We have high hopes for the season ahead. This spring sees a flurry of new openings on the London restaurant scene that suggests the capital is ready to move on from simply surviving to positively thriving. There’s so much to look forward to, from covetable haute patisserie direct from Paris to world-leading Michelin star cuisine from the city’s finest, sustainable seafood and outstanding modern African cooking. Here’s your guide to the best new London restaurants to book this spring.
New London restaurants
Cedric Grolet at The Berkeley
Cedric Grolet – 2.2m followers on Instagram and counting – is a rock star among pastry chefs. His boutique at Le Meurice had queues of chic Parisians lining up daily for his witty trompe l’oeil creations. Good news for Londoners: we no longer need to jump on the Eurostar to try them, as on February 14, he opens his first patisserie outside the French capital at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge. We’re excited about the eight-seat pastry theatre and the new Berkeley Café where petit déjeuner and afternoon tea, Cedric Grolet-style, will be served. There will be patisserie ‘to go’ too.
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1
The Aubrey London
The Aubrey London, just opened at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, models itself after the Japanese izakaya at its most flamboyant and eccentric. Richly styled in velvet and marble against a backdrop of opulent 19th Century-style Japonisme, it renders the old Bar Boulud space unrecognisable, divided now into curio lounge, bar, library, salon and London’s first omakase cocktail bar. On the menu, there’s Edomae sushi as well as wagyu sandos, white miso soufflé and chicken karaage; while on the soundtrack, there’s jazz, hip hop, and Japanese trap. The mood is ‘house party’. You’ll definitely want to crash.
66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London, SW1
Chef Daisuke Hayashi’s debut restaurant Roketsu in Marylebone has instantly joined the ranks of London’s most exclusive. No more than 16 guests a night are seated at the hinoki wood counter where Hayashi, protégé of the legendary Yoshihiro Murata of three Michelin star Kikunoi in Kyoto, serves a £190 menu of complex, intricately crafted kaiseki cuisine. I was lucky enough to try one of Hayashi’s bento boxes during lockdown and can only describe his food as poetic. The restaurant’s fully booked months ahead; the six-cover private dining room that opens next month might be a short cut.
Goddard & Gibbs
Le tout Shoreditch was bereft when the old Ace Hotel closed, so all eyes will be on its replacement One Hundred Shoreditch when it opens on 3 March. The hotel’s all-day restaurant, Goddard & Gibbs, specialising in British seafood, certainly sounds promising (and looks it too – have you seen the statement sculpture in the dining room?). Fish and chips are non-negotiable, alongside other piscine pleasures including Maldon oysters, sourdough crumpets with cured Cornish mackerel, and a fillet of fish burger with kimchi and sriracha mayo. For dessert, fried doughnuts or soft serve with sprinkles bring back memories of holidays by the beach.
100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1
Restaurant 1890 by Gordon Ramsay
The partnership of Gordon Ramsay and the Savoy Hotel goes from strength to strength. This month, the multi-Michelin-starred chef opens his third restaurant at the property following the success of the long-standing Savoy Grill and the new River Restaurant. Restaurant 1890 by Gordon Ramsay, so named for the year that legendary French chef Escoffier joined the Savoy, will be an intimate affair with just 26 seats in the opulent, gold-hued Art Deco-style room. The £110 tasting menu will be seasonal, modern and French-accented. Opens 23 February.
The Savoy, Strand, London, WC2
Richoux, the Piccadilly institution founded in 1909, reawakens from its Covid-induced slumber this month, under the stewardship of chefs Lewis Spencer and Jamie Butler. Spencer and Butler, whose combined CVs include Moor Hall, L’Enclume, Eleven Madison Park and Le Manoir, have looked to Paris for inspiration. Expect chocolate cake, tarte tatin and cruffins in the patisserie; and classics such as omelette frites, French onion soup and chicken paillard with gremolata in the brasserie. Vintage chandeliers, scalloped pearl floor tiles and mirrored walls will set what should be a very chic scene. From 23 February.
172 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1
Word of the day is ‘apricity’, the warmth of the sun in winter. If chef Chantelle Nicholson’s progressive new Mayfair restaurant evokes such a heavenly feeling, success will surely be assured. The New Zealand-born chef, known for Tredwells (where she won a green Michelin star) and pandemic pop-up All’s Well, takes a socially conscious, sustainable approach to eating and sourcing, evidenced by roasted kuri squash with fermented chillies and miso aioli and venison with elderberry and walnut butter. To be enjoyed with English wines and zero-waste cocktails. Opens in March.
68 Duke Street, Mayfair, London, W1
Em Sherif at Harrods
Mireille and Yasmina Hayek are the mother-daughter duo behind acclaimed Beirut restaurant Em Sherif (est.2011) and its newly opened outpost at Harrods. Their cuisine represents traditional Lebanese at its most refined. The fattoush salad with pomegranate molasses, their signature, is not to be missed, nor is wagyu hummus and seabass shawarma. Find the restaurant on the second floor or pop into the Food Hall for their fresh deli goodies to go.
87-135 Brompton Road, London, SW3
The day may come that the shorthand for Jean-Bernard Fernandez Versini is something other than ‘Cheryl’s ex’. That all depends on the success of the celebrity restaurateur’s first London restaurant, Itaku, which opens in Fitzrovia this month. Head chef Ivan Simeoli’s luxe-leaning menus marry the A-list’s two favourite cuisines – Japanese and Italian – in such dishes as Sicilian red prawns with black truffle ponzu and miso Cornish monkfish with pumpkin and Tuscan black cabbage.
110 Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1
Charlotte Street, once every foodie’s favourite thoroughfare, is back on the map, thanks to Mowgli, Carousel and now Nuno Mendes, whose new project Lisboeta launches in March. Lisboeta, set across three floors of a townhouse, is the Michelin star-winning Portuguese chef’s ‘love letter’ to his beloved Lisbon. The tripartite concept, comprising café bar, dining room and open kitchen-cum-wine cellar, it’s a co-production with MJMK of Kol and Casa do Frango fame, so expect big things.
30 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1
Brett Graham’s two Michelin star restaurant The Ledbury was the highest profile closure of the first UK lockdown. Graham took the decision to close for reasons of space and safety but has now quietly reopened with a tasting menu-only format (£185) and new look dining room designed by These White Walls. Recent menu highlights include warm hen’s egg, pig’s trotter and truffle, and Jerusalem artichoke tart with goats’ milk caramel.
127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11
DJ turned chef and supper club host Akwasi Brenya-Mensa has built up a loyal following in advance of his bricks-and-mortar debut within Southwark’s Africa Centre next month. Taking its name from the Ghanaian plantain pancake and inspiration from the country’s traditional chop bars, Tatale will serve a unique pan-African menu of such dishes as hard dough bread with garlic butter, jollof mushrooms couscous, cassavas bravas and his signature yaji fried chicken burger.
66 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London, SE1
The Princess Royal
Posh pub group Cubitt House signed a big name in chef Ben Tish. The ex-Norma chef and Sicilian specialist is already making his mark; or so we gather from the group’s latest project launch, the Princess Royal, coming soon to Notting Hill. Not your average boozer, the beautifully restored public house will boast an Italophile menu of Amalfi lemon cake, red prawn crudo, aubergine parmigiana and steak and Tropea onion focaccia plus on-tap cocktails and fine wines. The spacious garden will be the place to be when the sun comes out.
47 Hereford Road, Notting Hill, London, W2