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Former MasterChef finalist Alex Rushmer ran The Hole in the Wall in Little Wilbraham near Cambridge (check out our guide to the best places to eat in Cambridge here) for six successful years, during which it was named one of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants by The Sunday Times. Since closing it last summer, Alex has been working with former sous chef, Lawrence Butler, on a number of projects, including a sell-out two- week run at The Cambridge Distillery in Grantchester. They’ve also been planning a new venture – Vanderlyle, which is due to open in the spring. The 25-cover restaurant in the centre of Cambridge will have an open kitchen, with space for some diners to eat counter-style at the pass. Alex says: “We are concept-free other than the desire to cook delicious food using the very best ingredients, with a slight focus towards vegetables, sustainably sourced fish and locally farmed meat. We have built up great relationships directly with farmers, growers and producers over the past few years, and will be buying as much directly from them as we can.”
With several restaurants in London and Edinburgh (read our Dishoom Edinburgh restaurant review here), the Dishoom family continues to grow with its first Manchester site (discover our top picks for restaurants in Manchester here) opening this month (if all goes to plan). Like the previous sites, the restaurant in the old Freemason’s Hall on Bridge Street will continue to pay homage to the old Irani cafés of Bombay and serve a similar menu to the others, including its famous bacon naan roll. Fans of Dishoom should also get ready for the autumn 2019 publication of the long-awaited cookbook Dishoom: From Bombay with Love.
Following residencies showcasing his cooking at restaurants such as Marylebone’s Carousel (check out our guide to the best restaurants in Marylebone here), in March 2019 Mexican-born ex-Noma chef Santiago Lastra will open his debut solo restaurant, Kol, in London. With a mezcal bar, an open kitchen and lots of shared main courses, Lastra will celebrate his native cuisine with the help of the best British produce, from salt baked Welsh lamb shoulder with borracha (drunken) sauce, to roasted and pickled seasonal vegetables and tortillas made with Scottish grains.
Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, Shoreditch, London
Legendary French restaurateurs Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, and their team behind Parisian restaurants La Felicità, Pink Mamma and Ober Mamma, have confirmed their next restaurant will open in Shoreditch, in early 2019. There’s no confirmation of the name, but the 160-cover site, spread over two floors, will offer an all-day Italian menu with a focus on prime produce – including buffalo mozzarella, hand-painted ceramics from Deruta and parma ham from producer Stefano Borchini in Parma.
Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, King’s Cross, London
Peter Sanchez-Iglesias of Bristol’s Casamia (read our restaurant review here) finally opens his first London restaurant in 2019. The chef, who has a Michelin star at both Casamia and neighbouring Paco Tapas, will run a new restaurant on the top floor of London hotel The Standard. The former Good Food Guide Chef of the Year award winner said: “When I first heard about the possibility of coming on board with The Standard I was like, hell, yeah! I never thought I’d work with a hotel but this is different. The people behind this project are hugely creative and open minded. It’s completely the right fit.”
Dusty Knuckle, Cardiff
Run by husband-and-wife team Phill and Deb Lewis, popular Cardiff pizzeria Dusty Knuckle will open a new venture in the city centre in spring 2019. Located at Warden’s House, it’s the second venue for this award-winning enterprise, which also operates out of The Printhaus in Canton. In 2017, The Guardian named Dusty Knuckle one of the top 10 pizzerias outside London and The Sunday Times Magazine dubbed it one of the three best pop-ups turned restaurants. A business which champions the Slow Food ethos, it recently won People’s Favourite Restaurant in the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good Awards.
Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith, London
Best known for his Chiswick restaurant Sam’s Brasserie, which he sold to Foxlow in 2015, restaurateur Sam Harrison is returning with a new opening in west London. Due to open in spring 2019, Sam’s Riverside will be located at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, facing the Thames with views of Hammersmith Bridge. The modern British brasserie-style restaurant will be an all-day affair, with menus that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner. Commenting on his return to the west London restaurant scene, Sam says: “Sam’s Brasserie was a very important part of my life for 10 years, and I made many friends among the local clientele. I was eager to return, so when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Riverside Studios on the amazing new restaurant space, I was thrilled.”
There seems to be no stopping Gary Usher, who plans to open his sixth restaurant on Manchester’s King Street in February. Kala is expected to serve a similar menu to Hispi in Didsbury, where dishes like braised featherblade with truffle and parmesan chips have become staples. Usher also has Sticky Walnut in Chester, Burnt Truffle in Heswall, Wreckfish in Liverpool (discover our guide to the best places to eat in Liverpool here) and Pinion in Prescot. There were whispers of a London venue, after Gary conducted a site visit in Hackney (check out our restaurant guide to Hackney here) last summer, but there’s no update on that as yet.
Pensons, Herefordshire-Worcestershire border
Due to launch in January 2019, Pensons is an exciting new rural restaurant from chef Lee Westcott (formerly of Typing Room in Bethnal Green) and Peta Darnley of the Netherwood Estate. Inspired by the countryside and abundance of top quality local produce on the borders of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, this is Lee’s first venture outside London and it will be housed at Pensons, a range of beautifully restored farm buildings on the Netherwood Estate, which goes back centuries. Lee says the aim is to cook and eat as seasonally, locally and sustainably as possible, with produce from the estate and foraged ingredients. Diners wishing to extend their visit can also stay in one of the bedrooms at The Hyde, a luxurious Grade-II house on the estate that dates back to the 13th century.
There’s still no confirmation as to when Shibui, the long-awaited venture from ex-Pidgin chef Elizabeth Haigh (who we named as a chef to watch in 2016) is opening but she says: “We are still pursuing the right site and timing.” Worth the wait, we say.
The location and date have yet to be revealed but chef Ruth Hansom and sommelier Emily Lambert, both formerly of The Ritz in London, are said to be opening a modern British restaurant together called Epoch.
Adam Handling Chelsea, Chelsea, London
Adam Handling of Frog in Covent Garden is opening a standalone restaurant at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel this month, with Adam Simmonds as executive head chef. The modern British restaurant, called Adam Handling Chelsea, will have an open kitchen and wood-fired oven, as well as a chef’s table. Handling will collaborate on the menus with Simmonds, an experienced chef who has worked at Le Gavroche, Danesfield House in Marlow and Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
The Bull Inn, Totnes
Due to open in the summer of 2019, The Bull Inn in the Devon town of Totnes will be the latest opening from award winning pub owner Geetie Singh (whose husband, Guy Singh-Watson, you might recognise as the founder of veg box company Riverford Organic Farmers). Closed since November 2017, The Bull Inn dates back to the mid 19th century and it’s the fourth pub for the owner of the pioneering Duke of Cambridge in London – the UK’s first fully organic pub. Opened in 1998, its success and commitment to organics contributed to Geetie being awarded an MBE for her services to the organic pub trade. When it opens next summer, The Bull Inn will offer a bar and restaurant, as well as bedrooms. Geese says: “I am passionate about pubs, they are a piece of history on our street corners. I have wanted a venue in Totnes for many years and I have always thought The Bull Inn would provide just the space I need. I’m really excited about this project. In the 20 years that I owned organic businesses in London, I often bought off suppliers in Devon. Now I’m looking forward to trading with them and many other fantastic sustainable local businesses.”
Credit: James Davey
After the launch of his upmarket Indian restaurant Opheem in Birmingham (read our guide to the best places to eat in Birmingham here) earlier this year, Aktar Islam has just opened an Italian joint in his home city. Legna in Summer Row has a wood-fired oven and promises a concise menu, two different pastas made fresh everyday and, according to Aktar, “a clarity of flavours”.
Endo Kazutoshi, White City, London
New openings at the old BBC TV Centre in London’s White City will continue apace in 2019 when former Zuma executive chef and Ichibuns co-founder Endo Kazutoshi launches a 15-seat restaurant there. This as-yet-unnamed new restaurant from the master sushi chef, who once worked at elBulli in Spain, is sure to be reaching for Michelin stars as soon as it opens.
The Marram Grass, Liverpool
Brothers Liam and Ellis Barrie are following on from the phenomenal success of their Anglesey restaurant, The Marram Grass, by returning to their Liverpool roots to open a second site at the Albert Dock in 2019. Details of exactly what the Scouse siblings plan to do in their new waterfront restaurant have yet to be revealed but Liam says they can’t wait to make their mark in the city where they grew up: “We’re Liverpool born and bred so we’re really looking forward to being back in the city to showcase what we do, and we’re incredibly excited to get the site up and running in such a brilliant part of town. What I love about the Dock is the diversity that it brings to the city – it’s full of locals and tourists alike, and there’s a real buzz about the place. I’m confident that my brother’s cooking and our concept will work well in Liverpool.”