It’s been a good year for eating out in London. With nearly 150 new openings, intrepid eaters have had no shortage of options for expanding their culinary horizons. From Michelin stars in Mayfair, to creative chic in Shoreditch, via a meat-lover’s paradise in Knightsbridge, 2014 saw all manner of gastronomic newcomers enter the arena. Having put many a new kid on the block through their paces, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourites:
1. Rivea London Book Rivea London
New Alain Ducasse restaurant. Four words that are guaranteed to cause a stir on the London foodie scene. This time, it’s his protégé Damien Leroux taking the reins with this Mediterranean masterpiece, serving simple, fresh food inspired by the French and Italian Riviera. With a menu that includes blue lobster with purple artichoke, and turbot with root vegetables and muscat grapes, Leroux looks set to become a household name in his own right with Rivea.
2. Café Murano Book Café Murano
Little sister to Michelin-starred Murano, Café Murano is the latest venture from culinary tour de force Angela Hartnett. Don’t be fooled by the word café though – there’s no bacon sarnies here, just sublime Italian food that got critics raving. It’s no wonder, with dishes like black figs, homemade ricotta and mint tagliatelle on the menu.
3. Lyle’s Book Lyle’s
Shoreditch has long been the place to see and be seen, so it’s only fitting that the team behind Lyle’s know a thing or two about trendy London restaurants. James Lowe not only helped found the esteemed Young Turks Collective, but he’s also worked at the legendary St John, alongside his Lyle’s co-owner, John Ogier. The food is creative, British and carefully sourced, whilst the location doesn’t get much cooler: The same building as the exclusive Shoreditch House on Shoreditch High Street.
4. Hawksmoor Knightsbridge Book Hawksmoor Knightsbridge
Hawksmoor’s steaks are legendary. So when news spread that they were bringing their meat to the west of the city, carnivorous Londoners got excited. And rightly so. With the likes of lobster macaroni cheese, and raw wild sea bass with chili and ginger joining the steak staples, there are few finer spots for steak, seafood and cocktails.
5. Tredwell’s Book Tredwell’s
Described by Grace Dent in the Evening Standard as ‘high-end comfort food heaven,’ Marcus Wareing opted for a more informal, but no less impressive offering with this addition to his expanding portfolio. Proudly British, the meat is carefully sourced and even the cocktails are given decidedly Cockney titles. So indulge in some slow-cooked pork belly with apple sauce and nutmeg, and wash it down with a Penny Farthing. It’s modern London and Dickensian London all rolled into one.
6. The Green Room Book The Green Room
Unsurprisingly for a project by the National Theatre, The Green Room is a little different. Decked out with props from shows, the restaurant also has a sustainable garden, and all profits support the theatre and local communities. All this aside, the food speaks for itself. Come hungry, because the slow-roasted barbecue pork ribs and house special spiced hot dog with Monterey Jack cheese are hard to resist.
7. Canvas Book Canvas
Having trained under Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, it’s hardly surprising that Michael Riemenschneider has created something out of the ordinary with Canvas. Adventurous diners can create their own tasting menus of 1 to 16 dishes, with mind-boggling flavour combinations that include lamb with porridge and olives, and a chocolate dessert with beetroot, raspberries and basil.
8. Fera at Claridge’s
Simon Rogan created quite a name for himself with l’Enclume, voted Best Restaurant in the UK by the Good Food Guide for the last 2 years. So the launch of Fera at the iconic Claridge’s Hotel wasn’t going to go unnoticed. Latin for wild, Fera is a fitting name for Rogan’s new venture, famed as he is for his devotion to quality ingredients. Unsurprisingly, it’s already snapped up a Michelin star.
9. Hixter Bankside Book Hixter Bankside
Another gastronomic powerhouse, new Mark Hix openings don’t come without fanfare these days. The man behind Tramshed in Shoreditch brought us Hixter Bankside in 2014, a converted factory with a penchant for only the best steak and chicken. In fact there’s very little else on the menu, but when there’s whole chicken with stuffing and chips, and 1kg porterhouse steaks to share, what more do you need?
10. Strand Dining Rooms Book Strand Dining Rooms
Refined, debonair and classically British, Strand Dining Rooms took us back to times gone by when they opened in 2014. Adding some Mediterranean flair to quintessential elegance, they brought us the likes of Earl Grey smoked duck breast, stuffed saddle of rabbit with vanilla-infused carrot purée, and a gloriously traditional afternoon tea.
With 2015 set to be another exciting year for restaurant-goers, we’ve picked out some of the most eagerly-awaited openings to look forward to. Let us know in the comments if there’s any more we should be looking out for.
New for 2015:
1. Alan Yau’s Duck & Rice
A Chinese gastropub in Soho from the founder of Wagamama and Hakkasan.
2. Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street
Dining with a view in the ‘walkie-talkie’ skyscraper.
3. Barbecoa Piccadilly
The second restaurant from Jamie Oliver’s barbecue venture.
David Muñoz, creator of 3 Michelin-starred DiverXo in Madrid, is set to open his first restaurant in London.
A Japanese restaurant from Jason Atherton, the man behind Pollen Street Social and City Social.