What’s My Weekend: Steve Ball – Founder of The Columbo Group
I like to see all our Columbo Group venues (Paradise, above ; The Blues Kitchen; The Old Queens Head; The Nest; XOYO; The Cat and Mutton) in action over the course of a weekend, so on Fridays, I finish up work and plan out my ‘route’ for the evening. I usually start over in West London at Paradise by way of Kensal Green (19 Kilburn Lane, W10 4AE, 020 8969 0098) for a bit of dinner; the dining room is the perfect place to unwind after a big week. Our menu is made up of entirely seasonal ingredients, so I never get bored of any of the dishes; the seared sesame tuna and avocado Fattoush salad with tahini yoghurt dish is my favourite at the moment. On the rare occasion that I might start my night in East London, I might grab a quick bite at Street Feast (260-264 Kingsland Road, London E8 4DG,) or I’ll check out a new opening.
Then I’ll make my way over to The Blues Kitchen, above, in Shoreditch (134- 146 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR, 020 7729 7216) grab a bourbon cocktail and watch the live music. We’ve had some great acts perform on our stage since we launched in May; the one I’m most looking forward to seeing play again in November is rhythm and blues singer Geno Washington. James Brown used to support him in the 60s; he just oozes that old school showbiz quality… I usually end my night at XOYO (32 Cowper Street, EC2A 4AP, 020 7354 9993); the dance & electronic music talent performing is always insane, so I check out the DJs, see a few faces, and then head back home to Primrose Hill.
In the morning I might head out for some spiced coconut porridge for brunch at Nama Raw Food café, above, if I’m feeling healthy (110 Talbot Road, W11 1JR, 0207 313 4638) or a bacon naan at Dishoom, below, if I’m not (5 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB, 020 7420 9321).
The Cat & Mutton (76 Broadway Market, E8 4PJ, 020 72249 6555) is really buzzing from early on Saturdays because of the market, so it’s a good place to get pals together and start the night with a cocktail- the London Fields Iced Tea is my weapon of choice (bourbon, elderflower, lemon & iced tea). Then it’s on to The Old Queen’s Head (44 Essex Road, N1 8LN, 020 7354 9993) where I might catch the likes of Wolf + Lamb or Horse Meat Disco on the decks.
I feel like I’m failing my Sundays if I don’t have a roast; if I’m not at one of our pubs, you can’t go wrong with Hawksmoor’s (above) roast rump of Longhorn beef with all the trimmings (Basinghall Street, EC2V 7NA, 020 7397 8120).
If it’s sunny I’ll take the dog for a walk along Regent’s Canal or Primrose Hill, or hit up some record shops during the day – Flashback Records have just opened a branch in Bethnal Green, which is great for a bit of crate digging (131 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG, 020 3780 1900). By Sunday evening I’m generally exhausted- I love how understated 8 Hoxton Square is, so it’s a great place to lunch and unwind (8 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU, 020 7729 4232).
SteveBall is the co-founder and director of The Columbo Group, which comprises The Old Queen’s Head, Paradise by way of Kensal Green, XOYO, The Blues Kitchen’s in Camden & Shoreditch, The Nest , and The Cat & Mutton.
Columbo Group is planning two new venues in London this year: one of which will be a new Blues Kitchen in South London.