SquareMeal's Hottest New Openings

Here at SquareMeal, we love nothing more than a new London restaurant or bar, but how do we separate the best from the rest? That’s where SquareMeal’s hottest new openings comes in. This specially curated list only includes restaurants and bars which we feel are worth your special attention, featuring London restaurants and bars which have opened in the past 12 months. You can expect the most talked-about chefs, the biggest comebacks, white-hot pop-ups-gone-permanent, or simply brand-new restaurants that are knocking it out of the park. If you want to visit the new London restaurant that’s on everybody’s lips, guaranteed to leave you satisfied and right at the centre of the capital’s cultural zeitgeist, this is the only list you’ll ever need. Scroll this way for London’s hottest new restaurants and bars and be prepared to block out your diary for the foreseeable future…

Posted on 27 November 2018

SquareMeal's Hottest New Openings

Discover the very best restaurants to have opened in London recently with SquareMeal’s guide to London’s hottest new restaurant openings. Numerous restaurants open up in the capital each month, providing even more choice to London’s diners. SquareMeal has selected only the crème de la crème of these newcomers to London’s restaurant scene in their exclusive guide of London’s hottest new restaurant openings. Head to some of London’s most impressive new restaurants before tables become hard to come by with this handy SquareMeal guide.

Find out all about London’s fabulous new restaurant openings by checking out the SquareMeal Hottest New Openings list featuring only the very best of London’s latest restaurant openings. Of course London has an incredible portfolio of restaurants so if there isn’t anywhere that takes your fancy in this list, also take a look at restaurants in the West End including Soho, Covent Garden and Mayfair; restaurants in the City and restaurants in West London including Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

Every one of the best new restaurant openings in London featured in SquareMeal’s list of the hottest new restaurant openings have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers so check out the reviews with SquareMeal today. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.


Kin + Deum

Kin + Deum

Kin + Deum’s name means ‘eat and drink’ in Thai and was more apt perhaps when it was a Thai pub, opened by expat Suchard Inngern in 1975. Now taken over by Inngern’s three kids, the emphasis is very much more on eating than drinking in a dining room where the plain decor (pale green walls, bistro chairs, random pot plants) give little to indicate that this is a Thai restaurant. The younger generation of Inngerns have shortened the menu while keeping a focus on the familiar – there are none of the detours along the byways of regional Thai cuisine that have recently taken London by storm. Full houses suggest it’s an idea with mass appeal, although we found that some fairly humdrum cooking offered little that was different to the old style of Thai restaurant you can find on almost any London high street. The peanut sauce, rich and deeply flavoured, accompanying chicken satay to start was the best thing we ate, and we appreciated the chunks of absorbent brioche to soak up what was left. Deep-fried garlic squid was springy and crisp-battered, but chicken and prawn dumplings encased in stiff pastry should have been steamed for longer and slices of fried aubergine tasted of nothing at all. To follow, duck in a honey and coriander sauce and weeping tiger steak were ok enough, but like all of the food, we thought the portions seemed small for the prices. Service, meanwhile, bordered on the chaotic, although the staff were very sweet. Suchard Inngern’s children are to be applauded for offering a contemporary spin on the cooking that they grew up with, and there will be diners glad to discover a contemporary Thai restaurant that doesn’t dynamite their heads with a chilli explosion. But we were disappointed to find a somewhere that instead of offering new takes on old favourites, simply offered more of the same.

Kin + Deum

Hide Above

Hide Above

Hiding in plain sight with a vast three-story location on Piccadilly, Hide is the hugely ambitious restaurant that chef Ollie Dabbous has seemed destined to open since his self-titled debut picked up every award going in 2012. Hide is actually three spaces – Above, Ground and Below – though it may as well be called Upstairs Downstairs for the hierarchies of exclusivity involved. Below is a cocktail bar overseen by long-time collaborator Oskar Kinberg; Ground is an all-day modern British restaurant, affordable by Mayfair standards; while a swirling oak staircase leads to Above, which has the sylvan view through sound-muffling windows over the London bus rooftops to Green Park. Tables up here are spaced so you never need make eye-contact with your neighbour, let alone hear what they are saying, while inspired design touches include not only the expected handbag stools but mobile phone chargers hidden in the table and a leather-bound iPad that can access the 6,000 wines from Dabbous’ backers, Hedonism Wines, and have them delivered within 15 minutes and served with a £35 mark up. Well, what else would you expect in a restaurant rumoured to have cost more than £20m? To eat, there’s a 10-course tasting menu for £95 (plus a four-course lunch for £42), bursting with inventive visuals such as charcuterie speared on the end of a feather, caviar-beaded tuna tartare prettily heaped at the centre of an ornamental, inedible leaf, and Dabbous’ signature ‘nest egg’ of coddled egg and smoked butter, a sort of savoury Creme Egg served in the shell on a bed of hay. Things didn’t get truly exciting for us until halfway through, though, with the arrival of a breathtakingly subtle red mullet in a bread and saffron sauce, and a gamey, dry-aged Goosnargh duck breast. Puddings were also best-in-class, from the ‘garden ripple ice cream’ that looked like a slice of Twister, to a swirl of coconut cream fashioned into a white rose petal. Criticisms? Even allowing for 10 courses, we found the pace of the meal dragged, and while staff can’t be faulted for their enthusiasm and expertise, the constant interruptions and explanations a tasting menu necessitates does not make for the most relaxing experience. For make no mistake, this very much is an experience – albeit one that might remain in the once in a lifetime bracket.

Hide Above

Hide Ground

Hide Ground

The latest venture of wunderkind chef Ollie Dabbous certainly lives up to its name. Despite its vast dimensions, occupying three storeys, Hide is easy to miss thanks to a discreet exterior featuring barely visible signage and a door that blends into the wall. Plenty of folk have already discovered it, mind: just look through the large windows and you’ll see a full complement of foodies, influencers and Mayfair suits tucking in to platefuls of visually arresting dishes – helping to confirm that this is one of 2018’s most talked-about openings. With its three separate spaces, Hide aims to cater for all – or at least all who can afford it. Below is a cocktail bar overseen by long-time Dabbous collaborator, Oskar Kinberg; Above is the most formal room, where all diners must order the tasting menu. Between them is Ground: a more accessible, slightly more affordable all-day British restaurant. Taking centre stage here is the swirling oak staircase that connects all three floors, with the dining room’s brown colour scheme and oak furnishings providing neutral back-up. Switched on, friendly staff suggest starting the meal with grazing dishes such as fried quisquilla prawns – so soft and delicate you don’t even have to remove their shells (though we opted to). To follow, both our starters impressed: a zesty, super-sweet crab tartlet given extra freshness by kaffir lime and smooth chunks of avocado; and a creamy burrata successfully paired with ripe apricot. Equally diverting was a main course of barbecued ibérico pork, elevated by slices of peach to produce a challenging yet effective contrast of textures. After dipping into the colossal wine list (a truly exhaustive selection), move on to desserts: a treat for the eyes as much as the taste buds. Thrill to the likes of raspberry-flecked ice cream served on a bed of hay clouded by dry ice; or deconstructed strawberry millefeuille with pastry shaped like maple leaves. There’s a palpable sense of occasion that goes along with dining here, and the accompanying feeling of exclusivity might lead some to limit this to a ‘one and done’ experience. That would be a pity, though: Hide needs to be seen to be believed.

Hide Ground

Kettner's Townhouse

Kettner's Townhouse

Famous as the restaurant founded in 1867 by Auguste Kettner, the private chef of Emperor Napoleon III (Bonaparte’s nephew), and as the location of interval-time trysts between King Edward VII and Lillie Langtry, Kettner’s has been given the ‘Townhouse’ treatment by new owner Soho House. As at Dean Street Townhouse, there are now 30 or so bedrooms upstairs, while the downstairs restaurant and Champagne Bar have both been spruced up, and a fabulous Piano Bar added for good measure. The bars, in particular, look lovely, all low lighting and marble surfaces and conveying something of the metropolitan élan and exclusivity of the Soho House members’ clubs. The dining room, in contrast, feels rather provincial, an effect enhanced by the fussy plaster mouldings (original, and Grade II-listed) and a French-inspired menu that seems self-consciously special occasion but fails to rise to the occasion. Small plates and starters were the best bits: cheesy gougères, comforting French onion tart and bracingly wintry crab with celeriac remoulade and russet apple. Mains were far less assured: roast Banham chicken tasted only of truffle not chook and omelette Arnold Bennett was a very limp imitation of the Savoy classic. Breakfast (lobster royale) and pre/post-theatre (any three courses for £22) may be better bets, or eat small plates instead in the bars, with two dozen wines by the glass and beautifully served classic cocktails. 

Kettner's Townhouse

Indian Accent

Indian Accent

Few restaurants have arrived in the capital as garlanded with awards as the London outpost of Indian Accent. The New Delhi original is the only restaurant in India on the World’s 50 Best list and is regularly voted the country’s top place to eat; similar plaudits have rained down on its New York sibling since it opened in 2016. Here in London, we’re a little more used to the idea of a high-end Indian restaurant and there was a danger that Indian Accent, which has taken over the old Chor Bizarre site in Mayfair, might feel a little late to the party, but chef Manish Methrota’s sure-footed updating of traditional Indian cooking – respectful of heritage while being unmistakably individual – is a very welcome addition. And at four courses for £65, it is currently a bit of a bargain for the quality on offer in this location.  Highlights for us included soy keema mopped up with soft little pillows of pao buns (vegetarian options are excellent); tenderly succulent pork ribs, beautifully marinated with onion seeds; an Indian spin on crispy duck, with ghee roast lamb proving just as juicy; and smoked bacon kulcha that we would gladly have made an entire meal of, dipping into the deeply flavoured dal. Service (especially from those staff flown in from New York) is on the ball, eye-opening wine matching is a strength, and the room is a stunner, with striking green upholstery set against a marble and pearl backdrop that practically glows with the expense lavished on it. In short, this Indian Accent is well worth adopting.  

Indian Accent

Gazelle

Gazelle

Gazelle is a collaboration between London’s foremost bartender and drinks expert Tony Conigliaro, of Untitled and Bar Termini fame, and the equally mellifluously named chef Rob Roy Cameron. The red-and-gold dining room is on the first floor of a Mayfair townhouse and the sultry bar on the floor above; a broken lift, alas, rather took the sheen off the louche members’ club vibe, making the drama of arrival high-impact for all the wrong reasons. Cameron has worked with brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, opening 41 Degrees in Barcelona for Albert. The time spent with the high priests of avant-garde haute cuisine is immediately apparent in the arresting presentation of the menu of half-a-dozen small plates, which seems intended both to delight and provoke. But on our visit we found that despite some prime ingredients, the striking visuals were not backed up by balanced flavours – or sometimes any flavour. A deep-fried, edible anchovy skeleton was a new taste sensation for us, but was draped across an indifferent herb salad. Mushrooms with pine nut and wild garlic, and leek with chicken and chive, both tasted as beige as they looked. The innate superiority of Wagyu beef was muffled by the onslaught of a juniper and salted plum crust that gave it the appearance of an old piece of oxblood leather, while a blameless piece of presa was no match for an assertive purée of salted carrots, as vividly orange as an autumn sunset. So many low-carb dishes, meanwhile, left us enthusiastically thanking the staff whenever they asked if we’d like more of the terrific fennel and spelt rolls. The best things we ate were in the bar: a Parmesan crisp filled with frozen yeast butter that tasted like a gourmet Tuc cracker; a gamy cigar of marbled beef glistening with a dollop of caviar; and a spicy mouthful of tuna tartare. And while Conigliaro’s cocktails might be small, they pack an almighty punch. We wish the same could be said of the small plates downstairs.

Gazelle

Lina Stores - 51 Greek Street

Lina Stores - 51 Greek Street

Opened in 1944, Soho’s Lina Stores delicatessen has managed to survive the sky-high rents and glossy redevelopments that have claimed all too many of the area’s Italian old-timers. Now, it has produced a bambino: a debut pasta restaurant just a few minutes’ walk away on Greek Street. Here, the exterior proudly displays Lina’s signature green-and-white colour scheme, which is continued inside the tiny space. Try to bag a seat at the counter and watch the chefs at work; all pasta is made on site daily. Alternatively, if you’re hoping for a chat, head to the basement – don’t discuss anything confidential, mind, as tables are packed tuna-can tight. Charming, attractive staff explain the menu of sharing antipasti and pasta dishes. We were impressed by the lusciously fatty strips of pork belly sandwiched between slices of crisp ciabatta, and also by a vegetarian take on meatballs that came stuffed with silky aubergine and tomato. The stars of the show, though, are the comforting plates of pasta. Don’t miss the gamey veal ravioli: tender chunks of veal wrapped in delicate pasta parcels, given crunch with a smattering of breadcrumbs. A plate of sticky green gnudi was also heavenly, the smooth ricotta and herb filling melting on the tongue. In comparison, dessert disappointed: an overcooked, dry slice of cherry and almond tart. Much better was a zesty cocktail of Blood Orange Bellini. Our advice? Skip dessert and order another plate of pasta – your dough will be well spent on Lina’s.

Lina Stores - 51 Greek Street