School holidays, the time of ice creams, picnics and families hunting for day trips to keep the sprogs entertained for the six long weeks they’re at home. For those of us without children, the summer break is a double-edged sword. No school run chaos to contend with, quieter roads, but an influx of children into every other part of life that some of us just aren’t used to.
With this in mind, I reckon all of us – parents or not – are in need of a few food-filled escapes from trips to Legoland, shops packed with kids killing time as they enjoy their sunny stint of freedom, or the endless shouts of ‘I’m bored’ that even the most patient of mums must get fed up with. So here we go – a few grown-up escapes involving food and drink that will hopefully keep you insane until you hit the light of the tunnel in September.
Foodies Festival at Alexandra Palace (August 26, 27, 28)
There are Foodies Festivals pretty much everywhere across the UK now and August Bank Holiday is when it comes to London. From top chefs including Atul Kochhar and Great British Menu winner Adam Simmonds to Masterchef’s Emma Spitzer and Tony Rodd, along with pop-up restaurants, shopping, a BBQ arena, chilli eating contest and plenty of drinking events, you’re not likely to run out of stuff to do.
Of course, you would take the kids if you want and you can even take your dog – a rarity at a food fest. To see more of what’s on offer at Foodies Festivals take a look at Eat with Ellen for my take on the Birmingham event earlier this year. To buy tickets, visit http://foodiesfestival.com/alexandra-palace-food-festival/
Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London, N22 7AY. Nearest station – Bounds Green
The Great British Beer Festival at Olympia (August 8-12)
Come on, we all know beer isn’t just for boys and you may well be in need of a pint after a few weeks entertaining the kids. You’ll definitely find that here, with more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and beers from across the world just waiting to be tried.
Tutored tastings, traditional pub games and pub snacks plus live music and you’ve got a grand day out.
Olympia Exhibition Centre, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London, W14 8UX. Nearest station – Kensington (Olympia)
If you can’t make it to the seaside, don’t worry – it’s coming to you. Brasserie Kensington Place is bringing the seaside to Notting Hill this summer, with the launch of the Beach Hut with Nyetimber. It opened in July and runs until the end of September, serving up special fish and seafood menus including weekend brunch with a bottomless Prosecco upgrade, all against the backdrop of a summery, beach-themed makeover. It’s all being overseen by Kensington Place’s new Head Chef Arnold Ivey, who brings more than 15 years of experience with him, including Orrery and Paternoster Chop House in St Paul’s.
Kensington Place, 201 Kensington Church Street, Notting Hill, W8 7LX. Nearest station – Notting Hill Gate
If you’re in Hackney, check out Broadway Market’s new resident Tuyo, serving up Mediterranean and Levantine small plates with a Spanish twist.
It’s the latest addition to the family-owned Gallipoli restaurant group, parents of Islington’s La Farola, Gallipoli and Hackney’s El Ganso, is offering a new combination of dishes from a wider range of Mediterranean countries.
You can try “pinchos” or small bites to share, along with charcuterie and cheeses predominantly sourced from Spain and Italy, as well as Mediterranean-themed main dishes, while the bar serves up a bespoke list of house cocktails designed to complement the flavours on the menu.
Tuyo, 129A Pritchard’s Road, London, E2 9AP. Nearest stations – London Fields, Bethnal Green, Hoxton
Here’s a lovely little escape for you. Sartoria on Savile Row is launching its Sorrento Terrace this month, inspired by the coastline of southwestern Italy. From August 4 until the end of September, the Mayfair restaurant’s terrace will be decorated with lemon garlands and lemon trees and you’ll be able to enjoy summer cocktails created in collaboration with Martini as well as a menu of summer cicchetti from Francesco Mazzei to celebrate the cuisine of the Sorrentine Peninsula. So get yourself a Royal Ascot Fruit Cap or a Sartoria Sour and tuck into dishes like red shrimp diavola or tuna tartare and let yourself be transported to the Italian coast for a summer holiday escape.
Sartoria, 20 Savile Row, London W1S 3PR. Nearest stations – Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park
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