SO HOT RIGHT NOW
The 15 best new restaurants in the greatest eating-out city in the world
London is thronging with fresh and exciting cuisines — we sit down at the best new openings
in the wake of the brexit vote last year, rousing billboards began to appear across the capital proclaiming “London is open”. The messages, commissioned by the mayor’s office, were to remind everyone who lives in the city — whatever age, nationality, religion or hue — that this is a place where all-comers are welcome (with “all-comers” meaning “especially French bankers”). Perhaps nowhere is this inclusivity more visible than in London’s restaurant scene, which now boasts more quality and variety than perhaps any other city: and yes New York, we’re coming for you. So, to celebrate the capital’s culinary expansiveness, and also to mark London Food Month (1–30 June), we present our list of the 15 best new restaurants to have opened here in the past 12 months.
We’ve all accepted that London’s boiled-turnips-for-tea reputation is now ancient history and you can eat well and widely in the city, but our own very begrudgingly conducted research shows that international diversity is greater than ever. We ate Thai barbecue at Kiln, Jamaican jerk chicken at James Cochran EC3, Taiwanese buns at Bao Fitzrovia, Indian puffed rice at Kricket, Roman pasta at Palatino and Turkish kofte at Yosma (and then some Rennie). We did not eat any hamburgers because these days that’s shooting fish — OK, highgrade beef patties — in a barrel. And while we can personally vouch for London right now being a veritable mor fai (a Laotian hot pot, like you didn’t know), some trends did start to emerge.
Hoarders despair, for it seems that sharing plates are going nowhere, partly because it’s more sociable, and partly because, let’s face it, it stealthily hoiks up the bill. Don’t expect many tablecloths and do expect informal waiting staff who talk to you like you’ve just popped by to rent a surfboard. No-reservation policies are still common, and eating at the counter in front of an open kitchen is more popular than ever, so you can watch your dinner being flame-grilled (or in the case of one restaurant we visited, a junior chef, for incorrectly arranging some bread). Also, for the record, both pasta and fried chicken are clearly “things” right now. Which is fine by us.
So, if you want a little taste of the best of London’s current restaurant scene you could do a lot worse than visit one, some, or all of the establishments listed on the next few pages. Because happily, as far as eating well is concerned, (and with apologies to anyone who remembers Colin Farrell’s sex tape), London is still very much open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.