Clerkenwell

Dans Le Noir? 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1

"It's just the thing for Hallowe'en," grated the Independent Magazine's top brass, in their don't-even-bother-arguing way. "Instead of reviewing a normal restaurant, where people eat a romantic meal with knives and forks in discreet lighting, you'll go to that place where everyone dines in spooky total darkness, you'll think you've gone blind and you'll pour red wine down your front. Shut the door on your way out."

On The Road: It was as normal as a club in London, only in Rio the

I had an evening to kill in Rio, and I wasn't going to spend it on Ipanema beach. Stunning though it may be, I was tired of its white poodles, snooty looks and glossy brand name superficiality. The Rio I love is boho more than bistro, samba more than bossa nova. So as the sun sank over Guanabara Bay, I headed inland to Santa Teresa, where cobbles clamber over steep hills between the city centre and the forests of Corcovado.

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Sons of Noel and Adrian/Left With Pictures, The Slaughtered Lamb,

The black-box basement of this Clerkenwell pub is a reliable well of new music, hosting nights like Electroacoustic Club and The Moonshine Jamboree, which tonight brings together representatives of two mutually appreciative folk-ish scenes: Sons of Noel and Adrian (part of Brighton's Wilkommen collective) and London's Left With Pictures.

Oliver! Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Well, is it a great musical? Yes. Is Rowan Atkinson any good as Fagin? Fairly good, fairly funny, but he can't sing very well, and keeps missing the beat. And what about Jodie Prenger, the people's choice as Nancy on the BBC television talent show I'd Do Anything? Oh dear.

Real food: Wild at heart

Until the Romans arrived in Britain (bringing with them straight roads, under-floor heating and the onion), we had all been quite happy to perk up our food with two other members of the Allium family – leeks and garlic leaves. However, as soon as we got our teeth into the onion, we rather abandoned our native garlic in favour of the Mediterranean interloper. But the wild garlic hung on in there and still comes up in our woodlands every spring, looking beautiful with its delicate white flowers and elegant lush green leaves.