Dry January doesn’t need to mean staying in all month, and it might just mean a cheaper meal out. From bustling Thai street cafés to drag show brunches and Japanese karaoke joints, there are plenty of restaurants to put on this month’s must-visit list…
Bringing their much-loved Japanese bowls to the heart of Covent Garden, Jidori – Dalston’s popular yakitori joint – will be launching a brand new site on Catherine Street in Covent Garden. Serving up the same mouthwatering fare, the yakitori grill will offer an extension of the original Dalston menu, offering up a selection of small and large plates, including the likes of tsukune (minced chicken with egg yolk), crowd favourites katsu curry scotch egg and okra-nomiyaki, and the celebrated ginger ice cream with miso caramel and sweet potato crisps. And the best bit? There’s a private karaoke upstairs where foodies and singers alike can sit side by side with skewers of grilled chicken and the best Beyoncé soundtrack you’ve heard this side of the Atlantic. Tempted much?
15 Catherine Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5JZ, open beginning of February
London seems to be welcoming foods from every corner of the globe this January, not that we’re complaining; food lovers can go from the bustling markets of Bangkok to the quaint cobbled streets of Paris, without so much as a plane ticket in sight. So naturally, we’re pretty excited about Spitalfields’ latest French-style foodie gem. A traditional Breton crêperie with a quirky modern twist, L’Ami Malo’s innvotive menu elevates the humble galette by using buckwheat – favoured for its healthy, versatile and gluten-free properties. Savoury galettes (which are more than big enough to share) come filled with indulgent confit duck leg and drizzled in a caramelised pear and red wine jus; and Morteau sausage with leek fondue, potato and French mustard; or for a unique Asian twist, maki-style rolls are paired with signature fillings including the likes of Bayonne ham with Comté cheese, tomato tartare, roasted hazelnuts and baby spinach; and smoked salmon, avocado, lemon cream cheese and sunflower seeds. Classic sweet crêpes also feature on the menu, including lemon and sugar; and apple compote with salted caramel.
14 Artillery Passage, Shoreditch, London E1 7LJ
A pleasuredome of raucous revellery, Rascal’s – true to its name – is a debauched diner-cum-restaurant-cum-bar, that serves up a heavy hit of fun and frolics. Decked out in millennial pinks, this playful hangout boasts everything from DJs, drag queens, cabaret acts and game show-inspired brunches, with a side of ping pong, water and jelly fights, golf and shuffle board to really get the party going. Brunches are served game show-style – think Roulette Wheel of Certain Misfortune – with dazzling drag shows and whip smart card games, alongside indulgent dishes of whole burratas, truffle linguine and meatballs, jelly mountains and ice cream.
97 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3BS
After years of serving up the very best of British seafood street-side, the talented food team from Claw are setting up their first permanent site right in the heart of busy Soho. Every morsel at this crustacean hotspot has been sustainably and responsibly sourced from Start Bay in Devon, directly from the fishermen, so you can tuck into each lobster, mussel, scallop and crab claw safe in the knowledge that each dish comes with an ethical stamp of approval. Seafood naturally features heavily, but the menu also veers well into turf territory, with meaty offerings including the likes of fried chicken and caviar; pork stuffed squid with crab mayonnaise; and onglet with sweet smoked potato and gremolata. They’re also offering 30% off food during their soft launch (8th – 11th January), so you can tuck in almost entirely guilt-free.
21 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5QA
Dubbed one of the hottest openings of the year, Thailand’s trendy Greyhound Café has officially landed in London, bringing the best of Bangkok to the heart of Fitzrovia. The brainchild of Thai designer Bhanu Inkawat, Greyhound – which originally started out as a menswear fashion house in 1980 – is now one of Thailand’s most celebrated food joints, with 17 sites spanning across the whole of South-East Asia. Fusing Thai cuisine with a few quirky global influences, food at Greyhound Café maintains its signature fun-loving ethos, serving up sizzling street eats and traditional banquet-style sharing plates, that are guaranteed to ignite the senses.
Interiors evoke Bangkok street scenes – think corrugated metal-sheeted walls, mock folding tables, brightly coloured chairs, hand-drawn chalk artwork and Thai ‘Temple Fare’ pendant lights – whilst the menu boasts all manner of wondrous culinary delights. Tuck into thinly sliced sashimi-grade salmon in chilli-spiked green sauce; ‘Complicated Noodle’, a DIY taco-like wrap of iceberg lettuce and rice noodle sheets with soy-braised pork herb salsa; German-style pork knuckle simmered with Thai herbs, deep fried until golden and served with sticky rice.; and ‘Angry Pasta’, wok-fried with mixed seafood, holy basil and a good dose of Thai chillies.
Greyhound Café, 37 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NB