One of our favourite restaurants has just launched a third site – this time in the atmospheric alleys of Shepherd Market. Hidden away from the busier streets in Mayfair, the menu at Noble Rot’s newest spot has been devised by Adam Wood (ex-Perilla and The Square) and exec chef Stephen Harris of The Sportsman. Each Noble Rot outpost has a distinct culinary personality and menu: here the focus is on indulgent future classics such as warm smoked eel, baked potato and Avruga caviar; sea bream and oyster tartare; and a whole roast duck with Chambertin sauce and potato and cep gratin to share between two. Thankfully the team’s great-value set lunch exists here too, as does what the group is calling its ‘most ambitious wine list yet’. The wider team has won 'Wine List of the Year' at the National Restaurant Awards four times, so we’re expecting great things.
Zapote is a contemporary Mexican restaurant and bar that’s launched to great acclaim in Shoreditch. The first restaurant from Mexican chef Yahir Gonzalez and hospitality veteran Tony Geary, the authentic space is named for the Mexican fruit whose bright orange flesh influences a vibrant colour palette – picture blue banquettes and plenty of cacti. Central to both the design and the menu, there’s an open charcoal grill, where chefs cook their homemade tortillas and serve up the likes of beef tartar taco with roasted bone marrow; grilled octopus with pasilla chilli, pipian verde and tortillas; grey mullet recado rojo with grilled corn and smoked cod roe; and coal-roasted sweet potato with chipotle mayo. There’s also a cocktail bar – where snacks include oxtail quesadilla with tomatillo and endive – and a 12-seater space to dine at the bar. We also hear a private dining room will be added in the next couple of months.
Ploussard is a neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar on Battersea Rise. The 34-cover opening takes its name from a French red wine grape varietal, and comes from seasoned hospitality duo Matt Harris and Tommy Kempton, founders of London’s cult fried chicken joint Other Side Fried. The restaurant offers a seasonal menu of plates designed to be shared alongside a low-intervention wine list. Highlights include Tunworth croquettes with burnt onion mayonnaise; smoked cod's roe and seaweed crackers; a lamb and anchovy crumpet; and potato and egg-yolk ravioli with fermented wild garlic butter. Designed by Matt and Tommy themselves, the interiors offer cosy dark wood booths, with oat-coloured tabletops and tones of burgundy and light pink throughout the space.
Wild At The Cross
Legendary London nightclub The Cross relaunched late last year – and now a restaurant has opened in the venue. Named Wild as a nod to the late-night debauchery the nightclub was famed for in the 90s, the 55-cover restaurant serves a Mediterranean menu that’s designed for sharing and to kick off a night out. The ground-floor bar at The Cross is a destination in its own right and just the place for a couple of cocktails before hitting the dancefloor – we like the sound of the Coconut Margarita blending Cazcabel coconut tequila, lemon, Cointreau and a coconut rim; and the Pandan Whisky Sour showcasing Woodford Reserve bourbon with lemon, sugar, pandan, egg white, The Cross bitters and orange zest.
Nick Gilkinson (the man behind cool Whitechapel restaurant Townsend) has opened his second restaurant on the top floor of a four-storey Victorian warehouse. The venue is also home to Mission, the recently opened modern yoga and movement space on Fashion Street in Spitalfields. The kitchen is being headed up by Amber Francis (formerly of The Ritz, Zebra Riding Club and Bermondsey Larder), who has created a menu full of European bistro dishes, such as Mersea oysters with pickled cucumber and sorrel; whipped cod’s roe with allotment vegetables; burnt leek tart with Berkswell and pickled onion; and Paddock Farm lamb with spring greens and hazelnut pesto, Keats farm salad, and confit garlic and miso dressing. For pudding we love the sound of the pine panacotta with English apple and wood sorrel; or maybe almond ice-cream served with poached rhubarb and black pepper sable.
Nessa is a stylish, modern bistro that’s opened in cool new Soho members club 1 Warwick. Excitingly, the kitchen is headed up by Tom Cenci (formerly of Loyal Tavern and Duck and Waffle), who’s devised a menu of classic dishes that champion seasonality – and are variously inspired by the rich history of Soho, Vanessa Bell, and other artists and creatives of the Bohemian movement. In the snack section, expect to see oysters with hot sauce, crackers and hibiscus mignonette; and cheese and onion croquettes with grape husk mustard. Mains on offer include the must-try celeriac carbonara with confit egg, parmesan breadcrumbs and truffle, or mussels with cider, parsley and seeded garlic baguette. A large sharing section of the menu features roast chicken with morels and chicken butter sauce; and sole with pepper chilli pickle and herbs. The dessert menu sees reimagined British puddings become the star of the show: think baked Alaska with seasonal fruit; custard tart with spiced creme fraiche; seasonal upside-down cake; black forest trifle; and roly poly pudding with custard.
This month will see the launch of the first UK restaurant from the 26th-generation Antinori winemaking family. Over three storeys of a characterful period building, Cantinetta Antinori will offer a truly impressive wine list and relaxed all-day Tuscan dining, with dishes ranging from prosciutto di wagyu and crispy octopus with potato cream to handmade pasta such as cacio e pepe and tiramisu served tableside. As you’d expect, a sommelier team will be on hand to offer guests a hand with pairings from the extensive cellar. The design has been inspired by the historical Cantinetta Antinori restaurant in Florence and many of the design details have been made by Tuscan artisans – including the long, wooden bar counter with brass vine leaves, the wood boiserie on the walls and the atmospheric lighting. Best of all, there’ll be live jazz each evening.