As George Bernard Shaw once said: “There is no sincere love than the love of food,” and as Handbookers you’ll most surely agree? Which is why, as the dawn of a new month brings Christmas cheer in all of its glorious forms, we pay homage to November by taking a peak at all of our favourite new restaurants that threw open their doors. After all when, if not at Christmas, can we talk about our endless love affair with food without feeling guilty? So without further ado, here are the foodie spots you should head to to get your practice in before the big day!
Pizza Pilgrims have been popping their doors open in new locations quite frequently as of late, most probably to the delight of all pizza lovers amongst us. Having opened up this month (hurrah!) the youngest Pizza Pilgrims sibling is a 104 cover restaurant that also boasts a 16 seater terrace, situated in one of the iconic London Bridge arches, with trains passing over head. If, however, this is too far to travel to get your pizza fix, you can head to the also newly opened Pizza Pilgrim site in the City, next to Tower 42, which opened up in early October. Pizza Pilgrims venues are the brainchildren of founders Thom and James Elliot.
Darwin & Wallace’s collection of neighbourhood bars are showing no sign of slowing down as they open No 17 Dickens Yard. Their seventh location in Ealing takes inspo from urban European loft apartments and features two bars, sofas ideal for lounging and a first-floor terrace. Just a wander-away from Ealing tube, guests can enjoy a menu of locally sourced and carefully curated food and drink in a snug setting. We’re sold!
Onima, in Mayfair, plays with sumptuous colours one might find inside any up-market exclusive venue, blood reds and black taking precedence; a far cry from staple Mykonos embellishments of terracotta and shades of blue. It’s cosy whilst being luxe, emanating real date-night vibes. Designed by Greek interior designers Archset, there’s a real love affair going on with plush velvet sofas and grandiose art-work. Walking into the restaurant, the eye catches the glimmering bar; a centre-point where mixologists are working their magic. The interiors blend well with the dimly-lit room, providing a strikingly sexy atmosphere. And, on the sexy front, the loos also follow suit. It’s one of those where everything looks good, big appetite or no. The food waltzes between Mediterranean and Asian influence and mixes flavours of Greek, Italian and Japanese cuisine. Sashay between a menu emboldened by options, from meat offerings to fish, salads or mezze. On par with the chichi interior, the menu also boasts a ‘From The Josper’ section; this being coveted food such as Wagya beef ribeye and Greek seabass cooked over Japanese “Binchotan” charcoal.
Buns & Buns, the restaurant putting breads and buns back at the centre of the table, is opening its new home in the heart of London’s Covent Garden Market. Having first debuted Buns & Buns in Miami, founder Alexandre Zibi is bringing his take on the world’s best breads, from fluffy Taiwanese bao to pala romana, a crunchy Roman-style pizza bread, to the market’s North Hall. Once seated, bun-lovers can take their pick from Buns & Buns’ roving dim sum trolley as it is wheeled around the tables, or opt for dishes from the menu including the brioche lobster roll with skinny fries, clams and mussels in white wine with sourdough. To celebrate their arrival in the neighbourhood, the team dished up 100 brioche lobster rolls on the house for the first 100 dinner guests on opening day… now that sort of kindness is a super inventive to get yourselves down there!
For a bit of ooo, la la, and a hint of je ne sais quoi, it’s Le Petit Citron calling your name. The family-run neighbourhood bistro has thrown open its doors in Hammersmith, promising food that takes inspiration from long summers spent with family in the French countryside. Husband and wife restaurateurs Lawrence and Emily Hartley opened it up, and for that we’re eternally grateful!
Sparkling wine anyone? Queue a sea of hands rising up. Because who doesn’t love sparkling wine, am I right?! They certainly do at Grays & Feather anyway, the brand spanking new Covent Garden venue specialising in worldwide sparkling wine. The success generated from a little pop-up and has since grown into a haven of coveted regional wines. As said Charles Beaudelaire c. 1850s: “One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.”
Pachamama East in Shoreditch is an absolutely Instagrammable must-visit, in all of its pastel shaded glory! Now open in Shoreditch, the venue offers up Peruvian plates inspired by East Asian cuisine and exists as the little sister to venues in Chelsea and Marylebone. There’s also a large cocktail menu on offer such as Going Banana, Tiger’s Back and Costa Verde, set between categories Mama’s and Papa’s cocktails; the focus being on intense flavours and a whole lotta alcohol. Yum!
Photo Credit: Two Times Elliott
Over here at The Handbook we just love a refurb, of any size, shape and form! Which is why we’ve got ourselves in a real tizzy over the refurb of the year, as Soho’s iconic Roundhouse undergoes a one million pound refurb. The sexy new space has reopened as Soho Residence in London’s West End. So, what’ve we got to look forward to (aside from moreish food and tasty drinks?) Well, the bar club and lounge (triple threat) will hold a whopping capacity of 350 meaning you can along and take all your chums. The building itself holds a hella a lot of history, having been erected in 1982. Prior to being the latest addition to our bucket list, the Roundhouse building existed as blues and skiffle clubs, with renowned performers from across the globe gracing it with their presence. The venue also offers an opulent gin parlour with plush sofas for when Mothers Ruin takes its toll and where the good times will beGIN with different variations of the spirit. There is also a botanical cocktail bar with a bringing the outdoors in kinda theme. The space is laden with hanging plants, botanicals akin to the cocktails being served up, banquette seating, and an enigmatic Soho vibe!
One for the Taiwanese cuisine lovers: Bao & Bing is the intimate new street food-inspired dining concept, based on London’s Paddington Street in Marylebone, founded by Paul Sarlas. With the feel, fun and energy of Taipei’s famous night markets, Bao & Bing serves authentic and popular Taiwanese dishes made in the traditional method with superior ingredients, and we’re salivating at the thought of it all!
Cocktails; we can’t get enough of them, and neither can Heads + Tails by the looks of things. The is a new late-night cocktail bar from Will Partridge and Chris Dennis. It will be a bar of contrasts, both in its beautiful design and its creative output. Heads, a bright airy bar serving light cocktails, gins, wines and aperitivo will be cleverly juxtaposed with Tails, a dark, atmospheric basement bar specialising in whiskies and rums.
LINO takes a mindful approach to its menu with everything made in-house, from pastries to croissant-infused ice cream. Delicious! The brand new bar and all-day restaurant can be found in a former carpet warehouse in the Square Mile. The Wright & Bell team have created the space which will take pride in innovative drinks and dishes, and Richard Falk, The Dairy in Clapham’s former head chef, will be heading up the kitchen. LINO up, this sounds like a good’un.
It’s the fifth all-day cafe, resto and bar to join the group, and VQ doesn’t look as though its set to disappoint. The latest venue will be serving up their legendary classic club sarnie, (synonymous to the brand), alongside full English brekkies, BBQ baby back ribs, salads and buttermilk pancakes, alongside a range of other British food must-haves! Plus, if the 2am alcohol license doesn’t make it an attractive option then perhaps the fact it’s right next to Euston Square tube station will!
BOWLS, and BOWLS and BOWLS of tasty food? Yes please that man! In fact, who needs a plate when you can have a whole BOWL of the good stuff! This must have been the thought behind brand new venue BOWLS, located in a chic area of Soho. The concept of the resto is to bring you comfort food but, instead of on plates, it’s all in bowls! The menu meanders between Caribbean, South American and South East Asian influence, triumphing dishes such as Jamaican jerk chicken, tuna poke, zari pho and more. What’s more, the cocktails pander to the food on offer with perfect matches to sup at whilst you feast, including the #IncrediBowl Negroni (BOWLS, we love you for that), and the Aloha Royal using rhubarb liqueur.