We’re two thirds of the way through 2017 so, in the back-to-school spirit of September, here’s a crib sheet of our favourite restaurants and bars to have opened this year. You may have used up all your holiday, but you can at least fill the dark days of autumn making sure you’ve visited every one of these knockout places to eat and drink. After all, there’ll be a whole new crop of launches to visit in 2018. So without further ado, here’s the class of 2017 so far…
Words: Ben McCormack
108 Garage, Notting Hill (above)
Why go: For cooking that balances rich satisfaction with startling sharpness, served up with a laid-back vibe
Must order: Sour dough with chicken liver parfait
108 Golborne Road, W10 5PS
Bistro Vadouvan, Putney
Why go: Classic French dishes masterfully elevated with Middle-Eastern and Asian spice, plus riverside alfresco.
Must order: Beef tartare with smoked aubergine.
30 Brewhouse Lane, SW15 2JX
Core, Notting Hill
Why go: Ex-Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road head chef Clare Smyth goes it alone with her first solo restaurant.
Must order: The 12-course tasting menu.
92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN
Why go: A wine list stuffed with stellar French vintages, courtesy of an owner who is the heiress to Château Margaux.
Must order: A glass of Margaux ’99 from the Coravin system
44 Blandford Street, W1U 7HS
Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Chelsea (above)
Why go: Ex-Hibiscus chef Claude Bosi is cooking in a more relaxed mood in one of London’s legendary dining rooms.
Must order: Tripe and cuttlefish gratin.
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD
Coupette, Bethnal Green
Why go: Gimmick-free cocktails from Chris Moore, former head barman at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar.
Must order: A Calvados-laced take on a Vieux Carré.
423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN
Hai Cenato, Victoria
Why go: Pasta, risottos and sour-dough pizzas inspired by Jason Atherton’s favourite New York Italians.
Must order: Warm brioche and salted caramel ice-cream sandwich.
2 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ
Henrietta, Covent Garden (above)
Why go? Seasonality and simplicity from modernist master Ollie Dabbous in a hotel collaboration with the Experimental Cocktail Club team.
Must order: Mackerel with cucumber, lovage and cockles.
The Henrietta Hotel, 14-15 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QH
Why go? One of the most beautiful-looking dining rooms in London, filled with some of the most beautiful people.
Must order: Tuna tartare with avocado, wasabi and lime.
26 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HY
The Ivy City Garden, City
Why go: Vibrant surrounds (including a DJ) as well as one of the nicest restaurant gardens in the Square Mile.
Must order: Tempura prawns with matcha sauce.
Dashwood House, 69 Old Broad Street, EC2M 1NA
Jean-Georges at The Connaught, Mayfair
Why go: Playful luxury from one of the world’s most famous chefs in one of London’s loveliest hotels.
Must order: Truffle and Fontina pizza.
The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
Kricket, Soho (above)
Why go: Inventive Indian small plates and slick urban styling at a pop-up gone permanent.
Must order: Samphire pakora with date and tamarind chutney.
12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
La Dame de Pic, City
Why go: Three-Michelin-starred French chef Anne-Sophie Pic has found a suitably grand London home in the Four Seasons.
Must order: Vanilla, pepper and jasmine millefeuille.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ
Why go: An ex-River Café sommelier and a former chef from The Square have created a truly relaxed modern Brit.
Must order: Cuttlefish with fennel, pickled onions and romesco sauce.
76 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DE
Why go: Global small plates, a dozen wines on tap, charming young staff and a love-it-or-hate-it trolley service.
Must order: Prawn toast with lardo and a jalapeño and coriander ketchup.
10 Heddon Street, W1B 4BX
Mere, Fitzrovia (above)
Why go: Monica Galetti’s Samoan and Kiwi heritage blends seamlessly with Gavroche-style haute cuisine for a contemporary take on high-end dining.
Must order: Octopus with tomato reduction, caper condiment and parsley oil.
74 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QH
Neo Bistro, Mayfair
Why go: High-end cooking combined with good-value pricing from Anglo’s Mark Jarvis and former The Harwood Arms head chef Alex Harper.
Must order: Veal sweetbreads with pied de bleu mushrooms.
11 Woodstock Street, W1C 2AE
Why go: The international mega brand brings its global glamour to the City/Shoreditch borders: heaven for sushi-loving expense-accounters.
Must order: Black cod with miso.
10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Red Rooster, Shoreditch (above)
Why go? A celebration of America’s southern soul food, carried off with panache, in the oh-so-cool Curtain hotel.
Must order: A bird royale feast for two to share.
45 Curtain Road, EC2A 4PJ
Rigo, Parsons Green
Why go: Ambitious, exceptional cooking inspired by the Piedmont childhood of Italian chef Gonzalo Luzarraga.
Must order: The tasting menu is an extravaganza of flavour and texture.
227 New Kings Road, SW6 4RD
Why go: An accomplished small-plates venue from an ex-St John husband and wife team that takes inspiration from around the world.
Must order: Bang-bang beef ribs with anchovy-miso aubergine.
2 Rennell Street, SE13 7HD
Why go: BBQ-loving chef Neil Rankin has swapped the Mexican streak of the original Temper Soho for a range of global curries.
Must order: The banana-rama-drama dessert.
2 Angel Court, 30 Throgmorton Street, EC2R 7HJ
Untitled, Dalston (above)
Why go: Drinks maestro Tony Conigliaro’s first bar with a restaurant space aims to involve the emotions through sight, smell and taste memories.
Must order: A Violin cocktail combining oak, pine, beeswax, benzoin and black pepper.
538 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH
Westerns Laundry, Highbury
Why go: The Primeur team strike gold again with an open kitchen, stark interiors and delicious, fishy small plates.
Must order: Fideuà, an Andalucian one-pot dish of short pasta baked with seafood.
34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB
Why go: Eye-opening, exciting Taiwanese cuisine from the Bao team served in a gorgeously-evoked 1930s setting.
Must order: Char sui iberico pork.
30 Rupert Street, W1D 6DL
Looking for more new restaurants in London? Check out our list of All Latest Openings or see what’s Coming Soon.
This article was published 5 September 2017