You can never say that the London restaurant scene doesn’t have something for everyone. Hackney’s six-course vegan tasting menu kicks off this month, while there’s caviar pizza and discos in Kensington in the west of the city. In the meantime, there’s the chance to experience biodynamic Greek wine in Holland Park, avant-garde wood-fired cuisine in Mayfair and the welcome return of one of London’s most respected Indians to Soho; looks like a very happy new year. Here’s where to hide.
If any further evidence is needed that W11 is the most popular postcode for new restaurants, look no further than the decision by derivatives trader turned restaurateur Markos Tsimikalis to close his Shoreditch Greek restaurant, Hungry Donkey, and open Vori in Holland Park. Expect a grape, cereal and olive-based food and drink offering: shared starters with hot and cold mezedes (saganaki, spanakopita) followed by seabass, calamari and charcoal grilled lamb, washed down with Greek spins on classic cocktails, all-Greek wine list and beers from Greek small breweries.
Opens: January 5
120 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA, vorigreekitchen.co.uk
From the same team behind plant-based pioneer Super Nature, this Hackney-based vegan promises to be just as focused on seasonal ingredients and a circular, low-waste philosophy. Root-to-fruit zero-waste dishes will include wild mushroom fritters with British cereals and Swiss chard, seaweed cured celery with purple mashed potatoes, and a six-course tasting menu offering the best of every day paired with natural wines, local beers and ciders. The owner Elly Ward was an architect in a past life, so expect as much attention has been given to the eco-friendly interiors as to the design of each dish on the plate.
Opens: Mid January
Mare Street 217, E8 3QE, edit.london
Opening on the old site of Wild Honey in Mayfair, you can imagine all that beautiful paneling not making it into the four-foot wood-burning stove of this restaurant, which takes its name from the Spanish word for ‘smoke’. Chef Miller Prada worked with Endo Kazutoshi at the Michelin-starred Endo at the Rotunda, where he was a keen student of the precision of Japanese cooking, here applied to dishes where the origin of the wood is as important as the origin of the ingredients – take, for example, Hampshire trout marinated and smoked in juniper, then fried with white oak ubame.
Opens: January 18
st. St. Jerzy 12, W1S 2FB, humolondon.com
Jacuzzi is something warm, wet and sparkling: perhaps not the most appealing image of an Italian restaurant, but after Ave Mario’s dank squib, the owner of Big Mamma is probably hoping the Jacuzzi will evoke the frothy party spirit of Gloria and Circolo Popolare. than unchilled Prosecco. This four-story entertainment venue on High Street Ken reaches its zenith with its Sicilian-style retractable roof mezzanine, not to mention disco toilets with sparkling balls in the basement. The food, if you’re interested, includes a caviar pizzette, black truffle pasta and chocolate fondue, as well as a whole list of Italian sparkler wines.
Opens: 20th January
94 Kensington High Street, W8 4SH, bigmammagroup.com
Not a new restaurant per se – and not really a new home – Asma Khan’s groundbreaking Indian restaurant returns to where it all began five years ago at Kingly Court after closing in Covent Garden. At the time, Khan expressed her desire to find a new open-kitchen site where her all-female team cooks their family recipes, and these new digs are larger than the Carnaby original. The menu has yet to be announced, although the dishes currently on offer at the Darjeeling Express pop-up at Earl’s Court Pembroke pub may provide an indication: paneer and sweetcorn samosa, chicken methi and beef tamatar gosht.
Opens: End of January
Kingly Court, Kingly Street, W1B 5PW, darjeeling-express.com