The last month has seen plenty of restaurants open in the capital but with so many to choose from, it’s tough to know where to go. To help you out, we’ve picked six of our favourite newbies which are definitely worth your money. Browse our shortened reviews below, then click through to read more on each and book a table.
Bōkan at Novotel, Canary Wharf
Our verdict: Part of the E14’s new Novotel hotel, this three-floor, sky-high space features two bars as well as the restaurant. The kitchen is the domain of French chef Aurelie Altemaire, who spent a decade at Joël Robuchon working her way up to head chef. Touches of her home country can be detected across the international menu, from oysters with chanterelle mushrooms to its predilection for cheese and charcuterie. Prices are fair considering the restaurant’s altitude and quality of food, although the super-polite service was occasionally slow on our visit.
Our menu pick: The beef tartare, dotted with peppy sauces and given welcome crispness via shards of sesame brittle
Where: Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall, E14 9TP
Our verdict: From Masterchef judge Monica Galetti comes Mere (pronounced Mary). Striking design is coupled with excellent cooking, as Galetti’s Samoan and Kiwi heritage is blended seamlessly with haute cuisine. Menu highlights include poached lobster served with potato purée, cabbage and a bisque sauce, and 30-day aged sirloin with puffs of onion beignets, glazed cheek and a tarragon crème fraiche.
Our menu pick: Don’t skip on dessert and go for the coconut cream pie, filled with roasted banana and drizzled with rum caramel
Where: 74 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QH
The Other Naughty Piglet, Victoria
Our verdict: Restaurants in theatres may not have the best reputation, but this wine-focussed charmer is a pleasant surprise. From the team behind Brixton’s much-loved Naughty Piglets, it’s a down-to-earth site serving a globetrotting menu, with highlights including sticky-sweet grilled pear with crumbly blue cheese and artichoke crisps. Service can be a little intrusive, but this Piglet definitely has stage presence.
Our menu pick: Black pudding cake, with strips of moist cuttlefish layered on top
Where: The Other Palace, 12 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA
Our verdict: A street food pop up hoping to go permanent, this Thai venture is housed in a former Italian restaurant, which was run by founder Sebby Holmes’s stepdad. The small menu includes the likes of a broodingly meaty curry of coconut-braised, butter-like beef cheeks, and a salad of lon (fermented shrimp paste dip, slowly simmered in coconut cream) partnered by an array of raw vegetables for dipping. Here’s hoping this place goes the distance.
Our menu pick: The jungle curry is an energetic, spicy concoction of fresh Cornish fish, supremely fishy sauce and bitter baby aubergines
Where: 72 Highbury Park, N5 2XE
The Game Bird at The Stafford London, St James’s
Our verdict: Game Bird does something that few five-star hotels now do: a dining room serving traditional British food. The space feels less like a restaurant and more like a hotel lounge, but the food is well worth a visit from non-guests. Traditional dishes include gently flavoured oak-smoked salmon, carved from a trolley, and a savoury pudding of steak with rich gravy in a pliable suet crust. Prices are as you’d expect for the location, but a three-course Sunday roast for £40 is a local bargain.
Our menu pick: The chicken Kiev is loaded with so much garlic butter that it comes with a bib to tie around your neck
Where: The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NJ
Our verdict: Foodie mecca Borough Market makes an apt setting for the sixth London Hawksmoor. The delicious classics are all here, while trying to choose is even tougher thanks to the Borough Market specials (ox-cheek cottage pie, for example). Perfectly cooked steaks are the main event, each charred and crusted without and ruby-red within. As usual, fabulously good sides almost steal the show – don’t miss the sticky roasted bone marrow or soft maple bacon.
Our menu pick: Save room for pudding and go for the dripping doughnuts with maple bacon
Where: 16 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AQ
Hungry for even more new London restaurants? Then scroll down for our top-rated new restaurant reviews from February.
108 Garage, Ladbroke Grove
What: This colourful restaurant may be adorned in cool artwork, but it’s on the palate not palette that its mastery shines. We were wowed by flavour combinations that expertly balanced mouthfuls of rich satisfaction with startling sharpness: our favourites were the creamy veal sweetbread offset by charred king cabbage, and the translucent slices of pickled fruits cutting through tangy Cheddar crumbled on to a sweet cracker. Friendly staff and refreshingly pared-back interiors complete the picture.
Where: 108 Golborne Road, W10 5PS
Hai Cenato, Victoria
What: Jason Atherton’s ninth London restaurant has settled in the shiny new Nova development. Like Soho’s Social Eating House, the site is overseen by chef Paul Hood. It’s inspired by Atherton’s favourite wood-fired pizzerias in New York, although there’s plenty on offer, from pasta and risottos to small plates and larger grills – though the dish most destined for signature status is salted caramel ice cream sandwiched in a brioche burger bun. Overall, Hai Cenato is a brilliant all-purpose arrival in restaurant-starved Victoria.
Where: 2 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ
What: Leela Group’s decision to import its flagship restaurant Jamavar to Mayfair, along with head chef Rohit Ghai from Michelin-starred Gymkhana, was a wise one. On our visit, we loved the samosas containing beautifully spiced minced venison in never-bettered pastry and the biryani (which is correctly sealed with a pastry lid). It doesn’t come cheap, but Jamavar is a destination that can confidently allow the food to do the talking.
Where: 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Stoke Newington
What: This pizzeria has generated a fuss that few can match, thanks to its parent: a venerable Neapolitan restaurant lauded in the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. The menu lists just two pizzas, margherita and marinara, in two sizes. There are no starters, sides or even condiments, but we weren’t disappointed. We recommend the double mozzarella, a bella blend of tomato tang and fior di latte milkiness. Sadly, service began to fall apart on our visit, perhaps unsurprisingly given the pressure from the growing queue outside. Although worth the wait, you might be better off using the restaurant’s takeaway option.
Where: 125 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UH
Launceston Place, Kensington
What: Wunderkind chef Ben Murphy has swapped (now-closed) The Woodford for Kensington’s Launceston Place. Tasked with regaining the restaurant’s Michelin star, early omens are looking good. The eight-course tasting menu kicks off with a Jammie Dodger biscuit (red pepper replacing strawberry jam) and ends with a homemade Wall’s Solero (mango and coconut flavour). The combinations might sound far-fetched, but Murphy’s handling of robust flavour is never less than sure-footed and his presentation is among the prettiest we’ve seen. Will he get the recognition he seeks? We certainly hope so.
Where: 1a Launceston Place, W8 5RL
What: This ‘Britalian’ from The Clove Club’s team delivers. Meals follow the classic four-course format, but go easy on breakout stars such as the Parmesan fries (actually gloriously gooey churros) if you want to make it to dessert. Pasta was the unequivocal highlight for us, from spaghettini laced with Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, to classic pumpkin and chestnut ravioli. Service could have been better, but the beautiful interiors and delicious food make up for any shortfalls.
Where: 88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH
If this lot has got you salivating, then why not make your way through our full list of London’s latest restaurant and bar openings?
This article was modified 29 March 2017