It’s the final month of the year and boy where did the time go? But one thing we can look back on is a an exquisite catalogue of new restaurant openings with no month left unblemished. So, as we carry through to the new year, it’s safe to say there’s by no means a lack of places to graze at. So, if you’ve got space after the Christmas feasting here are a few places to head that opened up in December:
Giggling Squid – what a name! This new resto has totally hit the nail on the head when it comes to cute and catchy names, plus it’s Thai food so loads of boxes are getting ticked here! The restaurant has a cute back story; the owner and her husband sat in a tiny basement of a fisherman’s cottage back in the good ol’ days of 2002, they chatted and chatted and thus came their idea – let’s just blimmin’ create a Thai tapas menu. Here we are, god knows how many years later, and there’s a new kid on the restaurant block that we’re terrifically excited to try! With unusual flavour combos and a huge range on offer, it’s one not to miss in 2019!
Saying something is the ‘best in the world’ is a huge claim in any case, but we feel like the one made about these delicious looking dumplings from Din Tai Fung may well be true. On the 5th of December, as Christmas mingling began to crowd the city, a restaurant extravaganza that began in Taiwan in 1958 as a cooking oil retail shop, threw its doors open in London’s Covent Garden. And thus the world’s best dumplings landed on our shores. The pork dumplings – also known as pork xiao long bao – have been raucously raved about across the globe, receiving various shout-outs and accolades for their simplistic visage and spot-on flavours.
Now the wait may be over, but waiting was still something we had to do, as the opening saw stretches of people queuing around the block to get their hands on the world’s best dumplings. And yet the question on everyone’s lips seems to be why has it taken this long to bring the dumpling giants to London, with 140 restaurants already across the world? Well perhaps in a state of sorriness, they’ve decided to open not one, but two restaurants in London. The first being this already popular joint in CG, and the second will be opening in Centre Point Building in 2019. Hurrah! Din Tai Fung has got its hands on two Michelin stars, including the accolade of one of the world’s ten best restaurants as named by the New York Times. The dumplings are folded eighteen times in total, woah, and will take a huge team of chefs to prepare them before you get to delve in. Suffice to say they definitely don’t shirk on care and presentation. This attention to detail also seeps through into the restaurant, as pictured below, with interiors reminiscent of their Taiwanese history. But, if dumplings aren’t your thing (we’re not judging, promise) then you can still go along and munch on other Taiwanese food variations, inclusive of chicken soup, Oriental salads, and fried rice dishes.
Where: 5 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8PT
The Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard is such a London staple – and if you’re yet to visit put it on your 2019 bucket list. Seriously! Joel and Aiste, the duo behind the vegan eatery, headed to Islington this December to wow with their creations on Upper Street. The new location, which we’re sure will have queue’s out the door in no time, focuses on freshly foraged wild and artisanal ingredients, with a notable commitment to the organic. All that’s really left to say is if you liked their first spot – and I mean who doesn’t – then you’re bound to be a huge fan of this one!
Where: Wild Food Café 269 - 270 Upper Street N1 2UQ
This quirky new spot is our hope at redeeming ourselves after stuffing our faces over Christmas. Redemption Bar in Seven Dials is a 45-cover space and the third brand to open, offering guilt-free food in the form of sumptuous vegan and gluten-free offerings. Staples will still be ablaze on the menu including pulled barbecue jackfruit and the zucchini pesto pasta. You’ll also have the option to takeaway, you lucky thing!
Where: 2 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9AT
Focusing on the idea that the kitchen should be the heart of any home (rightly so), Tamarind Mayfair is throwing its doors back open after an eight-month refurb! With new being the word of the moment, the restaurant will also have a refurbed menu including tandoori quail and masala tossed lamb brain. The altered interior showcases a distressed gold, pale grey, pink and cream colour palette. It’s luxe, and we love it!
Where: 20 Queen Street, W1J 5PR
If not for the love of food go to Art Yard Bar & Kitchen for its alluring interiors! The new venue certainly lives up to its namesake with quirky lights proving the centrepiece of the space. The menu triumphs British produce through the seasons under the influence of Head Chef Lee Streeton, formerly of 45 Jermyn Street.
Where: 2 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 9JU
Take a look at the 80 hottest restaurant openings of the year here