Keep your finger on the pulse with our guide to the best new restaurants in London. From cool brunch spots to fine dining venues, these are the buzziest openings of the moment.
Tucked away behind a forest-green awning in Charlotte Street, Ampéli is the latest cosy opening to Fitzrovia’s buzzing food scene. With a tantalising fusion of Greek and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine and a list of indigenous Greek wines curated by Greek Master of Wine Yiannis Karakasis, it’s a strong first solo venture for founder Jenny Pagnoi. Not to mention Oren Goldfield in the kitchen – whose CV includes stints at Nopi and Queenswood. The environment is small and intimate, think: low-hanging lamps and glossy marble tables. The menu is of the perennially trendy, small plate variety, and excellent for sharing. Key players include goats cheese fritters with perfectly crisped okra tempura underscored by zesty Greek yogurt, whipped feta with earthy pistachio and Aleppo pepper served with crisp breads. Don’t leave without trying loukoumades, a traditional Greek doughnut marinated in mountain tea syrup – a honey-flavoured nectar, with Goldfield’s twist, a creamy poppy seed custard. No Greek tragedies here – but book quickly, having only opened in January we predict that over the next few months you won’t be able to get a reservation in edgeways. ampeli.london
One of this year’s hottest openings comes from Britain’s youngest ever two Michelin star chef, Tom Aikens. Housed within a Georgian townhouse in Belgravia, the restaurant has space for just five tables seating a total of 26 diners, with a choice of two tasting menus available featuring a selection of dishes inspired by experiences and events in his life to make up what’s described as a ‘gastronomic autobiography.’
After much anticipation, Swiss chef Daniel Humm of the iconic New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park has opened a restaurant in Claridge’s, replacing Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant Fera. Earlier this year Humm split with the other half of his culinary duo Will Guidara (no hard feelings, we’re told) and continued with the project alone. Named after the hotel’s Mayfair location at the intersection of Davies Street and Brook Street, the restaurant aims to be more relaxed than its New York sibling – though service is slick as can be. On the menu you’ll find Humm’s famous dry-aged duck, glazed with honey and lavender, as well as black cod with napa cabbage and miso, braised beef short rib, and a poached lobster starter – plus the option of Osietra caviar for the table.
Berkeley Square has had a Latin American shake-up, thanks to an exciting new opening from acclaimed husband and wife duo Sandro Silva and Marta Seco. Taking over the 13,000 sq ft space in the former Allied Irish Bank Building, Amazónico has been launched in partnership with D.Ream International, the restaurant group behind Coya and Zuma – and you can expect equally opulent, striking interiors as seen their previous projects. Amazónico promises to offer a sensory experience for guests, with rainforest-themed décor, live music and a vibrant culinary offering, featuring everything from Peruvian sushi to traditional Brazilian dishes.
A new botanical-themed rooftop restaurant has opened in the heart of the city, filled floor to ceiling with plants and trees and boasting panoramic views of London. It’s a beautiful space, with an oval onyx bar as the restaurant’s centrepiece alongside garden-style interiors including a canopy of evergreen plants and seasonal plants growing across the ceiling. Heading up the kitchen is Thomas Piat, formerly executive chef at Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, with a focus on modern British cooking with French and European influences – signature dishes on the menu include a venison sharing dish, alongside a seafood starter of white crab, cauliflower and oscietra caviar.
Richard Corrigan’s third venture is located in Old Street, a collaboration with fellow Irishmen John Nugent (Green & Fortune) and Tony Gibney (Gibney’s of Malahide). It’s distinctly more relaxed than Corrigan’s other two London restaurants – Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill and Corrigan’s Mayfair – with a snug saloon bar downstairs playing host to a series of live music nights. Upstairs there’s a 50-cover restaurant, offering an array of wholesome dishes (Hereford sirloin, homegrown vegetables, grilled lamb chops and pork belly) alongside a dedicated oyster bar.
Acclaimed chef Has Vedat (Yosma, Havarda) moves East with his latest venture BARBOUN, which sits on Shoreditch’s Great Eastern Street. Translating as ‘red mullet’ in Turkish, BARBOUN is inspired by the flavours of Levantine coastal towns: Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and Syria. Open flame cooking is the name of the game here, with plates designed to be shared: think tomahawk steak marinated in Antolian spices, monkfish with zhoug and grilled wild sea bass, alongside moreish dips like smoked aubergine and taramasalata.
Wild by Tart is the latest venture from Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, the foodie duo behind boutique catering company Tart London. After a few years spent feeding the world’s fashion elite, they set their sights on transforming a former power station in Belgravia into a manifestation of their blossoming brand. This is comprised of a deli, event space, photography studio, retail store, and the most recent addition: an all-day restaurant. There’s a touch of New York to this endlessly cool spot, which is in fact where the pair first met – think industrial-inspired interiors, high ceilings and plants galore. When asked what kind of food they cook, Lucy and Jemima simply say they make what they love. Wild by Tart is a farm-to-table style restaurant, with a menu focused around seasonal and local dishes designed to be shared. Expect vibrant colours and big flavours: we particularly loved the grilled halloumi with honey, lime, chilli and coriander; the flamed lamb chops with red curry paste and peanut; and the pumpkin, gorgonzola and pickled chilli flatbread, cooked in the wood oven. Everything has a wholesome feel – though it’s not overly healthy, and the dessert menu is well worth exploring: there’s a particularly delicious miso caramel cookie skillet, designed to be shared between two. The intimate corner tables make for ideal date settings, while the long communal tables are perfect for bigger groups – and wherever you sit, you’ll be in view of the long open kitchen, which is a lovely touch.
Health foodies will be happy to hear Alex Hely-Hutchinson has opened a follow-up to her much-loved porridge mecca 26 Grains. Located in the heart of Borough Market, Stoney Street – named after its home – is a similar vibe to its Covent Garden sibling, though slightly more refined and with a longer menu. Open all day and run by Henrietta Inman, Stoney Street focuses on simple seasonal dishes, with breakfast options ranging from milk crèpes to slow roasted tomato galette, alongside a bakery counter stacked high with seasonal tarts and pastries for those on the go. As evening approaches, the kitchen dishes up plates such as pollock with fennel and braised lentils; pappardelle with a wild mushroom, sorrel and tarragon sauce; and bavette with Swiss chard, Taleggio and slow-roasted shallots.
Have these cold climates got you dreaming of sunnier days in Ibiza? Satisfy your yearning for the Balearic island at IT, an Ibiza import just launched in the heart of Mayfair. Helmed by two Gennaro Esposito of two Michelin-starred Torre del Saracen, IT offers a mix of gourmet Mediterranean dishes, with a focus on flavours from southern Italy. Like its sister restaurants, music is central, with a soundtrack bringing a slice of Ibiza energy to London town.
The world’s first zero-waste restaurant, headed up by Douglas McMaster, has opened a second branch in London’s Hackney Wick following the success of its original Brighton location. From trading directly with farmers to composting leftover scraps in the kitchen’s own compost machine, Silo’s continuing aim is to ‘close the loop’ in the food production process. The restaurant serves a daily dinner menu of 10-15 dishes, such as smoked violet carrots with egg yolks; and Jerusalem artichokes cooked on fire with stilton sauce and pickles. On weekends, Silo is open for brunch too, offering everything from porridge to kimchi to on-site brewed kombucha. Housed on the upper floor of The White Building, the quirky space features interiors designed by Nina Woodcraft – who is known for her commitment to sustainable design – alongside material conservationist Seetal Solanki.
The Gladwin brothers have ventured into the West End with their new culinary project, Sussex. Situated on the former site of Anthony Demeter’s seminal restaurant Arbutus on Frith Street, Sussex joins a collection of London restaurants from family trio Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin, which currently includes The Shed in Notting Hill, Rabbit in Chelsea, and Nutbourne in Battersea. Sussex is a celebration of the countryside, and like their other projects it uses ingredients sourced directly from the family farm and vineyard. Unlike the other restaurants, however, Sussex moves away from the sharing dish concept. The menu features dishes like pork tenderloin with malted pig’s cheek, rainbow chard and hazelnut miso; roasted brill with devon crab ravioli; and aubergine and whey cheese roulade served with tomato harissa and basil dust. The wine list, meanwhile, features the Gladwin family’s award-winning range of Sussex wines from their Nutbourne vineyard in Sussex, alongside a handpicked wine range from producers around the world and a selection of homegrown cocktails.
Set to open in May 2020, KOL is the highly-anticipated debut London restaurant from Santiago Lastra, former head chef at Noma Mexico. Through KOL Santiago aims to showcase the history and diversity of Mexican culture using predominantly British produce – he’s spent the past couple of years discovering the best ingredients from small-scale and independent producers from across the country. So what dishes can we look forward to? So far: langoustine tacos with sea buckthorn, lamb leg tostada; and tortillas handmade in-house. We’re sold already.
Louie is the latest venture from Guillaume Glipa, the mastermind behind a number London’s top restaurants, including the iconic Chiltern Firehouse. A collaboration with Laurent de Gourcuff’s hospitality group ‘Paris Society’, Louie will be housed in a multi-floored townhouse in Covent Garden, which previously played home to Joel Robuchon at 15 West Street. The dining space will occupy the bottom two floors, with an oyster bar, an old jukebox and velvet banquettes, alongside a bar above, complete with a glamorous roof terrace. Mississippi-born Slade Rushing – formerly at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans – will be heading up the kitchen with a French-Creole menu. Opening March 2020.
In early 2020, iconic restaurant The Connaught Grill will re-open on Mount Street after a 20 year hiatus. Located on the ground floor of Mayfair hotel The Connaught, The Grill will be overseen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who will continue to run his eponymous restaurant there. The menu will focus on British produce, with dishes including langoustines, Dover sole, British game and seasonal vegetables, alongside classics from the old Connaught Grill. Opening early 2020.
Dominique Ansel Treehouse
The man behind the famed Cronut, Dominique Ansel, is launching a new site this month – and it won’t be a bakery. Set to open on Covent Garden’s Floral Street at the end of January, Dominique Ansel Treehouse will offer a sit-down menu of sweet and savoury dishes, loosely following the traditional starter-main-pudding format. Savoury doughs will be a key focus here – think vol au vents, hand-made pastas, gnocchi and pies. We’re told the name refers to the venue’s upstairs – where the main restaurant will be – which is being described as a ‘treetop canopy.’