Where To Eat & Drink This Week: Rooftops, Whisky Mist & Chinese Comfort Food

Our weekly guide to quelling your appetite

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1 | For Brunch: Radio Rooftop

Brunch with a view is a hard option to beat come the weekend so make a beeline for the Aldwych, and the Radio Rooftop bar atop the ME London hotel. Order yourself a Bloody Mary (which will be gratifyingly heavy on the Worcestershire sauce) and then enjoy the new brunch menu, which features an eclectic range of pan-European dishes.

Hangover cures include a great big fry up, a classy Croque Madame (toasted sandwich of parma ham and taleggio with a fried duck egg on top), a very satisfying buttermilk chicken with waffles and maple syrup and even a black pudding hash, which is guaranteed to see you right. There are also lighter options, like the croissant with poached egg and avocado. Follow that up with some mini doughnuts and chocolate sauce while you enjoy the excellent views across London. Note: they do have big heaters, just in case the weather fails you.

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Radio, ME London, 336 – 337 Strand, London, WC2R 1HA; radiorooftop.com

2 | For An Urban Fete: GALA Brixton

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This Sunday, Brockwell Park will be filled with a summer fete, city style. GALA is an independent festival celebrating the area's finest food, drink and music that will run all day long and well into the night. There will be plenty of jerk chicken on offer from the Rum Kitchen, delicious Indian fare from Kricket, and pizzas from the award-winning Made of Dough. 

A drinks menu has been specially designed by Neil Donachie of The Savoy hotel's Beaufort Bar, and there will also be copious Aperol Spritzes and beer from the Brixton Brewery. With live music keeping spirits up, this is the perfect occasion for the bank holiday weekend.

Brockwell Park, Brockwell, London, SE24 0NG; thisisgala.co.uk

3 | For Chinese comfort food: Chinese Laundry

There's hardly room to swing a Peking duck (not that they'd ever serve a dish so stereotypical) inside the tiny Chinese Laundry on Upper Street in Islington. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in punch and moxie. Decorated to resemble the 1980s childhood homes of its owners, Peiran and Tongtong, in North Eastern and Central China, the Chinese Laundry offers what they describe as an original take on traditional Chinese comfort food. 

Original it certainly is. On a recent early visit Esquire chowed down on sweet basil chicken popcorn (almost disturbingly moreish), old Beijing lamb skewers (two's not enough), astonishing century egg (it's black, with green yolk — tastier than it sounds), Chinese leaf and la pi glass noodles North East style, mei cai kou you (melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked pork belly) and — because we are all about the vegetables, too — smashed cucumber, spiked with fried peanuts, soy honey vinaigrette, ground white sesame, crushed tianjin chilli, house chilli oil and coriander. Phew. 

Fiercely strong cocktails, infused with Baijiu (the Chinese answer to vodka) gave way to Tsingtao beers — necessary, apart from anything else, to deal with some of that chilli. 

Clearly a labour of love, the restaurant feels charming, appealingly hip, and just the right side of kooky. Service is knowledgable and enthusiastic. Prices are more than reasonable. Oh, and girls will love it. Book now for dinner or drop in for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

107 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1QN; chineselaundry.com

4 | For Whisky And Smoke: Ardbeg Day at Worship Street Whistling Shop

If you like your whiskies smoky, then Ardbeg is a must-try. But beware: when we say smoky, we mean the absolute smokiest, peatiest whisky going. It comes from the Hebridean island of Islay, which is a rugged, beautiful, whisky lover's paradise, and the annual Ardbeg Day celebrates the island and this distillery. 

This year's festivities will take place at super cool London bar The Worship Street Whistling Shop, where guests will learn about Islay's history of whisky smuggling and that famous mist that rolls in from the sea. Said mist (known as the Haar) inspired Ardbeg's bartending contraption of the same name, which creates whisky smoke for you to inhale as you drink. Give that, and Ardbeg's newest release, Dark Cove, a try.

Saturday 28 May, from 7pm, 63 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2DU; whistlingshop.com; ardbeg.com

5 | For Mid-Week Lunches: Farmer J

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If you're after a healthy lunch at any point during the week then seek out Farmer J, who has arrived in the heart of the City with some incredibly tasty produce that won't cause any guilt – be that for your waistline or your wallet. Lunch boxes contain a base of brown rice, freekah or spinach, and get topped with generous servings of flank steak, spicy harrisa chicken, soy-roasted sea trout or satisfying turkey meatballs. Then add two sides, such as charred broccoli, roasted hispi cabbage, sweet potato and so on, and a refreshing dressing, and you're good to go. This place is open for virtuous breakfasts as well as lunches, and their packets of juicy biltong provide a completely unbeatable high protein snack. City workers rejoice.

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107 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3A 4AA; farmerj.com

6 | Reminder: London Wine Week 

Just in case you've forgotten, we are in the middle of London Wine Week, so head down to Devonshire Square to get your wristbands (if you don't have them already) and then check out some of the brilliant bars doing £5 wine flights. Of the many events on the go, we're keen on the Referendum-themed tasting at the Brixton Ritzy on Saturday, during which Honest Grapes will pit British drinks against European ones.

Until Sunday 29 May; drinkup.london/wineweek

7 | Book Ahead: Too Many Critics

If, like the rest of us, you take a certain guilty delight in reading restaurant reviews, you may be interested in a charity event at Ceviche Old Street that turns the tables of some of the country's toughest critics. The Observer's Jay Rayner, The Telegraph's Rose Prince, Bill Knott from The FT's How To Spend It, and more, will be donning chefs whites to learn how to produce a Peruvian dinner by the restaurant. Their efforts will be judged by some of the chefs they have previously tormented (these include Sartoria's Francesco Mazzei, Duck & Waffle's Dan Doherty, Neil Rankin of Bad Egg, and Brad McDonald, who has brought the flavours of the Deep South to London with The Lockhart and Shotgun). Guests will be greeted with a Champagne Taittinger reception and then get to watch the drama unfold, with live and silent auctions to have a go at. All proceeds go to Action Against Hunger.

Sunday 5 June, 6 – 11.40pm; tickets cost £120pp and can be bought here.Ceviche Old Street, 2 Baldwin Street, London, EC2V 5BQ

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