1. Bloomsbury Street Kitchen
The newest addition to the ‘Kitchen’ group, and by far my favourite. The atmosphere is buzzing, the staff are welcoming and the dimly lit room has a fairy-light vibe to it. First: cocktails. Namely, the refreshing Yuzu Osaka with grapefruit vodka and sparkling sake and the Sakura & Hibiscus Spritz with cherry blossom liqueur. For those not familiar with the Kitchens, they have two menus of two different cuisines that pair well – but it’s not fusion as the cusines are not intertwined. To start off with, we selected black pepper crusted beef with truffle and Parmesan from the Mediterranean menu; from the Japanese menu, the hot miso chips with spicy tuna and some smashed avocado. The Bincho grill had us try the chili and lemon-roasted baby chicken which was an impressive bit of theatre with all the smoke from the hoba leaf. To finish, the chocolate bento box is a must. Just don’t expect to remember exactly how you got entirely engulfed in chocolate.
Where: 9-13 Bloomsbury St, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3QD
2. Bob Bob Cité
Positioned in the underbelly of the Square Mile’s Cheesegrater building and only accessible by private elevator, the yellow, gondola-shaped Bob Bob Cité feels less restaurant and more portal into an alternate reality. My kind of haunt then. It’s the brainchild of Russian perfectionist, Leonid Shutov, and the interior is defiantly unique, so much so it nearly never happened (there was a 16-month delay). Part Orient Express and part upmarket Ginza casino, every detail has been fastidiously selected, from Japanese bookbinding wallpaper to 25 bespoke chandeliers. It’s transcendent – in a oligarchical-dystopia sort of way.
Where: 122 Leadenhall St, EC3V 4AB
3. Harlem Soul
We all need soul food from time to time. With two locations in Old Street and Notting Hill, this peppy eatery is fun and lively with heart-warming classics. The brunch menu is smaller, serving a range of classic dishes with a soul twist. Choose from sweet buttermilk pancakes or a savoury treat – my vote goes to the Brunch Rosti with a delicious crispy potato hash with sausage, mushroom, chorizo and buttermilk Hollandaise (oh yes). Make sure you also try the blackened Cajun popcorn shrimp and the mac and cheese bites.
Where: 205 City Rd, Hoxton, EC1V 1JN
4. Tramp Turns 50
London’s oldest and most iconic private members club, Tramp, celebrates its 50th birthday this year. The club is known for its star-studded history, having welcomed Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Rod Stewart and Michael Caine through its doors. Saturday is the night to visit if you’re looking for an evening of drinks and dancing that you’ll never forget. Enjoy dinner downstairs or drinks on the terrace before heading down to the club section for Champagne, Whispering Angel and the dance floor.
Where: 40 Jermyn St, St. James’s, SW1Y 6DN
5. Japanese at Jidori
Tucked away in London’s Covent Garden, this Japanese etary is a breath of fresh air for the area. The main attraction is the yakitori skewers: a selection of beef, chicken and vegetables, whose marinades keep them beautifully sweet while the enoki mushrooms are drizzled in tangy sauces. The sashimi is clean to the palate and the Katsu curry scotch egg is as satisfying as it sounds. My final tip? Leave room for the ginger ice cream with miso caramel – a real treat.
Where: 15 Catherine St, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JZ
6. Marilyn Monroe at May Fair Bar
A limited edition of four cocktails celebrating Marilyn Monroe will grace the drinks menu at the May Fair Bar this month. Part of the bar’s exclusive exhibition on the Hollywood actress, the cocktails are inspired by four outfits, on display at the hotel. A Cabernet Sauvignon and cherry reduction Champagne foam, for example, takes inspiration from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Where: 70 Stratton St, Mayfair, W1J 8LT
7. Lucky Cat
There’s a trendy new eatery in Mayfair and it’s got Gordon Ramsay’s name on it. An open space, the dark, dimly lit space designed by AfroditiKrassa studio is full of ambience – an excellent third-date spot if ever there was one. For something more low-key, choose from either the lounge seats – adjacent to the well-stacked, colourful bar – or, opt to sit in front of the chefs as they prepare sushi. I began with a White Geisha cocktail, a mix of yuzu and egg white, to keep me company. We weren’t left alone for long before breaded monkfish cheeks and crispy squid joined for a double date. A squeeze of lime is enough for these dishes, despite their wasabi-based sauces. Classic Asian fusion is the name of the game here: perfectly sweet black cod, sesame soy broccoli, seared tuna, crispy duck bao and a crispy shrimp roll. A low-key affair turned into a party. The monkfish and bacon skewer made for an interesting grill option, while the beautiful coconut sauce of the soft-shell masala crab came with a roti to soak it all up. Desserts include yuzu and passion fruit soufflé which is an excellent choice.
Where: 10 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, W1K 6JP
8. Romulo Café
Set about halfway down Kensington High Street, Romulo Café is Filipino comfort food at its finest. Start with crispy pork hock with shrimp sauce, followed by the chicken adobo – I promise you won’t regret it. The crispy squid in a chilli, honey and garlic glaze was some of the best I’ve tasted and both the pork belly and the seared mushrooms were exceptional. The standout dish for me remains to be the beef tadyang – slow cooked to perfection, it fell apart from the rest of the short rib effortlessly and its honey glaze was meatlaced crack.
Where: 343 Kensington High St, Kensington, W8 6NW
The city was in need of a new German beer hall and Tower Hill seems like the perfect location. Not only will Bierschenke serve up spätzle, schnitzel and stroganoff, there is also a large variety of wursts. You’ll feel like you’re in Munich in no time. Currywurst – born in Berlin – will forever be my favourite but it’s a great point to try the famous white sausage. Obatzda (a creamy cheese dish) is delicious, too. The establishment is hosting a series of events for Oktoberfest, so expect too much beer, too much sausage and far, far too much table dancing to oompah bands. Prost!
Where: 4 Blomfield St, EC2M 5NT
10. 108 Brasserie
An afternoon spent in Marylebone is often a peaceful affair – steps away from bustling Oxford Street and with newly-opened restaurants such as 108 Brasserie. Sharing plates of burrata salad and mushroom risotto sat in the middle of the table. I opted for a classic main of Dover sole, the fish meaty and flavoursome sitting alongside creamed, buttery spinach. And fries, of course. I was also pleasantly surprised with the steak sandwich: wholeheartedly recommended. While the large house-style dining room is beautiful, I recommend sitting outside if you get the chance for people-watching in the Lane.
Where: 108 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, W1U 2QE