“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
While it's unlikely author Samuel Johnson was referring to pop-ups, the point still stands. It's fine to be lazy, but let's not kid ourselves. When we stay home in London, it's not for a lack of things to do. In fact, we'd argue when it comes to cuisine in the capital, our cup runneth over.
There's so much to do, in fact, that it can sometimes be overwhelming. And we'd argue there are few things more fun than dashing over to a temporary bar or restaurant pop-up. It's the temporary nature that makes them so enticing - truly food FOMO at its finest.
What exactly is a pop-up restaurant we hear the uninitiated cry? Loosely speaking, it's a temporary space that offers something a little different to the norm. London is chock-full of pop-ups that are just waiting to be discovered, some as simple as a preview for a hot new restaurant, others are so elaborate they border on theatre.
The challenge is that we are spoiled for choice, not to mention they can't all be good. There’s no need to worry though, as here at SquareMeal, we’ve made it our mission to pound the pavements of the capital looking for the latest and greatest pop-up restaurants in town. We regularly update this page with all of the latest London pop up launches, so you know which ones are actually worth your time. So, all that's left for you to do is get out there and enjoy them.
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Pop up London restaurants
Some of London’s most successful restaurants started out life as pop-ups. Want to know what the next big thing on the capital’s dining scene will be before it sets up shop permanently? Stay ahead of the curve by visiting one of these pop-up restaurants.
Legare X Garden Cafe
When: Friday 1 July
Residency: For one evening only, two of London's most underrated - in our humble opinion - chefs are getting together for a rather lovely collaboration dinner. Legare's Matt Beardmore will be making the short journey from Bermondsey to Vauxhall and jumping into the kitchen alongside George Ryle at the Garden Museum Cafe, where the pair will be serving a summery, four-course Italian inspired menu. The best of Britain's summer produce will be on display, as well as wines curated by Legare founder Jay Patel, all on the gorgeous Garden Museum terrace - one of London's most idyllic outdoor restaurants. What's not to love about that?
Where: 5 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, SE1 7LB
Book now: Garden Museum Cafe
The Queen of Hoxton: Cherry Blossom Garden
When: Every Tuesday – Sunday, all summer long
Residency: The Queen of Hoxton – a place for relaxing, clubbing and everything in between – is back after a two-year break with a perfectly pink paradise on its rooftop: the Cherry Blossom Garden. Guests can sip on a selection of fizzy and fruity cocktails. Look out for The Yuzu Cute which mixes beefeater gin with lemon, yuzu, and lychee before being topped up with Prosecco, while the Candy Girl is a sweet cocktail of Choya sake, sauvignon blanc, elderflower, and egg white. There are also a range of pimped-up burgers to choose from: think a Gojuchang Burger topped with kimchi cabbage, crispy onions and gochujang chilli sauce, and a Katsu Burger with sliced tomatoes, spicy slaw and katsu mayo. Revel in this pink rooftop garden for the whole of summer!
Where: 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
Book now: Queen of Hoxton
Alex Webb at Number One Park Lane
When: 3 May - 28 July
Residency: MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 winner Alex Webb has nabbed a residency at the Intercontinental Hotel terrace, where he's cooking up a fun-filled menu full of childhood nostalgia and little quirks that will make you smile. Essex-born Webb has worked at the likes of Helene Darroze at The Connaught, Roux at Parliament Square and The Frog by Adam Handling, and his food shows mixes playfulness with precision. The focus is on British seafood and fish - all beautifully cooked - as well as English wines (he's partnered with Hattingley Valley for the three month pop up. Don't miss the strawberry and meringue dessert, which comes with a party popper full of strawberry powder!
Where: One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair, W1J 7QY
Book now: Number One Park Lane
Vin-Yard: Yard Sale x Top Cuvee
When: Thursday 5 May - Saturday 25 June
Residency: East London's much-loved lo-fi pizza slingers Yard Sale have teamed up with North London wine connoisseurs Top Cuvee to bring natural wines and cracking pizza to Yard Sale's Hackney basement. Expect lots of juicy natural wines - with emphasis on lighter options that pair well with the richness of the pizzas - some tasty cocktails too and a banging garage soundtrack in this boisterous pizza den. And of course, all your favourite Yard Sale pizza pies from the chilli-laced guindillas in the mist to the sausage-fest New Porker.
Where: 184 Hackney Road, Hackney, E2 7QL
Book now: Yard Sale Hackney
Bob's Lobster at Terrace presented by KERB
When: 5 May - 5 November
Residency: Much-loved crustacean connoisseurs Bob's Lobster have taken up a new residency thanks to KERB: The National Theatre's Terrace restaurant. Boasting riverside views, this is a prime spot for all-day dining, early evening cocktails and sunset dinners. The menu features Bob's signatures like ahi tuna tacos, crayfish croquettes with Old Bay mayo and the famous lobster and crayfish rolls. Cocktails come from the KERB team and East London Liquor Co spirits, including summery blends perfect for the sunny weather!
Where: Level 2, National Theatre, London, SE1 9PX
Book now: Terrace at The National Theatre
Turnips with Tomas Lidakevicius and friends
When: Monthly guest chef collaborations starting 27 March 2022
Residency: Turnips, Borough Market's favourite fresh food-focused restaurant, is getting some new talent in the kitchen in the upcoming months. They will be starting a series of monthly chef collaborations, incorporating the ethos of Turnips and centering the tasting menus around a seasonal vegetable. Only three guest chefs have been annouced so far, so keep an eye out on their website for more information (and for booking details), but so far the chefs are heavy-hitters. On March 27 three-Michelin starred Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet and his team from Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester will create an eight-course tasting menu including dishes such as milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenees and fermented green asparagus from Provence with Caviar. Also expect to see in future weeks Chef Adolfo de Cecco from one-Michelin starred Casa Fofo in Hackney and Head Chef of Galvin at Windows, Marc Hardiman. Each one-off tasting menu will cost £125 per person, with additional wine pairing options, so consider this collab series as a potential gift...Mother's Day is coming up, after all!
Where: 43 Borough Market, London, SE1 9AH
Book now: Turnips
RAPs by Tinie Tempah
When: Four-month residency from 11 March 2022
Residency: The newest rapper to launch a chicken brand in the UK is 'Pass Out' star Tinie Tempah (DJ Khaled opened chicken wing franchise Another Wing at the end of 2021), who's new food brand RAPs will be taking up space on the roof of John Lewis on Oxford Street (aka Willows on the Roof). As the name suggests, the brand will focus on serving fried chicken wraps, including the likes of the Unruly (jerk fried chicken, plantain, homemade jerk BBQ sauce, lime mayo slaw) and the African Giant (buttermilk fried chicken with jollof salsa) with the menu acting as ''a nostalgic nod to Tinie’s early childhood spent frequenting the chicken shops of South East London''. The menu has been designed with the help of chef and Youtuber Big Has, who's previously worked at Palatino and Sardine, and the food offering will also be available for delivery to areas including Shoreditch, Hackney, Finsbury Park, Dalston, Brixton, Peckham, Dulwich, Bermondsey, Camberwell, Vauxhall, Herne Hill, Elephant & Castle, Queen’s Park, Kilburn, North Kensington and Willesden.
Where: 300 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1DX
Residency: Housed in an old bank, Double Dragon comes to you from ex-Nobu head chef Scott Hallsworth. The menu here will be unique, featuring Izakaya-style dishes like BBQ pork belly buns, salmon sashimi 'pizza' with truffle ponzu and scorched hispi cabbage with dried miso, truffle, ponzu and buerre. While the team are still finalising the drinks list, they have shared some inspired creations already. These include the bonzai kitten, a sake and vodka combo with calpis and a twist of lime. Whiskey lovers should go for the 'monkey gone to heaven', featuring Monkey Shoulder whiskey, fresh green, apple juice and ginger syrup.
Where: 84 Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4QY
Book now: Double Dragon
Tigre Tacos at Gunmakers
Residency: What’s better than tacos? Tacos in a pub. The Gunmakers is hosting Tigre Tacos right now and this isn’t one to miss. Choose from small sharers like lime cured prawns with chilli sauce or cheese and onion quesadillas, a range of tacos and big sharers like a grilled whole octopus with charred Serrano chillies. Tigre also offers tequila with yuzu, juniper or Valencian orange tonic, the perfect accompaniment to top-notch tacos.
Where: 13 Eyre Street Hill, EC1R 5ET
Book now: The Gunmakers
Alter hosted by Shaman at Leman Locke
Residency: Alter’s head chef Andy Hogben is at the forefront of vegan cooking. Always pushing boundaries, he has taken up residency at Leman Locke to bring his creations to the Whitechapel area. Highlights include salted watermelon and coconut miang khams, khao-soi noodle laksa with oyster mushrooms and charred Jordan cabbage with kolae coconut curry.
Where: 15 Leman St, Whitechapel, E1 8EN
Book now: Alter
Jam Delish at The Sun & 13 Cantons
Residency: Jam Delish is another plant-focused pop-up and has taken up residency in The Sun & 13 Cantons Pub. Vegan's are not to miss out on Caribbean cuisine with this innovative menu of dishes using seasonal produce and in-house made vegan "meats". Diners can snack on the likes of "chicken" wings in various marinade, crispy caribbean "prawns" or for a real taste of the Caribbean: loaded curry fries with the choice of curry "goat". Larger dishes include curries, wings and some traditional "codfish" options. Of course, it wouldn't be a true taste of the Caribbean without a little rum! Try the boozy pineapple whip for dessert, served with vanilla ice crea.
Where: 21 Great Pulteney Street, W1F 9NG
Book now: The Sun & 13 Cantons
Filthy Buns at Three Compasses
Residency: Filthy Buns has brought seriously decadent burgers to The Three Compasses in Dalston. These towering stacks of bun sauce and more include crazy creations like the Lockdown Millionaire: a beef patty, Biscoff peanut butter, bacon, beer BBQ glaze, smokey gravy mayo, pink shallots and crispy onions. Keeping with the times, Filthy Buns also offers a wide range of great vegan burgers, including the Smokin’ Vegun with a plant-based patty, crispy “bacun”, bourbon BBQ sauce, cheeze, white miso mayo, rocket and crispy onions. Why not go all in and finish off with a handmade ice cream sandwich? Once again, vegans will not miss out with the east side vegan ice cream sandwich, smokey salty caramel cashew vice cream and corn miso cookie.
Where: 99 Dalston Lane, E8 1NH
Book now: The Three Compasses
Belly at the Compton Arms
Residency: The Compton Arms has a history of top-notch kitchen residencies, and their latest is no exception. Coming from Reece Moore, whose CV includes time at Dabbous, Texture and Bao, Belly offers a daily changing menu with seasonal British produce, day boat fish and native meat.
Where: 4 Compton Ave, N1 2XD
Book now: The Compton Arms
Smashed at The Gipsy Queen
Residency: Burger experts Smashed have set up shop at The Gipsy Queen. Expect creative takes on the classic burger, like the Luca with apple chilli jam, halloumi and rocket, or the Jemz with blueberry hot sauce and peanut butter herb mayo. Meat-free options are available, as well as tasty sides like triple-cooked chips, cheesy chips, halloumi fries and buffalo wings with a blue cheese sauce.
Where: 166 Malden Road, NW5 4BS
Book now: The Gipsy Queen
Vin Et Amis at 108 Brasserie
When: 22 June - September 2022
Residency: Transport yourself from the cobbled streets of Marylebone to the Cote d'Azur this summer on the terrace at 108 Brasserie. Partnering up with award-winning winemakers Maison Mirabeau, the terrace is the perfect location to spend summer evenings with friends, enjoying chilled glasses of the world-class rose. The Provence-inspired menu features Pissaladiere (a French flatbread) topped with either anchovies, olives and caramelised onions or goats cheese with tomatoes and herbs. Cocktail-lovers have not been forgotten with the Mirabeau-based cockatils including the refreshing Blackcurrant Sgroppino, Mirabeau gin, Mirabeau sparkling rose, elderflower cordial and blackcurrant sorbet, keeping you cool while you dine al-fresco.
Where: 108 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QE
Book Now: 108 Brasserie & Bar
The Four Horsemen at Rondo La Cave
When: 5 July
Residency: A taste of New York is coming to Holborn with this new residency at Rondo La Cave. The Four Horsemen, co-owned by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, are Brooklyn-based favourites known for their exciting small plates and great drinks. Bringing pours from the Brooklyn Brewery, the exclusive one-night pop-up will be highly anticipated thanks to its Michelin-starred team. Menu highlights include marinated mussels, snap pea salad and pasta coperta; if you're feeling adventurous, try the fried skate wing with sungold tomatoes. What more could you want for dessert than a chocolate torte served with an espresso zabaglione?
Where: The Hoxton, 199-206, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD
Book Now: Rondo La Cave, The Hoxton
Pop up London bars
We often wake up the morning after a night out cursing the bar that served up such irresistible cocktails. The good news about London pop up bars? They won’t be around for long! Get sipping while you still can and worry about the consequences later.
Le Tram Champagne Bar by Veuve Clicquot
When: Ongoing (11:30 am to close)
Residency: Climb aboard this tram-themed Champagne pop-up on the ground floor of Selfridges. Once sat at the ten-seater bar, surrounded by the cassette-inspired decor, visitors can peruse the exclusive menu of Champagne and cocktails, including a Pear and Ginger Mule or a Belvedere Blackberry and Lemongrass-infused concoction with Eminente Rum. Guests can also book the lounge area and play their own music there.
Where: 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Rosé bar at Selfridges
When: 7 February to June 2022
Residency: For lovers of pink wine everywhere, you might want to head on down to Selfridges over the next few months where it is launching a dedicated rosé bar to celebrate the beauty of this fabulous drink. Launching in association with Moet Hennessy, the bar has been designed in the style of a romantic French cinema house and will offer guests the chance to sample some of the world's most luxurious rosé wines. Choose from Champagne tasting experiences, wine tasting flights, cocktail masterclasses and more. If you've ever wanted to know exactly what makes Whispering Angel so delicious, then get booking.
Where: 400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB
Amie Wine Studio at Eccleston Yards
When: 27 June - 10 July 2022
Residency: Wine brand Amie has teamed up with Partnership Editions to bring the Amie Wine Studio to Eccleston Yards this summer. Joining together wine and art, this glamourous pop-up is a wine bar that will also serve as an art gallery—a sophisticated place to enjoy a glass of wine with friends while appreciating the art of some of today's most exciting new artists. Amie will be serving up its four signature wines; their rose, sparkling rose, red and white wine. This space will run throughout the Wimbledon period making it a gorgeous location to sip wine, appreciate art and enjoy tennis in the sunshine.
Where: Amie Wine Studio, Eccleston Yards, London, SW1W 9NF
For more dining inspo, don't miss our guide to the coolest places to eat in London.