1. New Post: TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – October 2013

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    TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – October 2013 

    October, October, October – the month where we’re not only reminded of how close we are to the end of the year, but which also offers the last of the worthy happenings around town before everything starts to take a certain red and green tinge (with a whiff mixed spice). So here’s your chance to join forces with fellow bike enthusiasts, catch a flick at the LFF or salute Nelson Mandela, amongst other top things we’ve picked out. Enjoy!

    Alternative

    London Bicycle Film Festival at Barbican, October 3-6th – It’s officially a decade since the Bicycle Film Festival was created to celebrate urban cycling around the world, so this year’s events are quite the milestone. The London leg kicks off with a party at Hackney Downs Studio followed by a symposium and a selection of  insightful short film screenings at the Barbican – all worth checking out, especially if you’re a lover of bike culture.

    Arts & Culture

    Mandela and De Klerk 2011 by Richard Chauke

    We Love Mandela: Art Inspired by Madiba exhibition, October 3rd – 16th – The touring exhibition of paintings, photographs, sculptures and  artefacts were created to celebrate the milestone birthdays of the South African leader and comes to London following a stint at Johannesburg’s Peacemakers museum.  It makes a brief visit, so catch it if you can.

    Arts & Culture 

    BFI London Film Festival, October 9-20th  - After a run-of-the-mill summer movie season, autumn really needs to start with a bang. Thankfully, the 57th BFI London Film Festival is more than up to the task. The LFF has assembled its strongest line-up in years and  there is something for every film lover in this twelve days celebration of the magic of cinema.

    Music

    Bilal at Islington Assembly Hall, October 24th – This Philly soul singer has collaborated with some of the best in the biz (Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Robert Glasper), but has always put on a heck of a show when rolling solo.  We’re looking forward to seeing him in action when he hits North London at the end of the month.

    Eat & Drink

    PipsDish, 15 Exeter Street Covent Garden - The Islington pop-up makes a permanent home on Exeter Street in Covent Garden this month,  promising to bring something new to the table. They’ll be serving brekkie for starters, and will continue their “no-menu” tradition of offering a variety of seasonal dishes made with quality, locally-sourced ingredients.

    Best bits from last month

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  2. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-up-to-butlers-wharf-blackout/

    What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    If you ever wanted to experience a candelit dinner with stunning views of the Thames – with a twist, of course – then Butler’s Wharf Blackout could be the answer until September 15th. As a new addition to the capital’s annual hoorah (the Thames Festival), BWB is a collaboration with riverside restaurants Le Pont de La Tour, Cantina del Ponte, Blueprint Café and Butler’s Wharf Chophouse where they’ve all agreed to cut the lights after 8:30pm in honour of the history of the Thames (which is said to take its name from an ancient word meaning “dark water” ). But that’s not the twist; the pop-up 40-metre, 140-seat banqueting table is where we could be found on Saturday night, enjoying “swim & tonics” (G&T’s in a fishbowl bag), a delicious Crayfish & cherry tomato with basil starter from Cantina del Ponte, blackened pork with baby radish and black potato from the Blueprint Café (see what they did there?), and a kentish bramble syllabub with shortbread we could have eaten twice over from the Butler’s Wharf Chophouse. After the meal, we headed over to the pop-up bar Neon Noir to dance in the dark at the silent disco and get a load of more creative cocktails. It was the loveliest of evenings and a clever way to celebrate the river – so check out our pics below!

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  3. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Shake Shack

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-shake-shack/

    What we’ve been up to… Shake Shack

    For all the fanfare that surrounded the launch of this US import last month, we wanted the dust to settle before we got a whiff of the burgers, dogs and fries at Shake Shack, which has seen endless queues since opening on July 5th. So what’s the fuss?

    Well, it’s legendary status in New York has understandably peaked the interest of ex-pats and burger lovers, despite coming into an arena already heaving with every kind of burger outlet you can think of. So if you’re after a meal that will trump some of the finest in town and absolutely blow your mind, you won’t quite get that here. However, what you will get is pretty darn good meal that prides itself on freshness, in fanciful surroundings (gotta love Covent Garden!) and presented with a neatness that adds to the novelty of a fast food-cum-bougie burger bar.

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    The Shack Burger is a simple, compact sandwich that can come as a double and is served with the softest bun we’ve ever tasted – so a definite  thumbs up for that. But we preferred the super tasty Shack-cago dog, and it’s lavish dressing of relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard.

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    Add to that a side of awesome crinkle fries washed down with a shake-made lemonade and you can see why Shake Shack’s quite a fun visit as they do what they do well. But If the mains don’t woo you, the frozen custards probably will, coming plain and simple or in a range of creative flavours that change every month.

     

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    Much has been said about the pricing at Shake Shack (which is a tad steepish for what you get), but the trade-off is a uniquely American experience with a pretty cool menu that’ll save you the plane ticket abroad.

    For more info, visit: www.shakeshack.co.uk

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  4. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… Shutterbug, Rivington Place

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-go-shutterbug-rivington-place/

    Somewhere you should eat… Shutterbug, Rivington Place

    Within a year, this hip and cosy creperie has made such an indelible mark in the area, you wonder how Shoreditch managed before without it. But one things for certain – they (and we) can’t get enough of it.   Shutterbug is the bar-slash-pancake house that doesn’t just offer your standard crepe with the fillings to match.  Here, we’re talking savoury buckwheat varieties with the finest ingredients (asparagus, truffle oil and fig relish just to name a few), while their red velvet crepe will no doubt be award-winning one day.  Prices are fab too (starting from £4 for a lemon and sugar) so head over this weekend for a pre or post party bite.  Check out our pics from our recent visit just below, but for more info, visit http://www.shutterbug-london.com 

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  5. New Post: Wha we’ve been up to… The Rookery, Clapham

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/wha-weve-been-up-to-the-rookery-clapham/

    Wha we’ve been up to… The Rookery, Clapham

    Now that the summer is on the horizon and the days are longer, life seems to be for living again. So, a trip to south London for a north London girl sounded like an exciting opportunity, rather than a daunting task. On the Southside of Clapham Common (whose size never ceases to amaze me) stands The Rookery: a relaxed spot,  exuding a kind of New York style (exposed brick, hanging cables and lightbulbs, dim lighting… you know the formula), that could be the injection of independent cool that Claphamites are looking for.

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    We started with delicious, seasonal cocktails of Rubarb and ginger prosecco cocktail, a harmonious balance of spice and tang and our helpful waiter advised on his favourites. We sampled the coronation chicken, rare beef salad and pea and mint arancini. The starters are reasonably priced at between £5-£7, and their size makes them almost suitable as a main. The rare beef salad is fresh and echoes the start of spring with its shaved raw asparagus. But it misses a kick of flavour to lift it further. The retro serving of Coronation Chicken was huge, large pieces of chicken in delicious homemade curry spiced mayonnaise; we devoured it whole-heartedly. The arancini wouldn’t fool an Italian but the mini size was fun for sharing.

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    Our mains were a Pork belly with BBQ sauce and macaroni cheese with wild garlic and Jerusalem artichokes. Both again are large dishes and slightly overwhelming. The pork belly is well-cooked, and the fat crunchy and rich. It is drenched in BBQ sauce, which isn’t for all tastes, but comes with sweet potato fries and homemade slaw. The mains range from £13.50 – £23.50, which sounds steep but the size won’t leave you feeling short-changed. The wild garlic, which is always a pleasure to spy on a menu, lifted the macaroni cheese to the next level.
    My only gripe with the experience was the slow service. The restaurant was surprisingly busy for a weekday and this seems to have taken the staff by surprise too. I was left wondering if they had enough manpower to support the obvious demand from the hungry locals. We finished on a plate of chocolate desserts, which was a great sharing option. And, considering the size of the portions, that’s all you will be able to squeeze in! The menu is eclectic and includes French, Mediterranean, Modern British and a bit of New York eatery. The dishes change by season, which should keep their regulars interested too. There is also a large seating area out front, which will no doubt be a hit when that summer does finally arrive. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    For more info, visit: www.therookeryclapham.co.uk

     

  6. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Loco Moco at The Diner

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-the-loco-moco-at-the-diner/

    What we’ve been up to… Loco Moco at The Diner

    I’m usually guilty of going for a traditional short stack with all the trimmings whenever I hit up The Diner (they do culinary Americana so well), but did you know they offer a famous Hawaiian brekkie/lunch called the Loco Moco?  Me neither, until a pal and I were invited to try this unusual dish that’s big in the Aloha state, and just one of the many all-day breakfast offerings you can get at The D.

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    It’s quite a  full-on meal for 9am, as you get dirty rice topped with a generous burger patty (cooked to your liking), cheese, jalapeño peppers before it’s all doused in gravy, but it’s pretty darn good – and curbed the hunger pangs for a good part of the day. You’ll find Loco Moco under “The Blue Plates” on The Diner menu, but for more info about its history, visit www.whatscookingamerica.net/History/LocoMocoHistory

     Check out more of our pics from The Diner on our Tumblr

     

  7. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Street Kitchen

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-street-kitchen/

    What we’ve been up to… Street Kitchen

    Food trucks have certainly stepped up their game in recent years –  but we imagine only a few can match the style and sophistication of Street Kitchen, a striking silver outlet which has been serving takeaway gourmet food to suits in the city for the past two years.

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    For less than a tenner, you can get stuck into soft poached eggs with grilled mushrooms, hot-smoked salmon, crispy chicken or slow-braised lamb (which was our lunch choice of the day and tasted incredible!) – and with all ingredients being seasonal and organic, you know you’re only eating the good stuff.   Plus, we discovered service is super-quick too, with customers waiting less than five minutes to get their order.

    The truck currently offers a lunch service in Broadgate circle (11:30-2:30pm) Monday to Friday, but will be soon be serving burgers and cocktails in Shoreditch for lunches and dinner.  For more info, visit www.streetkitchen.co.uk

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  8. New Post: What we’ve been up to… MEATMission

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-meatmission/

    What we’ve been up to… MEATMission

    First, there was the truck (MeatWagon), followed by the pop-up (MeatEasy), then came the boozy diner (MEATLiquor),  the trendy outlet in Covent Garden (MEATMarket) and now a mission to convert anyone else who’s yet to experience the indulgent joy of a dirty MEAT burger. Kudos to food proprietor Yianni Papoutsis for his ability to re-conceptualise the humble American burger restaurant  over the last few years, and attempting to go one better with each creative iteration. With MEATMission, it’d seem the team are keen to push the boundaries on the cultural dining experience, presenting his acclaimed burgers in an East End venue for foodies and coolhunters who are as much about the trendiness of the locale as they are about the hype over the grub – so TCé were invited to find out what burger-lovers can expect from this new kid on the block.

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    Sticking up a middle finger to its former tenants ( a Christian mission), the venue’s subversive  theme goes in hard from the jump; the lighting’s incredibly low,  the “inbread” part of the menu is pitched at “sinners”, skeletons are depicted in the stained-glass ceiling breaking bread Last-Supper style – and of course, there’s an all-seeing eye thrown in. It’s a bold statement as even the menu offers a few gags (Bingo Wings, badoom-ching! And you may not want to know the colloquial meaning of “Monkey Fingers“), but it was hard to laugh off the bright red cocktail called, er, Time Of The Month (!?). Still, the Donkey Punch cocktail (ahem) made with  lime juice, ginger beer and absinthe and the fruity Tipping The Velvet (double-ahem), were thankfully, quality Plan Bs, even if their names leave much to be desired.

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    First impressions aside, the food itself had some impressive highlights. For starters, those monkey fingers and chilli cheese fries are an absolute-must – and while we were less wooed by the fried pickles (tempura-style, nothing remarkable), the currywurst served over fries was also a great choice.  As for mains, the red chilli burger and cheeseburger  were cool and just what you’d expect  (although a friend was slightly overwhelmed by the spiciness of the green chilli burger), but my hat goes off to the delicious brilliance that is the roast beef sundae.  It looks deceptively sweet, but this creation is simply garlic mash and gravy with roast beef, horseradish cream, topped with a cherry tomato.

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    Considering there are other burger outlets that are more notorious for their food (Patty & Bun, Lucky Chip and Honest Burgers),  time will tell if MEATMission‘s restaurant credentials can match the hipness of their brand. But it seems like the sort of venue that’ll make a killing on the weekends as it’s near the heart of most of the Shoreditch action, it’s not too pricey, the music’s good, there’s yummy cocktails and it  has the right kind of starters for grazing – what more could a food-loving coolhunter ask for?

    For more info, visit: www.meatmission.com

     

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  9. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-elk-in-the-woods/

    What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods

    London is awesome for its nightlife but sometimes a long, lazy Sunday lunch with friends is the best thing in the world which was how I was introduced to the Elk in the Woods.

    Angel already boasts so many great restaurants, but I was excited at the prospect of somewhere new and delicious – and Elk offers both a quirky menu with the Scandinavian-style decor to match. When we sat down to see we had the table facing out onto the street, providing the perfect people watching view as we munched.

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    My friends and I split three of the small plates between us - crispy pheasant with spring onion, parsnip and pancakes with homemade plum sauce, halloumi with homemade preserved lemons and salt and pepper calamari. It was my first time trying pheasant  so I was pleasantly surprised by the rich taste and the different take serving it in Chinese style. The calamari was  good with a nice freshness to it and the halloumi, hard to go wrong with my favourite cheese, was simple but delicious.

    My main course of char-grilled lamb cutlets with seasalt savoy cabbage mash, crispy kale and a rosemary and wild berry gravy was wonderful hearty food. This is definitely a place for meat eaters with few vegetarian options on the menu but with the meat they cook it well.  Just remember to save room for dessert –  luckily I was joined by a friend as indecisive as me so we ordered the chocolate fondant with mint ice-cream and the popcorn ice cream sandwich with salted caramel to split between us.

    But food aside, the service was a bit slow – so I’m grateful we got a table with a view as it  gave us something to do. Granted, it was busy and the weekend but three hours in there was too long. Still, the sheer delicious joy of the puddings could warrant a return. (Words: Lucy Palmer)

    For more info about Elk In The Woods visit: www.the-elk-in-the-woods.co.uk

     

  10. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… FEAST London

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-eat-feast-london/

    Somewhere you should eat… FEAST London

    London’s foodie revolution shows no signs of slowing down: 2012 has seen an influx of fried chicken joints, Peruvian ceviche, and every other week seems to see another ode to Americana in the form of burger bars and steak places. In celebration of this renaissance comes FEAST, which returns for a Christmas banquet in a disused Royal Mail sorting office.

    Lily Vanilli

    Yes, it’s another food festival but what food?  Stallholders include street food heroes Pizza Pilgrims and Yum Bun. Alternatively some of London’s hottest chefs will there to whet your palate: get that chicken fix with Hix, grab life-changing brownies and tasty pastries at the Lily Vanilli stall, Jewish comfort food will be hand from the Mishkins boys and sloppy burgers from Lucky Chip. And if great food wasn’t enough, popular folk night Woodburner will decamp from their usual Stoke Newington base to provide the soundtrack to your feasting, whilst omnipresent jellymongers Bompas & Parr will be providing ‘a live experiment’ that promises to make an impact. Seems like this will be a feast for all seasons.

    FEAST London runs  from December 6-9.  For more info, visit  www.wefeast.co.uk