1 | For Sleek Riverside Dining: Le Pont de la Tour (above)
Chances are you’ve already heard of this one – it’s no new kid on the block, having opened in 1991 as part of Sir Terence Conran’s impressive restaurant portfolio – but it’s just had one major facelift and is now an overwhelmingly picturesque date destination. It is simply dreamy, not least because the interiors have been designed with the French ocean liner SS Normandie in mind, which, in conjunction with the long, narrow shape of the dining room and its unparalleled location right on the river’s edge, gives the impression of being aboard one such vessel. The work of Russell Sage Studios, the furnishings exude art deco glamour with their deep wooden varnishes and golden and brass finishes. There is also a new bar section with dimmed lighting and big leather sofas, where you can get cocktails and bar snacks (alongside live music at weekends).
The new head chef, Frederick Forster, trained at absolutely all the right places, and has previously earned a Roux Scholarship and won National Chef of the Year. So he knows his way around a kitchen and his French cuisine is traditional in approach, with a clean eye for detail and a devilish understanding of flavour. Plates arrive neat and stylish, neither mean nor excessive in portion and crammed with character. Forster’s delicate hand electrifies lobster ceviche with black olive purée and sweet red peppers, and complements seared duck foie gras with black fig. I’m not really sure what vegetarians are meant to eat when they get to the mains, but it would be a shame to miss out on the roast grouse that comes with brussel tops, a liver croûte and sharp blackberries so perhaps we don’t worry about them.
The wine list is comprehensive, to put it mildly, so it’s worth seeking the advice of the sommelier to whittle your options down, since the price points here mean that you’ll want to make the most of your choices. Go for Crêpes Suzettes to finish if you want the full Franco feel, or have a go at the cheese trolley that gets wheeled over to your table – who on earth doesn’t love that? This is definitely a treat option – and ought to be savoured if so – but the weekend set menus are very reasonable too, at £30 for three courses.
36D Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE; lepontdelatour.co.uk
2 | For Beer, Beer, And More Beer: Oktoberfest
Cancel your flights to Munich: Oktoberfest is coming to London for the whole weekend, so get your Lederhosen at the ready. German beer companies Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr are leading the festivities, and there will be a whole merry host of beers to try. In one-litre Stein's if you're brave enough. You don’t have to be an expert to have a go, so this is a great chance for both you and your better half to sample some excellent varietals and decide the kind of thing you like. We highly recommend utilizing the Herman Ze German food on offer too, as this big ol’ booze party is notoriously dangerous… But masses of fun. So get in the spirit, get dressed up, and get down to Tobacco Dock. Need we say more?
Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, London, E1W 2SF; oktoberfest.london
3 | For A Party Pop-Up: KERB’s 3rd Birthday
Though, these days, street food markets may abound, KERB is one of the originals. And it is turning three tomorrow, with a big birthday party at its King’s Cross base. Entry will be free and traders in attendance will be KERB’s favourites from the past three years, with many of them teaming up for the occasion. So expect seriously tasty, and somewhat unpredictable fair.
Bleecker St. Burger will be on hand plus The Ribman, Donosita Social club with their pintxos van, not to mention tacos, hog roasts and Indian street food. Also look out for the crab dogs (yes, that’s a new one for us too) and we’re rather excited by the sound of tropical Hawaiian-filled doughnuts. Good food, jazzy cocktails, plenty of beer and music on the go – it’s a birthday party and them some.
9th October, 6–9pm
West Handyside Canopy (just off Granary Square), Stable Street, London, N1C 4AA; kerbfood.com
4 | For Serious Breakfasting: World Porridge Day (10 October)
Copyright: Corina Esquivel
What do you mean this wasn’t in your diary? Well, ok, so World Porridge Day may not be much (or anything) of a priority for you but on two counts it is worth your attention: 1. It is getting cold and wintery now, so you need this hearty breakfast staple; and 2. It’s a relatively healthy option that inspires even healthier variations which, even if unexciting to you, makes an excellent compromise for weekend breakfasting if one of a couple is trying to be good.
And whether celebrating the day itself with a souped up Friday breakie, or gearing up for a weekend's worth of activities, we point you in the direction of 26 Grains in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden. And, in particular, to the salted caramel pear porridge on the Autumn menu: a veritable hug in a bowl. The banana cacao is also worth a try, and there’s a savoury section in case your sweet tooth doesn’t kick in first thing. So, this weekend, get into town early and start your day the proper way.
5 | SPECIAL REMINDER: London Cocktail Week's 24 Hour Bar Build
In case you’ve forgotten, London Cocktail Week is now in full swing so get yourself to one of the hubs and pick up a wristband. Our hot pick is this Saturday’s epic 24-hour bar build challenge. Four teams composed of expert barmen from London, New York, Paris and Singapore will take part in the race against the clock to build and open up a bar with knockout menu to boot. Our team is being headed up by the legendary Richard Woods, of Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle. Get tickets now and go cheer on the Brits!