Hot new London restaurant openings
By Zoe Perrett.
In foodie circles, 2017 has been unofficially dubbed ‘the year of the taco’ – and indeed, since late last year, some of London’s hottest new restaurant openings have focused on that very item. We’re all about restaurant openings at FoodStars, which is why we offer central production kitchens in London to help keep their successes coming. With each new year comes new opportunities for your taste-buds to try exciting flavours, so here are some great places opening around the capital that you’ll definitely want to try.
Want to taste the trend? The list is pretty much all killer, no filler: the Breddos boys’ new taqueria ; Neil Rankin’s Temper; the Hart brothers’ El Pastor; Soho’s Corazon; the marvellous and undersung Mole Taco Bar. Off meat? You can still treat yourself – Club Mexicana has just taken up residence at Dalston bar Pamela, offering a taco-centric, innovative all-vegan menu.
London diners aren’t just wacko for tacos. Mexican food is also having a moment in the sun (or, rather, the winter sleet). In April, South American super-chef Martha Ortiz opens Ella Canta at the Intercontinental Park Lane, and it would be entirely unsurprising if Edson Diaz-Fuentes of the much-mourned, short-lived Santo Remedio shortly set up something new.
The capital is a multicultural melting pot, and so it’s unsurprising that Brit kids absorb the culinary influences that are so abundant. In Soho, Ben Chapman kicks out killer Thai at Kiln, whilst just down the road, Kricket’s Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell continue to do Indian food their very own way at the venue’s second site.
Over at POP Brixton, the original Kricket still commands queues – as does Donostia Social Club. Don’t quibble over authenticity: this is Basque food with a resolute twist. To founding chef Paul Belcher, knocking up an outstanding dish is more important than faithfully recreating a classic – and, luckily for everyone involved, he’s damn good at it.
Still got an appetite for more of London’s best restaurants? You won’t have to waddle far, because ex-Cafe Anglais chef Oli Brown’s Duck Duck Goose has just made POP its permanent home. Despite the meaty moniker, there’s more than meets the eye here – along with a host of barbecued pork, duck and goose, expect pimped-up prawn toast and Hong Kong comfort foods.
Oli’s not the only chef with an eye for the birds. The duck-centric Bastien restaurant has long been in the pipeline for Brunswick House Cafe’s insanely-talented head chef Andrew Clarke, and, in January, he hosted a pilot pop-up for the project. We’ve all had our fancy tickled for far too long on this one, and the concept needs to go concrete. If it does, it’s guaranteed to be one of 2017’s hottest new restaurant openings.
Most of us would give our right arm for a lovely neighbourhood local; few of us are in luck. If you’re lucky enough to live in SW17, you’re probably be tooting your horn right now. Forget losing the Plot; Tooting’s Broadway Market has found it, and it’s now home to the restaurant where Harry Smith, Mark Kimber and Giles Elstob serve forth seasonal British plates.
Over in Newington Green, Perilla has established itself as one of the hottest venues in town by combining cool Nordic cuisine with warm hospitality. The menu is not what you’d expect from a friendly neighbourhood restaurant; from the use of chopped shellfish as a seasoning to the individual herb leaves topping peeled grapes on the venue’s newly-iconic walnut custard dessert, chef Ben Marks’ Noma training is much in evidence.
If all that’s whet your appetite to go forth and feast, then loosen your belt another notch – because it seems only apt to end by offering an amuse bouche on a few forthcoming openings set to take London by storm: modern Brit outfit Lupins, Stoke House’s new spin on the classic carvery, and supperclub superstars Darjeeling Express’s first restaurant amongst their number. The golden rules? Eat well, eat wisely, and always stay hungry for more.
Zoe Perrett is a food writer with a vested interest in Indian cuisine and fine chocolate (and blogs devoted to both topics). As Good Things magazine’s editor, she knows a thing or two about what’s going on in the gastrophere. Food is her business – and she makes it her business to spot, promote, and support the tastiest artisans and start-ups.