What we know: Bahraini chef and restaurateur Roaya Saleh is bringing flavours from the Khaleej (the 6 countries of the GCC), Persia and beyond to London. Having opened Villa Mama’s in Bahrain 6 years ago, the new Villa Mama’s in London will offer seasonal, home-style dishes with a focus on traditional sharing plates. ‘Mezzeh’ offerings include ‘Khubus’, a Tandoor-cooked flatbread, served with meyhawa, a Bahraini speciality of fermented sardine sauce; ‘Mathrooba’, slow-cooked chicken, rice and cracked wheat; and Lamb and Feta Kofta finished with cherry molasses. Larger plates include ‘Sayadieh’, turbot cooked in fragrant stock with pilaf and crisp onions; and ‘Tacheen’ for two, a saffron rice cake layered with spiced chicken and pine nuts. The dessert menu features delights such as ‘Muhalabia’, rose water rice pudding with almonds and pomegranate, and a breakfast menu offers the likes of ‘Ful Medames’, slow-cooked fava beans with tomato and coriander.
Where: Villa Mama’s Restaurant Ltd, 25-27 Elystan Street, Chelsea,
When: September 25th
The Watch House Opens New Holborn Venue
What we know: The Watch House will be adding a third venue to its repertoire with the launch of its brand new Holborn location on Fetter Road. With coffee shops already open on Bermondsey Street and Tower Bridge, The Watch House’s new site will also offer an all-day eatery and after-work cocktail bar, serving up a delicious host of modern European tapas-style dishes. Opening ready for breakfast, diners can grab-and-go or hang around to enjoy the beautifully designed interior and enjoy The Watch House’s signature eggs benedict made using orange marmalade marinade – plus, from five o’clock the venue will transform into a cosy wine and cocktail bar serving tapas dishes.
Where: Fetter Lane, City of London, London, United Kingdom
When: September 25th
La Fromagerie Bloomsbury
What we know: La Fromagerie is opening its third site in Lambs Conduit Street with their signature Cheese Room, a fresh produce store, café and brand-new Tasting Room.
Where: La Fromagerie, 52 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3LL
When: September 27th
What we know: Popular Battersea haunt Powder Keg Diplomacy is being reborn as POWDERKEG, offering a seasonal menu with a Spanish and Italian twist run by former Opera Tavern chef Ben Mulock. Expect the likes of charred beef brisket with baby gem and pomegranate glaze, and burrata with focaccia, peas and truffle dressing. In addition, brunch offerings include blueberry pancakes with citrus crème fraîche and buttermilk chicken with chilli and avocado, as well as cocktails, wine, craft beers and a gin and tonic menu.
Where: 147 St John's Hill, London SW11 1TQ
When: September 29th
What we know: Tom Hill, Clare Lattin and Rory McCoy of Ducksoup and Rawduck are opening up a new fermentation kitchen, shop and restaurant/bar. A range of fermented goods will be available for purchase, including kimchis, kombuchas and drinking vinegars. Of course, pickles and fermented foods will dominate the dishes served up, as well as the cocktails.
What we know: Haymarket will become home to the new Japan Centre flagship store. The new store will have a food hall with a 100 seater courtyard, evoking Japanese basement food halls, there’ll be specialist rooms selling tea, sake and miso, a Japanese bakery, fruit and veg stalls and fresh fish and meat counters. There’ll also be a deli selling ramen, hand pulled udon, curry as well as gyoza and tempura.
Where: Leicester Square
What we know: The American style bakery that opened up (temporarily) in Old Street Station is taking up a more permanent residence in Shepherd’s Bush. Along with cupcakes, there’ll be layer cakes, pies, cobblers, brownies and marshmallows. There’ll also be opportunity to book for an afternoon tea at the weekend. The online store is already open.
Where: Shepherd's Bush
What we know: Camm & Hooper will be unveiling its sixth event space this autumn, Grace Hall. The project aims to embrace the venue’s Art Deco heritage with a nod to its past as Grace and Co Bank. It comprises four event spaces able to accommodate up to 200 theatre style, 170 seated and up to 600 standing across the whole venue.
Where: Leadenhall Street, London, United Kingdom
The Frog WC2
What we know: Adam Handling is taking The Frog westward and opening up a restaurant in Covent Garden. The new restaurant will be similar to the original but there’ll be more of a formal approach. There will also be new dishes on the menu, exclusive to Covent Garden.
Where: Covent Garden
Trafalgar St. James Hotel
What we know: The new hotel, Trafalgar St. James, will be opening this autumn. In the central location of Trafalgar Square, the new hotel will feature a new rooftop bar, an all-day restaurant, 131 new rooms and 14 suites.
Where: 2 Spring Gardens, St. James's, London SW1A 2TS
Saucy Pasta Bar
What we know: Healthy pasta? This oxymoron is soon to become a reality at the new Saucy Pasta Bar! Classic Italian pasta dishes can be eaten in or taken away, with the option of substituting pasta for spiralised vegetables. Dublin chef Grainne O Keefe has teamed up with friend George Wells to bring this idea to Fitzrovia, offering cheese and charcuterie boards alongside the menu. Saucy Pasta Bar also offers a breakfast menu, including bircher muesli and freshly made smoothies, as well as locally roasted coffee.
Where: Saucy Pasta Bar, 52 Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 2EH
What we know: With 11 restaurants in Hong Kong, Duddell’s, a Michelin starred Cantonese and dim sum restaurant, is leaping across the pond and opening up in London. Daren Liew, ex Executive Sous Chef with the Hakkasan Group, will be heading up the kitchen, while the bar will be serving up wines and craft cocktails with an oriental twist.
Where: London Bridge