What's My Weekend: Ben Maschler

The co-owner of Islington's The Draper's Arms shares his weekend

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My life has always revolved around food. Growing up as the son of a restaurant critic, I was lucky enough to have a mother who cooked wonderful food at home, and took us out to restaurants. I now live in Wiltshire, but recently weekends have been spent visiting chefs, restaurants and suppliers around London gathering prizes for Auction Against Hunger, which takes place on May 22nd, to raise money for Action Against Hunger

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Friday

Ape and Bird, pic by Jenny Zarins

Living in the country has many advantages, but eating out is not one of them, and what I really crave on arriving in The Big Smoke is a hit of spice and comfort which I always find at Pho, above (163-165 Wardour Street W1F 8WN, 020 7434 3938, phocafe.co.uk) Their 'Bun Bo Hue' , below (hot and spicy beef brisket soup) never fails to tick my boxes.

With my hunger satisfied, my thoughts invariably turn to a drink. I am huge fan of everything that Russell Norman does and so often pop in for a drink – specifically the Hunter S Sour -- at Ape & Bird, above (142 Shaftesbury Avenue WC2H 8HJ, 020 7836 3119, apeandbird.com), where they mix a mean cocktail. As my will is weak, I then wander down Oxford Street to Meat Liquor - another great purveyor of cocktails (74 Welbeck Street W1G OBA,info@meatliquor.com) and I may also have a sneaky burger there as well - certainly one of the best in London.

Saturday

When in town I usually stay in central London with my Mum and her lovely husband, Reg. Around the corner from their house is the Riding House Cafe (43-51 Great Titchfield Street W1W 7PQ, 020 7927 0840, ridinghousecafe.co.uk) This place buzzes from morning through to night, and their 'Full & Proper Breakfast' is a wonderful start to the day. They also mix a hard-to-beat Bloody Mary.

In my quest to cover as many restaurants in a day, blagging, and begging prizes for the auction, I then head East. Having worked there for many years, I am lucky enough to be a member of Shoreditch House, above (Ebor Street E1 6AW, 020 7739 5040, shoreditchhouse.com), where we hosted last year's auction. To sit by the pool, with a coffee, reading the papers is a wonderful interval to the day.

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A hop and a skip up the road is the newly opened Rotorino, above (434 Kingsland Road E8 4AA, 020 7249 9081, rotorino.com), who have just started serving lunch. I love Stevie Parle's cooking and it is always a good chance to catch up with Jonathan Downey who is co-hosting this year's auction. Back in Shoreditch I will pop in to The Clove Club, below (380 Old Street EC1V 9LT, thecloveclub.com), where I try (and succeed) to persuade chef Isaac McHale and General Manager Daniel Willis to donate a wonderful prize for the auction. If I am lucky, there’ll be a space to sit at the bar with a glass of something fizzy and nibble on their fantastic bar snacks (their in-house charcuterie is pretty special).

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While East, I also duck in to a hidden gem, Rochelle Canteen (Rochelle School, Arnold Circus E2 7ES 020 729 5677 arnoldandhenderson.com), where Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson cook some of the most delectable food in London. Margot, in her inimitable way, is generous to a fault and says someone could win a meal cooked in their house by her and Fergus - a truly money- can't- buy prize in the bag. Result. Then I whizz in to Club Gascon (57 West Smithfield EC1A 9DS, 020 7600 6144 clubgascon.com), to finalise details of the dish that Pascal will cook at the auction - his 'Marmite Royale'.

We’ve got a incredible list of chefs cooking at this event: Nuno Mendes, Sat Bains, Francesco Mazzei, Jose Pizarro, Neil Rankin, Anna Hansen, Naved Nasir and Pascal, with Paul A Young preparing dessert. In addition we have some street food favourites in the shape of Breddo's Tacos (breddostacos.com), Yum Bun (yumbun.co.uk), Pizza Pilgrims (pizzapilgrims.co.uk) and more sweet delights from 1235 Donuts (twitter.com/1235donuts) and The Meringue Girls (meringuegirls.co.uk). If, like me, you love your food, then you can imagine how excited I am right now.

Saturday night holds a very special treat for me. A relatively un-known restaurant called Otto's (182 Gray's Inn Road, WC1X 8EW, 020 7713 0107, ottos-restaurant.com) prepares what must be one of the most special dishes for sale in London. You need to order it in advance, but their 'Canard A La Presse' is an experience that everyone should try once in their life.

Sunday

It may seem an unlikely choice for breakfast but the menu at Dishoom, above (12 Upper St. Martin's Lane, WC2H 9FB, 020 7420 9320, dishoom.com), is a highlight of my weekend. Their Bacon Naan Roll is a thing of beauty and typifies the kind of food that is very hard to come across in rural Wiltshire.

I have something of a bias when it comes to my choice of lunch on Sunday. Fiver years ago I re-launched The Draper's Arms, above (44 Barnsbury Street, N1 1ER, 020 7619 0348,thedrapersarms.com), with Nick Gibson. In my absence, Nick has taken the pub from strength to strength and their Sunday lunch is, in my opinion, unrivalled.

Before I jump on the train at London Bridge there is time to race up The Shard and enjoy one of my favourite Sunday foods (with one of the finest views in town), dim sum at Hutong, above (Level 33, The Shard, Thomas Street SE1 9RY, 020 3011 1257 hutong.co.uk). My life-long hunger for dim sum momentarily satiated, I head to the station - but not before wheedling another great prize from Hugh Wright, lovely man and Communications Manager for Aqua Shard. It has been a very productive weekend... and I am stuffed.

Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian organisation committed to ending child hunger. Recognised as a leader in the fight against malnutrition, Action Against Hunger saves the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.

Tickets for Auction Against Hunger are £55.00 and include all food and drink. For more information please go to http://www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk/get-involved/events/social-events/auction-against-hunger-2014/