What to do in London - The Cultural Exposé

Apr 24

New Post: What we’ve been up to… Hai Street Kitchen, Leadenhall Market

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What we’ve been up to… Hai Street Kitchen, Leadenhall Market

Sushi burritos anyone? Yea, we never heard of ‘em either until an e-mail pinged into TCE’s inbox with news of a Japanese casual bar that’s attempting to revolutionise everything we ever knew about sushi (well maybe they’re not pitching their ambitions that high, but they’re certainly daring to be different). Hai Street Kitchen and Co is what we’d call Japanese-Mexican fusion with a light and quirky touch; tasty sushi rolls are prepped at a counter alá Chipotle and rolled in the style of a burrito – or served in a bowl – with an emphasis on fresh, Japanese and Mexican ingredients and speedy Gonzales service.

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Clearly pitched at a city crowd who would appreciate both of those things at lunch time, it’s still worth a pop-in if you’re in the Leadenhall Market area, just for the chance to get your paws on these colossal rolls which might be a bit tricky to chow down at first bite – they’re really that big! – but it’s nothing a spoon, chopsticks and a few napkins can’t handle. We recommend the flank steak roll with asparagus, wasabi guacamole – and if you’re on the move, grab a bag of the super moreish yucca chips to snack on for later.

For more info about Hai Street Kitchen, visit: www.haistreetkitchen.com

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Apr 14

New Post: What we’ve been up to… cheering at the London Marathon, Mile 21

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What we’ve been up to… cheering at the London Marathon, Mile 21

For the past three years, my running collective Run Dem Crew has set up camp at Mile 21 along the London Marathon route to bring good vibes to the thousands taking on the challenge.  Yesterday’s “cheerathon” was nothing short of epic,  filled with laughs, tears  and even a cameo from the mighty Mo Farah! Check out some of our pics from the day below:

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The next London running events on our calendar is the We Own the Night: Nike Women’s 10k Run on 10th May and the Run Hackney Half Marathon on 22nd June.  For more info, visit: www.nike.com/gb/en_gb/c/running/we-own-the-night and www.runhackney.com

Mar 11

New Post: What we’ve been up to… Eat Your Way Around Brixton

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What we’ve been up to… Eat Your Way Around Brixton

Hate it or love it, but the gentrification (or regeneration?) of Brixton has meant that the area in recent years has seen a splatter of high street fashion chains, coffee shops and a wave of “have-you-been-to” hit list restaurants awkwardly exist within the “old Brixton”, attracting the sort of yuppies who might have been too reluctant to eat in SW2 a few years ago.  But big business aside, scratch the surface and you’ll discover that what’s going down in Brixton a’int all doom and gloom – and this enjoyable foodie jaunt with cultural guided walks company Fox and Squirrel was our opportunity to discover  that and more.

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Led by Lindsay Faller, an American expat who writes about food for the Brixton Blog and Bugle and who’s lived in Brixton for 12 years, the walk included a potted history of the area and visits to a range of vendors, all introducing a unique cultural aspect of Brixton.    First stop was an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony on Brixton Station Road performed in a small tent filled thick with the aroma frankincense and coffee beans which were roasted right in front of us by Elsa – the co-owner of our next stop the Shawl café, where we tucked into a tear-and-share platter of Ethiopian dishes served on the tart and spongy injera bread.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of Ethiopian food, but this platter of lentils and stews was tasty and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s curious about this cuisine.

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The next stop – and my personal highlight of the day – was a visit to Las Cafeteria around the corner on Pope’s Road, a bustling Columbia canteen, butchers and money-changing shop, rolled into the one.  We managed to grab a few seats in the back before trying the mouth-watering Lechona – a popular dish of a roast pig stuffed with rice, peas, onions and spices and cooked for roughly 10 hours.  And you could tell – it was so flavoursome, made even better with the homemade salsa that was placed on the table.

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Our third stop on the walk was Brixton Brewery (Arch 547, Brixton Station Road), a creative company that is definitely one of trendier additions to the area.  I’m more of a wine drinker myself, but it was fascinating to hear about the beer-making process (even if I didn’t take too well to the sample of pale ale I tried!).  This stop was followed up by a sit-down at Fish, Wings and Tings in the revitalised Brixton Village, a Caribbean hotspot which was heaving with customers when we arrived.  And it’s no wonder – the salt fish fritters and goat roti we sampled were simply delicious (especially with a bit of the signature house sauce).

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As time was fast spent,  we had a quick walk through one of the local shops serving all types of exotic ingredients before the walk was wrapped up with a final visit to Kaff bar on Atlantic Road, an eclectic, laidback café where artwork from local artists adorn the wall. Homemade ginger beers were eagerly washed down a platter of US Southern-inspired dishes – like the delectable soft shell crab – and it was definitely a perfect conclusion to a day of culinary, cultural delights.

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The original itinerary featured gelato-making (which was unfortunately missed out), but that was only a minor blip for a day I’d highly recommend.  Admittedly, it is on the pricier side for an urban adventure (£70 for 3 hours), but if you’re new to the capital, it’s also a fantastic way to get to know this evolving area a whole lot better.  For more information, visit: www.foxandsquirrel.com/product/food-walk-london

To see more of our pics, visit: www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/galleries/eat-your-way-around-brixton-food-walk

Thank you to Fox and Squirrel for accommodating us!

Feb 27

New Post: What we’ve been up to… Dub Jam

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What we’ve been up to… Dub Jam

Last night TCé was invited to the press launch of Dub Jam – a jerk BBQ and rum shack in Covent Garden that’s one of the most creative food spots we’ve seen in that part of town for a while.  The obvious risk is that lovers of West Indian food might be tempted to weigh up DJ against the more established restaurants in the capital (i.e Cottons)  - but the good news is,  this novelty bar doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a casual drop-in with good tunes (provided by the legendary Trojan Records), decent grub (the jerk skewers here are tame at best, but the plantain chips, sweet potato fries and beach beef burger we tried were delish), nice prices, loud and proud interiors and an incredible signature rum punch which was so good we had it twice.  We imagine it’ll be a hit in the summer as the obvious vibe here is “reggae in the sunshine” so pass through when it opens on Saturday if you’re curious – we’ll be back for more rum!  Check out our pics from last night below, but for more info visit: www.dubjam.co.uk

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Jan 27

New Post: Somewhere you should go… Future Cinema’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

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Somewhere you should go… Future Cinema’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Future Cinema has pulled off some serious classics in their time (Ghostbusters, Casablanca, Saturday Night Fever), but I have to take my hats off to the team for coming up with this one.  If you don’t already know, Future Cinema is Secret Cinema without the surprise, immersing you into the world of the film in all sorts of clever ways; and the production values  are so high-end that  good times are generally guaranteed (unless that film is Shawshank Redemption which  sadly, is an experience that still makes us shudder).  Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was of my favourite films as a kid, so we can only imagine that the real life version of the 1988 animated/live action who-dun-it will be a hilarious romp we’ll be laughing about days later.

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It all kicks off from Valentine’s Day onwards so  for more info, visitwww.troxy.co.uk/event/future-cinema-presents-who-framed-roger-rabbit-3

Have you been to a Future Cinema event? Let us know in the comments…

Jan 22

New Post: Somewhere you should go… Princess Victoria’s Burns Night

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Somewhere you should go… Princess Victoria’s Burns Night

Trust the Scots to find a way to make you look forward to the end of the month. Every 25th January, the whole of the UK celebrates the life of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns—often in the most Scottish of ways, with a wee (or slightly larger) dram of whisky and a bit of haggis. If you fancy starting the celebrations early, head over to the Princess Victoria pub in Shepherd’s Bush tomorrow. They will feature a three-course early Burns Night supper club menu cooked up by Head Chef Matt Reuther (formerly of No 1 Lombard St and Marco Pierre White’s three Michelin-starred Oak Room).

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Reuther will be playing up the smoky flavours of Scotland’s famed peated whiskys with a menu that starts with a cassoulet made of whisky-barrel-smoked langoustine and home-cured bacon. The next course is a Scottish mutton haggis  served along with ash wood-roasted shoulder and a serving of neeps and tatties (swedes), a popular accompaniment to haggis.  Finally, dessert will be Applewood-roasted quince and the traditional Scottish dessert of cranachan, made of cream, whisky, raspberries and toasted oatmeal. And no smoky meal would be complete with a nip of Laphroaig whisky! The three-course supper is £30 and will offer the chance to buy wines and whiskeys while enjoying the beautiful historic pub. For more info, visit: www.facebook.com/events/602210763168004

Jan 10

The pornstar martini with a shot of Prosecco! #naughty #passionfruit #ping #fridaynightout

The pornstar martini with a shot of Prosecco! #naughty #passionfruit #ping #fridaynightout

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Nov 08

New Post: Something you should see… Confiscation Cabinets at V&A Museum of Childhood

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Something you should see… Confiscation Cabinets at V&A Museum of Childhood

I was one of the lucky ones who avoided the horror of having my stuff confiscated when I was at school.   We all knew that if  a teacher took your beloved property with the promise of giving it back at the end of the day,  there was a slim chance of that happening – and judging from the 250 plus items that feature in this new exhibition at the V&M Museum of Childhood, we weren’t wrong.

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Teacher and artist Guy Tarrant recovered forgotten knick-knacks from over 150 state schools in the capital and they make up this intriguing retrospective.  Many of the items – like the Gameboy, treasure troll  and friendship bracelets – might just bring back heartwarming memories, while the homemade bomb and air pistol are more of a chilling reminder of why teachers need to lay down the law. Still, it all makes quite a fascinating statement about pupil deviant behaviour over the last 30 years (and who knows, you might just recognise something of your own!)

On from 9 November to 1 June 2014.  For more info, visit: www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-displays/confiscation-cabinets

Oct 31

New Post: Somewhere you should go… Verbier at W Hotel, Leicester Square

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Somewhere you should go… Verbier at W Hotel, Leicester Square

Switzerland has invaded England. Right in the heart of London, Verbier has set up a remote colony in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square at the W Hotel. Until November 9, the hotel is celebrating the launch of a new sister property in Verbier. With winter just around the corner, many people are starting to shift their fantasy landscapes from beaches to ski slopes, so there’s no better time to stop by the W to experience a little taste of Swiss hospitality.

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Pic: Jane Stockdale

Step inside and you’re greeted by a ski gondola that’s found a new life as an interactive photo booth. After smiling for the cameras, you’re whisked up to the W Lounge and Library where you’ll find warming fires and cozy furs draped everywhere. Skip the skiing, and go straight to the bar for some après-ski drinks crafted especially for the Verbier experience. Among the ten new cocktails are  unique cocktail ingredients from Verbier’s three alpine neighbours, Germany, France and Italy. A menu curated by the W Verbier’s Culinary Director, the two-star Michelin chef Sergi Arola is available to accompany the drinks.
After you’ve warmed up inside and out, head over to the W London’s screening room and catch one of the  ski-themed movies showing, ranging from the Bond flick On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to a young Robert Redford doing all of his own skiing in Downhill Racer. And if you’re there during the last four nights of the takeover, head over to Wyld for W Verbier’s Search of a Resident DJ competition. Six DJ’s will be spinning and competing to land the gig as the W Verbier’s resident DJ. Events continue until November 9th  and are free to the public. (Words: Barbara Cole)

For more info, visit: www.wlondon.co.uk/en/wverbier

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