This weekend’s highlights include a new Mexican restaurant in London, a restored French cinema classic and the latest album from Malian duo Amadou and Mariam.
1 FOOD: LONDON
—La Bodega Negra
Split over two addresses in the heart of London’s Soho, this Mexican restaurant is the latest project from restaurateur Will Ricker, entrepreneur Ed Spencer Churchill and New York nightclub impresario Serge Becker. Perfect if you’re in the mood for a fleeting lunch at the roadside Taquería, a light bite at the café, or a more substantial meal in the restaurant’s moody subterranean dining area. La Bodega Negra offers authentic Mexican food for every level, accompanied of course, by a choice of tequila or mezcal from its dedicated cellar.
Café & Taqueria, 16 Moor Street, open 11.30-23.00. Restaurant, Tequila and Mezcal cellar, 9 Old Compton Street, open 18.00-01.00
2 FESTIVAL: ISTANBUL
—Istanbul Film Festival
The 31st Istanbul film festival kicked off last weekend and by the end of the two week long event, more than 200 movies will have been screened in seven theatres around Istanbul. The programme includes seminars and workshops from celebrated Turkish filmmakers such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan. This weekend sees films from the national competition screened from Sunday onwards. Catch Can, the emotional drama from director Raşit Çelikezer telling the story of a couple struggling to have a child, at the Atlas cinema this Sunday.
The 31st Istanbul Film Festival is showing at selected cinemas until 15 April
3 FOOD: NEW YORK
—Back Forty West
Following a successful twenty years at his Savoy restaurant, Peter Hoffman has launched Back Forty West on the same site of that former gem. Back Forty West features simpler dishes that cater to SoHo’s ever-evolving tastes. Favourites include slow smoked beef brisket and the pan-seared Spanish mackerel. The restaurant’s rustic interior, complete with benches and a 14-seat hardwood bar, is relaxed and uncomplicated. We suggest trying their eponymous cocktail – the Back Forty – a simple mix of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey with a dash of maple and lemon.
70 Prince St at Crosby St. Lunch: Monday to Friday 11.30-16.00, brunch Saturday 11.00-16.00, Sunday 11.00-18.00. Dinner: Monday to Thursday 16.30-22.30, Friday and Saturday 17.30-23.00
4 FILM: UK
—La Grande Illusion
Considered to be one of the benchmarks of early French cinema, Jean Renoir’s seminal work will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. This psychological examination of a group of French officers captured and imprisoned during the First World War shows men divided by social class but united in their common humanity. This restored rerelease follows a series of anniversary screenings celebrating the recovery of the original negative that rested unidentified in storage at La Cinémathèque de Toulouse until the 1990s.
La Grande Illusion will be shown in selected UK cinemas this weekend and available on DVD or Blu Ray from the 23 April
5 MUSIC: GLOBAL
—Amadou and Mariam – Folila
With their accessible interpretations of traditional Malian blues, Amadou and Mariam are already superstars in their home country. Abroad, the duo have managed to shake the lazy “world music” tag with their robust and soulful performances. On Folila, the couple invite pop and indie acts to help shake those stereotypes further. Guests include Santigold, TV on The Radio, and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. The mixing of styles works, making Folila a fun listen and the perfect introduction to go deeper into the Mali scene.
Folila is available now