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  • Michael Ratcliffe

My Out & About in London - March - May '18

It seems only a few weeks ago that I wrote a blog post entitled 'My 2018 London (thus far)' in which I was in disbelief that we'd already made it three months into the year. And now it's the end of May?! It's been a hard stretch with work these last 5 months but I've been sure to play even harder. Here's my March to May top London picks:

Warning - Excessive eating to follow...


(1) Blixen


Dining choices in Shoreditch can be overwhelming but if you are looking for somewhere down to earth, aesthetically stunning and somewhere that serves up cracking dishes to boot, Spitalfields' Blixen is the place for you! A self-described European grand café, Blixen's brunch menu was concise but tantalising and my party of 8 was brimming with praise as we waddled out!


Top tip - the sticky toffee w/ caramelised pear, oat crumble and vanilla ice cream was moan-inducing!


(2) Tina the Musical


An incredible albeit tormented career spanning 78 years is a lot to cover in 3 hours and that does make for a somewhat jolted story line in Tina the Musical. BUT Adrienne Warren is electrifying as Tina and conveys so amazingly the growth of the icon. After that performance I’m a little less sad I never got a chance to see the legend herself in concert! Only a little. One day, Tina...one day...




(3) Arepa & Co

My first experience of Arepa & Co was visiting their canal side joint in Haggerston on a date years ago. The company was terrible and made all the worse when on paying he claimed to have no bank card and only £5 to his name. Good times. So I didn't have the best memories of this place when trialling their new restaurant in Bethnal Green, but in the name of food I bravely persevered and so glad that I did! Turns out Venezuelan dishes, variations of a mix of cornbread, beans, plantain, avocado, cassava, meat & roasted veg are hella good!


(4) Hamilton


Please read the whole review before you fire up the torches and get your pitch forks ready!

Hamilton was technically an amazing musical; the singing was beyond incredible, the acting great and I can see why people love the music. BUT I had purposefully avoided listening to the soundtrack and reading up on the story so it was a surprise, but in this rare instance that was a mistake. It is fast moving, and I mean SUPER FAST! There is so much going on and so much information and names to be taking in that I think if you’re unfamiliar with the story, you spend more time playing catch up than you do really enjoying the performance. So in short, I absolutely recommend it and take my hat off to the cast BUT advise you read up on the history first for a much more enjoyable experience!

Please don't hurt me!


(5) Deptford Bites Market


Organised by Eat Me Drink Me, this new weekly addition to Deptford brings together a revolving selection of vendors flogging only the best in street food, produce, crafts & design. Add to that that they occasionally theme the Saturday (think Cheese week, Craft Beer week etc) and this is for sure a market worthy of a visit to South-East London. Foodie favourites have to include Muffin Man & Co (delicious homemade muffins filled to the brim with fresh ingredients) and The Piadina Project (fried chicken Italian flatbreads too moreish to share!)



(6) Wagamama's Noodle Lab

'WAGAMAMA?!' I hear you shriek! 'Is this guy serious?!' The short answer is not often, but yes, Wagamama's Noodle Lab, which launched last year as a pop up and then found a permanent residency on Dean Street in Soho, deserves the shout out! The Lab is on a mission to push the chain's culinary boundaries, testing out new dishes, drinks and really their entire dining experience. I was wildly impressed with their majority vegan tester menu; the flavours and textures were bang on and pleasantly washed down with a glass (read bottle) of low calorie prosecco. Yep, you heard right, LOW CALORIE PROSECCO! Rejoice, for there is a God!


(7) Temperate House at Kew Gardens

I have been a big fan of Kew Gardens' orchid festival and Palm House in the past but was very lucky to visit their recently reopened Temperate House last week. After 5 years of restoration work (which included 69,000 pieces being removed, repaired or replaced!), Temperate House is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world, large enough to house three Boeing 747s! They have very cleverly divided the house into temperate zones, each boasting some of the rarest and most threatened species from around the world and fun facts and information aside many of them making it educational as well as stunning!


(8) Berber & Q


It turns out Middle Eastern, North African and Ottoman-inspired dishes grilled over hot charcoal are DELICIOUS! We were having a meat-free day but let it be known that their vegetarian options were some of the best I've had in London! Pictured is their whole cauliflower shawarma with tahini and rose; absolutely stunning though I hear the meat is to die for too!




(9) Bar Elba

The newish Bar Elba on a rooftop overlooking Waterloo station is a very cool and hip spot for drinking in the sunshine and with 2 x 1-hr happy hour slots every day what’s not to love?! I did make a little scene when ordering about their use of 2 straws per drink but turns out they’re biodegradable so good for me and harmless to the environment; get in! Sign onto their website newsletter now for a free cocktail!!


(10) Tamesis Dock

If you’re ever in need of a pub with an edge, I’d imagine you couldn’t do any better than Tamesis Dock, a converted 1930s bright yellow Dutch barge permanently moored by Vauxhall! With normal pub prices for food and drink and a calendar of live entertainment, Tamesis Dock would serve you well for a date, drinks with friends or even a night out!



In a blink of an eye it'll be July when My Out & About in London will return with more fun- and food-fuelled adventures around this city that I do so love!

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