Yes, it's that time again - where the menus of London's restaurants, cafes, burger joints and sandwich emporiums all come with added seasonal fare. Turkey starts to make a BIG appearance and there's the majesty of the Christmas sandwich for all to behold. We've rounded up what to expect this Christmas and keep checking back for more specials...
What?You don't have to go all the way to Scotland for some deep-fried festive food - Sutton and Sons are bringing back their deep fried battered sprouts and mince pies for a second year running.
When? Until 31 December at their restaurants in Hackney, Stoke Newington and Islington.
What? Talli Joe are taking a wholly Goan-style approach to the Christmas special. Their Mrs. Fernandez Quail Cafreal Roast (£12) features a whole quail, roasted in a traditional Goan Calfreal spice mix, served with red cabbage foogath (red cabbage cooked with curry leaves, mustard seeds, green chilli and coconut) and oven baked potatoes in ‘East Indian bottle masala’ (a Goan spice mix, traditionally stored in alcohol bottles).
When? Now and all December.
What? Nuno Mendes and head pastry chef Adam Degg have created some all-white macarons for their Festive Macarons. While they'll all be reflecting a white Christmas, the flavours are varied, including Smoked Vanilla Egg Nog, Spiced pumpkin & brown butter, and Umeboshi Clementine.
When? Now until 24 December
What? Chef and cookery writer Gizzi Erskine's collaboration with Leon continues with three new festive additions to their menu - a turkey curry (£6.45) spiced with garam masala, cumin and coriander and topped with a sprinkling of crispy onions and this salad of shredded Brussels sprouts with mint and dill in a pomegranate dressing (£2.25) topped with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. For dessert there's an Earl Grey Mince Pie made with wheat-free pastry (£1.60).
What?Crosstown Doughnuts have a range of seasonal specials, but our favourites are the Mince Pie Dough Bites - a mini sourdough doughnut filled with homemade mincemeat, topped with a brandy butter glaze and finished with a vanilla pie crust crumble.
When? Now until Christmas
What?Christmas specials aren't ALL burgers. Sushi chain Wasabi has come in on the action this year with a range of seasonal sushi. Their Big Christmas Box (pictured - £8.29) includes smoked salmon nigiri with cream cheese and dill; smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive rolls; surimi crabmeat rolls; turkey breast with redcurrant and a pot of cranberry sauce with dill. There's also a veggie version (£4.49) including pumpkin croquettes with redcurrants.
When? Now until Christmas
What? Blacklock are describing their burger as a "Christmas cuddle in a bun". At £15, it's a toasted demi-brioche bun around Warrens' Best of British turkeys grilled on the Blacklock grill plus a homemade sausage and onion patty "with some new sorcery", crispy Middlewhite back bacon, spiced cranberry ketchup and steamed greens. And you can dip the whole thing in turkey gravy.
When? Now and all December.
What? This huge creations is the Bird Chrimbo Burger, returning after a big success last year. It’s cranberry-glazed fried chicken, sage & onion stuffing and panko-crusted brie, topped with bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers and served with a side of parsnip crisps. Yours for £12.50.
When? 23 November
Christmas at Dirty Bones
What? This year, as well as some special Christmas menus, Dirty Bones (Shoreditchare putting on three Christmas specials for the season. First is "The Christmas Burger" - aged beef with spiced red cabbage, kale holly, bread sauce mayonnaise and Christmas gravy (£10). That's it above - nice and messy... Then there's the "Smashed Mince Pie" - as it sounds and served with white chocolate gelato and coconut snow (£6). And finally a Christmas cocktail with the Mince Pie Bramble (£8).
When? 28 November 2016
Shake Shack's Alpine burger
What? Shack Shack may be eschewing the usual Christmas ingredients, but they've instead opted for a wintery themed burger. This is the Alpine Bavon Burger, on sale for the Christmas season, and which has Swiss Appenzeller Cheese. Just imagine you've just left the slopes for this.
When? At all Shake Shacks now
Ben's Canteen's Xmas burger
What? This huge Christmas burger is coming to Ben's Canteen in Battersea and Earlsfield. It's a sage and shallot buttermilk turkey breast topped with a squashed stuffing ball, slow roasted honey & mustard ham hock, buttered Brussel tops, garlic mayo, melted Brie and cranberry sauce. So yes, that IS Christmassy. It's £12.50, or £17 with a matched glass of Adega de Monaco, 2015 Vinho Verde.
When? 1 December
What about the Pret Christmas Sandwich?
What? As the John Lewis ad heralds the start of Christmas TV advertising in earnest, the arrival of Pret's Christmas range is guaranteed to send us into a festive foodie frenzy. This year, in addition to their traditional sarnie
This year, in addition to their traditional sarnie Pret are bringing out their first vegan Christmas baguette, featuring grilled carrots, parsnip puree and crispy onions with festive chutney, toasted pistachios and peppery watercress. On the hot food front there'll be a new Christmassy Macaroni Cheese, with ham hock and Brussels sprouts and two new seasonal toasties; French Brie & Cranberry and Ham Hock & Chutney.
When? Launches on Tuesday 8 November 2016.
And EAT's pigs in blankets?
What? The little pots of EAT's pigs in blankets are, quite rightly, a staple in the Hot Dinners office and the six British sausages wrapped in maple-cured bacon served in a pot with EAT.’s own Christmassy cranberry sauce will be £2.50. But this year you'll want to get your hands on their newest pot of wonderment. The Brie & Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese is £5.50 and comes topped with cranberry sauce and breadcrumbs.
When? From 16 November 2016
Byron's Cheesemas No 1 burger
What? Byron go all out for what they term Cheesemas. Their festive burger this year is the Cheesemas No 1 - featuring two 6oz burgers, mature Cheddar, smoked bacon and onion relish, bacon island sauce and pickles topped with an onion ring - £12.95. But what you're REALLY going to want to do is "Mac it up" which means them pouring smoked bacon macaroni cheese inside that onion ring on the top. It'll be the best £1 you spend.
When? From 8 November
The MEATliquor XXXmas range
What? This year MEATliquor has a whole range of special Christmas food to get stuck into. There's the XXXmas burger (9.50) – “free-range herons farm roast turkey, herons farm old spot sausage patty, crispy bacon, stuffing crumbles, gravy, cranberry sauce.” And you take away the bun an patty and have that served over fries adding piggies in blankets (which you can order as a side) with their XXXmas garbage plate (£10). There’s also the Xmac and cheesier – “deep fried camembert & stilton mac ‘n’ cheese logs served with a cranberry dipping sauce” and a turkey cheesesteak too.
When? From 14 November
What? John Lewis have relaunched their rooftop restaurant for the winter with Mac & Wild taking over the food. And as part of that, they've introduced a special Christmas burger. It's a a demi brioche bun, buttermilk fried turkey, stuffing, mincemeat, stilton and bread sauce. Don't expect to see any bouncing boxers up there though...
When? From 7 November to 30 December
The KFC Christmas burger
What? Even KFC is getting into the Christmas spirit this year, with their first ever Christmas burger. No turkey here, of course, but the Colonel’s Christmas Burger is made up of an Original Recipe fillet, Hash Brown, Cheese, Lettuce, Cranberry Sauce and Sage & Onion Stuffing mayonnaise. It'll be £3.99.
When? From 28 November until 1 January.
Marks and Spencer Christmas specials
What? Now we have to admit we do like the Christmas party selection at Marks and Spencer - they seem to go that extra mile every year. But while food like the "Three Bird Sausage Rolls and "Hot and Sour Prawn Doughnuts" sound amazing, we're taking a closer look at their to-go range, AKA Food on the Move.
There's the main event with the Festive Feast ("Roast British turkey breast with pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, smoked British bacon and mayonnaise on malted brown bread") but the one things that REALLY stands out is the Runny Scotch Egg. Ready to eat immediately, it's "Runny poached egg wrapped in turkey, smoked maple cured bacon and cranberry sausagemeat, in a parsley crumb". We have no idea how they do this.
When? The full range should be in stores by the second week of November.
The Paul Christmas sandwiches
What? Paul's main event this year is the Dinde de Noël (£4.50). That's "an artisan, sage and onion baguette dotted with cranberries and loaded with succulent sliced turkey, smoky bacon and spinach, topped with a rich cream cheese and horseradish sauce." But if you're after a veggie feast, they also have a "toasted camembert and caramelised onion sandwich (£3.85)."
When? At all Paul's from 11th November – 24th December
Brussel sprout pizza at 400 Rabbits
What? Tis definitely the season for brussel sprouts and 400 Rabbits (in Crystal Palace and Nunhead) are making the most of it with this pizza. Their 48-hour fermented sourdough is topped with Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Hot Smoked Pigs Cheeks, tomato sauce, Fior di Latte Mozzarella and Smoked Lincolnshire Poacher for £9.75
When? 1 December
The Christmas Dinner Burger at All Star Lanes
What? All Star Lanes do like their special burgers and this one has all the trimmings. The Christmas Dinner burger is "a sage & onion encrusted Turkey patty, sat on top of a generous layer of sausage stuffing and lashings of cranberry & treacle-cured bacon jam. It's sandwiched in a toasted brioche bun and topped with the traditional pig in blanket, with truffle and parmesan hash tots on the side."
When? From 23 November 2016
The Rudolph burger at Three Cheers pubs
What? Three Cheers own quite a few pubs south of the river and they'll have the Rudolph Burger on at all seven of them. That's British venison mince with melted Stilton, cranberry sauce, caramelised onions and gherkin all served with hand cut chips for £13.
When? 23 November - 24th December
Look out for more specials added to this piece throughout the Christmas season.
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