Monday to Friday we write about a new restaurant, bar or hotel opening in London – that’s around 260 new venues that we’ve told you about this year and somehow we’ve managed to whittle it down to 28 of the best new venues – the question is how many have you made it to?
Designed by Tom Dixon
Taking over The Grand Buildings, Bronte (named after Lord Nelson aka 1st Duke of Bronte), showcases the work of design-maestro Tom Dixon who was in charge of the interiors. Dusky pinks and emerald greens make up the colour palette, in the form of chunky banquettes and covetable chairs, with statement gold pendant lights hanging above the pink concrete bar and hints of brushed metal throughout. Whilst in the kitchen Executive Chef Andrew Lassetter has created a global menu that has Pacific and Antipodean influences.
A Taste of Rural Thailand Comes to Soho
October saw the opening of the Kiln, the second restaurant from Ben Chapman (Smoking Goat) serving up dishes inspired by the Thai borderlands, such as lamb skewers and daily changing noodle dishes. The restaurant has exceeded expectations being even more popular than anticipated – prepare for queues but it’s definitely worth the wait.
Husband-and-wife duo Greg and Marie Marchand brought their Parisian restaurant Frenchie to Henrietta Street at the start of the year. Named after the nickname Jamie Oliver gave to Gregory whilst he was working at Fifteen, Frenchie serves simple, globally-inspired sharing dishes and a tasting menu at dinner.
Barely a day goes by without Dalloway Terrace popping up on our Instagram feed. One of the most photogenic venues to have opened this year, a menu of small plates entices bloggers, whilst a festive transformation by top florists Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart has made it a Narnia-inspired winter wonderland complete with cheese fondues and a chocolate afternoon tea.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)
Since opening this year Padella has quickly become one of the most talked about restaurants. The simple pasta place in Borough Market is the work of Tim Siadatan and Jordan Friedo who are also the duo behind Trullo. Having won numerous awards already, their Pici Cacio e Pepe is also one of the most Instagrammed dishes of 2016 which we all know is no mean feat.
Pop-up to Permanent
Following in the footsteps of many a pop-up that has gone on to permanent homes, Som Saa made its way to Spitalfields from its temporary home in Hackney’s Climpson’s Arch, after raising £700,000 through crowdfunding. Chef Andy Oliver and his punchy Thai cooking has without a doubt made Som Saa one of 2016’s key openings.
Neil Rankin Takes on Soho
BBQ connoisseur Neil Rankin returned to take on Soho with temper, a South American inspired barbecue restaurant. It’s big on meat, smoke, sustainability and creating minimal waste so you’ll find that it’s all about using up as much of the animal as possible, right down to the bones which are turned into broth. Like meat? You’ll love temper.
Californian Lifestyle in Notting Hill
Back in April, Camilla Al Fayed (chairman of fashion label Issa London and daughter of former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed) opened plant-based restaurant Farmacy. The Notting Hill joint was an instant hit amongst the yogi set for its biodynamic wines and spirulina-packed juices, with their syringe shots a must-try.
Wild and Foraged
Neal’s Yard got a dose of wild food and refreshingly reasonable prices when Native opened in February, championing the UK’s best wild food. Rabbit, pigeon and venison get the attention they deserve, prepared by self-taught chef and co-founder Ivan Tisdall-Downes (formerly of River Cottage).
High-End Italian Dining
Paulo De Tarso and Nicolas Jauoën worked together at Scott’s and bring the same impeccable service to Margot with the help of Executive Chef Maurizio Morelli. The Covent Garden site (a former tobacco factory) opened in October and serves high-end Italian food with a wine menu of over 300 bottles across lunch, dinner and pre- and post-theatre.
Jason Atherton’s done it again. The seventh London restaurant for The Social Company, Sosharu serves casual yet refined Japanese cuisine with speciality small dishes including sashimi, hibachi grill and tempura as well as a a bespoke daily changing tasting menu created by Head Chef Alex Craciun who spent time in noodle shops and Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan honing his craft. Seven Tales is the cocktail bar in the basement and Kietsu is the intimate chef’s table.
Pigs tails, pigs jowl, brisket, ribs, pastrami: Smokestak is all about the meat. David Carter gave his street food (which began at Dalston’s Street Feast in 2013) a permanent home in Shoreditch in early November – but don’t go expecting pulled pork, he says it’s ‘overdone’. An intimate, candlelit bar downstairs is worth a visit too. We can smell the woodsmoke from here.
Counter dining has continued to rise in popularity (thanks Barrafina), with Counter Culture in Clapham only adding to the hype when it opened in April. ‘Naughty little brother’ of The Dairy (just next door), pintxos are the order of the day here with a strong focus on pickling, fermenting and bottling seasonal produce. Nab one of the six seats at the counter, order a selection of plates, and BYOB.
Late Night Soho Hotspot
It’s hard to believe 100 Wardour Street only opened at the start of the year, albeit with a star-studded launch party. The stage is the centre of attention in the downstairs club whilst upstairs, the lounge is more relaxed, serving an all-day, Mediterranean-inspired menu, making use of the Robata grill and Josper oven. The club is open until 2am for cocktails and live music.
Where: 100 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.4 miles)
Jason Atherton's Relaxed Grill Restaurant
A busy year for Jason Atherton, and a second opening in the City in the form of Temple and Sons which opened at the end of November. A deli on the ground floor is inspired by a traditional British grocery store serving snacks and sandwiches during the day, and home-canned cocktails come night time. Upstairs, a relaxed restaurant focuses on sharing dishes prepared on the custom-built grill which uses varying types of wood, charcoal and hay.
Elegant Venetan Dining
The latest from Salt Yard Group, Veneta is in the brand spanking new St James’s Market development, inspired by the elegance of Venice and the grandeur of bygone eras. Chef Director Ben Tish and Head Chef Jamie Thickett are putting their spin on classic Venetan dishes; think a raw bar, artisan charcuterie and a wine list dedicated to Northern Italy.
Ravinder Bhogal's Restaurant
Opened by the award-winning food writer and cook, Ravinder Bhogal, Jikoni landed in Marylebone this September bringing together the flavours and cooking techniques of East Africa, Britain, the Middle East and Asia. Inspired by the maternal kitchens that she grew up on Ravinder is cooking up the likes of Ras el hanout lamb served with Mujadarra and a newly announced brunch.
Portland's Sister Restaurant
The summer saw Will Lander, Daniel Morgenthau and chef, Merlin Labron-Johnson the team behind the critically acclaimed restaurant, Portland, return with the opening of Clipstone. It’s minimal and focuses on textures and subtle features and the menu includes Lardo di Colonnata with caramelised walnuts; BBQ cuttlefish, cabbages, ink sauce and horseradish and rice pudding with quince, orange and lemon thyme.
Pachamama's Little Sister
This year saw Peruvian restaurant Pachamama get a sibling in the form of Chicama, a seafood restaurant on the King’s Road. Head Chef Erren Nathaniel has been serving up a menu of tuna tiradito, smoked tamari egg and black radish; crispy confit seabass rolls and BBQ baby beets and fresh fish cooked on the robot grill in pink surroundings. Their Instagram’s worth a browse too.
NYC's Best Loved Nordic Restaurant
Only opening at the end of November, Aquavit rounds off London’s 2016 Scandinavian affair. Setting up home in the newly opened St James’s Market, the restaurant (which is already NYC’s best-loved Nordic restaurant) champions all things Nordic, from the menu to the interior design – even the staff’s uniforms are the work of a Nordic designer.
The Second Restaurant From the Team Behind The Clove Club
Isaac McHale, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith returned this year with the opening of their second restaurant Luca (their first being the multi-award winning, Michelin-starred The Clove Club). Found in Clerkenwell it marries together British produce with Italian dishes, which they’re referring to Britalian. Expect to find the likes of rump of angus beef stuffed with pancetta; spahettini with Morecambe Bay shrimps and mace butter and ravioli of grouse with potato and whisky sauce.
Jun Tanaka's First Restaurant
2016 saw the opening of The Ninth, the ninth restaurant that chef Jun Tanaka has worked in and the first that he has owned. Moving onto Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street, the restaurant focuses on French–Mediterranean dishes with vegetables taking centre stage. Dishes include smoked aubergine caviar with pickled red onion, Jerusalem artichokes à la barigoule and toasted fregola and a raw menu offers razor clam ceviche and pickled mussels. Its recent Michelin star confirms its spot on this list.
Tom Sellers' Much Anticipated Second Restaurant
Being one of the most exciting young chefs and with his first restaurant, Restaurant Story receiving a Michelin star just five months after opening there was always going to be a hype around Tom Sellers’ second restaurant. Taking on the vast space that is 264 Brompton Road, Restaurant Ours opened to mixed reviews, but with all agreeing that the restaurant itself which features a tree inside looks incredible.
The New York Bakery Comes to London
Dominique Ansel has made all our sugary dreams come true with the arrival of his bakery in Victoria. When it opened in September, people travelled across the country to be the first through the door and since then it’s been an endless stream of heads through the door to eat cookie shots, Welsh Rarebit croissants and of course the legendary Cronut®.
Antipodean Restaurant in Fitzrovia
Bringing a vibrant pop of canary yellow to the grey streets of London, Antipodean restaurant, Dickie Fitz opened at the start of the year with Executive Chef Matt Robinson at the helm. Order the Tim Tam Martini and make sure you go for the truffle macancini – you won’t be disappointed.
Where: 48 Newman Street, London W1T 1QQ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Goodge Street (0.3 miles)
Fuss-Free French Dining
Alex Jackson Stevie Parle’s protégé and former Head Chef at Rotorino in Dalston, found a home for his French restaurant Sardine in an art gallery annexe. Simple dishes such as traditionally slow cooked leg of lamb, whole rabbit and handmade malloreddus (Sardinian gnocchi) have won Sardine a whole host of fans and rave reviews from critics and the public alike.
New to Fitzrovia
Following Foley’s Tasting Kitchen, a six-week residency under the arches at Shepherd’s Bush, Foley’s opened in Fitzrovia, (London’s new foodie scene if openings are to go by). The kitchen is run by Mitz Vora (previously Sous Chef at The Palomar) with support from Fraser Bashford who was Junior Sous at Dabbous. Their menu is inspired by the Spice Trail and features dishes such as cornflake-crusted chicken with pickled mushrooms, corn, endive and chorizo.
Adam Handling Headed East
Adam Handling opened The Frog in Ely’s Yard, the first of several restaurants of the same name. Given that Adam himself is only 28, the restaurant celebrates the creativity of the young with young food producers and artists working with him. There is also a cracking and very reasonable tasting menu which has been real hit.
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