cherry blossom season in london

Florals for spring? When it’s cherry blossom, we’re all over it. Hanami, where people gather under the blossoms to eat, drink and appreciate the flowers, is a huge tradition in Japan but if you can’t jet off, there are plenty of places in London where you can celebrate cherry blossom season with beautiful blooming installations, spesh Japanese dishes and cocktails to match.

Shochu Lounge at ROKA

The Charlotte Street branch of ROKA always does cherry blossom season well with a pop-up installation in the Shochu Lounge, and 2019 is no different, except this time the canopy of pink blooms will stay there permanently. The lounge will also be serving up House of Suntory Sakura cocktails and a new Sakura Sunday brunch menu, featuring a selection of ROKA faves, robata grilled cobia, Korean spiced lamb cutlets and brunch cocktails.

From Tues 26th March 2019
37 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR

Mei Ume

Mei Ume at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is celebrating cherry blossom season covering the restaurant entrance and bar with the blooms. The kitchen is also serving up a special Japanese menu featuring the likes of golden dragon roll with unagi, hot stone sea urchin and scallop fried rice, and snow flake matcha cake with salted caramel ice cream, and you can pair that with a cherry blossom cocktail complete with its very own cloud.

Until Mon 22nd April 2019
Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square 10 Trinity Square, London  , EC3N 4AJ

Sexy Fish

Sakura gets a sexy twist at Sexy Fish. Not only has multimedia artist Aphra Shemza designed an infinity mirror installation for the restaurant entrance but Sebastian Wild Cakes has also created a neon pink, blossom-adorned fish-shaped cake made from kirsch sponge and yuzu meringue buttercream. Of course, the bar is also shaking up spesh House of Suntory cherry blossom cocktails, including the Blossom Highball and the Skinny Sakura.

Until Sun 14th April 2019
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch

The House of Suntory is also teaming up with Nobu Hotel Shoreditch for Sakura season with their own Hanami celebrations. The hotel’s terrace will be transformed with pink blossoms, with aromatic scent diffusers adding that immersive touch. The bar will be shaking up seven bespoke cocktails using Japanese teas and infusions as well as Suntory spirits, and there’ll also be a Sakura-inpsired afternoon tea on offer, featuring the likes of sushi rice pudding, samurai California rolls and yuzu tarts.

Fri 5th April – Sun 2nd June 2019
10-50 Willow Street, London, EC2A 4BH

Brogdale Collections

You can get a real Hanami experience if you’re willing to head out of town (you only need to go as far as Kent though, not Japan). Brogdale Collections, a huge 150 acre orchard, is hosting Hanami picnics underneath its cherry trees as well as a Hanami Festival complete with tea ceremonies, sword displays and Japanese drumming.

April 2019
Brogdale Road, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8XZ

The post cherry blossom season in london appeared first on London On The Inside.



The Best Comfort Food In London

Best comfort food meals in London: Queso Fundido at The Cheese Bar
Not all cheese strings are bad. Queso Fundido at The Cheese Bar. Photo by @allthingsmeaty.

When it’s cold and dark, whether in reality or simply in your heart, what you really need is some warming comfort food to put a smile back on your face. This is a selection of our current favourites, and we’d love to hear about yours in the comments.

Queso Fundido at The Cheese Bar

Melted cheese is a quick fix comfort, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a sandwich, it can go cold quickly, but if there’s enough of it melted into a big ol’ pot, then Bob’s your cardiac consultant. The Cheese Bar founder Mathew said of the dish, “we use Queso Chihuahua and Oaxaca for our Queso Fundido. Then we add cooked chorizo and peppers with epazote. It’s a real comfort food classic in Mexico — almost like a fondue. It’s scooped up into corn tortillas then finished with a squeeze of fresh lime, the ideal dish to warm you up on a cold day in London.”

The Cheese Bar, Unit 93-94 Camden Stables, NW1 8AH. Price: £12. Click through to find out more about the best places to eat cheese in London.

Pasta and wine at Forza Win

Forza Win continues to nail it in Peckham. We recently dropped in on a weekday evening to find the place heaving with people gathered around the two communal tables. Tuesdays through to Saturdays, 6-7pm only, look out for Awesome Sauce, which is a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine for a tenner. Your cockles will be thoroughly warmed.

Forza Win, Unit 4.1, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN. Price: £10 for a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine, menu changes weekly. Find out more about London’s best pasta restaurants.

Best places to eat comfort food in London: pasta and wine at Forza Win
May the sauce be with you.

Dan Dan Noodles at Barshu

Chilli always does the trick and we love a bowl of dan dan noodles, a classic Sichuan dish from the streets of Chengdu. The noodles are surrounded by a chilli oil enhanced sauce, and topped with intense garnishes, such as minced meat and preserved vegetables. The bowl is mixed together by the diner and slurped, if not kerb-side, then preferably inside this excellent Sichuanese restaurant.

Barshu, 28 Frith Street, W1D 5LF. Price: £4.90. Read more about London’s best Chinese restaurants.

Roti Canai at Roti King

Roti King is a twinkly gem set into the less-twinkly backdrop of Euston. Roti canai is a Malaysian creation, a flaky flatbread made with oily dough, which is flung and swooshed overhead, then folded and crumpled until the structure is full of layers and folds. It’s cooked until toasty on the outside, then dunked into a thickly spiced sauce— heaven. It’s so good we rate it in our top three roti in London.

Roti King, 40 Doric Way, NW1 1LH. Price: £5.

Roti Canai, at ultimate comfort food at Roti King in London's Euston
Roti canai by Su-Lin on Flickr

Poutine at The Poutinerie

You have to track down this roaming street food stall, but it’s well worth the effort. At present it’s the only place in the capital that we know of serving up bonafide Canadian poutine. We’re talking cheese curds (no exceptions). We’re talking crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside golden fries. We’re talking meat gravy, and lots of it. It’s not the healthiest of dishes, but it’s a smashing treat and pure comfort food magic.

The Poutinerie, roaming, but often pitched up at food markets in Victoria, Liverpool Street and Brick Lane. Keep an eye on the Twitter feed for updates. Price: £5 (for original poutine). Read more about London’s best poutine.

Curry Goat Ragu-men at Nanban

We’ve already written of our love for this Brixton based Japanese pub/ramen bar. It’s a lesson in Japanese comfort food and although we love the fishy tom yum ramen with onsen egg more than we love some members of our families, the curry goat ragu-men has got to be up there as one of those dishes that can melt through the worst of chills. Let the egg noodles wobble their way to the bottom of the rich, goaty sauce and set your mouth buzzing with scotch bonnet pickles.

Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF. Price: £16. Read more about London’s best Japanese ramen.

Nanban's curry goat ramen is one of the best comfort foods in London
Japanese-Caribbean fusion at Nanban. Photo: Paul Winch-Furness.

Middle Plate Chicken at Silk Road

An oldie but a goodie. The hand pulled noodles at Silk Road are quite the opposite of the sad examples we were served at Noodle Oodle. These huge steaming bowls of chicken in anise-scented broth come in two sizes – middle plate or big plate. They are both massive, and halfway through the staff will come to the table and slop in another portion of noodles. It also contains potatoes so you can tick the double-carbing box. Middle plate will feed four people easily.

Silk Road, 49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR. Price: £9 (middle plate)

Lasagne at Cozzo

Londonist’s Ruth Hargreaves admits that “the lunchtime street food market on Whitecross Street may be hard to resist, but halfway down the road, a treat awaits.” That treat is Italian restaurant Cozzo and, more specifically, its lasagne. Layered loveliness comes in the form of classic bolognese ragout, lashings of creamy bechamel, and a price tag of under a tenner to make it that little bit more delicious.

Cozzo, 177 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8QP. Price: £9.95. Find more of London’s best lasagne.

Salted caramel fondue at Tramshed - best chocolate fondues and comfort food in London
Salted caramel fondue at Tramshed

Salted Caramel Fondue at Tramshed

For no holds barred, positively shameless, boast-worthy indulgence, stick your face into the salted caramel fondue at Mark Hix’s trendy Tramshed restaurant in Shoreditch. At the centre of this former tram-generator building lies Damien Hirst’s famous ‘Cock and Bull’ installation, but the real artwork is hidden away on the desserts menu. The salted caramel fondue is meant for 3-4 people sharing (sharing?! whatever), and comes encircled with a platter of warm mini donuts and homemade marshmallows for dipping.

Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, EC2A 3LX. Price: £14.50. Find out about London’s best chocolate fondues.

Steamed Lemon Pudding at Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis is almost a perfect restaurant in many ways and we’ve spent such happy times there, showing our appreciation for the ice cold martinis, ordering our favourite plate of bavette with pickled walnuts. One of the reasons that Quo Vadis is so brilliant is that the food looks as if it were casually thrown together — but there’s actually huge attention to detail. The steamed lemon pud is no exception. This could be one of the best comfort food dishes in the whole of London — deep citrus flavours and a dense yet fluffy texture. Served with custard.

Quo Vadis, 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL. Price: £8.50. Find out more about London’s best desserts.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Big Ben Has Been Repainted Blue

Big Ben becomes Blue Ben. Photo: UK Parliament

Sacre bleu!

Big Ben*, the icon of London, has turned blue. Except it hasn’t ‘turned’ blue exactly — it’s simply reverted to its original colour. The clock face was blue when built in 1859, but over time it turned black due to a London that was even more polluted than our city is today. When it got its last fresh coat of paint in the 1980s, they just stuck with simple black.

Big Ben is currently undergoing a four-year refurbishment and until today, three of the four clock faces had been covered by scaffolding. One side was peeled back this morning — presumably to then cover the face that had been on display up to this point — to reveal this fresh paintjob.

We can’t help wonder about the timing. Big Ben turns blue as we’re in the midst of this Brexit debacle? Could it possibly tie into plans for us to get blue passports once we’re out of the EU? Scratch that, apparently this hue is dubbed ‘Prussian blue’, so perhaps it’s a statement of our everlasting ties to Europe. Delete whichever of those two scenarios makes you madder.

#london, #londonist, #uk

London’s Weirdest Building: Will Alsop’s Neuron Pod

What the actual f*ck?

Whitechapel has a building that looks like an amputee hedgehog.

London’s most erinaceous structure can be found at the Centre of the Cell, a science educational facility attached to Queen Mary, University of London.

Do you see a brain cell, or something you might find snuffling under a hedge?

The peculiar new extension was designed by the late Will Alsop to resemble a brain cell. Called the Neuron Pod, it joins other cell-shaped meeting rooms within the building. It’s sure to become a staple of Instagram, especially night time shots when the spines are illuminated.

Hedgehog bottom
Oh. My. Gosh. Look at that butt.

Your correspondent walked right around the pod, underneath, back to front, and viewed it from every side. It most definitely has more of the dismembered hedgehog about it than anything cellular.

It’s nightmarish when viewed from the west. Like some kind of hedgehog-shark composite or a massive tardigrade. Beware.

Still, who could begrudge such a joyful, original piece of architecture? I for one have no axon to grind.

Oddness from a safe distance.

Dezeen has additional photos, including shots from inside the pod. Visit the building at Centre of the Cell,  4 Newark Street, Whitechapel E1 2AT.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Greenwich’s Stunning Painted Hall Just Reopened

Behold, the restored beauty. Copyright James Brittain.

London’s ‘Sistine Chapel’ reopens

The Vatican may have the Sistine Chapel and Venice may have the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, but London has the Old Royal Naval College. The masterpiece in the Painted Hall in Greenwich deserves to be classed among the great painted ceilings of the world.

It’s been restored to its former glory in a conservation project that has lasted over two years and cost £8.5 million. We got up close when the conservation was happening and can confirm it was a huge undertaking.

It’s just as good looking in the other direction. Copyright James Brittain.

Restored to its former glory

This hall was magnificent before and it’s even more vibrant now. Visitors can lie back on cushioned seats and admire this Baroque masterpiece, filled with symbols of Britain’s prosperity and naval power. The ceiling took artist James Thornhill 19 years to paint originally and was designed to leave visitors in awe. It’s lost none of its power nearly 300 years later.

It would be easy to spend hours admiring all the details on the ships and characters, trying to decipher the many stories within the ceiling and wall paintings.

A close up of the far end. Copyright James Brittain.

What’s new in the Painted Hall?

So what’s changed? This recent refurbishment by Hugh Broughton Architects means that visitors now enter through a fancier route via a gift shop and cafe. Audio and video guides are available, and kids get a special trail and items to play with, and a chance to dress-up.

How much does it cost to visit Greenwich’s Painted Hall?

This new visitor experience comes at a cost and it’s a bit of a wince moment; it’ll set you back up to £12 for an adult ticket, though children do go free. We’re in two minds on this new admission charge. On the one hand we used to love ducking into the Painted Hall for a quick free gawp at the splendour whenever we found ourselves in Greenwich. On the other hand, conservation like this isn’t cheap (we’ll say it again: £8.5million) and the results are worth your cash.

It’s no painted ceiling but the entrance hall plus cafe is a nice addition. Copyright James Brittain.

There is a compromise though; the first Wednesday of each month offers a ‘pay as you wish’ entrance fee, so technically, you could be particularly miserly and only part with a penny — though we wouldn’t advocate that. Plus, what we colloquially refer to as ‘Windsor Castle ticketing’ — whereby the ticket lasts for an entire year from the day of purchase — is in operation, though unlike Windsor Castle, we imagine many visitors will be tempted to revisit the Painted Hall during that year.

Wherever you stand on the ticket prices, there’s no denying that the Painted Hall is a stunning masterpiece, which every Londoner should visit at least once, if not several times. It’s back, it’s beautiful, and we’re glad it’s open to the public again.

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College re-opens to the public on 23 March 2019. Tickets are £11 when booked online, £12 for walk-ups — all tickets last for a year from date of purchase.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Let Us Go! Frozen The Musical Announced For London

Caissie Levy as Elsa in Frozen on Broadway. Image: Saint

This’ll send a shiver down the spine of Disney fans: the Broadway musical of Frozen is heading to London.

Based on the hit 2013 Disney animation, Frozen has played in New York City, since spring 2018. The American cast — including Caissie Levy as Elsa and Patti Murin as her sister Anna — will continue to perform in the States, while a new cast (as yet to be announced) forms for Frozen’s London run in 2020.

Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in Frozen on Broadway. Image: Deen van Meer

New songs

The stage version of Frozen isn’t a mere carbon copy of the original film; the BBC reports that while the likes of Let It Go and Do You Want To Build A Snowman feature (I mean, imagine if they didn’t), new material was enlisted for the stage show from husband and wife songwriters, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. And they insist that ‘none of it is padding’.

Lukewarm reviews

That’s not the view of some critics. The Broadway show received lukewarm reviews from some big publications — The Guardian gave it three stars, saying “it rarely feels like more than the movie and sometimes it feels like less.” Variety said of it, “to the extent that a plot exists at all, it’s a soggy one.”

We doubt that’ll hold away over the miniature armies of Annas and Elsas that are bound to turn up.

Where? When? And how do I get tickets?

Woah, there! Frozen won’t appear in London until autumn 2020, when it’ll herald the reopening of the £45m-renovated Drury Lane Theatre. Tickets aren’t on sale yet. So for now, you’ll just have to Let It Go.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Puppy Love! First Ever London Dog Week Coming To The Capital

Crazy about canines? You’d be barking mad to miss London Dog Week (LDW).

The eight day celebration of man’s best friend kicks off this Sunday (24 March) with plenty plenty to delight all breeds of dog lover.

Activities range from the sublime (a party exclusively for sausage dogs and their humans), to the downright  ridiculous (the chance to get a makeover inspired by your pooch). And you don’t necessarily have to be a pet-owner to get stuck in: prepare to become the most popular person in your office by joining the Cuddle Club, which’ll turn up to your workspace with a whole squad of dogs for some good old-fashioned animal therapy.

Fashion conscious furbabies can strut their stuff on the catdogwalk, at M Restaurant’s Fashion Brunch on 30 March. And high brow hounds get to have their say on Brexit during a boozy* brunch discussion next Sunday. If you’re after something a bit more outdoors-y, take your four-legged friend on a sightseeing tour with PitPat Pound and raise money for StreetVet. Full-on fitness freaks can opt for a high intensity dog walk with BeyondLimits.

*All mimosas are strictly for human consumption.

London Dog Week runs Sunday 24-Sunday 31 March at various venues across the capital. See the full line-up, and find out more about hosting your own LDW event here.

#london, #londonist, #uk