London’s acclaimed status as a premier location to live and work in is due to the fact that an enormous amount of talent and energy is concentrated here. Fashion, music and the dramatic arts are all eminently represented but behind all the glamour there is an astute business acumen that likes to do deals. This month, there are plenty of expensively designed shows to go to, but also some very strategic property and business events that keep the money for those shows flowing into the Capital.
This barnstorming stage adaptation of the 2004 top selling album by punk protagonists Green Day has picked up awards on Broadway and toured the UK to sell out crowds. Now it has touched down in the West End for a rowdy residence at the Arts Theatre. The musical is set in a post twin towers America where politicians wrap themselves in the flag in order to say the most stupidly xenophobic things imaginable. Three young men have had enough, but take totally different routes as they bid to escape the madness.
Tunny perversely joins the military while Will turns to drink and premature fatherhood. Johnny grabs his guitar and heads to the big city where his dreams of rock rebellion get ambushed by drugs, delusion and darkness. The action is relentless as the actors slam and mosh their way through a series of thrash-metal anthems. It’s the kind of music that grabs situations by the throat and doesn’t let go until hope shines through
The thinking woman’s fashion and food event: Stylist Live is not only packed with thought provoking content, but also has the intellectual muscle necessary to dissect trends as well as dictate them. Women like Caitlin Moran, Davina McCall and Nigella Lawson are sharp, funny and totally committed to the cause. They not only point out some of the more ridiculous notions of beauty that the tend to get hyped, but they are experts at getting to the human issues that drive the media.
Presented by Edith Bowman and billed as four days of culture, catwalks, cocktails and conversation, Stylist Live is ambitiously comprehensive in both concept and scope. Celebrity chefs, fashionistas and musical performers will all be thrown into the mix one after another without the usual segregation and preciousness. This will be a good thing as it will expose visitors to influences that they’d instinctively avoid.
>Over the last decade or so, this exhibition has continued to attract experienced investors, professional landlords and buy-to-let specialists. It’s one of the biggest pool of property investment know-how in Europe and should be an unmissable date in the calendar of anyone in London, serious about making money in property. Developers, estate agents, refurbishment companies and financial experts will all be in attendance as a series of seminars, Q&As and presentations are made available.
The exhibition has a decidedly international flavour which is reflected in the focus that some sections will have opportunities in the U.S. and Africa. There will be another part of the show dedicated to BMV (below market value) properties outside Central London as investors set their sights on deals that give as much rental yield as possible. Over one third of the attendees own at least ten properties but anyone new to the market is most welcome.
Bavaria touches down by the banks of the Thames as a sample of Germany’s favourite festival launches in Wapping. Created in Munich 150 years ago to celebrate a royal wedding, the OktoberFest is a celebration of German culture and food with beer and sausage being the main draw. Tyrollean music and costumes will both be in evidence as barmaids serve up the best Bavarian lager by the litre in a special 3,000 capacity hall on Tobacco Dock.
The London version will have a satirical twist as visitors will be invited to take part in penalty shoot-outs and joke telling contests (Germans are famous for their humourlessness and efficiency at taking spot kicks). Funnily enough, the original OktoberFest in Munich has been moved forward so as to avoid bad weather which means that the London version is the only one taking place on the correct date: England 1 Germany 0.
Legend – Cinemas LondonwideTom Hardy presents his credentials as a virtuoso character actor in this biopic of the fabled gangland bosses who created havoc in sixties London. Ronnie and Reggie Kray were twins who rose from post war poverty in the East End and became crime overlords and genuine legends at the same time. Reggie’s combination of charm, menace and ambition made him a natural ally of Mafia families who wanted to extend their influence in Britain. Brother Ronnie was such a psychotic force of nature, that even his open homosexuality – unusual in fifties London – didn’t stop him from being the most feared criminal in the country.Hardy plays both brothers with the help of digital technology and snappy editing. It’s amazing how technically adept he is at establishing the two men that have so much in common, yet are different in many important ways. London is portrayed as a stylish playground for those who have survived worldwide conflict and it’s a playground that the Krays set out to control with an explosive cocktail of bravado and violence.
The last four years have seen this contemporary art festival go from strength to strength as collectors, critics and curators gather for a series of viewings, talks and interactive demonstrations. The contemporary nature of the exhibition is what makes this possible because the focus is on living artists, many of who will be in attendance. Housed in a flexible temporary structure in Regents Park, the fair is made up of a main section plus two other specialised spaces: Focus and Live.
Focus concentrates on work from emerging galleries whereas Live is for installations that require a certain degree of interaction and demonstration. The Frieze Talks are a vital part of what makes the fair unique and will take the form of a daily schedule of lectures, panel debates and discussions. They will feature not only art experts, but philosophers, critics and academics. If you would like to know more about affordable art and how it can be used in your rental home visit our blog post.
It’s literally crunch time in London this autumn as squads of muscular men from all over the globe converge on England in order to battle for the world trophy. The first two weeks of the competition tend to be exhibition rugby as the major powers sharpen their skills by dominating lesser sides. As with any sport, however, an upset is always on the cards and it’s usually one of the Pacific Islands that tend to unsettle one of the Big Six
England will have home advantage and will fancy their chances against any of the Southern Hemisphere opposition. Wales and Ireland are capable of frightening Australia or South Africa while France can be world-beaters one day and a total shambles the next. Holders, New Zealand are definitely the most consistently effective team in rugby and will be the yardstick that all squads will be measured by.
When it comes to the West End musical, Maria Friedman has absolutely nothing left to prove onstage, so it’s a joy to see her take the director’s chair in this rollicking revival of the famous Hollywood star vehicle. Other stories have love triangles, but High Society has a “love quadrilateral” as three suitors attempt to woo the frivolous Tracy Lord all to the incomparable backdrop of Cole Porter’s greatest hits. Kate Fleetwood plays Tracy with a surprising depth and energy that brings the best out of the supporting cast who are also expert song and dance practitioners.
Extra songs have been added from Porter’s impeccable back catalogue and they’ve been distributed around the cast so as to not turn the event into some kind of Rat Pack throwback. Staging the production in the round is an inspired idea as well, because allows for more intimacy with the audience. In the 1956 movie, Louis Armstrong served as a memorable narrator for the twists and turns of the madcap plot, but Friedman (a skilful narrator herself – remember “Joseph”?) has in pianist Joe Stilgoe, her own joker in the pack. Stilgoe improvises around the action, warms up the audience and still manages to hit his lines. That’s jazz!
This already hugely popular attraction has now added a new permanent extension that is bound to wow first-time visitors as well as Potter veterans. Here, the famous starting point for so many Harry Potter adventures, platform 9¾ has been meticulously recreated, complete with the original Hogwarts Express steam engine. The same craftsmen who worked on the films have returned to build this 20,000 sq ft marvel using original props and special effects.
The remainder of the tour is still a marvellous day out for all the family with the Great Hall centrepiece still evoking memories of the young wizards as they embarked on their magical education. All the fantastic monsters and supernatural wonders of the movie series are dotted throughout the rest of the converted aircraft hanger. A fully stocked gift shop and snack bar serving delicious meals are on site selling themed treats and mementos.
Wheelers is the venerable fish restaurant brand that top chef Marco Pierre White took over some years ago. After establishing a solid presence in the Home Counties, White is now ready for a London relaunch and has teamed up with the Threadneedles Hotel near the Bank of England. Whitstable rock oysters, grilled Dover sole and fish pie are all old favourites that will appeal to lovers of traditional British seafood.
The rib room will specialise in the finest British steaks – all dry-aged for 28 days. Rib (serves two), sirloin and fillet are all served with hand cut chips plus a choice of side dishes. The old-school vibe continues in the dessert menu. Sherry trifle, Eton mess and chocolate brownies may seem safe choices, but in the hands of Marco’s team, they are set to reach new heights.
Between the Cityboy-induced inflation of Shoreditch and the experimental pop-ups of Dalston lies Haggerston and a strip of very good restaurants. Trip Kitchen stands out with its Turkish Cypriot roots that nevertheless steers clear of an over-emphasis on protein. Decked out in industrial chic and offering unpretentious service, this is an eatery that is both adventurous and honest. Well-balanced small plates include lamb with pomegranate and grilled sardines with a quite delicious Turkish tapenade. An intriguing pesto made out of pistachio nuts leaves you scratching your head – what would it go with? The answer comes in the form of a wonderfully sea-fresh bowl of clams and the combination at once makes perfect sense.
Hipsters love this place. It’s got just enough ethnicity and just enough quirkiness. It’s also housed in a railway arch which earns it extra cool points as trains rumbling overhead becomes the trendy East London equivalent of background “Dinner Jazz”.
Most restaurants that are associated with bastions of high culture are situated in plain view so that guests may look out over the fine examples of sculpture/paintings/literature that they’ve come to see. Keeper’s House differs in that it is sequestered away from the main building of the Royal Academy across the courtyard in a renovated townhouse.
Run by restaurant mogul, Oliver Peyton, the Keeper’s House is smart, professional and confident. Chef Ivan Simeoli is determined to use the beast seasonal ingredients, but without the helping of smugness that seems to be added to the menu these days.The relaxed and cultured atmosphere is just the right antidote to all the seasonal hoopla of last month and the staff are switched on enough to know when to enquire and when to retire. Main courses feature exquisitely prepared roast lamb, fillets of brill and delicate sea bass with kale, chard and heritage carrots being complimented by bold sauces. A dessert of clementine flavoured rice pudding is incredibly light and refreshingly tangy while still being the comfort food we all know and love.
The London nightclub scene is as varied as the seemingly endless dance genres that keep proliferating in the charts. This means that venues can differ wildly in terms of size, taste and location with a good chance of the discovery of some hidden gems. The idea behind Blagclub is simple and that is the creation of a space that resembles your friend’s house on a Saturday night get together. Getting through the doors, you can’t help but feel like you’re walking into someone’s flat. The bar, DJ booth, dancefloor and lounge take up an extended loft space guaranteed to put everybody at ease. The decor is simple with a splash of ethnic chic, including some interesting statues and wall art.
The eclectic crowd are a fairly tolerant bunch and the music ranges from pop-dance hits to more the urban variants of dubstep and grime. All in all the music policy is designed so as to keep the clientele dancing, laughing and drinking the premium cocktails on offer. Midweek nights host live acoustic music and jam sessions.
Forge is a new bar/grill founded on the site of the infamous Abacus dive bar near Bank station. Once a notorious hangout for City boys bent on excess, the new owners have decided to target a more thoughtful demographic and the refurbishment reflects this. Dancing space has thankfully been sacrificed for dining space and a state-of-the-art kitchen installed.
It was once rumoured that back in the Abacus days, tables had to be specially reinforced because of the amount of dancing that was performed on them. This might still be the case, but instead of inebriated bankers, the tables will have to withstand the weight of the awesome selection of sharing platters that are available. Forge obviously looks to nearby Barbacoa for inspiration and the steaks, ribs and skewers on offer are as big and as bold as the resumes of its clientele.
When the owner of LA celebrity hangout Chateau Marmont opens a restaurant in London, it’s a given that A-listers will come flocking. Andre Balazs has enlisted the design expertise of Paris based Studio KO to convert a former fire station into a temple of gastronomic excellence. High-end restaurants all over London must be on a recruitment drive as it seems that a large chunk of culinary talent has been poached by the Chiltern Firehouse and the results are predictably spectacular. From the bar snacks to the coffee; every course is cooked with artistry and presented with panache.
Crab-stuffed doughnuts are a tasty accompaniment to the drinks menu; indeed, all fish dishes are imaginative and generously proportioned. Sea trout is cooked ceviche style and Cod comes with leek hearts and romaine lettuce.Slow-roasted short rib with hazelnut purée and bone marrow is bound to become a firm favourite together with the pristine chargrilled Iberico pork. Frozen apple panna cotta is one of the highlights of the dessert menu.
This is musical where the artistic merit was almost eclipsed by its impressive props but where the sheer intensity of the subject matter still got through. Music and words are by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg who struck gold with Les Misérables and this adaptation of Madame Butterfly focuses on the big themes of love, loss and redemption. The doomed love-affair between a Vietnamese prostitute and a US marine isn’t very sympathetic to American foreign policy but a Western audience should be able to stomach that in these post Iraqi war time.
The evacuation of Saigon and the appearance of the famous life-size helicopter get the biggest cheer of the night and there is no doubting that the heroism of the soldiers is a counter to the abandoned mother and child. The beautifully sung message that Miss Saigon brings back to London after fifteen years is that the casualties of war are not restricted to the battlefield and that true love does not always prevail.
There’s something fishy going on in the Square Mile and this time it doesn’t involve insider dealing! Diners in the City have plenty of culinary options but The Mercer understands that good ingredients, served simply, will always keep the customers coming back. This theory applies to both comfort food favourites and lighter, seafood-based dishes. Pan-fried seabass and salt-baked sea bream are delicious alternatives to their signature pies and steaks. Popular starters include rock oysters, crab on sourdough toast and potted shrimps.
This exploration of classic English dishes by chef-proprietor, Warren Lee has unearthed some mouth-watering specials with both skate and hake regularly making appearances.
There won’t be a dodgem ride in sight when you rock up to this converted warehouse in the ultra hip Dalston/Shoreditch area. Instead what you’ll experience is the latest mash-up event that London seems to excel at: namely, a club weekender which is themed around high-end street food. Walk into any kitchen in a top London eatery and you’ll find clue- up young chefs who are as knowledgable about chilled breakbeats as they are about chilled gazpacho and Fairground is their collective vision made flesh.
Spread over three floors, the venue contains a mega bar run by Strange Hill on the first level. DJs from dance labels Hot Natured and Black Butter will host a fashion show by the Love Bullets collective. The second floor takes the form of a chill-out and knowledge space with talks and seminars by such trend-surfing luminaries as English Disco Lovers on the power of social media. The top tier is where everybody hopes to end up. This is where a deliciously unpredictable selection of pop-up restaurants will hold court. The opening of Fairground coincides with Thai New Year and Jude Sangsida from Busaba Eatha will be on hand to demonstrate the incredible levels to which mere “street food” can rise.
Clean-cut Mormon missionaries meet with poverty-oppressed Africans with hilarious results. It sounds implausible, even offensive but this musical from the creators of South Park has been a runaway smash on both sides of the Atlantic and shows no sign of wearing out its welcome in the West End. The script is subversive and darkly comic but importantly never patronises its targets and is helped along by some of the cleverest, catchiest and downright scandalous tunes ever performed on stage.
Reports have suggested that inquiries about the Mormon faith have gone up by 50% since the musical started and it certainly didn’t deter Mitt Romney from running for president (he lost but that was because his party was unpopular not because he was a Mormon). As the production pokes fun at some of the stranger beliefs of the Latter Day Saints, the underlying sentiment is that anybody can pick holes in religion but the hope that springs from it is undeniable and even transferable: deeds, not creeds if you will.
Adventurous Italian cooking in the heart of Soho is what the recently relocated Polpetto is all about. Commitment to the very best ingredients is the hallmark of any fine cuisine but it seems that it is even more essential in Italian dishes. This may have something to do with the fact that the regional food characteristics are so strong in that part of the world. Polpetto know all this by heart so you get green winter tomatoes from Sardinia, simply sliced and served with oil. This might sound rudimentary but the taste is indescribably good. Chef/owner Florence Knight is famous for her Baccala mantecato and happily it remains on the menu. A garlicky paste of salt cod on grilled bread is the ideal snack and comforts the stomach.
Polpetto also make the best scallops in town. Rather than swamp the delicate shellfish under a blanket of low-grade pork, they use lardons and cauliflower cream to elevate an already sublime dish. Desserts are sensibly palate cleansing, particularly the zesty blood orange sorbet and the Italian wine list is well chosen and reasonably priced.
We are continuously being told by health gurus that salads are not only necessary, but incredibly tasty when you put the right ingredients together. However, no matter our good intentions, we tend to neglect them when we eat out and opt for something that excites and intrigues us more; we are eating out after all. Salad still tends to be an afterthought that springs to mind when we are guiltily looking for a light lunch after a previous night’s blowout and this is the mindset that Christian Honor seems to be debunking on a daily basis. Christian is no rabbit food merchant. He has worked for Gordon Ramsay and run the kitchens in the Dorchester so he brings quality, precision and passion to his task.
Salmon smoked over Chinese tea and feta lasagne are great main courses but you could lunch on the salads alone, such is the attention to detail coupled with top-notch ingredients on show. Three bean salad with cinnamon shouldn’t work but it does. Apple and fennel with quinoa reads like a yummy mummy posted it into the suggestion box; yet it is so nuanced and well-presented that you wonder why other chefs aren’t doing the same. With a range of wonderful cakes and tea infusions, Kitch looks and feels like a local deli which is probably a good thing as it makes the treasures within even more exciting.
With cheery economic news an almost daily occurrence, London’s restaurant scene has seen the return of the super-size eaterie. In the noughties, this sector was ruled by the Conrad empire as Quaglino’s and Mezzo fed the city’s foodies to much acclaim. In 2013, new faces have arrived in the West End to satisfy London’s seemingly never-ending hunger for new places to eat. Chotto Matte is split into several levels and can comfortably seat over 200 guests. The food is a deliciously fresh take on the Nikkei style of Japanese cooking with dedicated areas for sushi lovers and a Japanese barbecue.
The atmosphere is gregarious and fun with a DJ and live music in selected rooms; perfect for the after-theatre or pre-clubbing crowd. Entrepreneur and owner, Kurt Zdesar has a solid track record in London having launched the first Nobu restaraunt here and he seems to have judged this opening perfectly. So as a raft of new shows hit the West End, expect to find the cast, crew and audience toasting one another at Chotto Matte.
High-rise dining is becoming a more common occurrence in the capital, thanks to the recent proliferation of downtown skyscrapers. The views tend to affect the prices which, in turn, affect expectations. Oblix unapologetically go for the City-boy pound by offering such favourites as crab cakes, scallops, rib-eye steak and lobster cerviche. These are all tried and trusted meals so beloved by the transatlantic suits and suitesses who frequent Oblix by day.
In the evening, the lights dim and the views become even more entrancing. From this vantage point, you can actually track the progress of underground trains by the way their lights leak through cracks in the ground. A lounge menu and live music give Oblix the same kind of ambience that can be found in the New York Grill in Tokyo’s Park Hyatt hotel immortalised in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation movie. It’s no surprise, then, to discover that these two high-flyers share the same origins. Both have been conceived by Rainer Becker, who with Arjun Waney launched Zuma and Roka.
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