Ochre, West End
The couple behind Muriel’s Kitchen have launched a restaurant in the National Gallery. Ochre offers a contemporary European menu ranging from weekend brunch to dinner and afternoon tea – ideal if you fancy popping in after an exhibition. The restaurant also has a lively cocktail bar, private dining room and a DJ booth for late-night events. Ochre is all about style: the beautiful space has been designed by the same team behind Brown’s restaurant Native and the ever-popular Lina Stores, and all the staff are dressed in Boden. Keeping the venue’s original features, much of the furniture is either vintage or designed specifically for the space, made and sourced by dealers in the UK. Case in point: Kaymet has created bespoke trolleys for the restaurant, which are wheeled around piled high with an array of British cheeses. On the rest of the menu, you’ll find the likes of Cornish mackerel and sea lettuce tacos; saffron fettuccini with ricotta, mint pesto and aged parmesan; and smoked aubergine puree with ras el hanout onions and cumin-spiced flat bread.
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
Riding House, Bloomsbury
There’s a new outpost of Fitzrovia's much-loved Riding House Café. Like the original, Riding House Bloomsbury is a lively modern brasserie with the look and feel of a members club. The restaurant is housed in the listed, brutalist Brunswick Centre and serves a selection of small plates and skewers including grilled flatbread with smoked cod roe, tomato and wasabi tobiko; earl grey cured trout with citrus kosho and sour cream; and flat iron steak and comté yakitori with goma dare, a Japanese sesame sauce. Main dishes include caraway harissa chicken and cassava chips with fennel and cardamom gravy; and miso-grilled sea bass with nuoc cham and pickled cucumber. However, we’ve really got our eye on the pudding list, which features hot doughnuts with milk jam and rhubarb and vanilla cheesecake.
Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, WC1N 1AF
Caia, Notting Hill
Caia is a wine bar, restaurant and music venue just off Portobello Road. Founded by locals Rishabh Vir and Tim Lang – two of the team behind Fiend, one of our favourite recent openings – Caia offers a huge list of wines from interesting and young producers alongside a seasonally changing menu of dishes cooked on a custom-made, open-fire grill. Head chef Jessica Donovan, who used to cook at The Pem, has created a menu of moreish sharing dishes, such as garlic and sesame brioche with salted honey butter; asparagus with smoked onion and crispy chicken skin; cured seabream with tomato dashi and bottarga; and grilled artichoke with cured egg yolk. For dessert, we like the sound of the smoked cheesecake served with Kentish strawberries; or the macerated peaches with lemon sorbet and verbena. If you’re looking for a small party space, a 10-seat wine room is the ideal spot to try some of the bar’s best bottles. Meanwhile, the basement – which features a Kuzma R record player and Auditorium R-25 A speakers – will take guests from the heyday of rare jazz, funk, tropical and disco right up to current hits.
46 Golborne Road, Notting Hill, W10 5PR
A restaurant, bar and deli has opened on St John’s Square in Clerkenwell. At this neighbourhood spot serving breakfast through to dinner, the team starts the day with fresh-from-the-oven breads and pastries alongside bowls of organic overnight oats with British strawberries and honey; and sourdough pancakes with streaky bacon and homemade maple butter. Lunch sees salt beef bagels, smoked haddock croquettes, and courgette salads with smoked almond gazpacho and house pickled roscoff take centre stage. Dinner focuses on BBQ Cornish mussels with dashi broth, lovage and crispy shallots; pappardelle with asparagus, broad bean, fresh peas and ricotta; and grilled figs with honeycomb and fig leaf oil. Housed in the Victorian townhouse that used to be occupied by The Modern Pantry, the 30-cover dining room is decorated with blush pink walls, exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, marble-topped tables and dark green leather banquette seating. On sunny days, guests can drink and dine on the 30-cover terrace.
47 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JJ
Neapolitan chef Carlo Scotto, who has worked for both Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett and earned rave reviews for his creative tasting menus at Xier, is picking up where he left off pre-pandemic with the opening of Amethyst. The name is inspired by the amethyst chef’s table that seats 21 in full view of the pass, where diners can choose between a three and five-course lunch, a six-course tasting menu and a 12-course experience, all influenced by Nordic and Japanese cuisines with French and Arabic twists. Diners can expect to try clever and creative flavour combinations across the board, think croquette with liquorice, tarragon and parmesan; scallops with caviar, galangal and matsutake; burnt hay black cod with caramelised miso; and ras el hanout beef with medjool dates and nasturtium.
6 Sackville Street, Mayfair, W1S 3DD
The Lanesborough Grill, Knightsbridge
Five-star hotel the Lanesborough London has launched a modern British restaurant with acclaimed British chef Shay Cooper at the helm. Cooper was the man responsible for winning Michelin stars for both the Bingham Hotel and the Goring, before he went on to relaunch Notting Hill restaurant Julie’s in 2020, so we’re expecting great things. The Lanesborough Grill is found in the hotel’s richly decorated dining room, which is naturally lit during the day by a domed glass roof. The menu champions regional, seasonal food producers and many of the dishes are served table side on Gueridon trolleys, creating that all-important sense of theatre. Expect to sample the likes of coronation crab salad with curry and lime sabayon; poached native lobster with courgette purée, spring vegetables and lemon verbena butter; and treacle tart with apricot preserve and natural yoghurt sorbet.
Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7TA
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