71 Blandford St., Marylebone
Carousel is a fairly novel concept: a three-story creative hub that hosts a turntable of food pop-ups with a rotating cast of stellar international chefs monthly. Most recently, Carousel hosted Scott Smith of Scotland’s Norn, followed by Turkish chef Esra Muslu. Smith created a menu that looked like Scottish classics, but each dish was dressed up with the techniques of the moment—kombu and salt-baked hogget loin, buttered wild leeks and fried seaweed. The space itself is industrial and raw to accommodate the various cuisines that pass through, and polished, with long communal tables meant to encourage conversation with strangers and a gallery upstairs.
19-21 Blandford St., Marylebone
Jikoni owner Ravinder Bhogal is of Indian descent and was partially raised in Nairobi ("jikoni" means kitchen in Swahili). And her food tells the story of her geographic biography: prawn toast freshened up with pickled cucumbers, chickpea chips with Bengali-style chutney, a Scotch egg made with venison instead of pork, scallops and congee. British and African influence is evident, but at its core, Jikoni serves up flavor-packed comfort food that transcends culture. The restaurant itself is a refreshingly colorful break from the cool minimalism sweeping the capital’s interiors. The tablecloths are brightly patterned, the cushions are colorful, and the tapestries that cover the walls are loud and cheerful. Like the food, the décor feels fresh and hopeful, definitely a welcome addition to a stretch of town that often seems akin to a one-note French village of bakeries and cheese stores.
5-7 Blandford St., Marylebone
Finally, a brick-and-mortar manifestation of Simon Rogan’s beloved pop-up, with most of the original staff making a return. Roganic’s produce comes straight from Rogan’s own farm, with a sprinkling of greatest hits from the rest of the British Isles. The fourteen-course tasting menu makes for a long evening, so best to leave the kids at home. Nordic flavors abound, most in the desserts—smoked juniper fudge, iced dandelion seed snap, to give an idea. The rest is a mix of the most delicious things you can think of, one course after the other. Raw bavette, scallops, buttery poached halibut, duck—they all make an appearance. Salt-baked celeriac (is there anything better than this? No, there is not), artichoke broth, beet sorbet, and a clever use of herbs and fruits balance out all the richness. If you’re going to commit to the tasting, go big—get the wine pairing, too.
15-17 Blandford St., Marylebone
Rose, vermouth, cardamom, and cherry? That’s a Kerala. Fennel pollen, port, and mint: That’s the West Bengal. Welcome to cocktails, as envisioned by Trishna. (The drinks are named after the Indian states their flavors represent.) Like the cocktails, every item on the menu and every piece of furniture and décor was carefully considered. The food is, for the most part, Keralan coastal fare, all the bright, zesty curries and rice dishes brimming with scallops, king prawns, flaky white fish, and spices. If you order the seven-course vegetarian tasting menu you will never question the validity of vegetables as a main ever again. The velvet banquettes are perfect for groups, the mirrored walls and gold-hued lighting give a romantic edge, and skipping dessert for the rose petal lassi is never a bad call.
50 Baker St., Marylebone
This is a classic Turkish mangal grill on steroids, with an expansive menu of mezze, kebabs, and grilled mains, served up in a glitzy space right on Baker street. By London standards, the space is enormous, as is the grill in the back of the room, but at dinnertime, it manages to feel warm and cozy, filled with everyone from casual walk-ins to large groups there pre-night out. There are plenty of classics on the menu, including an excellent Lamb Kofte and Borek from the clay oven, but it's the cocktail menu where the innovation lies, with a suite of raki-based drinks to get the night started.
22 Harcourt St., Marylebone
Tucked away in a converted townhouse in Marylebone is one of London's best-kept secrets when it comes to Japanese. While the interiors are nothing worth celebrating—the dark basement seating borders on claustrophobic—the small, tapas-style dishes, make it, and the price tag, worthwhile. The menu is extensive and the good news is they're more than happy to guide you if you don't know where to begin. Our picks: The beef cha-sia bun and the miso glazed eggplant (aubergine).
26 Paddington St., Marylebone
With its undulating brick ceilings (made to resemble a pizza oven) to it's tables with tree branch bases, the beauty of this restaurant's space is matched by the provenance of its ingredients. Owner Kurt Zdesar spent much time both in Italy and the UK sourcing the finest, organic ingredients in order to bring hand rolled pasta, stone baked pizza, and modern Italian cooking to London's happening Chiltern Street. Not only that, but he's opened up a 'pasticceria' next door where specialty goods, house rolled pastas, and breads are available for the converted.
79 Baker St., Marylebone
This West End institution has been around for years. You can enjoy a traditional kosher dinner downstairs, or grab takeway at the deli upstairs. Watch out for sundown on shabat, as they tend to close around the Jewish holiday calendar. GP's usual order: chicken soup and two latkes.
120 Marylebone Ln., Marylebone
This offshoot of the Parisian original is nearly identical in look and concept, that being a convivial brassiere serving one meal and one meal only: steak frites (with a special secret sauce), preceded by a green salad with walnuts dressed with a mustard vinaigrette. No reservations, like the original, so come early or be prepared to wait.
The Lockhart (Closed)
22-24 Seymour Pl., Marylebone
Chef Brad McDonald and his wife Molly moved into the Lockhart space recently, shaking up the quiet backstreets of Marylebone with their brand of down-home Missisippi cooking. On a hot day, Molly pours sweet iced tea while customers choose between the fried chicken, the muffuletta (the meatiest of sandwiches), and the best shrimp grits this side of the Thames. It's true Southern cooking so it's heavy, but under this chef's watch, not unnecessarily so. Whatever you do, order a side of cornbread, which comes slathered in butter and honey. Get there early on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, for Brad and Molly's delicious side-project, 1235 Donuts.
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