1 | For Wimbledon Feasting: Ralph's Coffee & Bar
With Wimbledon fever about to take over, you have a 'beat 'em or join 'em' decision to make. And in the name of summer, we're going to be joining in the festivities that will accompany the tournament, which starts on Monday. Amid the plentiful themed menus suddenly scattering the city, we're drawn to Ralph's Coffee & Bar, on Regent Street. The supremely smart bar adjoining the Ralph Lauren store is a canny hang-out at the best of times, but as Wimbledon's official outfitters, they'll give you a true taste of the action. The big mirror behind the bar cunningly hides a big screen television, which will be tuned into the courts in SW19 as you set to the summery menu, which has some special British additions for these two weeks including a Ploughman's platter, strawberries and cream, sundaes and a full blown afternoon tea for keen beans. Wash it down with an 'All England Cup,' a refreshing cocktail of gin, Pimm's, cucumber, mint and lemon. And, given where you are, you can literally take home the T-shirt when you're done.
173 Regent Street, London, W1B 4JQ; ralphlauren.co.uk
2 | For Sky-High Dim Sum: Hutong
The Northern Chinese food at The Shard's highest restaurant is spicy, delicate and theatrical – no matter how contradictory those terms might seem. And with that famous view to boot, dinner there is quite the treat. New head chef Fei Wang comes from the Sichuan province, which you will soon be able to tell, though he does also take influence from other regions. Practically unheard of for someone in his mid-thirties to have reached the level of head chef back home, Wang does broadly classic dishes – just really well. Make sure to try the refreshing scallop and prawn wontons in hot broth, fiery fried lobster with heaps of shizchaun chilli and, of course, Peking duck, which will be carved up right in front of you – you'll be fighting over who gets to finish it up in those moreish pancakes. Start off with crispy prawn rolls whilst you settle in, and finish off with sorbet to cleanse your palate.
Level 33, The Shard, 31 Saint Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY; hutong.co.uk
3 | For Late Night Snifters: Aqua Shard
And once you've finished up on the 33rd floor, sidle down to the 31st to try their special late night cocktail menu, designed for those long summer evenings when the urge to go home simply trickles away. Whether you've put yourself in a food coma or feel raring to go on somewhere else, they have you in mind: the 'Wind Up / Wind Down' menu is available until 3am at weekends with energisers on the one hand, and calming nightcaps on the other. The two options in the former category feature tequila with smoky chipotle syrup, and Arak with coconut water, honey and pineapple. The two more sedate options are a vermouth-laden lavender and lime concoction, and cognac with camomile and Sauterne (plus a whiff of Absinthe 'air' to really put you to sleep). Available Fridays and Saturdays.
Level 31, The Shard, 31 Saint Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY; aquashard.co.uk
4 | For Canada Day: Little Social… Eh!
This Saturday is Canada Day and, since the chef patron of Jason Atherton's Little Social hails from British Columbia, the petite restaurant is being turned into a Canadian-themed pop-up lodge, decorated with antler chandeliers, wooden panelling, sheepskin throws and fishing regalia. The traditionally-inspired food will include poutine (chips with cheese curds, covered in gravy and, for the occasion, adorned with a maple-glazed sausage), Tourtière (meat pie), and for pudding, a Nanaimo bar (wafer crumb topped with custard-flavoured butter icing and melted chocolate) and a butter tart (what it says on the tin), among other things. Accompanying drinks include a Maple Leaf Old Fashioned for the whisky fans amongst you, and a subtly fishy Bloody Mary featuring clamato juice. The party starts here.
29th & 30th June; 1st & 3rd July; the first Monday of each month thereafter
5 Pollen Street, London, W1S 1NE; pollenstreetsocial.com
5 | For 4th July Celebrations: Hawksmoor Spitalfields
And not to forget our other neighbours across the Atlantic, Tuesday marks Independence Day. So why not head to Hawksmoor Spitalfields for an absolute beast of a burger? Named 'The Big Donald', it contains two (yes, two) aged beef and bone marrow patties, with cheese, salad, pickles and salad. If the prospect of that is a bit much, stick to the Buffalo Nuggets (chicken covered in Buffalo sauce, fried, and served with a blue cheese dip). This particular Hawksmoor has an excellent bar, which will be serving bourbon-based cocktails, and we'll be ordering the Rye Apple Pie: apple-infused Rittenhouse 100 rye whiskey, apple liqueur, cinnamon biscuit syrup and Champagne.
Available until the end of July
157B Commercial Street, London, E1 6BJ; thehawksmoor.com
6 | Jam Tree Rum Festival
There is a free rum festival taking place at The Jam Tree pubs in both Clapham and Chelsea, from this weekend until the end of the month. The soundtrack, décor and menus will take inspiration from the spirit, which you will be able to try in myriad ways. Masters of Rum will be holding tasting sessions and cocktail classes, and there will be rum-infused barbecue bites to nibble on alongside (including some sticky baby back ribs glazed with spiced rum). It has summer written all over it, and is ideal for weekends.
541 King's Road, London, SW6 2EB; 13-19 Old Town, Clapham, London, SW4 0JT; thejamtree.com