London Restaurant Festival #LRF2016
OK – there are drawbacks to living in a city (pollution, traffic, slow walkers) but there are also SUPER PERKS. London is a FOOD HAVEN – it’s a colourful, vibrant and ever changing culinary environment that literally offers us the whole spectrum of global cuisine. Yes granted, living and working in London has its challenges, but our city is a bountiful one, providing for us like an attentive aunt, whether we want to work, sleep, eat, explore – or just have a hedonistic old time of it.
North, East, South, or West, London has something to offer us all, no matter what our culinary preference, but we have a tendency to get stuck in our ways – to head to a curry shack, steak house or sushi palace for a bite of ‘what we know’.
It’s really time to push the creative boat out of the harbour of comfort and head out onto the open water! Working and living in London doesn’t automatically furnish us with a desire to cultivate our global palette, no – but let’s try harder! Let’s say NO to our standard go-to meals, NO to our usual bee-line to our corner sandwich shop and a serious NO WAY to the local ‘Express’ supermarket!
Connoisseurs of Europe’s capital cities will know that one of London’s biggest claims to fame is its dining scene and this month, for the whole of October we get to enjoy the London Restaurant Festival – where we celebrate all that is great and innovative about our fine city.
London Restaurant Festival takes place in the capital’s best restaurants across the city. There are two main elements to the festival: Restaurant Experiences and Festival Menus.
These are the festival’s creative events, but not ANY creative event, oh no! These are events that take place in the restaurants themselves. These range from chef-hosted lunches to tasting menus and restaurant-hopping tours. Curated by the festival team, these events will show you the highlights and diversity of London’s thriving restaurant scene. You can buy event tickets online and there are still plenty available so don’t miss out!
These range from £10 to £60 in over 200 restaurants, allowing family-friendly dining, special favourites, or Michelin starred menus in London’s best restaurants. These are a great excuse to finally try out that restaurant you’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t quite got around to it.
So… what should you NOT be missing out on? We’ve chosen the TOP FIVE events not to be missed, so, find some time after work or at lunchtime and book your place before the remaining places are filled.
- Restaurant-Hopping tours
These are a fine way to experience five restaurants in one day, (so not amenable to an extended lunch break). Alongside festival favourites, the Japanese Journey and Cicchetti Trail, there are also some brand new tours available: Soho, forever one of London’s most exciting restaurant destinations; Heddon Street & Regent Street and Devonshire Square, all home to some of the city’s most iconic and up-and-coming restaurants.
- Restaurant wine tasting
Again, not one for work lunch, but now we’re talking: What wines should you consider ordering and (more importantly) DRINKING in London’s restaurants? Get the scoop in the very beautiful Andaz Studio. The producers themselves have been flown in from their countries of origin, so you can learn directly what makes their wines so special. Fantastic value at £15 (significantly less than the price of a bottle of wine in a restaurant).
- London’s longest lunch
See a whole new side to London with an amazing six-course, wine paired, tasting menu cooked by two of London’s hottest chefs. Enjoy three courses at Embassy Gardens cooked by Richard Corrigan, then travel by Thames Clipper – with a guided talk on London’s restaurant history along the way – to Wardian London, adjacent to Canary Wharf for the next three courses, cooked by Tomos Parry. You’ll also get a few other surprises along the way. Six hours for lunch? Pretty much your ideal lunch break! (How about a team outing? Take your boss!)
- The ultimate gastronomic weekend
Brace yourself. This is a weekend-long event featuring all the very best events of the festival, staying at the 5* Andaz London hotel. On Saturday you get to enjoy a Champagne Gourmet Odyssey, visiting three restaurants in one day with a leisurely evening spent enjoying a restaurant wine tasting in the Andaz Studios. On Sunday, gear yourself up for breakfast at The Andaz London, lunch hosted by Michel Roux at The Landau, followed by a VIP tour of Fortnum & Mason. A weekend of gastronomy which you’ll never forget. Nor will your waistline, but let’s gloss over that.
- Tasting menus
This is a whole new event series for 2016, where London’s most exciting restaurants are showcased in all their blazing glory. Tasting menus range from four to ten courses, paired with carefully selected wines, spirits and beers. Without a doubt, there’s something for everyone, with Tasting Menus ranging from £35 to £229. Here they are:
Santa Maria with Birra Moretti
Four-course beer and Neapolitan pizza dinner at Britain’s best pizzeria.
Tokimeite with Suntory Whisky
Eight-course kaiseke dinner with a different Suntory whisky at every stage,
Five-course dinner in London’s hippest new development, along with DJs, a rooftop bar and a few other interesting surprises!
Dickie Fitz, Australian Heroes
Four-course Australian wine dinner at London’s hottest new antipodean restaurant.
Trullo, Inspired Italy
Four-course regional Italian wine dinner with Tim Siadatan.
Osteria, Inspired Italy
Four-course Italian wine dinner with Patrick Leano inside the Barbican Centre.
Barrafina (Adelaide Street), New Wave Spain
Five-course Spanish wine dinner at London’s greatest tapas restaurant.
Newman Arms, Argentine Adventure
Four-course Argentinian wine dinner with the best steak in Britain.
London is full to busting with a constantly changing gastronomic scene. Don’t wait for the bustle of festival week to get your chops wrapped around the action. Whether you’re rushing for a quick fix during your lunchbreak, entertaining clients or having a leisurely romantic evening meal with your significant other, make that little extra effort to try something new. Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised – and gastronomically educated too!
Finally, all the chefs participating in #LRF2016 were asked to suggest recipes that even an amateur cook could handle, and, to make matters EVEN easier, they teamed up with Ocado so you can buy all the ingredients quickly and easily (think ONE click). Chefs and restaurants, include Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Aikens, Angela Hartnett, Skye Gyngell, Roux at Landau, Hawksmoor and Pascal Aussignac. Find these recipes right here.