North London Food & Culture

10 brilliant ideas for the next 7 days

Summer fairs and all-day picnicking might be off the agenda, but there's no need to let the calendar fall empty. Here are some fantastic events - and exclusive special offers - to help usher in the autumn with enthusiasm

1. Celebrate The Grafton turning two

Winning the Best Pub Award: The Grafton's Joel & Susie
Winning the Best Pub Award: The Grafton’s Joel & Susie

Hard to believe this K-Town cornerstone was a forlorn, sticky carpeted boozer as recently as 2012. The rebirth has been a roaring success, with their latest award being the Sky Great British Pub of the Year 2014 at the pub industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Owners Joel and Susie are celebrating a mighty two years with an American craft beer festival, hardcore BBQ action, live music and free margarita master classes this weekend. Yee haw.
20 Prince of Wales Road, 27 & 28 Sept. Free entry.

2. Compare posh burritos

A burrito, Tortilla-style Pic: Paul Winch-Furness
A burrito, Tortilla-style Pic: Paul Winch-Furness


Mexican food in London used to mean sloppy rice and awfully persistent tequila girls, but a revolution has taken place of late. Proving the point, branches of not one, but two UK-based start-up burrito specialists have landed in Camden High Street. Choose between fast-growing husband and wife operation Tortilla, or the zippy, crowd-funded Chilango, opening imminently – and let us know whose guacamole is best.
114 (Tortilla) and 102 (Chilango) Camden High Street, NW1

3. Thrill (and fill) your football-mad kids

Friday Night Out project: free footy with Arsenal at King's Cross
Friday Night Out project: free footy with Arsenal at King’s Cross

Arsenal FC team up with the sustainability champions at King’s Cross’ Skip Garden on Friday evenings to offer free football and post-match cookery (every second week) for local 11-14 year-olds. If playing with Arsenal isn’t fun enough, your footy-mad monsters learn how to rustle up, and demolish, a healthy meal together too.
5.30-8.15pm every Friday at the sports pitch, N1C. More info

4. Get stuck in to Black History Month

Nelson Mandela speaking in London, April 2000, Pic: Wikipedia

The annual celebration of black identity kicks off on Wednesday and runs throughout October. And with the loss of key black icons Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou in the last year, there’s more to honour than ever in 2014. Expect talks, workshops and exhibitions across the capital, with UCL running an extensive programme.
UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street, WC1H

5. Get Spiritual at Old St Pancras Church

Lovely: St Pancras Old Church
Lovely: St Pancras Old Church

It dates back to 313AD and, though rebuilt many times, is one of Europe’s most ancient sites of worship, with a spellbinding candle-lit interior. The church has been raising money for restoration through a series of atmospheric talks and concerts, so don’t miss a one-nighter hosted by acclaimed Chalk Farm bar Spiritual this Friday, featuring Tara Minton, Nick Edwards Harris and Blanche Ellis.
7pm, 26th September, Pancras Road, NW1. Tickets £10 here.

6. Rummage around a new vintage emporium

Matt Townsend in his antiques shop
Matt Townsend in his antiques shop

Antiques guru Matt Townsend launched his second space on Queen’s Crescent last month, and this one’s a stunner. A huge corner outlet with big windows, it’s packed with curios and finds from elegant chairs and oil paintings to tea sets, old gramophones and typewriters. Local artists can display their work on the back wall, and a coffee outlet is to set up shop soon.
Open Thursday to Saturday 11-5pm. 173 Queen’s Crescent

7. Find wild mushrooms on Hampstead Heath

A basket of saffron milk cups. Photo by Stephen Emms
A basket of saffron milk cups. Photo by Stephen Emms

Foodie culture has created unsustainable demand for wild fungi on Hampstead Heath, a realm once the preserve of students out to get spangled on Liberty Caps. Rather than risk breaking the law (or a wild trip down the rabbit hole), try an official forage instead. Monthly fungi workshops/walks go from the education centre by the Lido, hosted by the pun-tastic Fungitobewith.
Grab one of the last places on the ‘foray’ on Oct 4th

8. Shop at the pop-up department store

BoB transforms the Farmiloe Building
BoB transforms the Farmiloe Building

Want to support home-grown fashion, art, cosmetics, food and drink businesses? Of course you do. Best of Britannia is back for its third year bringing over 200 such UK brands under one roof – a stunning Victorian warehouse over in Clerkenwell. This year they’ve been joined by Wayne Hemingway to further bang the drum for UK manufacturing.
October 3 & 4, Farmiloe Building, EC1M. Website

9. Soak up a spritz… or a free espresso

Casa Tua 2The backstreets of Venice can be found just opposite Camden Road Overground. Don’t believe us? Swing by Casa Tua for an energising post-work spritz or deliciously punchy negroni as the autumn sun sinks one evening.

Surrounded by enthusiastic Puglians, perhaps with some cheeky charcuterie on the side, it’s easy to feel thoroughly transported. Oh, and even better, just mention ‘Kentishtowner’ with any purchase to get a free espresso too!

176 Royal College Street, NW1

10. Enjoy a local discount

This is what you need to look out for: in 85 local outlets right now

If you haven’t already got your paws on a the latest edition of Kentishtowner in print, seek one without further dealy. Then make sure to take full advantage of the many exclusive deals this month’s lovely sponsors have on offer for readers. As well as the afformentioned gratis espresso at Casa Tua, there’s a £40 hot stones massage from The College Practice, 2 for 1 ice cream at the new Marine Ices parlour, 2 for 1 cocktails tonight at the Star of Kings, 20% off selected bikes at Giant Camden and 20% off your first order from pan Asian takeaway Tootoomoo. Enjoy!

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.