If you’re anything like me, you spend the whole build-up to Christmas enjoying fun festive food, and by Boxing Day you’ve just about had enough and never want to eat again. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from launching full tilt into an easing offensive as soon as December hits. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up a big old festive selection of foodie fun for you to get stuck into.
Fire Station, Waterloo
From now until January 2, The Fire Station Waterloo is serving its own version of Christmas dinner with all the classic flavours you want in the run-up to Christmas. From a bacon, cranberry and camembert burger to a stuffing and bacon pizza, there’s plenty for you to get your mouth wrapped round for a festive feast. Wash it down with with a cocktail from the menu of ‘Smoked in the Fire Station’ creations, or a craft beer or the week’s special on tap.
The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8SB. Nearest station – Waterloo
Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Borough Market
Of course, Christmas doesn’t have to be all about British food. At Arabica Bar & Kitchen you can enjoy smashing cocktails and six seasonal Levantine-inspired festive menus. Set in the heart of Borough Market, the restaurant’s offering three set meze menus suitable for groups of any size or choose from one of three seasonal feasting menus for parties of eight guests or more. Guests will enjoy six seasonal meze to share, followed by a main course and dessert.
And if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, check out the Arabica Food & Spice luxury sweetmeats range including Roasted Lebanese kernels, Baklawa and Turkish Delights, as well as new additions of Iranian Saffron, walnut and coconut, Pomegranate & Pistachio, Green apple and Black Cherry and Carrot, Hazelnut and Coconut.
Borough Market, 3 Rochester Walk, London SE1 9AF. Nearest station – London Bridge
Meat fans out there, this one’s for you. MEATliquor has already launched its Christmas menu. It includes some pretty hefty offerings, from the XXXmas Burger topped with roasted turkey, crispy bacon, a drizzle of cranberry sauce and gravy to the Turkey Cheesesteak – Herons Farm roast turkey, sausage stuffing patty and bacon with melted camembert. And then there’s the deep fried Xmac ‘N’ Cheesesier or Piggies In Blankets plus the ultimate in Christmas indulgence – the XXXmas Garbage Plate. Sausage and stuffing patty, roast turkey and crispy stuffing piled on a mound of fries and served with gravy and cranberry sauce.
And then there’s the drinks. Cocktails like Let It Sloe, Santa Baby, Five Gold Rings and even the A Wa-hey In A Manger.
MEATLiquor has branches across London, as well as in Brighton, Leeds and Bristol.
Fancy a bit of German festive feel in King’s Cross? German Gymnasium has transformed its terrace into a German winter market, complete with traditional pine chalets, fern wreaths and twinkling fairy lights. Organised in partnership with German airline Lufthansa, the terrace will run until the end of February.
There’s food – obviously. Executive Chef Bjoern Wassmuth’s menu will focus on German winter market classics like roasted fresh chestnuts and a selection of Germany’s favourite sausages, including Currywurst and Bratwurst. And if you want something a bit more high end, you can tuck into oyster and caviar dishes.
There’s cocktails designed by bar manager Fred Tartas, each inspired by Lufthansa, like First Class, Miles & More and Wassmuth’s Mulled Convair 340.
King’s Blvd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BU. Nearest station – King’s Cross
On the lane where the Great Fire of London actually started is Ember – a new hidden bar, dining and late night destination.
For food, you’ll get Asian-influenced contemporary small plates, focusing on playful and innovative Vietnamese, Singaporean and Thai dishes created by Jonathan Villar – former Head Chef of Peter Gordon’s Kopapa. Every dish on the menu is designed to be paired with something from the cocktail, sake, rare spirits and wine lists chosen by Wine and Sake Sommelier Jean-Louis Naveilhan.
Ember, 1a Pudding Lane, London, EC3R 8AB. Nearest station – Monument
Merry Mince Pie Flapjack from graze
If you’re looking for an alternative to mince pies, how about the new, limited edition Merry Mince Pie Flapjack from graze. It’s got all the festive flavours you could fancy – cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg – and is apparently packed with whole British oats, making it a great source of fibre.
The new snack joins graze’s existing retail range, available in supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK. RRP: from £1.19.
Feel Good Drinks
Amid all the indulgence, how about a soft drink that’s natural without being packed with sugar. Feed Good Drinks has launched a new range of flavours of its simple blend of fruit and water. The flavours include Orange, Passion Fruit & Water; Apple, Elderflower & Water, and Cranberry, Lime & Water in their ‘Bit Bubbly’ range, and Orange, Mango & Water, Cranberry, Pomegranate & Water, and Lemon, Elderflower & Water in the ‘Refreshingly Still’ range. They’ll be sampling at this year’s Clothes Show Live at Birmingham’s NEC from Friday until Tuesday (December 2-6) until Tuesday. Feel Good Drinks are available in Asda and Sainsbury’s.
Free gift-wrapping at Abokado
Healthy food chain Abokado, with its 28 sites in the capital, is launching a free gift-wrapping service in-store over the Christmas season, so not only can you grab some healthy food but you can get your pressies wrapped at the same time.
While you stop off for a rest and watch the elves wrap your hard-shopped gifts, you can enjoy sustenance like the Shwrap®, a hybrid of sushi and wrap – a giant seaweed wrapped maki roll in a variety of enticing flavours such as Sweet Chilli Salmon & Fresh Dill, Chicken Teriyaki and Avocado & Ginger.
The complimentary gift-wrapping service is available in select stores on December 8 and 15 from 2-8pm. It will be rolled out across three centrally-located Abokado sites, Great Portland Street, Newman Street and St. John Street.
On top of this, Abokado is holding its annual Charity Coffee Day on December 16, which takes place at each of the business’ sites, with all money raised from sales of coffee donated to St Mungo’s, London’s homeless charity.
Monty Bojangles Freakshakes
Freakshakes have been a big hit for 2016, so why not carry it on through the festive season. Truffle experts Monty Bojangles http://montybojangles.com/ has teamed up with Muriel’s Kitchen http://www.murielskitchen.co.uk/ to release some brand spanking new flavours and are inviting all of us (yes, you and me) to try them in the Soho, Richmond and South Kensington branches throughout December.
Muriel’s Kitchen have drawn on two of Monty Bojangles’ much-loved flavours to create the shakes – Berry Bubbly and the brand new Milky Mischief. Drizzled with chocolate, packed with ice cream and decorated with shards of milk and dark chocolate, plus some dark spiced rum and a dash of espresso in the Milky Mischief shake to give it that extra warming kick. The Monty Bojangles Milky Mischief Freakshake and Berry Bubbly Freakshake are available exclusively at Muriel’s Kitchen throughout December 2016.
OUT OF TOWN
Padstow Christmas Festival
I blimmin’ love Padstow! It’s a haven for food-lovers, so if you’re looking for a last-minute break you could get yourself down to the famous seaside town’s Christmas Festival this weekend.
Taking place from today (Thursday) until December 4, the award-winning free event is Cornwall’s largest food festival.
As well as celebrity chef demos from big names like Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge there will be more than 100 artisan crafts, food and drink stalls with plenty of Christmas gifts to snap up like Deli Farm Charcuterie, Cornish Gouda, and Figgy’s Christmas Puddings as well as beer, wine, ciders and spirits from local producers including Sharp’s Brewery, Cornish Orchards, Knightor Winery and Southwestern Distillery – as well as lots of tasters.
MAKE AT HOME
Festive drinks with Highland Spring and Calgary Avansino
According to Highland Spring, three times as many people say they’d rather be happy than have lots of money. And apparently staying hydrated is going to help you with that. So Highland Spring has teamed up with wellbeing expert Calgary Avansino to launch a new ‘Feel Good’ initiative, complete with top five tips to feeling good over the festive season and some festive drinks made using Highland Spring sparkling water.
And no, they’re not all boring. They include Calgary Avansino’s ‘Low-Sugar Margarita’, the Pick Me Up mocktail, or the Highland Smash.
As for Calgary’s top five tips for feeling good – they include adding a glass of water between each alcoholic drink if you’re out and about and choosing your mixers so you limit how much sugar you consume.