Ippudo Amen to ramen

According to word on the street (the internet), Shigemi Kawahara is the Ramen King of the World, and according to the queueing bellies outside his new London branch of Ippudo, the hype is for a good reason.

What started out as a little grub shack selling Japanese soul food to the slurpers of Hakata is now making waves in the wider culinary world. After satisfying his homeland’s hunger with over 80 stores, they have set up shop in Australia, Korea and China, finally touching down in London with a mob of drooling, worldly foodies eagerly waiting. The cheap-and-fast street food label of ramen has been ripped off, however, as their sit-down lunch and dinner menus show off some pretty exquisite treats: seared and braised pork bellies, raw baby octopuses, chirashi sushi and tonkotsu pork broths. All of which don’t disappoint in the slightest and are bound to brighten up the ole Instagram feed too. Drinks-wise, you can treat yourself to cocktails, bottled beers, hot or cold sake, Japanese whiskies, teas, and various wines to wash down your tiger prawn toast. Go there with the aim of trying something new. Chopsticks at the ready, everyone.

The Goodhood Store Up, up and away featured

When The Goodhood Store first opened its doors in 2007, it was heralded as having an innovative approach to fashion retail rarely seen outside of Japan. In the same vein, they went on to open the Goodhood Life Store, Goodhood Creative and launch ‘Goods by Goodhood’, their own in house label. That’s a lot of Goodhood. All this expanding has, unsurprisingly, seen them outgrow their original location and they have opened a new flagship store, along with its very own cafe. The new store incorporates womenswear, menswear, kidswear, homeware and any other ware you can think of, all under one roof. The same attention to detail and charm that made the brand successful in the first place is still apparent, both in their own collection and their curated offerings—exclusive lines by the likes of Opening Ceremony, Building Block and Monocle are available here. The cafe, meanwhile, serves up healthy grub and single origin coffee, providing a relaxed community vibe to this colossal retail space. With whispers of taking the brand outside of London, it seems the sky’s the limit for Goodhood.

WC Restroom reincarnation

Who knew that a public toilet could have such an amazing lease of life? More than 100 years old, this former WC under Clapham Common has now been converted into… WC. Though this time it stands for wine and charcuterie as opposed to water closet. Restoring as many of the old features as they could—the original cubicle doors now table tops, the owners have spruced the place up with reclaimed mahogany furniture and leather cushioning. The space offers an intimate venue for fine wines, cocktails and charcuterie boards, enjoyed on tables squeezed into the same positions as the original stalls. As you will have guessed: the former life of this place is well and truly embraced. Notes found inside the walls from ‘previous guests’ are now framed in their actual toilets, and make for interesting restroom reading. Only seating 40, it’s wise to get there early as while there is an outdoor area, the main draw of this place is in the seclusion and relaxation of the inside. After all, no one likes going to the toilet out in the cold.

Enclave Lucy in the sky with Deptford

South London never really stood a chance when the hordes from Dalston and Hackney started gravitating to the other side of the Thames. First Brixton got chewed up and spat back out as an upmarket parody of its formally hardcore self (Champagne + Fromage? Errrr, what!?). Next it was Peckham that found itself tumbling down the gullets of the gentrifiers. Where, then, pray tell, are you supposed to go ‘daaan saaaff’ these days without tripping over a macadamia nut and soy milk cafe latte?

We’d suggest taking a punt at Deptford, or more specifically Enclave: An artist run gallery cum project space complex on Resolution Way. The gallery side of things hosts funky and often experimental exhibitions — more often than not a colorful affair — across a range of media, by a mixture of guest artists and those who are tenants. The seven project spaces meanwhile play home to other artists and those working independently in publishing or food circles, with each space hosting their own autonomous public programmes.

Sure, we admit it, the place does exhibit some of the traits that we were stubbornly poking our pitchfork at above, coffee bar and monthly speakeasy amongst, but it’s not as black-and-white as that. These bits carry the same vibe as the rest of the place. They aren’t smarmy and they’re not contrived; they just serve good coffee and host the occasional monster party — no exposed brickwork or deconstructed negronis in sight.

The Old Police Station 'ello, 'ello, 'ello

There’s always been a defiant element to urban renewal: Reclaiming spaces abandoned by the powers that be, and repackaging them for the enrichment of the local community. It’s contemporary cultural Robin Hoodism is what it is — just with the nice, green trees of Sherwood forest replaced by crumbling masonry.

Down in deepest, darkest Deptford this sentiment certainly rings true, where an old police station on Amersham Vale has been coerced out of retirement to serve a new purpose as an artistic hub. Imaginatively rechristened The Old Police Station, the former clink is now home to a bunch of artist studios, project spaces, radio stations, recording studios and social spaces. Running on a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of basis, anyone is free to to rent out one of the spaces for as long as they like and fill it with whatever they like.

This makes for an eclectic program, meaning on any given day you might come across a heady blend of art installations (which tend to lean to the funky, experimental side of things), gigs, supper clubs, and so forth. They also hold exhibitions in the prison cells too, so you can flirt with life behind bars — only you’ll have interesting stuff to look at as you wile away your incarceration, not just a toilet.

White Lyan Cocktail nerdistry

Nomadic bartending extraordinaire Ryan Chetiyawardana has made a hell of a name for himself throwing curveballs at the cocktail rulebook in recent years. White Lyan, formerly the White Horse pub, now a stripped-down, paint-it-black enclave of experimentation, is the mound that he’s currently pitching from.

Perishables (translation: Ice and fruit) and branded products find no home here. Everything in those elegant, stoppered glass bottles (mixers, bitters and even the pre-made spirit mixes) are produced, painstakingly, in-house. You’ll understand why when they’ve been imaginatively blended to form a drink like nothing you’ve ever come across before.

Case in point, the Moby Dick Sazerac: Rye whisky, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe-soaked rice paper and ambergris. Yup, ambergris—because it adds body, obviously. If such liquid wizardry is lost on you, there’s a wine of each colour and a czech lager to tide you over. To opt for one of the three is to miss the point though. This place does cocktails, and you won’t find the like of what they mix anywhere else.

Topolski Out of the bunker

Formerly the bunker-cum-studio of expressionist painter and illustrator Feliks Topolksi, this under-the-arches spot on the South Bank is making sure the Polish-born artist’s legacy in the area lives on. Works by the man himself loom large all around, held aloft by a network of metal supports that extend overhead—framing a rust-red, circular sculpture at the cavernous space’s depths.

There’s an Eastern European slant to the menu (both food and drink) with pickles, cured meat and fish, as well as house infused vodkas at its core. For the persistently Anglocentric, the lengthy wood-panelled bar also carries a who’s who of craft local beers including Camden Hell’s lager, Portobello London pilsner and Kernel pale ale.

Come sundown there’s a curated programme of cultural events too, where music flows, cabaret kicks and artists exhibit to keep the spirit of Topolski’s former tenant alive.

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