“When a man [ahem, or woman] is tired of London, he is tired of life.” It was the celebrated author Samuel Johnson who said this, and to be honest, we reckon he was on to something. Sure, we have all spent weekends on the couch in our pyjamas WhatsApping our mates about how bored we are and that we’ve got nothing to do, but let’s be real, we’re lying and just being lazy.
That’s because in fact, there is always something new to do or try out in London. One of the most exciting (and sometimes baffling) things about our fair city is the continuous supply of pop up restaurants, bars and events that grace her streets. What exactly is a pop up we hear the uninitiated cry? Well, it’s best described as a new space that offers something a little different to the norm, and is only around for a limited time. London is chock-full of pop ups that are just waiting to be discovered, whether it be something as simple as a preview of a hot new restaurant, or something as bizarre as a drinking den themed around being in prison (yes Alcotraz, we’re looking at you).
The only difficult thing with London pop ups is that there’s an awful lot of them, and it can be tough to work out which ones are actually legit and which were conceived on the back of a Wetherspoons napkin. 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 ups 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.
Rogues London at Hackney Coffee Company
When: Until further notice
Residency: In a beautiful backroom, which serves as a coffee shop during the day, Zak Whittle and Fred Sheen (both ex Galvin La Chapelle) are showing they have a firm command of classical French cooking and how best to extract flavours from unimpeachable ingredients. We marvelled at a pistachio choux bun which oozed with a wickedly rich duck liver parfait and muscat vinegar, and was married with an ‘Indian Summer’ cocktail from the bar made with the Gerwuztraminer-based Belsazar White mixed with bitter orange gin, Manzanilla and saffron, and carbonated before being served in a Champagne flute. Warming, expressive and refreshing, it has a mulish kick. Another highlight was wild duck with beetroot and blackberry, and a soft, unctuous jus. This was paired with an Elderberry-infused Belsazar Rosé mixed with hibiscus and pink grapefruit, the melt-in-the-mouth meat worked a treat with the fruit and dark chocolate notes of the drink. Relaxed, fun and well worth the trip.
Where: 503 Hackney Road, E2 9ED
New Kids on the Stove, Hoxton Southwark
When: 19 October, TBC November, TBC December
Residency: The Hoxton Hotel in Southwark is launching a series of three, one night only guest chef pop-ups featuring unpasteurised beers from Camden Town Brewery. The focus is on fresh, London-based, creatives which is why Mystic Borek, Ixta Belfrage, and (kicking off the show, on 19 October) Whyte Rushen. The dishes are largely inspired by beer, beer is often a main ingredient, and all the dishes are inventive.
Where: 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NY
Tom Sellers at The Ned
When: 4-7 and 11-14 October
Residency: Tom Sellers, the chef behind the two Michelin stars at Restaurant Story, is hosting an October pop up at The Ned hotel in the City. He will be offering a tasting menu consisting of five courses and snacks (vegetarian options are available). Sellers is famed for his use of seasonal ingredients and at The Ned this will include lobster cocktail, leek and apple, and much more. The price is £125pp, or £185pp with a wine pairing.
Where: 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
The Colbert x Tanqueray Gin Bar Pop Up
When: Until 25 September
Residency: Run, don’t walk to Sloane Square this summer, where you will find that much-loved restaurant Colbert has teamed up with Tanqueray to create an outdoor gin bar. Refreshing cocktails to try include Flor de Sevilla Spritz made with Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla and Blackberry Bramble made with Tanqueray Blackcurrant Royale, while a selection of summery dishes are on hands to complement your sips - think a classic prawn cocktail or a chopped chicken, avocado and bacon salad.
Where: 50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX
Jo Loves X Hutong, the Shard
When: 18 September to 10 October
Residency: The Chinese tradition of the Mid-Autumn festival and English perfumes smash together in this collaboration between Jo Loves and Hutong Restaurant, brought together by their love of the Pomelo citrus fruit. The Mid-Autumn menu will be available 18 September to 10 October at Hutong London, created by Sifu Fei Wang, complemented by the availability of a Jo Loves crafted Moon Goddess Cocktail and a free 2ml vial of Pomelo fragrance. On the date of the festival, 21 September, Jo Loves will pop-up at Hutong to offer a fragrance tapas experience, before or after dinner.
Where: 31 St. Thomas Street, Level 33 The Shard, SE1 9RY
Burger & Lobster x Giz ‘n’ Green
When: 4 to 31 October
Residency: Burger & Lobster launch a limited-edition mac and cheese in collaboration with chef Gizzi Erskine and musician Professor Green. The total price comes to £25, of which £1 goes to RISE.365, a charity that aims to educate and empower vulnerable youths in Hackney. For that price, you are to receive an indulgent new take on the mac and cheese, where the shell of half a Nova Scotia lobster is used in place of a bowl, its meat is mixed into a gruyere covered cheese sauce, created using a boozy bisque and tarragon.
Where: All Burger & Lobster locations where advertised
Tigre Tacos at The Gunmakers
When: Until further notice
Residency: Originally a food truck pop up at Nine Lives Alley in London Bridge, Tigre Tacos has now taken up residency at The Gunmakers in Clerkenwell. Chef Ramon oversees a menu of Mexi-Cali cuisine which is inspired by the street-food taquerias and trucks of 70’s Southern California. Top orders include the lobster tail taco and the Baja ‘no fish’ taco for vegan diners.
Where: 13 Eyre Street Hill, EC1R 5E
Tendril at The Sun & 13 Cantons
When: Until October
Residency: This mostly vegan residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons is the brainchild of chef Rishim Sachdeva (The Dairy, Chiltern Firehouse, The Fat Duck). The menu champions seasonal ingredients and you can expect to find plates such as chipotle grilled oyster mushroom with smoked leek and peanut sauce or ratatouille with basil puree, ras el hanout and herb crumb.
Where: 21 Great Pulteney Street, W1F 9NG
Sam’s Riverside Autumn Pop Ups
When: 16, 17, 18 November
Residency: Stephane Delourme is making the trip up from Cornwall to Sam’s Riverside to collaborate with Sam and Ashley Tinoco for three ticketed dinner events. Making the most of their understanding of each other from previous work and the fine ingredients from Carlingford Oysters and Riverside’s Phoenix Farm, amongst others. There will be four courses, with contributions from each chef, expect scallops, razor clams, and turbot, paired with homegrown ingredients and finely sourced hams, breads, and of course, wines.
Where: 1 Crisp Walk, Hammersmith, W6 9DN
Import/Export at Brunswick House
When: 30 September to 2 December
Residency: Brunswick House in Vauxhall is launching a series of wine, beer, and cider pop-ups to be held in its cellar, celebrating the innovation of importers that bring us our favourite beverages. The event will begin on 30 September with Uncharted Wine Merchants, and following through with a different wine, beer, or cider importer every Tuesday. There are no bookings, just rock up at six until midnight for a tasty, boozy evening.
Where: 30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG
Shuk team up with Belazu to launch supper club series at Mortimer House
When: 14 October and 11 November
Residency: Mark Jankel, founder and director of Shuk, is joining forces with a three-chef team to put on a series of one-off supper clubs on the fifth floor of Maslow’s Mortimer House, all in partnership with Middle Eastern ingredient supplier, Belazu. Each chef will be charged with a course, with Jankel on the main course, in which you can expect josper grilled bread, confit garlic tahini and burnt tomato salsa, tahini, burnt leeks and plenty more skillfully prepared ingredients.
Where: 37-41, Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3JH
Santosh Shah at Cinnamon City Kitchen
When: 20 September to 30 October
Residency: This will be an intimate experience, with the Masterchef runner-up Santosh Shah inviting only 15 people a night to eat from his 15-course tasting menu at Cinnamon City Kitchen, Wednesday to Sunday. The fare is inspired from Shah’s home village in Nepal, featuring momo’s, fish with burnt tomato chutney, and cannon of lamb with akou rice, bone marrow sauce and mustard greens, for an example. You’re sure to feel you’ve been to the Himalayas after an experience like this, and to believe you witnessed the chef’s childhood.
Where: 9 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YL
Norma Supper Club
When: 7 September to 11 January
Residency: As if the regular restaurant offering of authentic Italian cuisine wasn’t enough, Norma have announced a new series of supper clubs once a month. The series promises authentic Italian ingredients of a fine quality, paired with traditional Sicilian hospitality. Starting 7 September with Sicilian Seafood and Crudo night, moving on to Marsala Night (5 October), Donnafugata Winery (2 November), Truffle Season (1 December), and Ben Tish’s ‘Sicilia’ (11 January) as a showcase.
Where: 8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LS
Cook To Care Persian Inspired Supper Club, Lambeth
When: 29 October, 26 November, and 17 December
Residency: This autumn and winter supper club is launching at the Remakery in Loughborough Junction, set up by Cook To Care in order to raise awareness of the Brixton community. For every two tickets bought, a member of the local community will be invited as a guest of honour in order to share their experiences. The menu will be plant based, inspired by Persian and Greek food, all for a relatively cheap price that includes drinks and BYOB – but please remember to donate too.
Where: 51 Lilford Road, Vassal, SE5 9HY
Wild by Tart Launch New Guest Chef Series
When: 26 September, 12 October, 2 November, 5 December
Residency: Sharing an ethos of locality, seasonality, and quality in their cooking, these five chefs have been organised to create a series of four supper clubs at Wild by Tart that differ in their cuisines but are united in a positive impact, with a charitable 10% donation per ticket. It kicks off 26 September with Daniel Watkins and Andrew Clarke of Acme Fire Cult, then Thomasina Miers with her Mexican cuisine with British ingredients, afterwards it’s Dorset’s Merlin Labron-Johnson, closing the series is legendary dinner party host Skye McAlpine fusing British and Italian cookery.
Where: 3-4 Ecclestone Yards, SW1W 9AZ
Bon Mange Supper Clubs to Showcase St. Lucian Food
When: September 25-26
Residency: Good vibes abound at Bon Mange’s Shoreditch pop up supper club, celebrating all things St. Lucian and Caribbean, but mainly the food. With all dishes featuring in some way the hero products, Green Seasoning and Aunty Val’s hot sauce, there are two standard tasting menus, one of which vegan, and two chef’s table tasting menus, one of which vegan. DJ’s will be playing tunes all night and some excellent cocktails will be available by Padnas.
Where: 46, Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EP
Annual chef series at Kricket
When: 7, 14, 21 and 28 September
Residency: Kricket’s annual chef series is back, with a stellar line-up of cooks set to join co-founder Will Bowlby in the kitchen. Taking place across four dates in September, this year’s series will feature appearances from the likes of James Cochran, Michel Roux Jr and Selin Kiazim, who will all create a three-course sharing menu for guests to enjoy. £55pp, purchase your ticket from Kricket's website.
Where: 2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR
Nomad Bros at The Gipsy Queen
When: Until November
Residency: Turkish street food concept Nomad Bros has launched a six month residency in the kitchens of The Gipsy Queen, one of few remaining independently run pubs in London. On the menu, you can expect to find the tempting likes of halloumi popcorn, an Istanbul-style hot dog, shish kebabs and hefty shawarma wraps.
Where: 166 Malden Road, NW5 4BS
Joo Won at Bun House
When: From 5 August until 4 October
Residency: Chef Joo Won is taking over the top floor of Bun House in Chinatown, serving his signature menu of South Korean and European inspired sharing dishes. Our recommendation? The signature JFC (Joo’s Fried Chicken) - succulent chicken thighs deep-fried in a secret batter, accompanied with a gochujang, ginger, honey and apple sauce and topped with creamy cashews and coriander.
Where: 26-27 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA
Madhu’s at The Dilly, Mayfair
When: Six months from 29 June
Residency: Making itself at home in the Grade II listed Oak Room of The Dilly Hotel is fine-dining Indian restaurant Madhu’s. Expect a menu underpinned by Punjabi dishes with a few Kenyan twists, resulting in dishes such as ‘Machuzi Shank’: spring lamb shank slow cooked using a secret sauce and blend of dry roasted spices. There are signature cocktails too, served at the 40-seat bar, while home delivery is an option too if you don’t want to get changed out of your pyjamas.
Where: 21 Piccadilly, W1J 0BH
Papa L’s Kitchen, St James’s
When: From 1 July
Pop up: Chef Lawrence Gomez (The Ivy, Sexy Fish, Scott’s) has brought his travelling kitchen to Jermyn Street, where he will be serving an African fusion menu. At Papa L’s Kitchen, you can expect to tuck into dishes such as grilled king tiger prawns and kanja (a vegetable from Gambia) cooked tempura style. Dishes are often finished off with top secret marinades and sauces, the ingredients for which are held close to Gomez’s chest, so expect plenty of heat and spice too.
Where: 16-17 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6LT
The Dorchester Rooftop, Mayfair
When: Until 30 September
Pop up: 90 years later and The Dorchester is still finding ways to reinvent itself. The famous hotel has launched a pop up rooftop restaurant (in normal times, the space is actually the balcony to one of the penthouse suites - oh how the other half live!). For the final few weeks of summer, the space will be taken over by LA’s famous Polo Lounge - expect candy-stripe decor, an ice cream stand and the signature McCarthy Salad, named after polo player Neil McCarthy who used to frequent The Beverly Hills Hotel in the 1960's.
Where: 53 Park Lane,W1K 1QA
Erev at Maria’s Market Cafe, Borough
When: Until September
Residency: The legendary Maria’s Market Cafe at Borough Market might be best known for its hearty full English, but throughout summer evenings, you will be able to find something a little different here. Erev is the supperclub from Borough Market Kitchen resident Shuk, serving up Middle Eastern dishes designed for sharing - think smoky aubergine with tomato, labne, mint and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Where: The Market Porter, 9 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
Dior at Alto Selfridges, Marylebone
When: Until 30 September
Residency: High-fashion brand Dior has given Selfridges’ rooftop restaurant Alto a chic makeover for the summer, complete with parasols, deckchairs and cushions from the fashion houses’s new seaside-themed Maison collection. As for the food, expect classic Italian comfort dishes, while cocktails include the likes of the Lady Dior and J’Adior Selfridges.
Where: 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Royale at East London Liquor Co, Bow Wharf
When: Friday-Sunday until further notice
Residency: The team from Michelin-starred Leroy are behind this new rotisserie pop up at East London Liquor Co. Expect a simple menu of rotisserie chicken accompanied by appropriate sides such as roasted potatoes or seasonal veg. You can pair your meal with a selection of wines, spirits or cocktails from the bar team at ELLCo, while Royale’s juicy chicken is also available for delivery if you’d rather enjoy it from the comfort of your sofa.
Where: Unit GF1, 221 Grove Road, E3 5SN
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.
The Rooftop at Hippodrome Casino, Soho
When: Until the end of summer
Residency: The Rooftop at Hippodrome Casino spreads itself across three floors and this year, has partnered up with Tanqueray gin to offer a menu of cocktails that is sure to seduce any gin lover. Take your pick from the fun likes of The Tanqueray Passion, a blend of Tanqueray No. Ten gin, tangy lime and fresh passion fruit.
Where: Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH
For more dining inspiration, visit our Best Lists page, which features curated lists of restaurants categorised by cuisine, occasion, price and more.