SO HOT RIGHT NOW

The 15 best new restau­rants in the great­est eat­ing-out city in the world

Esquire (UK) - - Contents - Com­piled by Alex Bilmes, Mi­randa Collinge and Tim Lewis Pho­to­graphs by Ana Cuba

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.

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