London restaurants, bars and foodie events to go to and help support Ukraine

How you can help in London
supper club
Joe Woodhouse

A city-wide, industry-spanning appeal to increase awareness of the crisis in Ukraine and raise money for Unicef’s work in the country is underway across London. At the time of writing (6 April 2022), more than £400,000 has already been raised.

Ukrainian-born Olia Hercules, Russian Alissa Timoshkina and Polish chef Zuza Zak are at the helm of the efforts, along with London-based Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy. The group were inspired by 2016’s £1 million raising Cook for Syria initiative and cooked up the plans after news of the war in Ukraine broke.

The Cook for Ukraine concept is simple – restaurants and bars can take part by encouraging diners to add £1, £2 or £5 to their bill. This money will go straight to aiding Unicef, who are working tirelessly to provide health care, clean water and food to families throughout Ukraine.

Some of London’s best restaurants are taking part, including Sessions Arts Club, East London Italian spot Manteca, Michelin-starred Kol, zero-waste pioneers Silo, Petersham Nurseries and more. And these restaurants will be celebrating Ukrainian culture and cooking too. Flor Bakery, for example, is selling a special Ukrainian rye bread. Koya has added a Ukrainian-inspired Green Borsch udon with onsen tomago to its menu, while Officina 00 is recreating a Ukrainian half-moon dumpling dish known as Vareniki. And Big Mamma Group (the team behind Shoreditch’s Gloria, Fitzrovia’s Circolo Popolare and Covent Garden's Ave Mario), has created a special dish of bruschetta, topped with garlic and Ukrainian 'salo' (or lardo), and freshly chopped herbs, from which all proceeds are donated to Cook for Ukraine.

There's also a list of Ukrainian recipes on the Cook for Ukraine Just Giving page, encouraging people to cook their own suppers at home and donate, then share pictures on social media, tagging #CookForUkraine. 

And the initiative includes events taking place, such as Pierogi for Peace, a Polish pierogi (dumpling) workshop on Saturday 30 April at Studio Feast in Hackney. Plus, the Cook for Ukraine team hopes to organise more supper clubs and events in the coming weeks. Roundabout the House, for example, a new quarterly pop-up of food and entertainment events will be hosting a Cook for Ukraine charity brunch on Saturday 9 April in West London members' club Kindred. Food will be overseen by chef Andrew Clarke, there will be kids' entertainment from Sharky and George and the day will climax with a Jazz Cabaret dinner with half-price menus.

Outside the Cook for Ukraine initiative, many more bars and restaurants are finding ways to generate support.  Founded in 1939, Ognisko Polskie in South Kensington is one of London's oldest Polish drinking spots. Recently, it added the Zelenskyy cocktail to its menu, named after the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr. A combination of Kavka vodka, blue curaçao, lemon juice, apricot brandy and sugar syrup, it's also yellow and blue in ode to the Ukrainian flag. Every time you buy one, a donation is made to Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser. Meanwhile, Marian Beke, a bartender at The Gibson (one of our best bars in the world), and Tony Pescatori of Nightjar (one of our favourite jazz bars in the city) have designed four cocktails using Ukrainian vodka brand Dima’s as part of a project to support British-Ukrainian Aid. Pick from a Kyiv’s Coffee, a Ukrainian version of an Espresso Martini, a Pickled Gimlet, a Dirty Fig Martini and a ‘sea buckthorn-flavoured take’ on the Cosmopolitan and all proceeds will be donated. 

And Drinkers for Ukraine is a fundraising joint effort from brewers around the world, not just London, inviting breweries everywhere to produce the beers of those in Ukraine who have had their businesses destroyed, to then sell it and donate as much of the proceeds as possible to the Red Cross humanitarian relief effort. Various UK breweries are participating, and everyone is welcome to set up an online auction to sell anything from rare and limited edition beer to books, workshops, experiences and tours – whatever will raise the most.