FEEL FESTIVE HERE: The Good Egg
This weekend The Good Egg will welcome former Koya chef, Edgar Wallace, to host a ‘Chinese Jewish Christmas’ supper club in its Stoke Newington restaurant. The American-Jewish custom of eating Chinese food on Christmas Day has been around for over 100 years. Group head chef at The Good Egg, Jooles O’Sullivan, has drawn inspiration from this tradition to bring both cultures together and create a fun one-off feasting menu. Starters include gefilte hispi rolls with pickled chilli dipping sauce; Szechuan noodle kugel with smoked mackerel, soy mustard dressing and garlic chives; smoked fennel and anise beef salami with tofu mayo, fresh horseradish and scallion pancakes. Main courses will feature Hungarian duck and steamed brill with sour pickle sauce.
93 Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0AS; 21st-22nd December
GET COSY HERE: Chucs Westbourne Grove
Chucs Westbourne Grove has opened its Christmas grotto – a Nordic-style winter hideaway in Notting Hill. Guests can wrap up in luxurious fur throws while sipping on a steaming cup of mulled wine or enjoying an orange-infused hot chocolate. The team will also be serving festive nibbles such as luxury mince pies and traditional Italian panettone. This weekend, Father Christmas will be there to hear Christmas wish lists and hand out presents to little ones. Plus there'll be a visit from his magical ‘reindeers in training’, which are in fact, baby goats, perfect for petting. Indoors, the kitchen will be serving a festive menu. Highlights include burrata with black truffle and wild mushrooms; pumpkin, chestnut and truffle gnocchi; and rich chocolate fondant with hazelnut ice cream.
226 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11 2RH; until 7th January
SORT YOUR NYE PLANS HERE: Sushisamba Covent Garden
Experience a high-end New Year’s Eve by ringing in 2019 at the brand new Sushisamba Covent Garden. Inspired by the Brazilian tradition of Réveillon, guests will be surrounded by the colour of swirling carnival samba dancers, experience batucada drumming, and will have the option of dancing the night away with a little help from a DJ. The vibrant hotspot has both dining and bar tickets on offer. The early dinner sitting is between 6pm–7:30pm after which guests are welcome to join the party at the bar; late dining sittings are from 8:30pm, and guests will keep their table for the night. Alternatively, the celebration bar ticket invites guests to prop up the bar with canapés and a welcome cocktail, all the way through to midnight.
35 The Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RF; 31st December
TRY A NEW ROAST HERE: Ekte
Ekte has launched a new winter roast menu, influenced by the traditional family-style dishes of head chef Robin Freeman’s native Sweden, and of owner Soren Jessen’s homeland Denmark. Families and friends can choose between slow-roasted lamb shoulder or herb-fed roast chicken. Side orders include roasted root vegetables, seasonal greens and ‘Jansson’s Temptation’, a traditional Swedish dish of onions, potatoes, pickled sprats and breadcrumbs. The Nordic-inspired wine and drinks list includes cocktails such as a ‘Bloody Dane’ (a fresh take on a classic ‘Bloody Mary’, adding fennel seeds and replacing vodka with Aquavit), and a ‘Nordic Spritzer’ (Aperol, apple cider and soda). This is a great destination for groups.
2-8 Bloomberg Arcade, Bank, EC4N 8AR; 23rd December
SEE A NEW EXHIBITION HERE: Opera Gallery
Opera Gallery has launched its latest exhibition, Beyond Reality, a collective show of world-leading hyperrealist artists, including internationally acclaimed Marc Sijan, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, John Humphreys, Yigal Ozeri, and Mike Dargas. From life-like sculptures, to paintings that look like photos, Beyond Reality features artwork that challenges the viewer, making them question whether they are looking at art or real life. We’re intrigued to see the works of John Humphreys, a creature designer for Doctor Who and sculptor for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alexander. London-based Humphreys is an expert in special effects and his sculptures are disturbingly realistic.
134 New Bond Street, Marylebone, W1S 2TF; until 28th December
TAKE YOUR PARENTS HERE: Royal Albert Hall
The annual performance of Handel’s sacred oratorio Messiah takes place at the Royal Albert Hall this Friday as part of the iconic venue’s series of Christmas events. The splendour of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Chorus will be combined with rising vocal stars, including previous BBC New Generation Artist, Benjamin Appl, and will be brought together by the much-lauded young Russian conductor Maxim Emelyanychev. The perfect festive setting for singing Christmas carols.
Kensington Gore, Kensington, SW7 2AP; 21st December
GET TOGETHER WITH THE GIRLS HERE: ME London
ME London has unveiled its immersive ‘Fire + Ice’ winter terraces atop the ME London hotel. Created in partnership with Grey Goose Vodka and Patrón Tequila, the north-facing ‘Ice’ terrace is a Nordic-style winter wonderland where guests can enjoy Grey Goose cocktails (such as ‘Un Bel Hiver' with martini, maraschino and orange flavours), warm up under fabulous fun-fur throws, and graze on smorgasbords of Scandinavian cured meats, smoked salmon and Danish cheese. Meanwhile, the south-facing ‘Fire’ terrace looks to Latin America. Agave plants and bright patterns set the scene; there will be four Patron-based drinks (we like the sound of the ‘Mole Mulata’: hot chocolate with Patrón Añejo); and guests can tuck into Mexican sharing plates. Now the only question is which to choose?
336-337 Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1HA
WATCH THIS: Mary Poppins Returns
Nearly three decades after her first visit to London, the enigmatic Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) soars back into the capital to look after the Banks children in their hour of need. The now grown-up Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) are living in the same house on Cherry Tree Lane, along with Michael’s three children and their housekeeper Ellen (Julie Walters). The family are in danger of losing their home and Michael is struggling after a personal loss, but the practically-perfect nanny returns just in time to rekindle the fun and restore the wonder missing from their lives – with a little help from street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and her eccentric cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep).
In cinemas 23rd December