Trattoria Brutto, Clerkenwell
One of the most talked about launches this season, Trattoria Brutto is the latest venture from Russell Norman, who – as well as looking after the bar at the newly reopened Joe Allen – was the man behind acclaimed Italian restaurant group Polpo. This traditional Tuscan trattoria is inspired by the rustic dining rooms of Florence – picture walls covered in family photos and tables adorned with red and white striped tablecloths. The team’s philosophy is based on simple, quality ingredients with big flavours – think panzanella salad, penne con vodka and roasted squash with borlotti beans and salsa verde. Whatever you do, don’t miss what the menu describes as ‘ugly but good’ meringue and hazelnut cookies with ice-cream. If you’re in the area and after a quick drink, the standalone bar is the place to head for a casual glass of wine or negroni and all-day bar snacks.
35-37 Greenhill Rents, Clerkenwell, EC1M 6BN
The Barbary Next Door, Covent Garden
Zoe and Layo Paskin have opened the doors to The Barbary Next Door, an atmospheric ‘little sister’ site adjacent to popular Berber-inspired restaurant The Barbary. In Neal’s Yard courtyard, the space is a relaxed neighbourhood wine bar, serving a menu that takes its cues from the fragrant spices and smoky flavours of Moorish Spain and North African cooking. The Barbary’s head chef Daniel Alt is in charge of this kitchen too, while a considered wine list focuses on Spanish, French and Moroccan bottles overseen by sommelier Honey Spencer. For breakfast, there’s a selection of sweet North African pastries including ktefa (brick pastry layered with crème anglaise); ras-el-hanout pumpkin bread served with pumpkin and sunflower seed clotted cream; and ‘roadside eggs’. Come evening, dishes include blood orange and grapefruit salad with fennel and tarragon; raw sea bass with cherry coriander salad and lime yoghurt; oysters served with harissa oil; and chicken pastilla, a chicken filo pie dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar – a dish inspired by warm evenings in Marrakesh.
16 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
Dai Chi, Soho
This month, the founders of cult Italo-Japanese restaurant Angelina will launch a kushikatsu restaurant. Soho’s Dai Chi will bring Osaka’s ‘kushikatsu’ dining culture to London, exploring the art of deep-frying vegetables, fish and meat on traditional kushi skewers to transform them into dishes such as fried lotus root, goma and black sesame whipped with tofu and aged balsamic; and scallop with bergamot ponzu and Exmouth caviar. The menu will be presented omakase style – serving whatever the chef fancies, when it’s ready – and will feature crudo, fried sticks of vegetables, fish, meat and a Japanese risotto. There will also be an option to upgrade to a more complex menu, with the addition of sticks of fried A5 wagyu tenderloin and white truffle; and deep-fried oysters with blackberry and yuzu granita. Guests can be seated in the 28-cover restaurant or at the six-seater counter. If it’s anything like Dalston’s Angelina, this one’s going to be special.
16a D'Arblay Street, Soho, W1F 8EA
3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden
3 Henrietta Street is a restored five-storey townhouse hosting three restaurants from chefs Mark Greenaway, Luis Pous and Kimberly Lin – along with a flagship coffee house from The Gentlemen Baristas. Overlooking Covent Garden piazza, each floor has been carefully restored, while preserving the original features. On the first floor of the building is Pivot, a modern British restaurant from Scottish chef Greenaway, serving a four-course (£65) and six-course tasting menu (£85). Taking up residence in the cellar is El Ta’Koy, the first UK opening from acclaimed Cuban chef Pous. The space serves a vibrant sharing menu driven by its tiki-inspired cocktail list – think tacos, tostadas and empanadas alongside bao buns stuffed with pork chicharron. On the ground floor you’ll find Lilly’s, a café headed up by pastry specialist Lin. Here, Lin – who has worked at The Corinthia, Claridges and for Dominique Ansel – has created a clever take on traditional cakes and pastries, as well as an all-day menu and a range of juices, teas and zodiac-inspired lattes.
3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8LU
The Water House Project, Bethnal Green
Gabriel Waterhouse’s east London dining sensation has put down permanent roots in Bethnal Green. The project began around Gabriel’s kitchen table in his flat in 2015. Completely self-funded, he relocated to a semi-permanent spot on Mare Street in early 2020. Dubbed a ‘social fine dining’ restaurant, the new space offers a monthly changing, nine-course tasting menu in a contemporary setting close to Regent’s Canal. Diners can enjoy the experience from one of two communal tables, or at one of the eight smaller tables around the room. Michelin-trained Waterhouse is influenced by the Nordics and loves to pickle and brine his ingredients. There’s an element of veg-centricity throughout his menus: highlights include Jerusalem artichoke puree with onion ash, artichoke skins and chives; carrot granita with crème fraiche and preserved lemon puree; and artichoke ice-cream with honeycomb, hazelnut crumble, blackberry compote and fennel. To finish, we can vouch for the Talisker whisky, amaretto and butter cocktail.
1 Corbridge Crescent, Bethnal Green, E2 9DT
The Maine, Mayfair
The Maine Mayfair is about to launch on Hanover Square. A New England-inspired brasserie in an 18th-century townhouse, the highly anticipated restaurant is the newest venture from Canadian restaurateur Joey Ghazal. It features five rooms over three floors – plus an impressive year-round terrace. Of the spaces, we love the sound of the Drawing Room, which has been reimagined with a mid-century aesthetic and a laid-back vibe. A low-key nod to the East Coast, the room features a giant capiz shell chandelier, mirrored cocktail bar and banquettes that add retro, playful touches to the room. The menus promise ‘casual decadence’, with each dish inspired by Joey’s childhood summers spent in Maine and Vermont. Expect to sample the likes of clam chowder, Maryland crab cakes, Maine lobster rolls and Canadian-style poutine.
20 Hanover Square, Mayfair, W1S 1JY
Gabriel Pryce and Missy Flynn have opened the long-awaited follow-up to their much-loved east London restaurant Rita’s – ten years after the original pop-up in Dalston. Now a permanent site in Soho, the menu at Rita’s is heavily inspired by nostalgic and personal experiences, as well as Missy and Gabriel’s travels across the Americas. Dishes include the likes of jalapeño popper gildas; hot bean devilled eggs; BBQ beef tartare with garlic, raw vegetables and herbs; salt cod taquitos; and a vegan cacio e pepe; while larger dishes include grilled sugar-pit pork collar; and a steak dinner for two followed by key lime pie. Missy’s range of cocktails will also draw reference from Mexico and North America: we love the sound of the ‘Fresh Start’, a signature margarita made with sansho pepper-infused Tapatio tequila. If you and a group of friends are looking for a fun night out, it’s the place to book.
49 Lexington Street, Soho, W1F 9AP