Winter Dining: Festive eating over December!
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Winter Dining: Festive eating over December!

The food fest started last Sunday with candle one, but can Louisa Walters tempt you to eat more this month?

Louisa Walters is a features writer

  • Karma bread
    Karma bread
  • Soyo
    Soyo
  • Royal Oak food!
    Royal Oak food!
  • Izagara
    Izagara
  • The Cinnamon Club
    The Cinnamon Club

On and on we dough 

Chanukah isn’t over yet, so there’s still time to take one more doughnut for the team. There are loads around, from kosher stalwarts Carmelli in Golders Green and Hendon Bagel Bakery to artisan versions at Karma Bread in Hampstead and Margot in East Finchley.

Our prize for the most innovative filling goes to stollen cream at Karma Bread. Chanukah lighting will take place every day at Soyo in Golders Green, Delicatessen in Hampstead, Pizoyo in Borehamwood and Sophie’s in Edgware. Free doughnuts, cookies or sweets will be handed out.

For those who do….

We may not all have the tree with baubles but we do have a festive appetite, so where should we go? Offering something a little different from standard Christmas Day proceedings, the Cinnamon Club will be serving up a modern-Indian veritable festive feast, served in the historic book-lined surroundings of the Grade II-listed former Westminster library.

The menu will feature dishes such as carpaccio of home-cured Shetland salmon with caramel jhalmuri; tandoori free-range chicken with saffron almond sauce and pilau rice or slow-braised milk-fed Herdwick lamb shoulder with nutmeg and fennel sauce and masala braised potato. For a touch of festive flavour, finish up with chef Vivek Singh’s signature garam masala Christmas pudding served with cinnamon custard.

The cost is £125pp including starters, interim course, main course, side dishes for the table, dessert, petit fours  and an aperitif.

The Cinnamon Club

The coolest place to party

Tropicana Beach Club, the tropical-themed late -night restaurant and bar in London, has been transformed into ‘The Big Freeze’. Under the glittering glow of a giant snowball installation, guests can book beach huts clad with snow and icicles along with the chance to join in snowball fights on the frozen lagoon pool.

An impressive line-up of themed entertainment and live performances bring the Arctic paradise to life with the bar mixing up a snowstorm of ice cocktails while the restaurant serves up the likes of fried jerk turkey with all the trimmings. This entertaining winter pop-up melts away at the end of January.

Tropicana Beach Club

Igloos in London

Inamo Camden’s external drinking and dining areas have been transformed into a winter garden with three exclusive pop-up igloo pods. Furnished with sheepskin rugs, decorated with flowers and fairy lights and featuring their own heaters and speakers, they’re the perfect place to get comfortable and cosy and feast in style. Guests can dine on sashimi, sushi, tapas and a selection of sharing dishes such as sizzling black pepper fillet of beef. A fixed minimum spend applies for the exclusive use of each igloo dependent on the day and time requested. If you can’t fill a whole igloo on your own, you can share one with other guests from £30pp to £50pp.

Inamo

Mincing it up

The Mince Pie Croissant, created by French bakery PAUL is an all-butter croissant filled with rich, sweet mincemeat and dusted with icing sugar. It’s the perfect indulgent treat – hey, it’s a croissant… that means we can eat it for breakfast, right? Meanwhile, Blondies Kitchen at Selfridges has once again revolutionised the traditional mince pie with its mince pie cookie cups. They’re soft vanilla cookie dough with a spiced mincemeat filling… what are you waiting for?

The Mince Pie Croissant,

Keeping it kosher

A multitude of kosher restaurants will be open on Christmas Day, including Soyo, which brings a taste of the Mediterranean to Golders Green and Borehamwood. While others in the land languish over turkey, you can enjoy a New York savoury crepe (smoked salmon and cream cheese) or a roasted vegetable lasagne. There are also things happening at Pizoyo, which is the fusing of Pizaza and Soyo. Pizaza celebrated its 10th birthday with the opening of its third branch in Borehamwood and  a fourth in Edgware.  Now the two long-established restaurants have been brought together to provide a combined menu of salads, pastas and Mediterranean dishes, with pizzas, shakes and world-famous chili fries. What a way to graze through the season. Delicatessen in Hampstead is also open for business on the big day.

Soyo

Tradition, tradition, tradition

Ok so we’re Jewish… but we can’t pretend it’s not happening, can we? If you want to adopt the ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ school of thought, book a table at Duke’s London in St James’s for Christmas Day and go for full-on traditional indulgence with a five-course lunch featuring turkey and all the trimmings, rounded off with Christmas pudding and mince pies. Nestled in a quiet cobbled courtyard, Dukes London is perfectly located for a pre- or post-Christmas stroll, with Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square only a short walk away. Cost: £135 per adult, £62.50 per child.

Alternatively you could stay local at family favourite Amaretto in Edgware, Hendon or Golders Green which again have excelled themselves with an affordable choice of two menus starting from  £19.90. Think about a smoked salmon starter and being within easy reach of your sofa. Now that is a holiday!

Duke’s London

Down the pub

A lazy morning at home and then a leisurely walk or traffic-free drive to the local pub – sounds perfect, doesn’t it? The Royal Oak in Bushey still has a few spots available for lunch or dinner on 25 December. A recent refurb has resulted in a stylish, comfortable pub and restaurant. The menu has four choices for each course with fish and veggie options as well as roast turkey. Sticky toffee Christmas pudding among the dessert offerings might just well ensure this is a sell-out.  Price: £65 per adult, £30 per child.

Royal Oak food!

Departure Dining

Moving away from traditional fayre entirely, Melissa Ocakbasi Restaurant on Whitchurch Lane in Canon’s Park will tide you over with a Turkish menu cooked with authentic flavours on a charcoal grill. Renowned for the marinade on his lamb, owner Cetin will be ready to serve falafels to his Jewish regulars all through the holidays. The mystically named Izagara is also ready to serve through the season at the stylishly refurbished Turkish restaurant in Edgware. The sharing platter is in keeping with the spirit of the holidays, as nothing says ‘Chrismakah’ quite like dipping into tzatziki with pita bread. 

Izagara
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