Looking for the best new restaurants in the UK? Here are some of the best restaurants to visit in Autumn 2017 in London and across the country…
Ikoyi, London SW1
Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan are on a mission to give the flavours and ingredients of West Africa a slick, fine-dining polish. Their new Mayfair restaurant is chicly understated, with amber-coloured banquettes and earthenware pendant lights.
The kitchen (run by head chef and co-founder Jeremy) has a bold approach to spice. Mellow, buttermilk-soaked fried plantain is accompanied by a ferocious scotch bonnet mayo, while chicken oysters with tamarind and penja pepper are moreish mouthfuls.
A tender rib of rare-breed Manx Loaghtan is some of the best lamb we’ve eaten; it’s paired with a vibrant asun relish. A single Nigerian tiger prawn may sound stingy, but it turns out to be colossal, and comes in a shellfish bisque with gin and banga spices.
Dessert, like the rest of the meal, impresses: compressed papaya in hibiscus juice comes with ultra-creamy buttermilk ice cream, a lightly charred marshmallow and meringue folded with toasted grains of paradise – a fragrant, pepper-like spice.
Monty’s Deli started as a reuben sandwich market stall in 2012. Its new permanent site, in London’s Hoxton, is sandwiched between unassuming (read: yet to be gentrified) takeaways, corner shops and barbers, and focusses on hearty Jewish classics. Low-hanging lights sit above dark leather booths; old-school brown tables are set with essentials only – water glasses, cutlery, napkins (you’ll need to ask for more) and a bottle of Tabasco.
For Sunday brunch order the likes of the meshuggener sandwich – a combination of salt beef, pastrami, chopped liver and coleslaw. Salt beef and pastrami are taken seriously here – it’s one of the only places making it in-house in Britain. It’s left for over a week to perfect and it’s worth it for the rich, juicy, peppery combination. The chopped liver is creamy, the coleslaw crisp and fresh. It’s as satisfying and messy as it sounds (we said you’d need more napkins). Finish with a slice of babka – chocolate runs throughout layers of sweet, buttery dough with a crisp crust.
Visit on a Friday night and you’ll experience a Shabbat dinner, where each course is cooked for four people, sharing-style. To start, warm challah rolls, slightly sweet, are served with a plate of chopped liver. A taster of kiddush wine is served on the side – it’s syrupy, fruity (think boozy Ribena) and a good balance to the iron-rich offal.
A warm and nourishing pot of chicken broth, cooked for two days, is filled with al dente discs of carrots and dense, chewy and comforting kneidlach (Jewish dumplings). A whole roast chicken takes centre stage for course three and is presented on a big wooden board ready for one strong diner to carve. Skin is crisp and salty while the meat is juicy. Fluffy roast potatoes could have done with being a little crunchier on our visit, though.
With its relaxed, homely vibe, Monty’s Deli has quickly established itself as part of the neighbourhood. Just be sure to order a salt beef bagel for the journey home.
Yorkshire beer, wine and charcuterie specialist, Friends of Ham, has opened its third outlet in Leeds’s Northern Quarter, collaborating with independent businesses to create a thriving foodie hub. The must-visit venue boasts
a conditioned cheese room, a deli packed with Yorkshire’s finest produce, and a dedicated wine mezzanine in the eaves of the glass roof.
Stay for lunch in the bright contemporary bar and dining space, kitted out with sturdy Jesmonite and copper tables and comfy grey Italian chairs. As well as an impressive charcuterie board – we tried salami from Piedmont, prosciutto from Parma, and British Bath chaps made from pig’s cheeks.
We tried soft pork cheek in a creamy butter bean sauce topped with crisp jerusalem artichokes, and crunchy yellow and green courgettes with Yellison goat’s curd, marjoram and huge heritage tomatoes that soaked up a punchy dressing. A side of Jersey Royals really stood out, drenched in melted butter and livened up with chopped chives and spring onions.
We loved the ibérico pork secreto, ‘the butcher’s secret’, cooked medium- rare so it was pink, soft and silky, served simply with a sprinkle of salt. Pair with Renata Pizzulin Clagnis, a subtly spiced, fruity Italian red wine made by a couple as a weekend project in the north-eastern Friuli region of Italy.
Expect the best produce all served unpretentiously in a warm and friendly environment.
Most famous for being Andy Murray’s country-house hotel, Cromlix is a homely Victorian place with genteel gardens in Perthshire. The restaurant, though, is more bright-and- breezy modern, with an open kitchen and exec head chef Darin Campbell at the helm.
There are two menus to choose from – the set £35 menu du marché and à la carte. A heart-stopping, floating baked soufflé is a showboat of air, cream, eggs and cheese to start. Another seasonal velouté is packed with flavours from the kitchen garden.
The wine list is extensive. We go for a crisp sancerre with our main of North Sea cod with Isle of Skye langoustine, grapes, gnocchi and verjus. The langoustines are a juicy delight. The confit pork belly, though, was a triumph – its sweet meat fell apart with every nudge of the cutlery. Fine technique carries through to desserts – a raviole of exotic fruit and piña colada, kaffir lime foam and coconut sorbet was as refreshing as it sounds.
Andy Murray’s name might be a draw, but it’s Darin Campbell’s excellent food and the fixed-price menu that means the room is buzzing.
Inspired by the Chinese and Japanese terms for plum blossom, Mei Ume aims to deliver an authentic yet modern take on the classic dishes of China and Japan, in the grand setting of the Four Seasons hotel in London.
Small plates include the likes of deep-fried squid with salted eggs, Shanghai braised pork ribs and dim sum. There’s also an extensive selection of sushi on the menu. Mains lean towards the Chinese end of the spectrum, from steamed sea bass with ginger, spring onion and soy sauce to Mei Ume’s signature dish, a whole Peking duck served first with pancakes, cucumber and leek, then as a salad with lemongrass and plum dressing.
We start with vegetarian dim sum and a plate of scallop and yam paste dumplings. Pan-fried Mongolian lamb cutlets with lemongrass sauce were juicily soft, while a dish of Szechuan corn-fed chicken with macadamia nuts and chillies was a fresh, modern update of a classic. Dessert was a well-made chocolate moelleux (fondant) with green tea powder.
Mei Ume’s drinks offering ranges from a cocktail, sake and shochu list to Japanese and Taiwanese whiskies and an intricate wine menu. Our sommelier’s spot-on recommendations included a yuzu-infused sake.