1 | For Properly British, Slightly Mad Grub: Craft London
You tend to think of North Greenwich tube station as where you go for the O2, but that’s by no means the only thing to tempt you now that Craft London has opened. An incongruous place for a destination restaurant, granted, but the giant dome by no means dwarfs this three-floor glassy building owned by chef Stevie Parle and, in fact, you’ll have a wonderfully relaxed time there, set well away from the frenzied ants scuttling in and out beneath you as you watch, peacefully, from the first floor dining room.
Parle is adamant, nay, fearsome about British ingredients, and the finest ones at that, so there are only a handful of imported products used at all. The result is inventive in the extreme (year-old preserved carrot, anyone?) but humorous and darned tasty. Have a go at the eel starter, with treacle, malt vinegar and pickled stems, and the clay baked duck to follow – that’s to share, and has to be theatrically smashed apart at your table. The fields outside are used to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, they keep their own bees for honey, and do coffee-roasting, fermenting, pickling, smoking and who knows what else on-site. Sup on refreshing mead (no, that’s not just for Henry VIII) or wines from London’s very first winery to really get into the swing of things, and head to the top floor bar for glowing City views come sunset.
Peninsula Square, Greenwich, London, SE10 0SQ; craft-london.co.uk
2 | For Election Night Cocktails: M Restaurant's Terrace
Tonight is the night. It’s finally here. And I don’t know about you, but I need a bloody great drink after the relentless run up to this general election. (And we’ll all probably need several more in the aftermath, too, but that’s another matter). Instead of waiting it out at home, head to the super smart M in the City, for some politically-inspired al fresco cocktails on the restaurant’s new terrace.
Three cocktails have been created for you to try: the gin-based Cameron Cooler, the spicy rum-based Clegg Passion and the Miliband Muddle of tequila, pomegranate and melon. The house swingometer will measure the most popular cocktail of the night – a much more pleasant kind of poll. They’ll be open until 1am and, if you’re really keen, they open again at 6am on Friday morning for an election breakfast.
2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8HP; mrestaurants.co.uk
3 | For Your New Local, Asian style: The Duck and Rice
Soho has a new local. So delayed was the opening that people began to wonder if they would ever be allowed into The Duck and Rice, but the Chinese gastropub owned by Alan Yau (he of Hakkasan, Yauatcha and the Wagamama chain) is finally open. And it’s an ideal place for a smart, but no frills after-work drink. With a veritable array of speciality beers and, indeed, a beer cocktail list, how could you refuse?
Give the Beer Negroni or the Lager ‘n’ Stormy a go. Wine lovers also have a massive choice, and this place takes its gin and tonics very seriously. Drinks can be washed down with delicate dim sum, and various Chinese-style bar snacks like sesame prawn toasts, spring rolls, salt and pepper quid and, even, chicken feet. If you’re not feeling so brave, you can’t beat crispy duck pancakes to share. Inside has a hint of the dark and brooding, and is sophisticated without anything too stark, so you can easily settle in and make yourself at home.
90 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0QB; theduckandrice.com
4 | For Boozy Sundays: House of Ho's Rock ‘n’ Roll Brunch
Sunday brunch is a sure-fire hit. And never more so than when the drinks are bottomless ones. So you might like to know that The House of Ho are offering you just that, for £29, every week.
This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant will sit you down with a lychee Bellini on arrival, with edamame and crackers for the table. Move onto sharing plates such as 7-spiced marinated squid and chilli glazed chicken wings, and then to truly flavourful mains like lemongrass chicken in fish caramel sauce, Vietnamese curries, apple-smoked pork belly and the house special, ‘Shaking Beef.’ Deserts vary, and it’s all washed down with as much Prosecco as you desire.
55-59 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 6HW; houseofho.co.uk