It’s almost a week since the government’s 10pm closing time on England’s restaurants, bars and hospitality venues came into effect. But it hasn’t taken very long for some of London’s most ingenious joints to come up with a solution. These top restaurants and watering holes have adjusted their opening hours and made their early tables all the more appetising with discounts and deals. Not only will you be supporting the capital’s struggling hospitality sector when you head along for an afternoon feast or cocktail fest, but you can also get plenty of beauty sleep afterwards. So go on: make like grandma, and check out these unmissable early-bird offers.
Seabird This attractive rooftop restaurant is doing discounts on a sliding scale for early-evening customers. Book a table for 4pm (which makes sense anyway, as the autumn nights draw in on those views) and get 25 percent off your bill. Discounts on table bookings then descend as fast as that sunset: 20 percent off at 4.30pm; 15 percent off at 5pm; 10 percent off at 5.30pm; and 5 percent off at 6pm. Expect the same at the Hoxton Hotel’s new Rondo restaurant, also.
Orasay Forget happy hour and say hello to ‘happy oyster time’. Currently, Jackson Boxer’s west London restaurant is serving £1 oysters from 5pm to 7pm every evening. There is an R in the month, after all.
Three Sheets Pick up two cocktails for £15 before 6pm at Dalston hotspot Three Sheets, which is now opening its doors from 3pm to beat the curfew. We can’t promise you won’t have a hangover from the earlier bedtime, but here’s hoping!
Kricket Enjoy 20 percent off food and soft drinks between 5pm and 6pm at all three sites of Kricket’s cute restaurants (Soho, White City and Brixton). Indian small plates start from £6, so you can have a purse-friendly dinner at a bed-friendly hour.
Nopi You know what will cheer you up? An Ottolenghi feast. Luckily, the mega-chef’s dishes taste great at any time of day – but especially during early evening service (5.30pm to 6.30pm) on Monday to Friday, when an abundant sharing menu will cost just £25 per person.
Top Cuvée The Highbury bistro keeps coming up with the goods during this pandemic. Book a table for before 6pm and you’ll get 25 percent off your food bill – which could come in handy on its new seven-course menu for two.
Camino Camino is saying ‘balls to the curfew’ with its special new deal. Spend £15 on food and drink between 2.30pm and 6.30pm and it’ll chuck in a free plate of ‘curfew croquetas’. Have the jamón or salt cod version of the classic Spanish tapas, or pick a complimentary plate of jamón serrano or pan con tomate instead. It’s on offer across the King’s Cross, Bankside, Shoreditch and Monument branches.
Applebee’s Fish Bag a Borough Market table between 5pm and 6pm, order in a mixed seafood platter and you’ll be rewarded with a bottle of prosecco on the house. Applebee’s is offering to ‘pop the curfew’ throughout October.
Wild Honey St James Go for a stylish central London supper. That’s what’s on offer at the reboot of Wild Honey, where £20 will get you a plat du jour and a small carafe of wine when ordered from 8.45pm. That gives you just over an hour to devour a breast of lamb or similar. Challenge: accepted.
Daffodil Mulligan You have an hour-and-a-half window to maximise on this absolute steal on the edge of The City. Richard Corrigan’s Beat the Curfew set menu affords punters three courses and a cocktail for £20 – but it’s only redeemable for bookings from 5pm to 6.30pm. Go, go, go!
Caractère At the west London restaurant from Emily Roux (yes, Michel Roux Jr’s offspring) and husband, find a special on a splash-out-worthy lunch: starter, main and dessert or cheese will set you back £39, or £50 with wine, should you wish to start drinking early – either way, you’ll be ending early.
There’s something magical about Anglesey that gives me tingles whenever I cross the bridge. The beautiful island on the northwest coast of Wales is one of my special places where I instantly feel happy. We all have our special places; we have countries that hold our […]
Need some weekend inspiration? We chat to comedian Sara Pascoe about her favourite places to mooch around in Crouch End – from cafés to parks to pubs: that’s your weekend sorted.
The Haberdashery café has loads of vegan options from porridge to big fried breakfasts. The owner has a sausage dog and when I take my dog in they bring biscuits and water for him, which is adorable.
The Parkland Walk goes from the corner of Finsbury Park all the way to Highgate station. From there you can walk through Highgate Village and go to the heath if you want to take a longer stroll. It’s a really lovely, leafy part of north London.
The Crouch End Picture House is fantastic. It’s a small place but they have five or six screens so they have all of the lesser-known films as well the big ones. And you can get fancy popcorn in weird flavours like peppercorn and cheddar.
I like the tofu curry at Too Too Moo, a Thai restaurant where they do lovely fragrant curries. They also do incredible (and strong) cocktails.
The King’s Head has a comedy club downstairs. It’s a small venue and there’s a fantastic atmosphere. It’s one of the places where I first did comedy so I have a fondness for it.
At Tooting Market, everyone knows Gloria. Actually, it’s ‘Ms Gloria’. ‘That’s what she’s referred to at the market,’ explains local photographer Alex Lambert, who took this portrait. ‘She’s the godmother of the market.’
In the last few months, community in London has become more important than ever, whether that’s looking out for your neighbour or being on first name terms with your local shopkeeper. That’s what Lambert wanted to celebrate with this portrait of the Tooting Market trader and her shop, which has been there for decades.
Lambert took the photo in 2017 as part of a portrait series where she photographed all the stallholders in Tooting Market. At the time, it was under threat from developers and she was working with the save Tooting Market campaign to champion this local spot. ‘The market is the beating heart of the community,’ says Lambert. ‘It’s what makes Tooting Tooting, so I was keen to make sure that came through in the photograph. People like Gloria have run these businesses for years – it’s important to support them.’
If there’s an upside to the last few months, it’s that Londoners have really started to value their local amenities – the corner shop with a reliable stash of flour, the pub doing takeaway pints, the restaurant pivoting to takeaway to save you from your own cooking. It’s people like Gloria who’ve kept our city going. ‘During the pandemic, local places like this have been a real lifeline for people,’ says Lambert. ‘Not just in terms of the goods that they’re selling but in terms of seeing a friendly face and feeling a bit more normal.’
While the photo captures Tooting Market, Lambert believes it says something broader about what makes London what it is. ‘The city is a multicultural melting pot,’ she says. ‘No matter who you are, you can move to London and you’re instantly a Londoner and you’ll find your people. For me, that’s what this picture of Gloria represents – the wonderful side of London’s community.’
This photo has been shortlisted for the annual ‘Portrait of Britain’ exhibition. The accompanying book is published by Hoxton Mini Press.
Italian olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and you won’t find an Italian kitchen without stock of this liquid gold. But how do you find quality organic olive oil in Italy? Get some insider tips for cooking with olive oil!
Johnny Madge is the only English-speaking Olive Expert for the Slow Food Extra-Virgin Guide in Italy. Johnny runs Italian Olive Oil Tours in the medieval village of Casperia outside of Rome.
Note: This interview was originally posted in 2012 and updated for accuracy in September 2020.
Here’s what he shared with us about Italian Olive Oil:
What is the biggest mistake people make in choosing an Italian Olive Oil?
Buying anything under €5 is a mistake. Because this means the olive oil has definitely been mixed in with old oil. By “old oil” I mean that it has been refined and there are no health qualities in oil like that.
Can you take us through the different labels of Olive Oil?
Extra-Virgin means that acidity is under 0.8%. When olive oil is acidic it just tastes bad because the olives have fermented.
Virgin has a much higher acidity. Extra-virgin is so cheap now, so I would absolutely stay away from Virgin olive oil!
Pomace Oil (Sansa in Italian) is produced using hexane or solvents and believe me when I tell you it is really, really, really bad stuff!
What you want to look for is the date when the oil was made not the sell-by date. A good organic olive oil has to be from the last season if it is any older than that it is crap! Olive oils decline in quality as soon as they’re made, therefore you better consume them as fresh as possible. Some Italian olive oil producers will also put on the label the amount of time between harvesting the olives and pressing them. This is another key indicator because once picked the sooner olives are pressed, the better the juice. So if it says pressed 6 hours after harvest, yes you are in business!
Light Oil is to be avoided at all costs! It doesn’t mean that it’s less fattening, it just means it has a lighter flavour because the olives are old and have lost their taste. Forget it!
What should I look out for when tasting olive oil?
What you need to look out for when tasting good organic olive oil is the smell. If it has no smell than basically, it’s pure garbage. Most of the Italian olive oils you buy in the supermarket has been deodorised and so it takes out the smell along with all the good qualities.
Also, look for the colour! if it has any kind of orange tinge that means it’s gone bad.
What are your top tips for cooking with it?
Don’t ever let the olive oil smoke so make sure to keep the temperature down. You can even use Italian olive oil to make Japanese tempura! Only make sure the oil doesn’t smoke.
Always remember: good olive oil transforms something simpleinto something else, something more flavourful, something better. Olive oil has a remarkable ability to multiply the flavour of whatever it is applied to or with what it is cooked.
And please do yourself a favour and use extra-virgin olive oil to cook with. Extra-virgin olive oil these days costs about the same as motor oil. The difference is that you put the olive oil in your body so it is absolutely worth spending a little extra to make sure it’s extra-virgin—your body will thank you for it!
One thing I’ll bet you didn’t know…
The peppery and grassy flavour of olive oil is not a defect, it is actually an indicator that the oil is high quality. What you’re tasting is the anti-oxidants that are really good for you.
Did you enjoy these olive oil tips? Do you have a favourite Italian olive oil or any other olive oil tips to share? Sound off in the comments.