1 / A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery, 52-55 Dorset St, Marylebone W1U 7NH
When you hear that the daughter of the mastermind behind Mayfair’s Arts Club is debuting her own eatery, one is quite rightly intrigued. When you learn that the restaurant’s ethos is built on health and wellness, one’s intrigue becomes heightened. Kelly Landesberg may have launched A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery without a refined sugar in sight, but delicious food most certainly is. There’s also a selection of glutenfree, yeast-free and dairy-free options available, meaning everyone can enjoy the latest hotspot in Marylebone.
Both the octopus and beef carpaccio were recommended to us for starters, and as a third selection we opted for the sea bream ceviche. The beef carpaccio was definitely my favourite, with the hazelnuts and gorgonzola dressing complementing the plate well. The octopus was perfectly grilled, and the grapefruit in the ceviche added a particularly zesty kick.
For our main we opted for the baked cod fillet; meaty and flaky, its tomatoes, olives, capers, raisins and pine nuts added a sweetness that reminded me of Middle Eastern cooking. We were honestly too full for dessert… but when the menu offers hot chocolate mousse, how can you refuse? Had we stopped there everything would have been fine, but we also raided their bakery downstairs. There we feasted on pastry layered with bananas, all doused in a dark chocolate sauce that made me giddy with excitement. No refined sugars though; I happily remember that.
2 / Roadkill X Camden Grocer, Camden Market, 32 Camden Lock Place, Camden NW1 8AL
Meat mavericks, Roadkill, have teamed up with The Camden Grocer to offer masterclasses on how a butcher works. Having had success with their beef class, next on the agenda is pork, followed by lamb. It’s a fantastic evening, as fun as it is delicious. Canapés included beef croquettes and toasted bread with brisket and blue cheese, the perfect accompaniment to a talk on the history and sourcing of the beef. The dinner was set informally on long banquet-style tables among the bespoke produce of the deli. The taste between supermarket and butchercut meat could not only be determined by the taste when eating, but also by the colour when raw and the firmness of the fat. The Camden Grocer also provided a tart but addictive cider with which to finish the meal.
3 / The Ruby Rogue, Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Marylebone
Cubitt House is introducing another pop-up initiative: The Ruby Rogue. This upmarket take on a traditional Irish pub will grace Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Marylebone and has already had success from hosting the Six Nations screenings and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Epitomising Irish charm, there’s a mix of sharing tables and leather armchairs. Guinness is on tap, along with a cocktail list using Roe & Co. Irish Whiskey. We recommend the Beef and Guinness Pie, too. © Kate van Onselen
4 / Vegan Plates, 93 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8AG
View this post on Instagram
?New Autumn Menu ?☄️….launches this weekend! Reservations open, book via website link in bio ✨This stunning new main course is our Jerusalem artichoke & wild mushroom risotto, toasted hazelnut, organic black rice cracker, scorched enoki ? Captured in the warm afternoon sunlight by ?@katevanonselen #lovetheseasons
Chef Kirk Haworth and Plates have launched a plant-based food and drink studio in Hoxton. Due to launch later this year, this vegan fine-dining establishment is a permanent set-up for Haworth’s regular successful pop-ups. Haute cuisine at its finest, the restaurant will serve a five-course menu of seasonal dining, all organic and free from dairy and refined sugars. It might just turn our heads and get us thinking about what we put into our bodies. Maybe.
5 / Swift to Soho, 12 Swift Old Compton St, Soho W1D 4TQ
Swift Bar has launched a new cocktail menu, two years after the bar first launched. Split into four sections, Bright, Delicate, Stiff and Rich, these distinctions aim to guide guests on the various styles and flavours of the drinks available. A new menu means an excuse to experiment in the kitchen, so the team have introduced new food offerings, too, featuring classic oysters and a range of bocadillostyle sandwiches. All food is made using fresh, seasonal produce, so you can neck back your cocktail with your conscience easy.
6 / Searcy’s Wine Dinners, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP
A glass of wine high in the sky is never a bad thing. Make the glass plural and you have yourself a really good evening; add in the view from The Gherkin and it’s pretty much perfect. Searcys have planned a series of wine dinners and the next one will be held in May, featuring bottles from Nyetimber’s vineyard in England’s South Downs. Set in Searcys’ private dining room, each course is paired with a wine to match the dish. Wines from Tuscany are set to follow suit in October.
7 / Mamounia Lounge, 136 Brompton Road, London SW3 1HY
Knightsbridge has a great selection of Arabic eats. Having visited Mamounia Lounge only once before, the introduction of a new mezze menu seemed like the perfect reason to go back. A pistachio pina colada made for a fantastic welcome cocktail; I was very impressed that the nutty flavour came through in the drink, and that it was not merely the green colour that signified the pistachio. Our waiter recommended the borek, and the filo pastry batons of crab and squid did not disappoint. The aubergine tatar, known as zaalouk, was rich and sweet and a selection of strong soft cheeses wrapped in more filo pastry had me craving more. Ignoring the grills and confidently ordering the lamb tagine, the sweetness of the apricots, figs and prunes really came through and the contrast with the almonds, in both taste and texture, made for a really delicious plate. As with all Middle Eastern lamb, it fell apart with the slightest poke from my fork. The meal ended with one of the most memorable baklavas I’ve ever tried: soft and flaky pastry, moist from the syrup and with pistachio being the main ingredient. The perfect finish to a delicious meal.
8 / Akira at Japan, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA
Located in Japan House, Akira is the eponymous restaurant from executive chef Shimizu Akira. Founded on the trinity of Japanese culinary principles – food, tableware and presentation – my expectations were high. Visiting for lunch, we opted for the robata and sushi omakase set menus. The seabass carpaccio was a great start, while the second course included a selection of sashimi. Wagyu beef skewers and wagyu nigiri were deliciously meaty mains. It’s a great spot for lunch, far from the usual central haunts.
9 / Conjuring Magic with the Alchemist, 63-66 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden WC2N 4JS
The Alchemist’s newest location, St. Martin’s Lane, really ups the bar’s theatrical game with its new AR-assisted menu. Using an app, bar-goers can see their cocktails come to life as The Alchemist merge the power of mixology, technology and design. The AR and app will be unveiled across all locations later this spring.
10 / Enchanted Garden Bar at South Place Hotel, 3 South Pl, London EC2M 2AF
Inspired by the botanicals of Martin Miller’s Gin, guests are invited to have a drink in South Place Hotel’s Enchanted Garden. Make your way through the drinks list in the most spring-like setting one could ask for, selecting your own garnish simply by picking it off the walls. © South Place Hotel jamesbedford.com © Joe @ joewoodhouse.com
11 / The Drop Sessions, Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ
In addition to being a prime spot for a glass of vino, the bar has introduced drop-in style evenings, where guests can enjoy wine and light bites, each focused on a certain region or style of wine. Previous successes were the Tartiflette and Alpine night, as well as the Braai barbeque and biltong party with South African wines to match. These monthly events are open to all and offer a way to discover new wines and try them with the correctly-paired dishes. Next up? Portuguese wine and bifanas. Don’t miss out on one of the world’s most underrated origins for wine and its delicious Portuguese sandwiches.