If 2013 yields as many new restaurants as the amount spawned in 2012, we’re set for another breathless year. There may even be a couple of prominent casualties amongst the white heat of more openings, although the London restaurant scene is successfully maintaining its own little bubble of relative immunity amongst the wider economic climate. We’re happy with that bubble – let’s hope it’s indestructible.
Here’s a selection (by no means exhaustive) of some of the planned openings for 2013:
JOHN SALT WITH NEIL RANKIN (16th January) – A menu built around the use of smoke and charcoal arrives at the John Salt next week as Neil Rankin takes up the reins in the kitchen. Different woods and charcoals will be used as a seasoning as well as a cooking method with even some of the raw dishes tasting like they’ve been near a fire, echoing the obsessive use of wood burning used at San Sebastián restaurant Etxebarri. There will be some Malaysian, Korean and BBQ influences going on as well. Dishes will include whole baked crab, oysters with lardo and bacon dashi, crab and fennel on pork skin – these have piqued our interest.
BALTHAZAR (February 2013) – Englishman Keith McNally finally secured a site in Covent Garden after rumours rumbled over the past eighteen months, and now we await a version of his hugely successful Balthazar in New York. We’re still not sure exactly how faithful his London outpost will be to the original, but this will be one of the big openings of 2013 for sure.
SOCIAL EATING HOUSE (March 2013) – Jason Atherton will open his next London project in Soho’s Poland street, with Paul Hood installed as Head Chef. Spread over three floors, we hear there will be a chef’s table seating fifteen in the basement with a bar wrapped around it, a ground floor restaurant, and a top floor standalone bar. Another big opening.
THE CLOVE CLUB (February 2013) – The team behind the kitchen above The Ten Bells pub in Shoreditch have secured the old Shoreditch Town Hall for a permanent venture. Will be a hot opening, hugely anticipated.
ZUMA AND AQUA AT THE SHARD (March 2013) – London’s latest and highest ‘bloody tall building’ will have more than two different restaurants, as Aqua plan to open at least two up there in the clouds.
THE GRAIN STORE (April 2013)- Bruno Loubet is adding to the impressive regeneration of Granary Square in King’s Cross. Vegetables are expected to play a starring role.
AMETSA WITH ARZAK INSTRUCTION (February 2013) – The Halkin hotel will replace Nahm with the guiding hand of three Michelin starred Arzak from San Sebastián. There will be plenty of excited kerfuffle over this opening.
SHAKE SHACK LONDON (2013. At some point) – Burger ennui? It’s seems not. New York City’s beloved burger franchise owned by the consummate Danny Meyer, author of ‘The Art of Service’, has not been disenchanted by the three million London burger openings in the last six months. Expect queues and thirteen thousand pictures of burger ‘cut-throughs’ to be Tweeted within the first six minutes of the first patty hitting the griddle.
CEVICHE SHOREDITCH (March/April 2013) – The Pisco Inferno continues with the planned second Ceviche, further cementing the Peruvian dining scene.
BRASSERIE CHAVOT (January/February 2013) – Eric Chavot moves into the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, having formerly held two Michelin stars at The Capital Hotel.
STORY (February 2013) – Thomas Sellers has worked hard to finally secure his long wished for first site. With a CV that glitters with experience at several of the Big Dogs of world cooking (Redzepi and Keller the most notable), this is building towards being one of the early 2013 hot openings.
BEAGLE (March 2013) – James Ferguson was Head Chef at the quietly brilliant Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch, and will open his own place just up the road. Unfussy British cooking impeccably executed is his style.
NANBAN LONDON (Spring 2013) – Tim Anderson won MasterChef and now hopes to secure a site in Shoreditch. We’re expecting thrilling interpretations of Asian dishes to dominate, with a Japanese influence leading the way.
BARRAFINA COVENT GARDEN (2013. We hope.) – This should have opened some time ago, but issues with the original site means plans were put on hold. Unquestionably one London’s finest Spanish dining experiences, another Barrafina is a VERY GOOD THING. Sam and Eddie Hart will nail every detail when this finally opens.
NOBU SHOREDITCH (2013) – Glam Japanese ”A lister’ restaurant Nobu will open a hotel/restaurant at some point in 2013.
SKYE GYNGELL (2013) – Formerly leading the kitchen at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, the dazzling simplicity of Skye’s beautiful dishes make this one to keep tabs on. We hear she’s hoping for Soho, with a site not yet confirmed.
APRIL BLOOMFIELD (2013?) – April has been looking for a London site with business partner Ken Friedman for a couple of years we understand. Entangled in a dispute with Gordon Ramsay over registration of the name Spotted Pig, her gastropub in NYC, this distraction may delay things further. Either way, we need to bring Brummie April back to the UK, as her cooking is very good indeed.