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The duo behind double-Michelin-starred Pied à Terre, David Moore and chef Shane Osborn, have opened a second restaurant, L’Autre Pied, in Marylebone. Shaking the pans is one of Osborn’s protégés, Marcus Eaves (left). Moore describes Eaves’ modern European food as ‘distinct, elegant and light’. A private room seats 16 people. 5-7 Blandford Street, W1. Tel: 020 7486 9696.
Hell’s Kitchen star Marco Pierre White has just opened a new restaurant, called Marco, in Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. The menu combines classics from both sides of the Channel – foie gras and duck egg on brioche alongside organic shepherd’s pie – while the decor (columns studded with Swarovski crystals and velvet mink upholstery) is likely to appeal to footballers’ wives and Russian oligarchs alike. Chelsea fans will no doubt be pleased, too. Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, SW6. Tel: 020 7915 2929.
With chains dominating the dining options at the regenerated Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, there’s a notable exception nearby in Balfour, a sweet Italian joint with simple surrounds and a traditional menu. There’s tricolore salad, penne arrabiata, breaded chicken escalope with spaghetti and tomato sauce, as well as a range of chalked-up daily specials. Far better than a Starbucks sarnie, we think. 75-77 Marchmont Street, WC1. Tel: 020 7713 6111.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... He launched high-profile Corbin & King joint, St Alban, but now head chef Francesco Mazzei has gone it alone, and he’s just opened L'Anima near Liverpool Street station. The good-looking, modern Italian is open from breakfast to dinner, has a separate bar area and private dining room, and signature dishes include fish stew with fregola (Sardinian couscous).
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... Not only is the new Kingly Club St Martin’s Lane home to a mezzanine-level VIP room and a ground-floor bar serving up class-A cocktails, it also boasts a glitzy Japanese restaurant in the basement called Kyashii. Decked out in gleaming white leather and huge sapphire fish tanks, it’s the new hangout for Soho’s social butterflies.
A couple of noteworthy new Chinese joints: the first, Red ’n’ Hot (59 Charing Cross Road WC2, tel: 020 7734 8796), has tapped into the current vogue for spicy Szechuan cuisine (a la Snazz Sichuan and Bar Shu); the second is a smart addition to Chinatown, with modern decor and a menu from former Hakkasan chef Chee Loong Cheong. Despite higher prices than its neighbours, Haozhan (8 Gerrard Street W1, tel: 020 7434 3838) gets the thumbs-up for its glorious pot sticker dumplings, silver cod and Senpei chicken claypot.
Dinky, family-run Italian Ida has managed to charm Queen’s Park diners with pleasing service, walls lined with keepsakes and home-style cooking – think piled-high plates of pasta with ragu. 167 Fifth Avenue, W10. Tel: 020 8969 9853.
The Marylebone site once occupied by La Spighetta is now home to Giusto, which majors on crisp-based pizzas from a wood-fired oven in the basement restaurant. The menu features fairly substantial dishes such as roast suckling pig but, for something lighter, try the Italian-style tapas in the ground-floor bar – both floors share a reasonably priced Italian wine list. 43 Blandford Street, W1. Tel: 020 7486 7340.
Despite its dire name, Oops Restaurante & Vinateria will probably still pull in the punters with a location in the heart of Covent Garden. The atmospheric haunt is filled with candles, dark wood and mirrors, while the food is classic tapas – ham croquettes, anchovies marinated in vinegar, plus the odd unexpected dish such as blue cheese ice-cream. 31 Catherine Street, WC2. Tel: 020 7836 3609.
Recently opened, Kensington Square Kitchen is a bijou, two-storey eatery serving traditional British-inspired food from breakfast through to tea-time. Courtesy of chef Sara Adams (pictured), the menu features an array of cakes, pastries and salads, while the wine list, promising a few English vintages, should be worth exploring, too. 9 Kensington Square, W8. Tel: 020 7938 2598.
Sam Harrison (pictured), the man behind Chiswick’s hugely popular Sam’s Brasserie, has acquired the Balham Kitchen & Bar site from the Soho House group and has reopened it as Harrison’s, with a refreshed look and an all-day menu big on modern British brasserie classics. 15-19 Bedford Hill, SW12. TEL: 020 8675 6900.
These days department stores aren’t simply content with leading the way with fashion – they’re upping the ante in the food stakes, too. John Lewis on Oxford Street has just launched a bistro and brasserie on its third floor, while Harrods has unveiled a new dim sum bar and a branch of Jewish-style deli Harry Morgan’s. And fresh from a major refurb, Liberty has unveiled a new Champagne and oyster bar, not to mention an über-stylish cafe on the second floor. Meanwhile, Fortnum & Mason has launched an updated version of a classic 1950s ice-cream parlour (pictured). Weary shoppers can choose from a selection of ice cream and sundaes, not to mention open sandwiches, strudels, hot drinks and wine.
From the outside it looks like an old boozer, but step inside the former crown & anchor and you’ll find a cafe/ bar furnished with sofas and tables around an open kitchen. Shackology at the Crown & Anchor dishes up everything from breakfast fry-ups to posh afternoon tea, alongside casual lunches and dinners of rotisserie chicken or courgette and mushroom tart. 374 Chiswick High Road, W4. TEL: 020 8995 2607.
The area may be uninspiring and the interior rather plain, but Martilez, on Battersea Park Road, deserves to win an enthusiastic local fanbase, because its very reasonably priced European food is seriously good: think chicken liver parfait with apple chutney and toast, duck breast on swede puree with roast potatoes and spiced damsons, and pannacotta with rhubarb compote. 50 Battersea Park Road, SW11. Tel: 020 7627 2052.
The ground-floor restaurant at the London Hilton on Park Lane has reopened after a refurb. Podium is decked out in light, contemporary colours and dishes range from classic hotel fare – burgers, club sandwiches – to more interesting offerings of black pudding and duck egg salad or pheasant sausage with leeks. The hotel is also home to Galvin at Windows on the 24th floor and Tiki-themed Trader Vic’s in the basement. 22 Park Lane, W1. Tel: 020 7208 4022.