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RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... The St James’s site formerly home to Ristorante Fiore (where Petrus began its life) was closed earlier this year by owner Claudio Pulze, who has re-opened it as this French affair, serving all day in typical brasserie style. A roll-call of gallic favourites are served up in comfortable surrounds, from terrines, soups and salads to larger plates of duck confit or roast baby chicken, as well as daily specials from the regions. The Francophile wine list includes a large selection by both the glass and the carafe.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... This bar from Nick House and Piers Adam – the duo behind celebrity hot-spot Mahiki – has opened on the site of what was once simply called Zeta, on the ground floor of the London Hilton. In addition to the comprehensive range of whiskies, this refurbished bar and nightclub will also offer a selection of vintage wine, Champagne and all manner of organic cocktails, alongside dishes such as smoked salmon, grilled scallops or Aberdeen Angus steak.
COMING SOON (June 2008)… A queue of top-flight European chefs are lining up to open in our great city. Among them are Helene Darroze, who will headline the restaurant The Connaught in mid-July; Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex who'll open Ambassade de l’Ile in South Ken at the end of June; and three-Michelin starred Austrian chef Dieter Muller who will oversee the kitchens of the St James’s Hotel and Club when it opens its doors, post-refurb, in September.
COMING SOON (June 2008)... Rumours of a split between Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) have been doing the rounds for some time and now it’s been confirmed that the chef behind two Michelin-starred Petrus will be parting company with the restaurant group. But Wareing won’t leave The Berkeley, where he currently operates Petrus. GRH’s contract with the luxury Knightsbridge hotel ends in mid-September, and once it’s finished Wareing will stay on and continue to preside over the fine-dining operation. We hear GRH plans to take the Petrus name with them, so the restaurant will be renamed – Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley is a possibility.
COMING SOON (June 2008)... A second branch of popular Notting Hill hangout Bumpkin will open in mid October in South Ken. Matt Hermer, MD of the Ignite Group (whose portfolio includes Cocoon and Boujis), tells us: ‘It’ll be similar to the original in terms of design and food, but the ground-floor will be larger, with over 50% of tables available for walk-ins. It’ll also have outdoor space.’ Hermer also says there are plans for further outlets; possibly in the chi-chi neighbourhoods of Marylebone and Primrose Hill. 102 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3RD, 020 7373 2403.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... This ‘New East End’ pub/club hybrid is already home-from-home for a mix of local chillers and interesting club monkeys. The look is reclaimed Victoriana and recycled 60s infused with the spirit of Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club, with a surround-sound system that has already hosted acclaimed live acts including Martina Topley Bird, while club nights such as Potty Mouth Disco draw a hip crowd.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... A menu of burgers, hot dogs, all-day breakfasts and Tex-Mex favourites are served up in snazzy diner-style surrounds at the third branch of The Diner, which has just opened in Camden Town. As well as full-on Stateside fare there are milkshakes, US beers and a range of cocktails, best drunk on the large roof terrace.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... We knew that Thursdays were the new Fridays, but sometimes it seems like, well, Wednesdays are the new Fridays. Either way, if you're in the mood for weeknight partying, then newcomer Abbey fits the bill. From the people at Late Night London, it dishes up the same combination of all-day eats and fun-filled drinks that have made their sister venues so popular with the post-work crowd.
Will he or won’t he? We’ve all got our hopes pinned on Andy Murray coming up trumps in this year’s Wimbledon championships which kick off on Saturday 18 June. If all the excitement leaves you hungry (for something more substantial than strawberries and cream) then click here for Square Meal’s lists of restaurants and bars close to The All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Fancy the idea of eating Michelin-starred food on the comfort of your own picnic blanket? If so, Aubergine restaurant is offering a bespoke hamper service throughout the summer for discerning foodies to enjoy alfresco or at home. Tailored to individual requirements, customers will be given advice on combinations and wine matching, and the hampers can also be themed for special occasions. Prices start at £200 and delivery can be arranged within the M25.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (June 2008)... Experience a slice of Spanish life at Wines from Rioja’s Tapas Fantasticas festival in June. This new free festival on Brick Lane gives you the chance to taste a huge selection of red, white and rose wines from some of Rioja’s top vineyards.
You’ll also be able to sample tasty tapas from London’s best Spanish restaurants, including Moro, Cambio de Tercio, Camino and Pinchito. As well as seeking out truly authentic flavours provided by Spanish chefs from Calle Laurel and Calle San Juan, La Rioja’s famous tapas streets in Logroño. Entry is free.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... At last, it feels like it's getting hot in the city. So why not chill out with the cool kids on the terrace at Proud Camden, the oh-so-trendy gallery/bar? And when the sun goes down, there's a programme of live gigs and DJs to keep the party going. There are themed booths too, including the boudoir, where Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Rose is what to quaff at £80.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... London may have had an influx of pan-Asian restaurants over the last few years, but sadly we still don’t have that many Malaysian eateries in our midst. Step in Jom Makan, a cheap and cheerful Malaysian which opened in early June 2008 serving up speedy meals in slinky minimalist surroundings. The menu is a mix of noodles, rice dishes, Malay curries and satay – perfect for a quick lunch or dinner close to Trafalgar Square.
RECENTLY OPENED (June 2008)... We've just got our heads around chip 'n' pin, so it's time for a new concept: swipe 'n' dine. Enter Vapiano, a new Italian eatery where you use an electronic swipe card to order your meal from any of the individual chef stations. Your bill is stored on the card so you can pay at the end. The spacious interior is light and airy, with a laid-back vibe – perfect for a spot of pizza and pasta if you're pushed for time.
FOODIE EVENT (June 2008)... Ever thought about making asparagus soup with wild garlic, milk mousse, chive flowers and mint espuma with crispy bacon? Probably not, but it’s typical of the refined dishes you can learn to create at The Greenhouse’s cookery classes, which take place on Saturday mornings at the Mayfair Michelin-starred restaurant.
ALFRESCO BARS & PUBS (June 2008)... Nothing beats sipping a cool beer on a hot day and, fortunately, London is home to a host of watering holes with welcoming outdoor drinking spots. Not sure where to find them? Follow Square Meal's guide to the the capital's best alfresco pubs and bars.