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… 


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

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

A mixed cured meat and cheese platter with bread on a wooden table

Tom Kerridge at Harrods, Knightsbridge

Seafood counter classics in Art-Deco surroundings 

Pull up a stool and have a glass of wine and some snacks or book for a full three courses. Chef Tom Kerridge’s new restaurant in the lively, Art-Deco-inspired dining hall of the food-focussed Knightsbridge department store is high-end casual, with a menu centred on the best British seafood. Around the counter watch chefs prepare deep fried Cornish brill, line-caught squid and hand-dived scallops – all served on retro blue-and white china – with chips, tartare sauce and pease pudding. If you’re feeling flush choose native lobster or Dover sole, served whole, with herbed butter. There’s a cheeky nod to chip-shop classics in cockle popcorn and malted beer vinegar and pickled onions, eggs and dill pickles as well as triple cooked chips with toppings ranging from curry sauce to lobster thermidor. There are two desserts to choose from; flourless chocolate cake or a seasonal syllabub. Lush, as Tom would say. harrods.com/kerridges

Cinder, Belsize Village

Mediterranean-inspired sharing plates cooked over coals in a cosy neighbourhood setting

Chef Jake Finn’s passion is for cooking over fire, so when he converted a former takeaway in the heart of Belsize Village, the first piece of kitchen equipment he installed was a charcoal-fuelled Josper grill – the hottest indoor barbecue available. It gives his dishes a subtle smokiness, or as Ritz-trained Jake puts it, “kissed by flames”. The Josper and open kitchen are very much part of the theatre at Cinder, a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant that has a special occasion vibe. The room is intimate and dressed with tumbling foliage, and there’s a smart outside terrace, perfect for summer evenings. The menu of 18 dishes is divided into nibbles, veg patch, raw, fish, meat, sides and desserts, and suggests ordering two-three to share. Fluffy, smoky flatbreads with a creamy nutty garlicky tahini introduce the Mediterranean influence, followed by crisp shredded hispi cabbage, textured with pine nuts. Revelations are grilled mastelo cheese with a sweet kalamata olive glaze; and crunchy triple-cooked new potatoes, scattered with black lime salt. For us, highlights from the mains are flattened chicken thighs, sharpened with confit lemon, which go beautifully with a glass of muscadet; and grassy, darkly-crusted beef sirloin, sourced from Cotswolds’ Paddock Farm, heavenly with rioja from the largely European wine list. cinderrestaurant.co.uk

Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Soho

Syrian sharing plates with heart in Soho

Imad Alarnab’s story is a remarkable one. After spending years as a successful restaurateur in Damascus, his businesses were destroyed by the war, and he was forced to flee the country for safety. Shortly after arriving in London in 2015, he began cooking Syrian food at supper clubs and pop-ups (at which he raised thousands of pounds for refugee charity, Choose Love), before crowdfunding for his own permanent restaurant. Located on the top floor of Soho’s Kingly Court, the restaurant has the feel of a family-run taverna, with white walls accented by bright blue windows and tiles, dotted with heart-warming photographs from Imad’s past. As for Imad’s food, its every bit as uplifting as his story. Every dish we tried from his sharing-style menu of Syrian dishes was a hit, from the super-crisp, perfectly seasoned falafel with lightly pickled, sumac-dusted red onions, to the pool of chickpea-topped hummus with hot, fluffy pittas for dunking. Other highlights include the fattet macdous – a dish of silky soft baby aubergines filled with cumin-spiced minced lamb, served with tahini, crispy pittas, pine nuts, herbs, and juicy pops of pomegranate – and the shish tawook, which combines beautifully tender, charred chicken with homemade paprika crisps, tomato mayo and pitta. imadssyriankitchen.co.uk

A range of Syrian sharing plates on a blue table and white patterned table

Rudy’s Diner, Islington

Islington-based Rudy’s is the home of London’s first all-vegan diner and butcher

Rudy’s is a sleek American-style restaurant serving vegan versions of classic diner food. Inside you’ll find glossy retro fittings, with black leather stools, plush yellow booths and chequered tile flooring filling the space, with the sounds of show tunes humming in the background. Out the back, Rudy’s boasts London’s first all-vegan butcher, offering seitan or soya-based cold meats for customers to purchase such as baycon, mince patties, honey mustard turkey slices and pastrami. The 100% vegan menu covers fast-food classics, from burgers and mac ‘n’ cheeze to popcorn chick’n and buffalo wingz. Rudy’s take on a Reuben sandwich comes loaded with layers of seitan pastrami, grilled onions, sauerkraut, cheeze, dill pickles and a secret sauce, with flavours and textures closely mimicking the meaty original. The ultimate dirty burger, a stacked-high combination of soya beef, baycon, cheeze, lettuce and pickles, was cartoon-like in appearance though satisfying to chomp down, however the Southern-fried buffalo wingz fell short on imitating chicken due to its thick seitan texture. We washed our meal down with a surprisingly thick and creamy vegan shake – the banana and Lotus Biscoff being an obvious choice – and finished with a warm chocolate brownie which you’d be hard pressed to believe is dairy-free. rudysvegan.com

The Italian Greyhound, Marylebone 

British produce is the star served in a beautiful, relaxed setting

Sipping a negroni infused with oregano in the sunshine-flooded room of the Italian Greyhound, it’s hard to believe you’re a stone’s throw from the traffic-heavy Edgware Road. The ambience is calming: light wood, long walk-in bar, plants and patio windows that open onto the villagey vibe of Seymour Place. This new spot is an evolution of the previous Italian restaurant, Bernardi’s. The menu, created by head chef Yohei Furuhashi – previously of the River Café – uses British produce, simply executed, divided into five sections: small plates, all day pizzette (light and thin with toppings ranging from courgette to Calabrian sausage to white peach), pasta, larger plates (choices: sea bream, John Dory, dry-aged ribeye and Herdwick lamb) and dolci. From the small plates, octopus is as tender as marshmallow, with chickpeas, crisp piattoni beans and tiny acid-burst Datterini tomatoes. A glorious discovery is panelle – crunchy-yet-melt-in-the-mouth Sicilian chickpea chips, dressed with sage and lemon. Pasta comes as a starter or main portion – the latter for the healthiest of appetites. Spaghetti is silky, coated with shreds of Cornish crab, fennel seeds, chilli and lemon. Beautifully soft slow-cooked pork, flavoured with vermouth and parmesan, is an unctuous sauce for tagliatelle verde. If you have room left, ensure you try the pistachio tiramisu, as fluffy as a cloud with a creamy nuttiness. theitaliangreyhound.co.uk

Pali Hill, Oxford Circus

A vibrant culinary tour of India in the heart of central London

After several covid-related false starts in 2020, Pali Hill recently reopened permanently just off Oxford Street. Named after one of Mumbai’s oldest neighbourhoods, Pali Hill’s menu reflects the diverse culinary heritage found there, offering regional dishes from all over India. After kicking off with cocktails, try the papadi chat. It harmoniously marries a myriad of contrasting flavours and textures, including soft chunks of potato and tomato, creamy spiced yogurt, crunchy papadi (wheat crackers) and sev (crispy gram flour noodles), tamarind chutney and sweet pops of pomegranate. The Mangalore buns are another top pick from the small plates. Two hot, bready pockets are served with a generous mound of spiced crab for loading into the buns. You can’t go far wrong with any choice in the tandoor & grill section, but our highlights included tandoori monkfish with lemony braised peas; tender aged sirloin with a peppery curry sauce, and beautifully sweet-fleshed grilled Scottish langoustines, coated in a punchy green sauce. As for the larger plates, the homestyle fish curry is light and fragrant, while meat-eaters shouldn’t miss the Chettinad-style veal shin, so beautifully cooked that it falls off the bone at the merest touch. To finish, if you think you don’t have room for dessert, think again, because the passionfruit ‘gola’ is a must. The ultimate palate cleanser, this Indian shaved ice dessert full of zingy passionfruit is so refreshing, it’ll stop any post-dinner slumps in their tracks. palihill.co.uk

Ave Mario, Covent Garden

Head to this buzzy, super-sized Covent Garden restaurant for lavish, camp interiors and superior Italian ingredients

Anyone who loved the OTT charms of Gloria and Circo Populare will find much to enjoy in Big Mamma’s latest opening. Loosely inspired by Florence, it’s a sprawling affair with almost 300 seats spread over three floors of kitschy, Instagrammable interiors, from the ground-floor dining room complete with soaring ceilings, green-and-white striped walls and a towering bar stocked with 3,500 bottles, to a louche, mirrored, 70s-style basement bar complete with an open kitchen where you can watch pizzaiolos work their magic. There’s campy Catholic iconography scattered throughout, pictures of Sopranos characters in the loos, pretty vegetable-shaped crockery and a 60cm marbled stracciatella ice-cream cake on the menu to rival Gloria’s famed supersized lemon meringue pie. It’s boisterously fun and undoubtedly a place you go to soak up the atmosphere, but the food – mostly crowdpleasing spins on classics – also impresses, from luscious carbonara ravioli filed with oozy egg yolk and flakes of guanciale, to the pillowiest of pizzas decadently topped with salty pearls of Venetian caviar. Ingredients, sourced from some 180 artisan suppliers, are top drawer – think 36-month-old prosciutto; dreamily creamy Puglian burrata; silky mortadella; and liberal clouds of umami aged parmesan. coventgarden.london/ave-mario

Publiq., Kensington

Modern small plates and complex seasonal cocktails 

In the heart of Kensington opposite Hyde Park, Publiq offers a monthly changing menu with an em-phasis on seasonality. The compact dining room, perfect for intimate date nights, is dominated by an art deco teak bar and offers mainly bar seating, plus extra covered seats roadside. The short menu is divided into snacks and sharing small plates, with four-five dishes being the perfect amount for two. Plates, much like the atmosphere, are refined and upmarket without being stuffy, and offer unusual global flavour combinations. While some are more challenging (such as a kiwi-topped burrata), others are expertly pulled off, such as sustainable cobia fish with striking pandan oil and tangy homemade kimchi. Simply named ‘mushrooms’ produces a deep bowl of a glossy fried mushroom medley, topped with pecorino shavings and sticky croutons. For a Mexican addition, ‘suckling pig’ includes a rich chocolatey mole alongside a crisp pork croquette and fluffy masa harina – all cleverly brightened with a squeeze of burnt lime. For drinks, take your pick from the natural wine menu or complex seasonal cocktails, many of which are made with freshly made ingredients, such as an in-house apricot cordial. publiq.london

Temaki, Brixton

The first of its kind in London, this Japanese hand roll restaurant is not to be missed

Temaki, standing for, Te (hand), Maki (roll) has an intimate yet lively feel to it, hosting only 18 covers at a time indoors. The open kitchen brings a sense of connection between the diner and the skilled, humorous chef (Shaulan Steenson) who multitasks, eloquently chatting through the menu while crafting the Temaki. There’s a prevailing joyful atmosphere as the waiting staff are brimming with enthusiasm and knowledgeable about the menu and even more excited to explain about the drinks. We were recommended the Sumi clear Junmai sake which was light with a savoury finish, followed by a sansho peppercorn gin which was topped with filtered lime juice – a sweet yet tangy dream. On to the hand rolls, there are eight to choose from, made fresh to order, alongside meticulously plated small plates. We loved the yellowtail sashimi, which was fresh and tangi from the ponzu with chillies sourced locally from the markets in Brixton. A standout was akami tuna temaki with a nikiri soy filling – not to be missed. If you’re in south west London, or are in the market for a new, fun experience to dive into an interactive Japanese cuisine, Temaki is the place to visit. instagram/temakihandrollbar

Tokyo Pizza, Little Venice

A funky fusion pizza, izakaya restaurant & sake bar

This cavernous, neon-lit little restaurant in the middle of London’s Maida Vale also has an outdoor terrace that was heaving on the warm evening we visited. ‘Japanese’ and ‘pizza’ might not be two words that instantly go together but when our attentive server describes the style of food as ‘izakaya’ – Japanese drinking snacks or bar food – it makes sense. The pizza is Neapolitan-style extra thin crust with a puffed-up chewy rim. It ranges from the safe option of marugerita (sic) to bling toppings like wagyu, short rib or lobster tail all given an extra Tokyo twist with toppings like mizuna, yuzu and sesame. They also pride themselves on ‘mochi’, a Japanese dough or dense bread made from pounded glutinous rice, and the incarnations we tried were a butter-drenched garlic bread version and a cracker-based nacho combo with raw salmon, guacamole, and green chilli. Lots of other snacks and rice bowls are available and alongside our well-priced and adequately potent sake and Japanese whiskey-based cocktails, we nibbled on sweet and sticky tabasaki-glazed chicken wings. tokyo-pizza.co.uk

Humble Chicken, Soho

Nose-to-tail yakitori and modern cocktails in a hip Soho setting

Humble Chicken’s name gets straight to the point. This intimate Soho restaurant, the first from chef Angelo Sato – formerly head chef of Michelin-starred Restaurant Story – is all about grilling every part of the bird (from gizzard to thighs) over binchotan charcoal (a high-quality charcoal used in Japanese cooking). Start with a selection of refined snacks, including a delicate, umami miso foie gras tart and creamy freshly made tofu with tangy kimchi, before diving into the yakitori menu with gusto. Skewers – smoky, juicy, delicious – arrive speedily from the open kitchen, with highlights including meatball with salty tare sauce and egg yolk for dipping, rib with spicy miso and chives, and (our favourite) absurdly tender chicken oysters with smoked garlic and ponzu. Larger plates include crispy chicken leg with rice, and save room for dainty desserts such as deconstructed strawberry cheesecake, and purin, a Japanese dessert akin to a creme caramel, and just as delicious.

There’s Asahi on draft and a small selection of sakes, wines and Japanese whiskies, but it’s the cocktails that deserve most attention on the drinks list, including a tangily fruity lychee martini; a silky Nikka whisky, coconut milk and oolong highball, and a sultry miso and coffee old fashioned. humblechickenuk.com

Kol, Marylebone

Mexican tasting menus and eastern European wine pairings from ex-Noma chef Santiago Lastra

Ex-Noma Mexico chef Santiago Lastra’s opening takes London’s Mexican restaurant scene to a new, fine-dining level. The vibe is kept casual, though, with clay pots of all shapes and sizes displayed against mottled red-orange walls, cute turtle salt pots (crafted in Mexican communities) sat on wooden tables, and Santiago and his mustard t-shirt-clad team calmly tending to multiple pans on the go in the open kitchen.

Order a mezcal negroni or Kol margarita to start, the latter made with Volcán De Mi Tierra tequila and verjus. Santiago sources the finest English ingredients (save corn, chillies and chocolate from Mexico) to create six or nine courses of Mexican dishes. Habanero chillies give a kick to roasted gnocchi, crab and gooseberries; a vibrant beetroot mole adds richness to salt-baked kohlrabi; and wild samphire and oxeye daisies sit atop hen of the woods and king oyster mushrooms. Squeeze sea buckthorn juice from a langoustine head over a sourdough taco stuffed with the crustacean’s meaty flesh and a smoky chipotle mayo. For the main event, fill handmade corn tortillas (kept warm in a bespoke leather pouch) with fall-apart 18-hour cooked short rib smothered in rich pasilla chilli mole along with lamb fat carrots and Mayan scotch bonnet pickled onions. Finish with chocolate tamales in hand-tied parcels and corn husk ice cream. Opt for the wine pairing to taste some unique eastern European natural numbers – aromatic, cloudy Slovakian orange bursting with orange blossom, bright Czech Republic riesling and a herbal German pinot noir made by a two-man operation in the Black Forest. kolrestaurant.com

Cin Cin, Fitzrovia

Casual Italian using the best of British ingredients

The specials board captured our attention immediately: crudo with orange, fennel rabbit cacciatore, green olive and soft polenta; bigoli with anchovy, lemon, chilli and focaccia crumb; lemon meringue pie, blood orange sorbet. Cin Cin’s menu uses the best of British ingredients such as Blythburgh pork and south coast crab, Italian style, along with twists on classics including gnocchi cacio e pepe with Trombetta courgettes, burrata with truffled prosciutto and a Marinda tomato salad with lambrusco marinade that’s a must-order. Start with a glass of Franciacorta (Italy’s answer to champagne and a step up from prosecco) or the house negroni featuring Australian Regal red vermouth and rhubarb bitters, a nod to the owner’s Sydney heritage. Décor is relaxed and there are plenty of outdoor tables in this buzzy part of Fitzrovia, not far from Oxford Street. cincin.co.uk

Café BAO, King’s Cross

Bao’s take on Western-style cafés in Asia

This modern all-day dining spot, tucked between the canal and St Pancras, offers a chance to dine in and a take-away bakery option. As the name suggests, this is one of the Bao stable and its signature fluffy white bao is on the menu, along with two exclusive versions (giving you a good excuse to visit every venue), a hamburger bao (just as it sounds) and a seafood roll made from a decadent fried brioche filled with lobster, crayfish and mayo. The rest of lobster reappears as a no-waste dish, head split open with crisp fries to dip into the creamy filling. A Taiwanese breakfast staple is reimagined, the standout ham hock congee comes not with a side of youtiao (fried bread sticks) but a golden pastry topping to rip off and dip – if you only eat one thig, make it this. Desserts feature BAOfiterole and an exemplary pineapple cake (actually a pastry), and cocktails include a plum sake-based negroni. The bakery dispenses salted egg custard ‘sad face’ bao and cookie caramel bao alongside coffee – should you wish to take away. baolondon.com

Cafe Bao's stylish modern interior

SUMI, Notting Hill

Michelin-starred Endo at the Rotunda’s more casual sushi restaurant

The bright and airy space, with pale wood panelling, large windows and outdoor decking, perfectly suits the calm practice of SUMI’s sushi chefs. Watch them prepare stunning courses of fresh nigiri on bouncy and neat rice mounds, and wrap wafer-thin sheets of nori seaweed round the likes of minced red tuna and fermented mooli, or diced scallop with delicate purple hanahojiso flowers to make signature temaki rolls. Menu highlights are the seaweed salad coated in a creamy tahini dressing with toasted almonds, and a ceviche showcasing seasonal sustainable fish among a picture-perfect plate of peppers, corianders, marigold and a zingy yuzu dressing. Superb seared Japanese A4 wagyu is served with charred puntarelle and a jug of yuzu onion sauce. Finish by gliding a bespoke wooden spoon through the matcha mille cake’s thin layers of vibrant green, matcha-infused double cream and ultra-fine crêpes. Don’t skip cocktails – the popular kawaii ne is a delicate mix of sake, local Portobello gin, lychee and yuzu, while the smoky boulevardier offers a much punchier blend of peaty whisky, umeshu plum sake, Antica Formula and Campari. sushisumi.com

Hot Stone, Fitzrovia

Wagyu steak and sushi in an elegant setting

This buzzing restaurant is named for the cooking method of the premium-grade kobe and wagyu steak it serves. Heated to 400C, you cook it yourself at the table by briefly searing on both sides. Each steak comes with wasabi, yuzu dipping sauce and asparagus spears. This luscious main course is just one highlight on a very imaginative menu, devised by chef Padam Raj Rai, a lively presence in the restaurant. Butterfish sashimi and scallop carpaccio with truffle ponzu and plum sauce are exquisite and maki rolls feature top-class ingredients such as black cod or yellowtail. Dessert offers just two choices, green tea matcha cheesecake, or mochi. Pair with a tasting flight of sake or Japanese beers. The pared-back decor features wood panels, green tiling, and a beautiful traditional mural. hotstonelondon.com

Bar des Pres, Mayfair

High-class Asian-French hybrid

Leading French chef Cyril Lignac has opened this sleek London outpost of his Parisian Bar des Prés in Mayfair, serving an all-day sharing menu from lunch till late. Key seats are around the counter where sushi chefs prepare Insta-friendly dishes which deliver on flavour, too, such as the signature crunchy crab and avocado galette Madras curry. Other highlights include crispy sushi salmon with chipotle mayo; satay beef fillet with lime and a silky mash potato with vanilla. Desserts, particularly the generous millefeuille with praline, are equally camera-friendly. A lemongrass-spiked margarita, made with mezcal and tequila rimmed with black salt, is the star of the cocktail list. More than two of you? Choose a booth or the high table nearer the entrance. bardespres.com

NoMad Restaurant, Covent Garden

New York meets London hot hotel dining

Housed in the infamous Bow Street magistrates court, the room is dramatic with its high ceiling – bright or moody depending on time of day. A long comfortable banquette divides the space that’s alive with greenery and London buzz. NoMad’s menu has NYC touches (a nod to its sister hotel) and spans the sublime – oysters with cucumber ice, a delicate sea bream crudo with radishes and teeny picked strawberries; to sturdy (but refined) suckling pig; 30-day dry-aged rib-eye, and a brioche-stuffed chicken dish to share between two – to the sublime again: cherry ice cream with mascarpone within a crisp chocolate shell. The hefty wine list is best navigated with the help of the young, friendly wine team. Dinner bookings are like gold dust so go early or late, but go! thenomadhotel.com

Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen, Covent Garden

Filipino sharing food in the West End’s hottest indoor food court

Head to Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen in the recently re-opened KERB Seven Dials in Covent Garden for some of the freshest, most delicious Filipino cuisine we’ve tried in London. This restaurant is made for enjoying with a bunch of friends, with the restaurants famed sharing dish of crispy pata pancakes taking centre stage. Sip on creamy, fragrant piña coladas before tucking into a generous feast of slow-cooked melt-in-the-mouth ham hock with a crispy exterior (not dissimilar to hoisin duck), light paper-thin pancakes, fresh coriander and lime, as well as a lip-smacking Mang Tomas sauce. For veggies there’s a crispy mushroom version and an overflowing bowl of adobo-glazed cauliflower that we loved so much it had us ordering more. Round your meal off with a scoop of Bong Bong’s famous Milo ice cream, rich, creamy and malted. Bong Bong’s is everything we want from a sharing-vibe restaurant – big, well thought out portions, zingy flavours and moreish textures, and fab cocktails with some of the jolliest staff we’ve come across. I think one of the most joyful restaurant experiences we’ve had, we cant wait to head back. bongbongs.co.uk

A green background with Filipino dishes on bamboo plates

Franks Bar, Piccadilly Circus

No-reservations French-inspired bar

This is one of those brilliant places – in the basement at upmarket French brasserie Maison Francois – to go when you haven’t made a booking. The lighting is soft and the music is uplifting. A concise cocktail menu (try the Dirty French, a riff on a dirty martini) is complemented by superior, substantial bar snacks. Must-orders are silky jambon noir de Bigorre (ham) sliced at the bar; tomatoes with anchovy, pâté du maison and an unmissable sourdough bread. The signature crispy calf brain bun is a brave choice and so rich it’s best shared between (at least) two of you. There’s a small choice of puddings, ice cream or sorbet with a glug of calvados, and a knockout rum baba. maisonfrancois.london

The Red Duck, Balham

Contemporary Chinese restaurant in leafy Balham

The Red Duck is a casual and fun dining experience, and makes a great addition to the bustling streets of Balham. Sit outside and people-watch, or inside where the tables are close but not uncomfortably so; and most spots have a great view of the kitchen. While there are nods to the kitsch, it’s quite a modern space with crispy duck shredded at the table, neon wall art, plastic serving baskets and paper chopstick holders. The menu is ideal for sharing; while you choose, it’s worth kicking things off with prawn crackers and an ultra-refreshing whisky highball. The ‘best selling’ fresh panko prawn balls are a must, and do not ignore the unassuming hunks of white cabbage on the side of the plate – these moreish pickles cut through the deep-fried snacks beautifully. Special fried rice comes loaded with edamame and curly plump prawns, and don’t leave without trying the hakka paneer with black bean sauce, where a sticky, savoury sauce combined with flash-cooked spring onions and shallots delivers an intense punch of multi-dimensional flavour. theredduck.co.uk

Galvin Bistrot & Bar, Spitalfields

A slice of Parisian eating in London’s Spitalfields

Cheek by jowl with its older, smarter sibling, Galvin La Chapelle, this bar/bistrot previously known as Galvin HOP serves impeccable food that you’d be hard pressed to find the likes of in France. Chef Patron Chris Galvin runs the kitchen, the menu is short with well-sourced ingredients and dotted with classics such as terrine de campagne, charcuterie, duck leg and entrecôte steak with beurre MaÎtre d’Hôtel. Must-order dishes include steak tartare, exceptional frites (have them with everything), and the rum baba sold by the ‘inch’ off a roll, doused in rum at the table and served with a quenelle of chantilly cream. There’s seating outside (with heating if necessary) or a cosier interior complete with a beautiful, very long zinc bar with copper tanks of fresh pilsner above it. The drinks list has some very reasonable wines by the glass, and you can upgrade to the La Chapelle wine list if you ask. galvinrestaurants.com/restaurant/galvin-bistrot-and-bar/

Stay tuned for more reviews of new restaurants in London


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