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Hot new London restaurant openings: May

The Wigmore

Having recently revealed a love of street food to db, Michel Roux Jr is branching out from his fine dining roots with the opening of a London pub. Billed as a ‘traditional English tavern’, The Wigmore will be housed within The Langham hotel with an entrance on Regent Street. In keeping with the hotel’s interiors, the pub will have an Art Deco feel with emerald banquettes, table lamps and a giant chandelier forming the focal point of the room.

Roux will look after the food offering while the team at the hotel’s award-winning Artesian bar have created the drinks. Among the comforting classics will be raised veal and ham pie, devilled lamb’s kidneys and paprika-glazed short rib with bone marrow crumb. To drink, expect several cask ales and craft beers including a house brew made by Bermondsey’s Brew By Numbers, beer-infused ‘hoptails’, punches and a selection of wines.

Trawler Trash

Vying for the crown of best named new restaurant, Trawler Trash on Islington’s Upper Street shows love to fish that often get disregarded in favour of more traditional catches. Taking over a chippie, among the trash turned into treasure will be pilchards, coley, sprat, grey mullet and crayfish. With no freezers, the fish will be super fresh, arriving daily at the site, which will be closed on Mondays when the fisherman rest.

Dishes include Charred cuttlefish with kohlrabi and coriander; kipper carbonara with peas, rocket and chilli; and Toast beer battered coley with chips, crushed peas and tartare. Keeping the spirit of its chippie past alive, interiors include polished concrete, exposed bricks and an open kitchen, with a dinky cocktail bar at the back.

Dirty Bones

Hot dog flogger Dirty Bones is back with a new Soho site on Denman Street with industrial interiors inspired by Brooklyn loft apartments and the glory days of Studio 54. Think neon lighting, mismatched furniture, antique bookcases and timber-concrete flooring with a funk and soul soundtrack to boot.

Staying true to its New York comforting classics roots, expect the likes of Slow n’ Low Pork Belly Ribs marinated in Dr. Pepper, grass-fed British rib-eye; build your own short rib tacos, grilled fish tacos and, for the virtuous, raw kale and chilli salad. The site will go big on brunch at weekends with crumpets oozing with hollandaise and fried chicken and waffles topped with a fried egg.

Monty’s Deli

Salt beef sarnie fans listen up – Maltby Street Market staple Monty’s Deli have opened a permanent site in Hoxton in the form of an all-day Jewish diner. Specialising in Jewish soul food, Monty’s will serve chicken soup, Reuben sandwiches with a generous side of pickles and pastrami on rye.

Flying the flag for home cooked classics, meats are cured in house in a recipe that has taken years to perfect, while pickles and sauerkraut made from family recipes, and bagels are cooked on traditional cedar planks and wrapped in hessian. Dinner dishes include whole joints of hot pastrami, beef and dill meatballs, and slow braised brisket with plenty of bone marrow, pearl barley and potatoes.

Test Kitchen

Rather than run headlong into a new opening, chef Adam Simmonds, who has clocked up experience at Le Gavroche, The Halkin and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, has opened a year-long pop-up in Soho to develop his solo concept. Named The Test Kitchen, Simmonds, who is influenced by Scandinavian cuisine, will use to site to trial new flavours, evolve the idea of his restaurant and road testing dishes that might make it onto the menu.

The temporary site features mirrors scrawled with ingredient lists and dish development ideas, with diners encouraged to give their honest feedback about what they’ve eaten. Simmonds’ permanent site will open early next year.

Little José

London’s favourite Spaniard, José Pizarro, has opened his fourth restaurant in the capital at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf. Called Little José, the tiny tapas bar is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Among the tapas dishes on offer are Ibérico pork meatball sub with Manchego; crispy fried squid with aioli; spicy prawn fritters with lime mayo; patatas bravas; Padrón peppers and a daily-changing tortilla.

On the booze front expect a decent selection of Sherry, Cava and gin & tonic. Pizarro runs three other tapas restaurants in London: José tapas bar and the more fine dining Pizarro on Bermondsey Street and José Pizarro in Broadgate.


Balham based fans of the humble meatball rejoice! A meatball mecca has arrived in your hood in the form of Curveball, which takes inspiration from a plethora of world cuisines and presents them in spherical form. Made with British produce, dishes include crispy chorizo croquettes; beef and Parmesan meatballs in a four-hour short-rib ragu; and beetroot and tahini vegballs with lime avocado, poppy seeds, pomegranate and freekeh.

Playing on the American classic, Tater Nots are crispy potato rosti balls, while sweet-toothed foodies can indulge in donuts rammed with salted caramel and Nutella for pud. The owners behind the venture are food-obsessed globetrotters Hannah Pemberton, who writes ‘The Kitchen Alchemist’ blog and Liberty’s CFO Paul Harris.


The foodie hub of SE1 has an exciting new addition in the form of Lupins, which reminds db fondly of Monty Python, but we don’t think this was the intention. Instead, the new site in Flat Iron Square champions local British ingredients used to great effect in the likes of polenta-crusted anchovies with wild garlic and onion salad; sea trout with cucumber and seaweed butter; spiced beef short rib with purple sprouting broccoli; lamb with sumac and pomegranate molasses; and chipotle roast pigeon with charred baby gem and carrot.

Run by Lucy Pedder and Natasha Cooke of Medlar fame, Lupins will also serve a selection of Neal’s Yard cheeses and classic English puds like rhubarb with ginger and shortbread. Wines are natural in nature while cocktails will change with the seasons.

The Clifton

Having stood vacant for three years, The Clifton pub in St John’s Wood is to reopen rather than be turned into a private residence, much to the delight of local residents.

Said to be a favourite haunt of Edward VII and his mistress Lillie Langtry, New Zealand born chef Karl Calvert of The Providores fame will be serving up comfort food classics like haggis sausage rolls with Famous Grouse ketchup, mutton rendang croquettes with banana raita; and sweetcorn jalapeno fritters with chipotle onion jam.

Calvert will also shine a light on underappreciated cuts of meat like like pork neck and ox heart, while the pub will champion craft beer.


The dream team behind steamed bun specialist Bao are opening a Taiwanese restaurant and tea bar on Rupert Street in Soho this month called XU. Set across two floors, XU will showcase the diversity of Taiwanese cuisine and will also draw inspiration from mainland China.

Snacks include oyster and taro congee and young squab with loquat, while larger dishes run the gamut from crab with chilli egg drop sauce and Cornish day boat fish marinated in fermented bean curd chilli with grilled bone vinegar sauce, to diced pork ribs on a bed of sweet potato topped with foie gras and pancakes filled with 40-day aged beef shortrib, roast marrow and pickles.

In the tea bar on the ground floor, loos leaf Taiwanese teas like hand-picked Assam will be prepared by an ‘in house tea master’.

The Tapas Room

The team behind Basque tapas joint Donostia has opened a sister site in Tooting called The Tapas Room specialising in Sherry, vermouth and sharing plates. Booze takes the spotlight here, and in particular, wines from the Basque region of Spain including slightly fizzy white Txakoli, which is traditionally poured from a height into tumblers for a theatrical twist.

The food offering goes big on charcuterie and Spanish cheeses like Manchego, alongside more intricate dishes like wild pigeon with confit rhubarb and blood orange cream; braised Ibérico pork cheek with whipped butter beans and herbs; and white asparagus with shallot salsa.


Taking the plunge with a London offshoot of the Oxford original, Zheng in Chelsea champions Malaysian-Chinese cuisine with Indian influences. At the centre of the spice trade, the Malays perfected the use of spices in cooking; Chinese settlers brought woks and their own sauces while Indian immigrants introduced rotis and hot curries.

Expect the likes of satay skewers, crispy King prawns with chilli and curry leaves, fried boneless chicken stir fried with dried chillies, cashews and Szechuan pepper, slow-cooked beef rendang, roast duck with peanuts and coconut rice with sambal, egg, cucumber and fried anchovies. Interior are all mirror panelled walls, black pendant lights and olive green banquettes with flashes of Chinoiserie wallpaper.

Madame D’s

Harneet and Devina Baweja, the dynamic duo behind Indian tapas bar Gunpowder have opened a sister site in Spitalfields shining a light on Himalayan cuisine. Dubbed Madame D’s, the dinky restaurant takes inspiration from Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese cooking.

Focusing on flavours the pair fell in love with while travelling in northeast India, dishes include gold coin dumplings, pan-fried Tibetan duck, garlic coriander steamed chicken, and a twist on prawn toast. Marked by deep red awnings over the windows, interiors tip their hat to the ramshackle backrooms that once punctuated the Commercial Street rag route via trestle tables and long wooden benches.


Aaron Burgess-Smith and Tony Lam, the duo behind Kanada-Ya have launched a new restaurant concept, Machiya, named after the townhouses that typified the cityscape of Kyoto. Open all day, the Soho site will specialise in homely, traditional Japanese dishes like gyukatsu, a panko-crusted wagyu steak lightly fried until rare then finished by the customer on their own charcoal grill.

Japanese twists on European dishes include tuffled omu rice, beef strips cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar and saké, and crushed avocado on Japanese milk bread with yuzu juice. At the downstairs bar you’ll find Japanese-inspired sips like the Jigglypuff, which blends Portobello gin, Campari, lemon and vermouth foam; a smoky Negroni and a sour made with Tequila, yuzu and koshu, alongside an array of Japanese whiskeys.


We’ve had The Good Egg, and Bad Egg, and now there’s another cracking egg specialist in town. Enter Yolk in the City, which promises to feed weary analysts with comforting Eggs Benedict with pulled 24-hour ham hock, hollandaise and cayenne pepper, and medium rare steak bearnaise baguettes to go.

Having started life as a pop-up, Yolk will be open for breakfast and lunch, serving the likes of and umami chicken sarnie with pickled daikon and Yolk’s secret hot sauce and confit duck buns with applewood-smoked aioli and duck skin crackling. Cracking coffee meanwhile, comes via the likes of small roasters Square Mile and Dark Arts.

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