FEEL FESTIVE HERE: Maitre Choux King’s Road
This Christmas, kids are invited to Maitre Choux King’s Road to decorate and build their own Christmas tree ‘pièce montée’ out of mini éclairs. With the help of the éclair shop’s specialist pastry chefs, each child will be in charge of decorating their edible tree, personalising their pièce montée and éclairs, choosing from a range of classic flavours including Tahitian vanilla, Spanish raspberry pink or salted butter caramel. Children will be able to decorate their tree with sugar snowflakes, mini marshmallows and silver and gold glitter. The workshop will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 1pm.
King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 4ND; 21-22 December
GRAB A TABLE HERE: Casa Do Frango
London Bridge’s Casa Do Frango specialises in Algarvian-style ‘frango’ chicken, which is cooked over wood charcoal. The result is extra tender (and extra flavourful) half joints of peri-peri chicken. This week, the team has opened a new restaurant in Shoreditch. This second site will shine a light on the flavours of Algarvian cuisine, with influences from other regions of Portugal. Chicken takes centre stage again, but there’s also an in-house pasteleria (the pastel de nata egg tarts we’ve tried were some of the best we’ve had outside of Portugal), the capital’s largest collection of Portuguese wines and a special peri-peri beer – a perfect pairing for the restaurant’s signature dish.
King John Court, Hackney, EC2A 3EZ
WATCH THIS: Cats
Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) has transformed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking stage musical into a film. Out today, Cats stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson, and Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature-film debut. Featuring Lloyd Webber’s music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton), the film reimagines the musical with impressive production design, state-of-the-art technology and dance styles ranging from classical ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street dance to tap.
In cinemas now
HAVE AFTERNOON TEA HERE: Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is taking the magic of the ballet from the stage to the table with its festive Sleeping Beauty-themed afternoon tea. The feast is inspired by the classic ballet and features an assortment of seasonal treats for adults and children. Served in the fifth-floor Piazza Restaurant for the duration of the show’s run, savoury dishes include roast turkey sandwiches on granary bread with a dash of cranberry relish, and Severn and Wye smoked salmon pin wheel on pumpernickel bread. After warm scones with jam and clotted cream, the spotlight falls on the fairytale-inspired sweets. For adults, the offering will include a rose champagne snowman macaron and a glittery golden Christmas pudding, while little ones will tuck into a chocolate nemesis and a layered jelly.
Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD; until 21st December
WATCH A JAZZ SHOW HERE: The Savoy
As day turns to night, the Thames Foyer at the Savoy transforms into a sultry setting reminiscent of the 1920s jazz age. This week, highly acclaimed jazz vocalist Judi Jackson – the Savoy’s first musician-in-residence – will be playing live. Frequently on the road, Jackson has sold out headline shows worldwide and collaborated with the likes of Warner Music’s George Moore and Michael League, member of Grammy award-winning band Snarky Puppy. The entertainment will run from 7:30pm to 11.30pm while guests enjoy a relaxed evening of dinner and drinks.
Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 0EZ; 19th December
SEE AN EXHIBITION HERE: Somerset House
In her first solo exhibition in the UK, Mary Sibande presents a series of photographic and sculptural works exploring the power of imagination and constructive anger in shaping identities and personal narratives in a post-colonial world. I Came Apart at the Seams follows the transformative journey of Sibande’s avatar, Sophie. Taking form as a series of colourful human-scale sculptures modelled on Sibande herself, Sophie transgresses from her humble beginnings as a domestic housemaid into myriad empowered characters, transcending racial bias and marginalisation. Iterations of these striking installations are also captured in vibrant large-scale photography, documenting Sophie’s journey. Through these works, Sibande pays homage to the generations of women in her family who worked as domestic labourers. In sharing their previously untold stories, Sibande challenges stereotypical depictions of black women in post-apartheid South Africa throughout history and today.
Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1LA
BE A VIP HERE: Haya
Inspired by founder Victoria Paltina’s visits to Tel Aviv, Haya focuses on simple Mediterranean sharing plates and nutritious seasonal ingredients. The all-day restaurant opens early to serve cold-pressed juices, coffee and breakfast dishes, including yoghurt with granola and honeycomb, and goats’ cheese and egg-white omelette. On weekends, Haya serves up brunch dishes such as shakshuka and fried polenta cakes topped with shaved parmesan and fried quail eggs. As evening draws in, the lights are dimmed and the candles lit, highlighting the restaurant’s warm oak flooring, textured concrete walls and plant-laden green ceiling. This month, the team is offering SheerLuxe VIPs 30% off the bill. Not yet a VIP? Sign up using the link below.
Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, W11 2ES; until 31st December
FEEL INDULGENT HERE: The Ivy
This Christmas, the original Ivy is celebrating in style with a trio of limited-edition cocktails. Created by bar manager Darren Ball, creations include a festive ‘Punch Noel’ with Courvoisier VSOP, rum, lemon, mince pie spices and burnt butter; a ‘Christmas Sling’ featuring Beefeater London Dry, chestnuts, pine, verjus and ginger ale; and a ‘Mulled Negroni’ with Plymouth Gin, Campari, vermouth, cranberry and mulled spices. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a Christmas pudding soufflé from exec chef Gary Lee. Picture a white-chocolate Christmas-spiced fondant with currants, raisins and a soft, sweet-mincemeat centre, served with cream anglaise, spiced rum gel, brandy ice cream and a snow flake.
West Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9NQ
LEAVE LONDON IN STYLE HERE: Fortnum’s St Pancras Bar & Restaurant
High-end department store Fortnum & Mason recently launched in St Pancras International station. You’ll find a bar, restaurant and tea room – all good excuses to arrive early before your train or for a restorative pit-stop on your return. Alongside the food and drink offerings, there’s a small store packed with everything from biscuits, tea, coffee and hampers to London-themed decorations and souvenirs. An ideal place to call into for any last-minute Christmas presents you might need before heading off for the holidays.
St Pancras International Station, King’s Cross, N1C 4QL
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