The arrival of spring brings with it an exciting crop of new London restaurants spread across the capital, making us even more optimistic about getting outside. This season we’ll be slurping oysters by Hampstead Heath, sipping sherry in Chelsea and sashaying around Mayfair with Champagne to go (leave it to Claridge’s…). Here, we’ve rounded up the most exciting new restaurants in London this spring.
New London restaurants for Spring
Former Duck and Waffle chef Tom Cenci takes the helm of Nessa, the restaurant and bar on the ground floor of new Soho members’ club 1 Warwick Street. Nessa’s open to the public (as Mortimer House Kitchen is at sister property Mortimer House) from morning to night, with a modern bistro offering that stands out for its contemporary take on comfort food. Right now, it’s all about the photogenic black pudding brioche with beurre noisette, the celeriac carbonara topped with truffle and a golden egg yolk, and the old-fashioned roly-poly. The lounge, bar and terrace will be handy to those who work or play in central London.
86 Brewer Street, Soho, London W1F 9UB
Claridge’s ArtSpace Café
Outsize madeleines and Champagne to go are on the menu at Claridge’s ArtSpace Café, the chic new spot at the Mayfair hotel. Architect John Pawson is behind the design, featuring a patisserie counter, marble communal table and an elegant staircase down to the free-to-view gallery in the basement below. The café has its own entrance on Brook’s Mews and is open by day for everything from chia pudding, salad bowls and matcha smoothies to croque-madames, seafood crêpes, and pistachio Paris-Brests. The opening coincides with Claridge’s ArtSpace’s latest exhibition New Frontiers: Movements in Contemporary Art, featuring works by Ron Arad, Candida Höfer and more.
Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
Late night London is about to get a boost, courtesy of Lío London, the swish new clubstaurant from the party people at Pacha. Lío London, the world’s third Lío after Ibiza and Mykonos, takes over the old Café de Paris next month with a new look by Spanish design studio Lázaro Rosa-Viola to set off the building’s heritage features. They’ve signed a serious chef in Adam Rawson, formerly of the Standard, so be assured the food isn’t an afterthought, even if his 200-cover restaurant does morph nightly into a nightclub. Look forward to DJs, live performances, and late hours (until 3am, Wednesday to Saturday).
3-4 Coventry Street, Piccadilly, London W1D 6BL
Newcomer Zapote has breathed life back into the former St Leonard’s site in Shoreditch, filling the room with the colours and flavours of modern Mexico. It’s the work of industry veteran Tony Geary (Sketch, Aqua) and chef Yahir Gonzalez, whose easy elegant style brings something new to London’s nascent Mexican restaurant scene. Tostadas topped with whitebait and jalapeño, fresh scallop ceviche with persimmon and grilled corn, and white crab and black bean pozole demonstrate the kitchen’s affinity for seafood. The bar’s open all day for quesadillas, tacos, and tequila cocktails too.
70 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4QX
Opening 1 April
The kind of place we usually have to hop on Eurostar for, Story Cellar in Neal’s Yard is a Parisian-style rotisserie restaurant from two Michelin star chef Tom Sellers. Leaving the cutting-edge cooking to his Restaurant Story in London Bridge, Story Cellar will focus on classic French comfort food including rotisserie chicken, homemade charcuterie, terrines, and grilled fish. The wine programme looks set to be exceptional, with rare wines available by the glass, and tables in the walk-in cellar, where collectors can store their own personal bottles.
17 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP
The Antinori family have been making wine in Tuscany for six centuries. That makes them comparative newcomers to the restaurant business, having opened their original Cantinetta Antinori in Florence as recently as 1957. Monaco and Moscow both have a branch, and now it’s London’s turn as Cantinetta Antinori, a partnership between the Antinori and the Giraudi family (behind Le Petit Beefbar), opens next month in a handsome three storey site off Sloane Street. Expect classic bistecche alla fiorentina, handmade pasta and some absolutely sublime wines.
4 Harriet Street, Belgravia, London SW1X 9JR
The Midland Grand Dining Room
Building on the soaring success of Allegra at The Stratford, hotelier Harry Handelman (Chiltern Firehouse) and chef Patrick Powell are collaborating again, this time on the new Midland Grand Dining Room at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross. In-demand Parisian designer Hugo Toro has been charged with giving the lofty-ceiling dining room (previously The Gilbert Scott) an opulent new look worthy of the iconic setting: prepare for Victorian-inspired carpets, bespoke brass chandeliers and Pierre Frey fabrics. Powell’s menus marry British, Irish and French influences in such dishes as crab and elderflower pain perdu, Welsh lamb with Pommes Anna and Epping honey madeleines. The standalone Gothic Bar will doubtless be a destination in its own right.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, King’s Cross, London NW1 2AR
Opening 17 March
It’s been delayed but Cynthia Shanmugalingham’s debut restaurant Rambutan is to open at last in Borough this month. Rambutan, in common with Shanmugalingham’s book of the same name (one of the New York Times’ top ten cookbooks of 2022, no less) will explore Sri Lankan food, old and new, with a focus on the dishes from the ancient Tamil region in the north of the island, given ‘an immigrant twist’. This translates on the plate to the likes of burnt cabbage varai, turbot head with sodhi broth and black pork curry. Shanmugalingham has worked with Sri Lankan artists and designers on the interiors inspired by late Sri Lankan female architect Minnette de Silva.
10 Stoney Street, Borough, London SE1 9AD
Details are slowly emerging of what to expect of the Campaner, the new concept going into the Ben Pentreath-designed restaurant space at Chelsea Barracks next month. Created by Los Reyes del Mango, the folk behind Barcelona’s adored Martinez, the Campaner will be an all-day restaurant ‘with a Barcelona soul’, majoring in seafood, shellfish, meat, and vegetables cooked on the Josper Grill. One Martinez signature is coming with them: the monkfish and lobster casserole, served over two courses. The setting is stunning, with vaulted ceilings indoors and a wraparound terrace and cloistered walkway outdoors. See you there over a pineapple mezcal margarita.
1 Garrison Square, Chelsea, London SW1W 8BG
London Shell Co
Opening late March
It’s ‘land ahoy!’ for floating seafood restaurant London Shell Co, which opens its first bricks and mortar site in north London later this month. The new Swain’s Lane site will double up as both seafood bar and fishmongers-cum-wine shop, with plans afoot to run tastings and masterclasses too. On the menu: whole Cornish crab to share, home-cured anchovies, and trout sausage rolls for picnics on nearby Hampstead Heath. Oyster lovers will enjoy £2 oysters and £2 off wines and cocktails from 4pm to 6pm daily.
Sonny Heights, Swain’s Lane, Highgate, London N6 6QX