London is a hotbed of new openings, with brand spanking new restaurants opening their doors practically every day in the capital. When a restaurant launches, it will often kick things off with a ‘soft launch’, where customers can get a first taste of the restaurant. To help you stay up-to-date with all of the soft launches London has to offer, we’ve put together a list of upcoming ones that you can try out for yourself – happy eating!
Soft launches London: all of the latest openings
Opens 7 November with buy one, get one free on pizzas until 10 November
What: Roma is a casual pizza joint on Brick Lane which offers eight 12-inch pizzas for only a fiver each. Pick from topping combinations such as mushroom and truffle, aubergine and tahini or spicy lamb sausage. There are sides too, including garlic bread with aioli.
Where: 224 Brick Lane, E1 6SA
Legare, South Bank
Opens 14 October with 50% off until 15 October (reservations only)
What: Boasting a broadly Italian menu (with a few dishes from the wide Med thrown in), Legare is the place to come for pasta that’s made on-site daily, as well as crudo dishes, antipasti and homemade filled-to-order cannoli for dessert.
Where: Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, SE1 2YB
Bella Italia, various locations
Autumn menu launches 8 October with 40% off main dishes for one week only
What: To celebrate the launch of its new autumn menu, high-street staple Bella Italia is offering diners up to 40% off mains. On the new menu, you can expect to find warming comfort food such as spinach and squash cannelloni, and a calzone funghi.
Where: Various locations
Opens 14 October with 50% off food until end of 18 October
What: Sri Lankan restaurant Kolamba is a casual joint serving up small plates and meat-filled patties, alongside curries and other more substantial dishes. There are plenty of plant-based options too, as well as Sri Lankan staples such as sambols and hoppers.
Where: 21 Kingly Street, W1B 5QA
London soft launches: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a soft launch?
A soft launch can be defined as a period of time in which a restaurant will offer discounted food (and sometimes drinks) to customers. Soft launches take place when a restaurant very first opens – some restaurants will heavily publicise their soft launches by hosting free giveaways or plastering it all over social media, while other restaurants take a more low-key approach.
Why do restaurants have soft launches?
You’re probably wondering why a restaurant would charge customers less than it needs to when it first opens. Well, the reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, restaurants offer major discounts when they first open to spread the word about their arrival and ensure that customers come through the doors. A soft launch is a great incentive for London diners, and if customers like what they see at the restaurant, they’re more likely to return at a later date.
The second reason is that a soft launch is also a crucial period of time in which a restaurant can iron out any kinks and overcome any teething problems that they didn’t foresee during the planning stages. There’s no real way to know exactly how a restaurant will operate without giving it a go in real life, so a soft launch can be a great learning curve for restaurants and their staff, especially as people are less likely to be offended by food or service that isn’t entirely up to scratch when they aren’t paying full whack for their meal.
How long do soft launches last?
The length of time for which a new restaurant is on soft launch can vary wildly. Some restaurants will only offer discounted food on their very first day of operation or across their opening weekend, while others stretch their soft launch across a few weeks. It’s also important to note that some restaurants may offer 50% off for the first week of their launch, and then 25% off for the second. We’d always recommend checking out this page to see exactly what a restaurant is offering and for how long!
Want to know which new restaurants we're loving right now? Make your way through our pick of the hottest new openings.