London has a tried and trusted way of adapting American themes to suit British and international tastes. The New York style brasserie is now a staple on London’s culinary scene with Covent Garden’s Joe Allen being a particularly convivial example. Premiership football teams like Spurs are incorporating USA style cheerleaders and mascots and even pizza parlours with Italian menus like to give their menus a transatlantic twist. Absorb, adapt and advance seems to have become our unofficial motto going into the New Year.
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United/ Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Wembley Stadium
If any team can catch up with the two Manchester clubs this season it will be Spurs. With both Arsenal and Chelsea stalling, Tottenham are determined to cash in and end up as top London dogs and as for the Premiership? Well anything can happen. Spurs kick off the New Year with a home game against East London rivals West Ham and the fact that the Hammers are struggling shouldn’t warrant any complacency.The end of January provides a real chance to close the gap on at least one of the leaders. Manchester United will be visiting Wembley and it will be fascinating to compare the two most prolific strikers in English football, especially as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku will be facing one another in the World Cup later this year.
Annie: The Musical – Piccadilly Theatre
Annie has become the favourite vehicle for comedy villains as actors queue up to play the frightful Miss Hannigan whose orphanage provides the setting for a brave girl’s dreams of a better life. Performers as disparate as Miranda Hart and Craig Revel Horwood have brought their talents to the role and this January sees Meera Syal don the famous tea dress.Hannigan pursues cute little Annie through 1930s New York as she searches for her family with the help of billionaire, Oliver Warbucks but we all know that love and kindness will prevail. If you’ve only seen the most recent film, you’ll find this production’s old-school renditions of “Tomorrow” and “Hard Knock Life” quite refreshing.
Bunga Bunga – Covent Garden
Hedonistic times are set to arrive in Covent Garden in the shape of the Bunga Bunga franchise which was (and is) such a roaring success with the Chelsea set. Inspired by the well-documented shenanigans of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the template is simple: big pizzas and strong cocktails.It’s going to be a popular recipe in this part of the West End with karaoke nights, guest DJs and live music all in the mix. The drinks list is a mammoth 24 pages long and the pizzas have names like “Julius Cheezer” and “Italian Stallion” which lets you know that this corner of Covent Garden will be buzzing long into the night.
Joe Allen – Covent Garden
The attraction of this Theatreland bolthole was always the clientele. Joe Allen is a thespian institution that has been feeding and watering West End performers for decades. They have relocated just down the road due to ongoing redevelopment and there were fears that its unique vibe would not survive the move.All is well, however, as every stained floorboard, piece of clutter and weird artefact has been put back in place in the new address. The menu also stays the same with grilled swordfish and bespoke burgers providing sustenance for the likes of Sheridan Smith and Christopher Biggins.