Keep an eye on Square Meal’s pop-up restaurants page for the latest blink-and-you’ll-miss-them pop-ups, underground restaurants, chef residencies and quirky one-off food events happening in and around the capital.
The Bell & Brisket at The Duke’s Head
A well-known KERB trader, The Bell & Brisket now serves its famous salt-beef sandwiches (#SaltBeefAristocracy) at The Duke’s Head in Highgate. The sarnies are the real deal: glistening slivers of pink meat stuffed into a Brick Lane bagel or black rye bun and topped with pickled goodness. Get adventurous with The Viscount Kimchi: salt beef, kimchi and melted cheddar, or stay traditional with The Old Timer, a classic combo of salt beef, gherkins and mustard.
While he waits to open his own restaurant proper, MasterChef runner-up Andy Oliver is settling into Som Saa at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields. Along with front-of-house Tom George, the chef is serving his highly acclaimed northern Thai food (pictured right) from Thursday until Sunday, as well as Thai brunches on weekends. Dishes include pork curry with pickled garlic and ginger, and salt-roasted red prawns with a green chilli dipping sauce, while a bar area serves Thai-inspired cocktails.
Donostia Social Club at The King & Co
The Donostia team’s street food van has become a familiar sight around town, serving Basque-inspired tapas and pintxos. Now they’re settled at this Clapham pub until the end of the month, serving their classic bites on sticks alongside cheese, charcuterie and creative takes on tapas classics. Weekend brunches are also available.
Featherblade at The Star Of Bethnal Green
Good value cuts of good quality beef are the mainstay of meaty newcomers Featherblade. The team will be serving steaks with sides such as cauliflower cheese croquettes at their residency in Bethnal Green until early January.
The cold weather sibling of Forza Win, Peckham-based Forza Winter is serving fondue-led Italian meals from Thursday to Saturday right up until Christmas. The five course meals include pork arancini, meatballs and hams alongside big communal bowls of melted cheese. Natural wines, a vending machine full of beer and a bar selling mulled cocktails completes the package.
The Bowler at The Horse & Groom
Famous for his balls, Jez Felwick has gained London-wide renown for his street food operation, The Bowler. Now you can enjoy his meatballs (pictured right), plus innovations such as nacho balls and meatball burgers in the comfort of a pub as he settles down in Shoreditch boozer The Horse & Groom until the new year.
Dirty Apron at Simmons Bar
Dirty Apron has teamed up with Simmons Bar in King's Cross for a playful pop-up event every Wednesday. Expect pulled pork, lamb and harissa meatballs and crispy polenta fries, and wash it all down with one of Simmons bar's cocktails while you groove to the eclectic beats.
Marylebone’s Carousel just keeps on spinning, with Turkish-Cypriot chef Selin Kiazim the next to take over. She’ll be cooking there until the end of November, presenting a three course menu that costs £35 and includes homemade bread with date butter, and venison tartare with bulgar wheat and chilli.
Tommi’s Burger Joint at The Princess of Wales
Primrose Hill pub The Princess of Wales plays host to burger experts Tommi's (pictured right) on the third Thursday of each month. Diners can look forward to some of the most popular patties from Tommi’s menu (including the much-celebrated steak burger), plus a specially created one-off dish exclusive to the pub. Plus, diners can take advantage of the pub’s craft beers, cocktails and live music.
Vauxhall Street Food Garden
Occupying a hidden, high-walled courtyard adjacent to Vauxhall bus station and behind The Big Issue’s offices, this slinky street-food enterprise is reached though an unassuming doorway underneath the railway bridge on South Lambeth Place. Inside you’ll find food, beer, hot drinks and –if you’re lucky- a brilliant suntrap. If you fancy a buffalo or springbok burger there’s Tucker’s Exotic Meats, alongside stalls offering international cuisines including Vietnamese, Spanish and Caribbean. We highly recommend a prosciutto, brie and sweet onion chutney pizza from Molly’s red van. The garden is open every weekday from 11.30am until late, with food available until 8pm and a happy hour from 5-7pm.
Smoke'n'Roll at The Black Heart, Camden
You'd usually find some smoke trails from Smoke'n'Roll's stall in Camden Lock Market but now they're rolling into the murky depths of The Black Heart, a 'music pub with an edge' (once home to Kimchi Cult), with some of their finest smoked goods. The name of the game is home-smoked and home-rolled and you'll find yourself getting messy with sticky ribs, chicken wings, beef brisket or pork-shoulder sandwiches smothered with one of their signature sauces (mixed-berry mustard, anyone?).
Náttúra by Kitchen Theory
Following recent sell-out pop-ups Elements and Kaiseki, Kitchen Theory is back with Náttúra, a Nordic-inspired dining experience exploring what the British can learn from Nordic food culture. Diners can expect a six course menu ‘based on the beauty of nature’, using the New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto as its framework. Dishes will include homemade sourdough bread with dulse seaweed butter, Cox apple crème with pickled wild celery and a ‘Northern Lights’ dessert. The menu is the result of collaborations between Jozef Yousef and other Michelin-experienced chefs, as well as gastro academics, artists and hospitality experts. Náttúra dinners will be held at Maida Hill Place on Fridays and Saturdays until December, and cost £56 per person. Tickets can be purchased here.
Keep an eye on this page for more of the best pop-up restaurants to hit London.