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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ratcliffe

My 2018 London (thus far...)

Updated: Mar 16, 2018

It wasn't until I sat down to write this post that it fully dawned on me that we are already midway through March; where has the time gone?! Between work and play, it's been a hectic start to the year but I'm happy to say I have tried out a ton of places/things in London that I wholeheartedly recommend! a dragtastic coming-of-age musical inspired by the true story of Durham-born, Jamie Campbell. Centered around Jamie at 16, the story explores his struggles with self-discovery, -worth and -confidence in the light of prejudice and bigotry from those around him. I left with my heart full and my tear ducts empty, and if that's not proof of an incredible performance, then I don't know what is!

In the 18 months that I have lived in SE8, Deptford has transformed into a perfectly balanced community of local ethnic flair and a slew of newly opened bars and restaurants. Few of these new additions have been as stand out than Marcella on the High Street; using only seasonal ingredients, Marcella delivers a simple yet deliciously impactful menu and we left craving every single dish we'd tried.

...'where neon never dies', is a vast collection of repaired neon lights and art installations in Upper Walthamstow. Owner and curator Chris Bracey, has been coined the Neon Man for 37 years as an iconic creator of art. From movie paraphernalia to fairground lighting, GOJ is a museum of sorts, offering a visual overload of rainbow neon at every turn; I have never seen anything else like it!

Street Feast has brought its fourth and newest location to Woolwich's old Public Market. Adopting its tested format of bars aside a tantalising collection of street food vendors, Street Feast has done a brilliant job repurposing and filling this enormous space. And did I mention they've illuminated the ceiling in rainbow?! Hello sailor!

It would be remiss of me not to mention my foodie favourites of the space:

Salt Shed's salt beef short rib in a honey mustard glaze with chillichurri and mixed potato/carrot fries.

You Doughnut's molten chocolate cookie dough doughnut with cornflake crunch and cereal milk ice cream

I first stumbled across Beavertown Brewery's Gamma Ray American Pale Ale at Giant Robot; I liked the colourful alien skeleton spaceman's the small things! I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they were Tottenham Hale-based and rushed up at my first opportunity. It was a little sliver of East London cool without the pretentiousness; add to that, drinking their beer amidst their towering copper tanks and it made for a great day in an area I'd otherwise have little reason to visit!

(6) Nnoodl

Denise at Nnoodl arranges 'surprise experiences for the curious and the bold'. If you are someone that is inquisitive but perhaps has neither the time nor the drive to look for the alternative side to London, then this is for you! As a serial planner and control freak, going in blind made me anxious. But what turned out to be a stop motion animation workshop was incredible; something I would never have found myself and that brought out my inner creative, if only for a day! Past experiences have included beekeeping and ax-throwing so this is definitely one firmly back on my list to try again!

Launched by John Longland, Malt + Pepper is an initiative entirely based around cooking great food with independent craft beer and its brewing by-products. We recently visited their pop-up location by Cambridge Heath in partnership with Redchurch Brewery and were really impressed with the menu and the duck loaded fries with plum ketchup in particular! Rumour has it they are currently crowdfunding for a permanent location so look them up!

I am not a vegan and in the past have been been sceptical. But in the New Year I vowed to become much more environmental which has led to a new found interest in veggie options. When I stumbled across this Greenwich Market regular, I had to try their roasted squash, asparagus, pine nuts, vegan cheese and balsamic glaze pizza. I challenge even the most steadfast of sceptics to fault the flavours or the texture of this indulgent treat!

I can't speak for the food, but the secret bar hidden under Southwark's Breakfast Club is a welcome Mexican-themed escape in all it's colourful glory! To get in, simply wink at the staff upstairs and utter the password 'I'm here to get lucky' and after a short jaunt via the kitchens, you are there! It's happy hour between 6 & 8PM on Fridays so perfect for some after work relief for those based nearby!

Pie. Mash. Gravy.

I'm just going to let the photo tell the story here.

Catch their stores in West London or their lunchtime stall at the London Bridge Farmer's Market on Tuesdays!

I'll be back soon with more of #myoutandabout adventures!

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