1 | For Sushi With A Twist: Oliver Maki (pictured)
New to Soho is a sushi restaurant that will definitely take you by surprise. With four restaurants already in Bahrain and one in Kuwait, Oliver Maki’s first British outpost may not look like anything spectacular on the outside, but has myriad flavours and treats awaiting you within.
The Sushi Jewels come in a clear little chest of drawers with smoke billowing out of the middle. The standard condiment is extra-virgin olive oil with smoked soya sauce rather than your bog standard jug of soy. And the special “Oliver Maki” plate gives you eight different rolls in one, containing over 30 ingredients, eight toppings and nine cooking techniques.
33 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PP; olivermaki.co.uk
2 | For The Unfailingly Unexpected: Secret Cinema
All you need to know is that there is a new Secret Cinema experience to sign up for. These cinematic events give a whole new meaning to the word ‘immersive’ and must be seen to be believed. That’s if you can nab tickets… Previous films subjects have included Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Shawshank Redemption and Miller’s Crossing. Once you’ve signed up, clues as to the top secret theme are here and this will be a serious bonding session if you take a date.
17 February – 20 March; Tickets available from secretcinema.org/tickets
3 | For A Week of Options: London Beer Week
More than 100 bars and breweries will be taking part in London Beer Week, so that’s a lot of beer to try. The hub of activities will be at The Truman Brewery in Shoreditch – this is where you pick up your wristband, and there are plenty of pop-up bars to drop in on and events happening nearby. Later on in the week, we’re tempted by the Boilermaker masterclass, where the Gaucho Piccadilly team will teach you what whiskies go with what beers. Who said hops couldn’t be classy?
22 – 28 February 16, 2016; tickets cost £10
4 | For Fashionable Cocktails: A Cîroc 'Blue Steel' at The Corinthia
In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a ridiculously good-looking film on in cinemas now, featuring a ridiculously good-looking male model who just so happens to be on the front of a ridiculously good-looking magazine named Esquire…
So if you’re ready to get properly into the swing of things, date-night style, then team a trip to the cinema with a slinky drink at the Corinthia Hotel London. Cîroc vodka’s special Blue Steel cocktail also features vermouth, Blue Curaçao, lemon juice, sugar syrup and sparkling wine. It is exceedingly blue and – Esquire can confirm – exceedingly dangerous. You have been warned.
Basson Bar, Corinthia Hotel, 10 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2BD; corinthia.com
Also available at Harry Gordon’s Bar in Selfridges and Novikov
5 | For A Pub With Benefits: Hill & Szrok Public House
A pub run by butchers: win-win, you might say. The guys who run the Hill & Szrok butchery in Broadway Market have just reopened what used to be The 3 Crowns in Old Street. UK ales and fine wines abound, along with just two cocktails: the rather appropriate Black Velvet (stout and sparkling wine) and the house special of white port and tonic.
The ever-changing menu, unsurprisingly, comes from the original shop, and all the meat is free-range, organic and very, very moreish. It’s also clearly on view through big glass display cabinets. If after a light bite, the game pie is your ultimate bar snack and, if going for mains, make sure you get broccoli on the side – it’s covered in anchovy and chilli.
8 East Road, London, N1 6AD; hillandszrok.co.uk
6 | For Impressing The Foodie: Market Yard
West London has a new pop-up from the street food brains behind Feast and Little Feast. Easy-going and affordable, the temporary restaurant will feature two six-week residencies that both utilize a charcoal and wood fire, so the outside seats are the ones to swipe as you’ll get a prime view and nice bit of warmth.
First up is Foley’s Tasting Kitchen by Mitz Vora, who has only just left his position as sous-chef at The Palomar (a firm Esquire favourite serving the food of Jerusalem, here in Soho) and takes inspiration from the Spice Trail. Next will be super tasty pizzas made by Italian/Spanish duo, Made of Dough.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, until 4 May; wefeast.co.uk
7 | For Cheering Someone Up: The Blues Kitchen
And if you just need something tasty, something totally unhealthy and thus entirely satisfying, then head to The Blues Kitchen, where they have teamed up with Pizza Pilgrims for their burger of the month. The result is a food hybrid that will intrigue more than annoy (don’t talk to us about cronuts): a dry-aged Angus and Shorthorn steak patty in a Parmigiano bun, with smoked buffalo mozzarella, melted n’duja, fresh basil and tomato ketchup. In case that wasn’t enough, it’s topped with a truffled mac’n’cheese arancini. Bad day? We’ve got it covered.
Available at all Blues Kitchen sites; theblueskitchen.com