1 | For Wining & Dining: Cabotte
Good, approachable, cosy yet with a hint of sophistication… if that's what you're looking for in a restaurant, then you probably wouldn't venture towards the City. But in amongst the ultra fine dining and the bar chains full to busting of City folk sporting similarly saturated attire, is nestled a fantastic new wine bar named Cabotte. It's owned by two Burgundy fiends who want nothing more than to pour glasses of the good stuff alongside warming, delicious food; a noble cause, which is gleefully well pulled off.
Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset – both Master Sommeliers – have put together a tasty tome of a wine list, as you might expect, but there is also an edited version in case it all seems a bit much – they don't expect everyone to be wine geeks. Food is mainly French – think stuffed frogs legs, terrines and the like. Opt for pumpkin veloute if you want a winter warmer, or the zingy crab and sea bass tartare with yuzu to freshen your palate. Then move onto sumptuous roasted chicken atop a restrained whoosh of cheese mousse, or the Dingley Dell pork rump smeared triumphantly in mustard. And don't forgo the creamy mashed potato if you are in need of any level of comfort. In that vein, the tarte tatin (eminently shareable just to up the romance levels) makes this silly world of ours seem a little bit more ok.
48 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7AY; cabotte.co.uk
2 | For An Al Fresco Fiesta: Little Feast
Now that we're into colder weather, we are all desperate to get outside. Obviously. But everyone loves a street food festival, so one of our first destinations will be Little Feast, in Shepherd's Bush. Plenty a blanket is on offer in case of cold, as well as beers, cocktails and magnums – yes magnums – of red wine. Food comes in the form of fluffy Taiwanese buns done with a whole host of flavours from Le Bao (the goats cheese and caramelized onion ones are really good), crab burgers from CLAW, pies and croquettes from Nanny Bills, and so on. This is how you truly get into the winter spirit.
Shepherd's Bush Yard, Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8HA; wefeast.co.uk
3 | Punches with a View at Aqua Shard
The Aqua bar on the 31st floor of The Shard is celebrating the good old-fashioned punch at the moment, with four dangerous concoctions designed to take you on an historical tour of the globe, starting with an East India Barrel Punch based on cinnamon tea, moving to Caribbean flavours with a very special Ron Zacapa rum blend with pineapple and dry sherry (hugely appropriate for this weekend: it's sherry week until Sunday), then onto a London-based Tanqueray No. TEN gin and lemon, and finishing up with more gin, tea, grapefruit, Absinthe and port. Lethal, yes. But it'll make those Lord Mayor's fireworks go with a considerable bang on Saturday afternoon, and you'll get some of the best views in the city here.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY; aquashard.co.uk
4 | For Souped-Up Dumplings: Mamalan
The dumplings at Mamalan are already something to behold, but now that the Beijing street food movement is opening a new Shoreditch site, they have teamed up with Duck & Waffle's esteemed executive chef Dan Doherty to create some extra special ones. True to form, his contain duck, duck broth, salted cabbage and roasted chilli oil, topped with coriander and spring onion. They're available from Monday and until the end of the month, priced at £6 for 3 pieces.
Various locations; mamalan.co.uk
6 | Book Ahead: Dram & Smoke
You know the holidays are coming, nope, not when you see that bright red lorry, but when Dram & Smoke announce their festive pop-up. And this year, they are quite literally doing 12 days of Christmas, at their atmospheric former home of an old tannery warehouse in London Bridge. Lit by candlelight, there'll be tartan blankets, the scent of pine, not to mention a few sneaky bits of mistletoe and fake snow. We're not usually ones for prolonged hype but, trust us, this is not premature: book now to avoid disappointment. Your £45 ticket to the supper club of supper clubs will get you're a Naked Grouse hot toddy on arrival, with four courses of food including beetroot and sloe gin-cured salmon, battered Brussels sprouts with haggis crumb, and a wild venison and bone marrow pie.
From 10 December2-3 Black Swan Yard, London Bridge, London, SE1 3XW; dramandsmoke.com