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RECENTLY OPENED (July 2009)... With gastropubs such as The Gun and The White Swan under their belt, you’d expect the latest opening from brothers Tom and Ed Martin to following the family footsteps and be an out-and-out success. But while there’s no doubt that The Cadogan Arms’s Victorian interiors have been appealingly spruced up and the bar stocks a good range of beer and wine, the food appears to be a bit of an afterthought. Could this be a rare miss for the duo?
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Love him or loathe him, Jamie Oliver's empire continues to flourish. The fifth link in his nationwide Jamie's Italian chain has just opened, bringing affordable Italian home cooking to Canary Wharf. Expect to dine on rustically presented dishes of polenta chips with rosemary salt and parmesan, sausage pasta and flash-grilled steak with a spicy tomato, basil and chilli salsa in a bright and cheerful dining room.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (August 2009)... If you've never admired the views from The National's lovely alfresco space, The Deck, now's your chance. It's hosting a handful of afternoon 'picnic and play' packages, and we have a pair of tickets (worth £40 each) for Saturday 15 August to give away. Combining quality Brit produce with one of the season's must-see plays, it's an offer not to be missed. For more information, click here. To enter, email your details to this address.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... What's this? A pop-up in Peckham? Yes folks, SE15 has squared up to the Hoxton trendies with its very own blink-and-you'll-miss-it bar, open until Wednesday 30 September. The location – on the rooftop of an abandoned high-rise car park – may be as edgy as they come, but at least it makes for great views. Join the cool cats for affordable cocktails and cold beers from the cash bar, or snack on a light evening bite from the makeshift kitchen.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... With the weather unpredictable as ever, all the more reason to seek out spaces where the interiors and alfresco are equally lovely. The Clarendon is just such a place. Previously home to Antony 'Wozza' Thompson's Notting Grill, it's now a handsome gastropub complete with an attractive roof terrace. Cooking is classy: think scallops with pea purée and crispy bacon ahead of Chateaubriand with mushrooms, shallots and confit garlic.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... It’s not just red-eyed travellers returning from far-flung destinations who can appreciate the merits of new bar Jetlag – though they may feel right at home reclining in its airline seats. The funky Fitzrovia newcomer comes with bright lighting, graphic poster art and bubbling fish tanks, and there's an imaginative cocktail list too - try the feisty red head with strawberries, basil and Tequila.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Joining Essex Road’s burgeoning bar scene, Bar Sequence is a compact cocktail lounge that claims to offer ‘a digital experience’ – in layman’s terms that's photography and video clips projected on to the white walls to create an ever-changing backdrop. Themed nights (games on Monday, open decks on Wednesdays) mix things up further, but the cocktail list is a more conventional affair offering all the classics.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... If you want your palate whisked away to hotter climes as the sun labours to shine this August, you’ll find a safe haven of Italian sunshine food at Islington’s new Tenore restaurant. Owned by two Sardinian brothers, the cooking is classic Italian stuff – think thin-crust pizzas from the wood-fired oven, prosciutto, tagliatelle – all set in a cheery room of good-time Italian images that should blow the clouds away for a mealtime at least.
UK RESTAURANTS... If you’re heading up to Edinburgh to laugh your way around the Fringe Festival this next fortnight, then resist any urge to give your jaw some downtime and find time to explore the city’s dynamic restaurant scene. And if you need some pointers on where to start, check out our list of the top restaurants in the Scottish capital, including Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Kitchin, The Plumed Horse and Number One Restaurant.
RECENTLY RELAUNCHED (August 2009)... Recently relaunched under the management of Soho House, the Hoxton Grille's – as it was previously known – superfluous last vowel has been the most obvious change to this relaxed Shoreditch restaurant. Elsewhere, the new operator has tweaked everything from the crowd-pleasing menu of American classics – think cheeseburgers and lemon meringue pie – to the restaurant layout, all sporting its typical casual-dining nous.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Fans of west London’s most prolific restaurateur John McClements will be pleased to see another new concept added to his six-strong collection. Located on the former site of his Barnes branch of Ma Cuisine, the newly opened Le Provence is a local restaurant inspired by southern French cooking, so expect dishes such as lobster bisque, tuna niçoise & crème brûlée made to McClements’s typically high standard.
Looking for a dinner deal in Mayfair? Look no further. Just type the area into Square Meal’s new special menus & offers search bar and you could find yourself enjoying three courses at Jason Atherton's Maze for just £22. Or looking for a good value bite in the West End? Let the search bar do the work for you and you could end up at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon eating a two course meal for £19. To find the search bar, just click through to the special offers page and type in the area, postcode, landmark or tube station to narrow down the 300 restaurants offering great deals. So wherever you are, there really is no excuse to let the recession stop you treating your taste buds.
Good news for the game fanatics among you – not only has the Glorious Twelfth beckoned in the 2009 grouse season, but this year promises a bumper crop of the moorland bird. There’s no need to rush out immediately – the season officially continues through until December – but while other game is off the menu and shoots primarily target grouse, the birds will be at their most abundant for the next two months. Check out our round-up of London restaurants with grouse on the menu .
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Bringing the seaside vibe to Camden is no mean feat, but Coast tries its best. A seafood-heavy menu features Lyme Bay rock oysters, pan-fried cod with mash & a broad bean and chorizo sauce and fruits de mer platters, while the bright, breezy interiors are dotted with (for sale) paintings of the Cornish coast. Light desserts (orange and passion fruit jelly with Champagne sorbet) and crisp white wines complete the attractive package.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Bringing another slice of Italian sunshine to South-West London, the Putney branch of Valentina is an altogether more slick affair than its charming East Sheen sister site. Stroll past shelves of enticing deli produce to nibble tapas-style dishes on the ground floor, or head upstairs for heartier Italian meals – think buffalo mozzarella & basil salad drizzled in olive oil followed by more ambitious sea bass with a potato, caper & olive broth.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Give way to your carnivorous instincts at the latest Argentinian grill restaurant to hit the London scene. Constancia's decor is all Gaucho-style moodiness but it’s the steaks that are the real stars, with prime pampas-fed meat at the heart of the menu. Start with Argentinean black pudding then move on to a slab of grass-fed fillet, sirloin or rib-eye, and wash it all down with a bottle of hearty South American red.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... If you fancy uncovering a winsome local restaurant this autumn, you could do a lot worse than head to the newly done-up Bellevue Rendezvous. Despite the enviable location a few doors up from Chez Bruce, there's nothing pretentious about this cavernous bistro dealing in high-quality, good-value French grub – think foie gras terrine and slow-braised lamb – with service as charming as the menu is reasonably priced.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Not your run-of-the-mill sandwich bar, St Clements’ location, tucked away in an ancient enclave beneath the Middle Temple Library, isn’t the only stand-out feature of this newly opened café. Lawned gardens and an all-day menu, ranging from a good-quality cooked breakfast through to a homemade lamb burger with tzatsiki for lunch and plates of charcuterie and Neal’s Yard cheeses for supper, help complete the dinstinctive offering.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... The steady roll-out of this pan-Mediterranean restaurant and deli continues with a branch in Bermondsey Square. The decor might feel like a slightly corporate stab at a Moroccan bazaar but there’s a pleasant spill of tables into the square and the menu hits the right notes in its wide remit, leaning heavily on popular Middle Eastern dishes such as mezze, tagines and kebabs, but stretching as far as spaghetti and a cooked breakfast.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... Take a trip 25 years back in time at the third branch of this joyful all-day diner, named after the cult 1980s movie. Inside is a Hoxton-style take on the decade constraint forgot, including everything from a Purple Rain cocktail to weathered Disney figurines. The all-day menu avoids slipping into novelty – expect Anglo-American dishes ranging from a a full English breakfast through to a burger with chunky chips and coleslaw.
RECENTLY OPENED (August 2009)... As you cram in the last few alfresco sessions of the summer, you’ll struggle to find a better new outdoor space than The Crabtree. Perched Thames-side near the River Café, the major pull of this gastropub is the spacious and scenic riverfront terrace. A barbecue and outdoor menu complement the Pimm's when the sun is shining and a selection of gastropub classics make the cosy inside even more hospitable on cloudy days.
Good news for diners bored with porcelain plates - nyotaimori, the Japanese practice of eating sushi from the body of a naked woman, has arrived in London. At least for a lucky few it has – Flash Sushi claims to be the first authentic nyotaimori dining experience available in London, but is offering just one sitting of 24 per month until March 2010, at a secret location, when the concept ends.