With foreign holidays still in the balance, it’s likely that the coming months will be spent rediscovering the beauty in our own backyard. We’ll need something to eat and drink on our travels: here are ten of the most exciting new UK restaurants to plan a trip around this summer.
Best New UK Restaurants
Chef Adam Wood is one to watch. After four years at north London’s endlessly creative Perilla, he’s moving to Garden House within the Graduate Cambridge hotel on the banks of the Cam. There, he’ll be cooking over live fire and sourcing best-in-class ingredients from the likes of Huntsham Court Farm in Herefordshire (for Longhorn beef and Middle White pork) and Flourish Produce (Calixta Killander’s revolutionary horse-powered small holding in south Cambridgeshire).
The menu reads beautifully – think cured chalk stream trout with green almond dressing; grilled Norfolk quail with pickled cherry; and tomato tart with goats’ cheese and preserved wild garlic. No Cambridge restaurant would be complete without a take on ‘Trinity burnt cream’ (aka crème brûlée): this one comes in tart form. A useful address, the hotel has 148 rooms, a bar, café, co-working space, private rooms and terraces.
Garden House, Granta Place, Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RT
Chef on the rise Harriet Mansell has not one but two addresses to attract gourmet travellers to Lyme Regis this summer. Her first, Robin Wylde, which debuted last autumn, is the destination one with its tasting menus and matching wines; Lilac, her second, will be the rock-up-every-night one, serving small plates, charcuterie, cheese, low intervention wines and even canned wines to takeaway (perfect for the beach).
The 400-year-old cellar space, adorned with beautiful dried flowers from Botanical Tales, will shine a light on West Country produce and foraged ingredients, as well as the region’s best wines selected by Mansell herself (she’s a trained sommelier) from the vineyards such as Sharpham, Castlewood, and Langham Winery. The menu sounds promising; look forward to tempura sea vegetables with smoked roe, elderflower and mint; mackerel crudo with watercress oil and pine vinegar; lobster on the fire with strawberry, rose and verbena.
Lilac, 57-58 Broad Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3QF
Broker-turned-chef Hugo Guest and his wife Olive have taken his family’s B&B and transformed it into the most idyllic of country getaways, complete with kitchen garden, tennis court, swimming pool and 30-cover restaurant. Guest has worked at the Marksman and Sorella in London is joined in the kitchen by Sam Lomas (ex-River Cottage and latterly Tide/Llanw in Anglesey). There’s an Italian leaning to proceedings, evidenced by such dishes as smoked eel pappardelle, torta di riso with rhubarb, and côte de boeuf with heritage tomatoes and anchovy.
The restaurant opens to the public Thursday to Saturday evenings (£48 prix fixe) and for a family-style Sunday lunch (£35), but it’s worth checking in order to try the picnics, simple suppers and breakfasts cooked on the Aga. The picture-perfect cottagecore interiors are by Studio Alexandra, a name I’ll remember when I finally get the country home of my dreams.
Glebe House, Southleigh, Colyton, Devon, EX24 6SD
This welcome addition to the ‘city of dreaming spires’ takes its name from the agricultural practice of regenerating overworked land by restoring it to nature. What Wilding has done here in leafy Jericho is the restaurant world analogue: replacing a humdrum chain restaurant with a new venture bristling with character and independent spirit. Founder Kent Barker hails from the wine world (Enotria, Bibendum etc) so wine is front and centre, with over 400 wines (50 by the glass) available to try in the restaurant, vine-hung garden, bar or wine shop.
Chef Dominique Goltinger was head chef at Bistrot Bruno Loubet for four years; his menu teams with wild ingredients including seashore vegetables with hand-dived scallops and hogweed shoot dressing with chargrilled asparagus and Caerphilly cheese. Retail wines from an undergraduate-friendly £7.50 to a professorial £245. Corkage, £15.
Wilding, 11-12 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX1 2HP
All manner of eating and drinking opportunities await at Hertford House, a 28-room hotel with restaurant, deli, takeaway and tapas bar in the historic market town of Hertford. Chef Andrew Clarke, a familiar name from St Leonards and Brunswick House, oversees while star sommelier and wine writer Bert Blaize is on cellar duty. Clarke’s passion is woodfire cooking which he explores here in such dishes as BBQ lamb, courgette, mint and crispy lamb fat potatoes, roast truffled chicken breast with chicken offal ragu and steamed cod with white crab, creamed potato and horseradish.
For something more casual, go for woodfired pizza from the Storehouse deli (opening end of June), hand-carved jamón, and grilled asparagus, Garrotxa cheese and migas at Anexo tapas bar (opening June 15), or mapo tofu and Sichuan lamb and cumin skewers from Little Wu’s, currently in residence at the Hole in the Wall takeaway. An easy 45 minutes from Liverpool Street.
Hertford House Hotel, 1 Fore Street, Hertford, SG14 1DA
Siblings Josh and Holly Eggleton created something very special at the Pony and Trap, their gastropub in Chew Magna, which held a Michelin star for a decade. While they prepare to reimagine that business as a community interest company, they have launched Bristol’s most anticipated new opening of 2021 – the Pony North Street in south Bristol.
The food is the very definition of contemporary British, with local ingredients and modern techniques coming together in dishes such as Bristol char siu pork belly with sweetcorn and fennel dressing, sole cooked in birch paper with sea vegetables and roasted fish bone sauce, hen of the woods with artichoke tartare and mushroom sauce, and an irresistible ‘walnut whip’ Alaska. Sunday brunch, £35, might include Middle White pork sausage, Pony mustard, and parsley, shallot, caper salad, or smoked trout with green herb scrambled eggs and wood-grilled sourdough. Reservations now open for July and August.
The Pony North Street, 291 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1JP
Once a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, now an established chef and restaurateur with the Frog in Covent Garden, the restaurant at the Cadogan in Chelsea, and home delivery concept Hame to his name, Adam Handling is opening outside London for the first time. The Loch and The Tyne in Old Windsor, his just launched pub and restaurant with rooms promises ‘sustainable British luxury’ in a traditional country pub environment. This translates to zero waste dishes, English wines, craft beers, and cute touches as hot water bottles knitted by Handling’s own mum.
Handling fans will be happy to reacquaint themselves with such signatures such as cheese doughnuts, wagyu lobster, and chicken skin butter, while new discoveries include Balmoral chicken with wild garlic and black truffles, beef and lardo burger with Ogleshield cheese, poached cod with smoked mussels and sea herbs, and peach trifle. Sunday lunch spells beef Wellington.
The Loch & The Tyne, 10 Crimp Hill, Old Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 2QY
With Burnt Orange which opens in Brighton in early June, restaurateur Razak Helalat seeks to create an inbetween sort of space, something “not quite a restaurant, not quite a bar”. It may prove a template for post-lockdown socialising, as we ease our way back into a social life with cocktails, brunch and music (DJ Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim curates the sound).
In common with sister venues the Coal Shed (ten years old this year) and the Salt Room, Burnt Orange will focus on food cooked over fire. Highlights will be crab and samphire fritters, brown crab tahini and nigella salt; shawarma pork belly, date molasses, pickled fennel salad; and charcoal-roasted octopus with harissa butter. To drink, Burnt Orange gin martinis (with grilled orange skin), ideally in the courtyard. Open until 1am, Thursday to Saturday.
Burnt Orange, 59 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL
Nick Selby and Ian James brought joy to Primrose Hill with their stylish delicatessen Melrose and Morgan. Now, they’ve set their sights on rural Kent where they’ve taken over a three-and-a-half acre Grade II-listed walled garden and nursery with 13 Victorian glasshouses. The kitchen garden café restaurant which opens there on 1 July, will be a collaboration between head chef and head gardener and its menu will change with the seasons.
Sample dishes include nettle, asparagus and goats’ cheese tart; lamb and feta meatballs with chard; overnight oats, apricots and cherry compôte; pearl barley stuffed peppers and green sauce; and cherry and almond tart. Horticulturalists, take note: The Walled Garden is situated a convenient halfway between the famous gardens of Sissinghurst and Great Dixter.
The Walled Garden, Water Lane, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, TN18 5DH
Ed Wilson and Josie Stead of Brawn on Columbia Road in London are taking over Sargasso, a ‘restaurant, bar and occasional music venue’ on Margate’s harbour arm this July. They’ve a team of chefs taking on the project, whose combined CV includes such esteemed east London kitchens as Peg, Bright, Trullo and Brawn itself. Menus are yet to be revealed but the Brawn connection would suggest French, Italian and Spanish flavours combined with scintillating natural wines from those countries’ finest producers. Sargasso is a collaboration with musician Matthew Herbert, who has a 10-acre farm just outside the town. Tie in lunch with a visit to Turner Contemporary.
Sargasso, Margate Harbour Arm, Margate, CT9 1AP