1 | For A Literal Spark: Circus London
If date nights are becoming a little tried and tested, and you’re looking to take a more out-there approach, then perhaps Circus will pep things up. Live burlesque and circus acts happening above your head or atop the next table? It’ll certainly add a dash of excitement, and will give you a talking point should conversation seem at all strained. After a big overall revamp last month, chef Andrew Lassetter has added a Latin American bent to the pan-Asian cuisine so expect things like sushi, dim sum and tempura with plucky piquancy.
Everything is meant for sharing, which means that you can pick and choose as much as you like from the menu (a marked benefit, as choosing just one or two would be tough). The Yellow Tail sashimi with truffle soy is fresh yet punchy, the chipotle chilli lamb chops rich and spicy, and the sea bass with black bean surprisingly delicate. There are also churros with vanilla poached pears to tempt you for dessert, along with yoghurt cake (can’t be explained but must be tried – comes with refreshing lime and mango sorbet).
All this can be washed down with beautifully crafted cocktails whilst fire-eaters and acrobats from The Box, Cirque du Soleil and so on take to the stage. It’s fun, it’s lively and it’s definitely different.
27-29 Endell Street, London, WC2H 9BA; circus-london.co.uk
2 | For Monday Night Meals: Café Murano
Former Gordon Ramsay protégée Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano serves modern Italian food in the finest of fine-dining settings. So it’s a win for the Average Joe that there is a slightly humbler outpost. Café Murano first opened in St James’s in 2013 and now its second branch is offering a thankfully delicious – and affordable – option in the heart of Covent Garden. The Russell Sage-designed interiors are warm and welcoming, the accompanying menu providing a similarly cosy vibe; as winter creeps in, you’ll want some of the hug-in-a-mug type flavours here. Namely, the white onion and rosemary aranchini (risotto balls) that come in a snack-sized portion to go with your drinks to start off.
Move onto pumpkin risotto with sage and pecorino, or any of the excellent pastas, not to mention the partridge with kale and chestnuts, and the pure buttery goodness of the plaice with brown shrimp and cucumber. Try and leave space for the muscavado tart if you can – it’s the first thing people mention when you ask them about this place. And as a massive bonus, the restaurant has a deli next door selling wine and homemade pasta. On Mondays, you can buy a bottle and have it opened to accompany your meal with no corkage charge whatsoever – a handily economical option.
36 Tavistock Street, London, WC2E 7PB; cafemurano.co.uk
3 | For Film Night: Underground Film Club
Once again, the Underground Film Club is inhabiting the subterranean land beneath Waterloo Station and not only does this mean a souped up cinema experience, but a tasty one too thanks to menus from Hixter and Hawksmoor Knightsbridge chefs. And there’s crazy golf. What’s not to love?
Films range from cult classics like Pulp Fiction and Edward Scissorhands, to Christmas offerings like Elf, Home Alone and It’s A Wonderful Life. We’re rather keen on the Cool Runnings night happening in a few weeks. From December, there will be live relays of productions from The National Theatre and the Royal Opera House. Open now until the end of the year, this will beat your usual film night any day so get booking.
The Vaults, Launcelot Street, London, SE1 7AD; undergroundfilmclub.com
4 | For A Hearty Pop-Up: Le Bun at Le Zetter
The guys behind serial pop-up Le Bun have taken over the kitchens at Clerkenwell’s Zetter Hotel for the next five weeks, adding a touch of neon to the already quirky townhouse. Le Bun does French food in American diner style, so expect things like Le Truffle Double Double (two aged brisket and chuck patties with truffled veal jam, truffle mayo and cheese on brioche), and the Truffles ‘n’ Waffles (confit Southern fried chicken with shaved autumn truffle, house waffles, maple and truffle butter, and red wine jus). Obviously. It’s tasty goodness done with slightly hyperactive flair.
On the drinks side, new cocktails include the Pinot New York Sour and the Bloody Marie replete with mini chipotle cheeseburger on top. Note: don’t bother if you’re not particularly hungry. But since there’s no chance of that, then go enjoy (especially between 3-6pm on weekdays, when there are discounts galore).
The Zetter Hotel, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RJ; thezetter.com