1 | For Late Night Dining: Shotgun
If, for whatever reason, you find yourselves hungry later on in the evening, you have the tastiest of options at Soho’s Shotgun, so make a beeline for the Carnaby area when those munchies kick in. The second site from Missisippi-born chef Brad McDonald (the other being The Lockhart in Marylebone), Shotgun opened last month and delivers an achingly good hybrid of British and American cuisines: quality British produce cooked using slow ‘n’ low Southern techniques. Once you’ve tasted his sarnies, your mouth won't stop watering until you’ve been back.
Available at lunch and then at the bar from 10.30-11.30pm, the burger-cum-sandwiches are made on potato buns that are super light and fluffy, with a hint of brioche-esque sweetness. The fillings include Carolina-style pulled pork with coleslaw, smoked ox tongue with oyster mayo and melted onion, and fried Bologna with cheddar and pickle mayo. Must. Be. Tried.
Elsewhere – on the full menu – there are ribs, chicken, duck, pork belly… a meat lover’s paradise. The starters are appropriately dinky in size and thus highly manageable alongside, including the excellent devilled quail eggs, and broccoli and cheddar soup. With cocktails created by The Talented Mr Fox (otherwise known as Matt Whiley), it would be silly not to give them a try too.
26 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QD; shotgunbbq.com
2 | For Bonfire Night Festivities: Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar
Remember, remember the 5th of November and soggy Catherine Wheels that stutter and die without so much as a spark. Newsflash: it’s Bonfire Night and it’s going to rain all evening, so forget about freezing your butts off in some crowded park and go celebrate at Hawksmoor Spitalfields instead. The lovely people there are hosting a party replete with special bonfire cocktails, such as the Toffee Apple Brew (Augier Cognac, Jameson whiskey, lime, apple syrup and Sweet Cheeks cider) and the Blue Sky Thinking (Wild Turkey Rye, Cynar, sugar, ginger ale and fruit).
You don’t need to sign up in advance, entry is free and you’ll be treated to a complimentary glass of punch on arrival. If you can’t make it tonight, then the five cocktails will be on the menu until the end of November.
5th November from 5pm
157B Commercial Street, London, E1 6BJ; thehawksmoor.com
3 | For A Bit Of Alright: 45 Jermyn St.
You may previously have known it as The Fountain restaurant – part of Piccadilly institution Fortnum & Mason – but after one mega refurb, we now have 45 Jermyn St., and Mayfair’s newest smart lunching spot. No longer under the department store’s shadow (although it’s not a bad one, as they go), the restaurant now has its own entrance, and it’s own personality. It is bright, breezy and very smart but nonetheless offers that charming welcome you would expect from anything associated with Fortnum’s.
And the menu itself is all at once chic yet playful: yes, there is a caviar trolley that gets wheeled to your table, accompanying scrambled eggs prepared in front of you with pomp but, on the other hand, one whole section of the dessert menu is dedicated to boozy ice cream floats. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds. Overall, the food is exceedingly British – and exceedingly delicious – with plenty of fish, meat and game on offer (the partridge is especially worth a try, as is any of the blue lobster). Said caviar is, out of interest, available in whatever quantity your wallet can manage, and you’ll still get the full theatre besides. With beautiful surroundings and first-rate food, 45 Jermyn is a model date location.
45 Jermyn Street, London, SW1 6DN; 45jermynst.com
4 | For Buckets of Cognac: La Maison Rémy Martin
If you like cognac, and we mean really like your cognac, then La Maison Rémy Martin – an ultra-exclusive members’ club residing in Soho for the next few weeks – should prick your ears up good and proper. Located at 19 Greek Street, it is a sleek four-floored townhouse where every aspect of this fine liquid is explored: there’s a library room where you can purchase samples not available anywhere else; an interactive tasting room with foods and sights and sounds and smells all highlighting the Rémy Martin XO; an atelier (that’s ‘shop’ to you and I) that will get your eyes out on stalks; and there’s a bar up top called The Hub serving a menu full of cocktails created by some of London’s top mixologists, such as The Connaught’s Agostino Perrone.
Have a go at the cognac and tonic made with a dash of vermouth, the refreshingly dry Fleurissimo (Rémy Martin VSOP,Peychaud's bitters, violet and champagne), elegantly served in a coupé with a rose petal, or the deceptively strong take on a Sidecar (Rémy Martin 1738, Cointreau Noir and lemon). You can apply for membership online and, if they choose you, then let the good times – and the cognac – roll.
Until 27th November
19 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DT; remymartin.com