As tempting as it is to open with an inspirational quip for the New Year, let’s be honest – most of us are still hanging on to the last vestiges of the holiday season, right down to that last drop of fizz. All that malarky of Dry January or radical health kicks be damned.
Luckily, life in London is anything but lustreless.
There may be no no more #WreathWatch activities to legitimise our sneaking up on strangers’ homes, nor any festive façades stopping us in our tracks, but there’s plenty else to guarantee a spirited start to the year. From a Winter Lights Festival to a Hot Gin Roof & more – here are my top picks of things to do, see and of course, eat this January…
… Starting with Galette des Rois. The flaky, frangipane-filled pastry is eaten between Christmas Eve and the Twelfth Night to celebrate Epiphany and honour The Three Kings. Each cake is baked with a hidden charm (the fève) at the centre, with the person finding it declare King of the feast!
Experience the French tradition with Paul’s buttery puff pastry, or at Dominique Ansel’s Bakery where this “King’s Cake” is literally like an almond croissant in a cake form (available through most of January).
With Christmas just around the corner, that means it’s almost time for our #GalettedesRois (or “Kings Cake”) to celebrate Epiphany. It’s one of our favorites to bake each year, a traditional French cake filled with almond frangipane and made with a flaky reversed puff pastry crust. Think: almond croissant in cake form! Each comes complete with a fêve and a golden paper crown, so that the winner who finds it is declared King for the day! Starts 26th December here at #DABLondon but pre-orders are online now on our #DABLondon website for pick-ups 26th December through 20th January. #DominiqueAnselBakery #GalettedesRois
You can also bid a proper farewell to Christmas with the Twelfth Night celebrations on the lawns of the Geffrye Museum, complete with the ritualistic burning of the holly and the ivy. The picturesque museum will be closing for two years (as an £18m development project takes shape), so it’s definitely worth yourself getting down there before then…
At the weekend, @giuliaballetti and I took a wander to the @geffryemuseum. How beautiful are the Almhouses there! I hadn't realised that they were restored a few years ago using a grant from the @nationallotterygoodcauses fund. I always moan about never winning the lottery, but it's so lovely to know that since 1994, National Lottery players have raised more than £37 billion for projects across the UK. At present, National Lottery players raise £30 million a week! Think of all the causes that will help! Check out @nationallotterygoodcauses to see some of the projects that they've funded near you! I bet you'll be surprised! #ad #WeekendWanderings #NationalLottery
All of the Lights…
While Christmas lights may be switched off, London is set to shine brightly with the dazzling return of Lumiere, U.K.’s largest light festival. Expect ethereal installations from over 40 U.K. and international artists, illuminating the city’s architecture and streets (18 – 24 Jan).
City workers also have reason to rejoice with the Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf, featuring glowing graffiti, a 3D rainbow spectrum, floating poetry and all other manners of Light Art… (16 – 27 Jan).
There’s plenty else to keep art lovers busy, with London Art Fair 2018 providing a platform for over 130 galleries from across the world to showcase a mix of modern British art, contemporary works and emerging artists (17 – 21 January).
Hayward Gallery to stage UK’s first major retrospective of Andreas Gursky. ⠀ London’s Hayward Gallery to stage the first major retrospective in a UK institution of the work of acclaimed German photographer Andreas Gursky (Germany, 1955) in January 2018.⠀ ⠀ One of the most significant photographers of our time, Gursky is known for his large-scale, often spectacular pictures that portray emblematic sites and scenes of the global economy and contemporary life. The exhibition will feature approximately 60 of the artist’s ground-breaking photographs, from the 1980s through to six new works, which continues to push the boundaries of the medium. Gursky’s art is driven by an interest, and insight, into forms of collective existence and includes depictions of massive man-made structures and huge gatherings of people in nightclubs, factories, arenas, and vast landscapes. As he has stated:⠀ ⠀ “I only pursue one goal: the encyclopedia of life.”⠀ ⠀ Image:Andreas Gursky Les Mées, 2016 C-Print 220.9 x 367.2 x 6.2 cm © Andreas Gursky/DACS, 2017 Courtesy: Sprüth Magers #preview2018 #haywardgallery #gursky #andreasgursky #spruethmagers #photography #coolart #fadmagazine
Other notable dates include the reopening of the Hayward Gallery after a two-year refurbishment which has restored the venue’s roof lights with striking results… Moreover, the iconic space will be marking its 50th anniversary with the first UK retrospective of Andreas Gursky – a German photographer recognised as one of the most captivating record-keepers of our age! (25 January – TBC).
‘I only pursue one goal: the encyclopedia of life’ – Andreas Gursky
Eats & Drinks Around Town
The plethora of pop-ups & openings will also be keeping us firmly on our toes this month.
I’m particularly excited about the Hot Gin Roof returning to the Roof Terrace of the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, where gin-based cocktails will be warmed up with a steaming hot poker (17 Jan – 17 Feb)!
As for new restaurants to whet our appetite:
- Simon Rogan‘s rhapsodised Roganic is putting down permanent roots in Marylebone.
- Bob Bob Ricard is spinning off into Bob Bob Cité in the Cheesegrater Building, with the iconic “Press for Champagne” buttons making the move too.
- Ex-Barrafina chef and the restaurant’s former manager – Nieves Barragan Mohacho and José Etura – are opening Sabor in Mayfair’s Heddon Street, offering a journey through Spain’s varied cuisines.
- And further adding to London’s melting pot of culture, Bangkok’s iconic Greyhound Cafe is bringing its modern riff on Thai food to Fitzrovia, with Thai craft beers and a large vegetarian menu in the offing too…
Speaking of which. If you’re going meat-free this month you might like my Vegetarian’s Guide to London bucking all those sanctimonious veggie clichés – trust me, it’s actually worth a read even if you’re not following the flexitarian dream.
To a wonderfully scrummy start to 2018… Salut!
For the latest word in food, travel, life & style, sign up to my newsletter – here.