2015 has been a busy one and 2016 looks set to be equally as exciting, food-wise. At some points there seemed to be dozens of new openings each week but as always we kept you in the loop with news of all the hottest launches before the first customers even picked up their knife and fork.
2016 will see the rebirth of the humble kebab. Le Bab promises to change any preconceptions about greasy kebab houses when it opens a permanent residency in Carnaby Street’s ever-foodie Kingly Court. Imagine free range chicken Shawarma, roe deer shish and BBQ paneer kebabs served individually or for the table to share – communal dining will be a big part of Le Bab.
Other tempting offerings coming our way include a Bone Daddies in Victoria, the much-awaited (and postponed) Come Fry With Me; Boom Burger; Patty & Bun Soho and slightly unappealingly named Fatty Crab (the same reaction as when we heard ‘Sexy Fish’ for the first time). If your New Year’s resolution involves less beige, more green, The Detox Kitchen Deli in Fitzrovia will become a regular haunt for those lucky enough to work nearby.
Our love of the Far East is showing no sign of slowing down – new Asian restaurants will be popping up all over the city. Of particular note is Chinatown’s Shuang Shuang, with conveyor belts of ingredients moving round the room ready to drop in to your Chinese hot pot, coming to Shaftesbury Avenue in early January.
Damien Hirst is resurrecting Pharmacy, almost two decades after it popped up in his gallery space, this time it comes imaginatively titled Pharmacy 2. Jason Atherton is continuing his dominance on the restaurant scene with Japanese Sosharu launching in March, serving Teppanyaki, robatayaki and sashimi in Clerkenwell. Fellow Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin is also expanding his empire in May when he unveils a Jersey-inspired menu at Flemings Mayfair.
D&D are, of course, giving us something new talk about when they open their latest restaurant, 100 Wardour Street in January at yes, you guessed it, 100 Wardour Street, soho . The ground floor will be for all-day dining and the basement space will welcome DJs and live music. In addition to completely new names, plenty of big names will be going at it alone in the new year. Gordon Ramsay’s Clare Smyth is opening her own restaurant (with Ramsay’s blessing), Michelin-starred Spaniard David Muñoz is launching StreetXo in Mayfair and the Maitre d’ of Mandarin Oriental’s Bar Boulud is joining forces with La Petite Maison’s general manager Nicolas Jaouën to open Margot in the Covent Garden.
The people that bought us Percy & Founders in 2015 are adding to the foodie evolution of King’s Cross’ Granary Square when The Lighterman opens there in February. The vast open space is being designed by award-winning architect Stanton Williams – industrial and minimalist with concrete walls and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Regent’s Canal. A modern British menu will serve food from breakfast to dinner and a visible pizza oven and open-grill mean you can watch your food being prepared.
Polpo is popping up in Harvey Nics following the success of previous residencies including Kurobuta to give us a new shopping stop-off station. For longer stop-offs in London, there are a couple of hotel openings that will be huge news. Soho House is opening a City site – slightly surprising given their USP is for media types – and Nobu is branching out from sushi and opening a huge 143 bedroom hotel on Willow Street, Shoreditch.
And finally, we all have turkey on the brain at the moment, but come Spring we all will again as Shoreditch welcomes Strut and Cluck – a restaurant serving turkey every way you can imagine. The poor birds thought they were safe until next December.
This is by no means a definitive list and of course new restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes are being announced all the time but we promise to keep you in the know as soon as we hear anything! Watch this space…