Piazza Italiana, City
In a spectacular Grade II-listed building – the former home of the British Linen Bank – Piazza Italiana is a new Italian restaurant, bar and event space in the City. With a menu of classic dishes from all over Italy, a chic bar serving wine and inventive cocktails, and three event spaces, this is an impressive new venue to know, not least because of its surroundings: picture high ornate ceilings, chandeliers, neoclassical columns and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. Pulled together by Sicilian-born chef Remo Mazzucato, who has over 50 years of Italian cooking experience, the menu spans antipasti, sharing plates, pasta, meat and fish dishes. We love the sound of the tartare di tonno – yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado mousse, slow-cooked egg yolk and sturgeon caviar with shallots, chives and baby parsley – followed by tagliolini with truffle sauce, which is spun in a pecorino wheel at the table. As well as catering for the after-work crowd with its cicchetti menu, a weekday breakfast menu is on offer, serving everything from eggs florentine to eggs ‘Piazza Italiana’: toasted ciabatta with prosciutto cotto ham, truffle pecorino cheese sauce, poached eggs and fresh black truffle.
38 Threadneedle Street, City, EC2R 8AY
Flat Earth Pizzas, Bethnal Green
After over two years of successful pop ups and residencies, Sarah Brading and Rich Baker have finally opened a permanent restaurant on the fringes of Broadway Market. The duo focus on provenance and seasonality and in the past few years have generated a following for their meat-free food and ethical ethos, which has been incorporated into everything at the new place. The pair has repurposed all the existing fixtures and fittings, and décor comes via local traders, such as linens from The Cloth Shop and tiles from Milagros on Columbia Road. Occupying a light-filled space in Bethnal Green, the restaurant is open all day, serving a popular selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. As well as pizzas – we’d go for ‘The OG Hackney Hot’ topped with sweet pickled beetroot, three Somerset cheeses, organic tomato passata and chillis – the restaurant serves Climpson & Sons coffee, kimchi shakshuka, granola and fruit compote, and various delicious-sounding things on toast. When it comes to drinks, there’s draught beer from The Kernel and 40ft in Dalston, and white, red and orange wine on tap or in reusable bottles, which can be refilled to takeaway after a meal.
286-290 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9DA
Potter & Reid, Spitalfields
A cool new café has popped up in Spitalfields. Founders Agnes Potter and Dani Reid are veterans of London’s specialty coffee scene (they met at Allpress) with firm opinions about what a neighbourhood café should be. Unfussy yet chic, Potter & Reid is all about outstanding coffee and low-key dining, along the lines of current London hotspots Café Deco and Café Cecilia. The food menu, which is available from breakfast until 5pm, is headed up by the pair’s friend Eleni Thoma, who has worked for the likes of Towpath Cafe, Honey & Co and Ombra. With a subtle hint to Italian ingredients and dishes, lunch consists of a couple of sandwich choices (currently mortadella, smoked scamorza, shaved fennel and caper mayo; or tortilla, winter tomato and aioli) as well as a chalk board of weekly changing dishes such as spiced ribs, chickpeas and greens with strained yoghurt. It sounds like just the place for a relaxed lunch in the sunshine once summer hits.
20-22 Toynbee Street, Spitalfields, E1 7NE
Café Koko, Camden
Almost 125 years after it opened, London’s iconic Koko is about to reopen its doors following a three-year, £70m restoration, which has transformed the historic 19th-century theatre into a 50,000sq ft state-of-the-art music and arts venue. As well as the beautifully restored Victorian theatre and immersive new ‘Fly Tower’ experience, the relaunch sees the opening of day-to-night Café Koko, serving breakfast from 8am and inventive New York-style pizza throughout the day. Of the selection, we like the sound of the ‘Downton Jimmy Brown’ with pepperoni, ’nduja, mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes; and ‘The Higher Power’ with asparagus, courgettes, Calabrian chilli, vegan mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. The restaurant also hopes to become known for its signature cheesecakes, with launch flavours including peanut butter and toffee; and summer berries. Breakfast dishes will include Sicilian baked eggs, French toast and a selection of breakfast bowls, while its late-night tap bar will serve a selection of local craft beers and classic American cocktails.
1A Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JE
Arcade Food Hall, West End
We loved Arcade Food Theatre when it launched at the bottom of brutalist hotspot Centrepoint. Now it’s reopened and relaunched with nine new restaurant concepts created by one of London’s most exciting restaurant groups, JKS. The team has brought together some of the capital’s best-loved names, creating an atmospheric space that combines open kitchens, chef’s tables and canteen-style seating. New brands from the JKS Restaurants team will include Plaza Khao Gaeng, a southern Thai restaurant; Hero Indian Fast Food, serving up North Indian street food classics; and Middle Eastern shawarma kitchen Shatta & Toum. There will also be American diner-style food at Manna; Indonesian street food from Bebek!Bebek!; day-to-night deli Arcade Provisions; a Japanese sushi and omakase experience from Sushi Kamon; and Nepali street food from Tipan Tapan. The line-up is finished off with the ‘Benham & Froud Jelladrome’ from dessert pioneers Bompas & Parr. Arcade Food Hall opens today for walk-ins and bookings, and guests can order direct-to-table from each of the restaurant kitchens via QR codes on menus. Throwing a party? Arcade offers three areas, exclusive use for up to 300 people, or hire of the cool mezzanine level for groups of 50.
103-105 New Oxford Street, West End, WC1A 1DB
Louis Korovilas, formerly of Locatelli and Bancone, has opened Noci, a modern pasta restaurant in Islington. Overlooking Islington Green, Noci – which translates as walnut in Italian – offers a short, seasonal menu of pasta dishes and Sicilian street food snacks. To start, range of fritti comprises salty snacks – such as fried parcels of leek, taleggio, gorgonzola and walnut – alongside saffron and nduja arancini with pecorino and parmesan; and lighter starters such as cured bresaola with celeriac and star anise; or fennel with blood orange, pomegranate and peppered ewe’s milk cheese. When it comes to pasta, expect to sample the likes of gnocchetti served with confit tomato and smoked ricotta; and brown butter cacio e pepe. Desserts include miso panna cotta with bitter chocolate and white balsamic; and a creamy gianduja chocolate and hazelnut budino, and as the weather starts to warm up, whipped gelatos will be served with frosted pistachios and candied kumquats. When it comes to drinks, there’s a selection of wine, beer and cocktails on tap including a changing line up of seasonal spritzes, with flavours such as pear and marjoram; spiced kumquat and sage; and grapefruit and pink peppercorn.
4-6 Islington Green, Islington, N1 2XA
Laurel’s on the Roof, Shoreditch
Laurel’s on the Roof is launching on top of Mondrian Shoreditch. Inspired by 1970s Hollywood and the legacy of Laurel Canyon in LA, Laurel’s will be an all-day dining and drinking destination, serving California-inspired dishes and cocktails. When it comes to interiors, expect relaxed lounge seating and low-hanging rattan chandeliers, all with views across Shoreditch’s skyline. The menu will begin with breakfast, offering diners creamed coffees, buttermilk pancakes and granola and fruit bowls. For lunch and dinner, Laurel’s will serve the likes of sea bream tacos with pickled red cabbage, white cabbage, chipotle mayonnaise and beer battered fish; a Malibu shrimp cocktail with roma tomatoes, jalapenos, red onion and marie rose sauce; and roasted aubergine with burrata, tomato pesto and roasted mushrooms, alongside crowd pleasers such as half a dozen Jersey oysters and cobb salad. Served in 70s-inspired glassware, cocktails will include frozen spicy margaritas; Japanese garibaldis with Campari, yuzu, grapefruit and lime; ‘Canyon Cobblers’ served with pisco, lime, honey and sparkling wine; and a ‘Wet Gibson’, which blends Oxley Gin, Martini Ambrato and a silver skin onion.
45 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PT
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