1 | For Superior Service: Margot
Sat on what might previously have been viewed as the scraggier side of Covent Garden, Margot's position right next to the grandiose Freemason's Hall is suitably stately and will hopefully drag nicer things to that side of the piazza. Aesthetically, it's got the kind of sleek golden glow you yearn to bask in as you walk past the windows on a rainy evening.
And if you venture inside, you'll be greeted with service to rival the capital's finest hotels. This is a place sure to become an instant favourite of those wanting to feel a bit special, to walk in and feel like they're someone important – it's Margot's greatest asset. Indeed, it has been opened by Paolo de Tarso (maître d' at Bar Boulud for the past six years, and formerly at The Wolseley and Scott's) and Nicholas Jaouën (previously General Manager at Mayfair's treasured La Petite Maison), so they know what they're doing. The food is classically Italian – very smart with a little hint of panache – and the chef is especially proud of the seafood ravioli. He's also keen not to make portions too impractically small – good man. It's not the cheapest of options, but whether you opt for one big bowl of pasta or a three-course feast, you will feel wholly nurtured of both heart and stomach. And what more could you ask?
45 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5A; margotrestaurant.com
2 | For A Beer (Or Four): Hoxtoberfest
Everyone knows what great fun Octoberfest is. Or is meant to be. But now that the whole world tries to attend the British incarnation of the traditional German beer festival, it tends to be more of a bun fight, rather than the lighthearted afternoon of singsongs and steins for which one might hope. So try this newer, cooler version, being held at Hoxton Docks this Saturday. In addition to the main tent, there will also be an alpine chalet to escape from the cold. Fill aforementioned steins with Erdinger Weissbier or go for cans of Berliner Pilsner UK, and line your stomachs with sausages from Herman ze German. There'll be a Berlin cocktail bar and music from the lively Old Dirty Brasstards.
Until 22 OctoberFor more information, visit hoxtoberfest.com
3 | For Front-Line Dining: Chef's Counter at Merchant's Tavern
Angela Hartnett (once Gordon Ramsay's protégée, and the woman behind the brlliant Murano restaurant in Mayfair, plus its more recent and approachable Café Murano offshoots) opened Merchants Tavern with her boyfriend, head chef Neil Borthwick a couple of years ago, and it's turned into that sort of place that everyone gasps 'Have you been there yet?' at the mention of.
Housed in an ambient former Victorian warehouse in Shoreditch, it is very cool, very cozy and brilliant for drinks and, or, dinner. If choosing the latter, make sure you impress whoever you're with by booking seats at the chef's counter. Unlike many 'chef's tables' around, you don't have to book for a minimum number of people, nor are you then bound to a hideously expensive tasting menu (special menus are available but you can also just choose from the normal one). And right now, Neil's got some bloody good game on the menu, which would be an absolute travesty to miss; the menu will change seasonally. Get your ringside seats, placed right over the worktops from where the chefs will serve you themselves, and have a wonderfully relaxed – not to mention delicious – evening.
36 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PG; merchantstavern.co.uk
4 | For Sweet Treats On The Run: Blondie's Milk & Cookie Bar
Old Street station can currently boast a pop-up ready to serve your sugar needs, with a bar serving exclusively cookies and milk. On for two weeks only, there are three types of milk (the cocoa pops cereal one goes down exceedingly well) and five flavours of cookie: Oreo-stuffed Nutella, classic chocolate chip, double chocolate tahini, cookie dough slabs (need we say more?) and even a gluten free peanut butter oats one that still managed to be oozy, melty, chewy and everything you want it to be. You can also turn cookies into sandwiches with the aid of some honeycomb mousse to help create a filling. Not in the least bit virtuous, but very, very enjoyable.
7am – 7pm until 30th OctoberOld Street Station, EC1Y 1BE
5 | Book Ahead: Dinner of Duets
Steak restaurant M Victoria Street has paired up with Moët Hennessy's fine wine portfolio to host a one-off night of mouth-watering steaks, and highly quaffable wines. Taking place on 26th October, places at the Dinner of Duets must be booked in advance. The evening will exhibit the best of M's food with sashimi and the like from its raw bar as well as the excellent steak dishes. Each of the 6 small plates will be carefully teamed with superb wines, not to mention live musical entertainment... Not your average Wednesday.
Tickets cost £195Zig Zag Building, London, SW1E 6SQ; mrestaurants.co.uk/victoria