February in London offers you a reasonable chill, but also plenty of culture, edutainment and food sampling options.
Comedy on Tuesday. If you’re a newbie to stand-up comedy and aren’t sure you can ‘stand’ 2 hours’ worth of jokes (see what we did there), Comedy Angel is probably your best choice for an essentially free evening in a pub, with acts which will make you giggle even if there is an annoying couple blocking the view.
We went to Comedy Angel for a second time and it was as good as we remembered. Masud Milas, a 1970s looking pal, introduced the 3 acts, which covered diverse topics on should you get a university degree, cats, council blocks’ staircases to name a few. Every night at 8pm (the place runs comedy gigs 7 nights/week) you get a different set of comedians, so you probably wouldn’t hear a joke twice.
For a little bit of a studenty vibe, simple beer and an evening of entertainment, our verdict is clear.
Reggae/Caribbean Jazz on Saturday. We have been lucky to visit the famous Ronnie Scott and listen to some good quality jazz in the past. But we feel even luckier that we accidentally came across reasonably-priced tickets for a gig by Yolanda Brown at the Jazz Café in Camden last weekend. We must admit we were not aware of her work but a couple of YouTube videos later, we were convinced it is worth it to see ‘Reggae Love Songs’.
The Jazz Café itself is a place we went to for the first time, so it was a pleasant surprise to have quite a bit of space, even as standing ticket holders. Two and a half hours later, no breaks and lots of ‘skiing’, Yolanda and band played, sang and entertained us well, pretty well. If you never knew whether you are into saxophones, we’re pretty certain one of those performances will turn you into a fan.
Belgo on Saturday. We were not even looking for a refined dining experience in Camden when we came across Belgo. Looking like a regular small-ish bar at the front, we found out that this Belgium-themed place had both a bar and a restaurant section, with the option to eat at either. We had to spend a good chunk of time when choosing the beer, because as expected, Belgians do not keep that particularly simple – it’s not just a choice of ale versus lager, but the variables of 5% vs 9.5% alcohol, fruity vs. not, golden vs dark vs blond vs white are added for complexity. Having ticked off this important decision and tried both the Fruli Strawberry and the Troubadour Obscura, we can conclude that there wasn’t a bad choice to begin with.
The food though was the true surprise. We had a taste from the Poppei Moules Platters (mussels with pancetta, creamed spinach, garlic and gruyère) which were bottom line delicious. We have had mussels and mussels, but those were simply divine. We also had a taste (or two) from the Rottiserie – half a spit-roast chicken in wild mushroom, herb & cream goodness, with the add-on of Belgian frites. We almost feel we should stop there with the descriptions because you should just go there and have dinner. We mean it. 5/5
Turkish breakfast on Sunday. St Katherine’s Docks has been a long-standing favourite of ours – may that be due to its obscurely secluded vibe just meters away from the tourist trap of the Tower of London or due to the combination of shiny yachts and quite a few good places for food and drinks. As last Sunday morning there was not just sunshine but a feeling proximity to warmth, this was enough of a reason to have a brunch outside and pretend it’s more than 6 degrees. The lucky winner of our visit was a Turkish restaurant called Kilikyas, which was positioned in a perfect alignment for you to gaze through the shiny yachts and have a peak of the Thames. With waiters dressed in semi-authentic attire, we already had semi-high expectations.
We went for the Türk Kahvaltisi (or Turkish Breakfast) option which included a sausage, egg, raw veggies, olives, yellow and white cheese, Turkish bread. Blame it on the cultural differences, but the non-meat option (same ingredients, no sausage) meant you pay a pound extra – literally, poor vegetarians! Let’s just say we have an ample experience of eating Balkan food so the selection was neither a surprise nor were we particularly impressed. But for anyone who is eager to have a healthier than the English breakfast equivalent, you will not be disappointed. We decided to share it, which turned out a good portion after a full week of extra than necessary indulgence, so have this in mind if visiting. And because going to a Turkish restaurant and skipping on the baklava is probably a crime, we induced the experience by some pistachio-filled pastry in sugary syrup.
Despite the little language barrier we experienced when ordering (not our English in this instance), it was a happy sunny Sunday with ok food and lovely location. 3.5/5
The truth is we were up to much more this month – think of Italian brunch in Wapping, live guitar performance next to a hot tub in Camden, flat cap shopping in vintage shops, microbrewery in Angel, but we just share all the fun. 🙂