A selection of cold meats and salmon on a black table

Best new restaurants in London 2021

The best new restaurant openings in London, expertly reviewed by the olive team. Keep up to date with the hottest new openings and find out which are not to be missed, plus which dishes to order in each restaurant

Looking for new restaurants in London? We’ve visited the hot new openings in the capital to come up with our regularly updated best London restaurants list, expertly reviewed by our team… 

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Hackney Coterie, Hackney

A low-waste brasserie and wine bar

Anthony Lyon, owner of Crouch End’s nose-to-fin restaurant, Lyon’s, has teamed up with sommelier Kelvin McCabe to open this minimal-waste brasserie in Hackney. Orange banquettes glide beneath vibrant artwork from street-artist friends, Panic and Wafa. Exposed brick provides a backdrop to the contemporary bar lined low-intervention wines (try the unique skin-contact Zibibbo for a citrusy, aromatic pairing). The white negroni is fragrant and bitter, while the Hackney spritz is a complex and refreshing take on the classic, infusing chamomile tea, clarified apple cordial and wasabi and apple sparkling wine. Highlights of the sharing plates include a mackerel fillet in an umami-rich mirin-Marmite glaze with pickled cucumbers, and a trio of crisp-layered confit potato stacks coated in Szechuan seasoning with black tea mayo. Our pick of the generous sharing mains is a dry-aged soy salmon steak, formed of two fillets of perfectly pink salmon with a lively sambal salad to boot. To finish, hot filo apple tart encases chunks of Bramley apple in a beurre noisette caramel sauce, topped with honeycomb-like pieces of hazelnut and koji butter. hackneycoterie.net

Interiors of Hackney Coterie including a bar and tables along a wall with a coral banquette

Royale, Bethnal Green

East London’s own Provençal rotisserie joint

Whatever the London weather, this Provençal-inspired restaurant from the team at Leroy under head chef Lucy Timm offers ‘cosy’ inside (bookable) or ‘sunny’ outside (take your chances) equally well. Set within the East London Liquor Company, cocktails come from its bar, while the wine list is of course French. Starters cycle through familiar and less so dishes including panisses (chickpea fries) served with aïoli, anchovies with Piquillo pepper and pecorino, and a memorable white bean dip complete with a pack of Bonilla crisps. You could easily make a meal of these small plates and return another day for the crisp skinned rotisserie Anjou chicken flavoured with herbes de Provence served with the dripping potatoes cooked below it. There was also a roasted lemon sole with brown butter and capers main course on the board the day we visited. Desserts include blackberry and almond tart or chocolate ganache with crème anglaise – a fitting end. royalelondon.com


The Engine Rooms, East Finchley

A hidden gem combining classic cars with revved-up all-day dining

There’s a hidden gem on the Great North Road and it’s called The Engine Rooms – a dining experience that combines classic cars with contemporary cooking. The entrance takes you into a showroom of vehicles of desire that would have any petrolhead drooling but it’s the food that takes the chequered flag: it is a revelation. The concept is the brainchild of Paul Michaels, owner of Hexagon, one of the best known classic car dealers in Europe. It marries marvellous motors with modern art and Med-inspired all-day dining overseen by head chef James Harrison, using seasonal, mostly British ingredients. Start with burrata – a creamy globe of unctuous cheese, with grilled plums, chicory, dukkha spice, plum and mint; or grey mullet ceviche with confit tomato dressing and cured egg yolk. Mains are so beautifully plated they could be sit alongside the art on the walls: robata grilled monkfish tail, meaty and magnificent (and nigh on impossible to cook at home) is glazed in miso and soy with samphire; giant king prawns are perfectly pink, charcoal smoky with roasted nori and yuzu cultured butter. Most dazzling of the desserts is the gin & tonic cheesecake: special enough, but made spectacular by minted Makrut lime sorbet. Delightful. theenginerooms.co.uk


Korean Dinner Party, Soho

Moreish snacks and creative cocktails are the highlight of this Korean-inspired Soho restaurant

Head to the top of Kingly Court in Soho to discover this this lively opening inspired by Korean flavours and LA’s Mexican food scene, with menus designed by prolific chef duo Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng of Tata Eatery, and craft sake from London’s only sake brewery, Peckham’s Kanpai. Inside, expect stripped-back interiors with concrete walls, neon lighting and Korean wall art. An eclectic menu covers everything from Korean corn dogs to tacos and kimchi pancakes. There are larger dishes on offer – go for the Korean tacos with 48-hour slow-cooked beef short rib, ssamjang, slae and homemade wrappers – but it’s the sharing snacks and cocktails that especially impress. Bacon mochi, fudgy chewy rice cakes wrapped in caramelised bacon with gochujang caramel are succulently umami, while ‘chikin’ turns out to be a mound of tender nuggets and rice sticks decadently blanketed in garlic cream and parmesan. The drinks list features fresh twists on classic drinks, such as a plum Americano made with Korean plum wine and Kanpai umeshu. We tried the pleasingly fiery Michelada Boilermaker – spiced Korean beer served with a shot of sake alongside – and the sultry and silky burnt rice old fashioned to finish. koreandinnerparty.com


Sessions Arts Club, Farringdon

Italian inspired small plates in arty surroundings

If you like to experiment, share and discover new ingredients and flavours, this is your dream menu. Chef Florence knight (formerly of Polpo) has created something very unique, with Italian-inspired small plates and mains that read very simply but are put together in such a way as to surprise and delight. Friggitelli (charred green peppers served with puréed cannellini beans lightened with citrus) and hearty pork belly, fennel and orange packs a punch. Our stand-out dishes were a fragrant, rich saffron and tomato tart, and eel, potato, crème fraîche and roe – a slab of thinly layered potato that’s both soft and crunchy, with the fish adding a subtle saltiness. The room is an easy place to lose an afternoon or evening with a high ceiling, distressed walls, comfortable booths and a mezzanine floor with outdoor bar. sessionsartsclub.com


Kalimera, Crouch End

Street-food favourite gets a permanent home in North London

Télémaque Argyriou has been sharing his modern Greek cooking from a food truck since 2015, but this year sees the first permanent site in Crouch End. The space is cosy, but fresh white tiles with accents of sunshine yellow give a breezy atmosphere. The menu is concise, divided into small and large plates. Feta comes in a filo pastry shell, fried until crisp then finished with honey and pistachios with creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty contrasts and a punchy baba ganoush on the side. Prawn saganaki – fat prawns cooked in a fennel and tomato sauce – has a metsovone cheese and spicy zhoug topping. Large plates are generous – the house moussaka is classically made with rich lamb and beef ragu layered with potatoes and aubergine, then topped with béchamel and given a little extra kick from harissa. Lamb kleftiko is a slow-cooked whole shank that falls apart onto a bed of crisp potatoes and peppers. For dessert, the mastic ice cream is dense, creamy and sticky, topped with crunchy kataifi pastry and sour cherry sauce to offset the sweetness. To drink, try the “very dirty” martini, infused with thyme and served with kalamata olives. The wine list is Greek-focussed with some great bottles, such as Dafnios Vidiano, a crisp white with peach and pear accents. kalimera.london

A selection of small plates on a wooden table, including a greek salad, pitta, potatoes and skewers

Sachi at The Pantechnicon, Knightsbridge 

Intriguing events space with imaginative sharing plates

Top and tailing this destination design, shopping and eating complex is Elder, a Nordic-inspired rooftop space, and now Sachi, the atmospheric Japanese restaurant on the lower ground floor. While just a few moments from busy Knightsbridge, its dim lighting, Japanese garden decor and hidden booths make it feel like another world. Overseen by executive chef Chris Golding (whose experience includes Zuma and Nahm), the menu features regional Japanese dishes using the best British ingredients, such as Scottish scallops and lobster and Cornish monkfish, many cooked over fire on the robata grill. Among favourites such as sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls, agedashi tofu, tempura and a magnificent nasu (miso aubergine), discover some unique dishes such as seabass with lava salt and seabuckthorn, butinako – a rich pork belly braised in barley miso – shortrib with fermented mushroom and black garlic, and luxurious wagyu with beetroot and miso. The sommelier will guide you through each course, explaining the source and complexities of each saki as you go. Finish your meal with a sakura cocktail (gin, vermouth and peach) in Sakaya, the tiny whisky bar. pantechnicon.com/sachi


Koya Ko, Hackney

Superbly springy Japanese udon noodle specialist heads east

Tucked away off buzzing Broadway Market, Koya’s casual, friendly little sister follows suit from noodle bars found in Japan’s train stations, with a tachi-gui (standing-while-dining) element alongside seats for customers to slurp bowls of springy udon and tuck into donburi rice bowls. Pop in for the famous English/Japanese breakfast of hot udon topped with egg, bacon and butter soy mushrooms, or traditional neba-neba breakfast rice bowl with fermented soy beans, pickled seaweed and okra and onsen tamago egg. After midday, there’s crunchy chicken kara-age with spring onion sauce and steaming bowls of udon in dashi broth. Try new menu additions, such as slow-braised beef shin on hot noodles slathered in chilli oil, the KO salad of cold udon with pickled aubergine, and plenty of mini-don rice bowls to enjoy on the go. koya.co.uk

A selection of Japanese dishes on a wooden table

José Pizarro at Royal Academy of Arts

Daytime tapas in central London gallery

Chef José Pizarro’s beautiful new Mayfair outpost is a reflection of the chef’s lifelong love of art. With high ceilings and wood-panelling this light-filled room at Royal Academy of Arts is the ideal daytime spot to enjoy a quick glass of manzanilla and some acorn-fed cinco jotas jamón or a long, lazy lunch. Among José classics such as croquetas, pan con tomate, chorizo al vino and prawns with garlic and chilli are some new additions, including the must-order truffle and Ermenesada cheese toasted sandwich. On the ground floor he has also opened the walk-in Poster Bar, selling delicious bocadillos (sandwiches) and snacks. Both are open during the daytime only, closed on Monday. josepizarro.com


Madhu’s of Mayfair, Piccadilly

Indian dishes with a Kenyan twist in a sumptuous setting

‘Special occasion’ are the first words that spring to mind when you walk into the ornate dining room of Madhu’s of Mayfair, complete with enormous chandeliers, rococo-style architecture and marble tables. But far from feeling formal, the vibe is fun and friendly, bustling with birthday parties, tourists and after-work businessfolk. The design is the vision of Madhu’s founder Sanjay Anand, who wanted to “create an experience which engages each of the senses – not just taste”.

The food comes from creative chef Poonam Ball – Sanjay’s sister. She oversees the menus of the Madhu group’s four restaurants. It’s Indian, but with a Kenyan twist, including recipes handed down through four generations from her Nairobi-born mother Krishna and her father Jagdish Kumar Anand (nicknamed Madhu). Choose the signature dishes: palak patta chaat, a pile of crunchy marsh samphire and crispy spinach with warming spices and tangy chutneys; nyamah choma, succulent prime cut lamb ribs marinated in chilli and lemon; and Madhu’s machi’s – whole seabass in an onion and carom seed marinade – which is ‘special occasion’ luxurious. madhus.co.uk

The lavish interiors of Madhu

BAO Noodle Shop, Shoreditch

Silky noodle bowls join the steamed bun line-up in this Taiwanese mini empire

The Taiwanese trio behind this mini pillowy bun empire have applied their signature style to this Shoreditch outpost – ruby red leather stools around blonde wood tables, soft globe wall lights and a white tiled bar, where staff in bespoke lab coats mix clever cocktails. An unusual sweet potato sour is creamy and silky with a sweet, earthy depth, and the old fashioned is given extra body from milk-washed whisky and Taiwanese tea.

Small plates include crunchy Taiwanese fried chicken pieces, boiled cull yaw dumplings and crispy spring rolls filled with stretchy cheese and soy-cured jalapeños. Pillowy steamed buns are filled with the likes of prawn croquette with black garlic glaze and slow-cooked pork with a peanut crumb. Three noodle dishes join the regulars – the richer Taipei-style broth is topped with slow-cooked beef cheek and short rib, plus a dollop of spiced beef butter to melt through the silky homemade noodles. A lighter Tainan broth features rare sliced beef with melting edges of frilly fat, while sesame fried aubergine sits atop an umami-rich vegan kelp soup. Downstairs, there’s a karaoke den adorned with bespoke wallpaper for those who want to book for a bao-fuelled sing-along. baolondon.com

A bowl of noodle soup at BAO Noodle SHop Shoreditch

Bar La Rampa, Oxford Circus

A taste of Cuba in central London

Exuberant interiors, live music and a crowd-pleasing menu define this vibrant celebration of 1950s Havana. The expansive site – minutes from Oxford Circus – marries a rich palette of warm neutrals and earthy hues with masses of tumbling, tropical greenery. There’s also an outdoor terrace, a wood and rattan bar, sleek mid-century furniture and velvet banquettes.

The food menu comes courtesy of Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng of TĀTĀ Eatery – expect modern spins on traditional Cuban and Central American dishes. Particular highlights include the juicy, succulent elote corn ‘ribs’ with a spicy vegan chipotle mayo, and a decadent Cuban sandwich with crispy pork belly, ham, raclette cheese and gherkins – it’s a must-order.

Designed by Sager + Wilde’s Marcis Dzelzainis, the drinks list is focused on classic rum cocktails, including plenty of mojitos and (pleasingly large) daiquiris. Alongside all of this is a live music programme that includes a house band and Cuban-themed nights during the week. barlarampa.com


Mr Ji, Soho

Taiwanese chicken, small plates and cocktail twists in a buzzy bar environment

This small Soho joint is, as it states on the brushed concrete walls, “a modern Asian eatery, all about chicken, small eats and cocktails”. Bottles of Taiwanese whisky sit on the minimalist shelves above the counter bar, while hanging plants juxtapose industrial piping at the back. Share a few small plates to start – unusual daikon cake drizzled with confit garlic soy paste, panko-crusted chicken hearts with a mild katsu curry sauce, and a deep-fried prawn toast brick topped with parmesan fluff that melts into a creamy sweetcorn, prawn and bechamel filling. There are four main chicken dishes to choose from, accompanied by fresh and zingy 24-hour fermented golden kimchi. Traditional Taiwanese tapioca-fried chicken breast is served with scissors to cut into manageable pieces as well as piccalilli mayo to offset the chilli heat. Tender chicken nuggets are slathered in a crispy chilli sauce, and silky poached soy chicken is livened up with a ginger and spring onion dip.

Cocktails provide Taiwanese spins on the classics; the refreshing spritz uses homemade grapefruit and hawthorn cordial to add an Aperol-orange hue, mezcal gives the salted plum negroni a smoky edge, and an umami-packed rum, sherry and fermented rice martini is served pre-bottled direct from the freezer. Mrji.co.uk


Sucre, Soho

Argentinian chef Fernando Trocca’s glamorous London outpost

There’s a lot to take in at Sucre: huge chandeliers made from glass decanters, a vast open kitchen with chefs cooking over charcoal, a very lively soundtrack and excellent cocktail lounge. But, nothing detracts from the food, centred around ‘fire cooking’. On the snacks and small plates menu, South American classics like empanada (cheesy pasty-shaped pastries) and scallop tiradito (raw) with jalapeño rub along with white beans with morcilla and romesco, and burnt aubergine with lemon and herbs. Monkfish tail cooked on charcoal with a punchy XO sauce and black beans, and veal ossobuco with saffron risotto are the main course highlights, along with black squid fideu (a kind of paella made with skinny pasta instead of rice). The peach and melon pudding sounds simple, but looks spectacular, and the must-try cocktail is the Campari di Spuma, made with Campari, egg white and gin. sucrerestaurant.com

The high end interiors at Sucre, featuring chandeliers, dark green seating and large mirrors on the wall

Junsei, Marylebone

Japanese yakitori and unique cocktails in a new omakase experience

Aman Lakhiani trained in the finest Japanese restaurants in Tokyo and Barcelona before opening his own yakitori venture in London. Junsei means ‘pure’ in Japanese, reflected in the restaurant’s cooking techniques – delicate chicken skewers are grilled over binchōtan oak white coal, coated simply in salt or the house-aged tare sauce. Choose the omakase chef’s table experience to watch the chefs spoon house tare sauce from the pot and hammer charcoal to create sparks. Start with a spoon of barley miso-topped cherry tomato, followed by the chef’s selection of delicate yakitori – chicken breast wrapped in a shiso leaf with fermented plum paste, yuzu-laced tempura mushrooms stuffed with chicken, and umami-rich tsukune meatball skewers served with an egg yolk and soy dipping sauce. Donabe ginger rice bowls take 45 minutes to prepare, being cooked from scratch on the stove in Japanese ceramic pots, then topped with the likes of sea bream, burnt orange and sesame seeds.

The Gin2 cocktail is a must-try for its unique combination of refreshing gin granita capped with a warm gin and ginger-infused meringue-like foam. Or the Bincho Sour is a twist on the classic with Akashi whisky and plum syrup. Junsei.co.uk


JOO X Bunhouse pop-up, Soho

Korean cooking with an edge of modern European from Joo Won

There’s Korean fried chicken and then there’s JFC. Joo Won’s fried chicken is tender inside with a perfectly crunchy exterior sitting on a bed of savoury-sweet chilli sauce – the kind of dish you order again for dessert. Step past the ground-floor bun steamers and go upstairs to the pared back dining room to find this pop-up collaboration and order to share. Delicate slices of lightly cured grey mullet are dressed with sesame, chilli and plum soy, crisp battered hake is offset with beef heart tomato and a sweet-sour soy gastric, and a rich kimchi risotto with cheddar is topped with a poached organic egg to break and stir through. Desserts are by Joo’s wife Sujin and include a chocolate cremeux with yuzu compote and cream infused with hojicha (green tea) and toasted grains. Among the drinks selection, there’s a long green plum gin and tonic, and a lime and cherry Shaoxing soda, plus a natural wine list. From 5 August for two months, open Tuesday-Saturday 5-10, Sunday 12-4. bun.house


Al Mare, Knightbridge

Sleek new Knightbridge Italian

The revamped The Carlton Tower Jumeirah is home to a bright and buzzing Italian, focussed around a partially open kitchen that adds a sense of theatre. Butter-soft leather banquettes and crisp blue-and-white linens reflect the restaurant’s coastal theme. Start with snacks such as battuta di tonno – a spicy bite of tuna tartare on saffron arancini – over a glass of Franciacorta, the sparkling wine from Lombardy. There’s a selection of crudo, including white fish ricciolo (yellowtail) with lemon gel dressing for makes a light starter – a good idea if you’re up for a mid-course of pasta. Try agnoletti del plin – guinea fowl stuffed parcels – or the simpler cheese and pepper combo, fusilli cacio e pepe. Two further highlights are the saffron risotto, a classic recipe with the addition of a little licorice, and the signature cacciuccio, a rich seafood dish with orecchiette. Desserts range from classic tiramisu to a glossy Peruvian chocolate tart and tonka bean and hazelnut affogato. Service is impeccable in this very slick new dining room. jumeirah.com/en/dine/london/carlton-tower-al-mare


Pino, Kensington

An Italian institution opens a new ode to Emilia Romana in Kensington

Kensington High Street’s Italian family-run institution, Il Portico, has open a new sister restaurant a few doors down. Fairy lights twinkle from an olive tree in the corner and balsamic vinegar ages in barrels at the restaurant’s centre. There’s an open kitchen at the back with a turquoise mosaic-adorned pizza oven, from which chefs pull wood-fired focaccia slices and crisp pizzas. Owner James Chiavarini and his staff couldn’t be more accommodating, telling stories of Emilia Romana while recommending wines and dishes. Pick a selection of tapas to share – fritto misto is a tangle of courgette discs, plump prawns and squid pieces all coated in a light batter, with a lime mayo for dunking. Burrata sits on a bed of chargrilled veg and bitter friarelli broccoli leaves, while soft salmon is cured with Campari and beetroot. Pasta is equally as impressive – frilly ribbons of homemade pappardelle soak up Forest of Dean wild boar ragù, and squid ink parcels are filled with monkfish and aubergine. British-Italian cocktails include the Cornwall negroni and a Modenese take on a Manhattan, incorporating Pino’s 25 year-aged balsamic bitters. Finish with a refreshing carpaccio of pineapple laced with refreshing yogurt sorbet, mint and fresh chillis. famigliaportico.co.uk

A table of charcuterie, fried courgette, olives, starters at Pino Kensington

Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza, Soho 

Impeccable pizzas in laidback surroundings 

London is no stranger to a good pizza – from Yard Sale to Homeslice, Theo’s, Vicoli dio Napoli and Voodoo Ray’s (and many more), there’s stiff competition for who serves the best slice in town. Rudy’s latest outpost in Soho (they have pizzerias scattered across the north of England, including Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds) makes a worthy addition to the scene.

Start with an aperitivo of Campari and soda, which arrives premixed in a dinky little bottle alongside a bowl of salted crisps for snacking, before moving onto generous sharing platters loaded with deli treats and house-baked bread.

Pizza toppings are crowd-pleasing, from parmigiana with roasted aubergine to spicy calabrese with ’nduja sausage and cinghiale with wild boar salami. Our lavishly topped capricciosa with creamy fior de latte, prosciutto, mushrooms, Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts ticked all the boxes, but it was the base that really impressed – well-flavoured and pillowy while still being satisfyingly chewy. All of Rudy’s pizzas – baked daily using 24-hour fermented dough – are made by trained and accredited pizzaiolos and it shows. rudyspizza.co.uk/soho/


Turul Project, Wood Green

Modern Hungarian cooking and wines in a light, airy setting

Turul Project takes traditional Hungarian dishes, flavours and produce, and adds some fine-dining polish, courtesy of head chef Levente Koppány from Budapest. A quenelle of silky, luscious goose liver pâté is served with little dollops of red cabbage purée, and cubed and jellied Granny Smith apple – little pops of tangy acidity that balance out the richness of the goose. It’s served with a deliciously buttery brioche roll. Ribbons of cucumber, flakes of smoked trout, caviar and dill cream come with a fermented cucumber velouté – it has a funky yet fresh quality that harmonises perfectly with the delicate flavours of the dish. Mains equally impress, especially a tender, rich cut of hare served with roasted carrot, a crispy bonbon made with confit hare leg, bread dumpling and a sweet-savoury, glossy carrot gravy. Leave room for dessert – lúdláb torte made with bittersweet dark chocolate, and winningly paired with a sour cherry sorbet. Accompanying all of this is an exciting Hungarian wine list replete with grapes, producers and regions you may not have heard of before, but which staff will expertly guide you through. Finish with a digestif of pálinka, Hungary’s traditional fruit brandy – we recommend the plum. turulproject.com


Apothecary, Shoreditch

Sophisticated Tokyo-inspired izakaya for light bites and cocktails

Though its concept is a bit different from the more traditional, informal izakaya you might find in Japan, Apothecary does bring the social aspect of these Tokyo bars with its two softly divided spaces – a sophisticated dining area serving ‘drinking food’, spilling into a smart bar with live DJ sessions over the weekend. The spacious restaurant is contemporary and bright, with Shoreditch-worthy exposed brick, sleek crescent-shaped booths and wooden partitions, and a clear view of the kitchen assembling its Japanese-inspired small plates: buns, sushi, tempura, yakitori-style skewers and sashimi arrive promptly at the table as they’re ready. Highlights on the menu are yellowtail tiradito, combining the fresh fish with zingy yuzu-soy and jalapeños; prawn dragon sushi rolls with crisp tempura in the centre; and the vegan grilled cauliflower with a perfectly paired black sesame sauce. It’s worth trying a side of furikake rice, too, with its umami depth from the nori. Pair these with one of the impressive drinks offerings: plum wine from Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, or a punchy cocktail, like the sweet pea spritz (tequila shaken with sweet pea syrup and absinthe) or sesame old fashioned. apothecaryeast.co.uk

A woman eating sharing Japanese small plates

Heritage, West Dulwich

Smart, modern Indian cooking at new rising star Heritage

A new restaurant in leafy West Dulwich, Heritage is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood from Dayashankar Sharma, previously head chef at Michelin-starred Tamarind. Inside, the restaurant is spacious and elegant, with gold accents adding a modern feel, much like the menu, where you’ll find contemporary versions of dishes from all over India. From the small plates, start with the venison badal jaam (if you usually find game too strong, you’ll love this) – grilled aubergine topped with a fiery tomato sauce, cooling yogurt, and spiced venison. If you’ve got room, share the paneer and pineapple kebab – thick slices of paneer pair perfectly with sweet pineapple. Highlights from the mains include murgh makani, tender chicken in a tomato and fenugreek sauce; Kashmiri lamb spiced with saffron; and the most indulgent version of dahl mhakani we’ve tried – outrageously creamy, it’s not to be missed. The floral tones of the pulao rice steeped in rose water cut through the richness of the other dishes, and be sure to order a truffle naan. Subtly flavoured, it has just the right amount of umami, and is a great vehicle for mopping up all those delicious sauces. heritagedulwich.co.uk


Ino, Soho

Modern, playful riffs on classic Greek dishes

INO is the latest opening from the team behind London restaurants OPSO and PITTABUN. Billing itself as a gastrobar, this compact venue has two snug, buzzy counters upstairs and some (slightly) calmer seats below and outside. Take a place at the bar to watch the action at the grill and get instruction on how to swipe a finger of pitta bread through the taramas topped with a slow-cooked egg yolk and bottarga without mixing it first. Like the taramas, the rest of the dishes are modern, playful riffs on classics – ceviche is dressed with avgolemono, souvlaki made from Iberico presa and octopus makes its way into a taco.

Drinks include a mastiha (a mastic liqueur) G&T with a hint of resin, an excellent selection of Greek wines and a range of barrel-aged cocktails. Don’t leave without trying the Greek salad, a juicy mix of tomatoes, olives and capers topped with chunks of 12-month barrel-aged feta. inogastrobar.com


The Tapas Room, Peckham

Buzzy Spanish tapas spot in the heart of Peckham high street

Going to Tapas Rooms in Peckham is like being in a glass bubble of a restaurant, smack bang on the high street. Buses and cars hurl by outside while delightful plates of carefully crafted deliciousness glide to your table inside.

Effortless wine recommendations from a well-assembled list and a menu full of Spanish wines ordered geographically.

Don’t leave without trying the confit fennel where the fresh and subtle fennel is transformed by the confit process and balanced by the sweet/sharpness of the pickled fig and intensity of the creamy yet punchy Asturian blue cheese.

The mixed cured meat and cheese platter is perfect for two if you’re still hungry. Split six or so dishes between two if you’re after a main meal but simply stopping in for some salt cod croquettas and a glass of sherry is a superb way to start any evening out in south London. www.thetapasroom.co.uk