10 Things You Need to Eat in London This WeekBy Alicia Grimshaw
Wow. Wow. Wow. This week in London is going to be a cracker. Why? Well, Benito’s Hat are flogging tacos for a quid to celebrate their 9th birthday, Mac & Wild have a new artery-busting off menu burger, and a new vegan joint has just opened. Wear your stretchy pants, it’s time to eat:
What: Street Feast autumn season has kicked off, which means new food, drinks and cosy, weatherproof street food arenas. Hawker House is now home to a new trader, and over in Shoreditch, Dinerama is now open every Wed – Sat from 5pm ‘til late.
Why: The roofs are back on and Street Feast is now 100% weatherproof so leave your coat in the cloakroom and get stuck in. At Hawker House say hello to brand new trader Curry On, serving proper curry and chips alongside their ten-strong trader line-up for a month-long residency. Trader heroes Laffa will be bringing the pitta party to SE16 plus Street Feast favourites, INK, will be joining the Hawker House line-up armed with crispy squid and pastel mayos. And at Dinerama, try White Men Can’t Jerk’s Red Stripe-brined jerk chicken wings with mustard slaw and fiery fries. Oh baby.
What: ‘Fiercely Kind Food’ is the mantra at this new casual-dining outlet nestling behind Sloane Square. The menu is all plant-based, but that doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry because Wulf & Lamb is a haven for everyone with a healthy appetite for great food. Ideal for friends meeting for lunch or dinner, shoppers looking for a morning or afternoon snack, office workers wanting a pre-9am power breakfast meeting, or for a post work wind-down.
Why: Breakfast includes a wide selection of dairy, gluten and egg-free pastries; Wulf & Lamb’s own berry granola with coconut yoghurt; and the full Wulf breakfast of filling potatoes, beans, lemon spinach and roasted tomato. Lunch and dinner features chilli ‘non’ carne – a classic chilli, full of flavour, with a mix of mushrooms, beans, cashew sour cream and spiced rice; ackee burrito – a delicious black bean burrito with a creamy twist thank to the addition of ackee; and the Wulf burger, destined to become an immediate favourite with its secret recipe spicy bean and vegetable patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and cashew aioli.
Where: 243 Pavilion Road, SW1X 0BP
What: Benito’s Hat is throwing one hell of a fiesta for their 9th birthday. On Wednesday (11th October), Benito’s Hat will be offering £1 bottles of Sol beer (maximum 4 beers per person) and £1 tacos at all of their locations (excluding King’s Cross), to celebrate their 9th birthday in style.
Why: Starting at 5pm, and carrying on until close, Benito’s Hat will be turned into a massive Mexican fiesta with staff in fancy dress and face paints, and the sites completely decked out with balloons and party decorations. Feast on tacos suffed with either sauteed vegetable with guac; grilled or braised chicken; super-slow braised pork; chipotle-grilled steak; or beef brisket barbacoa. Fancy dress is encouraged (even if it’s just a moustache).
Where: Locations here
What: Executive Chef of Hakkasan Chef Tong Chee Hwee and Chef Dabiz Muñoz, owner and Executive Chef of StreetXO in Mayfair, have come together in a unique and innovative collaboration to celebrate the Chinese festival of Golden Week at Hakkasan.
Why: Combining Chef Tong’s incomparable style with Dabiz’s inimitable approach to fine dining, with high-octane dishes taking inspiration from cuisines around the world, the new menu is unlike anything seen in Hakkasan before. The tortilla dim sum with truffle and quail egg is a Spanish twist on a Cantonese classic dish, using one of Spain’s most famous and beloved dishes in a unique Hakkasan style. Traditional Peking duck, with crunchy skin and juicy meat, is served with a beetroot pancake, lychee and rose.
Where: Hakkasan Mayfair, 17 Bruton Street, London W1J 6QB and Hakkasan Hanway Place, 8 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HD
What: London café Tombo is taking its love of all things Japanese one step further, and has launched an exclusive Hello Kitty themed pop-up concept store, open until the end of October.
Why: There’s a shed ton of Hello Kitty inspired new items on the menu; think Hello Kitty salmon poké bowl, Hello Kitty ice cream sundaes, Hello Kitty cupcakes, and other desserts. Matcha lovers will rejoice as drinks will be served in-store using exclusive Hello Kitty designs to give each drink the special Hello Kitty ‘wow’ factor. Also on sale is a range of Tombo tea created bespoke for Hello Kitty including ceremonial grade matcha tins, matcha latte mix, and new flavour Kukicha green tea infused with yuzu: a popular citrus fruit in Japan rich in antioxidants.
Where: 4 Windmill Street, London W1T 2JL
What: To celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, contemporary Northern Chinese restaurant Hutong is showcasing a menu of chilli, highlighting the ingredient integral to Sichuan cooking that it is known for. Fei Wang – Hutong’s revered new head chef and Sichuan expert – has created a chilli-based set menu using ingredients traditionally served during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Why: Hutong’s dishes reflects those often enjoyed across China at the time and the chilli menu includes: red lantern crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli; whole crispy sea bass with pickled chilli sauce; cuttlefish and enoki mushroom with white sesame and chilli oil; and beef-tenderloin with dried chilli in a spicy chilli broth; Hutong’s spicy fried rice with prawns, fennel seeds and chilli oil; and chilled string beans with Sichuan ginger sauce.
Where: Level 33, The Shard, 31 Saint Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY
What: Chef Arnaud Stevens, who has previously worked with chef royalty such as Pierre Koffmann, Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and Jason Atherton and who was also chef director at Searcys and chef patron at Sixtyone Restaurant, has opened his own place: PLATE Restaurant, Bar and Bake.
Why: Arnaud’s classical French training and international influences are evident in the design of PLATE’s menu, but the vibe is communal, laid back and fuss-free. From snack-sized dishes and small plates to full portions and sweet plates, you can mix and match dishes to suit your mood. Star offerings include cucumber gazpacho with greek yoghurt and cardamom spiced crumb; breast of Herdwick lamb with a madras-spiced yoghurt, beetroot hummus and lamb shoulder samosas; ‘pig on toast’ with pear, walnuts and grapes; and Dingley Dell pork rack served with orange, honey and a gribiche sauce.
Where: M at Montcalm, 151-157 City Road, Shoreditch, London EC1V 1JH
What: Mac and Wild have launched their first off-menu item – their biggest, dirtiest burger yet. The secret is – only those in the ‘social-media’ know will be aware that The Deervastaor exists. It is the best kept secret in restaurant burger history (unless you’re one of Mac & Wild’s 15,000 Instagram followers).
Why: To try one of these burger bad boys, customers must specially request ‘The Deervastator’ at either Mac & Wild restaurant, and flash the Instagram snap showing the towering moo-nstrosity. Only then will they be allowed to try this off-menu burger tower. An indulgent take on Mac & Wild’s infamous and award-winning Veni-Moo (London and UK’s Best Burger last year), The Deervastaor is quite possibly the most extravagant burger Londoner’s have ever seen. The meaty beast is made up of six patties (three venison and three beef), four layers of candied bacon, mountains of cheese – topped, middled and bottomed between 3 buttery brioche buns, béarnaise sauce and caramelised onions galore.
Where: Locations here
What: Balthazar London has turned five, and to celebrate Head Pastry Chef, Régis Beauregard has created a special birthday bonanza afternoon tea. Regis looked back through all the cakes that he and his team had lovingly baked over the past 5 years, and chose the la crème de la crème. The most popular cakes. The ones that always get a high five.
Why: The Balthazar High Five Afternoon Tea features scones, made of rich, creamy buttermilk yet surprisingly light, and served with Balthazar jams and Devonshire clotted cream. The homemade sandwich selection includes lightly pickled cucumber, smoked salmon, coronation chicken and egg mayo. And Régis’ cakes are just sensational. The Gooseberry O’clock is a roulade of choux sponge infused with elderflower, homemade gooseberry compote and vanilla yogurt mousse line, and The Balthazar Icon – a perfect copy of Balthazar’s instantly recognisable awning – a sacher made out of Valrhona chocolate guanaja and raspberry. Strawberries feature in The Queen of Tarts; The Union Macaroon is a salute to the red, white and blue in the American, French and British flags; and The Golden Bombe is a chocolate and hazelnut triumph, bearing an ornate sugar spun 5, perfectly befitting the occasion.
Where: 4-6 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ
What: To celebrate the autumn harvest and British Food Fortnight, Bill’s Restaurants will be going back to its roots as a British greengrocer with a generous initiative that promotes fresh, seasonal vegetables. In collaboration with the Alexandra Rose Charity, Bill’s Restaurants will donate 1kg of fresh vegetables to low-income families for every person that orders the autumn salad from the new seasonal menu.
Why: To get involved, all you have to do is purchase the starter of roasted butternut squash and lentil salad with pomegranate seeds and lemon dressing. Alongside the butternut squash salad, Bill’s new autumn menu also includes a range of British dishes making the best of seasonal fruit and vegetables, such as rustic butternut squash stew; braised lamb shank with mustard mash, kale and red wine gravy; and oven roasted ginger and sesame cauliflower steak with toasted fregola, roasted cherry tomatoes and rich vegetable gravy. New desserts on the menu include winter warmers like the coconut and orange rice brulée, and plum and apple crumble with salted caramel ice cream.
Where: Locations here