Maison François, St James’s
Originally scheduled to open in spring, St James’s brasserie and wine bar Maison François will open its doors on 14th September. The restaurant will pay homage to the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace – expect mirror-filled arches, art-deco chandeliers hung from the 20ft ceilings and curved banquettes – while incorporating wider influences across its menus. Open all day, Maison François will focus on simplicity and seasonality, starting with breads and fresh patisserie made in-house. Throughout the day, guests can watch the chefs at work around the open kitchen. From the pass, you’ll be able to order brasserie classics such as reblochon gougères and jambon noir, alongside handmade pasta dishes like ravioli dauphine with comté and black pepper, while whole fish and cuts of meat will be cooked over a wood-fired grill and served with frites. Before or after a meal, guests can head downstairs to Frank’s, a Manhattan-style wine bar which offers a 250-bottle wine list and cocktails until late.
34 Duke Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6DF; 14th September
Rondo is a new restaurant and wine bar at The Hoxton, Holborn. The space has been created in collaboration with William Lander, co-owner of meat-focused hotspots Quality Chop House, Portland and Clipstone, who has helped oversee the concept and put together an exciting wine list. Heading up the kitchen is Chris Gillard – previously of St John – whose menus make the most of seasonal produce with pared-back, punchy dishes. Among the snacks are duck rillettes and a bone marrow toastie, while starters include smoked mackerel with beetroot and horseradish; and crispy pig’s cheek salad with roast shallots and watercress. Working closely with independent suppliers such as Ben’s Fish in Mersea Island and Swaledale Foods in Yorkshire, Chris’s dishes will change depending on season and availability, but they will always focus on lesser-used ingredients, such as grey mullet, which is the star of one of Rondo’s current main courses, simply cooked on the charcoal grill and served with tomato, fennel and aioli. For dessert, expect apricot and almond tart; Pump Street chocolate mousse cake with fresh cherries; and British cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy.
199-206 High Holborn, Holborn, WC1V 7BD
Later this month, Japanese restaurant Taka will open on Marylebone High Street. The menu has been created by former Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama and head chef Jonathan Dowling, who previously worked together at the acclaimed Beaverbrook hotel in Surrey. The pair have designed a small plate-led menu – focusing on hot and grilled dishes as well as sushi – which will showcase British produce through an entirely Japanese execution. Dishes designed to be shared include a yakitori omakase: a whole Botterills chicken broken down to its components then grilled over hot coals to create a complete nose-to-tail eating experience. The sushi menu majors in quirky adaptations of long-standing favourites, such as kagoshima A5 wagyu sukiyaki with onsen eggs and popcorn shrimp with daikon salad. The dining area will be set across two floors, blending contemporary Japanese and European style with simple materials including oak, timber and tan leather. Don’t forget to order one of the bar’s well-chosen sakes to accompany your meal.
109 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 4RX; 24th September
Tandoor Chop House, Notting Hill
Tandoor Chop House has opened the doors to its new Notting Hill home. Inspired by the communal eateries of northern India and the classic British chop house, the restaurant first launched in Covent Garden in 2017, going on to be named one of Time Out’s Top 10 Restaurants in London for two years running. The menu kicks off with bhaji onion rings with smoked aubergine raita; chickpea chaat with tamarind, pomegranate and green chilli; and seekh kebab rolls with green chutney. From the tandoor, must-orders include the kitchen’s signature house tandoor chicken, as well as black pepper chicken tikka, roasted cauliflower, and crispy lamb chops. A selection of house-made naans – from green chilli, garlic and mature cheddar to tandoor roti – and sides including black dahl and nimbu masala fries are also available. For those looking to try a bit of everything, the showstopping ‘Mighty Thali’ gives groups of two to three the chance to share all the best bits of the menu. The newest addition to the Tandoor Chop House family – Tandoor Tacos – will also be available to eat in, offering flaky paratha breads packed with a combination of Indian and Mexican flavours, spices and pickles.
30 Uxbridge Street, Notting Hill, W8 7TA
Club Mexicana, Kingly Court
The cult vegan Mexican/Californian-inspired street food spot has opened its first restaurant. Inspired by the lively roadside stalls of Los Angeles and Mexico City, Club Mexicana’s fresh Kingly Court site serves tacos and burritos designed to be enjoyed with a margarita or two. Guests will be able to watch the kitchen team at work as they slice into the star of the show – a sizzling al pastor spit. Taco fans can expect to tuck into hits such as the baja tofish taco – reimagined with a panko crust – and the BBQ short ‘rib’ tacos, with hickory smoked BBQ sauce, pickled cucumber, slaw and garlic mayo. On the side, expect shoestring fries seasoned with chilli lime salt and Mexican-style street-food snack elote – a corn and black bean salad with a tangy lime and jalapeno dressing.
Kingly Court, Covent Garden, W1B 5PW
Hugh Stanley’s debut restaurant has opened in Chelsea, comprising a large outside courtyard and bar, restaurant, orangery-style dining area and private dining room. Set back from the King’s Road, guests enter through a floral archway flanked by olive trees and tiered shrub planting into the flagstone courtyard area. Under the leadership of head chef Olivia Burt –a finalist on Masterchef: The Professionals last year – the menu focuses on seasonal produce showcasing the best of British ingredients. Dishes include the likes of sourdough crumpet with Cornish crab and potted shrimps; crispy prawns served with sriracha emulsion; and roasted halibut with summer courgettes and lemon verbena.
151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, SW3 6NT
Seoul Bird, Shepherd’s Bush
Korean-American chef Judy Joo is behind Seoul Bird, a restaurant specialising in Korean-style chicken and where dishes are made to Judy’s secret recipe: the Korean fried chicks are brined for 24 hours before being double-fried for extra crunch, and served with an Asian slaw of red cabbage, daikon, onion and carrot, tossed in a citrus soy dressing. Under a neon red sign and hanging pendant lamps, visitors can take their pick from whole thighs, whole wings or tenders, accompanied by sauces such as spicy Korean BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, and sweet soy ginger. The restaurant also offers ‘Seoul Bowls’ – freshly steamed rice or cauliflower rice piled with crunchy fresh vegetables and pickled daikon. These can be enhanced with the likes of soy grilled chicken thighs, ginger marinated portobello mushrooms or crispy Korean fried chicken.
Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GE
Six By Nico, Fitzrovia
Renowned Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone was all set to open his first London restaurant at the end of March. Instead, Six by Nico eventually arrived at the end of July, serving a new six-course tasting menu every six weeks. Nico and his team offer an elevated cooking experience at an accessible price point: the six courses will come in at £35pp, with wine pairings for an extra £33pp. Menus are a fiercely guarded secret until shortly before they launch and inspiration can come from anywhere. At Nico’s Glasgow restaurant, themes have included ‘Guilty Pleasures’, ‘Catalonia’ and ‘Thai Street Food’. First up at the new place was ‘The Chippie’, and new for this month is ‘Childhood’ – expect ‘Eggy Soldiers’ (Cacklebean egg served with brown butter, celeriac espuma, celeriac soldier and lovage) followed by ‘Mac & Cheese’ (truffle mac ’n’ cheese with cauliflower, aged cheddar and gherkin ketchup).
33-41 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1RR
The team behind Salon and Levan have just launched Larry's in Peckham. Taking cues from the corner bars, diners and cafés of New York, Larry's is open all day, kicking off with coffee and pastries, serving deli-style sandwiches for lunch and offering a concise menu of sharing plates for dinner. Larry’s is named for 70s dance music pioneer and DJ Larry Levan, and will stay open late into the night, playing music from its vintage sound system while guests settle in for dinner. Evening dishes are inspired by NYC’s diverse dinner scene: think devilled crab, brown crab mayo, pickled fennel and bruschetta; clams with cabbage and XO chilli sauce; and pig’s head ragu with pappardelle and Szechuan pepper.
12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, SE15 4QL
Wildflower by Adrian Martin opened for a handful of services before lockdown – and is now back properly. Making the most of top-quality produce from his home country, the restaurant marks the Irish chef’s London debut. With 30 covers reduced to just ten to ensure the current regulations are met, Wildflower is an intimate, charming space, offering a seasonally driven tasting menu. The regular and vegan eight-course tasting menus are £60 per person or £110pp including a paired wine flight. Championing simplicity over complexity, the dishes allow just one or two ingredients to sing: think onion and bacon bread; scallop and alexander root with Jerusalem artichoke velouté; and hay-baked celeriac with hazelnut and barley.
Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 8QP
Tavolino, London Bridge
Tavolino’s kitchen is headed up by Louis Korovilas, godson of Giorgio Locatelli and formerly head chef of Bancone. On the south bank of the Thames, Tavolino is split across two floors with floor-to-ceiling windows and comes with a 70-seater outdoor terrace with views of the City and Tower of London. Tavolino serves simple dishes cooked with produce from across Italy and the UK. Guests can order the likes of Tuscan fennel salami, lardo and parmesan bombolini and zucchini fritti. Each morning, Louis and his team will make their own pasta from scratch for dishes including silk handkerchief pasta sheets with walnut butter and Burford Brown yolk; tagliatelle, spicy ’nduja and pork ragu; and tomato, basil and Barilotto cheese made with buffalo milk in Salerno.
2 More London Riverside, London Bridge, SE1 2DB
Ravinder and Amar Madhray’s new Dalston opening is all about dishes from the Indian state of Punjab. With a menu designed by Arbinder Duggal, who grew up in Punjab and was a semi-finalist on Masterchef: The Professionals 2019, the kitchen offers a modern take on Punjabi home cooking, with a mix of comforting family recipes and contemporary interpretations. Of the menu, we love the sound of the pindhi chole – chickpeas slow cooked in chana masala – and the rich, spicy, patiyala lamb ghost curry.
6 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2JP
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