How to eat festive all month without needing to go cold turkey from turkey before the big day arrives
We all look forward to Christmas dinner, right? A table crammed with roast potatoes, turkey, piles of stuffing and enough wine to knock Santa off his sleigh.
But once you’ve battled through three of the gargantuan feasts at various work get togethers, two Christmas parties with friends (one of which inexplicably happened in November) and four festive meals with clients, there’s definitely such a thing as too much turkey.
So, why not try Christmas with a difference?
Here are some of the most exciting festive feasts available in London this season, without a full Christmas dinner in sight…
A SLICE OF ITALY!
We’re of the belief that there isn’t a single savoury food that CAN’T be improved by whacking it on top of a pizza.
But don’t take our word for it. Pizza Pilgrims has created a menu of Christmas pizzas that’ll knock the stuffing right out of your turkey.
Go for the Mortadella & Pistachio with Buffalo Mozzarella if you’re feeling fancy, or Cauliflower and Cheese and Crispy Onion if you’re leaning more towards filthy decadence.
You’ll need to leave some room for the festive cocktails, which include Mulled Wine Spritz and the gluttonous glory that is the Ferrero Rocher Espresso Martini - yep, you heard that right. They ARE really spoiling you.
If you’ve still got space in the tank (and quite frankly, if you’ve room left after all that we need to have a chat…) then grab yourself a Ski Sundae or Nutellamisu, either of which guarantee to send you spiralling happily into the warm embrace of a food coma.
Pizza Pilgrims Christmas menu is available to order now in Selfridges London and from 28th November onwards in all other pizzerias.
CURRY ON CHRISTMAS!
Holborn Town Hall, 193 - 197, High Holborn
The award-winning Colonel Saab is a restaurant built by owner, Roop Partap Choudhary to celebrate traditional, Indian food and also his parents, one of whom is the aforementioned Colonel Saab. As such, every menu is like wandering into Roop’s childhood to discover old, family recipes and dishes that are eaten in the towns and villages of his youth. So expect dishes straight from Indian Christmas tables: Mutton seekh kebab; Confit duck with cafreal sauce, nasala sago papad and butter naan; stuffed Zucchini and broccoli Musallam and even Sticky Toffee pudding and ice cream.
Set menus come in at the bizarrely precise £56.95 for three courses, which is incredibly reasonable for a restaurant named as one of Forbes’ magazines top 8 Indian restaurants and the recent recipient of the Asian Curry Awards’ Best New Fine Dining Restaurant.
And if you’re on the hunt for a Christmas Day feast, check out Colonel Saab’s special menu here.
VIVA LA REVOLUCION!
Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba
Revolucion de Cuba likes to do things the Latin way, and that means adding a good dash of party to just about everything. So, you won't be surprised to hear their festive cocktail is a feisty little number that's guaranteed to get you onto the dance floor. The Mistletoe Martini packs Havana Club 3 Year Old rum, Malibu, pineapple juice, raspberry puree, grenadine and lime juice.
Also on the menu are the Festive Cuban Sandwich - a latin take on your bog-standard turkey and cranberry affair;, Festive Quesadillas and Mince Pie Empanadas, which are a sure-fire upgrade on our Christmas grub options.
If you’re getting the gang together for a celebration, wrap it all up in one of their three package offers - 2 and 3-course Christmas Dining from £24.95pp, Tapas Feasting from £24.95 or Festive Brunch from £30pp.
A MEXICAN FEAST FIESTA!
Arriba! If you’re in the mood for switching out your Santa hat for a Sombrero, Wahaca has launched a Mexican Christmas menu packed full of shareable street food feasts and Latin twists on traditional English flavours. The Mexican chain's festive fiesta includes Turkey Taquitos (£7.50), which pairs turkey with smoky bacon, chestnut, sage and cranberry stuffing in a crisp corn tortilla; Mince pie empanadas (£6.50), which supercharge mincemeat with a mezcal soaking and wrap it all up in sugar-coated parcels beneath brandy butter ice-cream; and two Festive Feasts (vegan and non-vegan, both £25) which dish up enough festive Mexican street food to feed a family.
SWITCH TO STEAK!
Steak and Company
We know it. You know it. It’s the unspoken truth about Christmas dinner: That turkey just hasn’t earned its place on the plate.
If your co-worker added so little while still being handed a central role in the team, you’d begin to wonder if they were related to the boss. But over at Steak and Company, they’re putting their foot down and replacing that dry old bird with the the finest cuts of meat.
You can still have the trimmings - pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts with chestnut and pomegranate, honey-roast carrots and parsnips - but sitting alongside them will be chunky chips and either Côte De Boeuf, Black Angus Fillet, Uruguayan Sirloin or Duck Confit or, if you opt for the premium menu, Pork Tomahawk Chop or Chocolate-Fed Ayrshire Fillet.
At £55pp for the regular menu and £75 for the prime cuts, the only question is whether you’ll ever go back to turkey again.
UP YOUR MARU-GAME!
Ever thought of serving up Christmas dinner in a bowl of noodles? No! Neither have we. But the team over at Marugame Udon has dreamt up a whole host of Japanese twists on our festive cuisine.
The Brussels Sprout Tempura (£2.25) is back for a second year and will be joined by the Festive Udon (from £10.45), which sees those delicious noodles wrapping themselves around marinated chicken thigh, stuffing balls, pickled red cabbage, Brussels sprout leaves and cranberry. Vegan options are also available if you want to kick out the chicken and go for a plant-based festive treat.
But we’re here for the desert - namely, the unlimited Gingerbread Vegan ice cream (£3.45). Just promise you’ll roll us home on Christmas Eve!
TRY A LATIN AMERICAN SPROUT PARCEL!
61 Golborne Rd, London W10
The Empanada seems to have become the snack of choice this Christmas, but Argentinian maestros De Nada haven’t just opted for a mincemeat filling like their rivals. Well, they are London’s first ever specialist empanaderia, after all, so they’ve got a reputation to uphold.
This year, they’ve created the Brussselnada (£3.50) in veggie and non-veggie form. The veggie package will feature slow-roasted Brussels sprouts, melted goats cheese and caramelised onions, and for those who need a bit of meat in their lives, slap a generous helping of crispy bacon inside.
You can grab a Brusselnada from De Nada on Portobello's Goldborne Road and either eat in or take-away. Plus, if you pull a group of 10 mates together you can enjoy a wine, Vermouth and empanada tasting session in the shop\s Vinyl Wine Room.
BE MORE PACIFIC
The Pan Pacific London
80 Houndsditch, London EC3
The Pan Pacific London has gone all out this year, with each of its bars and restaurants transformed into a different scene from The Nutcracker.
Specialist rum bar, Ginger Lily has become a wintry, white landscape, inspired by the ballet’s snow scene and there’s nowhere more festive to enjoy a Hot Negroni, Caribbean Coffee or tequila, honey and ginger syrup concoction, Doctor Lemon.
But it’s next door in Straits Kitchen that really caught our eye. Every Sunday in December, they’re offering a Festive Champagne Sunday Roast with an Asian Twist.
The set menu includes a half bottle of champagne per person and offers a choice of starters including shrimp tempura and clear chestnut broth with rice noodles. The main event is a selection of succulent Asian roasting meats served in front of guests at carving stations. Choose from salmon en croute, a stuffed whole turkey, roast Peking duck, crisp pork belly, or a vegan nut roast, alongside sides of glutinous rice with oriental sausage, Pak Choi, or red cabbage. Rounding off the celebrations is a generous dessert buffet showcasing an extensive selection including panettone pudding, Christmas log, spicy clementine and chocolate shortbread and more.
And even better is that you’ll enjoy the whole thing surrounded by The Nutcracker’s famous party scene.