The team behind the critically acclaimed The Marksman in east London has launched a brasserie inside the National Theatre. Named in honour of the landmark building’s architect Sir Denys Lasdun, the restaurant aims to reinvent traditional ideas of theatre dining and create a world-class destination for culture and culinary pursuits under one roof. In partnership with street-food innovators Kerb, Lasdun has created a menu full of classics and contemporary dishes: think smoked eel, pressed potato and cured ham; Cornish crab with salt lemon and a saffron bun; whole Cornish john dory; and a chicken, wild garlic and leek pie. On the pudding front, look out for the team’s much-loved brown butter tart with vanilla set cream. As well as offering pre and post-theatre menus, a full à la carte menu will be available from 5pm to 11pm. Lasdun also houses the ultimate destination for a nightcap along the Thames – guests can drop by for a drink at the beautiful dark marble bar, which offers cocktails and wine alongside shellfish and small plates.
Midland Grand Dining Room
This stunning new spot is named after The Midland Grand hotel, the Gothic-revival, 19th-century hotel which originally occupied the building that’s now the St Pancras Renaissance hotel. Headed up by Allegra’s Patrick Powell, the beautiful restaurant takes inspiration from the original space, which was renowned for its French haute cuisine. Highlights from Patrick’s menu include moreish comte gougeres; an incredible crab on toast with elderflower and shellfish sauce; sea trout with sorrel, smoked butter and vermouth beurre blanc; plus a soufflé de jour (ours was chocolate and banana – and truly excellent) as well as bombe alaska with raspberry and verbena to share. The brave among you should make sure to order the pommes pallaison with snails bourguignon, ’nduja and guanciale, which is surely a contender for dish of the year. Make sure to have a pre-dinner cocktail (we liked the ‘Thirsty Gargoyle’) in the handsome adjoining Gothic Bar.
20 Berkeley is a new Mayfair destination from the same team as Humo and Endo at the Rotunda. It celebrates the best produce from around the British Isles. In a striking Georgian building on the corner of Berkeley Street and Hay Hill, the interiors have been reimagined by internationally renowned architect Pirajean Lees, which has incorporated bespoke furniture, natural materials, colour and texture to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. There are several spaces to explore: the upper ground floor consists of the Drawing Room and the Pantry, which both serve a menu featuring the likes of Herwick lamb with spring vegetables and jerseys; smoked Devonshire eel served with wasabi rocket and jersey royal salad; honey glazed dinner rolls with Marmite butter; and a selection of The Ledbury’s Brett Graham’s charcuterie. There’s also the Music Room, Salon and Orangery, which offers a light-filled space for guests to relax, while downstairs there’s a lovely private dining room for 14 guests and The Nipperkin, a dedicated cocktail bar.
Husband and wife team Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams have opened their third restaurant, a South African-inspired tapas-style restaurant called Little Kudu. Like Kudu and Kudu Grill, Patrick brings his South African roots to the fore, working alongside South African-born head chef Chace Wagenhauser. Hits from the menu include Little Kudu loaf with Cape Malay butter; smoked peri-peri mussels; chicken liver parfait tartlet with spiced pineapple and calendula; and a braaibroodjie (South African grilled cheese sandwich) with smoked tomato chutney. To finish, there’s grilled mango with kombucha and yoghurt sorbet. Under the railway arches in Peckham – on the site that was previously home to Smokey Kudu, a bar that’s now at Rixo’s flagship store on the Kings Road – Little Kudo features a mirrored back wall, reclaimed parquet flooring and a two-metre vintage Murano chandelier. Designed with restaurant theatre in mind, there’s a six-seater bar counter clad with a mix of cement and glazed tiles as well as a monolithic central communal table crafted from polished terrazzo.
Big Mamma group is on a roll. If you haven’t had a chance to dine at Jacuzzi on Kensington High Street, the group opened another restaurant this week. Paying homage to Italian-American traditions, Carlotta on Marylebone High Street is the group’s fifth outpost in the capital. Spread over two floors, the restaurant has the group’s signature OTT interiors, with retro red leather banquettes, a gilded bar and dark wooden tables. On the menu you’ll find a selection dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo al tartufo, seafood alla vodka, giant prawn cocktails and chicken parmigiana, which are all in keeping with the 80s vibe. Pasta and seafood are all served in copper pans at the table – we love the sound of the Scottish razor clams, breaded and baked in garlicky butter – while the star dessert is a slice of wedding cake served under a waterfall of vanilla cream and meringue.
Eyal Shani, the founder of the cult hit Miznon, has opened his latest restaurant just off Old Street. Unlike Miznon’s fast-casual dining approach, Lilienblum focuses on family style sharing plates and the kitchen is headed up by Oren King, formerly of Dinner by Heston, Roka and Hide. Dishes are cooked in the interactive open kitchen surrounded by counter dining seats. Diners are encouraged to start their meal with Shani’s famed hummus and golden fresh focaccia, which is served with sour cream, spicy green chillies and tomatoes, before trying the likes of the ‘Seafood Pan’, a dish that comprises blue crab, squid, mussels and tiger prawns. The cocktail menu features playful twists on classics, such as the ‘Kittini’, a Cazcabel tequila and grapefruit martini, and the ‘Eyal Martini’, made with Chopin vodka.
Taiwanese cult favourite Bao has launched its fifth restaurant. As each location has a different identity, Bao Mary’s Marylebone spot is the group’s truest translation of a Taiwanese dumpling house, with a focus on said dumplings, as well as quick cold dishes for diners in a hurry. Set over two floors, it’s also the first site to offer all-day dining, opening its doors at noon and serving throughout the afternoon and evening seven days a week. Diners can sit on white stools at low tables covered with pale green glass, or perch at the counter at the rear of the restaurant, with a view into the kitchen. In the summer months, fans swirl overhead and guests can sit outside on the patio to watch people go by. Dumplings on offer include cull yaw dumplings, filled with tender mutton sourced from farmer Matt Chatfield in Cornwall, ready to be dunked into spicy hong you red chilli oil; boiled prawn dumplings with scrambled egg and kelp broth; and pan-fried mushroom guo tie dumplings – vegan potstickers with a black garlic dip.
The Campaner – the first international restaurant from Los Reyes del Mango, who are behind the celebrated Terraza Martinez and Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha in Barcelona – has opened at Chelsea Barracks. Offering relaxed all-day dining, it offers a varied menu of simple, seasonal dishes firmly rooted in local ingredients. At the centre of it all are charcoal-grilled meats, shellfish, veg and whole fish cooked in the Josper oven, as well as large rice dishes to share, and a signature dish from Martinez – a monkfish and lobster casserole. Among the landscaped gardens of the recently restored Grade II-listed Garrison Chapel, guests enter The Campaner through double-height doors into the lovely dining room, which features high vaulted ceilings and large arched windows. For the warmer months, there’s a beautiful wraparound outdoor terrace, with seating under the cloistered walkway surrounded by greenery and a direct view to the chapel.