November was a bumper month for London restaurant and bar openings, and the SquareMeal team had its work cut out getting to all the new launches. We’ve picked four of our favourite new eating and drinking spots which are definitely worth your time. Browse our shortened reviews below, then click through to read more on each and book a table.
Frog By Adam Handling, Covent Garden
Our verdict: Hot on the heels of The Frog E1, chef Adam Handling has opened this more formal all-day flagship. The Frog’s five- or eight-course tasting menu impresses with high-octane combinations, including a tender helping of Iberico pork made sharp with kimchi and smoky roast cauliflower. With its Instagram-baiting dishes and bold flavour combinations, it’s clear that Handling has big plans for The Frog.
Our menu pick: The warm savoury doughnuts, oozing cheese and topped with shreds of earthy truffle
Where: 34-38 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HF
Mam, Notting Hill
Our verdict: This Vietnamese barbecue restaurant has a homespun set-up, but don’t let appearances deceive you, as the cooking is top-notch. Beef was the highlight for us, including a beef skewer to wrap up in a steamed rice vermicelli sheet along with fresh herbs and fish sauce: DIY dining at its best. To drink, there’s a short and snappy wine list.
Our menu pick: Beef short rib atop a pile of rice with half a runny egg
Where: 16 All Saints Road, W11 1HH
Serge et le Phoque, Fitzrovia
Our verdict: This London outpost of Hong Kong big hitter Serge et le Phoque puts on a refined show, from the low lighting and plush purple seats to the succinct menu of overtly ambitious modern French cuisine. Best of all is a truly indulgent chocolate tart – thick, jelly-like filling on a crispy chocolate wafer with a hint of salted cherry blossom.
Our menu pick: Don’t miss the cut-above sides such as creamy pomme purée sprinkled with crunchy apple seeds
Where: The Mandrake Hotel, 20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG
Villa Mamas, Chelsea
Our verdict: Chef and restaurateur Roaya Saleh has brought her Villa Mama concept over from Bahrain to the well-heeled streets of Chelsea, where you can expect homely cooking for high prices. The cosy space features tables topped with marble, vintage chapel chairs and piles of comfy scatter cushions, while, to eat, tapas-style starters are followed by larger plates such as an aromatic lamb stew.
Our menu pick: The fall-off-the-bone braised lamb shank with rosemary and pine nuts
Where: 25-27 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT
Craving more reviews? Make your way through our full list of London’s latest restaurant and bar openings.