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New London restaurant openings

Akira Back, Mayfair

Playful riffs on Japanese cuisine

Akira Back, well known in the USA for his playful approach to Japanese cuisine, is influenced by both his travels and Korean heritage. Dishes are made to share and flavours are bold. Try the signature tuna sashimi pizza, rich with truffle oil; mini tacos filled with wagyu bulgogi; rock shrimp with creamy gochujang; black miso cod; and finish with sushi rolls like Hot Mess – sashimi poke, crab tempura and spicy ponzu aïoli. A lighter starter of yellowtail jalapeño with citrussy yuzu, is a highlight. On the inventive wine list try Smiley NV, a South African chenin blanc blend which pairs well with sushi. The triple-height room, with one wall dominated by spectacular artwork by Akira’s mother, and glass ceiling, makes it light-filled at lunch, twinkling at night. mandarinoriental.com/en/london/mayfair/dine/akira-back

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Akira Back

Plates, Hoxton

High-end vegan

Siblings Kirk and Keeley Haworth have created a one of a kind menu and vibe at this entirely plant-based Hoxton restaurant. Each dish combines highly seasonal, sustainable, occasionally unfamiliar ingredients which makes a fun journey of discovery. A tasting menu kicks off with – depending on the season – hibiscus and white tea granita with a beetroot and buckwheat truffle, savoury but surprisingly the exact texture of a rich chocolate treat. Laminated sourdough has both crunch and flakiness, served with a vibrant spirulina butter. You might recognise ‘lasagne’ from Kirk’s win on Great British Menu – his deconstructed version combines an umami-packed ragu with a miso and chive sauce. There’s no refined sugar but plenty of flavour in cacao gateaux with sour cherry, coconut blossom ice cream and caramel sauce. Low-intervention wines and cocktails are equally inspiring. Book a seat at the counter for a ringside view. plates-london.com


Cloth, City

Great value weekday dining

A lunchtime set menu (£24 for two courses) and wines that start at £7 a glass makes this wine bar cum restaurant on Cloth Fair in the City a great value choice. Small plates include rabbit and bacon terrine, sea bass crudo with fennel and orange, and scallops with garlic parsley butter. There’s always a risotto, generously dressed pasta, carefully sourced chop and fish or the option to choose Longhorn sirloin to share – with a side of chips with espelette pepper. Learn from Cloth’s young and knowledgeable team who’ll suggest wine choices for each dish or a bottle to carry you through – about half the wines are made by friends of the owners. The space (open Monday to Friday) includes two cosy, character-packed rooms and a wine bar if you just fancy a glass of fizz and some oysters. clothrestaurants.com


Nanyang Blossom, Knightsbridge

Creative cooking from Southern China

Taking inspiration from the Nanyang region (Southern China, Malaysia and Indonesia), chef Daren Liew’s creates dishes as pleasing to the eye as to the taste buds. Prawn toast is reimagined using edamame to add colour and almonds for extra crunch. Two premium signatures include luxe ingredients: Deluxe Hokkien ‘stir-fry’ of wild prawns, abalone (a lightly sweet and salty delicacy) in a prawn stock with bottarga powder and egg; and Miyazaki beef with small plates including a piquant pickled okra. Sea bass is grilled with turmeric and ginger flower with blue pea rice. With clever lighting and panelled walls, the small dining room shimmers. Attentive service (and high prices) reflect its Knightsbridge location. nanyangblossom.co.uk

Nanyang Blossom

Dream X'ian, Tower Hill

Guirong Wei is synonymous with Xi’an dining in London, and her most recent opening is an unlikely neighbour to the Tower of London. The glass-fronted space is simply decorated with Chinese murals and lanterns, and staff weave between tables, topping up citrussy pomelo or green tea. The extensive menu is split into handy sections. Cold starters include chicken sliced into a chilli sesame oil bath with shredded ginger, while frilly wood ear mushrooms and pickled green chillis are doused in Chinese vinegar. There’s a strong selection of dim sum, too: think soup dumplings, steamed pork and chive parcels and wontons in chilli oil. Metre-long, hand-pulled noodles come tossed in garlic and crunchy pak choi. For a sweet finish, glutinous rice cakes are like a mochi-churros hybrid to dip into treacly brown sugar sauce. dreamxian.co.uk

Dream Xian

Mambow, Clapton

Modern Malaysian dishes

Abby Lee has become eponymous with Malaysian cuisine in London. After years of pop-ups and a street-food outpost in Peckham, the chef opened a bricks-and-mortar space in northeast London. It’s a casual spot complete with pretty, mismatched tiles, bench seating and a lively soundtrack. Half of the small space is dedicated to an open kitchen, where Abby and her team dart between simmering pots and sizzling pans to create fiery, fragrant modern Malaysian dishes. Highlights include the signature lor bak – five spice pork encased in crisp, frilly beancurd, deep-fried stone bass steak in a lively Nyonya-style tamarind curry sauce and sticky, double-roasted pork belly pieces coated in a silky kecap manis caramel glaze, served with blue rice (to match Abby’s fabulous hair colour). There’s only one dessert option, but it has plenty going for it – a bright green pandan pancake filled with brown sugar and desiccated coconut, served with coffee ice cream. There’s a succinct natural wine list as well as Malaysian twists on classic cocktails. The floral, thirst-quenching Juice Box softens the heat from the spicier dishes, while the 100+ Sour is a refreshing concoction of gin, coconut liquor, miso syrup and blackberry. mambow.co.uk

Abby Lee with blue hair stood outside her restaurant Mambow

Apollo Arms, Clapham

Elevated pub classics

A burger, fish and chips, and steak are as essential to a pub as real ale on tap. This smart Clapham Old Town pub has all these but better – think brioche bun and burger sauce, beer-battered haddock and flat iron with tripe-cooked chips. It also knocks out an Aussie-inspired chicken parmigiana with celeriac and apple remoulade, and basil mayo, a zingy hoisin-glazed crispy duck salad with mooli, pomegranate and grapefruit, and short rib with creole coleslaw and red eye gravy. Special nights encourage regular guests who flock to the beer garden in summer months and the cosy book-lined bar after dark; Monday is curry night; Wednesday is for steak. Bar snacks vary from Brit classics like scotch eggs and sausage rolls to Korean popcorn chicken with gochujang. The wine list is also a cut above your regular boozer with plenty at the heftier end and a good choice by the carafe from £15. apolloarms.co.uk

Apollo Arms

Ibai, City

French Basque-inspired cooking

The must-order here is Galician Blond sirloin. This marbled and richly flavoured steak from older cows is currently imported from north-west Spain, while Ibai’s owners start the lengthy process of breeding cattle in the UK, believing diners prefer to eat meat sourced here (British wagyu is also available). Cooked simply over charcoal the steak is served with hand-cut chips, anchovy and chilli salsa, red wine sauce or Ossau-Iraty cheese and black pepper. Other menu highlights are sweet carabinero prawn tartare; Noir de Bigorre ham with crisps and smoked Piparra peppers, and gateau Basque, an almond cream filled buttery tart. From the team behind restaurants Lurra and Donostia in Marylebone, this City outpost is bigger and bolder, in a vast industrial space once occupied as a lino factory, now softened with cosy booth seating and an impressive cellar. ibai.london


Oma, Borough Market

Greek island-inspired crudo and clay pot centrepieces

From our pro reviewer KS Tong: 'The menu at Oma begins with a sneaky hero in the form of the wood-fired laffa flatbreads and açma verde (akin to a bagel twisted with wild garlic). These are made on-site in the basement bakery with wild-farmed British grains under the direction of Eyal Schwartz (the former head baker at cult favourite bakery E5 Bakehouse) to go with a selection of house spreads, including a salt cod XO labneh that was pure heaven.

I could’ve easily just stopped here, via a few samples from the 23-page-strong wine list featuring 450-plus predominantly Greek producers, and left content. But to miss the crudo menu would be criminal (the name Oma draws from the Greek word for ‘raw’ after all) – and yellowfin tuna with zesty clementine ponzu and crispy garlic certainly delivered. Small plates of lobster bisque börek and spanakopita gratin, and skewers of dry-aged Cornish lamb chop (from renowned high-quality, high-welfare supplier The Cornwall Project) were a sensory slam dunk, each thoughtfully curated and purposefully executed.

But the real centrepieces are the bigger clay pots, and the oxtail giouvetsi served with bone marrow and beef fat pangrattato was a worthy dish – rich, heavy and a striking contrast to the rest of the menu, which is much fresher and lighter. It’s the perfect dish to set you up for dessert, where the sticky date pudding is not to be missed and pairs nicely with an Oma negroni.' oma.london

Oma London

TOU, Borough Market

Pet Nat wines paired with Japanese-inspired finger food

Located above the Globe Tavern in the heart of bustling Borough Market, TOU is the capital’s latest answer to the perfect weekend tipple. Open from Thursday to Sunday, the restaurant offers Pet Nat wines alongside a compact menu of Japanese-inspired snacks. For the uninitiated, Pet Nat is short for Pétillant Naturel, a traditional sparkling winemaking technique. Whether this is already your favourite drink or you’re a first-timer, TOU’s knowledgeable front of house staff will lead you through the extensive selection on offer.

Wooden floorboards, exposed brick and an open kitchen offers a modern backdrop for TOU’s wines and short menu, which is made up of snacks meant to be enjoyed by hand. While the house pickles of daikon and carrot provide a welcome fresh hit, the Iberico katsu sando is the star of the show: a perfectly crispy Iberico pork fillet is nestled between toasted brioche alongside fresh cabbage, with raspberry and XO shallot sauces providing just the right amount of sweetness. If you can, save room for pudding – the coffee and biscuits sundae is the perfect sweet treat. tou-london.com


Akara, London Bridge

Contemporary West African dining

Akoko’s more casual off-shoot lies in Borough Yards’s refurbed railway arches. Light pours into the contemporary space, where vibrant artwork is framed by whitewashed enclaves set into brick walls.

Owner Aji Akokomi puts the spotlight on the namesake akara dish. This crisp, fluffy black-eyed bean fritter is stuffed with barbecue celeriac or prawns, served elegantly on a stone cube. Snacks include fried chicken nuggets with sosu kaani sauce and springy rice pancakes, with a hibiscus-flecked black-eyed bean hummus. Spiced coconut rice, a dish originating in southern Nigeria’s Efik communities, is served in a pot with a wooden spoon to scoop onto the side of mains. Slices of 24-hour slow-cooked short rib are topped with a Nigerian peanut-based sauce, and cabbage is cooked over charcoal until meltingly soft, then served with a vibrant Ghanaian abunu abunu (green green) sauce. Desserts hold their own – coconut and lime sorbet is creamy and zingy, while chocolate mousse is elevated with banana caramel and feuilleutine wafer crackers. A Ghanaian pineapple and passion fruit spirit is combined with rum, hibiscus and citrus for a tropical rum punch, while cacao-infused Campari and date vermouth lend richness to the negroni. akaralondon.co.uk


Niju, Mayfair

Japanese steak and sushi with a contemporary edge

Endo Kazutoshi, arguably London’s most esteemed sushi master, is behind this new Mayfair Japanese grill, with exec chef Chris Golding overseeing the menu day to day. Careful sourcing, luxe ingredients and well-honed kitchen skills create a unique menu inspired by ‘katei ryori’: homecooked, seasonal dishes, some – like dover sole, asparagus and nori butter – served tableside. Wagyu, that most highly-prized beef, is sourced from Japan and England, cooked simply over Japanese charcoal and offered with fresh wasabi and yuzu salsa verde. Sashimi includes indulgent cuts like otoro (fatty tuna) served classic style or with a contemporary Niju twist – ‘aburi’ (seared) with caviar. Vegetables are treated with equal care, from grilled aubergine with white sesame dressing to spicy spinach with sobacha (buckwheat tea). A sushi counter and glass panel revealing all the kitchen action add to the buzzy atmosphere. The basement Nipperkin bar uses British ingredients, some grown and distilled on site in its hyper-seasonal cocktail list. nijulondon.com


The Brush Grand Café, Hoxton

All-day dining featuring European classics with a backdrop of street art

Hoxton’s new art’otel’s hub is this bright, airy restaurant, knocking out the kind of uncomplicated food we fancy eating everyday: salads nicoise and caesar; crisp flatbreads topped with ’nduja, basil and mozzarella; schnitzels made with veal or aubergine; decent burgers, meatballs and moules frites. Lots of skill in the pastry section, too: Basque cheesecake and a strawberry éclair show a lightness of touch. Cocktails include 50 Shades of Champagne with an intriguing champagne ‘air’ garnish (a delicate foam). Graffiti-style murals by British artist D*Face are another compelling reason to visit. thebrushhoxton.co.uk

The Brush Cafe

Mimosa, Regent Street

Upscale Riviera-style cooking in glamorous surroundings

The copper and pink interior has instant wow factor, and the Riviera menu – where the south of France meets Italy – more than matches up to the alluring atmosphere. A little gift from the kitchen comes with a useful note to eat in one mouthful: a green ‘olive’ with the texture of a liqueur-filled chocolate truffle and a delicate olive oil umami. Mimosa eggs – like devilled eggs but reminiscent of the yellow flower so prevalent in Provence – are made luxe with truffle, caviar and bottarga. Raw bar dishes to share include carpaccio like beef with fried capers and parmesan, and sea bream with an Asian twist in its soy bean and ginger vinaigrette, served on a fish-shaped platter. Mains are substantial and prices reflect this with a côte de boeuf and a whole sea bass hitting over the £100 mark. Baked tagliolini with lobster, tomato and tarragon, and veal meatballs are also good to share. Flattering lighting and a French martini or two make it a perfect date night restaurant. mimosa-rivieracuisine.com


Crispin at Studio Voltaire, Clapham

An art space where seasonal food is the main attraction

This new outpost joins Soho’s Bar Crispin and the original Spitalfields restaurant to bring its well-respected brand of casual, seasonal cooking to Clapham. Housed in an arts institution and gallery, the functional space – whitewashed brick walls, stainless steel counters, specials blackboard and simple wooden seating – serves imaginative, well-priced smaller plates to start or share, such as confit tomatoes with almond cream and pickled wild garlic; charred leeks with yogurt and salsa; grilled mackerel, cucumber, sour dill; and the kind of mains you could eat every day: grilled chicken leg, borlotti beans and ’ndujaa and breaded pork. Brown butter cake with rhubarb and fennel seed and custard tart will convert even the most ardent pudding refuseniks. Wines focus on smaller producers and a drinks list includes just one or two well-made cocktails. studiovoltaire.org/crispin-at-studio-voltaire/


Los Mochis London City, Liverpool Street

Mexico meets Japan in this ambitious, lively space with views over the City.

Executive chef Leonard Tanyag has brought the unique concept from the vibey Notting Hill original to a bigger audience high above Liverpool Street. Combining vibrant Mexican dishes and ingredients with the delicacy of Japanese cuisine, the comprehensive menu is designed to share and surprise. The tasting menu showcases the best: 10 dishes, from guacamole to enjoy with a mocktail through to a purple yam panna cotta. Highlights include teriyaki duck on crispy rice, sea bass ceviche with shiso-truffle soy; spicy yellowtail maki and the signature trailer park chicken taco (fried chicken, jalapeño BBQ sauce, habanero gochujang with toasted sesame and parsnip chips – genius). The clubby soundtrack, roof terrace, impressive agave selection and late-night snacks attract expense account groups as well as weekend thrill seekers. losmochis.co.uk/lc/london-city

Los Mochis London City

Yasmin, Piccadilly Circus

Rooftop dining with a Middle Eastern flavour

Come for the sunny terrace and jewel box interiors, stay for the sharing plates at chef Tom Cenci’s latest venture at Piccadilly Circus. Inspired by a stint in Istanbul, the menu majors on superior dips, flatbreads and zingy salads and grills. Sesame seed hummus gets a lift with raisins and peanut dressing; whipped sheep’s cheese features hot honey and isot biber (dried chilli pepper). The sumac smoked duck salad with grilled corn is a must order. Pair salmon and olive skewers with smashed cucumber and batata harra potatoes. Signature desserts are the pistachio ice cream sandwich and turkish delight cheesecake. Delicately spiced cocktails work throughout dinner – try Shapash, which blends tequila with chili, watermelon, strawberry and citrus. yasminsoho.com

Yasmin restaurant

July, Fitzrovia

All-day grazing inspired by Alsace

Alsatian-inspired food gets a glow-up in this cute new all-day space on Fitzrovia’s foodie hub, Charlotte Street. Share snacks like deep-fried munster (a mild, soft cheese) or pork and apricot terrine while lingering over a glass of low-intervention wine for lunch or early evening, or book for dinner where the highly seasonal menu might include white asparagus with brown butter; braised sausage with mustard and sauerkraut; rhubarb and custard crêpe. A small, well-curated drinks list features lighter versions of classics like melon negroni and the best Alsatian riesling and pinot gris. july.london

July restaurant

Singapulah, Shaftesbury Avenue

Authentic Singaporean hawker dishes

Londoners and tourists queue for up to 40 minutes at key times to bag a seat at restaurateur Ellen Chew’s celebration of Singaporean food, with beloved suppliers namechecked on the menu (such as fishball supremo DoDo, and Udders ice cream – its durian flavour has a Marmite response). Head here for comforting bowl of noodles, nasi goreng and beef rendang. Singapore laksa is served over mee tai bak – short noodles which make it easy to eat with a spoon (less of a slurpfest!). Snacks and small bites include fried chilli crab bao and kueh pie tee savoury pastries topped with prawns and peanuts, best shared with three or more. The utilitarian space is softened with a pastel colour scheme, colourful ads as artwork with shelves lined with ceramics and products. Signature cocktails and mocktails feature ingredients such as Yeo’s chrysanthemum tea. singapulah.co.uk

A bowl of laksa with prawns served at Singapulah

Morchella, Rosebery Avenue

Mediterranean dishes reimagined in a former bank off Exmouth Market

Light, bright and roomy, this restaurant/wine bar is a new venture from the team behind Perilla. One of its USPs is the individual cutlery drawers in the tables, which house complete table settings – this creates uncluttered tables with more room for food. The menu is modern Mediterranean – salt cod comes in churro form rather than as fritters, on a plate of romesco sauce; panzanella is made with radicchio; and scallops are fluffy with cauliflower mushroom and dripping with buttery juices (you’ll need the pepper dulse focaccia for mopping them up). Spanakopita is reimagined as a neat, ultra-crisp, sausage roll like affair. And there are three desserts, one of which is the lush portokalopita made with crumbled filo pastry. morchelladining.co.uk

Interior of Morchella restaurant in Islington

From The Ashes at Five Points Courtyard, Hackney

BBQ legends Martin Anderson and Curtis Bell have a new home in Five Points Brewing Co’s expansive outdoor area beneath the railway arches. The succinct menu of smoker stars includes crisp beef brisket tacos, legendary ‘nduja doughnuts and brioche buns stuffed with smoked pork, garlic mayo and pickles. Meat-free options are equally excellent – floppy flatbreads doused in zaatar to scoop up sweet squash hummus and grilled hispi cabbage slathered in vegan ‘nduja and tahini yogurt. If you can't decide what to order, the chef's BBQ platter gives a taste of three meats and sides (loaded fries and bacon-adorned lettuce wedges) for £55. fromtheashesbbq.co.uk

A man cooking meat on a smoker at From The Ashes BBQ

Carmel, Fitzrovia

Eastern Med menu in prime central London spot

Small plates and sharing dishes are at their best in this Eastern Med menu from the team behind grill house Berber & Q. Vegetables are lavished with as much love as meat and fish, as apparent in blackened aubergine with tahini, sumac-pickled onion and pomegranate; and braised chickpea, wild spinach, xigalo (a soft cheese from Crete), mint tomato and chilli. A small raw and cured choice includes scallop crudo with a piquant peach gazpacho; flatbreads feature imaginative toppings like asparagus and crab or cod’s roe; and dishes to share include the burnt lemon urfa chicken made glossy and deliciously sticky with pomegranate and mustard jus, as well as generous servings of pasta such as ricotta agnolotti with oregano and tomato butter. A chilled soundtrack, indoor-outdoor design with oversized ferns, low-intervention wines and potent cocktails create a laid-back atmosphere. carmelrestaurant.co.uk

A selection of dishes at Carmel Fitzrovia including burrata, salad and beef short rib

YiQi, Chinatown

Pan Asian with quirky interiors and big flavours

Insta-friendly cocktails and interiors give this Chinatown newbie instant standout, but the quality of the cooking and diverse menu make it more than just social media hype. The menu shows Thai, Malaysian and Chinese influences. Assam sauce – sour and gently hot with tamarind and chilli – features in head-on prawns and scallop starters as well as its signature bamboo tube rice seafood dish. Stir-fried clams are fragrant with soy, oyster sauce and curry leaves; pumpkin king prawns are rich and creamy; skate is spiked with yuzu. Charcoal chicken wings and grilled short rib are best eaten with your hands (gloves are provided) and crab is also brilliantly messy. The abacus wall and clever cocktails (try the quirky Magic Mike) add to the fun. @yiqipanasia

Interiors at YiQi Pan Asian restaurant with wooden panels and three tables

Med Salleh Viet

Friendly Vietnamese street-food style spot

The busy front of house team greets everyone as friends in this café-style Vietnamese near Notting Hill. Sister restaurant to Malaysian Med Salleh, Viet’s menu must-order is its pho. The bone marrow broth is simmered for 18 hours and served from a teapot over raw beef with noodles, beansprouts and chilli, lime and herbs. Lamb rack, king prawn and whole squid – cut at the table – are smoky from the barbecue. Other street food stalwarts include summer rolls with prawns, or veganised with oyster mushrooms; chicken, beef or prawn bun cha; and a refreshing mango salad, as bright and zingy as Viet’s yellow and blue interior. medsalleh.co.uk/med-salleh-viet

Freakscene sushi and robata, Balham

Lively Pan-Asian neighbourhood joint

Chef Scott Hallsworth and Aussie comedian Adam Hills have opened the second outpost of this lively izakaya-style restaurant that’s big on tunes with your tacos, tempura and tataki. Small and neon-lit, its punchy flavours and potent cocktails are great for a gang, while sashimi omakase and a considered wine list with a nod to Scott’s western Australian heritage make it equally suitable as a serious destination or date spot. Edamame are scorched and dressed with sake, lemon and butter; salt-grilled mackerel mochi toasts are a must-order, lemon sole with spicy shiso ponzu speaks to the kitchen’s experience and skills. Extra bonus? Gluten-free and vegan menus. freakscenerestaurants.com

Pollini at Ladbroke hall, Ladbroke Grove

Imaginative Italian in grand, artistic surroundings

An intuitive front of house team, dramatic interior and Italian classics with a twist make it worth a little trek off the beaten track (10 minutes from Ladbroke Grove station). The high-ceilinged room is dominated by a huge light fitting against a monochrome colour scheme. Chef Emanuele Pollini makes childhood favourite lasagne his own by recreating the flavours within ravioli complete with crispy shards to mimic the crunchy topping; seabass crudo is elevated with bottarga; a breaded, on the bone veal chop is doused in a rich chicken and parmesan sauce. A small carton of squacquerone – a delicate, soft cow’s cheese is served with figs, and gelato, particularly nocciola (hazelnut) is as good as you’d eat in Italy. The two- or three- course artist lunch is a good intro at £24/£28* respectively. ladbrokehall.com

A selection of revamped Italian plates on a white table

Florencio, Marylebone

Chef Diego Jacquet has opened a pizzeria near his contemporary Argentinian grill, Zoilo. Pizzas are made from a 48-hour fermented dough and finished with toppings including Buenos Aires’ popular three-cheese muzza style. Options include
El Cuartito topped with chorizo, grilled peppers and jalapeños, and Martita laden with gorgonzola béchamel, courgettes and walnuts. florenciopizza.com

The interiors at Florencio, featuring teal booths and a wine shelf

Med Salleh, Bayswater

Med Salleh Kopitiam brings the flavours of owners Med Pang and Koi Lee’s childhood memories of Malaysian street food. The menu covers Malay, Chinese and Tamil cuisines in a setting that also looks back, paying homage to the 70s household aesthetic that Med and his family grew up with. There’s even a mini grocery corner (kedai runcit) with a variety of snacks. Med’s grandma’s recipe for Hainanese chicken rice is a highlight of the menu and sits alongside dishes such as satay, laksa, beef rendang, char kuey teow (stir-fried noodles) and ais kacang (shaved ice with a selection of toppings including red beans). A buffet breakfast including roti canai and nasi lemak is served each morning. medsalleh.co.uk

Decorated red plate topped with Hainan Malaysian chicken and rice dish with fresh cucumber slices

Solis, Battersea

Solis is the personal product of Ana Gonçalves’ (along with husband Zijun Meng, who together are behind cult favourites TĀ TĀ Eatery and Tou) desire to showcase food from her childhood and challenge the conventional expectations of the steak night. With bold flavour influences from Spain, Portugal, Uruguay and Argentina, Solis is looking to break the mould without breaking the bank. Located right in the heart of Battersea Power Station’s multi-billion-pound restoration and redevelopment, it offers an accessible menu headlined by its signature grilled spatchcock chicken and flat-iron steak, both served with salad, fries and a big side of South American vibrancy. arcadefoodhall.com/solis

Solis owners Ana and Zijun sat at a table both tucking into a plate of cheesecake

Saltine, Highbury

With clean lines and a minimalist interior, Saltine is new to the Highbury Park neighbourhood. Opened by Mat Appleton and Jess Blackstone of Fink’s cafés fame, and with head chef Phil Wood (ex-Spring and St John) at the stove, Saltine has a frequently changing menu, founded on named produce and producers. Expect dishes to look exactly as they are described: veg such as carrots may come whole, skin and all, for example, salad leaves are torn into decent chunks, like in the pumpkin scapece, and chicken with Borlotti beans and spinach has a properly soupy sauce. Desserts include a slab of sticky toffee apple cake that everyone is talking about. saltine.co.uk

Saltine's minimalist decor, including tall leafy plants, exposed brick and an atrium

Juno at Los Mochis, Notting Hill

There are just six coveted seats (and two sittings a night) in a curtained-off corner of Los Mochis in Notting Hill, where chefs Leonard Tanyag and head sushi chef Han serve and explain each of 15 light courses, with helpful hints on how to eat each dish (with your fingers, a spoon or chopsticks). A selection of nigiri features carefully sourced fish, such as kinmedai (snapper), hamachi and blue fin tuna. King crab with ponzu butter and uni (sea urchin) are highlights. There are Mexican touches, too, such as an intense lime aïoli with sea bream and wildflowers, and the dessert options fuse Japanese and Italian ideas. Sake and wine pairings are offered alongside agave and cocktails. losmochis.co.uk/nh/juno-omakase

The plush interior at Juno, a small corner at the Los Mochis restaurant, with caramel-coloured leather bar seats, brown shutters and warm lighting

INÉ by Taku, Hampstead

Sister restaurant to Mayfair’s Taku, this airy, minimalist Hampstead restaurant offers both omakase (14 fish-focussed dishes, plus a dessert) and a la carte. At the eight-seat counter, sushi master chef Meng’s omakase features premium ingredients, including a delicate mussel broth, buttery otoro (tuna belly) with caviar, Carlingford oyster with wasabi cream and ikura (roe), smoked salmon tofu purée, and sashimi, tempura and maki. Head chef Andrew Lim’s contemporary al a carte dishes include a wagyu beef katsu sando and grilled Iberico. While the cooking is at an elevated level, the vibe – with booths and a young team – is refreshingly relaxed. inebytaku.com

Minimalist interior at INÉ, including cream coloured booths, a bonsai tree and a deep red side table

Lórian, Sloane Square,

Located in the lively hub of Sloane Square, Lórian is the 45-seater bakery, café and deli sister location of Notting Hill members club, Laylow, headed by chef Emily Dobbs (formerly of Petersham Nurseries) in collaboration with fellow chef Johnnie Collins (chef in residence at 180 The Strand). Seasonality sits at the heart of the veggie-dominant menu and aims to showcase the best of British produce with an array of salads, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, sandwiches and daily pastries. Sitting alongside this is a succinct and well-curated selection of European wines and their much-touted barista station, as well as refreshing homemade spritz and cold-pressed juices. loriandeli.com

The decor at Lórian, including furnishings, dark wooden flooring and foliage lining the ceiling

Clap, Knightsbridge

This lively Knightsbridge restaurant is the place to be if you like entertainment in the form of DJs and people-watching with dinner. An international set, familiar with its branches in Beirut, Dubai and Riyadh, laps up the bustle of the open kitchen and sushi bar, which turns out modern Japanese dishes with luxurious touches, such as truffle edamame, a surprising shiitake and sesame salad, hamachi sashimi, otoro and wagyu nigiri, black cod miso and kimchi-spiked lamb rack. Desserts are big on drama, too – the natsu platter is stacked with exotic fruit, matcha cheesecake and mochi. A rooftop bar has views over the city and fascinating light fittings that are made for Instagram. claprestaurant.com

The luxurious, dimly lit interior at Clap restaurant, with a dark wooden furnishings and a ceiling a 'green' ceiling of plants

Nest, Shoreditch

The trio behind Hackney’s much-loved neighbourhood spot pulls off the same levels of intimacy in its larger Shoreditch restaurant, with various nooks carved out in the horseshoe layout. Pop into the cosy wine bar area before picking between gnarled wooden booths, a fireside table for six or a counter seat with a view of chefs adding their finishing touches. The eight-course seasonal tasting menu, presented in a tiny wax-sealed envelope, focuses on one hero ingredient at a time, allowing for superb sourcing – think Yorkshire’s Otterburn Mangalitza pork or Welsh Wagyu beef. Seafood season kicks off with a snack plate of tiny trout tarts, cod’s roe with seaweed tapioca crackers and oysters in pickled jalapeño foam, followed by treacly soda bread that hasn’t left the menu since it first featured. Other highlights include crab salad with sea buckthorn emulsion, silky squid noodles in a spicy, XO-laced broth and BBQ monkfish with roast carrot and ginger purée. Each menu is accompanied by an optional ‘one-region’ wine pairing; on our visit a showcase of the diversity of Loire wines, from sparkling pet-nat to a citrusy natural Pouilly Fumé and sweet chenin blanc to complement a delightfully surprising Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut dessert and made-to-order seaweed doughnuts to finish. nestfood.co.uk

The interiors of Nest restaurant Hackney with olive green walls, wooden tables, copper lights and candles

Sushi Kanesaka, Mayfair

Its discreet location in the exclusive 45 Park Lane hotel, part of the Dorchester Group, signals the world-class standard of this sushi offering, where exquisite ingredients, preparation and cooking are matched by a front of house team who are on hand to explain the traditions and micro-seasonality of each of the 20 courses. During both two-hour sittings each evening, diners can see the knife skills of chef Shinji Kanesaka or head chef Hirotaka Wada close up, as he and a small team prepare a series of sushi plates, including yariika (squid) with beluga caviar, otoro (fatty tuna) and botan ebi (prawn). The lightly vinegared, salted rice is the perfect temperature and texture to highlight the individual flavours of the fish. Other highlights include kobe beef with wasabi (freshly grated) and tempura of Scottish lobster with a rich Japanese tartare sauce. A sake pairing is also offered. The room is sleek and minimalist, with just nine seats along the main counter. dorchestercollection.com/sushi-kanesaka

A chef preparing sushi at Japanese restaurant Sushi Kanesaka

Sune, Broadway Market

Sommelier Honey Spencer and her partner Charlie Sims have curated hospitality experience from restaurants across the world to open their own place in Hackney. There’s a real neighbourhood-style buzz to the contemporary space, with a striking terracotta light installation casting a warm glow across the gnarled dark wood tables, prints of fresh produce and sweeping counter with floor-to-ceiling wine racks behind. Honey showcases natural wines, with plenty by the glass, from orange Czech pet nat to fresh Georgian Tsolikouri and South African Syrah. The menu is eclectic and bold, rotating dishes such as crisp potato cake topped with guindilla, anchovies and espelette pepper, sea bass crudo slivers in a vibrant borscht vinaigrette and the signature grilled pork chop bathing in a bisque-style prawn and lemongrass sauce, best paired with whipped brown butter emulsion spooned over pink fir potatoes. Head chef Michael Robins plays with his Canadian heritage in a homage to Montreal’s L’Express, where chefs meet after service for DIY beef tartare and croque Monsieur hybrids. At Sune, he tops a crisp, cheesy toastie with dairy beef tartare for a truly indulgent interlude between courses. sune.restaurant

A table at Sune Restaurant laid with a carafe of orange wine, a wine glass, a bottle of red wine and three plates of food – one pasta, one chips topped with a fried egg and one lamb fillet

Bistro Freddie, Shoreditch

Tucked in the quiet back streets between Shoreditch High Street and Old Street stations, almost another world from the hustle of east London that surrounds it, Bistro Freddie has a distinct classic neighbourhood bistro feel, offering generous, down-to-earth hospitality and a menu featuring the best produce of the British Isles. There’s an intimate 45-cover open-plan dining room and plenty of top-quality tipples focussing on small and predominantly independent producers and growers. bistrofreddie.com

The interior at Bistro Freddie, including white tablecloths on tables, a bookshelf filled with wines running along the walls and wooden panelling
Photograph: Oskar Proctor

Bébé Bob, Soho

Bébé Bob is younger sibling to Bob Bob Ricard (of champagne button fame), so high glamour is the name of the game. Ultra-comfortable and gorgeous to look at, the venue is a clever backdrop to what is essentially a menu centred around roast chicken (Vendée or Landes). But, what roast chicken. Rotisseried and served with roast potatoes (chicken fat, of course) and/or chips, and a salad, if you like. Super-luxe starters include three types of caviar or VSOP prawn cocktail, and desserts offer an option of lemon-infused vodka served at -18C, or a perfectly formed paris-brest. Drink champagne, or choose a wine, of which there are a commendable amount served by the glass. bebebob.com

The interior at Bébé Bob, featuring bright red carpets, brown leather booths and modern art pieces

Jamie Oliver Catherine St, Covent Garden

Catherine Street by Jamie Oliver marks the chef’s return
to the London restaurant scene. A menu of comforting classics includes starters of devilled eggs, oysters and mushrooms on toast; sharing dishes like ox cheek pie and Sutton Hoo chicken with stroganoff sauce; homemade pastas, daily fish specials, steak and Trevor’s chicken, named in honour of Jamie’s father. Desserts include sticky toffee pudding and the River Café Nemesis cake, a nod to the restaurant Jamie worked in when he was discovered as a TV chef. Enter through an impressive garden-like courtyard with twinkly lights into a dramatic, buzzing main room with comfortable booths, antique lamps and modern art and photography. Suppliers are name-checked, with meat from HG Walter, Cobble Lane Cured charcuterie and Coombeshead Farm bread. jamieolivercatherinest.com

The interiors at Catherine Street Jamie Oliver, including trees sparkling in fairy lights and rattan furnishing

Roketsu, Marylebone

Daisuke Hayashi, trained at Yoshihiro Murata’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Kikunoi, learned the principles of kaiseki from one of its masters and has been delighting Londoners looking for an authentic taste of Japanese fine dining since opening Roketsu in 2021.

With a more relaxed à la carte experience in mind, Daisuke opened the Bo-Sen wine and dining room downstairs in 2023. With just eight covers, the experience is intimate, the wooden panelling and low mid-century furniture creating an atmosphere that’s just as refined as the minimalist counter-dining space on the ground floor. Daisuke’s handling of seasonal produce remains respectful, balancing flavours and ingredients precisely. Light dishes crafted to be enjoyed alongside extensive wine and sake lists include vegetable takiawase of simmered vegetables with dashi jelly, tsukuri of the day comprising four kinds of beautifully cut sashimi and flavour-packed homemade curry.

Plating is artful and every detail of the Bo-Sen space has been considered, from the elegant furnishings in rich colours to the bespoke Kyoto crockery. roketsu.co.uk

The lounge room at Japanese fine dining restaurant Roketsu

Origin City, Smithfield

Nose-to-tail restaurant in West Smithfield

Provenance is key to the offering at family-owned Origin City. Meat comes from the owner’s farm in Argyll, the seafood from their aquafarm, Loch Fyne Oysters, and the wine list features wines from their organic vineyard in Provence. Butchery and ageing happen in-house, which add to the validity of their promise of pasture to plate and nose-to-tail dining. The room is atmospheric at night, with wooden floors, crisp white tablecloths, and an open chef’s pass allowing you to see the team at work. The seasonal, daily-changing menu favours meat with a small fish and vegetarian selection. Starters range from grilled Morteau sausage, deep Puy lentils and mustard dressing or an excellent pork tonnato with a delicate tuna dressing and caperberries. Mains include a daily chef’s cut of steak, served with rich jus, hispi cabbage and crunchy onions, or a black pig cut of the day with celeriac purée, onion squash and sauce charcutière and diners are given a choice of knife. Desserts are classics such as sticky toffee pudding. origincity.co.uk

Cote de boeuf at Origin City, Smithfield

Pasero, Tottenham

After moving to London and starting a series of supper clubs around Tottenham, Genevieve Sparrow ventured into a bricks and mortar business. As a morning-to-night venture, Pasero serves coffee and pastries, breakfasts, lunchtime sandwiches and small plates with wine in the evenings, as well as a deli shop to pick up fresh local bread and high-quality charcuterie, among other things.

Its new resident head chef, Angelos Angelides – hailing from the likes of BRAT and Honey & Co – delivers a European menu influenced by his Cypriot and Serbian heritage that features simple but flavour-packed dishes. Start with revitalised classics, bright and vibrant tzatziki and – a particular highlight – the creamiest taramasalata with deliciously salty and crispy shoestring fries. Order plenty of Pasero’s sourdough to dredge through all of this; you’ll also need it for a molten disc of baked goat’s cheese topped with sweet roasted red pepper alongside a bitter puntarelle salad. Other veggie-forward dishes also impress: baked giant beans with feta are satisfyingly hearty while a brown chilli butter supercharges the nuttiness of roast jerusalem artichokes. Don’t miss out on afters – a choice of Neal’s Yard cheeses and luxurious desserts including delicate chestnut and nutmeg cake with poached pear and whisky caramel, and, our favourite, almond-based Daim cake with a thick topping of crunchy nut-flecked milk chocolate. pasero.uk


Maresco, Soho

Following successful openings in Crouch End and Stoke Newington, the team behind local favourites Bar Esteban and Escocesa has ventured into central London with this intimate 48-cover space in the heart of Soho. Billed as a modern tapas bar (with a more formal dining room on the basement floor), expect a seafood-focussed menu at Maresco, featuring top-quality Scottish produce served with Spanish flair and (a lot) of Spanish wine. maresco.co.uk

The interior at tapas restaurant Maresco, featuring a feature brick wall, a blue neon sign and exposed ventilation ducts

Ikoyi, The Strand

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Odukale’s second iteration of their highly acclaimed West African fine-dining restaurant at 180 The Strand. The spice-focussed menu has evolved to new heights and cooking techniques courtesy of a much bigger space, while keeping the theme more than ever on micro-seasonal British ingredients. ikoyilondon.com

Ikoyi interior, featuring large plants, colourful abstract paintings and mustard coloured seats

Llama Inn, The Hoxton

Having built a cult following in New York, Juan Correa and chef Erik Ramirez have brought their critically acclaimed Llama Inn and its playful taste of Peru across the Atlantic, taking over the rooftop restaurant at The Hoxton hotel in east London. The menu draws inspiration from the chef’s Peruvian-American background and the drinks list features many of the original NYC signature serves alongside a wine list with a focus on low-intervention and biodynamic wines. thehoxton.com

A rooftop restaurant at The Hoxton hotel

Kima, Marylebone

Fin-to-gill dining concept from modern Greek restaurant OPSO

It’s all about the small details at this minimalist dining room in Marylebone; wave-inspired crockery is handmade in a studio in Corfu and the restaurant’s name, which means “wave” in Greek, is elegantly displayed on one wall. Whole fish glisten on ice at the front, while a selection of cuts for the gill-to-fin menu age in glass-fronted fridges. An example of this zero-waste dining style is sea bream crudo lifted by thyme and lemon zest followed by the ‘shank’ of the same fish served with bacon-studded cabbage fricassee. An elegant take on a Greek salad accompanies, with aged feta crowning a bowl of chopped tomatoes and cucumber, doused in Greek olive oil poured from a carafe to meld with the juices, in which diners are encouraged to dip homemade sourdough. The “wave” theme extends to dessert, where caramelised seaweed plays a glorious role in a crisp millefeuille-tiramisu hybrid layered with coffee cream and caramelised nuts. Cocktails are infused with Greek ingredients – mastic Votanikon gin adds herbaceous notes to a basil cocktail, while clarified feta is used to create a unique twist on a sour. The selection of Greek wines includes a minerally white from Santorini, thoughtfully recommended by one of the very helpful, friendly Greek servers. kimarestaurant.com

Kima Restaurant Marylebone

Sparrow Italia, Mayfair

This plush modern Italian incorporates Med twists into its smart menu. Set over three floors with a secluded courtyard on the first, the menu presents luxe versions of classics including A5 wagyu carpaccio with pickled mushrooms and truffle, and lobster linguine with aqua pazza. sparrowitalia.com

The plush modern Italian interior at Sparrow, featuring large tree pots situated in the middle of the room

Manzi’s, Soho

Latest off the block from the Wolseley Hospitality Group, Manzi’s is as glamorous as nautical comes. Set over two floors and with bright, airy blue and white interiors, this is a place of comfort and attention to detail. Head chef Christian Turner’s menu encompasses a beautifully executed monkfish wellington and cioppino fish stew, as well as oysters and dressed crab, Galician-style octopus, fish finger sandwiches and lobster rolls. Non-fish dishes are also available, including leeks mimosa and devilled egg, and roast Landes chicken. manzis.co.uk

Bateman's lobster roll

Socca, Mayfair

The food of the Côte d’Azur is known for its sunshine and chic, effortless vibes, elements captured exactly in Mayfair’s Socca. The palette of pastels and baby blue inside and out, art from local artists and waiters are decidedly French, and the menu reflects that, too. Informed by Claude Bosi’s memories of eating the food in the south of France as a child, fish and seafood is celebrated, the aperitif menu is plentiful and, of course, there’s the namesake socca – a type of thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made from chickpea flour. soccabistro.com

Socca's smart, light blue shopfront in Mayfair

Edit, Hackney

This hyper-seasonal restaurant has a real commitment to sustainability with a zero-waste menu that uses ingredients from small farms, producers and foragers. The Daily Edit tasting menu changes to suit what is available. Clever cooking, including a risotto made with British Carlin peas, oat cream and oyster mushrooms, elevates dishes beyond the ordinary. Tasting menu £55pp; edit.london

Chet’s, Shepherd’s Bush

LA chef Kris Yenbamroong has brought his tried and tested Thai-American menu to the lively Shepherd’s Bush Hoxton Hotel. Cocktails are unique, food is playful and flavours are punchy: its signature pineapple rice served in the shell, babka french toast and exuberantly garnished ice cream sundaes. Décor is La La Land chic – a soft warm pink palette, oversized plants, a huge skylight, open kitchen and retro booths – a nod to the American diner. Open from breakfast till late. chetsrestaurant.co.uk

Chet's signature pineapple rice

Akoko, Fitzrovia

Executive chef Ayo Adeyemi’s tasting menu is rooted in tradition but sharply executed with great imaginative flair. Dishes may include tatale (Ghanaian plantain pancakes) with cashew cream and caviar, or moi-moi (a steamed pudding of puréed black-eyed beans with onions, peppers and stock) served with the Afro-Brazilian seafood and coconut milk sauce, vatapá. Tasting menu £120; akoko.co.uk

Stay tuned for more reviews of new restaurants in London

Reviews by Christine Hayes, Lulu Grimes, Helen Salter, Hannah Guinness, Alex Crossley, Esther Clark, Miriam Nice and Marianne Voyle


Photographs: David Cotsworth, Steven Joyce (Lórian), Melisa Coppola (Pollini), Ania-Smelskaya (Sune), Oskar-Proctor (Bistro Freddie), Ben Carpenter (Sparrow Italia), John Carey (Ikoyi), Rob Billington (Singapulah) Tim Atkins (Solis)

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