Keep up to date with our pick of the latest TLE approved restaurant openings this year in London.
Test Kitchen Soho
Adam Simmonds has arrived in the big smoke with his Soho pop-up – The Test Kitchen on Frith Street. With a one year lease (on the former Barrafina site) and only 23 covers, expect high demand and truly inventive cooking from a chef whose culinary journey has resulted in two Michelin stars and a place in The Good Food Guide, putting Adam on their ‘chefs to watch’ list. The Test Kitchen is exactly what it says on the tin – there is no set genre and the menu is a moveable feast that evolves and develops, based on guest feedback, in preparation for Adam’s first permanent London restaurant next year.
Inventive dishes reveal Adam’s incredible attention to detail and his passion for unusual and surprising flavour combinations. Quail is paired with English asparagus, sunflower seeds and lardo; red mullet with green strawberries and green tomatoes; and pheasant egg with kohlrabi, girolles and truffle. Vegetarian dishes are dialled up with white asparagus, Linzer potatoes, caviar and whey; whilst desserts feature equally interesting ingredients like Charentais melon with black olive and saffron; or yeast parfait with lychee and puffed rice.
The Test Kitchen isn’t just a theatre for your tastebuds – the restaurant brings drama direct to the diner. Counter seating, overlooking the completely open plan kitchen, gives you full view of and direct access to Adam and his brigade – share four or five plates each whilst watching the culinary story unfold and debating dishes with The Test Kitchen team.
Many of London’s upscale venues have intimidating wine lists with even more intimidating prices. Not so at The Test Kitchen. The restaurant’s 31-strong wine list is approachable and affordable, while still standing up to the menu. For connoisseurs of the grape, there’s a wine ledger featuring a limited selection of fine and rare wines. The ledger is ever-changing and once a wine has gone it’s gone – catch it while you can.
The Star of the Show
With Michelin stars under his belt and a spot in the finals of The Great British Menu, it’s safe to say that Adam is a chef with real ambition. After apprenticing at Le Gavroche, he trained under some of the biggest names in the culinary world before taking on a role at Manoir aux Quat’saisons under Raymond Blanc. Adam achieved his first Michelin star as Head Chef at Ynshir Hall Hotel in Wales before moving on to Danesfield House in Marlow where he gained a star for the second time, which the restaurant held for three consecutive years.
Front of House
The interiors reflect the developing nature of the restaurant; animated mirrors line the walls with ingredients and dish development ideas playfully sketched across them. Floor-to-ceiling front windows, comfortable black leather stools and a marble counter create an environment that’s engaging, interactive and informal.
Nosh Detox’s much anticipated Nosh Garden Kitchen has launched at the La Suite West Hotel, Bayswater, designed by the revered Anouska Hempel. After revolutionising the detox and weight-loss industry with a series of innovations and market firsts, you can now enjoy a range of exciting vegan and raw dishes in the heart of London.
Already a pioneer in the health industry, Nosh Detox celebrates being the UK’s first ever-home detoxification and weight-loss delivery service of non-pasteurised Juice Diets, Detox, Nutritional Plans and coaching. The newest addition to the Nosh family Nosh Garden Kitchen, is an oasis of health and purity which specialises in vegan and raw dishes, offering an extensive menu of fresh, cleansing cuisine designed to optimise wellbeing whilst simultaneously engaging appetite.
Nosh Garden Kitchen is the perfect place to enjoy a summery meal with family and friends, whereby you can indulge on nutritional dishes that don’t compromise on the joys of eating.
The launch saw Nosh Detox and Nosh Garden Kitchen founder Geeta Sidhu-Robb and Head Chef Cornel greet kitchen goers and journalists where they were able to sample the delicious new menu.
Replete with bright, vibrant dishes rife with the perfect mix of nutrition and flavor, guests were met with a variety of vegan-friendly options as well as a variety of gluten and nut-free plates. They also enjoyed healthy, refreshing mocktails and smoothies – perfect for those sophisticated summer rendezvous under the kitchen’s leafy canopy.
For the past six months, Matsuri has been undergoing a major refurbishment to reopen as Onodera, a brand new restaurant which will focus on traditional Japanese cuisine. After high anticipation, the new restaurant will now open with a soft launch on Wednesday17th – 18th & 20th – 21st March and will officially open on Thursday 23rd March on Bury Street, St James’s.
The new restaurant will seat 128 covers with Ryosuke Kishi heading up the kitchen. Taking most of his influences from when he worked in Japan, Ryosuke has crafted an extensive menu using traditional Japanese techniques, moving away from fusion trends you see today. From sashimi and sushi to seafood choices grilled on the Robata, standout dishes include Kobe Beef Robata Yaki served with Red Miso Truffle Sauce, Turbot Kobujime Usuzukuri – a traditional Japanese starter, and slow cooked (15 hours) Duck Confit served with Red Cabbage marinated in Orange Vinegar.
Marbled counters and slate walls create a sophisticated and smart ambience to the restaurant, while low hanging lamps, wall-‐fitted mirrors and a grand staircase provide guests with an impressive entrance.
Aquavit London opened in the stunning new St. James’s Market redevelopment, on 1 Carlton Street. Taking inspiration from the renowned Aquavit New York, but with a more relaxed dining concept and setting, the restaurant showcases the very best of Nordic cuisine and design.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, dishes at Aquavit London honour fresh, seasonal ingredients and deliver a contemporary take on authentic Nordic cuisine, with menus developed by Henrik Ritzén, Executive Chef of Aquavit London, and Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef of the two Michelin-starred Aquavit New York. To begin, guests can enjoy a smörgåsbord of small sharing plates that celebrate the Nordic region’s traditional seafood dishes, including Shrimp Skagen; Herrings; Gravadlax; and Vendace roe. The menu also offers starters such as Venison tartar with wild blueberries, lingonberries and juniper, and Langoustines with smoked eel and crown dill, as well as main courses including Turbot with horseradish and brown butter, and Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and pickled cucumber. For dessert, guests can sample everything from Emma Bengtsson’s New York signature Arctic Bird’s Nest; to Rosehip soup with almond ice cream, almond cake and rum.
Bringing a little joie de vivre to Bloomsbury, Bon Vivant will open on Marchmont Street this February.
Subtly sexy, endlessly stylish and infused with everything it means to be French, Bon Vivant will serve everything from croissants and coffee au matin to light lunches, intimate dinners and indulgent bottomless brunches. French classics such as tartines, charcuterie plates, magret de canard will be served alongside more modern dishes and a wine collection that focuses on fine French grapes.
A decadent yet approachable space with a wrap-around terrace, Bon Vivant, with interiors by BusbyWebb, will offer diners a place to hideaway from the bustle of London life in a setting that simply exudes Parisian chic. Slip into a banquette for brunch with girlfriends, sink into a navy velvet single seat for dinner or find yourself al fresco on a classic woven bistro chair – the perfect place for a little people-watching. Throughout the space, notes of naughtiness will come in the form of provocative artworks displayed across the wallpapered walls and menus.
Perched high above the capital with enviable views out over the City, London’s hottest new destination rooftop restaurant, bar and grand terrace, Aviary, has come home to roost. Nestling on the 10th floor of the brand new Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, bordering the City and Shoreditch on Finsbury Square, leading restaurant and bar operator ETM Group has taken dining to a new level with its first sky-high venue.
From the large ornate birdcage suspended above the stairway leading from the dedicated lift, to the proud pair of peacocks heralding the venue’s entrance, Aviary is an ornithological paradise soaring above London’s busy streets that will have cocktail connoisseurs, City lunchers and evening pleasure-seekers flocking.
Gather around Aviary’s large island bar for drinks deserving of a sky-high setting. An array of beautifully crafted cocktails embrace a botanical theme using natural ingredients, such as honey sourced from local London markets, in a fresh and innovative way.
As much thought has gone into the menu as the sophisticated interiors. The cast iron Bertha coal oven takes centre stage, cooking only the highest quality British meat sourced from small livestock farmers using the best of the UK’s heritage breeds, including White Park cattle from Dorset, Longhorn cows from the Lake District and wild fish responsibly sourced from south coast day boats and British fishing ports, wherever possible.
Iconic restaurant Bluebird in Chelsea is back open following an extensive refurbishment.
Perched on the well-heeled King’s Road, the new-look Bluebird comes complete with new Executive Chef Liam Smith-Laing, and his stunning signature dishes, as well as a creative new cocktail list.
Newly-appointed Head Chef Liam Smith-Laing’s menus at Bluebird feature simple, fresh and honest dishes inspired by the best of Modern European cooking. Liam built his reputation at a number of leading restaurants including Gordon Ramsay’s Petrús and Marcus Wareing at The Savoy Grill before joining D&D London.
The wine list has been well considered with an emphasis on Sparkling, English and Natural wines, with a large selection available by the glass, and bottles from the Old and New World divided by style rather than region. Those looking for something truly special can indulge in an extensive list of Champagnes, or enjoy a Chelsea Blonde beer, brewed just across the road.
The Four Sisters Townhouse
Tucked away behind St Paul’s Cathedral, the Four Sisters Townhouse has the feel of a secretive Victorian gentlemen’s club, with inventive weekly cocktails beers, spirits, wines and delicious food capture the true essence of ‘Old London Town’ in elegantly dark surroundings.
Eneko at One Aldwych
Three Michelin-starred Eneko Atxa’s informal Basque restaurant to open 1st September. The restaurant will feature Eneko Atxa’s fun and inventive modern interpretation of Basque cuisine. Renowned for his three Michelin-starred Azurmendi in Bilbao and voted no.16 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Eneko is heading in a new direction with this 110-cover restaurant and 35-cover wine bar. Showcasing his commitment to quality ingredients and precise execution, Eneko will offer a simpler, more relaxed culinary concept deeply rooted in traditional Basque cooking.
Cha Chaan Teng: An original Hong Kong café reinvented
Cha Chaan Teng takes inspiration from the cafés which sprung up in post-war Hong Kong, a time when only the wealthy had the privilege of sampling the then-exotic Western cuisine. In response, a mini-revolution began in local kitchens and cafés, letting imaginations run riot and resulting in weird and wonderful interpretations of classic Chinese food. In the years that followed, the cafés became a mainstay of the city’s food scene and for the first time Cha Chaan Teng will introduce this playful café culture to the UK.
Brothers Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary have opened their second restaurant, Blanchette East on Brick Lane. Lovingly named after the brothers’ mother, the new restaurant celebrates everything that guests have come to love about the Soho original but with a few distinct variations. The modern French menu incorporates more Southern French and North African influences with spices from the regions, while the décor is inspired by the Parisian Belle Époque era combined with the distinctive urban feel of East London.
Clipstone is a new neighbourhood restaurant located on the corner of Clipstone Street in Fitzrovia. Offering the same focus on high quality cooking, wine and service as their sister restaurant Portland but in a more informal setting.