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RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... Things are looking rosy for pub-goers in the Sands End corner of Fulham. The area has already seen The Hurlingham and the Sands End pubs reinvent themselves from tired locals’ boozer to popular gastropub, and now it’s the turn of The Rose, the site that was formerly the Fulham Tup. Hidden behind the furniture shops of the New Kings Road, expect a menu of good-value global grub and an antiquated and homely vibe.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... It might struggle to pull you all the way from central London, but those local to the Sutton area can finally rejoice that a restaurant worth talking about has landed on their doorstep. Courtesy of Malcolm John – whose Croydon restaurants Le Cassoulet and Fish & Grill have been runaway successes – Brasserie Vacherin is a competent French bistro dealing in the likes of moules marnière, French onion soup and steak-frites.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... You wait for a bus for ages, and then… well, you know the rest. And it seems the same is true of cocktail bars in Marble Arch. After years of hiking to the southerly end of Park Lane for a decent cocktail, punters in the area finally landed a decent nearby bar in Hunter 486 late last year. Now, with the opening of Barre Noire, they have another. And a pretty good one at that – with near-perfect cocktails, great wines and a swish, moody interior.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... There are some films in which the opening scene puts you off, and some books where the first chapter just doesn’t grab you. Likewise, some restaurants don’t instil a lot of faith on first impressions. But some things are worth persevering with, and bear this is mind if you visit relaunched Fulham boozer The Pear Tree. Beyond the tired carpet and upholstery there’s some solid cooking at rock-bottom prices. Enjoy three good courses and a pint and you can expect to see change from £20.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... Once a London institution, 153-year-old fish restaurant Wheeler’s is back – but not as we knew it. Having decamped from its narrow, three-floor site in Duke of York Street, it has now taken up residence in what was formerly Marco Pierre White’s Luciano on St James’s Street. And it’s the former Harvey’s chef who’s overseeing the project, so expect smart interiors and some expertly handled ingredients.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... We surely don’t have to tell you that this coming Sunday is Mother’s Day? And if we do, well, shame on you – after all your mum has done for you over the years. So if you haven’t got a bunch of flowers and lovely lunch lined up, here’s a list of some of the best special menus and offers from around the capital, including a top-drawer offering from Tamarind, where mums dine free of charge. The flowers, though, we can't help you with.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... So far, only a lucky few have been able to enjoy the stunning 360° views from Altitude 360, the 29th floor events space in Millbank Tower in Westminster. That, however, is all about to change. On selected Sundays starting from this weekend, the space is to open up as a restaurant from 11am-4pm, catering for both the morning brunch bunch and the roast-hungry early afternoon crowd. Order a stack of pancakes or beef and Yorkshire pudding, drink in the view, and get your Sunday off to a flying start.
You’d think it would be a recipe for disaster: take 20 of the capital’s top chefs, ask them to share kitchens and each deliver a meal for a table of 10, then auction off their services. But Monday's annual ‘Who’s Cooking Dinner?’ event went off without a hitch, with London’s culinary talent, such as Richard Corrigan, Angela Hartnett, Jason Atherton and Giorgio Locatelli pulling together to raise £380,000 for Hammersmith Hospital’s leukaemia centre. For the full low-down, read on.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... Whatever the weather, life seems a little bit sunnier in this new, splendidly pink deli and patisserie in the ‘Chelsea beach’ area of the Fulham Road. Decked out in fabric-draped walls, with Victorian lanterns and lively blues background music, drop in any time of day to pick from a menu that caters for every need, from eggs Benedict, via freshly baked cakes and buns, to heartier dishes like casseroles, fishcakes and steaks.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... If you’re a regular user of social networking sites, chances are you’ve stumbled across Mooli’s already. Since opening last year in Soho, the two Indian guys who founded the café have attracted a legion of fans through their canny online marketing. Luckily for them, the product lives up to the hype, dishing up zingy, Indian-style wraps such as spiced chicken with mint chutney and Goan pork with pomegranate salsa.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... Arriving in Knightsbridge with bucketloads of Middle Eastern razzmatazz in tow, Beauchamp Place newcomer Laya’Lina ticks all the right boxes for those hankering after an exotic evening out. Expect traditional and modern interpretations of Middle Eastern fare, a snazzy interior of bamboo and chrome and some weekend fun in the form of belly-dancers and a late-night clubby feel.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... Up for the craic? Those gathering at Bentley’s on Wednesday 17 March certainly will be. From midday onwards, the restaurant – owned by Irish chef Richard Corrigan – will be in full swing to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Taking place in the Jameson Room, expect a buffet lunch, complete with oysters, Irish stew and suckling pig, and an all-day Irish band, all for £40. But, with plenty of Guinness on tap, you’d be wise to budget more.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... After a rather tentative start, this Pimlico newcomer is slowly growing into its classy location. New artwork, alfresco tables and brushed-up service now provide a much-improved setting for the restaurant’s luxurious comfort food. Expect dishes such as rose veal burger with fried egg, sautéed foie gras and rosemary-dusted shoestring fries, and battered cod with truffle-oil-brushed thick-cut chips and lemon beurre blanc.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... This new City arrival marks the first UK restaurant from a chain that looks hopeful of forcing Turkish food into the mid-market sector, with a handful of branches already scattered across Europe. An authentic flavour of Turkey is the remit, with small dishes such as creamed chicken breast and walnut dip, and filo parcels stuffed with cheese, veg and pastourma sausage, followed by expertly grilled meats – all washed down by some of the country’s underrated indigenous wines.
Want to know why Portugal is currently considered one of the world's most exciting wine-producing countries? Make a beeline for Lord's on 12 April and you can experience the wealth of flavours and marvel at the value. Wine legend Oz Clarke will be there to take you through a tutored tasting so you can extol the virtues of grapes such as intense and floral Touriga Nacional or ripe and honeyed Antao Vaz. Read on for more information.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... Finally, the pizza breakfast need no longer be eaten only with a sense of bleary-eyed shame while watching kids TV on a Saturday morning. Now early hours cheese lovers can walk into trendy Shoreditch restaurant Pizza East with their heads held high and tuck into such hitherto shameful dishes as a full English breakfast pizza, or a sausage, pancetta, mozzarella and egg, or smoked salmon, spinach and egg rolly (a pizza-style wrap).
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... Foodie evenings don’t come much more prestigious than this. On 12 and 13 April, Japanese culinary icon Nobu Matsuhisa is visiting his London restaurant on Old Park Lane to host two dinners celebrating umami – the primary taste that influences many of his dishes. Matsuhisa will speak in person about the tradition, design and creation of his cuisine, before guests enjoy an intimate dinner, served with complementary sake, for just 50 people.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... If you can’t decide between dinner, drinks or a spot of art appreciation, then make a beeline for Cielo. Combining a restaurant, late-licence lounge bar and art gallery, this new Mayfair Italian boasts pale, elegant interiors and a mezzanine space complete with retractable glass roof. There's a Sardinian-influenced menu (think seafood pasta and pancetta-wrapped lamb fillet stuffed with rosemary and black truffles), an Italian-only wine list and creative works from artists who are both up-and-coming and established.
Last week’s Spanish tasting, in partnership with Square Meal, was a resounding success enjoyed by a record 375 visitors. Wine flowed as guests enjoyed cava and sherry alongside wines from regions like Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorato, Cigales, Rueda and Navarra, while six well-known Spanish restaurants excelled themselves with some dazzling offerings. Highlights included prawns with piquillo peppers and capers served by Casa Brindisa, cod brandade with tomato hearts from El Faro and smoked cod with Cordoban gazpacho dished up by Camino. ‘It was marvellous to see so many people learning about why certain wines marry so well with our foods,’ said organiser Maria Jose Sevilla. If you missed the fun this year, watch this space for tickets in early 2011.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... If you fancy a spot of pan-Asian grub – with a strong bias towards Szechuan & Cantonese dishes – you could do a lot worse than pop along to Notting Hill newcomer Seventeen. With its moody Hakkasan-style interior, the restaurant is certainly going for the trendy vote, but, rest assured, there’s competent cooking to back it all up, with dishes such as braised dongpo pork, poached sliced beef in hot chilli oil, and griddled beef stomach.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... Luxury is the buzz word at Inc Group’s latest City-based venture Battery, perched high above Canary Wharf in what was formerly the site of Ubon by Nobu. Surrounded by superb views of the financial district, and a sumptuous interior of duck-egg leather, granite & hand-blown lights, tuck into a starter of caviar or king scallops, then follow it up with a sirloin of beef with foie gras and caramelised onions and pretend the good times are back.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... If you look back at the past two years, one name stands out above and beyond the rest in terms of successful restaurant launches – that of Mark Hix. Now, to add to his sites in Soho, Clerkenwell and Brown's Hotel, he's launched in Selfridges department store. Sporting a roll-call of his greatest hits on the menu, it's just a shame Hix at Selfridges closes when the store shuts up shop – although, fingers crossed, that could change.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... Getting into Petersham Nurseries Café after dark is something of a treat, so we advise you jump at these rare opportunities to dine alfresco in the bucolic outside space. On six separate occasions throughout the summer – starting on April 3 – head chef Skye Gyngell will open the gates to her café-restaurant from 7-9pm for a seasonal four-course set menu, priced at £85 per person.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... With Szechuan cooking suddenly in vogue after an eternity of under-representation in London, let yourself be pleasantly surprised by the cuisine’s deft use of lesser-known cuts – with pig’s ear, pork lung and intestines all mainstays of the cooking style (alongside more run-of-the-mill meats). So if you find yourself in Chinatown and fancy something more adventurous than sweet and sour pork, pop into the Empress of Sichuan. However, if you prefer visiting Queensway for a Chinese, try nearby Seventeen.
The first sunny rays of spring, combined with the clocks going forward, might hint at the warm summer months ahead, but in reality it’s a while yet before we can start dining al fresco. So in the meantime, content yourself with a pleasant vista from a warm indoors and pop along to one of our picks of the best restaurants and bars with views – from Galvin at Windows above Hyde Park (left) to the riverside Dove pub in Hammersmith.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (March 2010)... If you like farmers’ markets – and who doesn’t – then check out the biggest one in Britain. Now in its third year, the Real Food Festival is taking place at Earls Court from 7-10 May 2010. Packed with events for the whole family, the show provides a platform for hundreds of smaller producers for whom attendance at such shows is normally too costly, so expect everything from artisan bakers to farmers and their livestock.
RECENTLY OPENED (March 2010)... It's been nearly two years since Gordon Ramsay and his one-time protégé Marcus Wareing parted. Wareing stayed on at The Berkeley, getting his name above the door, while the Pétrus brand went with Ramsay, along with a promise that it would one day live again. That day has come. Expect high-end French cuisine and a fantastic wine collection – complete with 34 vintages of Château Pétrus (natch) – and a sizable queue for a table.
(FOOD AND DRINK EVENT) April 2010... Whatever level your knowledge of wine – whether you’re an Oz Beerdrinker or an Oz Clarke – the good people at Cinnamon Club and Jim Barry Vineyards have just the ticket for you. Over April and May, the two companies are teaming up to offer two wine evenings – one a more informal tasting with canapés at the Cinnamon Kitchen’s bar Anise on 26 April, the other a six-course dinner matched with wines from the Australian winemaker on 21 May.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (April 2010)... It may offer an excuse go on the sort of chocolate binge that would make Augustus Gloop proud, but spare some space this Easter for the less sugary cooking going on in the capital. Maybe even combine it with some quality family time by getting out into London’s restaurants with the kids or the in-laws to sample some springtime food. Read on for a round-up of the best special menus available in London this weekend.