Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra

I’d been wanting to see Pete Tong and the Heritage orchestra perform ever since I watched the original Ibiza Classics do the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on TV all the way back in 2006. I never get organised enough to get tickets though and they always usually sell out. Anyway I finally got myself organised this year and I think because of the pandemic this year they for once didn’t sell out. I bought tickets for myself and my neighbour Adam. I got a bit confused with the times so we ended up being super early for the concert, which was not all bad as we got a really good position really near the front of the stage. The concert was great, the staging and lighting was particularly brilliant. Special guests we had performing included Becky Hill and randomly Rick Astley. I do have to complain about the bar though, the only beer they serve is Budweiser, which I hadn’t had in years and on drinking I remembered why, awful, almost undrinkable. I very quickly moved on to gin and tonics. Also the speed of the bar staff was embarrassing, it’s like they’d never worked a bar before, they were so slow and consequently there was massive queues so I missed a significant part of the concert waiting in line for drinks. Not impressed, sort it out please O2, it’s really not good enough. Fantastic concert though.

Pink Oktoberfest

My neighbour Adam invited me to this one night only gay Oktoberfest special event, which rather randomly actually took place at the beginning of November, rather than in October. He’d been before and insisted that we all dress in traditional German lederhosen gear and well I love fancy dress so how could I refuse? I ordered the whole lot off Amazon for around £30. Unfortunately I was running late so had to head to the delights of Canada Water where the event was held on the tube in full garb all on my own, so got quite a few strange looks and how fun it was to be in just shorts and a thin cotton shirt on a very cold November night. The venue is a few minutes walk from Canada Water tube, around the side of the dock in a massive converted modern warehouse and after downloading my ticket I met my friends inside. This being Oktoberfest we expected a large selection of beer to be on offer. However they seemingly only has one beer left and it was awful! I generally can drink pretty much everything, but this beer was genuinely disgusting. We all thought the same, we tried mixing it with lemonade to make it less bitter, but in the end we just had to hold our noses and chug it. Not very impressed. Anyway we very quickly moved on to gin and tonics which were thankfully much better. The drag queens and other entertainment they had laid on was great and we had a fantastic time, despite the terrible beer. Just all very odd that a beer festival would screw up the beer which one would think was pretty key and also quite easy to order more.

Hamlet at the Young Vic

I’m a huge fan of the TV shows ‘The Good Wife’ and it’s sequel ‘The Good Fight’. Honestly two of my favourite ever TV shows. If you haven’t watched either of them I can really highly recommend them. Both star the wonderful British actor Cush Jumbo, so when my friends let me know they had managed to bag £10 tickets to see her in the titular role of Hamlet at the Young Vic I jumped at the chance to join them.

Hamlet is probably one of the hardest roles any actor can perform, there’s a lot of lines and it’s a seriously intense role. The last time I saw Hamlet performed was Benedick Cumberbatch’s sold out, rave reviewed performance at the Barbican, so expectations were high. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed, she did a brilliant job. Well worth seeing.

Hamlet

 

Six by Nico

Six by Nico was founded in 2017 by Glasgow chef Nico Simeone. He now has severn ‘Six by Nico’ restaurants all across the UK. The idea is that it is a fine dining experience, but at a slightly more affordable price point. The menu/ theme changes every 6 weeks, so you can have a completely different food experience the next time you visit. We went to the Canary Wharf branch. The theme when we went was ‘The Chippie’ which had a traditional British chip shop inspired menu, I have attached a full copy of the menu below:

We went for the added option of a cocktail and canapés to start, as well as the matching wine flight with the meal. The food was of mixed quality, some of the dishes were great, others definitely less so, our favourites were the ‘Scampi’ – a monkfish cheek, dill emulsion, gribiche and Beurre Blanc and also the pudding ‘Deep fried Mars bar’ – a chocolate opera cake, Iru Bru sorbet and chocolate soil.

However the service was utterly chaotic. All the wait staff were unfailing lovely, but they clearly didn’t know what they were doing. I don’t blame them for this as they were all polite, but they’d obviously had little to no training and knew literally nothing about the menu or the wine. It was sort of hilariously bad, but I felt sorry for them being thrown in at the deep end with no training, really not fair on them.

I did enjoy my experience at Six by Nico, all the staff were at least friendly and some of the food genuinely very good, but I wouldn’t rush back. The bill with everything came to around £90 a head. Not insubstantial, but not crazy expensive for the quality of the food/ wine we were served. This is very much fine dining for the instagram/ Gen Z generation and if the trained their wait staff a bit better and were more consistent with the food offering I think they could be on to something, but at the moment it’s a bit too rough round the edges for me.

Nanban Brixton

Nanban is the ramen restaurant from former Masterchef UK 2011 champion Tim Anderson. When it comes to ramen he really knows his stuff having lived for a time in Fukuoka aka the Japanese home of ramen. I’d been wanting to check out his place for a while, so as soon as lockdown restrictions on restaurant lifted I headed straight down to Brixton. I went for the Lazy goat ragù-men ramen. This is one of Nanban’s signature dishes and is inspired by Brixton’s West Indian history and culture. Several years ago now it won the Evening Standard dish of the year, so I was keen to try it out and my expectations were high. The ramen consists of slow-cooked boneless goat leg and noodles in a spicy Indo-Caribbean curry sauce, topped with seafood sawdust, fried shallots, scotch bonnet bamboo shoots and a tea pickled egg. An innovate twist on the traditional ramen, but it worked. The goat was beautifully tender and tasty. It sat in what was definitely more of a sauce than a broth and had a good spicy heat to it, without being blow your head off hot.