London has one of the most dynamic restaurant scenes in the world. Indeed, it is packed with so many restaurants that you can’t hope to keep up with, let alone try, them all. Which is a good reason for coming to the SquareMeal Tasting. Here’s a list of restaurants that will be showing off a flavour of what they do at the 2019 SquareMeal Tasting.
Brigadiers hails from the same stable as Trishna, Gymkhana and Hoppers and it’s a humdinger of a restaurant, too, with kaleidoscopic offerings including sportsbar, pool, outdoor terrace and private rooms. Food showcases the ‘best of Indian barbecue’ with tandoor, rotisserie, wood oven, charcoal grilling and smokers all delivering a wealth of delicious flavours.
Top tip: Great range of lagers, cocktails and whiskies
Read more: Brigadiers
Galvin La Chapelle, Spitalfields
This Michelin-starred old-timer, next door to everyday favourite Galvin HOP, is a beacon of warm hospitality and superb cooking. It’s a magnificent space too, with soaring ceilings, marble columns and huge windows, softened by candles, flowers and drapes. The lavish carte (think Dorset crab lasagne or tagine of Bresse pigeon) dovetails with great tasting menus. Great for business lunches, too.
Top tip: Superb, unobtrusive service and a cracking Sunday lunch
Read more: Galvin La Chapelle
Som Saa, Shoreditch
Andy Oliver (ex-MasterChef) and Mark Dobbie shake the pans at this ecstatically hot Shoreditch eaterie, seeking to be the top Thai in town. Fiery regional offerings deliver the likesd of chilli-laden prawn and peanut salad or grilled chicken with sweet-sour tamarind dipping sauce, or a range of gutsy curries. The cavernous, bare-brick warehouse setting, generally packed with City-boy outings, dating couples and raucous thirty-somethings add to the upbeat vibe. Parties of any size can now be booked.
Top tip: Tasting menus, well-picked Rieslings and re-imagined cocktail classics.
Read more: Som Saa
With two floors dedicated to showcasing the best of Spanish gastronomy, Hispania is an arresting space that’s been given a stylish makeover by renowned interior designer and antique dealer Lorenzo Castillo. Food, under the culinary stewardship of award-winning chef Marcos Moran (from Casa Gerardo in northern Spain), is authentic and delicious – think roast Segovian suckling pig or baked cod fillet.
Top Tip: The first floor party space can fit up to 160 guests
Read more: Hispania
Ceru, South Kensington
This casual but vibrant all-day celebration of Levantine cuisine makes a meal of grilled meat, seafood, salad and veggie options, served sharing-style. Signature lamb shoulder steak arrives doused in a punchy, show-stopping 12-spice sauce, while the pancar (roasted beetroot dip with pistachio crumbs) is tangy and delicious. Reasonable pricing, generous portions and a kids’ menu are further pluses.
Top tip: Watch out for a new restaurant in Bayswater soon.
Read more: Ceru
This powerhouse group from Spain has redefined tapas for the UK masses with its classy offering in bright, snazzy settings. It’s all courtesy of the group’s executive chef Nacho Manzano, proud holder of three Michelin stars, who brings out the best in seasonal produce. Expect authentic, high quality, vividly fresh including near-legendary chorizo lollipos with pear aïoli. Affordable too.
Top Tip: Great cheeses, cured meats and preserved fish.
Read more: Ibérica
Indian Accent, Mayfair
The New Delhi original is currently the only restaurant in India on the World’s 50 Best list. So expect Indian cooking of the highest order, with lightness and intensity, verve and culinary daring. We loved tenderly succulent pork ribs, an Indian spin on crispy duck involving juicy ghee-roast lamb and smoked bacon kulcha with a deeply flavoured dhal.
Top tip: Terrific booths and private dining spaces
Read more: Indian Accent
Andrew Wong’s attractive, everyday City diner, named after his father’s original Pimlico restaurant, is a triumph of cutting edge Chinese cooking, with a particular focus on superbly executed meats like chicken, duck and suckling pork. Warm knowledgeable service add further flair, striking exactly the right balance between professionalism and charm.
Top tip: Both singletons and groups well catered for
Read more: Kym’s
Paladar, Elephant & Castle
Latin American sparkler that rolls restaurant, wine bar and bodega into one. Great flavours from sharing plate food (all gluten-free) assault the tastebuds: golden beef brisket empanadas, crispy pork belly and terrific seabass ceviche. But the ace in the pack is tenderly yielding octopus tentacles on tempura breadfruit, with candied lime and pickled watermelon.
Top tip: Try the coffee dulce de leche pots
Read more: Paladar
This sleek and deceptively large standout on Broadgate Circle, with its curvaceous glass frontage, is famed for its meticulously crafted dim sum, from crunchy venison puffs and Szechuan pork wontons to scallop and prawn dumplings, as well as gorgeous desserts. The Christian Liagre interior design, open kitchen, sexy cocktails and exotic tea list help gild the lily.
Top tip: Beautiful outside terrace, overlooking Broadgate Circle.
Read more: Yauatcha
85 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 4TW
A soothing caesura in the frenetic rhythm of city life on car-choked Tower Bridge Road, Lechevalier trades on the romantic notion that wine, bread and cheese – if well sourced – can send you to heaven and back. Add in some tasty charcuterie...et voila, c'est magnifique! It’s all here in this stylish if minimal setting, but don’t be fooled, the food and wine are both beautifully sourced – the owners having been trading out of Borough Market for the past 15 years. Quality is paramount, be it from Hungary or Hackney.
Top tip: Wines are largely organic, biodynamic and natural, from small often lesser-known producers.
Read more: Lechevalier
Love trying the capital's latest restaurants? Have a browse through our round up of the hottest new openings in London