Where To Take Her: Grillstock, Waffles And The World's Best Bar

Our guide to impressing your other half on your next night out

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1 | For A Barbeque Fest: Grillstock (above)

So this is a great big festival, but all centred around barbequing. Win-win, you might say. Grillstock has had sellout successes in Bristol and Manchester, and is coming to London for the first time this weekend. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s a lot of fun.

Headlining Saturday’s events in Walthamstow are the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and Razorlight on Sunday, and some more acoustic kind of stuff will be happening in the Brooklyn Brewery tent. You can pick up meat-smoking skills at the Weber BBQ Academy throughout the weekend and then, of course, there are the various competitions in which hot dog eating and super hot chillies feature fairly prominently. We do not advise participating in these if you are with your better half, as you will not come off looking good. Not one little bit. But there will be tasty food everywhere you look, and a riotous atmosphere to boot, so give it a go.

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5 & 6th September
Chestnuts Field, London, E17 4JF; grillstock.co.uk

 

2 | For Swanky Drinks: The Artesian

It’s been named as The World’s Best Bar for the past three years so the Artesian at The Langham hotel should already be on your list of impressive date places, but ingenious head bartender Alex Kratena and his colleague Simone Caporale have just launched their new cocktail menu, which is a charade absolutely not to be missed. What’s more, this terribly civilized bar often dishes out canapés on the house, just out of the kindness of their hearts – a slick touch.

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More than a year in the offing, the new menu is based around Surrealism. Yes, that’s a movement within the fine art world but, turns out, Salvidor Dali also wrote a recipe book, which got these curious mixologists wondering… the result is as mind-bending as those clocks draped out in the desert. One of the creations comes in a giant brass ant, another in an metal elephant that looks straight out of a Transformers film. The 'You’re So Gangsta' is a fruity sorbet-style take on a martini and the 'Suspended in Time' comes in netting that hangs from a sparkly ring that the waiter places on your finger. These drinks are fresh, fascinating and dripping in theatricality, but with a cheeky sense of humour to keep it all from even bordering on pompous.

And if you’re not up for anything too fancy, then they’re also serving a Negroni beer in case you’re interested – beer that tastes like Negroni. Yeah, that.

The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA; langhamhotels.com

 

3 | For Sweet Treats: Waffle On At The Watch House 

South East Londoners are in for one major treat as of today, when Bermondsey will become awash with waffles. Street traders Waffle On have become firm favourites on the London foodie scene, and they have teamed up with local coffee shop The Watch House to offer the most mouth-wateringly fantabulous weekend dining option.

The Watch House is a beautiful little 19th century building that serves excellent artisan coffee. This pop-up venture will see it also serving a menu dedicated to buttermilk waffles that will each be made to order in cast-iron machines. Savoury options include southern fried chicken, Asian-spiced slow roasted duck with egg, and goat cheese with fresh figs and honey. The sweet options are seasonal fruit, Italian plum and Ameretti, and “thick Belgian chocolate sauce with fresh gooey meringue and vanilla cream.” You shouldn’t even try to resist that.

The Watch House, 199 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW; watchhousecoffee.com; waffleon.net

 

4 | For That Something Different: Nonclassical Club Night

There’s something a bit different going on at The Royal Opera House this Saturday, with an adults-only club night in its huge atrium-like Paul Hamlyn Hall – an ideal opportunity to see this spectacular building in a new light, literally. It’s all part of the annual Deloitte Ignite festival, which lasts throughout September and offers many free (and often quirky) events. This particular one will see the hall open after hours, with live music from composer and producer Gabriel Prokofiev’s Nonclassical night, which – as the name suggests – offers a modern take on classical music unlike anything you’d imagine.

There will be a bar on the go as you relax and explore the surroundings, whilst artists including pianist Klavikon and DJ MR Switch (reigning World DMC Champion) provide the entertainment. There’s even a space age knitting workshop for you take part it, using special yarn brought in from the States that glows when a camera’s flash catches it. We kid you not. Across this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the exterior of the Royal Opera House will also have an amazing installation projected onto it every half hour throughout the evening, so if you’re in Covent Garden, make sure you don’t miss this unique spectacle.

5 September, 8pm; tickets cost £10
Bow Street, London, WC2E 9DD; roh.org.uk