One of the capital’s only Burmese eateries, this Shoreditch newcomer offers traditional dishes served in a contemporary style. Originally a pop-up restaurant in a Hackney warehouse, the team’s first bricks-and-mortar site brings together a pretty mix of smart wooden seating, native plant life and rose gold cutlery, while numerous framed photos of Burma give it a sense of place. Fans of the team’s street-food offerings at Old Spitalfields Market will be pleased to learn that the small-plates menu features plenty of old favourites, such as coconut noodles with chicken, yellow pea paratha and hake masala with lemongrass rosti. Make sure you leave room for pudding – the banana and semolina cake with ice cream, chocolate and peanut butter is one of the best we’ve had this year. Trust us, there’s a reason they only serve one dessert.
58 Bethnal Green Rd, Shoreditch, E1 6JW; open now
The Ivy Café, Blackheath
As you can imagine, the Ivy Café is a far more relaxed dining experience than its namesake, but the food is no less spectacular. The walls, like the atmosphere, are bright and vibrant. Highlights from the menu include the mozzarella di bufala – melt-in-the-mouth and drizzled with a heavenly pesto oil – and the blackened cod fillet, baked in a banana leaf and served with pak choi. When it comes to dessert, it’s hard to pick from all the classics – strawberry ice cream sundae, panna cotta, cheese board – but if you’re struggling to choose, you can’t go wrong with the crème brulee. A thin layer of crisp sugar and a creamy custard ensconced inside, it’s light enough that it won’t leave you loosening the belt on your way out.
43-45 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, SE3 0TJ; open now
One of the most anticipated launches of the year, Neptune will finally open in the newly refurbished Principal London hotel on Russell Square at the end of May. From Jidori’s Brett Redman and hospitality pro Margaret Crow – the team behind The Richmond in Hackney – this hip new spot is housed in the Grade II-listed ballroom that was allegedly the inspiration for the Titanic’s own dining room. As the name suggests, menus here will be seafood focused – we’re most excited about paying a trip to its dedicated oyster bar. Look forward to seafood platters topped with Scottish langoustine, wild mussels, soused mackerel and hardshell crab aguachile, larger sharing dishes (whole Cornish crab with house spaghetti in a smoked tomato, Vietnamese basil and long pepper sauce), and an all-natural wine list complemented by modern-style caviar service.
Russell Sq, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BE; opens 24th May
Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden
One of the UK’s best-loved restaurants has opened a multi-purpose site within a verdant courtyard in Covent Garden. Petersham Nurseries Café , a sophisticated spot that serves modern European fare in a glasshouse in Richmond, has now launched The Petersham, an elegant restaurant with a classic a la carte Italian menu, and La Gocchia, a more relaxed all-day eatery with an open kitchen and a wood-fired oven. All housed within the aptly-named Floral Court, the standout spot is the flower-filled courtyard, where alfresco dining is an option. Elsewhere on site, there’s a bar, florist, wine shop and homeware store, which will allow guests to recreate the Petersham aesthetic back at home.
27-31 King St, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JB; open now
Roux at the Landau
Leading French chef Michel Roux Jr has reopened his London flagship restaurant, following a massive refurbishment by hip hospitality designer David Collins Studio. Set within the striking surroundings of the Marylebone five-star hotel The Langham, Roux at the Landau has always been a go-to spot for special occasions. Now, the team has added a smattering of laid-back elements to the space – from a countertop dining experience serving snacks throughout the day to a vastly extended wine list that offers plenty by the glass. Head Chef Nicolas Pasquier has stuck with the theme, putting together a new menu of simple dishes, refined by classical French cooking – expect the likes of cod with leeks, gnocchi and Falmouth mussels.
1C Portland Pl, Marylebone, W1B 1JA; open now
Temper Covent Garden
This new spot makes three of a kind for chef Neil Rankin. We’ve been fans of his barbecue-heavy food since he opened Islington’s Smokehouse in 2013, but his fire-focused Temper restaurants have kicked things up a notch. Whereas his previous two launches have centred on tacos and then curry, this time the dish of choice is wood-fired pizza – both deep-pan and crispy. The toppings have already got us drooling – think slow-cooked goat ragu with goat salami and burnt pepper pesto, or bisque and tomato base with whole soft-shell crabs, onions, green chilli and brown crab sour cream. A series of ragu will be also served with homemade bread and gnocchi, while its drinks list will focus on vermouth. This place hasn’t even opened yet, and we’re already asking: what cuisine will Neil turn his tongs to next?
5 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FA; opens 14th May
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