About Time You Tried: London’s Best Christmas Specials By BookatableBy Angelica Malin
Looking for some Christmas food ideas? Well, look no further. We all know that ‘tis the season to eat, drink and be merry but it seems that there is only so much turkey that Brits can take with the news that over half (56%) of 18-34 year olds shun the traditional Christmas dinner, admitting they don’t like it and force the meat down. An additional third (37%) have had so many Christmas Dinners throughout December that they are fed up with the meal and would rather not eat it again on December 25th.
Our friends at Bookatable have reported that almost a third (29%) of young Brits experiment with their Christmas Dinner to make it more interesting – and when given free rein, 1 in 10 (12%) of us would prefer to eat a burger on Christmas Day.
For those that want something a little different this Christmas, help is at hand from the folks at Bookatable who have pulled together these top twists on festive fodder. Here’s London’s best festive specials:
Anything goes at Christmas. Even a pizza that is brought to your table on fire… Not ones to shy away from pizza experimentation, the team behind the strawberry and white chocolate pizza are at it again. Christmas pudding, flaming custard brandy and redcurrant brandy sit atop a classic pizza base. Somehow, it works magnificently.
Christmas dinner is great. Burgers are great. Can you see a pattern forming? Enough to make Ebeneezer Scrooge don a hat and head to Chelsea, the Christmas burger at Hawksmoor Knightsbridge packs almost every seasonal favourite into one plate. Buttermilk fried turkey is joined by a sausage stuffing patty, smoked bacon, sprout tops, spiced cranberry ketchup and melted cheese. For a final festive flourish it comes with a turkey gravy to dip it all in.
Christmas eating isn’t all about Quality Street (though we wouldn’t be complaining if it were). Nip over to Marylebone for some festive post-lunch refinement in the form of Lanes of London’s afternoon tea. Expect classic savouries and scones, along with a cute-as-you-like snowman macaron, a tree-shaped brownie, and German-style stollen.
When it comes to pizza-customisation wizardry, Fire & Stone has it nailed. Combining all the best elements of your 25th-day dinner with a few extras thrown in for good measure, enjoy hand-stretched dough topped with roast turkey, sausage, apricot & herb stuffing, brie, roast potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts & sweet cranberries. We’ll take a slice. Or 12.
Festive cheer comes to sketch Gallery in the form of afternoon tea, complete with all of the restaurant’s trademark eccentricities. Your stand will feature creative indulgences including pistachio choux and cassis cheesecake, plus ‘Bûche de Noël’ treats from the trolley. As well as the food, designer Bethan Wood has created jewellery-inspired Christmas garlands and a gold suspended tree.
This year, family-favourite PizzaExpress brings the nation’s most divisive vegetable to its Christmas menu: the humble Brussels sprout. Festive-themed pizzas include the sprout & pancetta Romana pizza with chestnut mushrooms, or the ‘Brussels & truffle’ pizza with a drizzling of truffle oil. That’s one way to get the little ones (and even picky adults) to eat their greens.
Round two for Hawksmoor. As if their Christmas burger wasn’t enough, Hawksmoor knock Christmas dining out of the park with their Christmas Nuggets. Enjoy these bite-sized balls of goodness on their own or as a side with your burger if you’re feeling particularly festive (slash gluttonous). Expect buttermilk-fried turkey with Ginger Pig sausage meat & bacon, wrapped around a cheese sauce core. Available at Spitalfields Bar only.
Sometimes wish your Christmas turkey, well, simply wasn’t turkey? Copy the Japanese tradition that, since a 1974 ad campaign, has taken Christmas by storm: swap your turkey for juicy fried chicken, served in bucket-sized quantities and sealed with the Colonel’s approval. Replicate this poultry party at Foxlow, with a plate of fried, free-range Yorkshire Ross chicken, served with habanero vinegar.
Another restaurant putting Christmas dinner between brioche halves is Haché: serving gourmet burgers to Londoners since 2004. Proper pigs in blankets are undoubtedly this Christmas burger’s USP: backed up with buttermilk turkey & breadcrumbs, homemade stuffing, grilled sprouts (no soggy mini cabbages here), squashy brioche and cranberry.
The Blues Kitchen’s Christmas special is called the “Three Kings”, probably because it’ll take three people to devour it. It’s a buttermilk fried turkey burger with a sausage, apricot, and chestnut stuffing patty topped with cranberry sauce, sauteed sprouts, gravy soaked cornbread, and sweetcure bacon. Finally, a burger that lasts those 12 days of Christmas.