1 / Sticks’n’Sushi in Soho
Another feather in the Sticks’n’Sushi cap, the Soho location is the latest addition to the Danish-Japanese restaurant chain. Sit at the bar and enjoy one of the bespoke cocktails – the classic Yuzu Zoo remains a favourite, while new drinks include the Tokyo Botanicals with sparkling sake and Roku gin.
The menus have pictures but don’t let that put you off; all the options are good. Start off the meal with a portion of grilled edamame, ebi bites – tempura shrimp – and crab croquettes with wasabi caesar dressing, all great comfort foods. Scallop ceviche, sea bass with kataifi (Turkish batter), chives and truffle and fried cauliflower with black truffle sauce should also not be missed.
The quality of sashimi is perfect. Get yourself a selection of seared nigiri because the rolls section is where you need to take your time. The classic California and Spicy Tuna rolls never fail and the ‘fancier’ Hell’s Kitchen (tempura shrimp with avocado, topped with tuna) and Rainbow (shrimp, snow peas, salmon, avocado, tuna and yellowtail kingfish) are worth experimenting with.
It’s called ‘Sticks’ and Sushi so don’t go forgetting the yakitori grill part of the menu either. That was the original base of the restaurant when the three brothers started the concept in Copenhagen, after all. There’s a huge selection, including the delicious Wagyu beef, Tebasaki (chicken wings with lemon), Buta Yaki (pork belly with yuzu-miso sauce) and Eringi (grilled king oyster mushroom with miso herb butter). Save room for dessert too; the dark chocolate fondant with a peppermint heart is worth it.
Where: Sticks’n’Sushi, 40 Beak St, Soho, W1F 9RQ
2 / White City Dinner (SHOLA Kitchen)
The lamb shoulder is beautifully done – marinated for 48 hours in a blend of smokey, black cardamom spices It wouldn’t be French without a hearty onion soup, paired with a crusty slice of baguette with which you can mop up the broth Pakistani food is severely underrated and West London’s Shola Kitchen serves the most delicious and flavourful food this side of Karachi. Order both the chicken and vegetable pakora bites to share and absolutely do not forget about the masala fries. The palak paneer is divine and the lentil dal is the perfect texture, although beware as it definitely has a kick to it. The lamb shoulder is beautifully done – marinated for 48 hours in a blend of smokey, black cardamom spices – but it was the chicken malai boti, with the spiced yoghurt, coconut and cumin that had me raving for hours. It’s now open for dinner as well as lunch and it a damn sight better than anything nearby Westfield has to offer.
Where: SHOLA Kitchen, Unit 6 Media Works, Wood Ln, W12 7FP
3 / French Fancy (Chez Antoinette)
The Victoria location of Chez Antoinette offers a charcuterie and cheese board, complete with foie gras to get your dinner started. It wouldn’t be French without a hearty onion soup, paired with a crusty slice of baguette with which you can mop up the broth. Coq au vin is a signature dish and, served with tagliatelle, it’s a filling plate. It’s also worth trying the signature croque monsieur or madame – Antoinette adds a tasty portion of onion confit to set theirs apart. A substantial wine list is left on the table, with great offers from Burgundy and Bordeaux, of course.
Where: Chez Antoinette, 22 Palmer St, Westminster, SW1H 0PH
4 / Sherlock’s Kitchen (Kitchen at Holmes)
No detective work is needed at this restaurant: good food, fantastic cocktails – it’s all here. Start off your meal with Sherlock’s Pipe; Johnnie Walker whisky and Negroni mix in this cocktail – I’d order it just for its cool aesthetic. Move on to everything deep-fried and cut through it with the Adriatic Cuttlefish with lemongrass and wild rice. Try the black truffle and ricotta ravioli but leave room for the lamb escalopes as they’re dusted in lemon and herbs and served with a gorgeous roasted aubergine, drizzled in tahini. Sherlock never left any loose ends and neither should you; the chocolate and orange ‘fiesta’ makes a more than worthy dessert.
Where: Kitchen at Holmes, 108 Baker St, Marylebone, W1U 6LJ
5 / New York Nights in London (Sette & Nolita Social)
From New York City’s Scarpetta, Sette will bring the city’s Italian royalty to its capital counterpart across the pond. Creamy polenta, burrata with figs and a mix of salmon, tuna, yellowtail and sea bass tartare will all do nicely as starters to begin your meal. Choosing mains could be a tricky affair, as the duck and foie gras ravioli, short rib and bone marrow agnolotti and the seafood scialatelli are just three of the amazing seven pasta dishes on the menu. My advice? Go with friends who like to share, like a real Italian. The cocktails at Sette are fantastic but if you head upstairs, you can have a few drinks at Nolita Social in a more eclectic environment, where Manhattan’s vibrant energy is definitely brought wholesale to Knightsbridge.
Where: Sette & Nolita Social, 4 Knightsbridge Green, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7QA
6 / Ramen and Izakaya (Hakata Ramen + Bar)
This simple, no reservations restaurant is a Bermondsey highlight. The ramen is served upstairs at Hakata Ramen and there’s an extensive menu of different varieties to choose from. You can never go wrong with the classic tonkotsu but the simple, spicy miso broth is also delicious. Downstairs is the izakaya; a small bar space with great music, with great music, moreish cocktails and the snack menu; think steamed buns and katsu sandwiches. The tebasaki wings are sizeable, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth in either soy garlic or spicy Gochugaru rub and sauces.
Where: Hakata Ramen + Bar,177 Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, SE1 3UW
7 / Folie Breakfast
Arriving fresh from the French Riviera, Folie has arrived in Central London with a new, decadent breakfast offering. Start the day right with a cheese and herb omelette or perhaps age-old favourite of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon – but why not wash it down with a glass of Champagne or a peach and raspberry Bellini? For those not drinking, keep up your health with a fresh smoothie, freshly-squeezed juice or bottle of kombucha. If it’s sweet over savoury for breakfast, the Folie french toast is coated in salted caramel and the Acai bowl has never failed anyone to keep you going until lunch.
Where: 37 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9LB
8 / Brunch at Barbie Green
The venue is Intagram-friendly to the extreme Barbie Green is the newest opening from the Daisy Green collection, this time right in the city. The venue is Intagram-friendly to the extreme. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in-between, the classic favourites are all on the menu. The Fancy Bacon Roll remains to be one of the best things on the menu but my vote? The famous (for a reason) chicken parmigiana. That panko-crusted schnitzel baked in mozzarella is a dream meal.
Where: Barbie Green, 2 London Wall Place, EC2Y 5AU
9 / Sussex in Soho (Sussex Restaurant)
Taking over Arbutus’ old digs, Sussex is new to the Soho scene, and comes courtesy of the passionate Gladwin trio, the sibling restaurateurs are behind Rabbit, The Shed and Nutbourne. Named for the family farm, everything is organic and ethically-sourced and produced – from the meat and veg to the wine list. Order the mushroom Marmite eclairs as a snack before moving on to monkfish carpaccio drizzled in lemon, chilli with aubergine and pine nuts to make it exceptional. For mains, you’ll absolutely want to put in your order of a beef wellington to share as you’re eating your appetisers (it takes about 20 minutes to prepare).
Where: Sussex Restaurant, 63-64 Frith St, Soho, W1D 3JW
10 / Dinner to the Club (Wellington Club)
The perfect place for anyone who hates walking from dinner to the party. Brett Duarte, the restaurant’s executive chef, has carefully curated this modern European menu to feature all the favourites, as well as some unique dishes, all using locally sourced ingredients. Think pan-fried scallops with sweetcorn purée and crispy ox cheeks with jalapeño mayo. The halibut is a strong choice for the next course – or if you’re going easy on the meat, the caramelised Roscoff onion tart with quail eggs, figs, mozzarella and truffle cream is good enough to tempt a carnivore. Stick around after dinner, as this members’ club increases its tempo as the night goes on.
Where: Wellington Club, 91 Jermyn St, St. James’s, SW1Y 6JB