Bar Kick

Buried in the middle of Shoreditch High Street; Bar Kick is a fantastic venue with a football theme. It’s two floors house a number of babyfoot, or as we say in the UK – table football tables, giving you the makings for a competitive night.

After organising a table football tournament at work during the world cup, and with interest not subsiding after Spain took the trophy; I decided to hold the grand final at Bar Kick. Much more glamorous than the crappy, bent tables in the office.

The atmosphere of the bar is amazing. Everyone is really enthusiastic about the games and, while there may be the odd gloat after winning a game, all the clientèle have a happy demeanour.

The drinks menu includes a wide range of cocktails and bottled beers. I must also really commend the DJ they had on till about 10:00 pm too as he did a fantastic mix of tune you knew to have a jig too and introducing new artists.

Am exemplary night, recommended for all.

For more information you can visit their website or via the contact details below.

Bar Kick, 127 Shoreditch High Street, London. E1 6JE

Tel: 020 7739 8700

Fax: 020 7613 2509

Open: Mon – Wed: 12 noon – 11pm, Thurs- Sat: 12 noon – Midnight, Sun: 12 noon-10.30

Swingers: The City Review

Swingers: The Crazy Golf Club has two London locations. John Princes Street in the Westend and Brown’s Building The City. This review is from an evening spent in The City Swingers.

Swingers is an 18+ venue brought to you by the Institute of Competitive Socialising, a group of like-minded individuals who believe that life is better enjoyed with friends. It combines crazy, golf, street food and cocktail bars to create “…one incredible social experience”.

The city venue boasts:

  • Two bespoke nine-hole crazy golf courses
  • Five cocktail drenched bars
  • Three of London’s best street-food vendors
  • A two-story clubhouse with gin terrace.
  • Nightly DJ’s.

At the beginning of this year, I suggested Swingers as a fun venue for a friends night out after a break-up. So recently I decided to put my money where my mouth is and see if the venue came up to par…

First off, I was surprised that Swingers is right beside the Gherkin. This may not impress everyone; however, I am not in the city that often so I am always impressed all over again with central London.

I met six other friends outside Swingers on some random Friday evening, and we walked into a vivacious atmosphere. The music was loud enough that we had to raise our voices and hearing the person at the other end of the table was a struggle. There were not many spare tables left in the street food hall however enough that we could all sit together on our own table; this was at 7 pm, and the place got progressively busier.

We arrived 40 minutes before our pre-booked golf time, which turned out to be plenty of time (for most of us) to have some food and one or two cocktails. I had a Margherita pizza from Pizza Pilgrim’s and was completely happy with this. It’s just a simple pizza, but it was cheap (£6.75) and super tasty. Swingers have three street food menus to choose from (Pizza Pilgrim’s, Patty & Bun and DF/Mexico).

We all chose different things from Pilgrim’s or Patty. Ordering was simple as all orders are taken at the bar. Then we waited for our order number to come up on the screens and collected our food from the specific food vendor. The burger from Patty took a bit longer, however, so while the pizza eaters had plenty of time to leisurely munch on our dinner. The burger eaters had to shovel theirs in at the end and leave some of their sides, so we didn’t miss out on our golf slot.

I recommend pre-booking your golf slot (£13 per person peak times, £10 off peak) and working your eating and drinking around this. You can pre-book a table in the upper floor’s Gin Terrace, Clubhouse or President’s Committee Room but not in the street food hall. However, we had no problem getting a table in the food hall before and a table in the Gin Terrace after golf.

The two golf courses are quite compact. And one definitely needs to be on time for your slot because there is little time/space in between groups. In fact, we frequently had the group behind us finish their hole and have to wait for us to move onto the next one (which was a little offputting for the friend who was last to putt. At least that’s what she said when she lost ;).

I was a bit underwhelmed by the installations on the golf course. I thought they would be bigger and bolder. However, this disappointment was offset by the staff who were super friendly and funny. We were also happy that drinks were brought to us while on the course.

So aside from my first impression of the course, the golf was a fun experience. As a group of friends, you can’t help but get some vocal competitiveness happening which ads to the fun. So it was short (less than an hour to finish), fun and we got to keep drinking throughout. After golf, we went upstairs to The Gin Terrace and drunk the night away with a few more friends joining us.

In the end, the golf was not the central part of the night, but rather a fun little interlude to sitting at a table all night. Which worked for us.

The drinks menu is varied and exciting. We went through many different delicious gins, such as the cocktail A Swinger Called Harry £10 (Chase Marmalade vodka, ginger ale, apricot bitters, spiced sugar) and the mixer; gin mixed with pomegranate & basil soda, priced between £7.50 to £9.50 depending on which gin you choose. The rest of the drink menu also has a lot of fun mixers and cocktails to choose from with an excellent selection of varying quality Vodka, Gin, Whisky Bourbon and Rye, Tequila, Rum and Cognac.

Overall, I enjoyed my night at Swingers. However, I can not see myself back there often. While the golf was fun, I am not interested in playing it often, particularly in the evening. I would also not consider it a good date venue. In my opinion, it is for groups of friends or colleagues looking for a short, simple night of entertainment.

Valentine’s Day Ideas!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and whether you love, hate or are indifferent to it; chances are if you are in a relationship this time of year, some thought is required.

First let’s start with the gift. Although if I’m honest, I don’t subscribe much to presents on Valentine’s. I like to think of it as a good reason to do something fun together….so my list may be a bit biased!

Most people think flowers, wine and chocolate. Sure it’s supposed to be the thought that counts, but I just can’t cope with the cliche. Plus who needs a box of chocolates to eat?! I can and do eat a box of chocolates in one sitting…Therefore I only allow one small box per year from Santa. Flowers…sure …I suppose most of us enjoy a good bunch of flowers (still too cliche though and often expensive). Wine…I would accept. All day, every day of the year. So would certainly be grateful to receive a bottle. However, we all know it is not too original.

In my opinion, if you are going to get a gift it should be about having an experience together or giving your loved one a little pampering. And if you are not in a relationship this Valentine’s then make that pampering gift to yourself! Be kind to yourself!

You can get some great pampering gifts for just your partner or both of you including relaxation floatation tanks https://floatworks.com. Or a spa day through https://www.buyagift.co.uk/valentines-day. I rate https://www.groupon.co.uk for some good deals, as long as you are not too dependent on when you want to do the activity.

For things you can do together check out https://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/valentines-day-gifts. This site also has some great deals including quirky activities and great ideas to get him. Or consider a couples gift set from https://www.annsummers.com. If you are that way inclined, this is a great gift and perfect for Valentine’s day!

If these suggestions don’t take your fancy and you just want to give a thoughtful gift that lasts longer than wine, chocolate and flowers; check out http://www.chelseacandle.com for natural handmade scented candles that you can also have personalised.

Now for the date night!

If you are on a budget but still hoping to impress take a look at https://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/southbank/wahaca-southbank. Wahaca is not overly romantic but it has good eats and Southbank is a fab part of London to be in!

If you are looking to impress with dinner and drinks check out: https://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/clapham/so-uk-clapham/valentines-supper-club-with-unlimited-prosecco 

Or a five-course meal from https://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/soho/karma-sanctum-soho-hotel/valentines-day. The Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel is home to the Wild Heart Restaurant and Bar. Who is putting on a five-course dinner with all responsibly and locally sourced produce. They also have amazing cocktails.

Time Out includes recommendations for these two restaurants this Valentine’s Day:

https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/clos-maggiore. Clos Maggiore is reputed to be uber romantic and is located in the fantastic Covent Garden. Hutong Restaurant is in the Shard building and has impressive views over London. However, is on the pricey side. https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/hutong

For a unique and exciting dining experience try eating in the dark! https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/dans-le-noir. This would be a Valentine’s Day experience to remember.

Now onto some suggestions with a different approach: first up I recommend crazy golf…before you judge, please click on the link! The venue is 18+, includes bars and quite frankly is the most exciting looking crazy golf I have ever seen. Plus they are offering a golf, champagne and pizza Valentine’s Day special. https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/valentines-day-at-swingers-crazy-golf

Next is cocktail making…probably on the traditional date night experience side, but you just can’t go wrong with this! https://www.designmynight.com/secret-east-london-location/passiontails-valentines-day-cocktail-masterclass

My last two suggestions are a little more risque and not for everyone, however, will certainly spice up the night! A gin house burlesque night at https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/burlesque-cabaret/gin-house-burlesque-valentines-special-1 …and …a porn workshop at https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/diy-porn-workshop#tab_panel_3. The workshop is about how to make/improve your private porn. 

I am all over curious about the porn workshop, but at the same time completely concerned I would turn into a giggling school girl…so if you choose this last one I salute you and will be dying to know how it was …so please let us know your feedback!

 

What To Do If You Get Dumped On Valentine’s Day…

First of all, let’s just acknowledge that that fucking sucks. Yes, he/she is probably a total arse for choosing Valentine’s day to break up; yes in hindsight you will probably recognise that it was coming and you were not right together; yes you will recover…but for right now, in the moment. It’s shit.

You know all these things and your friends will keep reminding you of all them, but unfortunately for that brief period, you will wallow in it.

So…what do we know that helps during the wallowing period?? Company…distraction…definitely friends. Hallelujah for them. A hookup? It’s not for everyone but if it helps you then why not!

My first suggestion is to reach out to your friends and get busy! Don’t sit at home alone. If you want to stay in, then at least invite them over. I once spent an evening with a friend who was going through a bad breakup. We tried our hand at making pasta from scratch…we ended up drinking a lot of red wine, had strings of drying pasta all over the living areas (who knew how much pasta a ball of dough could make!), pots everywhere from trying to create different sauces, and two drunk women. It was a perfect distraction and gave her a few hours peace from those raging thoughts.

If you are ready to say forget him (or her) and hit the town; grab some friends (there are always friends happy to support you by going out, you just need to ask) and hit some anti-Valentine’s day events!

How about a Traffic Light bar hop https://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/shoreditch/sink-paul-street/valentines-day-traffic-light-pub-crawl. You can chat to some new people while experiencing the different bars Shoreditch has to offer.

Or how about a more consuming distraction such as a Time Quest. https://www.time-run.com. You can choose different quests if you have a group of 3-6 friends. A quest will not help you meet new people but will be fun and keep your mind off things. Afterwards, you can head out and see what London Fields has to offer, including Martello Hall for pizza and cocktails.

If you already feel ready to meet the next someone special, or out for a post break up hookup then try these alternatives:

https://pow-london.com/event/fk-tinder-3 – only if you are a guy sorry. Ladies tickets are sold out! F##k Tinder is a pimped up version of your classic speed dating hosted by Scottish comedian Chris Henry.

Speed baking is a different concept. It won’t be for everyone but guys…you know this one will be popular with the ladies.

https://www.designmynight.com/london/pubs/tooting/the-castle-tooting/first-bakes-the-big-london-bake

If any of you are fans of the Big Bang Theory, you may remember an episode that experimented with the same theory behind my last singles night recommendation: That you can fall in love with a stranger by asking a set of 36 questions.

http://www.hoxtonsquarebar.com/listings/just-announced/27899/fall-love-stranger-social-experiment-hoxton-square-bar-kitchen

If I’m being honest, I will admit this last one appeals to me the most because I would not have to repeatedly think of new and interesting ways to make small talk. I suspect I will not be the only one out there…

And the next day when it all comes flooding back, be happy that Valentine’s day is over this year…and repeat. London has so much to offer for anyone looking for some distraction!

 

Flavour Bastard, Soho Review

Flavour Bastard is nestled into the north end of Frith Street, in the heart of London’s Soho district. The restaurant, which opened September 2017, was founded by Pratap Chahal, of That Hungry Chef fame, and Vic Singh. On their website, Flavour Bastard claims to ‘Take vibrant flavours from around the world’ and ‘Remove rules and traditions’ to offer a unique dining experience.

The menu’s designed for sharing, with three tiers of plates available to diners – Tiny plates from £3.50, Small plates from £7.50, Sweet plate from £7.50. On our visit, there was only one dish that was over £10 – Burford brown egg, chestnut puree, olive crumble, raw celeriac and shimeji (£7.50), accompanied by the optional black truffle (additional £10.00). My date and I have a selection of tiny and small plates accompanied by a bottle of wine, and the bill came to approximately £65.

Overall, I was personally not a huge fan of the food. I found some of the flavour combinations jarring to my pallet and felt there was an overuse of Turmeric in a couple of the dished we tried. Probably the most successful dish of the evening was the TFC (Tandoori Fried Chicken – £7) that offered Indian depth of flavour to what would otherwise have been a ubiquitous dish. The Bastard Hot Sauce (£1) had an overpowering vinegar base, which I found unappealing, but was most disappointed with A quintet of pumpkin and squash (£8). However, the presentation of the dishes was consistently excellent and other diners, seated next to us, waxed lyrical about how much they loved the cuisine, so please be aware my previous remarks are subjective. The conflicting opinions on the food provided easy conversation throughout the meal, resulting in no awkward silences during the date.

The tables at Flavour Bastard are positioned close together, and the place was filled to the brim by the time we left at about 21:00 on a Friday evening. This bustle made it hard to hear one and other at times and not ideal for more intermate discussions – the table next to us could hear every word of our conversation. Despite this, there was a pleasant ambience and sharing the food helped to heighten the romance of the evening.

Flavour Bastards Summary

Pros

  • The food and drinks are both very reasonably priced
  • Excellent venue to impress a date with your culinary knowledge
  • The unusual menu offered multiple talking points throughout the evening

Cons

  • Tables are very close together, and loud music can make it hard to maintain an intermate discussion
  • The menu would not be very suitable for some dietary requirements (e.g. Vegan, FODMAP, etc.)

Dating Recommendation

  • Second date with a foodie
  • 2 stars

Have you been to Flavour Bastards? If you have, then tell us about your experience in the comments section below. Or, if you have, you can make a reservation with OpenTable.