Yes, June may have been an uncomfortably hot month, but in the culinary world, things were heating up in a good way. We’ve seen The Ivy Collection, Cottons and Raymond Blanc all expand their empires, while there have been new bar concepts like Nine Lives and Coupette. Whether you’re feeling classic or adventurous, here are 12 venues you’ll be wanting to check out…
The Ivy City Garden
The Ivy grew their collection this month with the opening of The Ivy City Garden. The menu features Ivy favourites such as shepherd’s pie, brioche crumbed chicken Milanese with fried hen’s eggs and black truffle, and the chocolate bombe with hot salted caramel sauce. There are also new additions, like the truffle beef Wellington sharing platter, which can be accompanied by drinks from the new cocktail menu, like the Dashwood Blossom – made from Beefeater Gin, fresh grapes, mint, nettle cordial and aloe vera juice.
Made of Dough
Pizza pop-up Made of Dough turned into a bricks and mortar establishment this month in Peckham. The pizzeria features a chef’s table, cocktail bar, and of course a wood fired oven. The menu offers tried and tested flavours like the Brindisa chorizo pizza, and there’ll also be new additions especially for Peckham such as the new Merguez collaboration with local butcher, ‘Flock & Herd’ and seasonal sides. You may choose to imbibe one of their cocktails, but you’ll probably want to save some room for a gelato milkshake.
Radio Alice Clapham
For a taste of the Radio Alice pizza base, you previously would have had to go to either Italy or Hoxton. Now, you could also head to Clapham. The pizza bases are made from nutritious type 1 organic flour and wild yeast and they are then left to ferment for 24 hours, resulting in some pretty great pizza. The concise menu offers classic combinations like fiordilatte, tomato and basil, but there are also more interesting combinations like Prosciutto di Parma with organic burrata and orange infused oil.
Neo Bistro, Mayfair’s latest offering, takes inspiration from the new bistros of Paris, though offers a more relaxed approach. The concise menu is an ever changing one, however, you can expect dishes like Tamworth pork; venison chorizo; roast sea bass with mousserons; and Gariguette strawberries with lemon verbena. The wine list offers up bottles from lesser known grape varieties and regions; while the cocktails and craft beers will, as the food, change constantly.
Taking the concept of reuse and recycle to the next level is Bermondsey’s newest bar, Nine Lives. When life gives Nine Lives lemons, for example, the bar uses the skin, oils and juice in cocktails, the pith is redistilled to produce essential oils to use in liqueurs and hand soap. The discarded pith, skin and pulp has its PH balanced and is turned into compost which is then used to fertilise the backyard herb garden. The cocktail menu is divided into Shorts, Talls, Tarts, Lowriders and Loops, with Loops being cocktails that have reused ingredients. And the staff uniforms all come from London’s best vintage shops. Who said recycling had to be a drag?
Richard Corrigan is working with Gregory Buda from The Dead Rabbit, New York and Richard Ryan founder of Drinksology to run his new bar, in his Mayfair restaurant Corrigan’s. The menu has been designed by Drinkology, as a storybook, telling the tale of the characters and the journey behind Dickie’s Bar. On offer, are drinks like Gin & Blackberry, a mix of Plymouth Gin, house blackberry soda, black cardamom and smoked black pepper and the Scotch & Coriander made from Glenmorangie 10yr Scotch, Merlet Crème de Poire, coriander, Ragan’s No.6 orange bitters and house soda. Whiskey fans will rejoice at the extensive list of Irish whiskey cocktails, offering cocktails such as The Professional Stalker, made from Power’s John’s Lane 12yr Irish Whisky, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, fig, allspice and Jerry Thomas Decanter bitters.
Inspired by France, Bethnal Green’s newest neighbourhood bar makes use of lesser known ingredients like calvados, cidre, and poiré. The menu has been designed around the six borders of France, known as the French Hexagon, the menu is based on six French antagonists and each section of the menu includes six drinks. Signature drinks include Apples made from Calvados mixed with cold-pressed apple juice; a Truffled White Negroni and a Champagne Pina Colada. There’s a classic French wine list, and classic French eats, like croque monsieurs, chicken liver parfait and confit duck leg.
At the start of the year, we saw the opening of Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square and this month, the hotel welcomed Mei Ume, joining the existing La Dame de Pic London. The restaurant brings Japanese and Chinese cuisines together, so you’ll find dishes like crispy baby squid with salted eggs; dim sum; stir-fried Dover sole with cloud ear mushroom and celery, and braised pork belly with crab. Cocktails are inspired by the four key elements of traditional Chinese astronomy and there’s also an extensive selection of sake, shochu, Taiwanese and Japanese whisky as well as a range of wines picked by Wine Director Jan Konetzki.
A new bakery popped up in Old Street Station this month (don’t worry, it’ll soon be opening a more permanent location in the old BBC HQ). Butterscotch is all about American home cooking, so there’s pies, cobblers, breads, muffins, and a whole range of cupcakes. Among the cupcakes, there’re limited edition, monthly changing flavours, so look forward to July’s flavour: a take on Pimms (a fresh mint cake, strawberry, orange peel and Pimms syrup).
Cottons, have not only been bringing London a slice of Caribbean sunshine since 1985 but they’re also Guinness World Record holders – their restaurant in Notting Hill has the most commercially available varieties of rum. This month, they’ve headed east-side, opening up a branch in Shoreditch. Feast on 48 hour marinated jerk wings with banana sauce; salt fish fritters with green mango and homemade scotch bonnet pepper relish; curried mutton with fried plantain and whole baby jerk chicken with Cottons slaw; while you choose from the 200 rums on offer to drink.
Smoke & Salt
This month, Smoke & Salt upped sticks from Islington’s Chapel Bar and took up a more permanent residence in one of Pop Brixton’s shipping containers. The restaurant is all about ancient techniques – (think curing, smoking and preserving), and modern dining. The ever-rotating menu includes dishes like asparagus with whey vinaigrette and ricotta; panelles with spicy ketchup; pork belly with broccoli, pumpkin seeds and London honey; lamb merguez tartare with grilled flatbread and labneh and for pudding, London Mess.
Brasserie Blanc Fulham Reach
2017 has been a big year for chef Raymond Blanc, with the 21st birthday of his first Brasserie Blanc, and of course, the opening of Brasserie Blanc Fulham Reach. The classic menu offers dishes inspired by Blanc’s French childhood, like trout gravadlax with Dijon mustard and lemon crème fraiche; duck leg confit with black cherry sauce; and the new chocolate delice with Kirsch. The meal, and French wine are probably best enjoyed sat on the terrace, overlooking the river.
The latest restaurant from the Waney family (Roka, Zuma, The Arts Club), Meraki is a Greek restaurant opening in Fitzrovia. You’ll find bottarga from Mesologgi, graviera cheese from Naxos and galotiri cheese from Crete. Heading up the kitchen will be Greek chef Dimitrios Siamanis and dishes will include slow-cooked ox cheek with hilopites from Trikala with artichokes and graviera; baked cod wrapped in vine leaves with artichokes and broad beans in a mussel broth and changing mezze dishes, chargrilled meats and whole fish dishes.
Salt + Pickle
Opening on Westow Hill in Crystal Palace, Salt + Pickle will specialise in preservation techniques, focusing on ingredients from small and independent local suppliers. You’ll find the likes of treacle-cured salmon homemade beef pastrami as well as a small, well-curated drinks list with plenty of beer from craft breweries like Gipsy Hill Brewery which is just down the road from them.