From Michelin-starred chefs branching out on their own to big-name pop-ups that have found a bricks-and-mortar home, here are our top 10 openings of 2017
Words Heather Steele
St James’s Market, SW1Y 4QQ
Private dining 60
After 30 accolade-strewn years in New York, Aquavit brought its refined Nordic style to the UK in early 2017. Expect a more laid-back affair, with tasty small plates and (of course) lots of aquavit.
81 Fulham Rd, SW3 6RD
Semi-private dining 8
Claude Bosi, formerly of Hibiscus, arrived at South Ken’s beautiful Michelin House in May. Within, there’s an oyster bar, plus a formal dining room upstairs. Tables of eight can book into both.
92 Kensington Park Rd, W11 2PN
Semi-private dining 12
After years at the helm of Mr Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred Royal Hospital Road, Clare Smyth has opened her own place. A 12-seat table by the kitchen offers a prime spot to taste her superlative cooking.
La Dame de Pic
10 Trinity Sq, EC3N 4AJ
Exclusive use 80 | Private dining 14
The Four Seasons at Trinity Square is a fittingly grand home for a chef who arrives from France with three Michelin stars. Anne-Sophie Pic’s impeccable tasting menu is a masterclass in classic cooking.
12 Denman St, W1D 7HH
Private dining 14
We fell hard for Kricket when it was a 20-seat pop-up in a shipping container. Now it’s got a permanent site: the team’s delicious Mumbai-inspired dishes (we love the samphire pakoras) make it a must-visit.
10-50 Willow St, EC2A 4BH
Exclusive use 240 | Private dining 18
Nobu’s newest hotel-restaurant opened in July. Aesthetics and menus align with the group’s east-meets-west philosophy: think contemporary western design dotted with subtle Japanese detailing.
45 Curtain Rd, EC2A 4PT
Private dining 18
Obama’s favourite spot back in the States, this ‘Harlem soul food’ joint opened in the swanky new Curtain
hotel in June. The fried chicken and waffles are as good as it gets – and perfect for group sharing too.
30 Throgmorton St, EC2R 7HJ
Exclusive use 300 | Private dining 60
We’ve been fans of Neil Rankin for ages, so were elated when he opened taco temple Temper last year. He’s focusing on curry for his new City launch. Messy and moreish – it’s ideal for festive feasting.
The Langham, W1B 1JA
Semi-private dining 25, 40
A pub inside one of London’s most luxurious hotels seems a tad incongruous – until you realise Michel Roux Jr’s behind it. Pies, pints and bar snacks are all here: it’s just considerably more polished than your local.
30 Rupert St, W1D 6DL
Exclusive use 74 | Private dining 8
The team behind steamed bun sensation Bao has just launched Xu, another Taiwanese spot that hits the mark with fun, interesting dishes to share. The beautiful Mahjong Rooms can seat eight for private dinners.
Plus four recently refurbished restaurants worth checking out
Level 37, 20 Fenchurch St, EC3M 8AF
Exclusive use 40
There are plenty of view-boasting restaurant options in the City nowadays, but the combination of top-notch service and ex-The Square chef Daniel Fletcher in the kitchen makes this one pop.
+ Flesh & Buns
41 Earlham St, WC2H 9LX
Semi-private dining 34
We suggest ordering from this refreshed restaurant’s new ‘Party Flesh’ menu. Groups of six or more can dine on roast suckling pig, beef ribs and lamb shoulder with kimchee, pickles and sauces.
+ Launceston Place
1a Launceston Place, W8 5RL
Private dining 12
’s best site
was given a new lease of life this year, with a contemporary look and the arrival of Ben Murphy as chef. His masterful tasting menu hits the mark. One to bank.
+ Simpsons-in-the-Strand (pictured above)
100 Strand, WC2R 0EW
Private dining 100, 140
One of London’s oldest restaurants got a makeover this summer. The vibe remains classic (and it still serves from its group-friendly carvery trolley), but now it features a more contemporary menu.
Prefer a bigger venue for your Christmas do? Have a look at our directory for all the best places to celebrate this year
This article was first published in SquareMeal Christmas 2017