music hall performer Lewis Davenport, this institution now holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest family-run magic shop. Since 1984, Davenports has been tucked away in the rather unglamorous underground arcade below the Strand, alongside a fancydress shop and a deserted gym. Bill Davenport is the latest of Lewis’s descendants to run the family business and has been working in the shop since he was a kid. As you’d expect, the small shop stocks boxes of colourful silks and ropes, metal rings, fake thumbs, and of course the classic cups and balls. But the best-selling item is a good old-fashioned deck of cards. ‘The popular style of magic is constantly evolving,’ says Bill. ‘In Victorian times the focus was on “parlour magic”, using weird and wonderful apparatus to mystify the audience. Today, the focus is more on magic with normal objects that people can relate to more easily.’ Props aside, Davenports is all about educating aspiring Houdinis young and old: its cabinets are full of instructional DVDs and books and it holds beginners’ courses in the studio next door. ‘I do feel a great sense of responsibility to help people of all backgrounds learn magic th
Bergen House is a Stoke Newington version of a man cave. Not only are there low lights, leather booths, distressed brick and art nouveau stylings, there’s cheeky menu banter, a strong selection of whisky and beer and a pile of board games. As for the food, it’s comforting, pimped-up pub grub. There are burgers, lamb chops, baked camembert and plenty of glorified bar snacks, plus bigger sharing dishes for two: fish pie, beef wellington, sausage and mash or a whole roast chicken. But the main attraction is what the BH menu describes as ‘everyone’s favourite: banging steak & fries’. A green leaf and walnut salad starter (too-sweet vinaigrette, but otherwise decent) was followed by a perfectly pleasant sliced steak with a peppery green sauce and salty, crunchy, skinny fries. And just when my plate was nearly cleared, unprompted they brought a surprising but not entirely needed second helping. At £16.50 for two, this is one of the cheapest steaks in town and though it’s not be the finest, it’s not bad if you’re on a budget and in need of a meat fix. Bergen House may not be a culinary destination, but it’s a nice spot for a hearty dinner and a game of Scrabble. And that’s clearly a winning combo: on the Friday night I visited, it was packed out with bro dates bonding over meat and beer. Less steakhouse, more sausage fest.
Decléor’s first UK boutique and day spa on Westbourne Grove, just off Portobello Road, is just as fragrant as the products it flogs. Behind the gold and floral shop front, you’re greeted by the brand’s full range of essential oil-based products, with a circular centerpiece that shows off the key botanicals and their benefits. At the back of the shop there’s a ‘Sensorial Spa Bar’, which is basically just a nice chair in front of a mirror (with a camera and screen in it). Here they do ‘Face Shots’: 15 minute facial-massage treatments for £15 (redeemable on products). A pretty sweet deal, plus the whole thing is filmed and the tutorial is emailed over to you so you can see the awkward faces you pull as you’re being pampered (then recreate them at home). For longer treatments, there are treatment rooms downstairs, and a special multi-sensory ‘Recharging Hub’ at the back of the shop, which has coloured mood lighting and a screen on the ceiling where you choose a landscape to view while you’re pampered. I tried the Ultimate Vitamin Glow (£65), an hour of indulgent facial pampering, apparently a fave of Cheryl Ann Tweedy before all her red carpet appearances. And if it’s good enough for our Cheryl… After a cleanse, tone and moisturise, there’s a slightly strange-feeling exfoliator that sloughs off all the old dead skin, followed by an all-natural oaty mask, which feels a bit like being covered in warm porridge. It’s a surprisingly heavy, cosy and comforting sensation, as the mixtur
Floating is the hot wellbeing craze for 2017, or so the blissed-out founders of Floatworks in Vauxhall tell me, as I prepare to take my first salty plunge. The benefits look similar to those of yoga, meditation and mindfulness: stress relief, reduction in anxiety and pain etc. Basically it should leave me healthier, happier, fitter, more productive. Who doesn’t want that? However, the idea of lying in a small, dark silent box for an hour makes me feel far from relaxed. Will it be claustrophobic? Will I have to confront my inner demons as I stare into the dark abyss? You guessed it, I’m not very good at chilling out. But the guys at Floatworks are reassuring and the cocoon-like pods turn out to be way bigger than I expected (nine feet long by seven feet wide). My pod is in its own room, with a shower and I can get out at any time. The water is body temperature and contains 450kg of Epsom salt. That’s more dense than the Dead Sea, so it’s pretty much impossible not to float (another worry). Once naked, except for earplugs and Vaseline on any cuts, I lie down and close the lid. There is 10 minutes of underwater intro music and after that it’s just startling silence. You can choose to have the light on or go for the pitch-black option. Once I establish where the panic button is, I go for the full sensory-deprivation vibe. The feeling is surprisingly wonderful. My muscles totally relax and my whole body feels weightless. The hardest part is forcing my brain to slow down. I wouldn’
Teller on Mapplethorpe
There’s a lot of chat about photographer Robert Mapplethorpe at the moment. As well as a massive retrospective touring galleries around the world, a revealing documentary about his life, ‘Look at the Pictures’, came out earlier this year and now, to mark what would have been his 70th birthday, fellow photographer Juergen Teller has curated a show of his work. Teller has delved deep into Mapplethorpe’s archive and chosen rarely exhibited images spanning across his lifetime. Best known for his beautifully lit black and white nude rude dudes (and for dating Patti Smith), Mapplethorpe’s vast range of images are confrontational and stylish, and the 48 on show are true to form. You won’t find the big hitters here – instead Teller’s selected a disparate mix of animals, portraits, still lifes, architecture and, of course, naked guys. I counted nine cocks and four splayed bumholes. But whether he’s photographing a pert tush or a loaf of bread, Mapplethorpe treats them with the same detached levelling view which makes the overtly sexual seem almost mundane and everyday objects come to life with erotic possibility. The way the show is (well) hung amusingly plays with this contrast: a cute kitten on a couch sits innocently opposite an explicit close-up of double anal fisting, while Muffin the dog is neighbour to a mouth covered in clothes pegs and a picture of a pear shares a wall with a wildly muscular pair of arse cheeks. Similarly whimsical is a comically large floor-to-ceiling nude p
Please note, Little Pitt is now closed. Time Out London Food & Drink Editors, March 2017. Think back to Pitt Cue’s first tiny restaurant on Newburgh Street and you’ll probably remember the queue of unassailable diners patiently waiting for their meaty fix. But back in January, the flagship spot closed and a bigger, flashier, Pitt Cue opened in the City, minus the pulled pork (much to the chagrin of its first fans). Then, in August, the original BBQ crew took the original Soho site back over – and Little Pitt was born. Here, they go back to their roots: serving bourbon, beer and damn delicious meat. There’s a changing selection of interesting cuts that on our visit included a tender lamb rump, cured jowl, bavette steak and smoked beef neck. The pulled pork is back on the menu, but instead of the steaming stack they used to serve, it now comes in roll form, which feels a shame given the pulled pork bun’s current pubby ubiquity. But the meat is still mouth-wateringly tender and juicy, paired with perfectly salted pickles and slaw. The sides are as strong as ever: the decadently buttery bone marrow mash almost had me licking the bowl clean, and the BBQ beans and green chilli slaw were tip-top. Everything feels reassuringly familiar – it’s as small as ever, the downstairs tables are still extremely cosy and the staff ever-friendly. But, crucially, there was no queue. We walked in at 7pm on a Thursday and were seated immediately. Maybe the masses aren’t yet wise to Little Pitt, or
Strut & Cluck
When we heard a restaurant specialising in turkey was opening, we assumed it was just another poultry-focused fast-food shack. Instead, flavours at Strut & Cluck are Mediterranean and all-the-rage Middle Eastern, with dishes coming out mezze-sized. The menu features all the staples, from pastrami to koftes, baba ganoush to schnitzel. Really, it’s a bit too wide – it felt like they were spreading themselves thin. Charred cauliflower with lemony crème fraîche had all the flavours in place, but was overcooked and lacked bite. A watermelon, feta, mint and olive salad also fell flat, while the hand-pulled shawarma with dates and pine nuts was so salty and over-spiced that I couldn’t finish it. Happily, then, that the 'classic' turkey really shone. The slow-roasted thigh was tender and delicious: a far cry from the dry bird we’ve all suffered at festive feasts. So, if you’re looking for a lean, tasty turkey fix, you’ll gobble this up. But for Middle Eastern-inspired small plates, there are frankly better (and cheaper) places to go.
If you’re craving a crêpe (and can’t afford a Eurostar ticket), Le Merlin in Clapton is the place to be. They’ve taken the idea of a crêperie very seriously, offering a simple pancake-only menu (no side dishes here) in a minimal, rustic setting. Crêpes are divided into savoury and sweet options, with classic flavour combos alongside more experimental numbers. The traditional combo of ham, gruyère and egg was balanced and satisfying, but a wilder choice of confit duck with blue cheese, truffle honey and caramelised onion was too full on to finish. Luckily, that left room for sweet varieties, which totally stole the show. The lemon cream and grilled almond crêpe was like a heavenly tarte au citron and flambéed pear with chocolate sauce was just as delicious. You might worry that ordering just a crêpe for dinner won’t be enough to satisfy, but the rich ingredients beautifully arranged on wafer-like buckwheat pancakes were filling and pleasingly affordable (between £5.70 and £8.50). Alternatively, people were coming in to sit in Le Merlin’s little garden for just a sweet crêpe and a glass of wine or Breton cider, which still seems like a winning idea. Who knew Clapton could be so continental?
Coffee, Cake & Kisses
A café in Warren Street may not be your immediate go to place for a chinwag about relationships, but that’s exactly what the founders of Coffee, Cake & Kisses are hoping you’ll do. And it seems that it’s something Londoners are crying out for as they managed to raise over £37,000 through Kickstarter to fund it. Part coffee shop, part baking hub, part shop and part event space, Coffee, Cake & Kisses is the brainchild of Sonia and Amanda who used to run another alternative café called Coffee, Cake & Kink in Covent Garden. This is a softer, more vanilla version of the previous incarnation, with the emphasis firmly on relationships. They want to create a ‘comfortable, non-judgemental space for the exploration of all things carnal and cerebral, inclusive and welcoming of all genders, sexualities, relationship models and lifestyles.’ Co-founder Sonia Cassida says: ‘It’s about people coming together joyfully, without the need for labels and boxes; a truly integrated space to fully explore and celebrate all that we are.’ Not your average Starbucks, then. But what does that actually mean? Well, there are a number of different ways to enjoy Coffee, Cake & Kisses. Firstly, it’s a lovely little coffee shop. There are drool-worthy cakes, tasty food and excellent coffee all served in a light and friendly space. Grab one of the tables for two and you’ve got your classic independent London coffee shop experience. If you feel like getting a bit more involved, there’s communal tables where you
My Neighbours the Dumplings
Purists, take note: this isn’t your traditional dim sum restaurant and doesn’t claim to be. Instead, My Neighbours the Dumplings has adopted the dim sum dining style of shared small plates and given it a hip east London twist, combining traditional Chinese dishes with other popular Asian influences, including Thai-style green papaya salad and a saké-based drinks menu. But don’t worry, these guys really do make excellent dumplings. The pastry is handmade and the meat (all free-range and from the Rare Breed Meat Company) tastes like actual meat rather than something you hope is pork. Their take on the classic steamed pork-and-prawn siu mai was light and fresh; the interpretation of a turnip cake looked alarmingly burnt but was crispy and moreish; and the sticky lotus-leaf-wrapped rice was packed with tasty surprises. Vegetarians are very well catered for too, with plump steamed shiitake mushroom dumplings and fried aubergine and sesame ‘potstickers’ trumping their meaty counterparts. Tempting as it is to stuff yourself silly with multiple orders of the savoury delights, save room for dessert. Heavenly chocolate dumplings were like naughty, deep-fried Milky Ways while the matcha tea rice pudding with coconut jam had me licking the bowl – although I was so full it was hard for me to move even this much. After running a series of pop-ups, MNTD has wisely chosen to settle down on an increasingly popular stretch in Lower Clapton that’s full of new restaurants, and it’s already attra
There aren’t many places to get a decent meal in Stratford and that’s where Darkhorse comes galloping in, a stylish eatery in a sea of chains. The Spanish- and Italian-inspired menu works for both tapas-style sharing or a more traditional three-course scenario. We mixed and matched, finding small plates to be a bit hit and miss, with juicy tiger prawns and padrón peppers overshadowing a disappointing roast avocado with ricotta (there’s never any need to heat up an avo!). Melted Monte Enebro cheese with rosemary honey was satisfyingly indulgent but the charcuterie platter was a tad uninspiring. It would seem that Darkhorse’s strength lies in more traditional dishes, rather than faddish additions. A main course of seared neck of lamb was a highlight: pink, tender and served with a delicious dollop of mashed aubergine caviar. I could have had a bowl of that on its own. Staff were attentive and helpful throughout the evening, in spite of failing to tell us that the kitchen was closing, so we sadly missed out on dessert. On the plus side, the place was buzzing on a Friday evening, so Darkhorse certainly makes a welcome addition to the area, both for locals and those in need of a well-deserved glass of wine after a Westfield spree.
Please note, Pitt Cue has now closed. Time Out Food editors, July 2019. The most memorable things about Pitt Cue’s first restaurant on Newman street (which they opened after the success of their van under Hungerford Bridge) were the insanely long queues and crazily good pulled pork. Now they’ve closed the Soho site, ditched the street food and opened a shiny restaurant in the shadow of the Gherkin where you can – gasp – actually book. Gone are the metal trays piled with meat and washed down with pickleback shots. Say hello to white china, napkins, a long wine list and cuts of beautiful meat. This is a completely new animal – let’s call it Pitt Cue Premium. That’s not to say it’s bad, it most certainly isn’t. It’s just very different. The food continues to be impressive, and still a heart attack waiting to happen. Melt-in-the-mouth short rib beef came with dangerously delicious bone marrow soaked bread. Bone marrow mash as divine as ever, while carrot salad with cow curd provided a welcome change of texture. What’s missing is the intimate atmosphere and casual vibe of the previous incarnation. Instead, this is a more corporate set up, the hipster crowd replaced by boozing city boys. It feels like Pitt Cue has grown up, but lost its soul along the way.
Cracking stuff: it's your favourite scotch eggs in London
Eggs. Meat. Breadcrumbs. You lot just can't get un oeuf. Harwood Arms: Fulham A photo posted by Shu, Two Hungry Girls (@thgsupperclub) on Aug 25, 2015 at 11:59pm PDT 'A Michelin-starred eggy snack. What's not to like?!' Debbie Walpole via Facebook The Bleeding Heart Tavern: Farringdon 'They do a venison scotch egg with a cranberry relish that I can't help but eat with tears of joy in my eyes.' NE via www.timeout.com The Adam and Eve: Homerton A photo posted by The Adam and Eve (@theadamandevee9) on Sep 9, 2014 at 6:14am PDT 'The Cornwall Project scotch egg. Hands down the best (and I've had a lot).' Liz Pie via Facebook Scotchtails: Borough Market A photo posted by scotchtails (@scotchtails) on Mar 16, 2015 at 7:06am PDT 'Marvellous, luscious, unforgettable. With sweet potato chips...sigh.' Catherine Cerni via Facebook Fortnum & Mason: Piccadilly A photo posted by Fortnum & Mason (@fortnums) on Mar 24, 2015 at 6:50am PDT 'The original. If you're gonna have one, you might as well go to the place that invented them.' Michail Finlay via www.timeout.com The Pig and Butcher: Angel A photo posted by The Pig & Butcher, Islington. (@pigandbutcher) on May 30, 2015 at 6:43am PDT 'The most sublime scotch eggs in the city.' Dave K via www.timeout.com Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments! Want more cracking news? Egg restaurants are the latest London food trend. Or read about the London restaurant that's frying whole ostrich eggs.
Watch this guy will make the fastest falafel wrap you've ever seen
Hungry and in an insane rush? Hot-foot it over to iFalafal in Petticoat Lane market on Goulston Street where this falafel wizard will you whip you up a tasty Middle Eastern snack in just 17 seconds. The street food vendor is taking fast food to new speedy heights and is getting a reputation as London’s 'falafel wrap master'. The £3 wraps come with a lightning speed addition of falafels, houmous, pickles, cucumber, lettuce, chilli sauce and tahini. They're getting such a reputation that there's even a Reddit thread called 'The Fastest Falafel Wrapper in London'. Don't believe us? Prepare to be amazed: Still not impressed? Check this: Hungry? Here are some more places to get some damn good falafel in London.
Ultimate spin class SoulCycle is finally coming to London
Have you ever sweated so much that you worried your face would never return to its normal hue? That’s what happened when we braved a SoulCycle class in New York. The legendary 45-minute spin classes launched back in 2006 kickstarting the craze for frantic pedalling in dark rooms to loud music and motivational exhortations. Part workout, part rave, part life coaching session, plenty of places have tried to replicate the SoulCycle model but the original is still the best – and the toughest. For the uninitiated, this is next-level spinning: the workout is intense and fast-paced, the music is pumping, the room is warm, the instructors are unfeasibly enthusiastic and all the riders are 100 percent into it. The studios themselves are slick and stylish, the toiletries and changing rooms are luxurious, and the whole experience is mildly terrifying, totally exhilarating and strangely addictive. There are currently 90 SoulCycle studios across America and Canada with the likes of Beyoncé, the Beckhams, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Madonna all big fans. Now it’s finally opening its first international outpost in London this June. About time. The 3,500 square-foot, multi-level venue opening in mid-June at 3-4 Great Marlborough Street in Soho will feature a mega 60-bike studio, an onsite shop stocking all the paraphernalia you need to look like a spinning badass and a programme of live concerts and events. But how will all the collective whooping and motivational chat go down with us re
West End latke legend Gaby’s Deli is closing
Getting a cheap and tasty bite to eat near Leicester Square is about to get tougher after the sad news that Jewish deli Gaby’s is closing at the end of October. The unassuming little family-run café on Charing Cross Road has been serving up falafel and salt beef to hungry theatregoers since 1965. In a sea of boring chains, Gaby’s offers a refreshing selection of affordable Middle Eastern dishes to regulars, tourists, celebs and anyone else who was drawn in by the impressive selection of salads in the window. It’s the perfect place for a pre-lash takeaway pita or a quiet meeting over a cuppa. Now the lease is ending and 82-year-old proprietor Gaby Elyahou is set to embark on a well-earned retirement. His 72-year-old nephew Menachem Kojman, who also works in the deli, says that he just can’t battle the surrounding West End chains and high rents any more. Unfortunately, the family haven’t found anyone else to take over the business, so with a heavy heart they’ve announced that Gaby’s is serving its last latke at the end of the month. This isn’t the first time that Gaby’s has been under threat. Back in 2011, the deli battled redevelopment before getting a reprieve by its landlords after a high-profile campaign from actors, politicians and writers including Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Miriam Margolyes and Vanessa Redgrave. But it seems that this time, unless there’s a miracle in the next few days, Gaby’s will go the way of other central London eating institutions like New Picca
Gingerline’s new show goes on sale today and it’s going to be wild
An aquatic dinner in an underwater mess hall. An intergalactic trip to an unexplored planet. A secret tunnel into a fairytale forest. These are the kinds of bonkers experiences that interactive supper club Gingerline has dreamed up over the years, popping up at secret venues along the length of the former East London line, now Overground (orange on the tube map, hence ‘Gingerline’, geddit?). Now, after eight years of playing with food, Gingerline is back with its biggest adventure yet – aptly named ‘The Grand Expedition’. This time, the founders are straying off the Overground to a huge, top-secret location on the Victoria line for a new edible journey which they describe as a ‘floating, feeding, falling dream’. While that might sound a bit like what happens when you accidentally take too much Night Nurse, the organisers say it actually means diners are going to be taken on a journey around the world with five interactive courses of food paired with wacky performances. More fancifully, it’s ‘part dance spectacle, part multimedia simulation, part poetical dreamscape.’ Is that a flowery and ambiguous description? Yes. But that’s the point. Each new Gingerline show is shrouded in mystery – you have to leave phones at the door and there’s a strict ‘no spoilers’ policy to keep it all a total secret. One of the pioneers of ‘immersive dining’, Gingerline has been taking adventurous eaters on clandestine dining escapades since 2010. Foodie founders Suz Mountfort and Kerry Adamson
Journey into the deep, dark world of old VHS clips at the Found Footage Festival
Ever wonder what’s lurking on those abandoned VHS tapes? Watch two guys turn that grainy old footage into a two-night comedy show VHS tapes – remember them? Anyone born before the mid-1990s will probably feel a flutter of nostalgia for those chunky boxes of magical analogue entertainment. Once the most cutting-edge tape-based technology where you could – shock horror! – record a show straight off your TV, nowadays video cassettes are mostly relegated to charity shops and car boot fairs. Learn how to massage an opossum But it’s in these very places that childhood pals Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher make some of their best discoveries. Since finding an incredibly awkward McDonald’s employee training VHS tape in 1991, they’ve been on the hunt for the weirdest, silliest and most outrageous videos they can get their hands on. Trawling through car boots, thrift stores, warehouses, and even skips across the globe, they’ve amassed an impressive collection which includes weird instructional gems such as ‘Mastering the Art of Carving’, ‘Telepathic Communication with Animals’ and ‘Rent-A-Friend’. See Angela Lansbury styling it out in a towel In 2004, they decided it was time to show the world the delights of their archive, so they started the Found Footage Festival, a show where they screen carefully chosen clips from their greatest VHS finds alongside hilariously dry commentary. They even do ‘where-are-they-now’ updates. Find out why you’re bathing your cat wrong Now the boys are
Take the plunge: meet the swimmers of London
From diehard lido fans to really wild swimmers, Sonya Barber meets six Londoners who love to make a splash Every morning I immerse myself in the cool refreshing water of London Fields Lido for 30 minutes of granny breaststroke. Apart from the occasional annoying splasher, it is a soothing, meditative retreat – a necessary antidote to the stress, noise and pressure of city life, and a break from staring mindlessly at my phone. It’s amazing how much a few gentle lengths can dramatically improve my mood and make me feel like a functioning human being again. It’s a solo, simple, primitive pleasure. I’m not the only one who appreciates the joy of taking a dip in the city. Swimming memberships in London are on the up (leisure centre chain Better reports a 15 percent increase in the past year) while there are plans to open new swimming spots in Peckham Rye Common, the River Thames and the lake in Beckenham Place Park. And you only need a sunny day to see hundreds of people patiently queuing outside lidos, pools and ponds across the city. Whether it’s for exercise, escapism or just cooling off, swimming is a treasured pastime for many Londoners. Here, some swimming enthusiasts share their stories about why they love taking the plunge. Mike Kahn, 65 (pictured above) ‘I discovered Parliament Hill Lido totally by chance. I used to change trains at Gospel Oak every day but had no idea what was just behind the trees. One evening, my train was cancelled, so I went for a walk and there it
19 banging things to do on Broadway Market
For a small street, Broadway Market’s got a big reputation. Neatly connecting London Fields to Regent’s Canal, it was home to a busy fruit and veg market from the 1890s until trade petered out in the early ’00s. On May 8 2004 the market was relaunched by the local community, and has since grown into a booming Saturday spectacle that’s famous across London. Each weekend people flock to buy fresh produce, vintage clothes, flowers, coffee, books, groceries, street food and handmade goodies – and to generally hang out. On a sunny Saturday, the market can be almost too busy to walk through. But the rest of the week, despite the coffee shops, restaurants and chic boutiques, it still feels like a local high street complete with a kebab shop, post office (the best place to get cash), Costcutter, old-school barber shop and excellent hardware store. Even off market day, you’ll find it buzzing with people pottering about, nattering over coffee and doing their weekly shop. On summer evenings, the pubs overflow on to the pavement and throngs of Londoners grab takeaway pizzas to scoff in the park. But make sure to visit in the colder months for Christmas trees, steamy café windows, quirky presents and as cosy a festive vibe as you’ll find anywhere in the city. Drink this A post shared by Jimmy Mikaoui (@jimmmmik) on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:24pm PST A glass of wine upstairs at The Cat & Mutton, a classic East End boozer overlooking London Fields. A few pints of craft beer in The Do
15 first-rate things to do on Ridley Road, Dalston
On market days, Ridley Road is the beating heart of Dalston, bursting with shoppers, trader banter, reggae rhythms and the smells of wafting incense and butchers’ shops. It’s been a market street since the late 1880s, and was once the centre of Hackney’s thriving Jewish community, but these days Turkish, African, Jamaican, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern traders set up side by side. Unlike lots of bits of Hackney, Ridley Road has so far managed to fend off regeneration. It’s a strong community and a hub for locals to do their weekly shop and catch up on the neighbourhood gossip. Forget halloumi fries: the only street food you’ll find here is gözleme, patties and jerk chicken. And despite being just off the Kingsland Road ‘strip’, there’s only one bar: the wonderfully unpretentious Ridley Road Market Bar, which hosts some of the best nights out in east London. The road comes to life each September for Hackney One Carnival, with a joyful mix of families, art-school kids and old locals dancing to competing soundsystems and drinking home-made rum punch. It’s the kind of scene that captures everything brilliant about London – even when it’s raining. Eat this A fresh spinach-and-feta-filled flatbread from the gözleme stall. A ‘Wannabe’ pizza from the Slice Girls residency outside Market Bar. A bag of samosas, bhajis and other fried treats at Kashmir Kebabish. Jerk chicken with rice and peas at Jerkmaican café and stall. A fresh, hot cheese roll from local hole-in-the-wall naan bre
There are loads of Fun Palaces popping up all over London this weekend
Despite sounding Like a regal version of the ’90s kids show, the Fun Palaces popping up all over the UK this weekend have nothing to do with either Pat Sharp or Prince Charles. Hundreds of museums, libraries, National Trust properties, small arts spaces, village halls and theatres are taking part, hosting two days of community-led cultural events to show off local talent. There are over 30 palaces appearing in London, each offering loads of free activities for all the family. At the National Maritime Museum you can meet mermaids, watch a ‘Star Wars’ parody, listen to a nautical-themed choral performance and create a giant rainbow kite. Over at the Museum of London, there’s a Festival of Radical Fun on Saturday, celebrating Londoners’ DIY spirit. Meanwhile in Camden, loads of local places are joining together for idiot Olympics, giant board games, and plenty of tea and cake. Not a mullet in sight, just a whole lotta fun. Find out more at www.funpalaces.co.uk.
Swingers are opening a new seaside-themed crazy golf course in Oxford Circus
Since Swingers opened in the City last year (and with all the other pop-ups across town), we're all getting pretty damn good at crazy golf. We've done the courses at their site next to The Gherkin multiple times and now we're up for a new sporting challenge. Luckily, the Institute of Competitive Socialising is about to open its second site in the old BHS store just off Oxford Street and this one is going to be pretty immense. The 20,000 square foot site will be seaside-themed with a hidden entrance through a souvenir shop, a bandstand bar, a promenade lined with beach huts full of street food, a Grand Hotel Bar inspired by seaside hotels and two nine-hole courses full of jumps, loops and moving obstacles. Swinger West End is due to open in February 2018 but you can start booking tickets from November 14. Until then, book some games to keep your hand in at Swingers in the City.
18 awesome things to do on Old Compton Street, Soho
The late Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley called Soho ‘a madhouse without walls’, and if you stroll down Old Compton Street today, you can still get a flavour of that electric eccentricity. Running from Charing Cross Road to Wardour Street, intersecting the hectic grid of lower Soho, it pulsates with theatre-goers, rickshaws, café-dwelling people-watchers and parading characters. It’s a thoroughfare for tourists and busy media types, a high street for the local community, and home to some of Soho’s oldest surviving businesses. Over the years, Old Compton Street has given refuge to many minorities and subcultures, from the Huguenots in the 1680s, through the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, to the British rock ’n’ rollers who played at 2i’s Coffee Bar in the ’50s. Today it’s one of London’s main LGBT+ hubs. It’s seen tragedy – in 1999 the Admiral Duncan pub was bombed in a homophobic attack – but strength and unity too. Crowds congregated here in 2016 after the Orlando nightclub shooting, and it’s a major focus of London’s annual Pride celebrations. When I interviewed Horsley about Soho in 2008, he lamented: ‘The air used to be clean and the sex used to be dirty, and now it’s the other way around.’ But despite the sanitisation, Old Compton Street clings on to its alternative filthy spirit. Drink this A post shared by Lizzie Munro (@lizzieamunro) on Sep 2, 2017 at 10:50am PDT A potent, bottle-aged negroni at tiny cocktail and coffee haven Bar Termini. A pint at ol