Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
With Christmas just around the corner, So So Gay has been looking around for some of the most interesting places to have a Christmas meal, whether it’s with office colleagues, a bunch of friends, or just your loved one(s)!
Celebrate Christmas creole style with a taste of the Deep South of America at Camden’s The Bayou. The highlight of their Christmas menu is their take on the traditional – The Bayou hog roast dinner. The whole table can enjoy the smoky pit roasted hog which will be carved in front of you and served with roasted potatoes, Creole salad, collared greens, apple sauce, sausage gravy and biscuits. Open late with live blues and New Orleans style cocktails including their signature Bacon and maple syrup old fashioned and with three menus starting from £18.50 per person there’s everything your party needs for a NOLA inspired Christmas.
The Bayou is at 20 Inverness Street, London NW1 7HJ.
Billingsgate Seafood School have developed a brilliant Christmas breakfast course, which runs on Wednesdays – Fridays in the lead up to Christmas. For £35, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the famous Billingsgate market and have a guided tour before tucking into a gourmet fish breakfast. CJ Jackson, director of the school, will be on hand to advise and discuss how fish can be used in exciting ways over the Christmas period. Guests will receive a luxury champagne breakfast, with smoked haddock royale or a smoked salmon kedgeree on the menu.
An additional £10 gets you a special guided tour of the market before breakfast – but be prepared for an early wake up, since it begins at 6.30am!
Billingsgate food market is on the Isle of Dogs – Trafalgar Way, London, E14 5ST. 020 7517 3548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a festive feast with a Middle Eastern twist head to Comptoir Libanais. Serving a great value menu (just £18.95 per person), you may be happy to see there’s not a turkey or sprout in sight. Kick things off with a magnificent mezze to share, including flavour-packed dishes like lamb kibbeh and baba ghanuj. For the main event, seafood lovers will adore the Grilled Pomegranate Salmon, or for something more meaty opt for the lamb kofta tagine. Puddings are not to be missed…especially the festive baklawa and refreshing, fresh rose mint tea.
Comptoir Libanais branches are in Westfield Shopping Centre, Wigmore Street W1, Westfield E20, South Kensington, Broadwick Street, Bluewater, Chelsea, Gatwick North, Heathrow T4 and Kingston. For more information, see their website.
Those really in the mood for festive food can tuck into The Diner’s Christmas menu, introducing a host of festive dishes including The Diner Turkey Stacker Burger, Sweet Potato Poutine and Pigs in blanket mac’n’cheese. They have branches across London.
For something a bit different, HotBox only opened the doors of their first permanent restaurant on 9 December. After smoking their way around the capital with residencies at Street Feast’s Dalston Yard, Hawker House and Battersea Power Station, as well as pop-ups at Wireless and Field Day festivals, their industrial smoker is now permanently in the heart of Spitalfields.
Taking inspiration from their journeys through the Deep South, you can expect to see HotBox’s much-loved signature cuts and renowned dishes from their street food days take centre stage on the menu. Expect USDA Prime beef short ribs, jalapeno hot link sausage sandwiches and Wagyu beef brisket rolls, all accompanied by a selection of HotBox’s pickles.
Committed to serving the highest quality cuts whilst exploring the world’s deep affection for smoked dishes, Head Chef and Pitmaster Lewis Spencer has created an innovative menu that takes influences from not just the Deep South, but also flavours from around the world, including wagyu short rib tacos, and smoked chinese spiced duck pancakes.
Offering an array of global barbecue favourites alongside their own experimental dishes, specials will include the likes of fish glazed pork belly masa tacos, slow smoked char siu pork buns, and even hot smoked gravlax salmon for more delicate palates. Mouth-watering sides such as smoked mac n’cheese, bone marrow gravy mash, and smoked Japanese mushrooms will also feature on the menu.
HotBox is at 46 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT. 020 7247 1827.
Top burger restaurant Meatliquor has launched a specially crafted Christmas menu including stuffed turkey, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce, as well as the XXXmas burger, a delicious sausage and stuffing patty, topped with roasted turkey, crispy bacon, a drizzle of cranberry sauce and gravy as good as your Nana’s; the XXXmas Dog, draped in turkey slices, cranberry coulis and sprinkled with crispy stuffing; and the Xmac & Cheese, deep fried miniature logs of mac fused together with cheesy Camembert and Stilton, to be dipped in a pot of cranberry and port sauce.
And to satisfy the over indulge of food this holiday season, MEATliquor has shaken up the drinks menu introducing a Bulleit Bourbon and spiced syrup Old Fashioned Christmas, the refreshing Pinot Grinchio, the Chamomile High Club with tea syrup, a vodka, fresh custard and lemonade Snowballer and a Slow Jin Fuzz.
The new Christmas menu will be available from Meatliquor London, Brighton and Leeds, Meatmarket in Covent Garden and Meatmission in Hoxton. For more information, see their website.
Forget mulled wine and mince pies – at Mestizo it’s all about margaritas, mescal and mole, mole, mole this Christmas! With its long tables and the biggest tequila bar in Europe, this is the ultimate place for your Christmas party! There are three menus to choose from at £26, £28 and £30, so there is something for everyone whether you’re a taco, tamale or enchilada fan. And as London’s most authentic Mexican restaurant they will also be serving some of their more traditional dishes such as the famous Molcajete Mestizo or Pollo Al Tequila for a bit of a kick.
Mestizo is at 103 Hampstead Road, London NW1 3EL. 020 7387 4064 or email@example.com.
Sixtyone is a stunning neighbourhood restaurant in south Marylebone serving great food with big, bold flavours inspired by the travels of chef patron Arnaud Stevens. With its location ideal for a post-Christmas shopping lunch and plush private dining room – perfect for intimate dinners – Sixtyone’s Christmas menu includes some fabulous dishes, including butter poached turkey with bacon leg terrine, and for those that want something a bit different, the sea bass Coq au Vin is a must-try.
End your festive feast on a high note with Sixtyone’s signature salted caramel and chocolate tart with marshmallow – after all Christmas is the season of indulgence!
Sixtyone is at 61 Upper Berkeley Street, London W1H 7PP. 020 7958 3222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sushisamba, at the top of London’s Heron Tower, will celebrate Christmas with special menu items such as a Santa roll, with butterfish, foie gras, tempura avocado, tempura flake, kanpyo, redcurrants. For New Year’s Eve, there’ll be a special party called Reveillon: a celebration in white, honouring Iemenja, Brazil’s Goddess of the Sea. In Rio de Janeiro, the awakening of a New Year, or Reveillon, is celebrated on the beach by setting candlelit offerings afloat on the waters. To honour this tradition, guests are asked to don their snowy whites as they do in Brazil. Samba dancers will perform alongside batucada drummers to the sounds spun by DJs all night long. Tickets are available from £150 to £300.
Sushisamba is at 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY. 020 3640 7330.
Located between Liverpool Street and Spitalfields, La Tagliata is a great place to enjoy a festive meal.
They offer a simple but perfected menu of authentic Italian classics: fresh pasta made daily, their signature dish La Tagliata – Italian sliced steak served with rocket and parmesan followed by exquisite Italian desserts and cheeses. A vegetarian option of baked scamorza with black truffle paste is also available along with weekly specials. Wines start at just £18 a bottle.
There is a selection of private dining rooms hosting from six to 60 people. The five course Christmas menu, at £35 per person, combines signature dishes with a festive twist including risotto with porcini mushrooms and truffle cream, finishing with panettone and velvety custard.
La Tagliata is at 11 Sandy’s Row, London E1 7HW. 020 7247 2818 or email@example.com.
The Volunteer, a pub just a stone’s throw from London’s Regents Park, claim to have all the right ingredients to make your Christmas meal a delight. Until 23 December, they’re serving a festive menu, with a choice of two courses for £20.50 or three courses for £24; and they’re also doing a festive sharing platter – each is more than enough for two people – for £20. On Christmas Day, their four-course banquet is priced £50.
They say they have a ‘top-drawer drinks range’ which is ‘light-years ahead of the average alehouse offering.’
The Volunteer is at 247 Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE. 020 7486 4091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy a romantic candlelit evening, including four courses & coffee at Brixham’s Berry Head Hotel. Bucks Fizz & canapés will be served on arrival at 7pm with live music from Margaret Duffy before dinner. Cost £32 (or join in the Christmas Eve Bar Party for a festive drink or brasserie supper). Eddie will be on the piano for carols and a sing along from 9pm onwards). Check the website for Christmas Day options for non-residents, and for more information about the area For further information see the Visit Devon website.
Berry Head Hotel is at Berry Head Road, Brixham, TQ5 9AJ. 01803 853225.
Decorating the bistrots is not just an 18 day event, since planning for Christmas starts in early January when David and his partner Craig Hill begin by designing different themes for each location, as well as starting the process of sourcing decorations and hand making bespoke wreaths and garlands according to each theme.
‘Each of our bistrots is styled a little differently to complement the building it is in,’ comments Robert Beacham, Bistrot Pierre co-founder, ‘so David has to be creative in his approach, but he amazes us every year.’
Bistort Pierre’s festive £16.95 set lunch menu is available throughout December and includes rump steak with roasted garlic and green herb butter; ‘Les Landes’ duck leg confit with a cassoulet of smoked bacon and Coq au vin with red wine and wild mushrooms. The Bistrot is offering a £20 voucher incentive (for use in Jan/Feb) for party organisers of tables of eight or more.
Branches are in Cardiff, Derby, Harrogate, Ilkley, Leamington Spa, Leicester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield, Stockton Heath, Stratford-upon-Avon and Torquay. For more information and to book, see their website.
For the atmosphere of a traditional Yorkshire Inn, then the Durham Ox, Crayke, is the festive, out-of-town destination this Christmas.
Enjoy champagne and homemade mince pies on arrival, a seven course Christmas dinner and even stay overnight in one of their luxurious cottages.
The Durham Ox is at Westway, Crayke, York, YO61 4TE. 01347 821506 or email@example.com.
This famous Brighton sea front hotel now has a luxury seafood restaurant, GB1. Since opening last year, it has become famous for its exceptional seafood, with menus carefully designed by executive chef Alan White, including hot fruits de mer with king prawns, garlic butter and samphire and The Grand’s unique take on a ham, egg and chips starter, with ham hock & duck egg. A range of soft/alcoholic drinks is available including cocktails.
They’re also offering a three course Christmas dinner from £75 per adult, and the GB1 restaurant is offering £40 for two courses, with vouchers available via the website. Over Christmas holiday period booking is advised, and essential on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year.
GB1 is at The Grand Brighton, 97-99 King’s Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2FW. 0871 222 4684.
For some relaxed Latin American flare, Las Iguanas has the perfect answer. Perfect for parties of ten or more, the Christmas spread menu includes some of Las Iguanas‘s signature dishes downsized into fun-sized bites. Think mushroom quesadilla, mini tortilla rolls packed with brie and mango, juicy jerk chicken skewers, mini empanadas filled with turkey and zingy cranberry salsa, little gem lettuce leaves stuffed with oven dried tomatoes, feta and chimichurri and salt cod and potato croquettes or ‘baubles’ in the name of Christmas cheer! At just £12 per head, the Las Iguanas Christmas spread is not only a refreshing alternative to a sit down turkey dinner but it’s also great value. Why not team up your nibbles with an expertly mixed cocktail or two? Las Iguanas fabulous Pear Drop Caipirinha, served long with Xante pear liqueur and apple juice is a must-try!
Party-goers with a conscience can do their bit for charity this Christmas with Las Iguanas’ ‘Parties make presents’ initiative. Launched last year for every party booking of 10 or more this Christmas, Las Iguanas will donate £5 to their Community Present Project, which will bring joy to children in need. Their partners in this fabulous festive fundraising are those lovely people at The Entertainer, the UK’s largest family-run independent toy retailer, who have once again generously promised to match Las Iguanas’ contribution and supply the gifts from their award-winning range.
Las Iguanas branches are located across the UK. For more information and to book, see their website.
A visit to The Spiced Pear in Hepworth will be perfect for sumptuous seasonal food, service with a smile and a pint or two of real ale.
For your Christmas meal, you can can have canapés and fizz on arrival, before feasting on an eight course meal of bronze turkey breast, chestnut and cranberry stuffing, goose fat roast potatoes, ‘Greedy Little Pig’ chipolatas wrapped in smoked streaky bacon and pan roasting jus with winter garden vegetables.
For Christmas day lunch, served in two sittings, you even get the accompaniment of a grand piano.
The Spiced Pear is at Sheffield Road, New Mill, Holmfirth, HD9 7TP. 01484 683775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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