Christmas may be creeping up on us, but there’s no need to limit yourself to mince pies and turkeys. For those who flee at the site of a cracker, we bring you food without the festive fanfare, in the shape of Mexican street food and a swish brasserie and cocktail bar. There’s also a culinary tour of the UK with some elegant English afternoon tea and a proudly Scottish pop-up. But if there really is no limit to your appetite for festive fare, a Christmas special of a popular food festival should do the trick.
1. Wahaca Book Wahaca
New to Bookatable comes a restaurant with a splash of colour and lashings of spice to light up the drab winter nights. Bright artwork lights up the walls, and Mexican street stall-inspired dishes will liven up your plate. Tacos, tortillas and tequila can certainly compete with stuffing and eggnog at this time of year.
2. Balans Book Balans
This brasserie and cocktail bar is sleek, chic and sophisticated. On Kensington High Street you’d expect nothing less. The brasserie-style menu is much more down to earth than one might imagine however, packed with fresh British and Mediterranean classics. Steaks and seafood are signatures, but the pièce de résistance is the Balans Burger, with Swiss cheese, crispy bacon, and a house baked bun.
3. The Potting Shed Book The Potting Shed
A regency townhouse hotel serving traditional afternoon tea, yards from Sherlock’s old abode. How very English. The menu lives up to its location with a classic range of fresh sandwiches, scones and cakes, all washed down with a bespoke English breakfast blend. Speciality teas from around the globe add a touch of the exotic to the unashamedly British indulgence.
4. Foodies Festival Christmas Special
Even the cool kids at the Old Truman Brewery can’t resist a bit of festive fun. More than just a mince pie and a silly hat, this foodie festival’s got live demos from Michelin-starred chefs, an artisan market, a ‘cheese village’, and a pop-up brewery. Christmas purists needn’t feel left out though, as there are carols, a life-sized gingerbread house, and an elf cookery school for the kids. Mince pies and silly hats optional.
5. Dram & Smoke
Scottish politics may have been very much in the limelight recently, but food from north of the border doesn’t seem to attract quite the same attention. From a warehouse in Bermondsey, Dram & Smoke are looking to change that with dishes as Scottish as a saltire draped over Edinburgh Castle. As well as the obligatory whisky accompaniment, the 5-course tasting menu features haggis bonbons, venison Wellington with bramble and ale sauce, and dark chocolate and raspberry mousse with salted whisky butterscotch and shortbread.