Five friends share a Christmas drink outside in the snow

The best restaurant pop-ups & food festivals this Christmas

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From seasonal supper clubs to Christmas-themed pop-ups and full-blown foodie festivals, these culinary experiences across the capital will get you in the holiday spirit.

Last year, Christmas didn’t quite live up to expectations for many of us. In some parts of the country, Christmas was pretty much cancelled, as various areas, including the capital, were thrown into lockdown with just a few days’ notice. So, this year it feels like we’ve really got some making up to do. Assuming there won’t be another lockdown, ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ will become more of a modus operandi — and there are food festivals and pop-up events across London where you can do exactly that.

Taste of London food festival at Tabacco Dock
Taste of London food festival © Giles Smith
Taste of London food festival at Tabacco Dock

Returning to East London’s Tobacco Dock is this four-day festive food-and-drink event with masterclasses, wine-tasting and crazy golf. You’ll find pop-up stalls from various London venues, including British-Afghan barbecue restaurant Cue Point, Jaffna Kitchen with its unique take on north Sri Lankan party food and Caribbean-inspired Juici Jerk, plus Secret London exclusive dishes. There will also be Laurent-Perrier in its Après Ski Club House, the Grey Goose Alpine Chalet with martinis and more from Bombay Sapphire and Patrón Tequila. From 18-21 November with tickets from £17.

Tracks & Ginger supper club

Tracks & Ginger is a supper club run by writer and designer duo Josephine Price and Lauren Gamp. This is their seasonal feast, taking place on 4 December at Tracks bar and restaurant, under the arches of a railway bridge in Forest Gate. Diners will be served a pescatarian set menu of seasonal dishes (vegetarians can be accommodated on request) and the team at Tracks will be offering a wine pairing that can be purchased separately. A portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go towards supporting local charity The Magpie Project, which support mums and under-fives in temporary or insecure accommodation in Newham.

Christmas afternoon tea at Mariage Frères

Festive Terrasse de Noël is an afternoon tea pop-up complete with its very own al fresco winter terrace from luxury French tea emporium, Mariage Frères, on Covent Garden’s King Street. It starts with a glass of mulled wine to be sipped on the snow-covered terrace, followed by champagne and a selection of five savoury canapes. Scones soon follow, served with the brand’s tea jellies, followed by pastries (including a gianduja macaron infused with Christmas Pudding Tea). Prices start at £39 per person, from 22 November to 26 December (closed on Christmas Day).

The Great Feast at the Old Selfridges Hotel

This food festival at the Old Selfridges Hotel promises an array of culinary experiences. The kitchen and dining space will have 14 dishes to choose from by seven of London’s best chefs. The dessert and cocktail bar will have Christmas creations from Chin Chin Labs and drinks by avant-garde mixologist Rich Woods. There’s also a ‘multisensory experience’ in which you’ll learn how taste, smell, touch and sound combine in an immersive tasting session. There are different ticket options available including a ‘general feasting’ ticket (£20) to explore and order as you go as well as a ‘great feasting’ seven-course tasting experience with a cocktail (£100). From November 11-20, 25-27 and 1-18 December.

Two igloos on the South Bank set up for private dining courtesy of Jimmy's Lodge Christmas pop up
Jimmy’s Lodge igloos
Jimmy’s Lodge pop up restaurant on the South Bank

This Alpine-themed festive pop-up on the South Bank is the creation of Yorkshire-born chef, author and restaurateur Jimmy Garcia. Until 3 January, a large, outdoor, heated, Alpine-style bar will serve classic festive street food and winter tipples. However, if you book yourself into one of the private ‘snow globes’, you can order fondue, as well as flat iron steaks cooked on a hot stone, all paired with traditional French-style accompaniments.

Deck the Halls at Pergola Paddington

Open-air food court Pergola Paddington has transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays, with Christmas chalets available to book for up to eight friends until 3 January. There’ll be five different pop-up restaurants offering bratwurst and currywurst sausages, après snacks like camembert croquettes, bubbling raclette, boozy cheese fondue and candy cane s’mores. There’ll also be festive brunches available to book and event such as gospel choir singalongs and, of course, a visit from Santa.

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