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 for 2019…
Cult chicken and waffle spot Sweet Chick has made its way from Manhattan to London, taking over the Carluccio’s site on Market Place just off Oxford Street. Think American comfort food done well: alongside their staple dish they’ll be serving ‘shrimp and grits’ (scallions with poached egg and cheddar grits), chicken wings, mac and cheese, maple glazed bacon and the like. Wellness fever may be sweeping the nation – but there’s still a place for downright indulgence.
Housed inside a cylindrical, three-storey stone and glass pavilion bang in the middle of Chelsea’s Duke of York Square, you can’t miss Vardo – and you shouldn’t. It’s the first foray into West London for the ever-popular Caravan collection, and you can expect the same cool, easy-going take on all-day dining seen across their other branches – though with a new Chelsea edge to it. Vardo is based around a ‘no boundaries’ concept, inspired by the vardo wagons used by Romani travellers during the 19th century, which would travel the globe collecting produce and flavours along the way. The all-day menu features a strong brunch offering (think everything from smoothie bowls to French toast) alongside a mixture of irresistible platters, mezze boards, small plates, pizzas and grain bowls. Vegetarians are well catered for here – we’d particularly recommend the labneh with spiced chickpeas and flat bread; the charred aubergine with saffron buttermilk dressing; and the sweetcorn with salted pandan coconut milk. Saying that, the za’atar baked cod is delicious, as are the tandoori spiced chicken wings. The Silk Road-inspired eclectic cocktail list is also worth exploring: our top picks are the ‘Carnaval King’: Pisco, Havana rum, watermelon and cardamom oleo, lime, agave and Chartreuse, as well as the tequila-based ‘Medina Highball’. All this is to be enjoyed amid the friendly, relaxed surroundings Caravan is known for, made all the better with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a front seat view of the King’s Road action.
Ben Tish heads up Norma, the first independent restaurant project from the team behind The Stafford London. Just opened on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street, Norma is inspired by the food and grand cafe culture of Sicily, drawing particularly on the island’s Moorish influences. It’s a celebration of old-school Italian hospitality, with a menu offering all your usual suspects (antipasti, homemade pastas, meat dishes) alongside a dedicated crudo bar serving up an array of seasonal raw seafood. For drinks, there’s a list of Marsala wines originating from a small coastal town on the west of the island, as well as a selection of cocktails named after key moments in Sicily’s turbulent history – think limoncello, vermouth, cherries and figs.
Duck & Waffle’s former executive chef Tom Cenci and restauranteur Adam White have cooked up the concept for a new neighbourhood restaurant: Loyal Tavern, just opened on the site of Village East in Bermondsey. Think small plates with a focus on British produce – spiced lamb skewers, venison tartare, blackened cauliflower and charred mackerel all feature on the menu, alongside a selection of grilled flatbreads and British charcuterie.
Mayfair’s newest opening comes from the team behind swanky Chinese restaurant Park Chinois, though it’s a rather different affair. Moncks – named after owner of the Clarendon Estate Christopher Moncks – is an elegant and relaxed all-day brasserie, a refreshing addition to one of the city’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. Interiors are chic, with cosy booths, timber panelling, red leather furnishings, an impressive art collection and a bright conservatory at the back of the venue: warm and welcoming settings for tucking into the equally pleasant menu. Dishes are classic brasserie-style with a luxury edge: the lobster roll, for instance, comes with optional caviar, and the eggs benedict is served with truffle.
The latest culinary addition to London’s West End is Bloomsbury Street Kitchen, a neighbourhood restaurant and bar serving contemporary Mediterranean and Japanese small plates. On the menu you’ll find dishes like salmon carpaccio with chilli avocado, yellowtail sashimi with spicy yuzu soy, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder gyros with chilli fries. Interiors are vibrant yet minimalist: think white-washed exposed brickwork, Italian glazed porcelain tiles and a garden filled with plants, olive trees and Japanese sago palms.
Michelin-starred Valencian chef Quique Dacosta has just opened his first restaurant outside of Spain in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia. Known for his unique style of cooking, Quique has a number of restaurants around Spain including the eponymous Quique Dacosta Restaurant, which has held three Michelin stars since 2013. His London restaurant is focused around rice, which is integral to his cooking – he’s even written a book about it, Arroces Contemporáneos. An entire part of the menu is dedicated to rice, with a mix of traditional paella and more contemporary dishes, like ‘chapas’ – Smoked Welsh duck breast with morel, black trompettes and porcini aioli. This can be enjoyed alongside a selection of meat, vegetable and fish mains, all cooked in Quique’s creative style and using the best of British produce.
We’ve been waiting patiently for over a year, but the new branch of Soho institution Bob Bob Ricard has finally opened. The much-anticipated new outpost can be found in the Leadenhall Building (also known as the Cheesegrater), suspended above a 30-meter high open-air atrium. Fizz fans, fear not: Bob Bob Cité features their signature ‘press for champagne buttons’, alongside glamorous interiors from London-based design studio BradyWilliams and a new menu from Michelin-starred chef Eric Chavot.
Following the success of their three Clapham neighbourhood restaurants, The Dairy, Sorella and Counter Culture, Robin and Sarah Gill have opened a new eatery in Nine Elms’ Embassy Gardens. Oyster bar, bakery and grill Darby’s follows the same produce-led, seasonal style Robin is known for, with a nod towards his jazz musician father, Earl ‘Darby’ Gill, who spent time touring America during the 50s and 60s. Robin describes Darby’s as paying homage to the bars of Manhattan: “somewhere for life to be lived to the fullest, with oysters on ice, pints of black, freshly made bread, and the best ingredients we have at our fingertips in Britain and Ireland.” Count us in…
A favourite with the royal family, The Goring has opened its first new restaurant since 1910, with famed Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw at the helm. Inspired by the Goring family’s Cornish ties, Siren offers a more casual alternative to its previous Michelin-starred dining room. Daily specials reflect the freshest fish available from Cornwall each day, which could be anything from lobster to monkfish, alongside a list of set mains, which includes red mullet with devilled shrimp butter, herbed and battered turbot, and crab risotto.
Inspired by the drinking dens of 1930s Tokyo, Lucky Cat is the latest venture from Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. Located in London’s Grosvenor Square, it’s being described as an “Asian Eating House and vibrant late-night lounge”, with a name taken from Asian culture, believed to be a symbol of good luck and fortune. Heading up the chef line-up alongside mentor Gordon Ramsay will be Executive Chef Ben Orpwood, who has extensive experience in the realm of high-end Asian cuisine, having previously worked at both glitzy Sexy Fish and Knightsbridge hotspot Zuma. Design studio AfroditiKrassa, who have worked on the likes of Dishoom, are behind the restaurant’s concept and interiors, which take diners on an experiential journey from the moment they arrive.
Dishes include the likes of seared otoro with house soy and baby kale, and orkney scallop with yuzu and sweetcorn hot sauce, alongside an eclectic cocktail menu, lots of Japanese gin and over 40 premium sakes. Lucky Cat replaces Maze, the much-loved Gordon Ramsay restaurant which closed on 2 February after 14 years in business. Opened in 2005, the Mayfair restaurant held a Michelin star between 2006 and 2015 under the stewardship of Jason Atherton, who was executive chef there until 2010.
The world’s first zero-waste restaurant, headed up by Douglas McMaster, is opening 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 will serve 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 will be 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. Opening 5 November.
This November, Modern Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Brother Marcus is launching a third site in Spitalfields Market following the success of their branches in Balham and Angel. Set to be their largest site yet, the Spitalfields location will continue to champion locally sourced, top quality produce with an all-day menu. Many of their signature brunch dishes will be available, including the much-loved Step Sister: sweet potato, courgette and feta fritters with avocado, spinach, kale, turmeric yoghurt and a poached egg. Lunches, meanwhile, will involve Mediterranean plates, salads, wraps and freshly-baked Turkish pide breads, and as the evening draws in diners are encouraged to linger over slow-cooked sharing dishes and glasses of natural wine at candlelit tables.
This December, Britain’s youngest ever two Michelin star chef Tom Aikens is opening a new restaurant in Belgravia. Muse will have 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.’
The Gladwin brothers are venturing 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 will join 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 will be a celebration of the countryside, and like their other projects it will use ingredients sourced directly from the family farm and vineyard. Unlike the other restaurants, however, Sussex will move away from the sharing dish concept. On the menu we can expect 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, will feature 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. Opening 4 November.
Chef Daniel Humm of the iconic New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, is bringing his culinary finesse to London with a new restaurant, set to open at Claridge’s this autumn. Although details of the menu remain secret, Eleven Madison Park’s former chef de cuisine Dmitri Magi will act as executive chef at the new restaurant, which has been described by Claridge’s as ‘a fine dining restaurant without pretense that embraces the heritage of its location with a contemporary sensibility.’ Named after the hotel’s Mayfair location at the intersection of Davies Street and Brook Street, the new project will replace Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant Fera at Claridge’s, which closed at the end of last year.
Culinary duo Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison have teamed up with Tom Warren of Lock Studios to launch Wild By Tart, a neighbourhood restaurant housed within a former power station. This will join the bar, deli, juice and coffee kiosk already open in the 9000 sq. ft space, which is located in Victoria’s Eccleston Yards. A seasonal menu will serve ‘wholesome fare’ including a selection of sourdough pizzas and small plates – dishes on the cards include pulled pheasant croquettes, smoked tomatoes with burrata and linguine with clams. Opening in October.
Health foodies will be happy to hear Alex Hely-Hutchinson is opening a follow-up to her much-loved porridge mecca 26 Grains. Located in the heart of Borough Market, Stoney Street – named after its home – will be 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 will focus 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 will dish 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. Opening October, date TBC.
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