All good things come to an end and, with 2018 about to enter the history books, here are our 40 favourite restaurant launches from the past year to keep on your to-do list for 2019

1 Brat, Shoreditch (featured image)

Why go: 2018’s most talked-about opening is usually packed to the rafters with celebs, chefs, fashionistas and generally cool people

Must order: The puffed-up naan bread slathered with oil, chives and intensely flavoured anchovies

64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ

2 Hide Above, Mayfair

Why go: Ollie Dabbous’ mammoth opening features three floors of eating and drinking opportunities, topped off with this tasting-menu only outfit on the upper level

Must order: The breathtakingly subtle red mullet served in a bread and saffron sauce

85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB

3 Cornerstone, Hackney

Why go: Former Outlaw’s at The Capital head chef Tom Brown serves up spectacular seafood at his debut restaurant

Must order:
The buttery crumpet dripping with warm potted shrimps

3 Prince Edward Road, E9 5LX

4 Sabor, Mayfair

Why go: The breakout star of Barrafina, chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho serves up elevated tapas and remixed Spanish staples at her first solo restaurant.

Must order: The bombas de chocolas, a trio of doughnuts dolloped with a sticky mess of chocolate and coffee sauces

35 Heddon Street, W1B 4BS

Imperial Treasure Peking Duck

5 Imperial Treasure, St James’s

Why go: The renowned Asian brand’s luxurious three-storey UK outpost is the best Chinese restaurant to have opened in London since A Wong, with Peking duck carved tableside and deftly handled dim sum

Must order: A reinvented lemon chicken coated in almond flakes with a side of citrussy sauce

9-10 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE

6 Roganic, Marylebone

Why go: Dainty but dynamic tasting menus are the draw at this resurrection of Simon Rogan’s much-lauded pop up

Must order: The seaweed custard with its savoury notes of caviar

5-7 Blandford Street, W1U 3DB

7 Scully, St James’s

Why go: Ex-Nopi chef Ramael Scully takes diners on a culinary journey, using his melting-pot heritage as inspiration

Must order: The barbecued beef tendons topped with smoky oyster mayo

4 St James's Market, SW1Y 4AH

8 Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Whitehall

Why go: The Corinthia hotel plays host to Tom Kerridge’s first London restaurant, reproducing legendary dishes from The Hand and Flowers along with some sophisticated new classics.

Must order: The signature glazed Parmesan omelette, here pimped up with lobster

Corinthia Hotel, 10 Northumberland Avenue, SW1A 2BD

9 Two Lights, Shoreditch

Why go: The third restaurant from The Clove Club team serves a European-style menu with playful injections of Asian influence

Must order: The katsu sando, which swaps out the typical pork filling for fried breadcrumb-coated sardines and pickled lettuce

28-30 Kingsland Road, E2 8AA

The Coal Office dressed bone marrow

10 Coal Office, King’s Cross

Why go: An on-trend brick warehouse in Coal Drops Yard with a seductively hypnotic buzz serves as a tremendous backdrop to Tom Dixon’s greatest design hits and a menu of Middle Eastern small plates

Must order: Addictive kubaleh bread to scoop up the sweet and sour of tomato confit

2 Bagley Walk, N1C 4PQ

11 Evelyn’s Table, Soho

Why go: In the cellar of Chinatown boozer The Blue Posts, you’ll find this chef’s counter turning out accomplished small plates with a southern European accent

Must order: The beautifully cooked hake, served with capers and olive oil-soaked croutons

28 Rupert Street, W1D 6DJ

12 Brigadiers, Monument

Why go: JKS restaurants has taken on the City’s suits with this expansive, riotous Indian barbecue grill

Must order: The barbecue butter chicken wings, smeared with ghee and cashew cream

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR

13 Titu, Mayfair

Why go: With only 15 seats, this unassuming gyoza bar is the definition of small but perfectly formed, and prices aren’t bad for Mayfair either

Must order: The warmly spiced chicken and foie gras dumpling

1A Shepherd Street, W1J 7HJ

14 Sorella, Clapham

Why go: Robin Gill has re-invented his Manor site with this neighbourhood-cum-destination restaurant which seduces diners with its excellent Italian fare

Must order: The sourdough bread served with a trio of melted parmesan, pressed olives and ricotta

148 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6BX

food on marble

15 Kutir, Chelsea

Why go: An entrancing series of dining rooms, tricked out with Zoffany wallpaper, sets the scene for delicate and distinct modern Indian cooking

Must order: The 24-hour lamb rogan josh served alongside an offal samosa

10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS

16 Cora Pearl, Covent Garden

Why go: The fashionable follow-up to Kitty Fisher's is the rarest of all pearls, encompassing a raffish basement bar and high-ceilinged, ground-floor restaurant

Must order: Veal fillet accompanied by celeriac purée and a jug of Bordelaise sauce with bone marrow

30 Henrietta Street, WC2F 8NA

17 Leroy, Shoreditch

Why go: A 100-bin wine list and bistro-style food in the mould of a Parisian ‘cave’ ticks all of the boxes at this newbie from the Ellory team

Must order: Lamb sweetbreads with morel mushrooms and a nettle and wild garlic sauce

18 Phipp Street, EC2A 4NU

18 Greyhound Café, Fitzrovia

Why go: This zany, style-conscious café doesn’t always get it right, but its winning moments make a visit worth it

Must order: The crispy pork knuckle served with a box of sticky rice

37 Berners Street, W1T 3NB

19 Caractère, Notting Hill

Why go: The first restaurant from husband-and-wife Diego Ferrari and Emily Roux is a determinedly contemporary affair that passes its test of Caractère with flying colours

Must order: Roast wild duck breast with fondant chervil root and blackberries

209 Westbourne Park Road, W11 1EA

sashimi bowl ice

20 Ukai, Notting Hill

Why go: Ukai is a magnet for world-class drinks, live music and an astonishingly good Japanese restaurant tucked away at the rear

Must order: A lavish lobster tail tempura with yuzu mayonnaise

240 Portobello Road, W11 1LL

21 St Leonards, Shoreditch

Why go: Chefs Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke cook over a log-fired hearth at this sequel to Brunswick House

Must order:
The whole red mullet with cucumber, garlic and yoghurt

70 Leonard Street, EC2A 4QX

22 RedFarm, Covent Garden

Why go: A Xerox of the West Village original, RedFarm’s first international outpost grafts a frenetic fast-food ethos onto Cantonese cooking

Must order:
The banquet classic of shrimp-stuffed chicken

9 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ

23 The Frog, Hoxton

Why go: Leapfrog your way to Hoxton Square to indulge in MasterChef alumnus Adam Handling’s inventive tasting menus

Must order:
Butter whipped with chicken fat, topped with crispy chicken skin and served with sourdough

45-47 Hoxton Square, N1 6PB

24 Kym’s, City

Why go: Respectful updates of the familiar high-street Chinese repertoire await at Andrew Wong’s Bloomberg Arcade-based restaurant, with never-less than delicious results

Must order:
The DIY crispy duck with pancakes and slices of sour plum

19 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR

Berenjack small plates of vegetables and dips

25 Berenjak, Soho

Why go: JKS Restaurants have once again hit the jackpot with this snug Middle Eastern equivalent of their Sri Lankan smash-hit Hoppers.

Must order:
The kabab torki, a gourmet reboot of the post-pub guilty pleasure of chips and kebab meat

27 Romilly Street, W1D 5AL

26 The Petersham, Covent Garden

Why go: A sibling to the Richmond original, serving a menu of Italian-accented grown-up dishes in an elegant setting

Must order:
The delightful fish stew of lobster, red gurnard and squid

27-31 King Street, WC2E 8JB

27 Zuaya, Kensington

Why go: Ambitious Mexican street food and clever riffs on ceviches are the draw at this foliage-strewn restaurant

Must order:
Suckling pork belly in a Peruvian stew of pepper, chillies and tamarind

35 Kensington High Street, W8 5BA

28 Neptune, Bloomsbury

Why go: Seafood-centric cuisine brings a welcome flourish of glamour and personality to Bloomsbury’s Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel

Must order:
A fresh seafood platter accompanied by soda bread and seaweed butter

Kimpton Fitzroy London, corner of Guilford Street and Russell Square, WC1B 5BE

29 Aulis, Soho

Why go: Chef Simon Rogan sets the bar high with his intimate eight-seater chef’s table, an interactive dining experience set in a Soho alleyway

Must order:
Pork with smoked eel and hay

St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BN
a plate of miso grilled black cod tacos at freak scene in soho london

30 Freak Scene, Soho

Why go: This firecracker of a chef’s counter features Kurobuta’s greatest hits to the tune of an indie playlist and wall projections of Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle

Must order:
Grilled aubergine with a crunch of caramelised walnuts

54 Frith Street, W1D 4SL

31 Kyseri, Fitzrovia

Why go: Selin Kiazim of Oklava fame has repeated her success with this little slice of Turkish heaven right by Warren Street station

Must order:
The dainty, but punchy lamb and loquat skewer

64 Grafton Way, W1T 5DN

32 Hicce, King’s Cross

Why go: A warehouse-style space in the hot new Coal Drops Yard complex provides a sleek backdrop for Pip Lacey’s healthy wood-fired cooking

Must order:
Lamb neck with mojo and tomatoes

Unit 2, Eastern Coal Drop, N1C

33 Sushisamba, Covent Garden

Why go: This Covent Garden outpost of the glamorous Sushisamba might have lost its spectacular skyscraper view, but its stylish interiors and buzzy atmosphere are still bang on the money

Must order:
The El Topo sushi roll layered with salmon, mozzarella, jalapeños and crispy shallots

Opera Terrace, The Piazza, WC2E 8RF

34 Daddy Bao, Tooting

Why go: A buzzy atmosphere and great-value pillowy bao buns make this a truly exciting addition to Tooting’s restaurant scene

Must order:
The slow-braised pork belly bao pepped up with house pickles, peanuts and coriander

113 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PE

Onima interior

35 Onima, Mayfair

Why go: Cartier’s former watchmaking HQ sets the glitzy backdrop for this five-storey members club serving sunny Mediterranean cooking

Must order:
The standout chocolate cookies semifreddo with a salted caramel sauce

1-3 Avery Row, W1K 4AJ

36 Bryn Williams at Somerset House, Covent Garden

Why go: In a dramatic Somerset House setting, Bryn Williams (of Odette’s fame) showcases the power of vegetables, placing them centre stage on the plate

Must order:
The kale and pesto tagliatelle served with a mound of grated parmesan

Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA

37 Stem, Mayfair

Why go: Chef Mark Jarvis’s third restaurant in as many years is a touch more high-end than his previous offerings, but succeeds with excellent main courses and slick service

Must order:
The roast saddle of lamb with artichoke, courgette and basil

5 Princes Street, W1B 2LF

38 Lina Stores, Soho

Why go: The legendary Italian deli now has its own pasta joint, tiny in size but big on flavour

Must order:
The gamey veal ravioli, given added crunch via a smattering of breadcrumbs

51 Greek Street, W1D 4EH

39 Parsons, Covent Garden

Why go: This jolly little seafood joint, decked out in fishmonger-style tiles, is perfect for pre- and post-theatre dining

Must order:
Octopus tentacle with pork-fat potatoes

39 Endell Street, WC2H 9BA

a plate of beef on a table with other dishes in the background

40 Inko Nito, Soho

Why go: This stylish restaurant from Zuma founder Rainer Becker is one to watch, boasting a theatrical wraparound dining counter centred on the action-packed Japanese robata grill

Must order:
Fatty cubes of pork belly with a Japanese whisky glaze

55 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QS

Still hungry for more newcomers? Check out our lists of all the recent openings and the restaurants launching soon