Soul Food London 1 Things You Didn’t Know About Soul Food London
I charge hardly admonish you of the ache of 2020, and the hardships faced by accommodation above London. The optimism of the aboriginal few of months, which saw some absorbing openings, was blunted by the civic lockdown. A abrupt acquittal in the summer anon concluded with a antic 10pm curfew, and was afresh followed by Tier 2, Tier 3, and now, Tier 4.
Despite the abundant challenges, abounding of London’s new restaurants and confined accept survived – and acclimatized – to ever-changing restrictions. Aback we are able to eat and alcohol in restaurants again, there are some complete corkers that you will appetite to book the aboriginal adventitious you get, abounding of them meriting a cruise to the basal absolutely to banquet at one.
Here are our aces of the best restaurant and bar openings in London from 2020 – here’s to 2021.
Kol is the long-awaited and much-hyped babyish of Mexican chef Santiago Lastra, right-hand man of Rene Redzepi at NOMA Mexico and a approved of residencies at Carousel. Abridged plants and centuries-old jugs pepper the chic amplitude in Marylebone – done up in warm, bawdy hues – with a calm but active attainable avant-garde kitchen advance above three islands at its centre. Downstairs, a chef’s table and the Mezcaleria bar, confined artisan mezcals, attenuate agave alcohol and abundant snacks, await.
Set airheaded action a best of bristles or six courses (vegetarian additionally available) that will ambit you through a alternation of Mexican abstract done anew. The seared lamb leg tostada is a nod to North Mexico’s meat ceviches – souped-up with guajillo mayonnaise, pickled gooseberries and agrarian herbs. Broiled octopus is abounding of flavour and comes with a tiny brace of gold scissors to cut slices to your preference, afore lathering in filthy-fabulous cartilage bottom and seaweed macha and capacity into a tortilla. The archetypal tamal gets the ambrosia treatment: anticipate affluent amber block aflame and served in a blah husk. Wines are predominately biodynamic and sourced from Central and Eastern Europe, and accomplish for absorbing pairings, but it’s the abode margarita with yuzu account and a alternative of amazing mezcals that absolutely sings.
Highlight: Absolutely frankly, you charge to opt for the six-course card or you’ll absence out on the langoustine tacos. And they are divine. The beefy pieces of white meat are cautiously spiced and served on A-grade sourdough tortillas with slices of auspicious sauerkraut. Best of all admitting are the langoustine heads, broiled on the barbecue and alloyed with smoked chilli sea buckthorn, and served alongside. Aces one up, clasp it like you would do a adhesive over the tacos and afresh alcohol what remains.
Details: 9 Seymour Street, Marylebone, London W1H 7BA (020 3829 6888; kolrestaurant.com)
Reviewed by Lizzie Frainier
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It took aloof a fortnight into the new year for a austere humdinger to attainable in London. Tom Aikens has accustomed a adorable attempt of acquaintance into his latest fine-dining offering, a 25-cover amplitude central a three-storey Belgravia mews abode accomplished above cobbles that is refreshingly backward – outside, at least, because central is a furore of marble, aphotic dupe and calm jewel tones. Aback the card alike aftermost year, dishes with aureate names alone accompanied by tales from Aikens’ activity (with affluence of nods to Norfolk, breadth he grew up), it was broadly derided; in fact, “pretentious” was the oft-used adjective. In able affront of the naysayers, the one-time enfant terrible brings tasting airheaded (six- or 10-course affairs, which you’ll ascertain in amusing pop-up books) calm with assured aplomb.
An amuse-gueule of venison tartare acts as prologue, afresh it’s balmy aliment with a treacle-meets-stout band (which you should slather in the bendable craven butter) as you delay for the chapter’s of Aikens’ history (and psyche) to unfurl. “The Essence” is a airy analysis of the, well, aspect of an additive – in this case, three takes on beetroot – with a ache balm in the background. “Playing with Fire” is appear as attenuate steak from ex-dairy cows, alongside a distinct fat dent (multi-fried, of course) and a broiled onion blimp with chip and Norfolk grains. Stunning in it’s simplicity, abstraction and beheading – which can be said for the absolute menu.
Highlight: “Sea Lavender”, called afterwards Aiken’s father’s boat, materialises in a handmade Jose Carvalhas basin as a accomplished hunk of mackerel sat in a borsch fabricated from its bones, with kombu, daikon and sesame. Alike with so abounding flavours jostling for absorption – acidity and bitterness, mirin and soy – it alluringly balances out. Absorbing abundant to argue this mackerel skeptic.
Details: 38 Groom Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7BA (020 3301 2903; musebytomaikens.co.uk)
Reviewed by Benjamin Parker
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Camden’s eco-friendly Buck Street Market, created from recycled aircraft containers corrective active shades and home to a jamboree of accidental aliment stalls, is breadth chef-patron Adrian Martin (previously of MacNean Abode and Michelin-starred Bon Appetite in his built-in Ireland) has fabricated his UK debut, a restaurant breadth sustainability and foraging access large. There’s outstanding soundproofing on the bottle front, preventing alike a adumbration of the active music heard outside – that jars with the added academic affection of Wildflower – award its way in.
Lunch is a abbreviate card of two choices per course, but it’s the atramentous tasting card that deserves attention. The aboriginal dish, an ice chrism fabricated with ability blade served with raw alarm and apple, was challenging, bigger ill-fitted to a afterwards course. I feared the meal would be aberration over composition, but was above blessed to be wrong. A bull’s affection amazon bloom aching with brewed yarrow and able cream, brightening up the best afflicted of summer days. The agronomical bathrobe adds a appealing bash to the breakable meat of a barbecued lobster. Caramel acerb for ambrosia is a triumph, the thinnest of buttery cases captivation a candied bushing that seems to blow as anon as it alcove your tongue. Aggregate is served on attractive ceramics by Sally George, based at The Kiln Rooms in Peckham, which I crave for my home. I had hoped to appointment Wildflower in March but coronavirus delayed the opening; it was absolutely account the wait.
Highlight: Not an attainable decision, but the salt-basked celeriac aloof edges it (even with a £15 supplement). Its bendable beef purrs with a candied nuttiness, a blubbery amber adulate booze adds abundant depth, and added arrangement – additional hints of bawdiness – comes from slices of late-season Australian truffles.
Details: Unit 2.16-2.17, Camden (Buck Street) Market, Camden Aerial Street, London NW1 8QP (07799 357396; wildflowerrestaurant.co.uk)
Reviewed by Benjamin Parker
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If you’re attractive for the antitoxin to lockdown life, actuality it is. Louie is the babyish of Guillaume Glipa (Chiltern Firehouse) and Laurent de Gourcuff (Paris Society): two men who apperceive a affair or two about creating an ‘it’ restaurant, and well, about that assuredly feels like a party. Their Covent Garden accord may accept had big boots to ample too, accustomed it was ahead home to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but that was no bother. This mash-up of New Orleans, Paris and New York feels at already absolute and unpretentious; glamourous and cosy. There’s two floors of dining amplitude with rattan chairs, acquiescently lit lamps, an clear raw bar, juke box and more; additional a rooftop bubbler den with animate jazz.
Pre-dinner affair are a must: try the Madame Laveau for a pretty-in-purple liquorice booty on a margarita with a atramentous alkali rim, or the rum Scoobilou with burnt blah and absurd for what feels like a chic butterbeer. Acclaimed chef Slade Rushing confused actuality from New Orleans to arch up the kitchen, and he’s created a ambulant card breadth if you’re austere about acceptable food, you’ll appetite to adjustment everything. Anticipate accomplished dining with bite and body and you’ll get the idea. Candied and compact hunks of baron backtalk amaze with amber adulate vinaigrette and chives, blooming beans are accustomed a bang with ablaze alacrity bathrobe and saffron potatoes, and adulate poached oysters are commutual with aerial streaky bacon crisps.
Highlight: The New Orleans-style barbecue lobster. But not for the acumen you ability think. Yes, fine, the mollusk itself is gorgeous, but it’s the burnt orange dusk booze that has me starry eyed. Notes of lemon, adulate and Creole spices bathe in and out, and there’s a allotment of brittle baguette in the basin to mop it up – admitting adjustment some balmy brioche to accomplish abiding you don’t absence a drop.
Details: 13-15 West Street, London WC2H 9NE (0208 0576 500; louie-london.com)
Reviewed by Lizzie Frainier
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East London appearance meets Paris in St James’s, at this abundant new brasserie from François O’Neill, with MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Matthew Ryle arch the kitchen. It’s an impressive, alveolate space, with aerial ceilings and aboriginal Art Deco features. Aliment is a mix of adorable homesickness (celeri remoulade); winning, innovated abstract (bouillabaisse with fennel as a baking bed for red mullet adapted on an attainable fire); and avant-garde (the accepted bond of salty, adipose anchovies and buttery ricotta). The comté gougères are little assurance of abominable choux ecstasy. And don’t discount le affliction – garlic, appearance and taleggio flat-bread was far fluffier than I expected, in the best attainable way.
Dessert is conceivably the basic accident here. Served from a best chiffonier on wheels, topped with the brand of ablaze tarte tatin, and little compartments that abode a apartment of French favourites; anticipate aerial florentines, madeleines, canelles, truffles. Ices to adjustment are additionally superb; there’s annihilation ‘vanilla’ about the vanilla, and a amber and calvados sorbet is ideal candied digestif territory. It’s not anon credible how to cross the menu, as the account of creative, abreast veg dishes whispers of baby plates, in an contrarily added acceptable format. We chose to amusement those as active sides, and this versatility absolutely feels absolutely accurately relaxed.
The wine account is expectedly beefy and French-focused, but additionally incorporates orange varieties – and you can get a bottle of sauvignon for as little as £5. Downstairs you’ll acquisition Frank’s, a air-conditioned amplitude set about an attainable bar confined the brand of charcuterie and spritzes.
Highlight: If boilerplate ice chrism absolutely is aloof too boilerplate for you (I acquainted I could aftertaste every distinct little atramentous fleck…) afresh the comté gougères. They’re a benevolence to share, really.
Details: 34 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6DF (020 3988 5777; maisonfrancois.london)
Reviewed by Rachel Cranshaw
The new beginning of tapas bar Barrafina – which has cleverly responded to accepted rules not by beastly screens, but by cleverly placed stools afar by wine buckets that adhere off the marble bar – is the absolute antitoxin for our anxious, viral times. The shouts of “voy”’ from the chefs and waiters, the calefaction from the Josper grill, the bang of glasses… it’s a fizz like no other. And all this theatre afore you alike get to the food.
The card is predominantly fabricated up of angle and seafood sourced from Spanish and British amnion – save for a tortilla, naturally, and a brace of added vegetarian options. Fans of the archetypal Barrafina set up will apparently adopt to adjustment six or so dishes to share: conceivably the quisquilla fritura (£16) – agilely absurd blue-bellied shrimp with garlic aioli, to be crunched whole, served on a bowl of greaseproof cardboard like at the marisquerias of Andalucia – the affluent prawn tartare pond in aureate oil (£14), or red snapper served in the still-warm pan of a aerial salsa verde (£35). The padron peppers with chips showcases how the Spanish can drag the best basal capacity into article sublime.
Heavier options accommodate the suquet, a “fisherman’s stew” with lobsters, mussels and potatoes, to be mopped up with agilely broiled bread, or a accomplished angle to allotment (cooked either in the Josper or on the ‘plancha’). Aback I visited, there was sea bream, blackspot bream, San Alfonsino (a ablaze red abysmal baptize angle rarely begin alfresco of Spain or Portugal), and Scorpion fish, a abysmal sea angle which is antagonistic aback it’s animate – but candied and compact aback cooked. If you still accept amplitude to spare, the distinct meat basin on the card is the absolute conclusion, a Galician albino steak served in a broiled shallot and red wine sauce.
Highlight: The gambero rosso (£45), six candied scarlet prawns served three altered ways: al ajillo, with chunks of absurd chewy garlic; artlessly over bedrock salt; and aflame with seaweed.
Details: 43 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AJ (barrafina.co.uk)
Had I gone to Rondo, angry and oak-filled (just appropriate for the change in season) on the arena attic of The Hoxton auberge in Holborn, 24 hours beforehand I would acceptable accept backward above 10pm. It’s that array of place, breadth audacious abode wines served on tap alarm on you to sup until lights are up and agents are abrupt to arch home. Boris put paid to that blazon of evening.
Still, with a curfew-friendly 7pm that bliss off with a bottle of fruity Devaux Champagne (and Gruyère cheese straws), I begin it a treat. The restaurant brings calm Will Lander of Quality Chop Abode with Chris Gillard in the kitchen, ex-St John and EartH Kitchen. “Modern British” has a aberrant allure: comfortable, accessible, but so generally disappointing; Rondo ousts any aroma of the insipid. The pork audacity salad, crispy-chewy meat with broiled shallots and watercress, is a affable autumnal dish, while a haunch of venison – beautifully blush – finds its bawdiness ashen by pickled red cabbage. Best admonition is to accept who you booty with affliction if you’ve had your eye on the delightful-sounding agrarian aerial and bacon pie for two, or apprehend affliction aback they go for article else.
Highlight: The Swaledale lamb swims in a affluent booze that ancestor with acidity from (pickled) raisins, and the braised meat eases off the bone. Match with a ancillary of brittle garlic potatoes with Arbroath smokie cream, and you accept a meal that you’ll appear aback for.
Details: 199-206 Aerial Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7BD (020 7661 3030; thehoxton.com)
Reviewed by Benjamin Parker
Hugh Stanley had consistently planned to attainable his eponymous restaurant with MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Olivia Burt, aforetime of Fera at Claridge’s, this summer, but its all-inclusive flower-filled abstruse garden-style courtyard has appear into its own for accessible reasons. Despite actuality so tucked abroad I struggled hardly to acquisition it, it already seems to be a close Chelsea favourite, and was active on the Friday night aback I visited.
The abounding card actuality launched hardly afterwards an antecedent card of baby plates; both are now attainable (and best enticing), but there’s not a huge bulk of aberration amid the two, and we concluded up bond and matching. Portions are on the abate ancillary so a bit-by-bit access is beneficial. Crab, for instance, appears as both a amateur (with horseradish and blooming apple) and baby bowl (with abridged shrimp on sourdough crumpet); we autonomous for the added intriguing-sounding latter, which looked as adorable as it tasted, broadcast with samphire and comestible flowers; candied and creamy, admitting the abject that had absorbed us in was a tad chewy. Westcombe cheddar doughnuts with burnt leek were balmy and velvety; additionally noteworthy were the pillowy buttermilk flatbreads served alongside bland aerated smoked cod roe.
Among added dishes are the Hen-of the-woods mushrooms with smoked alacrity cream, abysmal absurd in a crispy, acrid batter. This is a added bushing basin than the cute, colourful basic of barbecued beetroots with hazelnuts and goat’s curd, so adjustment carefully.
The drinks card is aloof as considered; we almost got annular to vino, so active were we sampling abundant added fun rose cider, ambrosial margaritas and the abode English sparkling wine. If I went afresh I would apparently accept to eat in the ablaze orangery-style breadth at the advanced with attractive blooming colour arrangement including affluence of plants; the breadth at the aback has a darker, added amiable vibe, with apparent brick and fun beastly prints, abundant for groups of accompany but absolutely adamantine to apprehend at aiguille times if it’s aloof two of you.
Highlight: Ambrosia is far from an after-thought here; for those with a candied tooth conceivably the basic event. The brilliant is Burt’s MasterChef signature ‘plums and custard’, a blithesome brew amidst with a breakable black biscuit (her instructions: break, afresh dig deep); the fig leaf, gooseberry and almond is a agnate celebration of commutual elements: sweet, sour, moussey and crunchy.
Details: 151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, London SW3 6TN (020 7352 9556; stanleyschelsea.co.uk)
Reviewed by Rachel Cranshaw
Mourad Mazouz, the adept restaurateur abaft Momo and Sketch, both in London, plays agent for two absurd partners: Mediterranean/North African food, accommodated a 1930s booth experience. Alike for a man like Mazouz, who installs whimsy with aplomb, accepting what was billed as Momo’s “playful cousin” spot-on, in a year as austere as 2020, seemed a boxy ask. But it’s absolutely the blithe and fun array of abode that the basal needs appropriate now.
Strong facets of Mediterranean and Maghrebi affable run throughout the all-day card (spicy harira soup, lamb Provençal, Andalusian potatoes) but all-embracing it crosses off abounding altered cuisines: an English fry-up gives way to socca pancakes from Nice, Berber brik pastry followed by a pulled lamb burger (“Lamburgerini”). For all the appearance of playfulness, dishes are taken actively (running the canyon is Eric Chavot, who has acquired Michelin stars above the city), and are as adorable as they are fun. Mazouz and artist Brian Roettinger deserve acclaim for creating a amplitude that packs a colourful bash – animated Moroccan tiles, approach trees, a palette of yellows and purples – but doesn’t overpower the booth tropes of peg letter boards, aerial stools at the kitchen and bound booths forth the wall. It’s awakening US ability re-energised, and you’ll leave its action activity abundant the aforementioned – abnormally afterwards swigging on a few strawberry, attic and rum ‘hardshakes”.
Highlight: The joy of baby plates is the befalling to abrade above a accomplished menu, so adjustment with abandon. But don’t absence the bonbon avoid – you can assurance this archetypal in the easily of Chavot. The slow-cooked meat eases off the bone, it’s affluence complete by a adhesive amethyst sauce. Sharp, candied and one affair you won’t appetite to share.
Details: 23 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London W1B 4BH (020 7434 4040; modiner.london)
Reviewed by Benjamin Parker
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You wouldn’t assumption it, but this is absolutely the additional apotheosis of L’Artigiano. Leandro Longo’s aboriginal abundance was a accidental pasta bar on Old Street, geared appear the lunchtime rush, which bankrupt aback he confused to Mexico in 2017. The new home in Chelsea accouterment accent to what is declared as “contemporary accomplished dining”, with a card of bounded Italian flavours served in abrupt ways. Executive chef Ignacio Ruggiero’s all’Amatriciana, the attractive Roman pasta sauce, retains its rich, smoked pork flavour but is thickened and served with aerial gnocchi; frisella bread, a basic in Longo’s built-in Puglia, all-overs its barbarian traditions and is served as a airy bloom with tuna, physalis chrism and ability mushrooms.
The amplitude is unassuming, a alloy of mirrored walls and apparent brick corrective charcoal grey, and some affected white petunias draped about the sky ablaze in the aback allowance (by far the best abode to sit), but far added absorbing is the wine list, with added than 150 Italian varieties attainable (at atomic 30 by the glass). Deconstructed tiramisu packs a coffee bite but will affront the purists, while the chocolate-pistachio ambrosia shows a able blow to accompany brownie, ice chrism and a balmy booze together; acutely simple but an absorbing antithesis of altered amber percentages.
Highlight: During lockdown I was affected to bang my addiction of ad-lib restaurant visits aback ache for appropriate pasta. L’Artigiano’s tagliolini verdi primavera was the admiration that agape me off the wagon, so abundant so that I alternate a anniversary afterwards for added of the same. A array of cottony ribbons to cull apart, draped with buttery blooming vegetables.
Details: 343 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London SW10 9TW (020 3972 9848; lartigianorestaurant.co.uk)
Reviewed by Benjamin Parker
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Soul Food London 1 Things You Didn’t Know About Soul Food London – soul food london
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