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Welcome to dreary January: with its grey skies, plummeting temperatures coupled with Londoners’ spare tyres and empty bank accounts, it’s officially the most depressing month of the year. But don’t despair – Square Meal has 10 reasons to be cheerful in the form of soon-to-open big-name restaurants. Buckle your seat belts and prepare for an exciting gastronomic journey in 2013…
It’s been more than three years since Eric Chavot (pictured, right) quit the Michelin-starred world of Knightsbridge’s Capital Hotel; now he’s planning a return to the capital with a new gaff in Mayfair. Expect casual, regional French brasserie dishes at reasonable prices for central London.
Chef Bruno Loubet and his team will join the breakaway group of new restaurants in the revamped Granary Square area of King’s Cross this January. The venue will take a collaborative approach to the enjoyment of good food and drink, regularly welcoming guest chefs and guest mixologists to its stable.
Following on from his recent, self-titled Mayfair hit, serial Russian restaurateur Arkady Novikov is rebooting one of Old Brompton Road’s most enviable corner sites with a more casual version of the successful European-Asian menu formula.
Superchefs Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak will bring their multi-Michelin-starred brand of new Basque cookery to London this year – the first time the father-and-daughter team has turned their attention from their San Sebastián restaurant, Arzak, which has been in their family for four generations. They will take over what was formerly Nahm at The Halkin.
Restaurateur Keith McNally’s much-hyped and long-awaited UK version of his New York brasserie finally looks set to become reality. Expect an abundance of crustacea and fruits de mer alongside a big selection of French classics, plus all-day staples and a fab wine list.
Isaac McHale (one half of the Young Turks chef collective) and Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith (who ran private dining club The Clove Club; all pictured, left), will soon open their much-anticipated permanent restaurant in the revamped Shoreditch Town Hall. Expect more of the magic that made Upstairs at The Ten Bells such a hit last year, such as McHale’s buttermilk chicken with pine salt, and Willis and Smith’s charming, spot-on serving style.
Following the success of The Fox & Grapes overlooking Wimbledon Common, Hibiscus chef Claude Bosi and his brother Cedric will launch a second gastropub in an 18th-century boozer, this time located in Fulham. Former Hibiscus chef Marcus McGuiness will rustle up gutsy, seasonal British pub dishes in the kitchen.
Jason Atherton will be hard-pressed to surpass his solo Mayfair hit Pollen Street Social, but he’ll certainly give it his best shot with this more informal venture on Soho’s Poland Street. Spread over three floors, the restaurant will offer an affordably priced bistro menu, all suitably polished to Atherton’s exacting standards.
The third branch (and first City location) of Tom’s Kitchen will see a hat trick for Tom Aikens when it launches in spring. Expect more of the same formula that has served him so well at his Chelsea and Somerset House sites – hearty bistro dishes from an all-day menu.
Spring will see three restaurants open in the heady heights of The Shard (pictured, right). Zuma's Rainer Becker and restaurateur Arjun Waney will launch a contemporary rotisserie and grill on the much-hyped building’s 32nd floor; it will be sandwiched between two branches of Aqua – one of which claims to offer a cuisine hitherto unavailable in London.
Global expansion is on the cards for the OKKU entrepreneurs (led by club guru Markus Thesleff). The Dubai-based restaurant is bringing its high-glamour brand of Japanese cuisine to Mayfair later this year – it’s sure to be a hit with London’s international jet-setting crowd.