Keeping Londoners in the know with news and reviews across food, music, fashion and lifestyle. Born from a love of unlocking hidden gems in a big city, London on the Inside connects people to local and global brands, discoveries and experiences.
All that glitters is not gold…unless you’re referring to Isle of Wight 2018. Thousands of festival goers donned their best gold gear (some simple gold elements, some going full on in gold morph outfit complete with gold hats) to celebrate 50 years of the fest, and what a birthday it was. Featuring food and drink, fairgrounds and for some reason a giant bear made out of baskets and bags, Isle of Wight was so much more than a fantastic lineup.
A giant Ferris wheel was among the extra curricular highlights beat narrowly to our top spot by a glitter shower- that’s a locked cubicle with fans blowing glitter everywhere (it’s even better than it sounds!).
As for the music- well, it’s difficult to find fault with a weekend of Kasabian, Depeche Mode AND Killers is it? Blossoms on the Saturday were on their best form followed by a huge singalong set from our favourite bae, James Bay. Sunday involved a lot of raving it out at Cirque De La Quirk (like, a LOT) and a gander round the Electro Love area before kicking back to wrap up the festival with Van Morrison and Killers!
It was (pardon the pun) a solid gold weekend and we’re already looking forward to next year, just as well- IOW 2019 early bird tickets are go!
You can purchase the cheap as chips tickets for 16-19 June 2019 NOW, meet you at the glitter showers…
We’re all about discovering the best things to do in London and unlocking all the great experiences this city has to offer – it’s a big old place with a lot going on after all – and with their Priceless Cities program, Mastercard is the same. They open up a ton of experiences, allowing you to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done before, letting you enjoy London in a whole new way.
This summer you can get a taste of Provence right here in town with an al fresco feast at Islington restaurant Sardine this August. Head chef Alex Jackson is cooking up a four course lunch, featuring dishes like tomato and tapenade tart, mozarella with black figs and basil, and whole salt-baked trout – if that doesn’t scream summer then we don’t know what does – and serving it on the restaurant’s garden terrace, shared by neighbouring art galleries Parasol Unit and Victoria Miro. And if you wanna make it extra special, VIP tickets include Crémant sparkling wine on arrival plus a hidden food course.
Get ready to whistle a happy tune, because The King And I has returned to the West End. Following an acclaimed, Tony Award-winning run on Broadway, the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic has transferred to the Palladium Theatre, with three of the original Lincoln Center Theater lead actors reprising their roles: Broadway Musical Royalty Kelli O’Hara, reprising her Tony Award-winning role of Anna Leonowens and film star, Oscar and Tony nominee (for his role on The King and I) Ken Watanabe in the title role of The King of Siam. Another notable addition to the cast is Takao Osawa, multi-award-winning actor and star of one of Japan’s most popular television series, JIN, who joins the cast of The King And I to play The Kralahome, trusted adviser to The King of Siam.
Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the King brings to Siam to tutor his many wives and children. While the source material was somewhat progressive when it debuted in 1951, it’s difficult, in 2018, to get past that nagging little voice in your head pointing out all the problematic themes and mixed messages the show espouses. It strikes blows against the idea of colonialism one moment, while endorsing the idea of the “civilising” influence of the West the next. And you’ll be hard pressed not to recognise the parallels to current events as the King ponders whether his country should form strong alliances or strike out on its own, and how to hold on to the traditional in a rapidly-changing, modern world. That we’re still struggling with these questions today is a puzzlement, indeed.
All that being said, there’s a lot to love about this production, which mitigates some of the aforementioned issues in its adaptation with a wildly talented and appropriately diverse cast, and staging that is opulent without overly exoticising the Siamese court. The mood is set from the moment you enter the house, with a gorgeous front curtain made from 250 metres of gold leaf, and moving set pieces that dazzle without ever feeling overworked. The show is beautifully acted and sung, with each of the performers bringing depth to characters that can easily fall into the trap of feeling one-dimensional and stereotypical. O’Hara’s Anna is at once both spirited and kind-natured, genuinely funny and deeply affecting, with the actress breathing new life into classics like Getting to Know You and Hello, Young Lovers. Watanabe makes the character of The King his own (a none-too-simple task for a role that is almost synonymous with original actor, Yul Brynner), and is in equal parts commanding and affable. He is eccentric and slightly manic at times, and infinitely more likable than the character has any right to be, which makes it easy to overlook the fact that he’s not the most technically adept singer. The rest of the cast shines as well, with a particular highlight being Na-Young Jeon’s outstanding rendition of My Lord And Master, which elicited audible gasps from the audience as the song reached its crescendo.
The performances and staging make this revival of The King And I something wonderful, indeed. Every note’s hit, every joke lands, and every moment comes as close to perfection as is possible for the oftentimes problematic source material to be. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be breaking out your flouncy skirt and asking Shall We Dance? by the end.
Cali-based brewers Lagunitas is hopping across the pond to bring the Laguniats Beer Circus to Flat Iron Square this August for the very first time. With their brand new freakshow production fresh from the USA, where it has been touring through Petaluma, Seattle and Chicago, it’s not just the IPA that will have you hooked for the circus is well and truly in town. Apart from being packed full with beer (obvs), the Beer Circus also features everything from bizarre burlesque, bearded ladies to marching bands and freak shows entertainment, with a load of quirky bands providing the soundtrack.
Prepare to see things that can’t be unseen as this isn’t your typical circus. You may think a clown might make you giggle as he falls over his own feet, but you will find they are more likely to show you how they swallow razor blades and fetch them from their throat by sending down a piece of string. Yep, do not try this at home kids. You can also get hands-on and learn how to make a whip crack, cowboy style. With gun-slingin’ a plenty you’ll get a taste of the Lagunitas Beer Circus alright. You may laugh, you may cry, but while the full deets are still under wraps, you can expect some limited releases and one-hitters with guest breweries providing the bevs alongside Lagunitas.
What’s more, all ticket proceeds are being donated to the Wild At Heart Foundation so you can get boozy and do a good deed at the same time, so grab yours now and run away with the circus.
Want to see what other quirky pop-ups London has got going on? Then check out our top recommendations right here.
Remember the massive queues to get inside that mirror room at the Victoria Miro gallery in 2016? Well prepare to be standing in one again this autumn because Yayoi Kusama is returning to the gallery with another major exhibition. This one will have an even bigger Infinity Room (so fingers crossed we won’t have to wait quite so long) as well as more pumpkins, flower sculptures and new paintings from the My Eternal Soul series. We predict everyone and their insta feeds will be going dotty for this one. Kusama’s piece ‘Narcissus Garden’, made of 1500 mirrored orbs, will also be going on display at the Hayward Gallery in the autumn as part of their Shape Shifters exhibition, so you can get a double hit.
We’ve already had a pop-up pug cafe come to town and now London is getting a sausage dog cafe, and it’s gonna be one pupular paw-ty. Taking over The Happenstance in St Pauls for one day only, the cafe is open to dachshund owners and dachshund fans alike – so you can pet the pooches to your heart’s content even if you don’y have one of your own. The menu will include everything from pupcakes to dognuts to pawty rings as well as cocktails and small plates, and every dog will get a free pupuccino and bag of pupcorn. Tickets for this will fly out, so be on the ball when the booking emails are released on 28th July at 10am. WOOF.
In the meantime hit up one of these pop-ups before they pop-down.
Sun 19th August 2018
10 Paternoster Square, London, EC4M 7DX pugcafe.com
Get ready to live the fry life because a bar dedicated to chips is coming to town. Chipsy, which is already available on Uber Eats and Deliveroo, will be opening a bricks-and-mortar site in London this year (no word on location yet though, so do check back here) and it’s gonna be all about chips. Cut fresh daily and triple cooked to give the perfect outer crunch-inner soft ratio, you can get these chips topped with everything from poutine to fish, mushy peas and tartare sauce to pulled jackfruit with Mexican salsa to deconstructed beef patties and burger sauce. Basically, anything that chips normally come on the side of, is going on top of them here. Bring on the fries.
For our favourite London restaurants, see our Top 20 guide here.
It’s time to channel your inner Rory McIlroy because The Swingers Open has returned for 2018. This is London’s only crazy golf tournament, so grab your clubs, tees and three budding golfers to compete in a series of heats that are taking place throughout July, August and September at both Swingers locations. There’s an entry fee of £20 per person, which secures your place and G&T to calm those pre-tournament nerves. This year there’s an even juicier prize up for grabs, as you could win a trip for four to the Big Apple and live like a golfing legend whilst staying at the brand new Hoxton Hotel in Brooklyn. Not to mention a spot on the Swingers Hall of Fame and the iconic Swingers Open trophy to take home.
Win or lose, it will by PAR be an unforgettable experience. So, do you have what it takes?
16th July – 24th September 2018
Swingers West End, 15 John Prince’s Street, W1G 0AB
Swingers City, 8 Brown’s Building, EC3A 8AL swingersldn.com
Rosa’s Thai Cafe already has sites scattered across London, from Brixton to Soho to West Hampstead, and they’re adding one more to the list with their newest spot in Tower Bridge. Opening in the One Tower Bridge development alongside The Coal Shed and Gunpowder, this latest Rosa’s will be serving up the same authentic Thai food we’ve come to know and love, including pad thai, massaman curry and drunken noodles, as well as their Thai-inspired cocktails. To celebrate the new opening, Rosa’s is knocking 50% OFF food during their soft launch period. It’s walk-ins only but make sure you’ve signed up to bag that bargain grub.
Fri 20th July – Thurs 2nd August 2018
2 Duchess Walk, One Tower Bridge, London SE1 2SD rosasthaicafe.com
After first meeting in the kitchen at St John, Terry Blake and Yohini Nadakumar opened Sparrow in Lewisham. The place has been going since 2017 but as we’re not often down SE13 way so we’ve only just got round to checking it out. As the restaurant is on a main road, it’s not the most wonderful view from the window, but luckily there’as a lot to admire inside. The interior is light and airy, with industrial light fixtures, wooden furniture and emerald tiles wrapping around the open kitchen giving it a relaxed but charming feel.
Luckily the food also looks fab. The small plates menu is a mix of British, European and Asian dishes, reflective of the pair’s time in the kitchens of Bao, Pollen Street Social and Merchant’s Tavern. At first glance, some of the plates don’t appear to go together, like burrata with grilled romana peppers and beef cheek massaman curry with scorched rice, however the kitchen does an excellent job of spacing them properly so you don’t get too many things in front of you at once.
It also helps that everything tastes fantastic – the burrata was super creamy and sat in a puddle of oil and vincotta, which we happily mopped up with bread, and the massaman curry was perfectly spiced and packed with tender meat. We also loved the fried chicken tulip with satay sauce, which was one of the specials on our visit. Pay attention to this board as there are some gems on there, as well as the apero of the day; we had a gin, citrus and walnut concoction that slipped down a right treat on a hot evening. And save room for a pud (although it’s hard not to go hard on the main menu) as the lemon posset topped with strawberry ice cream was one of the best we’ve ever had.
Lewisham locals have a real gem on their hands with Sparrow and we’d defo swing by again next time we’re down south.