What to do in London - The Cultural Exposé

Aug 31

Just had a mild baking disaster, but happy to know I can make a salad! Lol This is a super-easy courgette salad with toasted pumpkin seeds. Olive oil and balsamic dressing brings the flavour flave…

Just had a mild baking disaster, but happy to know I can make a salad! Lol This is a super-easy courgette salad with toasted pumpkin seeds. Olive oil and balsamic dressing brings the flavour flave…

An easy-like-Sunday-morning breakfast: Amaranth porridge with raisins and peaches! Cooked in Coconut Milk. From the @hemsleyhemsley cookbook.

An easy-like-Sunday-morning breakfast: Amaranth porridge with raisins and peaches! Cooked in Coconut Milk. From the @hemsleyhemsley cookbook.

Aug 30

Meal planning in Holland Park :-)

Meal planning in Holland Park :-)

Aug 29

New Post: Metropolitans: Stephanie Brookes, radio presenter and author


Metropolitans: Stephanie Brookes, radio presenter and author

I am…a presenter on Hoxton Radio and also an author. Since presenting on my weekly show, I have been getting to know east London very well, which has been fantastic – Dalston, in particular. I feel really lucky that my life and work is very much intertwined with London; for example, I remember I was standing outside the Piazza in Covent Garden when I received the telephone call confirming my first book deal. The city holds so many ‘working’ memories for me, whether it’s a cafe I’ve spent hours writing in, or a new discovery I have made whilst heading to a meeting. I predominately write from home now, which is in south east London.

The area of London I call home is…New Cross. I have lived here for years now, and it just felt like home from the very beginning. This area is still largely undiscovered and yet you’re in central London in five minutes by train. I live close to a lovely park, and only a short walk away from some of the best pubs in south east London. We’ve recently had some great cafes open up in the area, including the fantastic Maddy’s Fish Bar on New Cross Road.

Stephanie_Portrait-ed-1 Photo: Caro Hutchings

I’ve got to have a meal at… The Royal Albert on New Cross Road – I have been going there for years and the food is always delicious. Further up the hill you’ll arrive at Chapters restaurant in Blackheath, which serves a great all-day menu and some fantastic cocktails. If I’m heading into the centre of town, The Grenadier in Belgravia is one of my favourite places for a cosy meal and they also do the best fish and chips in London. If I’m in Soho, I love going to Kettner’s for cocktails, and the main dining room always has a buzzy atmosphere. Andrew Edmunds along Lexington Street is a must for an intimate meal, with an ever changing, seasonal menu.

I tend to get my threads (clothes) from…the high street and secondhand shops. I really like Whistles, H&M, Zara, and I’ve picked up some lovely pieces recently from Anthropologie. If I’m in secondhand shops, I often find some great accessories.

To enjoy London nightlife, you should…take the people you have the most fun with and bespoke a night around what you want – the beauty of London is the sheer amount of choice. For example, if you want a night of glamour, you can’t beat cocktails at the American Bar in The Savoy. Likewise, you could have a more low-key evening, grab a pizza at Pollo Bar in Soho, and then head onto some of the pubs in the local area – The French House is a must. You can design a night around any budget, that’s why London offers something for everybody.

If I was mayor, I would…make London more pedestrianised, particularly during the summer months. This is a selfish decision on my part as I love walking everywhere, and so the more access I have, the more I can easily navigate my way around the city.

My favourite spot to check out art is…the Hayward Gallery along the Southbank. I actually remember the first exhibition I went to which was Antony Gormley’s ‘Blind Light’ – it was years ago now but it was an evening I’ll never forget. I highly recommend this gallery as it is in a great location to make a day of it too – after you’ve visited the gallery, you can sit with friends along the Southbank and just watch the world go by.

I’d kindly tell a tourist to…explore the capital by foot and head towards those places recommended by Londoners, who have a real insight into what the city has to offer. It’s great to see and visit all the usual sights, but you get a real understanding by exploring those places you never thought to visit before.

The things I miss when I leave London are…the incredible array of restaurants and pubs, as I am a real foodie. In fact, when I arrive back in London, the first thing I do is call my husband and suggest we go and try a new restaurant or pub we haven’t been to before – just one of the many reasons I love London.

My soundtrack to London would includeWaterloo Sunset by The Kinks. It is such a beautiful and atmospheric song, and I often think of it as I’m walking around the city. I was listening to it just the other day in fact, and it just gets better every time – the soundtrack to London, in my opinion.

Follow Stephanie Brookes on Twitter: @stephbrookes


Aug 26

New Post: Something you should serve… Hemsley + Hemsley muffin frittatas


Something you should serve… Hemsley + Hemsley muffin frittatas

It was only a matter of time before cooking made its way onto TCé! I’ve recently been keeping busy in the kitchen, thanks to a birthday gift from friends who rallied together to get me The Art of Eating Well by sisters Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley.  I spent a solid week trying out everything from smoothies to cauliflower mash and I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty fabulous book, featuring a broad range of creative and tasty recipes. It’s also a good look for those trying to kick the refined sugar habit – like me! – or lower their carb intake.

My favourite recipe so far is for the muffin frittatas. It’s easy to make, looks and tastes gorgeous and costs hardly anything to whip up – plus, if you’re inviting friends around for brunch, this would go down a treat (although I’m planning on giving it a Jamaican twist by serving it with ackee and salfish next time I give it a whirl). Check out the recipe on the Daily Mail website, and for more details about the book visit www.hemsleyandhemsley.com.




Aug 15


Aug 11

New Post: Somewhere you should go… Secret Cinema Presents Back To The Future


Somewhere you should go… Secret Cinema Presents Back To The Future

It started with an immersive production  of Paranoid Park for just 400 people in 2007, blurring the lines between cinema, theatre and fancy dress parties. Seven years on and Secret Cinema is now commanding international audiences of up to 80,000 for their latest production of Back to the Future, proving it’s become a popular alternative to experiencing films in the capital. Booking a  pricey £53 ticket comes with advice on how to dress up and you’re given a character identity for the night. Attendees are also encouraged to leave their phones at home and keep quiet on the details, which includes a few ambitious highlights you simply couldn’t get in a movie theatre, not even in 3D.

“I feel there’s a global shift towards doing things differently, “ says Secret Cinema creator Fabian Riggall. “We’ve launched in London which is an international city, and I think our audiences are mixed and are into different things. It’s about creating these real experiences that’s mixing different art forms together where people aren’t sure if it’s a concert, a cinema screening, a theatre, a restaurant or a gallery.”

Riggall’s latest project finally opened on 31st July following an unexplained one-week delay and an social media outcry from fans who’d flown in from as far as Cambodia to see the debut. But now that it’s arrived, all might soon be forgiven as the ambitious interpretation has gotten off to a strong start.

Photo: Will Cooper

Photo: Will Cooper

The film’s version of the fictitious Hill Valley, California has been recreated and begins with a walk-through of an actual sheep and chicken farm before the rest of the world is unveiled. The grounds boasts of bungalow houses, retro billboards, a gas station, diners, shops, a town square, a small fun fair, a high school and of course, a replica of the clock tower that featured in the film and double-ups as the film screen. Impressively, no detail has been spared.

Actors playing geeks and jocks in 1950s outfits mingle among the similarly dressed crowds and deliver their dialogue with flawless and upbeat mid-West accents it’s easy to forget you’re in East London. The audience happily gets in on the act too, hitching rides in the vintage cars that whiz around grounds or pose for prom photos.


Photo: Al Overdrive

A highlight of the night is when things turn pantomime. A Marty McFly impersonator runs through the crowd and loud cheers go up for the film’s plucky protagonist while booing ensues for a convincing Biff Tannen and his crew who rip around the crowd and are just as intimidating in real life.

The experience starts to lose its lustre after a couple of hours of doing the rounds, especially when the reality of expensive memorabilia and painfully-long queues for food, the rides and toilets begin to kick in. The theatrical forays are a welcome distraction, like the sudden flashback performance to 1985, replete with dancers appearing in lycra and headbands and skipping around the compound. It’s odd, but it surprisingly works. It’s fun when the 80s gang latter take over a school bus and party with audience members to Van Halen’s Jump and Starship’s We Built This City. The night picks up further with a rock and roll performance and that iconic scene when McFly shows off his 80’s style guitar riffs on a purpose built stage before the film screening begins.


Photo: Will Overdrive

Where previous Secret Cinema productions might have been too obscure or raw to be fully enjoyable, Back to the Future offers plenty of reasons to love the original even more.  Check it out before it wraps up on August 31st. For more information, visit www.secretcinema.org/tickets

Aug 05

New Post: What we’ve been up to… cocktails at Aprés


What we’ve been up to… cocktails at Aprés

Stylish cocktails in the summer sunshine? Don’t mind if we do!  TCé was recently invited to check out Aprés – a central London bar and cocktail lounge  that’s just a hop, skip and jump from Selfridges – so it’s an ideal  post-shopping destination or a great spot for rounding up the colleagues for after-work drinks.  The food menu’s on point too and if the chilli smoked hot wings  don’t satisfy your tastebuds, the various sliders certainly will.  Compliments to the chef, we say!  Stick around after 8pm to hear a DJ get the party started while we recommend the fruity candice or “Sharon Stone” cocktail to toast to the weekend.  For more details, visit: www.apres-london.com . See pics from our recent visit below…





Aug 01