1 | For Classy Pub Grub: The Duchy Arms (above)
Hidden away in the heart of Kennington, The Duchy Arms may be a straightforward pub, but simple pub grub it serves not. Not with Prince Charles’s former private chef in the kitchen. Visen Anenden took the reigns late last year as chef-proprietor of this site (which just so happens also to fall into the prince’s Duchy of Cornwall estate) and, whilst retaining the homely air of a local tavern, he has bolstered the menu no end. Now it is a warm and easy-going place to go for some seriously tasty food. Indeed, they have Comfort Tuesday every week just in case you need some gastronomic TLC.
Unsurprisingly, the meat comes from the Highgrove farm and the fish from Cornwall (as well as Scotland). It’s bloody good too: try and sample some of the lamb, if you can, and Anenden does a mouthwatering ox cheek that sort of just dissolves on your tongue in one devilishly rich mouthful. The moreish chilli jam served with the salt and pepper squid deserves a riotous shout out in its own right, and this guy most definitely knows his cheeses, which make a perfectly British end to a hearty meal. When you go to the loo, you’ll find yourselves referred to as Duke and Duchess, so you can enjoy a fleeting sense of grandeur while you’re at it.
63 Sancroft Street, Kennington, London, SE11 5UG; theduchyarms.com
2 | For Grape Lovers: London Wine Week
From Monday, it will be London Wine Week. What’s not to like about that? For £10, get yourself a wristband and you’ll then be able to attend a whole host of events happening around the capital, all week long. The main hub of action will be Devonshire Square, near Liverpool Street, where you will find myriad pop-ups and bars serving flights (that’s a set of tasting glasses, in case you don’t go in for the lingo), allowing you to sample literally buckets’ worth of grape juice.
There will be swanky events like the Rothschild dinner “in the stars” at Aqua Shard on Monday (four courses paired with very posh wines for £125 – a treat option if you need to impress someone), a free soirée incorporating wine-based storytime at Waterstones on Oxford Street, Regal Rogue vermouth tasting alongside games of good old petanque, and tastings, dinners, masterclasses and parties galore. For the duration, one flash of your wristband at super smart St James’s wine merchants, Berry Bros & Rudd, will get you swept into the back room for a secret sale where you can peruse more than 100 bottles all with up to 40% off. You. Are. Welcome.
18 – 24 May; londonwineweek.com
3 | For Carnivores And Herbivores Alike: Berber & Q
Chef Josh Katz and co-founder Mattia Bianchi’s new Hackney restaurant, Berber & Q, is ostensibly one for carnivores. Nestled in a former railway arch near Haggerston train station, they bill it as a “grill house” inspired by the food of North Africa and the Middle East. And the menu currently centres around glistening heart meats including short rib, chicken wings and lamb mechoui, cooked on a custom-built charcoal grill and served on platters surrounded by a chorus of admiring pickles and garnishes. (Be sure to wash it down with their house “Golden beer”, a collaboration with Crate Brewery that’s flavoured with thyme, za’tar, sumac and orange zest.)
But then there’s also the veg. Beetroot and whipped feta, deliciously slippery blackened aubergine, and – marvel of all marvels – the cauliflower shawarma. It’s hard to imagine a less loved vegetable than cauliflower: bland to look at, bland to taste. And yet the way Katz does it – in great chunks, like a quartered frontal lobe, with turmeric and lime butter, and grilled to an unprecedented smoky deliciousness – you’d consider going vegetarian just for the excuse to eat more.
Arch 338, Acton Mews, London E8 4EA, berberandq.com
4 | For Far-Out Cocktail Lessons: Dave Arnold @ The Zetter Townhouse
The Zetter Townhouse is a wonderful place for a drink – its plush bar feels like a mildly eccentric sitting room, and you can’t beat the cocktails, all created by the inimitably imaginative Tony Conigliaro. But this weekend, he’s taking things one step further by flying a special guest over all the way from The States. Dave Arnold is (if it’s possible) even more of a nutty professor behind the bar than his host, running a food and drink laboratory in New York. He is also the author of Liquid Intelligence: The Art & Science of the Perfect Cocktail, which offers a glimpse into his scientific and technological techniques.
Book yourself tickets to one of the two masterclasses this weekend, and you will learn how six of his unique beverages are produced. Not only will you get to sample them, but you’ll have a go at making them using all of Arnold’s complex equipment and paraphernalia. (Seriously, you’ll need the drink after that sort of concentration). Tony will be on hand as well, grilling his guest on his methods. You don’t get a chance like this everyday, and here is the ideal source of boozy entertainment for a weekend afternoon.
16 – 17 May; tickets are £50
49-50 St John’s Street, London, EC1V 4JJ; thezettertownhouse.com