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Courtesy of John Lewis
Courtesy of John Lewis
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The Best Pop-Up Restaurants In London In August

Picture of Harriet Clugston
Updated: 9 February 2017
If there’s one thing London knows how to do really well, it’s pop-up dining. This month, we’ve got exciting supper clubs, theme restaurants, music/food fusion events and, of course, some Olympic flavour. So whether you want crocodile popcorn, paintable chicken, Brazilian seafood stew or slow American BBQ, read on to discover The Culture Trip’s pick of the very best in pop-up restaurants for the rest of August.

Django Bango

Dive into the wild, wild west with this all-encompassing, theatrical, mining-themed pop up in Vauxhall. Every Friday and Saturday until October 1st, former steelworks The Yard off Kennington Lane will be transformed into a mecca for London’s cowboys, with live country blues music, character actors galore, mining-themed cocktails to wet your whistle and a five-course feast featuring western ‘staples’ such as deep fried crocodile and whiskey-soaked beef short ribs, while the Django Bango Express steams past your table. Hidden around the mine and in your food are golden coins which can be bartered for prizes. Giddy up, y’all.

The Yard, 4 Durham Street, Vauxhall, London, SE11 5JA, UK, +44 7812 571 480

Crocodile popcorn | Courtesy of Django Bango
Crocodile popcorn | Courtesy of Django Bango

Christabel’s Edible Playground

Christabel’s are known for throwing unique and colourful theme parties for corporate brands and individuals alike, but they also run regular pop-up events giving everybody the chance to get in on the fun. In August and September, they will be holding their popular Edible Playground pop-up, where weird and wonderful meals incorporating childhood games — including lego, snakes and ladders, jenga and colouring in — invite you to literally play with your food; mould it, paint it, decorate your plate, eat it, then leave the cleaning up for someone else!

Secret apartment location in N1, London, UK, +44 20 3770 7066

Courtesy of Christabel Beeson of Christabel’s
Courtesy of Christabel Beeson of Christabel’s

Rio Boteca

This pop-up restaurant in multi-purpose venue the Institute of Light aims to bring a slice of Rio to London Fields. Its Brazilian-inspired food reflects the Olympic host’s extraordinary multiculturalism, exhibiting influences from Portugal, Italy, Japan, Africa, France, German, and Jewish and Arabic cultures. A contemporary take on the bohemian havens that are Brazil’s botecos – or corner pubs – signature dishes include moqueca de peixe e camarão, a traditional seafood stew with coconut and palm oil curry, and vaca malandra, slow cooked short ribs with cassava gratin.

The Institute of Light, Arch 376, 10 Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8 3SB, UK, +44 20 7249 6919

Shotgun BBQ at The Gardening Society

For the whole of the summer period, the roof of John Lewis’s flagship store has been transformed into The Gardening Society – a flowery, garden oasis in the heart of Europe’s most polluted street. Alongside a bar, coffee shop and lawn, The Gardening Society has also been playing host to a series of pop-up restaurants. Throughout August it’s the turn of Shotgun, deliverers of authentic low, slow, American barbecue, who will be offering a range of ‘light’ snacks such as suckling pig stuffed pretzel rolls with bacon jam and Carolina mustard sauce, alongside classic cuts of meat by the pound such as brisket and pork belly, and plenty of buttery sides. It may be a heart attack waiting to happen, but at least you’ll die happy.

300 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1DX, UK, +44 20 7629 7711

Courtesy of John Lewis
Courtesy of John Lewis

Summer Sky Riviera, Searcys at the Gherkin

This year, Searcys summer pop-up event sees the breezy charms and elegant glamour of the Côte d’Azur brought to life on the 40th floor of the iconic Gherkin building. Open until the start of September, the Summer Sky Riviera transforms Searcys into a 1950s summer on the French Riviera – whose sparkling blue seas and scenic beauty have inspired artists from Cézanne to Matisse – with the sound of waves recreated as you lounge on a nautical-striped sun lounger beneath a tropical palm tree, taking in panoramic views of London. An authentic Provence-inspired menu and cocktails crafted in collaboration with Tanqueray No. TEN gin complete the experience.

30 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8EP, UK, +44 20 7071 5025

Ben Spalding Small Plates

At just 29, chef Ben Spalding has been making uncommonly large waves in the London dining scene since his return from a 10-year series of stints at Michelin-starred restaurants. Having declared himself ‘done with formal, predictable and tedious cooking’, Spalding turned to a more laidback, accessible style of dining experience. One of his most refreshing innovations has got to be his Small Plate Sessions, where small, affordable and creative dishes are cooked up, all for under a tenner, accompanied by live, non-commercial electronic music from underground artists and producers. Head to Farringdon’s St Bart’s Brewery on August 14th or 28th, or Willesden Junction’s Common Old Oak on August 20th, to see Ben in action.

66 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DY, UK, +44 20 7600 2705 or Unit D, Nash House, Old Oak Lane, London NW10 6FF, UK, +44 3845 6423

Scallop and kiwi burger | Courtesy of Ben Spalding
Scallop and kiwi burger | Courtesy of Ben Spalding

POPdown by Cuisson

The latest in a series of popular pop-ups from Cuisson, POPdown is an interactive dining experience in the foodie heaven that is Borough Market. Serving an Asian-inspired, five course taster menu in the upstairs floor of a beautiful period building, POPdown’s chefs will be plating up and finishing dishes within the dining room, encouraging diners to ask questions and even lend a helping hand. Downstairs is occupied by the Japanese Ikigai Bar, with the venue as a whole hosting a series of events throughout the summer, from oyster masterclasses to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL, UK, +44 750 366 1757