Sometimes it feels like nothing will slow down London's food and drink scene. It's an ever-growing juggernaut, attracting big-name chefs from as far away as Brazil; as well as grassroots creativity from Shoreditch – and we're pretty thankful for it.
There's always a hot new restaurant or bar to check out, whether your taste is more wine and small plates, or really, really good roast chicken. If you're wondering where to eat this month, we've got it, and plenty more besides.
Hackney Coterie [pictured]
230 Dalston Lane, E8 1LA
Oh, you were worried a natural wine bar and restaurant in a magnificent old warehouse wouldn’t quite fit in to the surrounds of the Hackney borderlands? Well think again, silly, because we have it on good authority that that’s exactly the kind of thing the good people of E8 can get on board with. Hackney Coterie is the forthcoming second restaurant from Anthony Lyon, founder of Lyon’s in Crouch End, and will also see former Hide and Scully chef Dominic Auger handling kitchen operations and Kelvin McCabe curating an excellent list of sake and low-intervention wine. Expect artful and creative small plates served with a fine-dining flourish. There’ll be wine, cheese and charcuterie to go, too.
Sunday in Brooklyn
98 Westbourne Grove, W2 5RU
We've not been to Sunday in Brooklyn in, er, Brooklyn, but from the sounds of it we reckon the new London outpost of this acclaimed all-day-dining spot in Williamsburg will find a nice home in Notting Hill. Founders Todd Enany, Adam Landsman, along with chef Jaime Young, will oversee a menu of eclectic dishes and drinks, with some of its NYC staples making the trip across the pond, including whole smoked artichoke with saffron aioli; grilled swordfish with charred broccoli greens, butter bean pistou; and cheddar biscuits with sausage gravy, poached eggs. There’ll be a decent-sized list of cocktails for drinking at any time of the day, and – as you'd imagine – a vibrant brunch menu designed to devour over a few hours, and some natural wines, too.
267 Kensington High Street, W8 6NA
Kensington's Il Portico has been a neighbourhood favourite for decades, and now owner James Chiavarini is branching the family business out to a new spot down the road. Expect a similarly charming vibe, with a menu inspired by the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, and much of the produce coming from the family’s farm in Kent and cooked on a wood-fired oven.
47 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7JP
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Fernando Trocca is the latest in a line of World’s 50 Best-baiting chefs from Latin America to open up in London. Following the likes of Martha Ortiz and Virgilio Martinez, he’s expanding his Buenos Aires restaurant Sucre to a prime location in Central London. The menu will feature contemporary cooking in a sumptuous space designed by Japanese architect Noriyoshi Muramatsu, while acclaimed bartender Tato Giovannoni will take the helm at downstairs cocktail bar Abajo.
158 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0BA
If all that eating's got you in the mood for a nightcap, look no further than newly launched basement bar Nocturne. Located directly underneath Steve Pineau and Xavier Rousset's Old Brompton bar, it’ll see a menu of creative cocktails overseen by head bartender Luca Gilmozzi. The three are really leaning into the speakeasy theme, with the menu divided into Vintage, Pre-prohibition and Prohibition drinks, and there'll also be an excellent list of largely French wines curated by master sommelier Rousset, as well as more than 70 artisanal cheeses and charcuterie. Alongside the vintage decor and regular piano evenings, it'll have you feeling like you're in 1925.
56 James St, W1U 1H
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Patty & Bun has dominated London's burger scene, so we've got high hopes for its founder's next venture. Joe Grossman used lockdown to finally open Sidechick, although it had been in the works for two years before that – a roast chicken delivery service that's now opened it's first bricks-and-mortar site on James Street in Marylebone. The birds are cooked over coal (good) and marinated in za'atar or piri piri (good) and served with pillowy flatbreads topped with confit onion and anchovy (very, very good). Grossman's aim was to create a convivial dining experience that has all the warmth and comfort of home – if your home had a coal-fired oven, which ours sadly doesn't.
Camden Brewery's Beer Hall
Wilkin Street Mews, NW5 3NN
Bavarian x Italian food from Theo Randall; a Slice Bar serving up pizza; and 24 tank-fresh beers: OK Camden Brewery, you have our attention. The NW5 legends have brought their playful character back to where they came from with the opening of their new Beer Hall on the original brewery site in Camden Mews, and we're pretty damn happy about it. And we're happy about the grilled aubergine, porchetta, spicy nduja and creamy scarmorza cheese pizza, too.
The Light Bar
233 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PJ
Given Foodism's last year or so, we can safely say we're always glad when things we thought were lost are gloriously reborn, and that's definitely the case with The Light Bar. Eight years after Shoreditch gem The Light closed shop, this gorgeous former power station is reborn as The Light Bar, serving contemporary small plates, wine and cocktails from its courtyard before opening for indoor dining in May. Once marked for redevelopment, the space was saved and is newly protected. The fun will happen across three floors of dining space, while the kitchen is helmed by Johnnie Collins, who'll be cooking dishes like Devon crab cappelletti, short rib beef bun and burrata with broad bean tops. Which sounds better than a block of flats to us.
87-88 North Yard, Camden Market, NW1 8AH
In a part of town known for great boozers, it seems mad that the older-than-time-itself Camden Market itself has never had one. And yet, here we are. Well that's all changed with the opening of Farrier, a new neighbourhood pub that's dishing up some seriously good food and drink. Chef Ash Finch, who cut his teeth under Alain Ducasse, René Redzepi and more, will be cooking dishes that celebrate British produce as well as killer Sunday roasts, while a list of great beers and natural and low-intervention wines will complement the grub. It'll welcome guests indoors from mid-May, but for now you can eat at its outdoor terrace and courtyard. Yes, there are heaters.
21A Foley Street, W1W 6DS
As much as we Londoners want to think our glorious city is the centre of the food universe and that all brilliant chefs and restaurants germinate here, it can often be the other way around. Case in point is new Fitzrovia arrival Cin Cin, which is coming in hot from its hometown of Brighton. It's the third restaurant from the Cin Cin team, although the first in the capital, and it brings with it seasonal Italian cooking and generous hospitality. In food speak, that means negronis, burrata, crab arancini and handmade pasta. Yep, we'll be saying cheers to Cin Cin, alright.
9 Seymour St, W1H 7BA
Considering Mexican chef Santiago Lastra's profile, it came as no surprise when his long-awaited solo venture KOL drew acclaim across the board on opening in 2019. This May, it's adding a bar, too: KOL Mezcaleria will be a refined subterranean drinking den, offering more than 80 tequilas and mezcals alongside a new menu of bar snacks, with a cocktail menu by American Bar alumnus Maxim Schulte.
The Red Duck
1 Ramsden Road, SW12 8QX
SAM A HARRIS
OK, The Red Duck technically opened just before Christmas, but it had to pivot to delivery-only as the third lockdown came our way. Now, though, it's properly in business: chef Chi San oversees a menu of regional Chinese dishes cooked with beautiful British ingredients, like the stir-fried beef with ginger, made with 35-day-aged rib-eye from HG Walter. The drinks list is contemporary, packed with small-scale wine producers and interesting choices, while there are highballs, great craft beers and even a tea menu to boot.
66 Belsize Lane, NW3 5BJ
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This new neighbourhood restaurant might seem small in scale, but a closer look at the line-up and you'll realise that North London's Belsize Park is in for a serious treat. It's the first solo venture from chef Jake Finn, formerly of the Ritz, Coya and La Petite Maison, while the wine list will feature bottles picked by Alex Percy (The Modest Merchant) and a selection of fine wines from Bibendum. The name nods to the concept: all the dishes, whether meat, fish or vegetable, will have had a close encounter with Finn's Josper grill, taking inspiration from Peru, Japan, Italy, France and Greece. In practise, that means dishes like charred skewers of lamb leg with yoghurt and sage.
If your idea of a good time is pulling up a pew and watching a master chef at work, get yourself booked into a counter seat at Brixton's new hotpost Temaki, pronto. Executive chef Shaulan Steenson is a rice specialist and exquisite golden uruchimai rice is the star of his menu, appearing in the Japanese hand rolls that give the restaurant its name. Elsewhere, there are salmon skin crisps with chilli and salt (yes), white and brown crab meat temaki (yes) and sashmini with smoked salt and buckwheat (oh yes).
The Italian Greyhound
62 Seymour St, W1H 5BN
It's same same but different in Marble Arch, where beautiful Italian restaurant Bernardi's has undergone a transformation to become equally beautiful new restaurant The Italian Greyhound. The team behind it hasn't changed, so you can expect the same Italian flair and flourish, but with a slightly new look and feel. Head chef Yohei Furuhashi's CV is peppered with stints at the River Café, Dinings SW3 and Petersham Nurseries, which he's using to create a menu of top-quality British and Italian produce – and that's more than alright by us.
Native at Browns
39 Brook Street, W1K 4JE
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Native, the beloved London Bridge restaurant that made a name for itself for pioneering wild cooking, sadly shut its doors in the city last year, setting up shop on Osea Island, a luxury holiday resort just outside London. We're very pleased to say it's back, this time in the more accessible but equally sophisticated surrounds of luxury boutique Browns in its newly reopened flagship store on Brook Street. Head chef Ivan Tisdall-Downes and partner Imogen Davis's latest iteration will be a zero-waste restaurant designed to cater to the well-heeled visitors of Mayfair. From the 'wasting snacks', moreish morsels made with bits and bobs that would usually get chucked away, to elegant plates of inventive dishes like the signature squirrel ragu, we can't wait to see what they do next.
194 Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2UF
South West London is in for a treat with the arrival of FENN, a second site from the team behind Hackney's quietly cultish restaurant NEST. The menu will have a similar focus on seasonal, sustainable produce, sourcing from the likes of Swaledale, HG Walter and Flying Fish. Dishes to look out for include the scallop in chicken butter sauce (cast your eyes left to whet your appetite), and a delicate, frilly edged custard tart that looks so good we could probably nail five in as many minutes.
221 Kensington High Street, W8 6SG
Spanish grilled octopus with blood orange. Smoked brown butter cauliflower with egg yolk and hazelnut gunpowder. Burrata, white pear, candy beetroot and pistachio dukka. Shall we continue? Or is that enough to make you want to throw yourself through the doors of new Aegean-inspired opening Pascor? Quite frankly, we'd fly to the moon to eat those dishes (many of which are cooked on a mangal) right now – but thankfully we don't have to, as the latest arrival on Kensington High Street is up and running on Deliveroo already – and will be until it's able to open its actual doors to us hungry folk. Baklava cheesecake with poached cherries? Just stop it already.
36 Duke Street, SW1Y 6DF
French brasserie Maison François set up shop in one of the brief windows of 2020 when dining out was possible, and boy are we glad it did. But we're even more glad about the evolution of its subterranean cocktail bar Frank's, which is planning to open for lunch and dinner with a delightful little menu of pain de campagne, jambon with figs, and French onion soup toasties.
Unit 2, Building, 4 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG
Here's some insider intel for you: BAO's latest outpost in King's Cross doesn't fully open until 17 May, but until then you can still head to the BAO Bakery Goods counter to get your fix of sweet treats. When it does open for the full dining experience, you'll find an all-day café inspired by the Western-style cafés found around Asia. There'll be bao, of course (including hamburger bao and lobster bao), but what we're really getting excited about it the breakfast menu: BAO loaf, syrup and butter; baked ham hock congee pie; and bacon, egg and cheese spring onion pancake. Now that's the way the start the day.