Category: Food & Drink

This Saturday, Last Nights of Havana, is offering hip-shaking salsa dance lessons with professional Cubana dancers. Guests will be able to ‘learn the basics’ before immersing themselves in the vibrant Cuban inspired pop-up.

At the heart of Cuban culture lies song and dance and a professional salsa dancer will lead a workshop before the evening’s live entertainment provided by musical jazz band Sambroso Sambroso. The dancer will then take to the floor with a solo show, encouraging guests to try out their new moves, while the nightly band pays homage to the soulful syncopation of Buena Vista Social Club. Sambroso Sambroso will play three 45 minute sets throughout the evening before it is rounded off by a rousing DJ set, designed to get everyone dancing.

Guests can quench thirsts with a variety of other tipples, such as the Cubata, consisting Bacardi Gold rum, lime juice, house cola, and for something with a little more punch the El Presidente #2, combines Westerhall 10 year rum stirred with Martini Rubino, bitters and a drop of house grenadine. The menu, designed by cocktail experts The Cocktail Trading Co will also feature zesty Mojitos, refreshing Daiquiris and heady Cuba Libres.

For those feeling peckish, Last Nights of Havana will also be serving up the finest Cuban street food. On offer will be grilled Cuban sandwiches where guests can choose between smoked ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and American mustard, or the Vegetarian option of roasted peppers, mozzarella cheese, rocket and pesto. Or for those simply wanting a light snack, they can try the mouth-watering Chicharrrones - Cuban pork scratchings, or some authentic Yuca frita con mojo cubano - fried cassava with cuban sauce and smoked paprika sea salt.

Tickets for Last Nights Of Havana are priced at £9 each and are available here. Ticket includes a membership card for repeated free access for the duration of the pop up. Groups of 5 or more are also eligible for a discounted ticket price and can email info@lastnightsofhavana.com to arrange.

Although Central London feels packed and sometimes a little soulless, there are still pockets that have more of a village feel, and a clear charm.  Seven Dials is one of them. Punctuated by a memorial at the centre of seven streets, each fanning out towards Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road it's a right little gem.

We spent an afternoon popping into little shops, having a late lunch, WAYY too much chocolate and a few drinks.

First stop was On the Dak the recently opened brother (or sister - who knows?) of On the Bab . They serve some seriously amazing fried chicken. As a massive fried chicken fan, I feel qualified to tell you that this is some of the best you'll find London.

Dak' means chicken in Korean, hence the name and On the Dak makes speciality Korean fried chicken with a number of sauce choices and sides. Garlic and sweet miso were our favourites. I went for a medium (as you have a choice of small, medium or large) and I really should have gone for small as portions are generous! Though if we hadn't of been walking around for the afternoon I would have totally taken out the remainder in a doggy bag.

After that, and a little stroll we popped into Chockywoccydoodah for some sugar sustenance. In this boutique chocolate shop you'll find every chocoholic's dream. Custom cakes, chocolate covered popcorn, giant gold coins, huge chunky bars of the stuff, the list goes on...

There's a separate surprise if you manage to get a table downstairs. Pass the gold VIP rope and journey downstairs into a sumptuous, chilled out cafe that deals in all things chocolate. We had two seriously loaded hot chocolates, complete with whipped cream, chocolate buttons and marshmallows and an even more chocolaty slab of chocolate cake. To say we were chocolate-ed out after that would be an understatement - but obviously, it was all good, we had Seven Dials and seven streets to walk it off!

After a short break at Udderlcious, an udderly delicious (see what I did there) ice cream pit stop, we ended our afternoon in Brewdog with two pale ales.

Brewdog is the Scottish craft beer company that you can not only drink in but buy shares in too. Always coming up with good ideas, they have enough beer and ale on the menu to please any pint lover. There are regular guest brews so there's always something new to discover for the connoisseur as well as decent bar food to line the sides.

They also have paper straws, no plastic here 🙌 !

We didn't cover the shops as much as we could have done other than a little nosey in two of my favourites, Paperchase and Brandy Melville. It'd be rude not to. You really can spend a whole day in Seven Dials easily there's plenty so much to check out.

Next time you're in Central and feel like a little rest bite or want a cool place to lunch, snack or drink head on over.

Anyone out there gearing up for the London Marathon on the 22nd April, I commend you! And I have two things to tell you about - firstly, all the stuff London is offering you for free if you complete the race and secondly, what a pide is (do you know?).

There are just 8 days to go now and frankly anyone that manages the 26 mile route deserves a decent reward! Luckily London agrees and there are a load of venues offering free drinks and food to runners over the Marathon period.

I've rounded up the best below so take note. Runners, make sure you reap the rewards of managing such a feat and friends of runners pass on the good news!

Now all I need is a lycra-clad, foil covered buddy to 'borrow' a medal from.....

- What's on offer -

 

Free YO! Plates

YO!, the Japanese sushi and street food restaurant is getting involved from Mon 16th to Sat 21st April. Racers who can prove they are taking part in the Marathon will get a complimentary dish from YO!’s 4-dish Marathon Menu.

The 4-dish Marathon Menu has been developed especially- full of guilt-free carbs and protein loaded options for runners. From protein-rich to help repair torn muscles, pumpkin to improve performance and tuna which is low in fat – all diets are catered for with meat, vegan and vegetarian options. The four dishes are - Pumpkin Katsu curry, Chicken Chahan, Albacore Truffle Ponzu and Vegetable Yakisoba.

Offer available in all London sites between 16th – 21st April; it’s time to run fo’ YO! meal! Find out more here

Free Prosecco at Giggling Squid, Wimbledon 

Giggling Squid, a Thai restaurant and newest addition to Wimbledon High Street, is offering Marathon runners a FREE prosecco with your medal for the WHOLE of the week after the race!

Free pasta dish at Italian favourite, Via Emilia 

Masters of authentic Italian dishes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Via Emilia offers the very best of Italian cuisine just perfect for a post Marathon feast. There is a choice of 8 pastas including Tagliolini from Parma, Ragu from Bologna and Pisarei from Piacenza.

20% at The Coal Shed 

The Coal Shed London specialise in cooking high-quality meat, fish and vegetables over natural fire and charcoal. Here, Marathon Medal holders will get 20% off their total food bill from 23rd-28thApril 2018.

And make sure you leave room for The Coal Shed’s delicious “Chocolate Bar” dessert, which incorporates dark chocolate crémeux with miso caramel and black sesame. You've just used a hell of a lot of calories, there's no better time!

Free beer/ wine at St. Paul, Islington 

This neighbourhood gem is offering all medal holders a complimentary ice cold beer or a glass of house wine on Sunday 22ndApril.

Free King Prawn Pad Thai From Thai Square Trafalgar Square

Thai Square, Trafalgar Square is giving away a free King Prawn Pad Thai to all medal holders throughout Sunday 22nd April.

Simply present your medal at the door to be given their famed stir-fried dish of chanburi rice noodles, crushed peanuts, bean curd, beansprouts and egg with juicy king prawns and a tangy tamarind sauce. The delicious protein packed Pad Thai is a definite post marathon winner!

Claim Your Post-Marathon Pide at Amber, Aldgate East

Get your carbs and fat levels back to where they should with a free crispy pide piled high with toppings. Newly opened Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant, Amber, will be giving away one of their delicious boat shaped pides for free to all London Marathonmedal holders throughout 22nd April.

Present your medal when seated and choose from one of their pide including Burnt Leeks with a blue cheese sauce, caramalised onions, red basil & figs; Lamb Belly with sweet potatoes, spring onions, tomatoes, parsley, harissa yogurt & choban salad or Chorizo with caramalised onions, rocket, cherry tomatoes & goats cheese. Just what you need after a long run around London!

(If you're thinking what the hell is a pide - she must mean pie... I don't I mean Pide - I've checked - A pide is a Flatbread baked with fillings in an oven, you learn something new every day!)

Free personalized MOD Pizza or salad

MOD Pizza, the pioneer of fast-casual pizza is offering all London MarathonMedallists a personalised pizza or salad – on the house! Simply visit MOD Leicester Square, and present your medal to claim your free pizza or salad.

Skylon offers a free drink

Look out over the view of London and contemplate your achievement with a free drink from Skylon. Skylon are offering a complimentary drink to all medal holders. Simply present your medal at the wonderful venue in the Royal Festival Hall on Southbank.

Bluebird's also offering a free drink

Head down to Bluebird Chelsea, with your enviable marathon medal and you will be offered a free drink on Sunday 22nd April. Cool down in their outdoor terrace with a refreshing drink in hand.

Free Pizza at Bunga Bunga Battersea 

Present your medal and pick up a free pizza, you earned it! This year, Bunga Bunga Battersea are wishing all London Marathon runners a big complimenti (congratulations), and offering every medal holder a free pizza at Bunga Bunga on both Sunday 22nd April and Monday 23rd AprilRunners simply have to parade their medal to receive a whole pizza completely free of charge. Whether you run to a Ruby Loves topped with Nduja spicy soft sausage, calabrese salame, cherry tomatoes & mozzarella or want to medal a Micaela Margherita, Bunga Bunga will welcome you over the finish line with open arms.

Kurobuta reward any Medal Holder with a free sashimi pizza and drink

Kurobuta in both Marble Arch and King's Road, has the perfect remedy for all Marathon runners. Competitors need only drop in and show their medal on Sunday 22nd April to receive their famed tuna sashimi pizza and either a glass of house wine, Asahi beer or JARR Kombucha completely free!

Free drink at Aster
This London Marathon, valiant competitors can come to Aster and show their medal to receive a completely complimentary drink. Celebrate the victory in style as you relax in Aster's elegant space, complete with gorgeous views of the city.

Cantina Laredo Serves up Fresh Guacamole for all Marathon Medal Holders
Holy Guacamole! Get ready to smash that marathon as London's Mexican restaurant, Cantina Laredo will be offering all marathon runners free guacamole on Monday 23rd AprilRunners can re-fuel from a gruelling weekend on one of 'The Great Eight Guacamoles' as in house 'Guacamaestros'transport runners to the heart and soul of modern Mexico, guaranteed to put a spring back in their step. Runners just need to show their shiny new medal to a member of staff to receive a free guacamole when dining at Cantina Laredo on Monday 23rd April 2018.

Mac & Wild Congratulates Marathon Medal Holders with FREE Veni-Moo 
Roll up Roll up Marathon Runners. Scottish champions Mac & Wild will be congratulating all London Marathon runners on Sunday 22nd April at Mac & Wild Great Titchfield Street and Monday 23rd April at both Mac & Wild restaurants with FREE Veni-Moo burgers. Yes you heard it right, Mac & Wild will be offering all Marathon runners their infamous, award winning, Veni-moo burger, complete with one beef patty, one venison patty, gherkins, caramelised onions, cheese and bearnaise sauce, served in a brioche bun. Marathon runners only need to wave their medal with pride to gain their well deserved treat. Just don't forget to bring your bling!

Free Roast at Mr Fogg's Tavern (top image)
Make Mr Fogg's Tavern the final destination to your running route for the London Marathon this year, if the thought of a hearty Sunday roast is anything to push you through that last gruelling mile. All medal holders will be rewarded with a free pint or punch on Sunday 22nd April, when they book and order a classic Sunday roast at Mr Fogg's Tavern in Covent Garden. Fresh out of the Tavern kitchen on St Martin's Lane, runners will simply have to book a Sunday roast and present their medal to retrieve their free drink on the house.

I won't make you wait - damn good is how it tastes! Damn good.

We found ourselves in Franco Manca last night to celebrate their first Michelin Star pizza created by Italy's youngest Michelin Chef, Martina Caruso. A topping of red piennolo tomatoes, thinly sliced roast potatoes and red onions as well as mozzarella (of course), capers, Nocellara del Belice black olives and fresh mint! It's title?  Special Edition Number 7.

The combination was in a word - stunning.

We munched our way through a couple of starters and sides too - well I say we, I mean mostly I as my newly vegan counterpart had to forgo anything cheese related which left me to take one for the team and eat a whole mozzarella ball - I'm not actually complaining.

 

Wonderfully, Franco Manca was more than happy to bring out a vegan version of the Special Edition Number 7 so no problems there if, like her you have decided vegan is the route for you! One thing to note though for both vegans and anyone with an intolerance - they don't have any milk alternative for coffee here, which surprised me but there you go - it will by no means ruin your meal but worth knowing.

I have also found a whole new appreciation for Aperol Spritz topped off with an olive and an orange slice. So good, I think it will be my summer drink of choice!

Ducking out the rain that London can't seem to shake off, we found Spring hiding in Pomona's. A bright and buzzy neighbourhood restaurant and bar in the heart of Notting Hill, Pomona's staff and menu are as colourful and friendly as the decor.

We had a selection of dishes including the amazing octopus and soft shell crab from their small plates selection. I have decided this is the perfect place to pick over multiple dishes whilst whiling away a long afternoon or evening over cocktails. Equally, Pomona's is a great wake-me-up with it's bright colours and brunches for an inspired morning destination.

Menus change all the time with Executive Chef, Wolfe Conyngham, creating dishes bursting with freshness and big flavours reflecting the Golden State fusion cuisine as the restaurant itself is geared up to celebrate a Californian lifestyle. You'll see exactly what I mean when you go there.

It's definitely on our new favourites list.