1 | Trufflesecco
Incongruous as it may seem on Camden High Street, a stretch of London where pubs are still pubs and such things as gigs still regularly take place, new bar Trufflesecco - which as you may have guessed from the portmanteau specialises in both truffles and Prosecco - is a surprising but delightful addition to the North London area. Inspired by the cafes of Florence, the interior is rustic but understated while the food and drink hit their singular targets perfectly. The smartly stocked cellar will satisfy you whatever your taste in bubbles, while the eating options - cheese and meat platters designed for sharing, breads and risotto and a wonderfully simple and well executed fresh pasta dish (above) - wear their truffle-ness, something so often overdone and overpriced at other restaurants, lightly and deliciously. All in all it's a perfect spot to catch up with a friend or people watch - even if it's more teenage goths than chic Italians passing by outside.
11 Camden High Street, trufflesecco.com
2 | J Sheekey Atlantic Bar
Open since the nineteenth century and known as simply Sheekey's by regulars, it is always a delight sneaking down Covent Garden's alleyways to reach this unfailingly stylish seafood restaurant. But now even more so, as it has teamed up with perhaps the country's most beloved illustrator, Quentin Blake. In his inimitable style, Blake has provided original underwater-themed drawings, which adorn the wall of the Atlantic Bar (the turquoise bit next door to the main red restaurant) as well as the menus, the coasters, the plates – everywhere. Blake simply delights in drawing fish and he gives them all human expressions. This times with a revamp for the bar, which now boasts a terrace and a refreshing new menu. Alongside those famous oysters are seared Yellowfin tuna spiced up by jalapeño, smoky eel and ham croquettes, grilled octopus, juicy shrimp burgers and lots of lobster. A charming way to spend a summer's eve.
33-35 St Martin's Court, London, WC2N 4AL; j-sheekey.co.uk/atlantic-bar
3 | The Pizza Pilgrims Swap Shop
If you'd like a distraction from the performance of a certain football team but are still caught up in Euro fever, then give Pizza Pilgrims a go. Each and every branch very proudly has its own Panini sticker book, and if you bring them a sticker that they don't have from the team of the week, you get a free pizza. So it's even better than when you were a kid. On top of that, 3-5pm every afternoon is designated swapping time – any collectors are encouraged to turn up and trade with other such enthusiasts. With a new restaurant just opened in Covent Garden, why not pop down there to embrace your inner child, celebrate the championships and have a spot of pizza while you're at it? This week's team is Italy, and the 'nduja topping is really good, by the by.
23 Garrick Street, London, WC2E 9BN; pizzapilgrims.co.uk
4 | London Gelato Festival 2016
Once again, London will host a leg of the Gelato Festival that is currently making its way across Europe. At Old Spitalfield's Market from today, a cluster of gelato makers will gather, offering varied (and some downright avant-garde) flavours of this thick Italian ice cream: in addition to peanuts, caramel and chocolate, there is white chocolate and bergamot, coffee with fig, and even quince jam with cheese and apple. There will be over 100 flavours to taste in all, plus a laboratory and an event space. Entry is free but you'll need to get yourself a Gelato Card once you arrive, which you top up with credit to use as you wander round.
24 June – 3rd July
Old Spitalfields Market, Horner Square, London, E1 6EW; gelatofestival.it
5 | The Blue Rose Cocktail
If, however, this rain is preventing you from feeling that summery vibe, forget about ice creams and head to upmarket steak restaurant M Victoria Street, which has a special Johnnie Walker cocktail on the bar menu called The Blue Rose. It contains the swankiest type of this blended Scottish whisky – the Blue Label – along with delicate sprays of Pedro Ximenez sherry and rose water, providing warmth and aroma respectively. Sheltered by the subterranean shade of M's bar, this stiff drink will soon set things to rights.
Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ; mrestaurants.co.uk
6 | 'Around The World In 80 Tastes', at Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, London
When it comes to fine dining we always admire a little ambition and pizzazz at Esquire, which is why the name alone of the Taj Hotel Groups new concept – 'Around The World in 80 Tastes' – had us intrigued. Inspired by Jules Verne's tale of the explorer Phileas Fogg – for no reason we can discern other than the fact his journey culminated just around the corner in St. James' Park, which is good enough for us - the experience takes place over not one but four restaurants all with minutes of each other on Buckingham Gate.
Starting with a flight of Laurent-Perrier's finest champagnes and paired canapés, you are soon whisked off for starters at Bistro (the sesame crusted tuna with pink grapefruit is the highlight here), followed by three seafood dishes at Quilon around the corner (halibut simmering in coconut, chilli and raw mango sauce), followed by mains and deserts in Kona (lamb two ways and - if you can manage it - a deconstructed lemon meringue pie you won't forget in a hurry), with well-selected wines accompanying every stage of this meander through some of Victoria's most decadent dining spots. All in all it's an utterly indulgent, slightly mad and extremely satisfying experience that will comfortably fill three hours - which, in a ideal world, is exactly how eating out would feel every time.
£100 per person, stjamescourthotel.co.uk/80tastes