London’s hottest restaurant openings: November
Wild hare croquetas and Champagne-laced fondue capture this month’s most enchanting London restaurant offerings.
Spanish restaurant group Ibérica has launched a game-inspired tapas feast for winter, curated by Michelin-starred chef, Nacho Manzano. Available until 23 December across all five restaurants in London and Leeds, the game menu offers the likes of wild hare croquetas and pan-fried Mallard duck breast, paired with a glass of Spanish wine. Diners can also sip on an indulgent new PXespresso Martini, infused with Pedro Ximénez Sherry, alongside churros con chocolate.
This much-loved mezcal pop-up has found a permanent home in Stoke Newington. Small-batch, rare mezcals and agave-based cocktails are accompanied by tacos in delicious flavours such as pulpo (octopus) and camarones (with grilled king prawns) to fuel merrymakers through a night of revelry. Co-founder Thea Cumming is also the founder of premium mezcal brand Dangerous Don, so she knows a thing or two about the smokey spirit. A predominantly female programme of live events including all-female comedy shows and drag acts is scheduled to run throughout winter.
Willows on the Roof
Christmas shoppers can now escape the festive fray by nipping into this sanctuary squirrelled away on the rooftop of John Lewis, Oxford Street. Refuel on pizza pies from Giz’n’Green (a collaboration between Gizzi Erskine and Professor Green) and sip festive cocktails such as Gingerbread Sours and Mulled Negronis, in cosy heated cabins decked out with fairy lights. You’ll also have front row seats to Oxford Street’s Christmas lights, as the sun goes down. A set Christmas menu priced at £35 per head is available, or get stuck into a meatball marinara stuffed-crust pizza pie, or a ‘honey trap’ pizza laden with buffalo mozzarella, calabrese n’duja and basil.
Wood & Water
April Jackson relaunches her Three Little Birds site in Brixton under the new name Wood & Water on 25 November. The delicious British/Jamaican menu includes dishes such as pan seared duck breast with jerk glaze, roasted sweet potato purée and rum soaked plums, and reflect Jackson’s travels, having lived in Jamaica, France, New York and the UK. Look out for the lightly spiced banana bread (pictured) and try a Pimento Old Fashioned, made with Plantation 5yr Barbados, pimento and chocolate. Weekends are likely to see the place packed for its bottomless brunch, where punters can enjoy unlimited rum punch, Prosecco and mimosas for up to 90 minutes for £25.
A rooftop winter wonderland claiming to offer “the best après-ski in London” opens at Coq d’Argent this month, in partnership with luxury cognac brand Hennessy. From 15 November to 22 February 2022, guests can book in for bespoke Hennessy cocktails alongside alpine-inspired sharing bites like a whole baked Mont d’Or cheese and steaming hot Diots sausages with red wine sauce. Private chalets for up to six people are kitted out with twinkling lights and faux fur blankets for toasty evenings, and a three-course set menu is also available for £60 per person. All cocktailed out? Choose from more than 600 French wines on offer at parent restaurant Coq d’Argent.
London Bridge’s favourite crustacean station has launched a refreshed menu, courtesy of new head chef Michele Menconi (formally of Patty & Bun and Honest Burgers). Menconi brings her burger pedigree to place a decadent lobster cheeseburger front and centre, alongside fiery Buffalo Shrimp, super fresh crab tacos oozing with home-made guacamole, and cajun mussels with chorizo. A well curated wine list including Albarino, Viognier and Chardonnay, offers the perfect accompaniment to the vanilla and white wine butter smeared lobster.
From 25 November, this East London pop-up transforms an old furniture factory into a 1970s-style Manhattan loft party, complete with more fondue than you can shake a bread stick at. As well as sipping glasses of Champagne from drinks partner Heidsieck Monopole, the fizz will also work its way into the ridiculously decadent fondue offering, with Heidsieck Monopole Brut Grand Cuvée layered into gooey Comté, Gruyère and Emmental cheeses. Staged in the Patchworks venue in Leyton, a retro camper van takes centre stage among a smorgasbord of 70s furniture, fur rugs, disco balls and a vintage wood burner.
Sarap Filipino Bistro
A new Filipino restaurant from Ferdinand “Budgie” Montoya launches in Mayfair’s 10 Heddon Street on 23 November. This latest branch of the Sarap restaurant brand follows the success of its Brixton sister site, and celebrates Filipino specialities such as slow-roasted suckling pig, served whole and stuffed with lemongrass and truffled adobo pork rice. Other dishes include Rellenong Crispy Pata (twice cooked stuffed trotter) and Ensaladang Talong (smoked aubergines, tomatoes, salted duck egg). London/Filipino fusion cocktails will make use of the bistro’s vinegars, fermentations and kombuchas to minimise waste.
Japanese robatayaki restaurant Yatay opens in Chinatown on 15 November, inspired by Japan’s street vendors. Spanning two floors, the eatery will serve classic skewers like meatballs with confit egg yolk, alongside dishes such as blow-torched mackerel with wasabi and pickled ginger, and sweet potato served with miso cured cream cheese, garlic chips and Hispi Cabbage smeared with nori butter. Fried milk bread doughnut with matcha and sesame custard light up the dessert list. A well curated list of sakes will be on offer, including some aged in Burgundy barrels, alongside Japanese whiskeys, home-made umeshu (plum wine) and cocktails incorporating ingredients such as Lapsang souchong. A late-night underground bar is due to follow at the venue later this year.