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October in London

5 October 2015 | Josh Barrie

Look, we know that suddenly, as you walk to work in what is quickly becoming darkness, you can probably see your breath. Autumn is no longer the faint falling of browning leaves – it’s the chilly breeze that sweeps them from your feet. Still, no matter, for October also brings with it delights such as London Cocktail Week and Halloween. There’s so much for you to wear a coat to…

After drowning yourself in the wonders of London’s exceptional cocktail scene from October 5-11, sink your teeth into one of two hot new restaurant openings in London.

The first is the new Modern Pantry restaurant in Finsbury Square. The venture kicked off in Clerkenwell in 2008 and didn’t rush to open its second.

It’s fair to be a touch wary of places becoming brands, chains, too rapidly – for fear of what they’re truly about being lost in a hive of gluttony. But Anna Hansen MBE’s Modern Pantry was well received and now chef Rob McLeary has been tasked to take the new establishment to another pocket of the capital.

The second MP restaurant can be found in an old Art Deco building. Tapas will dominate the ground floor. A private dining room to the back makes full use of an enviable high ceiling. The whole thing is a “collaborative” effort between Hansen and McLeary, where “bold flavours and colourful ingredients from around the world” are on the menu.

The second couldn’t be more different – smoky and dark. But very much alive. Mac and Wild on Great Titchfield Street is a celebration of Scotland’s foodie wares. We feel inclined to spotlight the place – there’s such bountiful produce amid every loch, behind each patch of heath. And sure, too often the country’s culinary outgoings get negative press.

Indeed, there’s not a battered Mars bar in sight at Mac and Wild. Instead, ethically sourced, sustainably hunted venison; prime beef; a plethora of whiskys to sup on. Oh, and there are also haggis lollipops and the odd bit of fish.

“We hunt for deer on the top of mountains – miles from civilisation as you know it,” writes the owner.

Sadly, you’ll have missed the grouse by now, but it’s worth ringing ahead to find out what Scotland’s season will have served up at the London restaurant this month. You never know what our cousins might have caught up there. Whatever you eat, there’s always loads of wine and whisky.

We talked about ‘around the world earlier,’ then came closer to home. Well, we’re off again – this time to India.

‘The Fabric of India’ at the V&A begins on October 3. The exhibition is one of the museum’s most prominent for the autumn period, an assault on the seeing sense, where you’ll be spun and woven through a tapestry of marvellous fabrics – masterful in their birth and design.

At The Fabric of India, there’ll be 200 different handmade textiles. The museum describes it as “the highlight of the ‘India Festival’.” We think it could be one of the highlights of the season. It’s a chance to explore the country’s rich past – 6,000 years of wall hangings and change.

“Centuries of global trade have been shaped by the export of Indian textiles and patterns, in demand around the world,” the V&A explains.

“These celebrated hand-made textiles even survived the threat of industrialisation, instead uniting India as symbols of power and protest.”

Read our full write up and find out ticket information here.

Oh fine! We’ll include one more idea for Halloween – alongside our take on the Raveyard, the movie mash up, and the horrors of Proud Camden.

This is an even more alternative idea for the ghoulish date. Rather than ghosts, witches, and sultry masks, here’s a dancehall classic thrust yet further into Halloween’s clutches: ‘Thrill the World’.

Yes, it’s that time again, when thousands of people across our just about alive planet try to break the world record for zombie infestation. We Brits aren’t the only eccentrics – from Italy, to Australia, to the US many sport their best half-dead outfits and dance along to MJ’s Thriller. Yes.

Here in London, Covent Garden is the place to be. At 10pm, spooks will get down to the classic number. So why not burst out of your metaphorical coffins and feel alive!

Also, we like the deeper meaning to the event: “This is a global community project that is inspiring others to break down barriers, connect with people of all religions, race, political and economic persuasions, contribute to helping humanity, encourage environmental stewardship and encourage people to step up as leaders, visionaries, and creators.”

Thrill the World is a charming take on Halloween. Here’s a little more about it and the full details.

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