Eating and drinking, London, Things to do now

Gelupo: London’s new favourite gelateria

It used to be London’s best-kept secret, but this week, Gelupo – Soho’s celebrated ice-cream parlour – has burst out into the open. Formerly, only the initiated knew of Jacob Kenedy’s gelateria discreetly hidden away in Archer Street. But now that the flagship has opened at Cambridge Circus – where Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue intersect – there’ll be no escaping the sweet temptation.

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The secret’s out: Gelupo now occupies a prime location

It’s gelato in the best Italian tradition – authentic, well-made, and laudably free from American-style gimmickry: all you get is straight-up, honest flavours. The chocolate sorbet is so wonderfully soft you want to bathe in it; blood orange has an exciting zest perfect for a hot summer afternoon, and in a nod to English palates, kiwi, elderflower and gin has a gentle zing.

Jacob Kenedy and his business partner Victor Hugo have great plans

Jacob Kenedy and his business partner Victor Hugo have great plans

Combining such culinary mastery with a prime location – who doesn’t pass this junction on their Soho sorties? – Gelupo Cambridge Circus is bound to become a favourite London hangout. And there’s more to come: Kenedy and his business partner Hugo are about to open a brand-new street food restaurant on the same site. It’s a welcome antidote to the new McDonald’s just across the road.

Cliché has it that Soho is losing its soul and falling victim to global forces. That this location has gone to two local lads should give us cause for joy.

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Culture vulture, Music, Theatre, Things to do now

Sunday poetry and jazz at Ronnie Scott’s

Pity poor Sunday night. Still suffering from the effects of the weekend and overshadowed by Monday’s approach, the fag end of the Sabbath is usually given over to slouching in front of the telly. Which is a shame, because once a month, Jumoké Fashola takes over the upstairs bar at Ronnie Scott’s with jazz and poetry, ending the weekend with a flourish.
There's no getting away from her

There’s no getting away from her

I like Jumoké. Like her sartorial rival, Camila Batmanghelidjh, she wears a trademark turban, a head-dress which is as regal as it is decorative. Who is the original, who the fake? My guess is that Batsie has the older rights. But Jumoké is a feisty challenger, and if I were Camila, I’d let Jumoké wrap herself up to her head’s content. In this season of goodwill, ladies everywhere, let our pacific motto be: no more burnin’ the turban.
Move over, Bats, there's a new turban in town

Move over, Bats, there’s a new turb in town

Ms Fashola has been impossible to avoid in recent weeks. Wherever I go, her turban follows. Standing tall and not a hair in sight, she fluffed us up for Fingersnap. Then she presented piano legend Abdullah Ibrahim at the London Jazz Festival. And when I walked into Jazz Verse Jukebox to see a friend, there she is again. It feels like the universe is drawing us together.
Aisling Fahey has unassuming power

Aisling Fahey: unassuming power

At Jazz Verse Jukeboz, Jumoké displays an unfailing knack for spotting up-and-coming talent. The last line-up featured Aisling Fahey, the New Young Poet Laureate for London. Her demeanour may be sweet and innocent, but her poetry is acutely observed and real. David Lee Morgan dazzled with an impassioned, epic poem on the atrocities of Congo’s colonial past. And Keith Jarrett delivered a performance that was both polished, stimulating and gripping. All this was complemented by jazz and a chance for new talent to shine in front of the open mic.
Keith Jarrett: Dazzling verse, masterfully delivered

Keith Jarrett: Dazzling verse, masterfully delivered

It was a memorable night which proved that you can still enjoy world class art at student prices right in the heart of London. So this Sunday, drag yourself away from the sofa and venture out to Ronnie’s Bar.
Jazz Verse Jukebox starts at 8pm; entry is £8.
2014 BBC Slam Poet David Morgan

2014 BBC Slam Poet David Morgan: passion and humanity

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Leisure pursuits, Things to do now

Monty’s Winter Garden: Fake penguin, genuine panorama

As you dodge the demented crowds of shoppers in Oxford St, your frazzled nerves may well cry out for the balm only a people-free view can provide.

So walk up to the roof at John Lewis, currently home to Monty’s Winter Garden. Yes, it’s another retail opportunity encouraging you to spend and consume. But then, a hot coffee with a view of London may be just the ticket.

Let’s not delude ourselves: what’s on offer isn’t the marble roofs of Rome, nor are we as high up as Panorama Bar in Centre Point. But it’s lovely still.

As for Monty the Penguin, he’s obviously fake. But children are impressionable and they don’t seem to mind. Instead, they’re happily playing with the gadgets and materials laid on by a Japanese electronics producer. It’s all quite creative — kids get to produce their own Christmas cards among other stuff, so it can’t be all bad.

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