Looking for some new places to visit and experience in and around London? We’ve selected five establishments across the capital that you should totally swing by
1. NORTH LONDON: COTTONS,
55 CHALK FARM RD, LONDON NW1 8AN
Cottons is situated somewhere between the hustle and bustle of Camden Town and Chalk Farm. Cottons tries hard to transport you from what may be (invariably) a drab, grey day in the UK to somewhere warm in the Caribbean, soaked in good vibes. Cottons is famous for its rum cocktails, so it would be rude not to try a couple of them out. If you like something particularly fruity, we’d recommend the Mango Daiquiri, which serves you a sweet, fruity taste with a kick. That said, there are a number of delicious cocktails on offer, so be sure to pop by during happy hour to determine your favourites.
What’s more, Cottons has recently made a new addition to its menu with the Cottons Jerk Burger. The burger is loaded with cheese, sautéed onions and tastes like everything that is good about a barbeque. The burger is well seasoned and has a good injection of spice (which is surprisingly reminiscent of suya meat, a popular Nigerian street food) to get your taste buds going.
Onion rings and super soft and chunky sweet potato chips complement the burger nicely too. If you are going to splash out and get dessert, you must try chef Kamoy’s special Trifle, which is a mixture of mango, pineapple and papaya, set in rum-infused jelly. The sponge has a splash of ginger, allspice and nutmeg—altogether creating a taste explosion, even for some of us who aren’t traditional trifle lovers.
Cottons is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is definitely worth checking out, whether you have never tasted Caribbean food before or otherwise.
2. EAST LONDON: URBAN FOOD FEST, EURO CAR PARKS 162-175
SHOREDITCH HIGH STREET, LONDON, E1 6HU
Urban Food Fest is a bar and street food market set in the heart of Shoreditch and is open every Saturday night until 19 December 2015. Be prepared to experience something different each week in terms of theme and cuisine. We attended the Carnival themed night, which was powered by Mr Reggae Reggae sauce himself—Levi Roots, who not only had a food stall, but also performed some live music for the crowd. It is worth circling the different stalls and taking samples of the food on offer before you decide what to settle on—chances are though that you won’t go particularly wrong. Urban Food Fest is open air, so it is worth picking your day carefully; no one likes a rain-soaked cocktail, after all.
3. SOUTH LONDON: BREW
LOWER RICHMOND ROAD, LONDON, SW15 1LY
If you want to try something a little bit different, then head over to Brew, which has recently launched the Skippy Burger that is made from kangaroo meat and also features a sweet cherry jam and golden beet slaw—served with fries and salad. What can we say about this burger? To the undiscerning diner, you may completely miss the fact that you are downing part of a kangaroo. That said, it can perhaps most be likened to venison and still has quite a gamey taste to it. As far as meats go, kangaroo has a pretty low fat content, so it’s arguably one of the better red meats one could opt for.
Even for the most hardcore carnivore, you may have to get over any initial guilt you have about eating a kangaroo (and vow to never tell any of your vegan friends). But after a couple of bites, you won’t feel so bad. This burger is certainly one to try for the sheer novelty factor alone. If you happen to come to Brew, be sure to also try one of their freshly prepared juices too—which are delicious and provide light refreshment in what is otherwise quite a heavy meal.
4. WEST LONDON: VINDINISTA
74 CHURCHFIELD ROAD, ACTON, LONDONW3 6HD
Vindinista (which means wine liberation) is a small wine bar that is worth a visit for at least two reasons. Firstly, it is the place to go if you want to try some less common wines being produced around the world. Paola, one of the owners says that ‘we lean towards artisan producers and wines off the beaten track’, which means that even for the most serious wine buff, you are likely to be tasting something new.
What’s even better about Vindinista is that Stacy, the manager, has a talent for explaining and guiding you through the different wines on offer. He will also give you the 411 on where the wines come from and other interesting contextual titbits that you can take away and appropriate as though you knew it all along. For a wine novice, you will soon be initiated into a whole new world—and may even leave with a new favourite wine. Our was the Susumaniello (2013), which is a red wine that boasted a fruity, black cherry (with a curious hint of tobacco) smell and flavoursome taste.
Vindinista also has some tasty bar treats on offer—ranging from cheese plates to pork and duck charcuterie boards. For those with a sweet tooth, you absolutely must not leave without trying out the House Port Wine with the salted caramel chocolate balls. You can thank us later.
5. CENTRAL LONDON: THE WHIP
1ST FLOOR, 50 DAVIES ST, MAYFAIR, LONDON W1K 5JE
If you are in Central London and are looking for a place to chill with a couple of friends, you might want to head over to The Whip in Mayfair. For all intents and purposes, it looks like the upstairs of a pub but the cocktails are pretty good and you won’t feel as though your conversations are competing with and being drowned out by loud music and chatter.
The cocktails are beautifully presented—particularly the Light Bloody Mare which is a remix of a Bloody Mary and combines Chase smoked vodka, tomato juice, lemon, black pepper and Whip-made Chilli Vinegar.
Our favourite cocktail though was Caught In The Rain, which was a blend of rum, pineapple syrup, coconut milk and oat water. If you’re a fan of Pina Coladas, you will love this—and it has a lighter, more refreshing taste to it.
Reviews by Kazstarlet
Tweet me @kazstarlet
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