10 London Restaurants GP Wants To Try
The London food scene is so spread out, it’s hard to keep track of all the new openings and not miss the gems. Here’s what’s topping the list, from Soho to Hackney.
Duck & Rice
It’s not a big surprise that restaurateur Alan Yau— Wagamama, Hakkasan, and Yauatcha—has moved on to his next big concept. (He’s sold all three of his ventures.) This Chinese gastropob is set to launch in Soho next month, and while the food will likely be slam-dunk delicious, the interiors, by Turkish design firm Autoban, are supposed to be good enough to usurp the spotlight.
Another from Alan Yau (besides Duck & Rice, he also opened a Turkish joint named Babaji Pide): This one is 1940’s Shanghai-themed and on Dover Street. Judging by its surroundings, this will be a Yau spot where it will be nearly impossible to get a reservation.
Waits can be long for the dimly-lit Soho hole in the wall, even late into the night. The street food-inspired Thai wood-ember barbecue snacks and small plates are supposedly worth it (specifically the Whole Chili Crab and the Chicken Wings doused in fish sauce). The kitchen is helmed by Chef Seb Holmes, though we hear Andy Ricker of Pok Pok’s influence is pretty unmissable.
This is supposed to be a total 180 from the Ollie Dabbous original: Rather than industrial, it’s barn-like, and in lieu of delicately plated dishes, the fare is heavier, home-style cooking. But it’s supposed to be great: It may be the best, most finely prepared cauliflower cheese, sausage roll, or bubble & squeak in town.
After cutting their teeth on the vineyards in Napa, Charlotte and Michael Sager-Wilde brought their love for the great Californian wines back to London, where they’re something of a rarity. A meal at their first large restaurant venture, under converted railway arches in Bethnal Green, is supposed to be transporting (and a lot less than a ticket to Napa), pairing wonderful wines with an Italian-influenced seasonal menu of small plates.
The little sister restaurant to Angela Hartnett’s Murano, isn’t really a step down: It has an address on St. James Street (near the Ritz) and a menu of hearty, Northern Italian dishes, like Fritto Misto, Linguine Vongole, and Osso Bucco perfected by Hartnett’s deputy, Sam Williams. It’s supposed to be the kind of place that’s great for both a leisurely family lunch (there’s even a kids menu) or a dressed-up dinner with friends.
Modeled after a Raj-era Indian sports club, Gymkhana balances some nostalgic interiors with what’s said to be the best Indian in London: It was voted No.1 restaurant in London in 2013 before going on to win a Michelin star in 2014. The food is served family-style—Tikkas, Biryanis, Saags—but things get really exciting when it comes to the bread. Duck egg bhurji with lobster, for one, sounds epic.
Set in a huge, light-filled space in Somerset House, Spring is helmed by chef Skye Gyngell, who won a Michelin star for her restaurant at Petersham Nurseries—and then promptly left. She’s finally returned after a long time away and is apparently back to her old tricks: Light, seasonal, Italian-inflected dishes that are essentially perfect.
This tiny restaurant/café on a Fitzrovia backstreet serves a small menu of Israeli mezze, mains, and pastries and in three short years has gathered a huge fan base, making reservations a challenge. In a city of so many restaurant chainlets, it’s surprising that they haven’t chosen to go down that route. Regardless, apparently the falafels, fatoush salads, and cheesecake are worth the wait, and the elbow-to-elbow dining experience.
With a menu that changes twice daily, a remarkably well-priced wine list, and a Hoxton Square location, it’s surprising this place—the little sister to 10 Greek Street—hasn’t gotten a lot more hype. Word is that you always get a great, veggie-centric meal, without too much of a fuss.