The restaurant openings and food festivals we’re most excited about for the month ahead.
Words: Ben McCormack
1 October: World Vegetarian Day, all over the world
Why we’re excited: We’re no strangers to the random food day at SquareMeal (National Daiquiri Day, we’re looking at you) but when a food trend goes global, we take notice. Celebrate World Vegetarian Day at one of our pick of London’s best vegetarian restaurants (including Vanilla Black, pictured). Or, if you can’t persuade your fellow diners to forsake meat and fish for even one day, book a table at one of London’s best vegetarian-friendly restaurants where you can guarantee there’s more on the menu than a lone mushroom risotto.
1-31 October: London Restaurant Festival, various locations
Why we’re excited: Over 300 restaurants are taking part in this year’s month-long restaurant festival. Highlights include restaurant-hopping tours (to six rather than all 300 restaurants), Champagne Laurent-Perrier Gourmet Odysseys (starter, main and pud in three top London restaurants), wine tastings, plus cookery classes to teach you how to whip up some of the most famous restaurant dishes in the capital (there’s dinner in a restaurant afterwards if things go horribly wrong). All this and the opportunity to win a year’s worth of eating out.
2 October: UK Michelin stars announced, central London
Why we’re excited: Space constraints do not allow us to debate here the relevance or not of the famous red guide but for a certain type of high-end dining experience, it remains hugely influential. The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2018 is published on 5 October, with the stars announced in London on Monday. If you see any chefs looking dejected later in the day, you can always cheer them up by saying it’s all just a marketing tool to sell tyres.
2-8 October: London Cocktail Week, various locations
Why we’re excited: The annual jamboree celebrating all things cocktail-related returns for its eighth year, transforming the capital into a week-long bender. Highlights of this year’s festival include Bethnal Green’s Sun Tavern vs New York’s Dead Rabbit, Singapore’s Operation Dagger taking over Scout in Soho, and a cocktail dinner at one of our favourite new restaurants, Neo Bistro, from the East London Liquor Company.
3 October: Gul & Sepoy, Aldgate
Why we’re excited: Husband-and-wife team Harneet and Devina Baweja (who are also behind Gunpowder and Madame D’s) continue their takeover of Spitalfields with a new ‘double restaurant’ concept. Choose from the banquets enjoyed at Indian palaces (Gul) and rustic, simpler dishes inspired by what soldiers of the old Indian army would eat while on the move (Sepoy). Best of all: it takes bookings.
4 October: Rambla, Soho
Why we’re excited: Following rave reviews for his 2016 opening Duende in Covent Garden (since renamed Encant), former Bravas Tapas chef Victor Garvey has now turned his eye to Soho. Rambla’s menu is an ode to Garvey’s Catalonia childhood, while its two dining rooms are styled after Barcelona’s beachfront dining strip.
5-8 October: Frieze Art Fair, Regent’s Park
Why we’re excited: Contemporary art fair Frieze and the pre-20th century Frieze Masters are essential viewing for any art lover, but it’s thirsty work taking it all in. Which is why we’ll be found in Ruinart’s Champagne Bar at the fair, with a glass of blanc de blancs or rosé from the official Champagne sponsor of Frieze. If you’re not going to the fair, pop along to the Ruinart Hub at Rosewood London hotel until 25 November, where you can take in artworks alongside a specially-designed Ruinart Champagne breakfast and Ruinart afternoon tea, or a Ruinart Champagne cocktail with paired canapés.
7 October: Breddos Carnaby, Soho
Why we’re excited: This all-day taqueria is double the size of the Clerkenwell original, and features a large sharing table and counter. While you can expect Clerkenwell signatures like the baja fish tacos, there’s also a breakfast menu touting the likes of brekkie quesadillas and cinnamon churro French toast, plus Mexican-style pizzas later in the day.
9 October: Yamagoya, South Bank
Why we’re excited: Japanese ramen merchant Yamagoya has long been a fixture of London’s pop-up scene, but this is the first permanent site for the outfit. The stripped-back interior compliments the quick and casual service which sees diners order from a counter. Snacks include chicken karaage with yuzu mayo, while ramen toppings include the likes of pork belly, marinated bamboo shoot, wood-ear mushroom and marinated egg.
14-15 October: Diwali, various locations
Celebrations for the Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of lights will centre on a music and dance stage in Trafalgar Square on 15 October, but we’d rather avoid the crowds (and the potential for getting rained on) by heading to one of our favourite restaurants on Diwali itself, 19 October. Here’s our list of London’s best Indian restaurants, including The Cinnamon Club, pictured.
For the inside track on what’s opening in September and beyond, check out our list of restaurants coming soon.
And for more dates for your diary, cast your eye over our What’s On page, full of upcoming foodie experiences.
This article was published 29 September 2017