London’s dining scene rivals any city in the world with its vast range of international restaurants. In addition to a new Soho restaurant excelling in Modern British cuisine, other new launches in the capital include the first outpost for an American seafood favorite, a second venture for a brilliant young Tel Aviv chef and a stunning effort from a renowned Turkish chef and restaurateur. Here are 10 of the best recent openings.
1.Saltie Girl, Mayfair
The first outpost of Kathy Sidell’s popular Boston restaurant is on London’s chic North Audley Street. Established in Boston in 2016, the restaurant is known for its high-quality oysters, lobster, caviar, tinned fish and cocktails. With a focus on sustainable fish and seafood from around the world, menu highlights include lobster waffle, warm spicy crab rolls, gnocchi with caviar, sea food towers and proper American-style shrimp cocktail. And one of the most loved aspects of Saltie Girl is the selection of tinned fish on offer, over 50 varieties of the world’s best. The 100-cover restaurant, over two floors, features attractive interiors by award-winning interior designers Atelier Wren.
Taking its name from Hebrew slang for “darling,” this lively, chic new restaurant from Israeli-born chef Eran Tibi, features Israeli-inspired dishes which capture the free spirit of Tel Aviv’s beautiful courtyards. This is his second London project, following the success of Bala Baya, Southwark. Influenced by Middle Eastern cooking and focusing on the enjoyment of fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients, Chef Tibi’s menu is an homage to his mother’s home cooking and generations of baking expertise. Menu highlights include the well-loved Bala Baya pitta, baked in a traditional pitta oven brought over from Tel Aviv, baklava prawns and ceviche. Desserts are equally moreish including the Cigar Break, with tahini rose pistachio ice cream, brick and coco cone, smoke twill with saffron and passion fruit curd. Designed by Raven Collective, the interiors celebrate Tel Aviv’s eclecticism with sweeping curved booths, brass accents and rich textures.
Soho’s newest neighbourhood bistro and bar is located on the corner of Brewer and Warwick Street in a renovated 1910 Neo-Baroque building. Upstairs is the new 1 Warwick private members’ club, sharing the same chef. The menu by Executive chef Tom Cenci is seasonal, Modern European with a really good range of vegetable dishes. Snacks include oysters, hot sauce, crackers and hibiscus mignonette and cheese and onion croquettes with grape husk mustard. Among the highlights in small plates are the incredible celeriac carbonara and steak tartare with beef fat pangratatto, raw egg, charred bread. Mains include bulgar wheat stuffed cabbage, parsnip purée and herb oil; mussels, cider, parsley and seeded garlic baguette and seabass with beurre blanc, pickled dulse and pink fir potatoes. Desserts are inventive and satisfying: cheese mille-feuille with Baron Bigod and hot honey and a new take on the classic Baked Alaska, The bar’s cocktails showcase a range of UK-based producers with drinks including Ol’ China Plate, which mixes East London Liquor Company Rye Whisky, Sacred dry vermouth and Sipello with Campari.
The first Armenian restaurant in London is the result of travels to Armenia and Lebanon by the founder of Mira Foods, Dr Mazen Amulgbel. Lusin’s dishes were created by Madam Anahid Doniguian, author of the Armenian Cookbook Yepelou Arveste and the menu was created by chef Marcel Ravin (of two Michelin-starred Blue Bay, Monaco). This all adds up to a winning formula and the food certainly doesn’t disappoint, with innovative dishes such as the cherry kebab made from spiced kebab skewers, perfectly charcoaled and then covered with sauce made from sour cherries sourced from Armenia. Other menu highlights include eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut, whipped cheese and topped with pomegranate seeds; Manti, dumplings stuffed with meat, matzone yogurt and tomato sauce; and for dessert, honey cake with layers of honey biscuits and cream served with honey comb; rose petal ice cream. A selection of Armenian wines also will not disappoint in this smart new venture.
Launched in January, Humo means “smoke” in Spanish and the heart of this restaurant revolves around a four-metre long grill, with no electricity or gas used as fuel. Serving cuisine influenced by the precision of Japanese cooking techniques, the kitchen is led by Colombian-born dynamo, Chef Miller Prada, protégé of Endo Kazutoshi of Michelin starred Endo at the Rotunda. The use of smoke or fire is part of every dish from small plates to the main dishes. All dishes are prepared using a selection of widely sourced woods, all used to cook with and to impart subtle flavor differences to each of the dishes. Juniper branches, White Ubame Oak, British Oak, Birch, Cherry, Walnut, Apple and Beech from protected wood farms in the UK are all used. Menu highlights include Trout and Caviar, a 14-day aged Ike-Jime Hampshire trout, HP18 oak, 3-month aged caviar grilled in konbu kelp and a hand-dived Orkney scallop flavored with Speyside whiskey. For an added thrill, the counter dining experience provides a front row seat to the action.
6.The Counter, Notting Hill
The first London restaurant and his first outside of Turkey, The Counter by celebrated Turkish chef and former national champion windsurfer, Kemal Demirasal, presents an impressive array of contemporary Turkish dishes. The 45-cover restaurant and bar showcases traditional south eastern Anatolian cooking styles mixed with Kemal’s own take on his native cuisine. Using the open kitchen’s charcoal-fired mangal oven and the finest Turkish ingredients, Kemal creates innovative twists on classic dishes. Starters and salads to share include Chocolate babaganoush made with white chocolate, dukkah, dill oil and rose; and Kibbeh (içli köfte), a dish of fried bulgur dough stuffed with minced meat and walnut, isot pepper, mint and chilli, with tahini cream. Mains are equally tasty: Mince kebab (satır kıyma) with lamb, paprika, isot pepper and molasses, served with tabla and onion salads and lavash bread; sirloin kebab (çökertme) made with beef sirloin and tarragon, and served alongside thin cut fries, garlic yogurt and tomato sauce; as well as lamb chops (kuzu pirzola) served with chimichurri and a couscous pilaf made with apricot, mint and pomegranate. To finish, desserts include traditional Semolina cake (revani) with clotted cream, poppy seeds and orange zest, sage infused burnt rice pudding (adaçaylı fırın sütlaç) with hazelnut.
7.Joia, Art’otel, Battersea Power Station
Meaning “jewel” in Portuguese, JOIA is the city’s newest destination spot, with panoramic skyline views of the Battersea Power Station and a stellar Iberian menu. From Chef Sá Pessoa. Dishes include his La Bomba de Lisbon – a signature croquette made with potato and traditional Portuguese Alheira sausage, served with tomato and sofrito sauce; Bacalhau à brás – salted cod with shoestring potatoes, parsley, black olive served with an raw egg yolk and mixed tableside; and grilled carabineiro with orzo bisque and coriander.
This lively restaurant and bar, just off Denmark street on the rooftop of The Now Building, has a fine offering of contemporary Chinese cooking that includes sharing dishes, colorful dim sum and small plates. Menu highlights include Dim sim of pearly King Crab dumpling; tuna, yellowtail and kiwi sashimi; Shanghai black cod; Kung po king prawns; and honey roast Chilean sea bass and sticky beef short rib. Expect the finest cocktails too, courtesy of Will Meredith (formerly of Lyaness).
9.The Ghurkas, Fitzrovia
Named after Nepal soldiers who have fought for Britain since 1815, The Gurkhas opening later this month, promises a modern and unique approach to traditional Nepalese cuisine. Head Chef Joe Allen, whose wife is Nepalese and father-in-law who’s a Gurkha, travelled extensively across Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara immersing himself in the culture and sampling delicacies. Dishes are designed for sharing and includes the popular dish, Kukura ko Jhol Momo (steamed chicken dumplings in a tomato and soybean soup); Mutton Sekuwa with onion and coriander; chargrilled Monkfish Choila and Pork Chop with Sisnu (nettle). The restaurant will also be supporting The Gurkha Welfare Trust, donating 50 pence from every Gurkha pickle dish sold to aid Gurkha veterans, their families, and communities.
10.Rambutan, Borough Market
The debut restaurant from the first Sri Lankan Tamil woman to open a restaurant in London, features an open hearth, inspired by the village kitchens of chef Cynthia Shanmugalingham’s ancestral home. The menu includes Sri Lanka’s best-loved dish, slow braised Black Pork, spiced with curry powder roasted until it’s blackened and burnt. Another highlight is Chicken Pongal, cooked slowly with saffron, coconut milk, poppy seeds and cinnamon. Downstairs, the bar provides an intimate hideaway, with a menu of cocktails featuring spirits banned by colonial rule in Sri Lanka and beyond including: mezcal, cachaca and Sri Lankan arrack.