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16 new London restaurants to watch in 2018


One of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year comes from the super talented Nieves Barragan, who helped propel popular Soho tapas bar Barrafina to a Michelin star. With the original site having moved from its Frith Street address to inside Sam and Eddie Hart’s Quo Vadis on Dean Street, Barragan is branching out this year with solo venture Sabor in Mayfair, meaning ‘flavour’ in Spanish.

Rather than focusing on one specific region, Sabor will take inspiration from flavours found all over Spain, from the lush green north to the sun-soaked south. The star of the show here will be the ‘asador’ – a wood-fired oven, so expect oodles of octopus and suckling pig in the upstairs restaurant.

Like Barrafina, the main restaurant will be a street level horseshoe counter surrounding the open kitchen, so diners can enjoy the theatre unfolding in front of them. On the drinks front, you’ll find a large selection of Spanish wines, gins and vermouths, with both Sherry and Txakoli given special attention on the list.

Roganic 2.0

Having broken hearts when he announced he was leaving Fera at Claridge’s last year, we knew it wouldn’t be long before London got a second helping of Rogan’s inimitable alchemy. In fact, it’s a double portion, as he’s opening two new ventures in the capital this year – chef’s table Aulis and the reincarnation of his popular two-year pop-up Roganic in Marylebone, which helped shoot spunky young chef Ben Spalding to fame.

Roganic 2.0 will take over L’Autre Pied on Blandford Street in Marylebone, which closed its doors last year after a decade in the business. It’s a bitter sweet twist of fate, as the original Roganic thrived on the same street back in 2011. Heading up the kitchen will be Oliver Marlow, who is keeping his menu under wraps. But with Rogan in charge the food is likely to be exciting, innovative, thought provoking and exquisitely presented. We can’t wait…

85 Piccadilly

One of the most ambitious openings of the year will see chef Ollie Dabbous join forces with Russian tech billionaire and owner of Hedonism Wines in Mayfair Yevgeny Chichvarkin to launch a 250-seater fine dining restaurant set across three floors within a 1960s building overlooking Green Park. The working title of the venue is currently ’85 Piccadilly’ though this may change nearer to its launch date.

Dabbous’ former business partner Oskar Kinberg will reportedly head up the venue’s destination cocktail bar. Meanwhile, Chichvarkin is busy recruiting a team of 15 sommeliers to manage what he boasts will be “London’s biggest wine list”, stretching to 6,800 bottles. The food will be equally ambitious – Chichvarkin is shooting for the (Michelin) stars.


Having followed Elizabeth Haigh (née Allen’s) rise with interest, which culminated with her winning a Michelin star for much-loved Hackney venture Pigdin, we’re excited her debut solo venture, Shibui, due to open this year following a successful stint at revolving chef residency restaurant Carousel in Marylebone.

In keeping with our trend prediction that wood-fired cooking will hog the headlines this year, Haigh will make it a focus at Shibui, and will take inspiration from cuisines all over the world, but particularly Europe and Asia. Expect bold barbecue flavours, daring pairings and an eagle eye for detail. Shibui loosely translates as ‘the beauty found in simplicity’ in Japanese.


We love the name already of bright young chef Tomos Parry’s debut solo venture. Parry made his name working alongside Chris Leach at Kitty Fishers in Mayfair, but has this time collaborated with the owners of Kiln and Smoking Goat on Brat, which will shine a light on wood-fired (yes, that again) Basque cuisine and at the same time pay homage to Parry’s Welsh roots.

Housed above Smoking Goat in trendy Shoreditch, dishes will be made from seasonal ingredients on wood ovens in the centre of the room and include the likes of cedar wood sea trout with Jersey cream; wild mussel and cockle soup; slow grilled red mullet; and wood-fired turbot.

Wines will come by way of Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling’s recently formed Keeling Andrew & Co, so will likely be exciting European drops from small producers. Given the restaurant’s Spanish roots, they plan to make a hero of Sherry.


Yotam Ottolenghi’s right hand man, Ramael Scully, will open his first solo venture, ‘Scully’ in St James’s Market this year. Like he did at Nopi, the focus will be on lader-based cooking, and a lot of the ingredients will be made in house, from vinegars and pickles to syrups and preserves.

Scully is keeping shtum about the finer details of the menu, but, with six years at Nopi under his belt, we’re expecting fresh flavours inspired by Asia and the Middle East. Scully’s heritage takes in China, India, Bali and Ireland, so his dishes are likely to be as diverse and colouful as his background.


Meaning ‘sister’ in Italian, Sorella will be the new incarnation of Robin Gill and Dean Parker’s The Manor in Clapham, one of db’s favourite neighbourhood restaurants. In keeping with London’s insatiable thirst for all things Italian, Sorella will take inspiration from Gill’s time in Campania and the cuisine found along the Amalfi coast, and will use ingredients grown on the restaurant’s roof.

We love the idea of fried olives and fennel gelato, but they had us at truffle arancini. Among the larger plates will be cuttlefish linguine; cep gnocci with girolles; and ragù with venison pappardelle. The drinks sound delicious too, from seasonal Bellinis to cherry-smoked Negronis, while the wines are 100% made in Italy.


Pip Lacey, who served an ace last year when she won the chance to cook her Whatever the Weather starter (a vegetable soup served from a watering can into a giant tennis ball) at Wimbledon last year as part of the Great British Menu BBC programme, is moving on from Angela Hartnett’s Murano this year to go it alone.

Proving wood-fired food is white hot right now, Lacey’s dishes will be flame licked, and the ingredients mostly sourced from the UK. Before being flung in the fire, meat and fish will be marinated, pickled and cured for maximum flavour, from soy saké squid to grilled buttermilk chicken.


One of Spain’s most highly decorated chefs, Quique Dacosta, is to open a paella-focused restaurant set over two floors just off Oxford Street in collaboration with Ibérica founder Marcos Fernandez, to shine a light on one of Spain’s signature dishes. Details are being kept under wraps at the moment, but if Dacosta’s three Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant in Denia is anything to go by, then Londoners should be in for a treat.

Bob Bob Cité

Bob Bob Ricard in Soho is to get an edgy little sister, Bob Bob Cité, in the capital’s financial heart. The brainchild of Russian restaurateur Leonid Shutov, BBC will feature live fine wine auctions every half hour.

Housed in the Leadenhall Building, known as the ‘cheese grater’, the 180-cover venue will take over the third floor of the building and will mirror BBR’s booth format. In the “executive class” private dining room, guests have their own bar and private jet-style seating.

Wines that are auctioned off on the trading platform will start at cost price with diners given the chance to compete for them via display screens dotted around the restaurant. The house Champagne will be poured from methuselahs and Bob Bob Ricard’s popular ‘press for Champagne’ button will be present and correct.

But what of the food? Shutov has brought Raymond Blanc protégée Eric Chavot on board as head chef, which we’re very excited about – his steak tartare at the now defunct Brasserie Chavot in Mayfair was among the very best in town.

By Chloe

In keeping with London’s growing obsession with vegan food, one of the buzziest openings of the year will be the first London outpost of New York vegan café By Chloe in Covent Garden. Proving vegan needn’t mean virtuous, By Chloe specialises in plant-based fast food.

The eighth site for the By Chloe brand will serve everything from vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and quinoa taco salads to guacamole burgers and matcha kelp noodles.

Time Out New York voted By Chloe’s veggie burgers as the best in the Big Apple, so the site will likely draw meat eaters who are happy to go flexi and try them out for size. They will even serve dairy free ice cream.

Madame Wong

Flying high off the back of a shiny new Michelin star, Andrew Wong, the ‘A’ in A Wong, is due to open a sister site of his popular Pimlico dim sum restaurant in the Bloomberg Arcade.

Very little is known about Madame Wong at the moment, save for the fact that it will serve an all-day menu based on Wong’s quirky and creative interpretations of classic Chinese dishes.

We hope some of the signature dishes at the original, like his 63-degree tea egg with shredded filo, and tongue-numbing (in a good way) gong bao chicken make it onto the new menu.

Din Tai Fung

We predict big things for the humble dumpling this year. Buoyed by the recent opening of Hong Kong export Duddell’s in London Bridge, London’s love of steamed parcels of delight will be magnified in April with the long-awaited launch of Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese steamed bun powerhouse with spin-offs all over the world.

Why it took them so long to open in the capital we’re not sure, but the hugely popular chain is set to cause Bao-like queues snacking around Centre Point. The signature serve here are xiaolong bao buns rammed with truffle, pork and crab, but there will also be noodles and wantons galore.


Many things pique our curiosity about Kudu, not least because the Peckham newcomer is run by Amy Corbin, daughter of Chris Corbin of Corbin & King fame. Named after an African antelope with white stripes, Kudu will be a welcome addition to London’s small South African restaurant scene, joining Neleen Strauss’ Vivat Bacchus duo in London Bridge and Farringdon.

Running the venture with her partner Patrick Williams, former sous chef at Paradise Garage, the South African influence comes from Williams’ roots.

Working with local suppliers, expect the likes of pig’s head tortellini with crispy onions; braai lamb rump with smoked yoghurt; and pumpkin tart with salted caramel on the menu. Kudu bread with melted lardon butter and parsley is set to be a showstopper.

Kettners Townhouse

We were big fans of Champagne pleasure dome Kettners in Soho, so mourned its closing last year. Luckily the savvy Soho House Group has taken on the site and turned it into Kettners Townhouse, complete with a restaurant, Champagne bar, boutique hotel and a stunning spiral staircase.

The historic site opened as Kettners 150 years ago, and was one of the first places in London to serve French food to everyone from Winston Churchill to Oscar Wilde. The revamped restaurant will offer up French classics made with homegrown ingredients.

After dinner, guests can slope off to the late licence Champagne bar for a cheeky flute or three. If things look particularly promising, you can make a night of it and book yourself into one of the site’s 33 boudoir-style bedrooms. Oh la la…

Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden

And finally, we’re delighted to learn that Richmond institution Petersham Nurseries is to open two new restaurants in Covent Garden this spring. The King Street site is already up and running as a deli and café.

Joining them soon will be laid back all-day Italian restaurant La Goccia, offering the full gamut of Italian delights including cichetti and aperitivi, and The Petersham, which will be similar to the Richmond original and headed up by executive chef Simon Whiteley, who takes inspiration from the slow food movement.

The focus at La Goccia is on sharing plates, where a wood-burning oven (another one!) will add a dash of theatre to proceedings. The Petersham meanwhile, will centre around an à la carte offering and will boast interiors inspired by the bucolic Petersham House.

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