1. ESQ Bar
Recently launched in Kensington’s 100 Queen’s Gate hotel, is ESQ Bar. A great spot for entertaining one or ten guests, the cocktails are creative and the craft beers have rather fantastic names. The decor is beautifully opulent and there’s a lot of light for a downstairs bar. Only a short walk from South Kensington tube, pay a visit to ESQ before eating in the area – or for a post-dinner night cap.
Where: 100 Queen’s Gate, Kensington, SW7 5AG
2. Cahoots Ticket Hall and Control Room
Opening opposite its existing site in Soho, a new train station-themed Cahoots is opening up. The new cocktail bar will be 1940s-inspired with a special mixologist team creating drinks from 11am daily and you can expect live music in the evening. The ground floor will be home to the Ticket Hall, complete with ticket windows, schedules, ticket machines – the lot. Traditional British cuisine will be on the menu, including pies and mash and fish-finger sandwiches. Dishes such as chicken and waffles and Sloppy Joes will also make appearances, to pay homage to the American GIs who served in the UK. The Control Room will sit below as a reservations-only bar where guests can participate in cocktail masterclasses and enjoy music, drinking theatrical and novelty cocktails. We hear Cahoots is recruiting a new owner as well – Tanqueray cocktails for life.
Where: 5 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PF
3. Hide (and) Brunch
Another new brunch menu, this time from Hide, one from one of my favourite restaurants in the Piccadilly area. The atmosphere is spot on; the big windows let in pools of light, even on a grey day. It’s known for its impressive wine list, and the sommelier did an excellent job at selecting the right bottles. Aubergine tempura to start and a truffle croque monsieur ensured this brunch is not the standard eggs and bacon most London eateries serve up. I’ve always enjoyed Hide’s foie gras with grilled bread (the contrast in texture is a beauty) but the substitute waffles have to be appreciated. There was however only one star of the event: the crab linguine. It was phenomenal. I am currently organising a petition to have this dish moved to the regular menu too – please sign.
Where: HIDE Restaurant, 85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7NB
4. Jukebox Brunch
Brunch menus are everywhere, though 100 Wardour St has done things a little differently. Introducing the Jukebox Brunch, where guests can write down song requests to hear played over their eggs benedict. With live bands changing every weekend, you can enjoy some Start off with one of its musically themed cocktails (Like a Virgin makes for a sweet start) and then tuck into your food – you won’t be short of it. The salmon is particularly good, as is the full-on roast dinner if you’re dining on a Sunday.
Where: 100 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TN
London is getting a warm Latin American welcome this month with a new launch in the heart of Mayfair. Guests will be taken on a sensory journey mimicking the Amazon river, as they dine upon a variety of different Latin American cuisines to explore the gastronomic heritage of the region. Accompanied by live music and lavish décor, the bar flows through to the lounge, then the sushi counter before you arrive in the main restaurant. There’s even a private dining room, rainforest-themed, of course, which can seat 20 guests.
Where: 10 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6BR
6. Le Comptoir Robuchon
It was a sad day when L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon closed its doors so no one was more excited than me that Le Comptoir Robuchon is to open this month. In the heart of Mayfair, from the most decorated chef in the business, the new restaurant will focus on simple, classic small plates. La Saison is a contemporary selection of seasonal plates and Les Eternels is made up of Robuchon’s favourite and most beloved dishes, including his famous mashed potato.
Where: 6 Clarges St, Mayfair, W1J 8AE
7. Wild by Tart
Launching in Victoria’s Eccleston Yards, this neighbourhood restaurant will offer guests a selection of bites and small plates from a seasonal menu. The pulled pheasant croquettes with harissa yoghurt are set to be favourites and the clams, nduja and cider linguine is a unique take on a seafood pasta dish. Vegetarians can enjoy feasting on smoked tomatoes with burrata and basil oil, and the sourdough pizzas include mushroom with taleggio and tarragon. The open kitchen and communal tables and lounge area add a family-style atmosphere and there is a private dining room on a raised mezzanine level. In addition to the restaurant, there will also be a bar, deli, juice and coffee kiosk. It doesn’t stop at food and drink either, with the space also being home to a retail store and events and photography studio.
Where: 3-4 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ
Following an extensive re-design, legendary Italian eatery Franco’s is celebrating 75 years on Jermyn Street. Opening originally in 1945, the fine dining establishment has had interior designer Cheah Rothe on the case (whose previous work includes Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Bulgari Hotel). As well as contemporary sophistication, guests can enjoy signature dishes such as chestnut tagliatelle or pappardelle with lamb ragu, broad beans and pecorino.
Where: 61 Jermyn Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6LX
9. The Bloomsbury Club Bar
Enter a world of divination, telepathy and magical, mystical things the next time you fancy a drink and head to the Bloomsbury Club Bar. With an innovative cocktail menu inspired by a special deck of Tarot cards from 1910, the 14 drinks are designed to match your mindset – or at least the one you’d like. Go for the Warrior of Venus if you want to be fearless or for a Forbidden Fruit if seductive.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN
10. Terra Terra
The new Italian restaurant and café on Finchley Road. Cacio e pepe arancini and crispy polenta are a good way to begin the meal and the burrata with tomato is a creamy classic. Choose fennel sausage and roasted pepper or charred courgette and chilli pizzettes. Decor gives a nod to its Tuscan heritage and a private patio is the perfect place for lunchtime dining or dinner. The mixologist has worked at The Ritz so you know the Negronis will be on point.
Where: 120 Finchley Road, NW3 5JB
11. Suzi Tros
Tucked away in Notting Hill is a small Greek gem you need to be aware of. Suzi Tros is a low-key restaurant, serving up the epitome of Greek hospitality. Gorgeous homemade grilled bread with lashings of olive oil, Halkidiki olives and courgette crisps with katiki domokou (Greek cheese) and truffle are sharing necessities. Get your fill of veg with the smoked aubergine with tahini and honey and the roasted red pepper, complemented by goat’s cheese and crushed chillies. The dakos with whipped feta and cherry tomatoes is not to be missed – which makes a tasty side to Grandmama’s meatballs.
Where: 18 Hillgate Street, Kensington, London, W8 7SR