The Cultural Exposé http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk A blog from a lifestyle journo covering culture, food and style in London and beyond. Sun, 17 Jun 2018 21:38:52 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/cropped-logo_2017-32x32.jpg The Cultural Exposé http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk 32 32 Five Dope Tracks is a curation of dope music, five tracks at a time. Check out the monthly playlist each month on Spotify. The Cultural Exposé clean episodic The Cultural Exposé megerecooper@gmail.com megerecooper@gmail.com (The Cultural Exposé) The Five Dope Tracks music podcast The Cultural Exposé http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/five_dope_tracks_podcast_cover.jpg http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk Oslo do a mean roast but here’s why we’re liking the summer menu too http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/oslo-hackney/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/oslo-hackney/#respond Sun, 17 Jun 2018 21:33:58 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12456 When Oslo opened in 2014, it was a major coup for Hackney Central – an area more notorious for its charming shabbiness than its potential to house a Nordic-inspired  restaurant / club / bar that’s a stone throw away from the station. Four years on and it’s settled into the neighbourhood nicely, earning a rep for its […]

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When Oslo opened in 2014, it was a major coup for Hackney Central – an area more notorious for its charming shabbiness than its potential to house a Nordic-inspired  restaurant / club / bar that’s a stone throw away from the station. Four years on and it’s settled into the neighbourhood nicely, earning a rep for its Sunday roasts and live music nights.

Oslo’s latest move is a new, revamped menu in time for summer. New additions on the menu  include:

  • Cod Bolinhos (cod croquettes)
  • Nordic Poke
  • Grønn Salad
  • Spiced Halloumi Sub
  • Poussin

On a recent visit, I went for the poussin – a tender, whole roasted baby chicken, finished off with a sweet balsamic glaze, and accompanied by a respectable thai salad and quality fries. It was more than a sufficient lunch – although my plus one and I couldn’t help but order the impressive banoffee sliders for dessert (a menu standard, but pretty extraordinary).

Of course, when the sun’s out, the last thing anyone wants to do is dine indoors, but on those days when the weather’s misbehaving, Oslo’s at least a destination that, unlike our summers, won’t disappoint.

Check out pics from my visit below:

To check out the menu or plan a visit, head over to their website oslohackney.com.

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Bill’s relaunched – and it’s brilliant http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/bills-relaunched-and-its-brilliant/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/bills-relaunched-and-its-brilliant/#respond Sat, 31 Mar 2018 13:23:18 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12436 The first time I visited a Bill’s restaurant, it was love at first sight. Well, first bite – of a mini donut. Those fluffs of doughy cinnamon-y goodness were exceptional, and quite telling of an establishment that looked and felt as warm a countryside kitchen. Alas, that was nearly four years ago during a summer […]

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The first time I visited a Bill’s restaurant, it was love at first sight. Well, first bite – of a mini donut. Those fluffs of doughy cinnamon-y goodness were exceptional, and quite telling of an establishment that looked and felt as warm a countryside kitchen. Alas, that was nearly four years ago during a summer in Cambridge, and since then, Bill’s hasn’t exactly been on the top of my hit list – simply because I’m on a bit of a health streak and have taken my eating out down a notch.  But judging by a new and improved menu, Bill’s has cottoned on to the healthy restaurants trend, and nailed it.

I was recently invited to try out the new  weekend brunch menu, which now includes healthy sharing plates and  green smoothies – just the sort of place you’d want to swing by after a workout. Personal highlights included a moreish beetroot and goats cheese aranchini, and an extremely tasty panfried chicken with truffle and mushroom, with a side of seasonal veg. But there’s still loads of gorgeous, well-prepared menu item for anyone having a cheat day (like the incredible  – and ginormous – Bill’s fish finger and prawn sandwich ). A special shoutout also goes to the  melting banoffee sundae, which is as heavenly as it sounds.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the Covent Garden branch has had a sweet refurb, with the sort of interiors that were made for Instagram. Check out pics from my recent visit below…    

Have you been to Bill’s recently? What’s your verdict? Let me know in the comments!

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5 things to do in Dubai (on a budget) http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/travel/things-to-do-in-dubai/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/travel/things-to-do-in-dubai/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 14:09:58 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12419 As long as I can remember, Dubai has been framed as that place you flee to if you 1) can’t get a job in London or 2) can get a job in London  (but you’re prefer your salary tax free and multiplied by 3). To the latter point, I’ve seen a steady stream of friends […]

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As long as I can remember, Dubai has been framed as that place you flee to if you 1) can’t get a job in London or 2) can get a job in London  (but you’re prefer your salary tax free and multiplied by 3). To the latter point, I’ve seen a steady stream of friends make the jump over the years with little regret, and an undeniable glow that comes with plenty of Vitamin D and no debts in the bank. No doubt, it’s a charmed life.

Holiday-wise, travel books will tell you that the young Middle Eastern city – one of the richest cities in the world  – is very modern, American and excessive; a liberal playground for wealthy magnates that fly in, hit the highways in sleek rides and flock to the high-rise hotels for big pimpin’ and spendin’ cheese (Just ask Jay-Z, Drake , DJ Khaled et. al who consider the DXB their spiritual home).

But for some of us who are less inclined to pop swanky bottles or make it rain with our rent money, there’s a Dubai for us too – one steeped in  more history and alternative culture, less shopping malls and boozy brunches. And, if you go in January and February, you can get a flight for under £200: not bad  for guaranteed sunshine (average 24 °C) in the winter.

So for things to do in Dubai – quirky things, arty things, foodie things, value for money things – who are five activities I managed to tick off on my recent Christmas holiday (NB: Dubai is a driver’s city, but car rental is a doddle or you can cab /Uber it everywhere.)

A mooch around Alserkal Avenue

This industrial compound of revamped warehouses is the hub for edgy art galleries, regular festivals, music nights, pop-up shops, a cinema, cafes and everything else you’d find around Boxpark in Shoreditch (but much better).  Free to walk around, Alserkal Avenue is where you’ll find the hipster expats hanging out with Emirati cool kids, and the moneyed art set bringing a fresh wave  of creativity to the masses.

the gold souk in Dubai

The gold souk in Deira 

If crowds give you anxiety, this probably isn’t for you. And real talk, I thought I was gonna have a panic attack the first time I visited the legendary gold souk. But, once you can tune out the relentless salesmen asking if you want a watch or their other wares, it’s bearable – especially if you want to buy a bit of bling aka gold. Just make sure you have the current market price of the precious stuff committed to memory so you can work out how to get value for money and what you can afford. It’s sold by karat and weight, so you’re basically haggling on the labour cost.

abra boat ride in Dubai

An ‘Abra’ boat ride

For 30 dirham (£6-£7) each,  we took a private, 30 minute boat ride from Deira on an Abra – a traditional wooden boat that is a cheap way to see the old Dubai via the creek. If you don’t want to do the whole private thing, it’ll only cost you 1 dirham for a quickie ride across the river. Do it before sunset for a charming end to an afternoon of haggling at the nearby gold souk.

Lunch at the Arabian Tea House

For foodie things to do in Dubai, There’s a branch of the Arabian Tea House in the quaint Al Bastakiya area, and it’s so popular they don’t take reservations. But it only took 15 minutes on a Saturday to get seated at this lovely restaurant which serves traditional and affordable Arabian fare.

Chilling at JBR beach

Hitting JBR beach

There’s something very Beverley Hills about the Jumeirah Beach Residence – a glossy,  residential, waterfront community near the Dubai Marina. Still, the JBR beach is free. This one’s pretty popular given it’s easily accessible, but there’s plenty of sun, sea and sand for everyone.

Looking for things to do in Dubai? Or maybe you’ve already been? Let me know in the comment!

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Eric Benét and co have teamed up with Cuban artists for a new album http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/music/eric-benet-co-teamed-cuban-artists-new-album/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/music/eric-benet-co-teamed-cuban-artists-new-album/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 18:23:29 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12413 Once a music journalist, always a music journalist. A PR hit me up recently to let me know that Eric Benét was coming to town. Now, aside from recent shady shots fired from Jay-Z, I can’t say the fella’s been on my mind of late. And the feminist within hasn’t quite forgotten the Halle Years […]

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Once a music journalist, always a music journalist. A PR hit me up recently to let me know that Eric Benét was coming to town. Now, aside from recent shady shots fired from Jay-Z, I can’t say the fella’s been on my mind of late. And the feminist within hasn’t quite forgotten the Halle Years (not holding that over his head by the way, God’s forgiven him…)

Anyway, as it turns out,  he’s part of this new album called Two Beats, One Soul – a project featuring a bunch of American and Cuban artists coming together to make, well, music. And it’s pretty good. Other guests on the release include Jon B, Louie Vega and Shaggy, so if you’re here for those latin beats with a little twist, it’s definitely worth a listen.

But back to Eric Benet coming to town. I’ve only known and loved one his albums – 1999’s A Day In The Life, which I distinctly remember buying in Birmingham City Centre before rinsing it to death. Can we talk about Love Of My Own? Georgy Porgy? Why You Follow Me? Love The Hurt Away? That’s tune after tune after tune after TUNE.  I just hope those make the playlist at his gig this Thursday at the Electric Brixton. Anyone else going?

 

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What we’ve been up to… Shuffleboarding at The Little Shuffle Club http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/places-to-go/weve-shuffleboarding-little-shuffle-club/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/places-to-go/weve-shuffleboarding-little-shuffle-club/#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:17:05 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12405 Shufflewhatnow? That’s the reaction I got from my work colleagues last week when I mentioned I spent my Wednesday evening “shuffleboarding”. To the uninitiated, that’s a game that involves pushing discs around for points – and if you google the phrase,  you’ll likely find pics of geriatrics holding broom-like sticks as they get their shuffle […]

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Shufflewhatnow? That’s the reaction I got from my work colleagues last week when I mentioned I spent my Wednesday evening “shuffleboarding”. To the uninitiated, that’s a game that involves pushing discs around for points – and if you google the phrase,  you’ll likely find pics of geriatrics holding broom-like sticks as they get their shuffle on (play on, playas!). I’d be lying if I said I completely understood all the rules during my hump day dalliance, but it was fun – and Londoners can give it a go on November 1, when The London Shuffle Club returns to The Truman Brewery.

In the meantime, you can swing by the club’s new permanent kid bro, The Little Shuffle Club on 2 Ebor Street. It’s currently the only bar in the city dedicated to table shuffleboarding – but if you’re not too hot on playing, drop by for the incredible cocktails or watch a tournament in action.

Find out more at londonshuffle.com and check pics from the Little Shuffle Club’s launch below: 

Little Shuffle Club

Little Shuffle Club

Little Shuffle Club

 

 

 

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Five Dope Tracks – The October 2017 Edit + podcast http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-the-october-2017-edit-podcast/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-the-october-2017-edit-podcast/#respond Sun, 01 Oct 2017 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12398 During my recent ‘fun-employment’ (aka freedom from the 9-5), I decided to do something I’ve wanted to do for ages: record a podcast.  Well, tada! You can now check out the very first Five Dope Tracks podcast, featuring my friends Justin Onyeka and Rasheed Dauda .It’s all about Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope album, which turns the […]

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During my recent ‘fun-employment’ (aka freedom from the 9-5), I decided to do something I’ve wanted to do for ages: record a podcast.  Well, tada! You can now check out the very first Five Dope Tracks podcast, featuring my friends Justin Onyeka and Rasheed Dauda .It’s all about Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope album, which turns the grand age of 20 on October 7th. Admittedly, it’s a little weird this record – but that made it all the more fun, getting reacquainted with it and identifying its Five Dope Tracks (which you can listen to just below). The podcast is on Mixcloud (although unavailable in the US, sorry – copyright rules!).

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Three wonderful things you should check out this autumn http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/three-wonderful-things-check-autumn/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/three-wonderful-things-check-autumn/#respond Tue, 05 Sep 2017 07:30:58 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12389 I’m here for all of this awesome: A post shared by Matilda (@megerecooper) on Aug 12, 2017 at 5:07am PDT Billy Smokes at The Institute of Light Apparently, an Indian summer is on the way this month. If that doesn’t turn out to be fake news, pencil in brunch at the latest Billy Smokes residency. […]

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I’m here for all of this awesome:

A post shared by Matilda (@megerecooper) on

Billy Smokes at The Institute of Light

Apparently, an Indian summer is on the way this month. If that doesn’t turn out to be fake news, pencil in brunch at the latest Billy Smokes residency. The grown-up BBQ experts have been serving up finger lickin’ charred meats at the mega cool The Institute of London since July. While the weather’s good, bag an outdoor seat and try their slow smoked Texas-meets-Brit specialties. billy-smokes.com

Basquiat: Boom For Real

I’ve been counting down the days until this incredible retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work finally arrived in London. Well, it’s only a few more weeks to go before we can delve into the world of the multi-talented artist from September 21st. For those unfamiliar with the name, Basquiat rolled with Warhol and took the 80s downtown New York art scene by storm until his untimely death in 1988, aged 27. Beloved by everyone from Jay-Z to Leonardo diCaprio, one of his pieces recently sold at auction for a record $110 million. barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2017/event/basquiat-boom-for-real

A post shared by Ayok’a (@ayokadeco) on

Ayok’a

This new online platform gives emerging and established black artists a chance to share their work with the world. Founded by Alice Gbelia – who hails from the Ivory Coast -Ayok’a features gorgeous wall art, tees and accessories you can get your paws on when it opens for business in October. In the meantime, join the mailing list: ayokadeco.com

What are you looking forward to this autumn? Let me know in the comments! 

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Five Dope Tracks – The September 2017 Edit http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-september-2017-edit/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-september-2017-edit/#respond Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:35:03 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12386 So… I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do for this month’s Five Dope Tracks (as I’m actually looking forward to the October Edit which may or may not be a podcast!?!? Waaaahhhh….We’ll see). Anyway, I knew I wanted to make this month’s more artist focused. Jill Scott popped into my head as I […]

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So…
I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do for this month’s Five Dope Tracks (as I’m actually looking forward to the October Edit which may or may not be a podcast!?!? Waaaahhhh….We’ll see).
Anyway, I knew I wanted to make this month’s more artist focused. Jill Scott popped into my head as I haven’t heard from her in a minute – and it turns out her third album The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3  is officially 10 years old (!) on September 25th. Sure, it didn’t match the mega success of her first two projects, but it’s just as musically accomplished – so I’ve rounded up some of the album’s dopest moments for a mellow Sunday eve, and a couple of her other tunes for good measure.
ENJOY

(You can read about why I started this little music project  here. And feel free to follow me on Twitter here)

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Birthdays abroad: a little city break to Arenys de Mar, Spain http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/travel/birthdays-abroad-little-city-break-arenys-de-mar-spain/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/travel/birthdays-abroad-little-city-break-arenys-de-mar-spain/#respond Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:54:02 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12368 I’ve wanted to go away for my birthday for years. Like, since forever. And I wanted it to be one of those occasions that felt like a benchmark, so by the time I came back from said holiday, I’d somehow feel ready to conquer the world. That kind of birthday. I’m not getting any younger […]

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I’ve wanted to go away for my birthday for years. Like, since forever. And I wanted it to be one of those occasions that felt like a benchmark, so by the time I came back from said holiday, I’d somehow feel ready to conquer the world. That kind of birthday. I’m not getting any younger so we gotta make ’em special, you know?

Well, mission accomplished. On August 14th, I hopped on a British Airways flight by myself to a destination I’d never heard of before in my life (not Spain obvs but Arenys de Mar – a Spanish fishing town with a name I embarrassingly still can’t pronounce properly). It was one of those Lastminute.com flight and hotel deals and I believed them when they said it was a family-friendly destination. In other words, I wouldn’t come across any lager louts on their stag do or naive uni grads committed to misdemeanors and poor life choices. Don’t they just love Spain!?

Anywho, second mission accomplished. I had a relaxing, enjoyable two-night stay for the most part at the beautiful, 4 star Sa Voga hotel. Sure, there was a lively, local village festival going on until like 1am  and I somehow managed to not get even a whiff of my beloved paella – but the beach delivered, the sangria flowed and I had a really happy birthday. That’s all I could ask for.

And here are a few lessons I learned from travelling solo:

  • If you’re arriving late (like I did) to a foreign destination take the hit and pay for a proper taxi transfer from the airport. I organised this a day before, mind you, and while I hated how much I had to spend, it was better to be safe than sorry.
  • Keep the friends and family aware of your movements via social media, at least. Trust me, I planned for my insta to be LIT this week.
  • Pack light so you don’t have to check in your luggage and can breeze through the arrivals and get to where you need to be. It also makes it less obvious you’re travelling alone (no one – and by that I mean weird people who hang around airports – needs to know).

Check out pics from my trip below:

Arenys De Mar

Have you been on holiday for your birthday? Or travelled solo? Let me know in the comments!

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Five Dope Tracks – The August 2017 Edit http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-august-2017-edit/ http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/five-dope-tracks-august-2017-edit/#comments Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:30:46 +0000 http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/?p=12354 It’s August! My birthday month! And I’m excited! Can’t you tell? So without further ado, here’s the latest edition of Five Dope Tracks, inspired by the year of my birth ;-) Check out the playlist below – it’s currently on Spotify  and if you like what you hear, spread the word, follow Five Dope Tracks on Twitter, send […]

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It’s August! My birthday month! And I’m excited! Can’t you tell? So without further ado, here’s the latest edition of Five Dope Tracks, inspired by the year of my birth ;-)

Check out the playlist below – it’s currently on Spotify  and if you like what you hear, spread the word, follow Five Dope Tracks on Twitter, send me a message, or leave a comment below!

(PS – I did two playlists this month because the music made me do it (lol). Here’s part 2.)

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