Forza Wine at the National Theatre
Forza Wine – the Peckham rooftop venue known for simple and fun seasonal drinks, considered Italian snacks and views of the capital – has launched its long-awaited second site. In a cool spot at the National Theatre, the 160-cover indoor/outdoor space has taken over the north-west terrace of the Brutalist London landmark. The ‘sort of Italian’ snack menu includes cauliflower fritti with aioli; mozzarella with figs and hazelnuts; pancetta potato cakes; and signature soft serve. Each can be ordered individually alongside drinks, or the entire menu will serve four for those after a full meal. On the cocktail front, the classics sit alongside end-of-summer-ready cherry negronis, limonata bianca and frozen peach margaritas.
The Peninsula opened its first property in Hong Kong in 1928, and this month sees the group launch its first hotel in London. In Belgravia, the property is home to an exciting collection of restaurants and bars. First up, there’s The Peninsula Boutique and Café, a pretty café serving hand-crafted chocolate, confectionery, patisserie and viennoiserie. At the centre of the hotel you’ll find The Lobby, a spectacular space serving an all-day menu and afternoon tea. The hotel’s Cantonese restaurant Canton Blue and adjoining cocktail bar Little Blue nods to the hotel group’s heritage and will take guests on a dining journey through innovative flavour combinations and techniques. Finally – and perhaps most excitingly – October will see the launch of Brooklands, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant led by chef director Claude Bosi, the man behind Michelin-starred Bibendum.
From the team behind French-inspired phenomenon Bob Bob Ricard – which celebrates its 15th birthday this year – Bébé Bob is a fun spin-off launching across the road from the Soho original later this month. On a corner of Golden Square, Bébé Bob will offer two varieties of rotisserie chicken, with well-priced fine wines (including white and red burgundy) and champagne to match. The star of the show, chicken will be served whole at the table and carved in view of guests. Diners will then be encouraged to pick from a handful of elevated sides and sauces to accompany the bird, including truffle french fries, winter leaf salad, sautéed kale and truffle jus. Expect lavish interiors to rival the blue, red and gold opulence of the original spot.
Until recently, Nigerian-born Adejoké Bakare was a home cook. For several years she hosted dinner parties and supper clubs, but in 2019 she won a competition to open a three-month pop-up in Brixton Village. Chishuru launched in August 2020, inspired by the food of Nigeria. After Jay Rayner visited and gave the restaurant a rave review in November 2020, the pop-up became a permanent fixture in Brixton. Now Chishuru will reopen in its new central London location this autumn. On Great Titchfield Street, the menu will pay homage to Joké’s West African heritage and will focus on open-fire cooking and an extended pastry offering. Dishes will include sinasir rice cake with white and brown crab and squash puree; cod fillet with mbongo tchobi (spiced black sauce) and wilted greens; and black sesame caramel and baobab meringue. The wine list will be sourced entirely from independent producers throughout France, each selected to complement the heat and complex flavours across the menu. Cocktails will feature West African herbs and spices, including a house-pickled okra martini as an aperitif, and an eau de vie shot with alligator pepper as a digestif.
Paper Moon Milano at The OWO
Another of this autumn’s mega hotel launches, The OWO is set to open its doors on 2nd October. In the iconic Old War Office building in Whitehall, the venue will be home to the UK’s first Raffles hotel, featuring 85 private residences, nine restaurants and three bars. One of the first to launch is Paper Moon, a spin-off of the Milanese original. It will be open for lunch and dinner, showcasing an all-Italian menu. Expect to see house favourites from beef and tuna tartare and Mediterranean monkfish to traditional parmigiana and homemade pappardelle and ravioli. We’re also keeping an eye out for the opening of Café Lapérouse, a London take on the Paris classic, which is also launching at The OWO at the start of October. Designed by Cordeìlia de Castellane, renowned for her work with Maison Dior, Café Lapérouse will be located in the central courtyard of the building, featuring a modern indoor pavilion serving French food among elegant decor.
Luci is the newest venue from the team behind Aqua and Hutong at The Shard. On Long Acre, it is London’s first ‘Italian dining bakery’, with a long ‘bancone’ counter showcasing a huge selection of baked goods. Spread across two floors, Luci is inspired by grand Milanese cafes. Guests can start the morning with Italian viennoiserie and freshly baked bread, accompanied by in-house coffee. At midday, thin focaccia Genovese, ciabatta and weekly changing wood-fired pizza will be available by the slice, while main dishes in the restaurant include lamb meatballs, corn-fed chicken and a range of salads. Chef Andrea Pesenti heads up the kitchen team and has spent months scouring his Italian homeland for the finest produce to elevate his menu. One of his signatures is a thin Florentine-style focaccia, topped with green and yellow courgettes, sliced thinly and laid like fish-scales on top of the focaccia.
Peruvian restaurant Llama Inn opened in Brooklyn to critical acclaim in 2015. Led by Juan Correa and chef Erik Ramirez, it fast became a cult favourite on New York’s restaurant scene, picking up several awards along the way. Now the team has opened a restaurant in London. Known for its freewheeling, modern approach to Peruvian cuisine, Llama Inn will bring its signature dishes and killer cocktails from NYC to the rooftop restaurant at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. Drawing on Erik’s American-Peruvian heritage, dishes include the likes of octopus anticucho with aji panca, potato and capers; scallop with yuzu kosho, pitaya and nori; and pastel de choclo croquets with smoked mozzarella and ocopa.