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Hot new restaurant openings: February 2017

Hai Cenato

You don’t have to wait long for a new Jason Atherton venture to make headlines. Having just opened Victorian-themed Temple and Sons in the City, the restless chef has turned his attention to Italy, with a New York-inspired pizzeria and pasta palace in Victoria’s burgeoning Nova complex. Named Hai Cenato, (meaning ‘have you had dinner?’ in Italian) the venture is a collaboration between Atherton and Social Eating House head chef Paul Hood.

On the menu you’ll find the likes of aged beef Bolognese with burnt sage butter and Berkswell; agnolotti with chilli, saffron and Acacia honey; and nduja, spinach, anchovy and harissa pizza. Head to in-house cocktail bar The Drunken Oyster for Italian classics with a twist and sparkling cocktails on tap. We’ve got our eye on the White Diamond, made with white truffle infused amaretto, lemon, thyme and egg white. 

La Dame de Pic

Signaling a possible return to fine dining in London this year, multi Michelin-starred French chef Anne-Sophie Pic has opened her first London restaurant at London’s new Four Seasons hotel at 10 Trinity Square in the City. Pic is the only French female chef to hold three Michelin stars. Her London venture is described as “casually elegant”, with dishes inspired by her travels to and impressions of London.

Among the à la carte offerings are Scottish langoustines seared in shellfish butter with an heirloom carrot bouillon infused with pine; Challans chicken marinated in saké with hispi cabbage, razor clams and lemon; venison and foie gras woith cocoa bean and Zacapa rum; and Pic’s famous white mille-feuille pud that left Evening Standard food writer Ben Norum wondering whether it was a dessert or a dream.


Affable Italian chef Francesco Mazzei is to open his first solo venture this April – Radici, an Italian trattoria a stone’s throw from his home in Islington. Meaning “roots” in Italian, Radici will shine a light on Calabrian cuisine via dishes inspired by Mazzei’s childhood. The whole of the south of Italy gets a look in, with a number of the plates inspired by the regional cuisines of Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, Sicily, and Sardinia.

Expect to see the likes of salt cod with potatoes, tomato, onions, capers and black olives; ferrazzuoli (eggless pasta with southern Italian lamb, pork and beef ragu); and calf liver stuffed with pancetta, garlic and sage, served with smoked potato mash on the menu, in addition to charcuterie, cheeses and wood-fired pizzas.


Soho meat mecca Blacklock is due to open a sister site in the City this March. Specialising in prime cuts for wallet friendly prices, £5 cocktails and wine on tap, the 100-cover venue in the basement of a Grade II listed building will serve Blacklock classics like ‘all in’ chops, meaty bread, rib eye, maple bacon chops and smoked chicken for two. Rumour has it there’s a cocktail trolley too…

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

The Neapolitan pizzeria made famous by Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love has landed in the capital. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is often name checked as making the best pizza in the world, so when news broke about the opening late last year, Londoners got very exited indeed. To enjoy a slice of the good stuff, you’ll need to make the pilgrimage to Stoke Newington for Margheritas, Marinaras and wines from Campania. The place doesn’t take bookings so be sure to arrive early to avoid snaking queues.


With Dishoom, Kricket and Talli Joe blazing a trail, Indian tapas has become a bit of a thing in London. Hoping to capitalise on the boom is newcomer Lokhandwala, a Fitzrovia restaurant from the founders of India’s biggest food festival, The Grub Fest.

Named after the Lokhandwala district of Mumbai, among the tapas doing the rounds at the Charlotte Street site will be gujju vaal daal chaat – broad bean, lentils and black pulses with yoghurt and tamarind chutney; lamb chops marinated for 24 hours with spices and then cooked in a tandoor oven; prawns marinated with yoghurt, coriander, mint, celery and green chilli with ginger pickle; and potato skin tacos filled with sea bass, radishes and Andhra spices.

Meanwhile, at The Hot House cocktail bar you’ll find Mor, made with Ketel One vodka infused jasmine tea, sage and white tea syrup, herbal liqueur, sweet vermouth, fresh lemon, saffron and cardamom bitters that pays homage to the peacock – a bird frequently found in Indian art.

Ivy Soho Brasserie

The Ivy turns 100 this year, proving it is possible to have longevity in London’s notoriously cutthroat restaurant scene. It’s successful spin-off series continues with The Ivy Soho Brasserie on Broadwick Street. The vivid interiors of the cavernous, 200-cover site feature burnt orange leather banquettes and artworks inspired by English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake, who was born on the street in 1757.

Open all-day, seven days a week, diners can start the day in style with Eggs Benedict then move on to brioche-crumbed chicken Milanese with fried hen’s eggs and black truffle; and end the day on a sweet notes with a melting chocolate bomb oozing with milk foam, vanilla ice cream, honeycomb and hot salted caramel sauce.

On the libation front, we like the sound of the Social Smoker, which blends fat washed Bulleit Bourbon with sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and hickory smoke poured from a cherry wood smoked carafe.


One to watch Seb Holmes has opened a Thai street food venture in Highbury. Called Farang after a colloquial Thai word for “foreigner”, the pop-up will remain at the San Daniele for six months. On the menu, loyalty lies with recreating Thai flavours rather than whipping up traditional dishes, so expect twists on the classics and daring new additions, from prawn and pomegranate bites, and Cornish mussels in a coconut and sweet basil broth to spring chicken and minced tiger prawn red curry with sweet basil.

Aged just 26, Holmes cut his teeth at The Begging Bowl in Peckham before moving to the Smoking Goat in Soho where he was head chef. He also found the time to work with Andy Oliver at his Som Saa pop-up, which found a permanent home in Spitalfields last year.

Il Pampero

With the Italian restaurant boom proving one of the most prevalent food trends of 2017, newcomer Il Pampero in Belgravia is keen for a slice of the action. Fusing traditional Italian home cooking with contemporary London dining, the restaurant is housed within The Hari Hoitel in Chesham Place.

Pasta and bread are made daily on site, with dishes including homemade taglioni with a sheep’s cheese and black pepper sauce; chestnut tagliatelle with hare ragu, pumpkin gnocchi with taleggio cheese and black truffle; and marinated wild boar casserole with honey root. Expect an all-Italian wine list and twists on Italian classic cocktails like the Negroni and the Bellini.

Barbecoa Piccadilly

The ever restless Jamie Oliver has opened a sister site to his popular smoked meat shack Barbecoa in Piccadilly to twin with the St Paul’s original. Beef is sourced from grass-fed cattle dry aged for 55 days. Among the meaty treats on the menu are smoked duck with hazelnuts; rump steak with creamed haricot beans and wild mushrooms; coal-roasted lobster thermidor; and lamb chops with smoked aubergine and pistachio.

Best of all, you can choose how your meat is cooked, with options including a Japanese robata grill, Tandoor oven, and Texan smoker. Serious thought has gone into the cocktails too, which range from rhubarb G&Ts to the Salty Dog’s Gimlet, made with navy strength gin, gunpowder lime cordial and seaweed; and the Old Smokey, which blends Lapsang Souchong-infused rum with mandarin liqueur and lemon peel.


Yet another Italian has arrived on our shores this month in the form of Neapolitan pizzeria Quartieri in Kilburn. Named after a family pizza recipe dating back to 1923 from Naples’ famous Pizzeria Trianon Vomero, the menu is divided into antipasti, the classics, specials and puds.

With pizza bases theatrically kneaded and flipped in front of diners’ eyes, classics like the Marinara and Puttanesca are present and correct but more daring foodies can go for the Costiera Amalfitana, made with pistachio cream, or a sweet pizza to finish. Wines shine a light on Franciacorta and drops from southern Italy and include a house red and white made from grapes grown at the base of the Vesuvius volcano.

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