London’s thriving food scene is fueled by a constant influx of innovative chefs and restaurateurs and its diverse multicultural influences. Here are ten of the latest dining experiences adding to London’s well-deserved reputation as a global culinary destination.
The team behind the two popular Daroco restaurants in Paris’s 2nd and 16th arrondissements has just opened Daroco Soho. Decorated in rich colors with velvet banquet chairs and chic brass fixtures, the new trattoria offers a French-Italian menu designed with sharing in mind. Highlights include caponakchouka (a cross between an Italian caponata and shakshuka), homemade pizza and pasta such as pappardelle with red wine deer ragu. It’s a bold claim, but the pizza with its delicious flavors, toppings and perfect crust is perhaps the best in London. The speakeasy bar downstairs feels like a secret place and the decor and Formula 1 sound effects in the bathrooms alone are worth a visit.
The chic Italian restaurant at the new luxury hotel The BoTree in Marylebone is part of The Tao Group (Hakkasan), so it’s no surprise that the service and food are excellent. American diners will recognize Lavo from the United States, where there are restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The food is excellent and the portions are very generous, so keep that in mind when ordering. One of the highlights is a huge one-pound Wagyu meatball, smothered in marinara sauce, topped with whipped ricotta and tagliatelle al limone with kaluga caviar. For dessert, there’s a 20-layer chocolate peanut butter cake that could feed an army.
L’Atelier RobuchonMayfair and Deli RobuchonChelsea
The late, great French chef Joel Robuchon’s Mayfair restaurant Le Comptoir Robuchon has relaunched as L’Atelier Robuchon and what a delight it is. So are the atmosphere, the elegant decor, the service and the food formidable. The menu features chef’s classics, including puree the pomme de terre (often described as the best mashed potatoes in the world) and sea bream carpaccio. Other excellent dishes include crab salad and lobster spaghetti. The desserts are divine and the bread basket is amazingly good (warm brioche, mini baguettes and parmesan rolls). There is a luxurious new bar at the front for a more relaxed drink, accompanied by food if desired. Also recently opened is Deli Robuchon on King’s Road in Chelsea, a casual all-day delicatessen serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and aperitifs to eat in or take home.
Ixchel, the highly anticipated Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar opened in Chelsea this week. Ixchel brings a taste of Tulum to Kings Road with a menu that includes crab macha tostada, fried shrimp quesadilla, pork belly taco, Suffolk Wagyu sirloin steak with chilmole sauce and for dessert tres leche cake or cinnamon custard cream, mango crème bruleé are both fantastic choices.
Biryani Kebab Chai (BKC) brings authentic Awadhi cuisine from Awadh (modern-day Lucknow) in Northern India to London. The small restaurant serves traditional biryanis, North Indian kebabs and chai, using traditional ingredients, recipes and techniques. Wanting to lead the way in sustainable hospitality, takeaway orders are plastic-free, they use cardboard for small items and reusable clay pots for their signature biryanis.
The WolseleyCity of London
A faithful replica of the original Wolseley restaurant on Piccadilly, with its black and white décor, baroque ironwork and arched windows, this new sibling is located in the heart of the Square Mile, in London’s financial district. The Wolseley City retains the “all-day” offering that is inherent to The Wolseley’s DNA. Menu highlights include Welsh Rarebit, Steak Tartare and Lobster Salad, Heritage Potato and Coppa Ham. Oysters are exquisite and for a real treat you can enjoy the Crustacea and Plateau de Fruits de Mer. Desserts are spot on, including baked vanilla cheesecake and sachertorte. Breakfast, the meal for which The Wolseley is best known, includes all the classics, from Sausage and Egg Hash Brown with sauce, to a deliciously rich Eggs Royale and Kedgeree with a poached egg.
Aragawa, the Tokyo restaurant that has been serving the best specialty beef in Japan for over 50 years, has just opened in London. Founder Kotaro, together with chef Kazuo Imayosh, have brought the rare Tajima heifer, rarely found outside Aragawa in Tokyo, to London for the first time. Tajima beef must meet a strict list of criteria, including marbling standards, texture, firmness and the age of the cow must be at least 28 months. Aragawa prepares its beef in a classic way, roasted over Binchotan charcoal in a specially built oven, seasoned only with salt and pepper and served with seasonal ingredients.
Tucked away near Edgware Road, healthy Asian restaurant Uli serves dishes from across China and South East Asia, each prepared from scratch using traditional Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean methods. Thai green curry, shrimp dim sum and shrimp spring rolls were all perfectly prepared and delicious.
Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver, the owners of the super-popular Thai restaurant Som Saa in Spitalfields, have opened their second restaurant, this time in the bustling Borough Market. Kolae takes its name from Kolae, a cooking style from southern Thailand where the ingredients are richly bathed in a curry-like coconut marinade, before being grilled over an open fire and smoldering coconut. Located in an old coach house, guests can take a seat at the counter overlooking the open kitchen, or in the intimate, green oasis on the first floor.
Aqua Restaurant Group’s new Italian seafood restaurant adopts a ‘boat-to-table’ philosophy, using the finest sustainably sourced fish and seafood from Britain, featuring catch of the day, salt-baked sole and Milanese swordfish. A three-course express lunch is great value at £30, with the menu including fritto misto, Branzino and linguine alle vongole.