With dozens of new restaurants launching in London each month, keeping up with the pace of change is always going to be a challenge, even for the most dedicated of foodie pioneers. But to somewhat curb your appetite for new eateries, feast on this list of winter openings, from happening Hackney to matchless Mayfair.
London loves a pop-up, and those in the know are heading eastward to sample the delights of The Clubhouse, a Friday-and-Saturday-only celebration of all things foodie at a former mirror factory in Hackney Wick. Kerb, the team behind of some of London’s best street food markets, is bringing together its favorite vendors in this hip post-industrial location. In addition, Kerb Clubhouse will have occasional openings on Thursday nights for special events. Enjoy what might just be the best pizza in London courtesy of Fundi Pizza’s wood-fired oven, sample fusion treats like Kimchinary’s toasted Korean burritos (served with kimchi fried rice and gochujang special sauce) or chow down on a soft-shell crab burger from Crabbieshack. There will also be a deejay, live music and a beer bar serving choice ales from nearby The Old Truman Brewery.
The Ivy Market Grill
Located just a few minutes’ walk from its world famous big sister, The Ivy, the fine dining restaurant long favored by London’s starry creative types such as Rod Stewart, the November-opened Ivy Market Grill gives the rest of us a chance to sample the magic. With a terrace giving onto Covent Garden Piazza, it’s sure to become a must-visit for all-day diners, whether busy shoppers, museum hoppers or Londoners seeking a classy spot for a business meal. Chef Sean Burbidge, who comes to the Ivy Market Grill direct from Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus, cooks a menu of modern British, international dishes and comfort food, from truffled eggs to rack of lamb. The décor, with its splashes of green and clouded glass, recalls The Ivy, the restaurant that inspired the Ivy Market Grill, while at the same time standing on its own as Covent Garden’s latest dining destination.
Named after a famed 18th-century courtesan who lived in the area, Kitty Fisher’s is just the latest fine-dining establishment to make waves in the village-like part of Mayfair called Shepherd Market. The December-opened establishment keeps things intimate with 40 chairs, while offering a design scheme that goes big on polished wood and comfy red banquettes. In the kitchen is Welsh chef Tomos Parry, who comes to Mayfair having made waves at East End eatery Climpson’s Arch. An expert in charcoal cooking, Parry creates deceptively simple dishes such as lamb cutlets with anchovy, mint and parsley, and monkfish with rosemary, parsnip and chard. Joining him is Chris Leach, from Soho’s Pitt Cue Co, the restaurant that taught Londoners how to barbecue American-style. For fans of the grill, it’s a deliciously unbeatable combination.
The UK’s first “paleolithic” (no sugar, cheese or bread) restaurant opened in fashionable Westbourne Grove in December, following a successful trial run as a pop-up outside the capital. Its modern British menu is 100-percent gluten- and dairy-free but such is the skill of chef and founder Holly Redman that you’d never guess you’re missing out. Dishes such as coconut flour flatbread, duck breast with celeriac rosti, and clementine and almond cake make following a free-from diet a surprisingly decadent experience. Between bites you’ll notice that Pure Taste’s sleek, modern design creates an elegant vibe. A chemistry graduate and nutritional therapist, Redman takes care to ensure that her menus display full nutritional information, flagging dishes that are low in FODMAPS (carbohydrates), suitable for a range of diets or just plain old vegetarian.
Cereal Killer Café
Identical Northern Irish twins Alan and Gary Keery were out and about in Shoreditch one day when they were struck by a craving for a bowl of cereal. With the breakfast staple nowhere to be found, they hit upon the idea of opening a café of their own — and late last year the pair realized their dream. There are 120 cereals from around the world on Cereal Killer Café’s menu, plus 20 toppings, 30 types of milk, Pop-Tarts and a selection of sweet treats made from cereal. With a color scheme inspired by Lucky Charms and décor designed to evoke the kitchens of our childhood, the café is a shamelessly nostalgic place to indulge. Cereals on the menu include rare varieties such as Boo Berry, Franken Berry and Count Chocula, the American Halloween cereals only available a few autumn months of the year; the South Korean cereal Oreo O’s; and a strawberry puff cereal from South Africa. Also available are “cereal cocktails,” which consist of blends of several boxes served with flavored milk.