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Hot new London restaurant openings: May

Santo Remedio

Keen to give Wahaca competition for the most authentic Mexican food in the capital is colourful newcomer Santo Remedio on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Set across two floors, the 45-cover space gives traditional Mexican dishes a vibrant modern twist, from street food to classic dishes from Mexico City, Oaxaca and Yucatan. Meaning “Holy Remedy” in Spanish, at the helm is husband and wife duo Edson and Natalie Diaz-Fuentes.

Wahaca’s former head of innovation, Edson’s menu is inspired by the dishes he grew up with and includes the likes of six hour slow cooked beef with chile ancho, pasilla and spices; grilled cactus with sautéed sweetcorn, salsa roja and feta; pork confit caramelised with orange juice and Coca Cola; chicken wings in mole negro; and grilled sweetcorn with smoky mayo, lime and pecorino.

For pud, don’t miss the divine sounding churros with dulce de leche. On the drinks front, the cocktail list goes big on Mezcal and Margaritas, while the wine list shines a light on little-known drops from Mexico’s Baja California region.

Santo Remedio, 22 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DY

Som Saa

One of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year ­­– Som Saa – has finally opened in an old fabric warehouse on Commercial Street in Spitalfields. Running the show is head chef Andy Oliver, who made a stonking success of his street food residency at Climpson’s Arch last year. With the help of Mark Dobbie and Tom George, Oliver serves lip-smacking Thai street food and regional Thai dishes made with British seasonal produce.

Focusing on the Isaan region in the north and northeast, among the delights on offer are grilled pork red curry, green banana and basil; stir fried prawns, clams and squid with lime leaves, peppercorns and wild ginger; palm sugar, fried garlic, peanuts and chilli wrapped in pickled mustard greens; and divisive fruit durian topped with sweet and salty coconut cream for dessert. Libations have a Thai twist, such as the Krahang Old Fashioned featuring sandalwood, smoked Buffalo Trace Bourbon and mandarin peel.

Som Saa, 43A Commercial Street, London E1 6BD

Morito Hackney 

Sam and Samantha Clark have opened a second site of their popular Moorish tapas venue Morito on Hackney Road. Samantha will be running the show at the all-day restaurant with Moro’s former head chef Marianna Love. Breakfasts include made-to-order Moroccan breads, while sharing plates take their inspiration from Morocco, Turkey and Crete.

Flying out of the open kitchen onto the marble-topped bar will be aubergine manti with yoghurt and pistachios; homemade halloumi with pickled za’atar; kid mechoui with goat’s curd, preserved lemon and harissa; and charcoal grilled fish with garlic, guindilla chillies and Sherry vinegar.

Morito Hackney, 195 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL

Counter Culture 

The talented lot at The Dairy in Clapham have opened a sister site in the former deli next door. Billed as its “evil little brother”, Counter Culture takes the form of a San Sebastián pintxos bar serving skewers made with seasonal British ingredients.

The tiny 15-seater space will encourage additional punters to stand with a glass of wine and enjoy the likes of hot smoked lamb ribs, miso aubergine and spiced fennel ferment; St Martin Bay mackerel, sweet celery, sour rhubarb and house yogurt. Counter Culture goes big on pickling, fermenting and curing. Best of all, it’s BYOB, so wine lover can enjoy their own liquid treasures on site.

Counter Culture, 16 The Pavement, London SW4 0HY

Café Monico

The Soho House Group has opened a suave new all-day site on Shaftesbury Avenue inspired by a restaurant opened by Italian brothers Giacomo and Battista Monico in 1877 on a side street in the West End, which thrived until the expansion of Piccadilly Circus in the 1950s.

The reincarnation of Café Monico benefits from seasoned chef Rowley Leigh being at the helm. With vintage interiors that hark back to the original café, the 180-seater site boasts a Mediterranean menu offering the likes of chicken paillard, coq au vin, lamb cutlets, Dover sole, oodles of pasta and freshly made bread. Leigh’s signature dish – Parmesan custard with anchovy toast – will also make an appearance.

Afternoon teas include blood orange cheesecake and treacle tart, while cocktails have an Italian accent, such as Vermouth Service – made with Noilly Prat, frozen grapes, lemon oils and sparkling water.

Café Monico, 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6LA

Blandford Comptoir 

After a long hiatus, Xavier Rousset is back with a new restaurant project post 28-50 and Texture. His new baby, Blandford Comptoir, is a casual space focusing on Mediterranean cuisine with Italian influences. Taking its name from its location on Blandford Street in Marylebone, the 40-cover restaurant boasts an ever-evolving list of 250 wines and 50 Champagnes with a focus on labels from Italy and Southwest France.

Dishes include fassone beef carpaccio and 36 month old Parmesan; Sicilian red prawns; duck breast with tortellini of leg and figs; and cote boeuf with confit new season garlic and red wine jus. Rousset will host free wine tastings once a month on Saturdays featuring a dozen drops.


Not to be confused with Damien Hirst and Marx Hix’s new restaurant venture Pharmacy2 in Vauxhall, Farmacy in Westbourne Grove is a new health-focused site founded by Camilla Al Fayed – daughter of former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed. Keen to promote healthy eating, Farmacy promises nutritional dishes that you’d actually want to eat. Headed up by Joao Ricardo Alves, the all-day restaurant’s menu is both vegan and veggie friendly being free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals.

Instagram favourite avocado on taste makes an appearance, as does a veggie version of the Reuben with portobello mushrooms, homemade sauerkraut, and almond and paprika mayo served on sourdough; also headlining is a “clean” curry with pumpkin, eggplant & broccoli cooked in coconut milk, lemongrass and spices served with probiotic rice. Head over to the Alchemy Bar for drinks made from ingredients with medicinal benefits such as flaxseed oil, cayenne pepper and cannabis oil, which includes juices and tonics served as syringe shots.

Farmacy 74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH

Enoteca da Luca Old Street 

Another Italian opening this month is Enoteca da Luca in Old Street, which already has sites in Devonshire Square, Guildhall, Mayfair and St Paul’s. The biggest site to date, running the front of house is Max Sali, formerly of Locanda Locatelli and Tinello.

Believing that “piccolo e bello” (small is beautiful) in the kitchen, head chef Claudio Illuminati of Tom Aikens fame, cooks fish carbonara with grated egg; ginger and an orange infused rabbit ragu; wild boar pappadelle; charred octopus with slow cooked spiced tomatoes and roasted artichoke, burrata with honeycomb and small Italian doughnuts filled with foie gras, topped with sour berry jam. Wines hail from the length of Italy’s boot, including Tuscany, Alto Adige, Friuli, Piedmont and Puglia.

Enoteca da Luca, 207C Old Street, London EC1V 9NR

Santa Maria Chelsea 

Ealing’s most famous export – Santa Maria Pizzeria – has set up shop in Chelsea near to the football club’s grounds on Waterford Road. Consistently voted the best pizzeria in London, the second site will be overseen by owners Pasquale Chionchio and Angelo Ambrosio.

Nestling between between the King’s Road, Fulham Road, and Stamford Bridge the 60-cover restaurant serves up the same pizzas and daily specials as the original, from the Santa Caterina made with tomato, mozzarella, Neapolitan salami, fresh chilli, and parmesan, to the Santa Paola, featuring mozzarella, nduja, mushrooms, and rare breed Yorkshire sausage.

Pizzas are blasted in an oven allegedly made with sand from Mount Vesuvius. Specials include meatballs stuffed with ricotta, smoked mozzarella, and nduja and aubergine parmigiana.

Santa Maria Chelsea, 94 Waterford Road, London SW6 2HA

Gotto Trattoria 

The people behind the successful Mele e Pere in Soho have headed east with a new trattoria in Hackney called Gotto. Taken from the Veronese word for going out for a bite to eat, Gotto Trattoria features wine on tap and an all-Italian menu encompassing home-made bread, pasta and ice creams made with both British and Italian ingredients.

The seasonally focused menu will change often but currently features the likes of octopus polpette; burrata; paglia e fieno pasta with pheasant ragu; agnolotti with asparagus and cimbro cheese; T-bone steak alla fiorentina from Surrey; and goat’s milk ice cream with fresh cherries, which can be washed down with homemade vermouth.

Gotto Trattoria, Canalside, Here East, 27 East Bay Lane, London E20 3BS


London may be awash with sushi restautants but newcomer Yoobi in Oxford Circus claims to be the capital’s first “temakeria” specialising in hand rolls filled with sushi rice.

Using sustainably-caught Scottish fish from the same supplier as Nobu, Yoobi plays on the Japanese influence in Brazil, meaning rolls are rammed with the likes of spicy salmon with bicinho pepper, and seared Pincaña beef with a spicy teriyaki sauce; spicy tuna with romaine lettuce, croutons and spicy sauce; 20 hour cured salmon with Asian pear; and tuna tartare with guacamole, capers, jalapeños, lime and sea salt.

Cocktails fuse flavours from Brazil and Japan, such as the Samba Mule featuring reposado Tequila, lemongrass, saké and ginger beer, and the Sakerinha, made with Ozeki dry saké and fresh strawberries.

Yoobi, 38 Lexington Street, London W1F 0LL

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