Vacations are all cool, but they’re only fun if the trip is for more than a week. Minimum. How many week long holidays are you going to be able to take though? Vacations need you to take substantial time off work which isn’t really feasible more than once a year now, is it? This is where Staycation comes in. There are over a dozen long weekends every year in the UK, which allows you to indulge in some getaways and staycations – the marker for which is booming!
Staycation nothing but a vacation in which you stay in the same country, maybe even in the same city, in which your home is. It has become the new vacation because of various reasons but primarily the fact that you can enjoy multiple staycations in a year without losing out on any of your leave days or breaking the bank.
Here’s our top 3 reasons why you should be taking a staycation the next long weekend:
1. Easy on the pocket
Forget all your worries about airfare, travel insurance, exchange rates, visa costs, internal transport et al. You’re not going to cross any borders for a staycation which automatically removes a ton of hassle and reduces the cost. You are likely to find steal deals for local properties, with special rates for residents as compared to the tourist rates. Not to mention, you’re on your turf so you’re less likely to be cheated off your money!
2. Less time in transit, more time relaxing
Staycation cuts out the need to leave your home 4 hours early to reach the airport on time, queue up for various procedures, and then settle in the cramped economy flight next to a chatty stranger. On a vacation you need to chalk up an entire day for traveling to your destination which takes out time from activities you’d actually rather be doing.
When you’re just driving over to the next town or say just the other side of the city, as you would in the case of a staycation, you’ll be spending less time in transit and more time relaxing. Best staycations are at properties that are an hour or less away by car – just far away enough from home so you’re away from routine, but also just close enough so you can maximise your time.
No need to plan months in advance
Unlike a vacation that needs planning months in advance (leave applications, flight bookings, visa procedure, logistics etc etc), a staycation can be planned overnight and even as a surprise for your significant other! There’s always a last minute deal waiting for you somewhere, so all one needs to do is decide to take a staycation, go online and find the best bargain deal and you could be ready to start in as little as 30 minutes.
So if there’s a long weekend coming up and you want to put off that deep cleaning of your home for another time, then book yourself a staycation, pack your bags and head off to grab some much deserved down time.
This year, the UK has experienced the hottest July – ever. Temperatures are expected to soar to an unprecedented 39C, and the heat wave is taking over all our lives (and insta feeds!). We can think of no better way to cool down and beat the heat other than a delicious dose of ice cream and gelato from the best parlours in London.
Here are our top picks:
Established in 2010, Gelupo makes some of the finest gelato in the heart of London. Their Gelati and Sorbetti menu is updated daily, so if they run out of your favorite flavour don’t let that stop you from trying their other gorgeous creations, including some boozy varieties. Find them on 7 Archer Street in Soho.
2. Chin Chin Ice Cream
Chin Chin’s claim to fame is the fact that all their ice-cream is churned using liquid nitrogen – right in front of you! If you’re visiting during the colder months, then opt for their famous hot chocolate. They’ve expanded into multiple branches but their flagship store in Camden is still a local favorite. Cost for two is about £15.
3. Soft Serve Society
Soft serve ice cream is so called because of lesser milk fats and more air as compared to regular hard ice cream, and this in turn makes soft serve super duper creamy. Head to Soft Serve Society in Boxpark Shoreditch or Market Hall Victoria for some premium soft serve delights in unique flavours & colours!
Straight from the heart of Paris comes this popular gelateria, located in Old Compton street. You will most likely have to queue up to get inside the store, but once you’re in, do not rush yourself and try the various flavours on offer before deciding your pick.
An independent and charming little store that started in Islington, has now also opened its doors in Covent Garden. Their sole purpose is to serve you freshly made ice-cream and sorbets that come in delicious flavours that you get to vote for every month – so there’s a fresh menu for you to taste every 4 weeks!
6. La Gelateria
Basil and Chilli, Porcini Chocolate, Cornish Blue and Walnuts, Fresh Watercress and Lime… try all of these and many more such unique flavours at the award winning artisanal store La Gelateria. Their menu is updated regularly to feature seasonal ingredients, and experimental flavours. You can find them in Covent Garden as well as East Village.
7. Snowflake Luxury Gelato
Organic Jersey milk from family farm in Somerset coupled with nuts grown in the Italian mountain sides is what Snowflake Luxury Gelato is all about. To top it off, their raspberries and strawberries are hand picked in the garden of England – Kent. Each of their 50 plus flavours are carefully designed and hand made such that each batch is unique, just like a snowflake, and your tastebuds! Enjoy some exceptional gelato at any of their boutiques in either Soho, Bayswater, Chelsea or Edgware Road. They also have a mini boutique at Selfridges!
Don’t let age get in the way of you enjoying your birthday to the fullest. No matter how old you get, it’s always a warm feeling to celebrate your special day with your near and dear ones. We’ve compiled the top 6 places in London to host a unique and memorable experience for your friends & family on your birthday this year.
1. Ballie Ballerson – £
Who says only kids are allowed to have a fun ball-pit at their birthday parties? Ballie Ballerson is your ultimate adult ball pit bar in London. Located in Shoreditch, the venue will take you down a nostalgic lane, guaranteed to bring out the child in you and make your birthday a memorable one. Enjoy a basic baller experience, or go for a bottomless brunch – the choice is yours. Tickets start from £7.5 per person, so get ‘em balls rolling!
2. Flight Club – ££
A darts themed pub, Flight Club at Shoreditch is a great Birthday celebration venue especially for those who like to bring out their competitive side. Pricing for Social Darts experience starts at £15 per hour for a group of 2-5 people, and the average food & drink cost for 2 is £45.
3. The Piano Works – ££
London’s only non-stop live music venue, The Piano Works call themselves part party, part bar, part restaurant and part concert. Located at a Victorian listed warehouse in the heart of Farringdon, their 2 pianists and accompanying musicians will only play songs requested by YOU, the audience.
Priced at £50 per person, you can opt for their Brunch dining package with a 2 course brunch, bottomless drinks for 2 hours and a fully seated table.
4. The Avenue Cookery School – ££
If games and partying isn’t really up your alley, then we’ve got just the thing for you. One of the more offbeat ways to celebrate your birthday would be to sign up yourself, along with your friends and family for a Bottomless Brunch Cooking Class. It’s brunch, it’s a fun activity, and it’s bottomless! Book a session via food.social at The Avenue Cookery School in South London, priced at just £39 per person.
5. The London Cabaret Club – £££
The London Cabaret Club, located in Holborn, offers a sophisticated dining experience combined with live entertainment. Enjoy a glamorous evening with majestic live cabaret performances, exquisite dining and quintessentially British cocktails.
Book a unique dinner & show experience for yourself and your guests via food.social priced at £75 per person.
6. Private Dining at Bob Bob Ricard – ££££
If a private, intimate setup is more your thing, then book the private dining room at the eclectically styled Bob Bob Ricard. Modelled on the Royal Dining Carriage and seating 9 to 16 guests, the private room is brilliantly coupled with the restaurant’s iconic design and glamorous ambience.
There’s a la carte menu available with minimum spend is £500 plus service for lunch and £1000 plus service for dinner.
Aren’t food trucks just amazing? It’s literally fast food on the move with straight forward menus, quick service and more often than not – bang on flavours. It’s the most efficient way of selling and eating food, especially when at food markets and festivals. Here’s our compilation of top food trucks that are worth chasing around town.
1. The Cheese Truck
This no frills food truck is what you need to chase down if you’re in the mood for a ridiculously cheesy grilled cheese sandwich. Their aim is to show people just how amazing British cheese is and they do so quite successfully by melting locally sourced cheeses combined with artisanal breads. Popularly found at Maltby Street Market the truck travels a lot and you easily find their location via their social media.
Who says food truck food cannot be healthy? Rainbo, inspired by Tokyo serves delicious and nutritious Japanese street food. Their dishes are not colorful, vibrant and tasty, but they’re actually good for you. They can be easily found at popular food markets and festivals, but to find out where you can grab them delish Gyoza dumplings follow their social media for updates.
3. Anna Mae’s
They call themselves London’s original crack mac dealers – and it’s only fitting because Anna Mae’s food truck deals in only the most gooey and delicious mac & cheese in London. Having travelled around multiple festivals and shortlisted for multiple street food awards, Anna Mae’s has gathered a loyal following of customers. Due to the popularity of their exceptional recipes, Anna Mae’s has also released an exclusive cookbook. Follow their trail via their social media.
4. Mother Clucker
Lovers of fried chicken, this is the truck you want to chase down. Mother Clucker serves tea brined, buttermilk soaked, twice batter-fried chicken – making it truly the mother of fried chicken in London. Their truck moves around, but it’s usual haunt is at Elys Yard at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.
Given the ease of compiling Mexican fare, it seems like the most natural choice for a food truck. Serving since 2007, the original Luardos truck can be found parked at Whitecross Market whereas their second truck is usually on festival rounds and available for hire. They specialize in all the Mexican classics – burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and a whole host of canapes.
6. Jhalmuri Express
As the legend goes, years ago Chef Angus Duncan made a random stop at Calcutta (now Kolkata), and fell instantly in love with Bengali culture. He kept returning to reinforce his love for Bengali food, and in particular the street food also known as chaat. And now he travels around London spreading his love for Bengali chaat through his humble pushcart, sometimes van, the Jhalmuri Express. Decked in colourful signages & garlands as inspired from street food vendors in Bengal, Angus’s van serves Indian flavours like no other. Follow his twitter @jhalmuriexpress to follow his trail!
Are you looking for that perfect venue to impress someone on a first date? Or perhaps you want to celebrate a relationship milestone? But does love really need a reason to be celebrated? We’ve picked out some of the top spots to have an intimate and romantic evening with your significant other.
1. Le Pont de La Tour
We have only four words for this one: LOOK. AT. THAT. VIEW!
Le Pont de La Tour in Bermondsey makes the perfect spot to cuddle with your date on a cool evening, and what’s more is that the first thing on the menu is a classic aphrodisiac – oysters! Need we say more?
2. Clos Maggiore
Clos Maggiore on King Street in Covent Garden has been voted as the world’s most romantic restaurant. Serving French cuisine and seafood and a cozy atmosphere of floral decor and fairy lights there’s plenty of romance to go around at this venue whether you come if for a romantic rendezvous in the afternoon or a date night.
3. Kitty Fisher’s
The cozy dining room of Kitty Fisher’s can fit barely 10 tables – which lends you the much needed intimacy with your date. The dim lighting and candles will only add to the mood. Not to mention, their delicious food will elevate your date night. Reserve in advance, as it’s difficult to get in last minute at this laid back Mayfair joint.
When in love one often tends to feel like they’re on top of the world – Hutong takes that emotion and brings it to your dining experience on your date night. Located on level 33 of The Shard, Hutong offers killer views of London city, adding sparkle to your romantic night. Besides the spectacular view, you will also feast on some of the best Chinese food in town.
5. Andrew Edmunds
On 46 Lexington Street in Soho you can find Andrew Edmunds, an 18th century townhouse capturing the spirit of ‘old Soho’. Choose this place if old school charm is your thing, and you’re looking for an intimate evening. They have seasonal menus, daily specials and cozy tables set for two that makes for some romantic eye contact and easy conversations. Not to mention their wine list is guaranteed to make you swoon, even if your date doesn’t.
A French bistro serving simple yet inventive French cuisine, with snug little tables for two makes for a lovely date night venue especially with it’s warm candlelit atmosphere and rustic decor. Located in Soho, a meal for two at Blanchette will cost £35 on an average.
7. Bob Bob Ricard
One of the most popular themed restaurants in London, is also a popular choice for date nights – especially when one wants to opt for a fancy evening with their special someone. It has an all booth dining room, and every booth is equipped with a ‘press for champagne’ button. Bob Bob Ricard is located in Soho, serves British and Russian fare, and cost for two is approximately £100.
8. J Sheekey
Red is a colour that suddenly seems extra pleasing to the eye once you’re in love (or have a date for Valentine’s). At J Sheekey in Covent Garden, there’s plenty of red to surround yourself and your partner with, and with other couples around you you’re sure to feel like love is in the air. Find a cozy corner table, order some oysters and then let the bubbly guide you through the evening.
Add some traditional English charm to your date night by heading to the oldest restaurant in London – which automatically makes it the oldest date spot in the city. Check out Rules (est. 1798) in Covent Garden – they specialize in game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.
Hakkasan in Fitzrovia brings to you modern Cantonese cuisine paired with world-class mixology. For those who want to leave no stone unturned in hyping up their romantic evening, this Michelin starred restaurant is the perfect choice for date night. £120 is the average price for a meal for two.
11. Berners Tavern
The dazzling dining room of Berners Tavern, with plenty of romantic candles and framed art will make for a memorable dining experience, one that your date will rank you highly for. Located in Fitzrovia, the place isn’t just all glitter and no gold. They serve excellent French and British cuisine and the luxury dining will cost you an average of £100 per couple.
Disclaimer: The following post may cause some serious burger cravings possibly accompanied by some drool. This effect is wholly intentional, and we hope that by the end of this post you know exactly where to get your burger fix in London.
1. Bleecker St.
Juicy, fatty and meaty patties is what makes Bleecker St. burgers the best in town. Try their famous Bleecker black (double cheeseburger with black pudding), or literally any other burger off their menu and get immersed in a sea of flavours. Found at Spitalfields, Victoria and Bloomberg, Bleecker is super easy on your pocket with meal for two costing roughly £20.
While some may regard this as a hidden treasure best known only by locals, we’re here to spill the tea – Hawksmoor in Covent Garden serves mighty delicious burgers. If you manage to not get distracted by their brilliant steaks and Sunday Roasts, then order a Hawksmoor Burger made using 100% well-loved British beef by masters of beef themselves. The price, at £17, may seem steep but it’s love at first bite.
3. Honest Burgers
Honest Burgers like to stick true to their name, and serving you burgers that are nothing by honestly delectable. With over 15 outlets around the city, you’ll easily find one that’s close to you and in less than £15 enjoy a hearty meal of a burger and beer. Honest Burgers are also a favorite amongst vegetarians for serving the best vegetarian burger in London.
4. Patty & Bun
Patty & Bun at Marylebone (or 4 other outlets) has a burger called Ari Gold – first on the menu so you don’t have to look further – which would totally win a gold medal were there an Olympics for Burgers. We highly recommend investing in this gold which is priced at £8.75. Most of the burgers on their menu can be requested in a veggie version as well.
5. Mac & Wild
Their Veni-moo burger has won the award for best burger in London in 2016. Three years on, it still ranks as a favorite amongst burger enthusiasts in the city and is worth £14.5 for the rich venison patty burger topped with candied bacon. You can find Mac & Wild at Fitzrovia on Great Titchfield Street.
6. Burger & Lobster
This restaurant serves two main things, and there’s no points for guessing what they are. Their no-nonsense approach means their entire focus is on serving the best burger and the best lobster experience. Check them out in Soho or any of their other 8 locations and splurge on everything on their menu to enter a food coma.
7. Dip & Flip
It’s juicy, it’s cheesy, it’s messy, it’s beefy! Most importantly, it’s a burger you don’t want to miss out on. Visit them at Battersea Rise and order their namesake – the Dip & Flip burger – for a gravy topped delight in less than £10.
8. Bar Boulud
Bar Boulud is exactly the kind of place you want to hit up when you want to have a fancy dinner date but also have a hearty meal rather than skimpy fine dining portions. Located inside the posh Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge, Bar Boulud offers three exquisite burgers ranging from £15 to £25. Not bad of a deal at all if you want to impress a date!
9. Joe Allen
Joe Allen doesn’t offer burger – not on it’s menu at least – but those that ask for it are never disappointed. London’s worst kept secret when it comes to burgers, Joe Allen’s secret off-menu burger is probably the most ordered items at their restaurant and has made it to many a burger enthusiasts must-have-burgers list. Find them at Burleigh Street in Covent Garden.
10. Shake Shack
Do you know why the above photo shows two burgers instead of just one? Well it’s because at Shake Shack you’d be hard pressed to settle for just one. The famous American chain crossed the pond and brought over it’s delicious range of shack burgers in 2013, and has since then become a local favorite.. Headover to their flagship branch at Market Building in Covent Garden to grab your shack!
In a city like London, with the bustling metropolitan streets packed with skyscrapers, there are always incredible rooftop bars in London to explore and enjoy the view from. Whether you are after a cheeky cocktail or a hearty pub experience, the options are seemingly never-ending. But rather than leave you to wade through this never-ending stream, we have narrowed it down to some of London’s best.
Combine modern European pub-chic, dizzying
views of the London skyline and smashing cocktails and you have got yourself Bokan’s rooftop bar. Drinking cocktail
expert Danilo Tersigni’s show-stopping concoctions in the sky has a pretty
incredible feel to it, as does eating head chef Aurélie Altemaire’s exquisite
European fine dining dishes. Summer nights from Thursday to Saturday mean
international DJ sets adding to the electric feel pulsing through this classy
cocktail: The Chaos On The River
40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9TP
2. Mercer Roof Terrace
Cloud gazing is never so sweet as when on the Mercer Roof Terrace, sipping on one of
their famously delicious cocktails and overlooking awe-inspiring landmarks such
as St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard in all its sparkling wonder. The
glass-look is not just reserved for The Shard, though, and you will find the Mercer Roof Terrace’s windows are
floor-to-ceiling glass, making the view that much more tangible.
cocktail: The Twisted Daiquiri
20 Garlick Hill, London EC4V 2AU
3. The Aviary
The Aviary was designed by Russell Sage Studio and it’s safe to say the interior is almost as eye-catching as the views – but not quite, because it’s a 10th floor ogling perch. The central bar splits the space in two – one side is the impeccable restaurant by head chef Dan Loftin, the other side is a luxurious lounge best enjoyed with a botanical themed cocktail in hand. If you are not looking for a proper sit-down meal, the bar menu offers some delightful options that achieve more of an opulent-pub vibe.
cocktail: Flamingo Riff
Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25
Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
4. The Garden at 120
This rooftop garden come coffee bar is the biggest public rooftop space in London and is sat on the 15th floor of the Fen Court offices. There are 360 degree views of many of London’s great sights, such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and The Shard (not to mention the sweeping views of the river from up there!) Most noteworthy about The Garden at 120 is not the view, however beautiful, but rather its incredible greenery at such a height in such an industrial area. Between the Italian wisteria, water feature and fruit trees, you would hardly believe you are a part of the epic city skyline.
Address: 120 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 5BA
5. Dalston Roof Park
So much is happening in the city center that
it can be easy to forget how many exciting bars there are in east London and
surrounds. Dalston Roof Park is a
prime example of the fact that you don’t need skyscrapers to have a great
rooftop party. Brought to London by the
Bootstraps Charity, the venue runs like a great big outdoor pub. There are
quiz nights, live music performances and even cocktail masterclasses for those
who want to replicate the delicious drinks they are sampling at home. This
highly Instagrammable rooftop is covered in sensational cherry blossom
replicas, grassy carpets and is a quirky, lively destination well-worth
Address: The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin St, Dalston, London E8 3DL
The internationally acclaimed landscape
designer Bureau Bas Smets poured his expertise in Jurema, which won the best outdoor space award at this year’s
Global Head Awards. Jurema’s bar is now filled with palm trees, a relaxed
courtyard aesthetic, an evergreen sanctuary of passion flower and jasmine
plants, and shack-style furniture that makes the whole place reminiscent of
Babylon. If you can drag yourself away from the exotic plant varieties, you
will find the cabana-style bar has plenty to shout about too.
20-21 Newman St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1PG
7. Rooftop at The Trafalgar St James
Between the rooftop view of the iconic
Nelson’s Column and the delicious al fresco or small plate food that is on
offer, you feel lighter than air when towering above central London in The Trafalgar St James’ Rooftop. Each
cocktail is made with the utmost care and skill by bartenders who can make you
anything you fancy. Just chat to them about your favourite flavours and they
will rustle you up the perfect concoction. Every sip is enhanced by the
cityscape views, putting all the bars in London without a view in the backseat.
Contact: 020 7870 2904
7th Floor, 2 Spring Gardens, St. James’s, London SW1A
8. 12th Knot
Inspired by the hedonistic, bohemian ideals of
London’s 1920s young aristocrats called the Bright Young Things, 12th Knot in Battersea’s Sea Containers
London is the perfect spot on the river for drinks and food with a 12th floor
view. The view includes vistas of the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral
and the city at large. Sit yourself on a plush terrace sofa and lounge about
whilst enjoying the British-Amerian cuisine and cocktails.
cocktail: Milky Whey Colada
Contact: 020 3747 1063
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD
9. B&H Garden Room
Just by the National Portrait Gallery in
London’s West End you will find the Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room,
offering a rustic, pub-come-brasserie charm with 180-degree panoramic views
from floor-to-ceiling glass windows and signature cocktails. The room is
decorated with Aztec-style patterns, rattan furniture and enough organic
greenery that you feel like you are getting a piece of the outdoors from up in
the sky. The food is seasonal and European-inspired.
If there is one thing you can be sure about,
it is that cool bars in London will never run out – new spots pop up every day
with exciting menus and mesmerising cocktails. So head to any of these and know
you are in for a great night of cocktails, wine lists, pub food and nibbles.
Picking a cooking class in London is like picking a flower in Kew Gardens – the choices are endless and you probably won’t even see most of them. Thankfully, we have narrowed them down into key food types, listing the best class you can take for that. So, all you have to do is decide which meals you are most interested in learning to make.
Contact: 020 7240 8818
Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG
One of the most popular international cuisines in London is Chinese food, as you could guess from a short walk through the bustling, lantern-decorated streets of Soho. From dim sum to bao buns, noodles to peking duck pancakes, London has you covered. But what happens when you leave London and wontons aren’t available with just a short trip on the tube? It is simple – just go to School of Wok in Covent Garden. There, you will learn skills and recipes to take home with you, so you can make your favourites throughout the year. This pun-derful cooking school is the only award-winning Asian and Oriental cookery school in Europe, so you can expect the very best!
Contact: 020 7487 0750
Address: 64 Cross Keys Cl, Marylebone, London W1U 2DG
You don’t just have to be visiting London to be tempted by the plethora of restaurants scattered across the city. So, if you are local, why not avoid this temptation and become a food host in London from your very own kitchen. Italian cuisine is a backbone of the restaurant industry and can be the backbone of your fridge, too. All you need are the skills and the know-how, which La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School will teach you. Whether you are looking to master kneading handmade pizza dough, rolling pasta sheets, making a creamy carbonara sauce or layering up an appetizing lasagne, the chefs at La Cucina will make sure you are equipped to tackle its recipes in your own kitchen.
Contact: 020 7631 4590
Address: 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW
French cuisine is a flagship for most modern contemporary cooking styles – the technique, the traditions and practices. Everything from croissants to beef bourguignon have permeated into our culinary lives. There are two French cooking classes available at the Cookery School at Little Portland Street. The first, entitled French Winter, is where you will learn to really embrace the wholesome, rustic foods that will keep you warm in the Winter, from wild mushroom and caramelised onion tarts with homemade bread, to sweet and delicious macarons. The second is French Provencal, where you will venture into the heart of southern French cuisine. Learn how to cook fresh fish to perfection, how to whip up all the classic sauces and dips, and the world-famous Provencal boeuf en daube.\
Contact: 020 7400 3900
Address: 15 Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London WC1A 2LS
If your sweet tooth does most of the
decision-making for you, then help it along and book a class at Cordon Bleu Cookery School. This
internationally acclaimed cooking school are masters of teaching the culinary
arts and have classes available for beginners and experts alike. Everyone can
learn something. Creating desserts is so much more than just baking a chocolate
cake. It is about taking simple technical elements and making something truly
special and memorable, like boiling a simple sugar mix into delectable
honeycomb, or transforming a block of chocolate into edible decór.
Being the perfect food host in London is not complete without a mouthwatering sweet treat at the end of the meal. You can get a firm grasp on everything from the techniques needed to temper chocolate and decorate cakes through to plating is covered in the Cordon Bleu’s range of courses. All you have left to do is turn up.
Contact: 07814 027067
Address: 96 Central St, London EC1V 8AJ
People looking to improve their cooking skills are often quick to book classes with recipes and experienced chefs to show them the ropes. But what is often underestimated is the value of improving your knife skills. While it may not seem as exciting as tossing some soy noodles in a wok, it is the difference of skill needed to transform you from a home cook into someone who can continuously improve and experiment with harder recipes in the kitchen. Food at 52 has just introduced a brand new knife skills course, including how to julienne, slice, dice and chop – all essential tools that will make future courses far more rewarding and beneficial.
Contact: 020 8874 7623
Address: 3 Enterprise Way, London SW18 1FZ
Wandswoth’s The Avenue Cookery School is where you need to head if you are looking to experiment with and understand the value of Indian spices and flavours. You will learn how to assemble some of your favourite Indian dishes, like fresh naan bread or spicy chicken masala. There are two sensational courses available at The Avenue, one is the Indian Cooking Class In The City, where you will learn everything from the art of sizzling tandoori to making curry paste that will make you your friends’ go-to food host in London. They also have the Vegan Cooking Class, which speaks for itself. Think all the key dishes of Indian cuisine, then learn how to give it a vegan twist and you never have to miss out on your favourites.
Contact: 07775 677120
Address: 100 Ossulton Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London N2 0LD
Mexican Food Memories in north London does exactly what the name promises – it creates lasting memories and provides you with skills that will last you a lifetime. What is really special about this particular cookery school is that locals have the opportunity to take the course from their own kitchens. For visitors to the city, you can go to Mexican Food Memories’ HQ in Hampstead and learn the tricks of the Mexican cooking trade from there. Another great feature is that you can organise your session to suit the kind of food you are interested in cooking, so email ahead of time and let them know what you are looking to make at home.
We have made the choice a lot simpler for you
– there is no longer a need to comb through all possible cooking courses in
London. Instead, just pick your cuisine of choice and know that we are sending
you in the best possible direction!
Travelling in London can be difficult, because there is so much going on. But one thing you definitely want to do is explore food in London, because between rooftop restaurants, terrace gardens and cooking classes, there is something for everyone. You should not leave London without indulging in Chinese cuisine, whether it is on the floating restaurant on the Regent’s Park canal, Feng Shang Princess, or from one of Chinatown’s bustling alleys with smells that transport you from Central London to Asia. Soho’s Chinatown is a peak food district in London, an eclectic area which shows what a metropolitan cultural melting pot the big smoke really is. But why not step things up a notch and attend a Chinese cooking class? That way, the flavours you explored in London travel home with you, gracing your kitchens whenever you fancy a bao bun or peking duck.
School of Wok
Contact: 020 7240 8818
Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG
School of Wok in Covent Garden has got more than just a killer pun going for it. It is Europe’s only award-winning Asian and Oriental cooking school, making it the most obvious go-to if you are looking to learn about and explore food in London. Whether you are looking to spend an hour learning the basics of bao buns, or wanting to dedicate the day to learning how to prepare a full-day Chinese banquet meal, School of Wok has you covered.
Prices start at £15 and climb depending on the level of expertise you are looking to acquire and how much time you are willing to spend in their modern, well-stocked kitchens. You can get the insight into dim sum you have always wanted, learn some staples as well as some vegetarian show-stoppers that will elevate your dinner parties to a whole new level. No matter which course you choose to do, booking a School of Wok Chinese cooking class is the first easy step towards taking a piece of Chinese culture home to your kitchen. It really woks.
Le Cordon Bleu “Taste of Asia”
Contact: 020 7400 3900
Address: 15 Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London WC1A 2LS
Anyone with a passion for fine dining and
an aptitude for cooking will have heard or even dreamed of attending Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School in
Holborn. This internationally recognised gastronomical establishment was once a
noble tribute to the world of French cuisine, and now offers such a diverse
selection of multi-ethnic courses that the name holds immense culinary weight
across most cuisines.
Their Chinese Tastes of Asia course is a prime example of this culinary variety,
proffering trade secrets of well-loved Chinese dishes. It covers the
fundamental pillars of Chinese cuisine, including everything involved in
creating a mouth-watering peking duck: from preparing, poaching and drying the
bird to glazing, roasting and devouring its tender flavours with a dreamy
hoisin sauce. It delves into the necessity and intricacy of marinades, how to
wrap spring rolls to spill-free perfection and how to get noodles at the
perfect consistency. Though this may sound daunting, the course is open to all
The £230 price includes the six hour training
session, a branded tea-towel and apron, all the ingredients necessary as well
as the equipment you will be using. Though you are encouraged to eat and sample
all the delicacies you make, you are also welcome to take things home with you
to show off to your family or nibble on leftovers from your hotel suite. But
you don’t just take the produce of your hard work home and when the leftovers
are finished, you will still have skills that will serve you a lifetime!
London Cookery School
Contact: 07756 289779
Address: 296 Holloway Rd, London N7 6NJ
This culinary hotspot in Holloway is a haven for anyone interested in learning how to become masters of food. But one of their specialties and most popular courses is their dim sum class, where attendees can learn how to make these small-plate Chinese favourites. For only £45, these little taste sensations could be one of the go-to meals you make for your friends and family. The teachers are not just there to tell you what to chop and which spices to use – though that is certainly a handy part of the process! They are there to help you learn and understand the flavours and the process, so that you are able to adapt the recipes and techniques to suit your own kitchen. You will learn not only how to make them in their specified shapes, but also get a bit of an insight into the cultural significance and relevance of those shapes.
This is not exclusively a way to explore food in London, but a course that shows you how to transfer those skills into your everday life and enjoy them forever.
The Avenue Cookery School
Contact: 020 8874 7623
Address: 3 Enterprise Way, London SW18 1FZ
While School of Wok and Le Cordon Bleu offer courses with a range of items in Chinese cuisine, London Cookery School and The Avenue Cookery School is where you want to be heading if you have got a specific Chinese dish in mind. For London Cookery School, it is their dim sum class you want to b-line for. Whereas, The Avenue Cookery School is the end goal if you want to learn how to recreate delicious bao buns. Often eaten as a lighter meal or starter, bao buns originate in the Fuzhou region of China.
Depending on the class you pick – there are a couple to choose from, all dedicated to bao buns – you can get all sorts of packages. Some include dinner and bottomless drinks, and some are quick crash courses, but they all send you home with a brain full of technique and a bag full of buns. What’s there not to love about that? Vegetarians are welcome and upon prior request can be catered for. Just know this: you will leave with a newfound obsession with bao buns but it is worth the risk.
There you have it – a simple formula for food-based success: head to London and book a Chinese cooking course. Though the experience will come to an end, you will reap the benefits of the time and effort you put into these courses every time you open to fridge and wonder what you will make for dinner.
Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or have lived in London your entire life, we’ve crafted a special list of 5 restaurant gems for you to try this coming weekend. We guarantee you’ll find at least one you didn’t yet know about, and you will love whichever one you decide to try. Thank us later.
1. Viet Hoa Mess
You may or may not have already heard about Viet Hoa restaurant, located in the center of Shoreditch. In any case, Viet Hoa Mess is the secret underground section of this delight designed for dinner parties of 6 or more people. The best part is the table you’ll be seated at which features infrared light grills for you and your friends to cook together and become your own chefs. The menu lets you choose from 8 meats, fish and seafood, and the prices are very affordable. The experience is likely not to be forgotten in the near future and a good time is pretty much guaranteed!
2. Locanda Locatelli
Now we know what you’re thinking here, ‘yet another italian restaurant’. This is where you’re wrong because this restaurant pretty much goes above and beyond all the other italian restaurant you may have experienced. The chef, Giorgio Locatelli is said to be the best Italian chef in the UK, and maybe even in the whole world. His focus on freshness and quality, with the italian cooking traditions he embedded from his uncle, cousins and grandmother all contribute to giving him that edge, and awarding his restaurant a Michelin star.
3. India Club Restaurant
Welcome back to India’s post-independence era in heart of London. When you step into this charming restaurant you will be greeted by an interior which has remained very much the same since the restaurants establishment over 50 years ago. The creation took place over 50 years ago to further the Indo-British friendship and has since been a welcoming place for visitors to connect culturally. Your visit here will be welcomed here by bottle green leather arm chairs, portraits of the independence era on the walls and some of the most delicious home cooked South Indian food.
4. Coal Office
If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit Israel, this may be an excellent place to start. The celebrated restaurateur, Assaf Granit, set out to create an immersive dining experience which would allow his customers to discover his home country through traditional flavors, textures and spices amongst a perfectly matching atmosphere. If you enjoy joyous settings, interaction with friendly waiters and healthy food, give this one a try. You’ll feel like you just returned from a sunny vacation in Israel when you leave.
Between Sushi, Skewers, Meats, Ceviche and Bao Buns, it’ll be hard to come to this restaurant and not find something you love. This Izakaya designed restaurant invites you to a laid-back, moody atmosphere with that special touch of Japanese class. The name is well-suited as the cooking is done Robatayaki style, over hot charcoal.