Cult Taiwanese favourite Bao has launched its third site on the fringes of Borough Market – and we think it’s the team’s best spot yet. A prevalence for fun is exemplified by BAO KTV, the gang’s first karaoke room, which is bookable for up to 12 guests. The menu here is also slightly different and is inspired by late-night grills often populated by commuters across Asia. Of the new dishes, we loved the 40-day aged steak served with Taipei butter rice; the moreish spiced beef butter scallops; prawn shia song – an addictive hybrid between a prawn cocktail and a doughnut – and best of all, the curry cheese bao, made with fried cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy around the corner, curry sauce, Sichuan oil and fermented chilli. Another exclusive to this site is a Suntory Hi-Ball machine, which pours out whisky and sodas in three flavour combinations, using fruit from the market stalls. We liked the oolong-infused watermelon tipped best, which is made with melon gin, shochu and mandarin bitters. Make sure to order a bottle of Bao’s homemade sake for the table – especially if you’re heading downstairs for a turn on the mic.
13 Stoney Street, Borough, SE1 9AD
Bob Bob Cité
Five years in the making, Bob Bob Cité has finally opened in the Leadenhall Building. A sister site to Anglo-French-Russian-themed Soho institution Bob Bob Ricard, this glossy City spot celebrates French elegance and opulence – it’s rumoured to have cost £25m to launch. A such, expect wonderfully OTT interiors: the walls and ceilings are panelled with rosewood; there are more than 800 bespoke light fittings (including 24 chandeliers); and bespoke banquette seating is covered in leather from Andrew Muirhead & Son in Glasgow. Described as ‘a brasserie for the 21st century’, Bob Bob Cité chef Eric Chavot serves well-executed French country-cooking classics – think French onion soup, l’escargots and rum baba – in its all-booth dining room. As per the original, the 'Press for champagne’ buttons will be a fixture, while new for Bob Bob Cité – and rare for London – is the rule that there will be no table turning and guests will be able to stay for as long as they wish.
Level 3, 122 Leadenhall Street, City, EC3V 4AB
Located in the centre of Soho, Martha’s is a new restaurant and bar which promises the exclusivity of a member’s club and the sass of a late-night destination. The 100-capacity space – which was formerly Jackson & Rye – is decked out with vintage gold chandeliers, brushed silk wallpaper, palm trees, smart leather banquettes and a giant disco ball: trust us, it’s a head-turner. Serving classic cocktails late into the night, the all-day venue serves a menu full of American favourites: think honey and truffle fried chicken; truffle mac and cheese; oysters; shrimp cocktail; and steak served with chipotle creamed corn. Away from food and drink, Martha’s puts on a varied programme of entertainment including jazz, drag and acts which pay homage to Soho’s history of traditional revues.
56 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 4JG
Santo Mare is an Italian restaurant housed in a typically English townhouse in Marylebone. Inside, the space is 100% Mediterranean: picture a rustic environment filled with pastel colours, polished furnishings and a glistening counter displaying the catch of the day. The is the latest from restaurateur Andrea Reitano, the man behind Caffe Rei in Mayfair and Osteria Romana in Knightsbridge, as well as spots in Milan and Miami. This chic restaurant specialises in seafood sourced from day boats that sail through the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Italian coast – as such, prices are a little on the high side. Highlights from the menu include linguine with langoustines and mint; linguine alla nerano (pasta with fried aubergine and provolone del Monaco cheese); salt-crusted seabass for two served with roasted potatoes; and a tiramisu, which is served tableside. Like what you hear? Reitano is set to open a further restaurant – this time in Notting Hill – next month.
87-89 George Street, Marylebone, W1U 8AQ
Set on St John’s Wood High Street and taking inspiration from the great boulevard cafés in Paris, Soutine is the newest venture from Corbin & King, the team behind the Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel, Bellanger and Colbert. Open now, Soutine is in an impressive period building: the front room and pavement offer a relaxed café and bar seating, leading to a slightly more formal space – resplendent with grand portraits – at the rear. The restaurant’s design is heavenly influenced by the area's strong artistic heritage and to celebrate this history, the space evokes the Arts and Crafts movement and takes visual cues from its Edwardian architecture. When it comes to the menu, Soutine offers relaxed, informal dining until late. The all-day offering takes in salads and sandwiches, café classics such as French onion soup, steak tartare and coq au riesling, plus a choice of pâtisseries, gateaux and ice-cream coupes for dessert.
60 St John's Wood High Street, St John's Wood, NW8 7SH