By Emyr Thomas
Whilst the weather may not be doing us any favours, London’s restaurant scene is certainly warming up as we enter summer in London. Here’s Bon Vivant’s round up of the best new restaurants, hotels and bars to open in London over the recent and coming months.
Vinoteca Comes to Soho and Revamps at Farringdon and Marylebone
Vinoteca opened its original wine shop and restaurant in Farringdon in 2005, adding a Marylebone site in 2010 and now a new Soho site on Beak Street from May 2012.
Vinoteca is inspired by the wine bars of Spain and Italy, offering modern British and European seasonal food alongside a wine shop selling nearly 300 wines, which you can also enjoy at each restaurant.
An Expanding Empire for Hix
There seems to be no stopping Mark Hix at the moment, with his latest venture opening at the Tramshed building in Shoreditch. The 150-seat restaurant focuses on steak and chicken, with the option of either a whole chicken or a 200g sirloin steak as mains, with a changing selection of starters.
As with other Hix restaurants, there’s commissioned artwork from Damien Hirst featuring a cow and a cockerel taking centre stage.
Firmdale Hotels to Re-Open Dorset Square Hotel
In 1985 Tim and Kit Kemp opened their first property, the Dorset Square Hotel and introduced the Firmdale Hotels concept to the London hotel market. It was sold in 2002 but the hotel was reacquired last year and will re-open as part of the Firmdale collection on 18 June, adding to their other luxury boutique hotels including the Covent Garden Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel, Haymarket Hotel and Soho Hotel.
The Regency townhouse has 38 bedrooms, many of which look onto the private garden square which was originally the site of Thomas Lord’s first cricket ground. The Potting Shed bar & restaurant will open all day, serving English brasserie style cuisine using locally sourced and seasonal produce.
Sushisamba at The Heron Tower
SUSHISAMBA, which has many locations throughout the US, will open its first European restaurant in London in July, on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower in The City.
SUSHISAMBA offers a mix of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, and with two outdoor terraces, it will surely also have a rather impressive view. The restaurant will be open daily for brunch, lunch and dinner, offering outdoor dining, a bar and lounge, and an event space.
SUSHISAMBA London will have a late licence, opening until 1am Monday to Wednesday, 2am on Thursday and 3am on Friday and Saturday. The owners of Sushisamba will also be opening another restaurant on the 40th floor, which will be announced in a few weeks.
Caravan to Move to a Second Location in King’s Cross
Caravan Restaurant on Exmouth Market is due to open a second site in King’s Cross in July.
Caravan King’s Cross will be located in the Grade II-listed Granary Building, located between King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International. The interiors will ‘reflect the area’s Victorian industrial heritage’, with a coffee roastery and large open kitchen with outside seating for 40 people on Granary Square.
The restaurant will have 80 covers and will serve a menu of ‘food well-travelled’, from breakfast and weekend brunch through to lunch and dinner. The original restaurant on Exmouth Market features in Bon Vivant’s guide to the best brunch in London.
A Sister Restaurant for The Wolseley
Following the success of The Delaunay, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King will launch Brasserie Zedel in Soho towards the end of June. Brasserie Zedel will be ‘a large, bustling Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London’, which will be open throughout the day, offering ‘great value with remarkably low prices’.
The restaurant has been designed by David Collins Studio in the Art Deco tradition, and will also feature a ‘Bar Américain’ and ‘The Crazy Coqs’, a live music and cabaret venue. Brasserie Zédel will serve classic brasserie fare at affordable prices with starters from £2.95, main courses from £7.50 and desserts from £3.00.
Polpo to Expand to Clerkenwell
Polpo Smithfield is due to open near Smithfield Market on 30 July, seating 70 in the main dining room with space for 20 on the terrace outside. Polpo Smithfield is the latest restaurant from Russell Norman, whose first restaurant Polpo will now be renamed Polpo Soho, with the Covent Garden sister restaurant, da Polpo, becoming Polpo Covent Garden.
Libby Greenfield will be in charge of the kitchen, who has previously worked at Zucca and Russell Norman’s other acclaimed restaurant Polpetto. The new restaurant will feature the same core menu as the original Polpo along with daily specials and a new express lunch menu. Polpo Smithfield will also have a basement Negroni bar.
While reservations can be made for lunch, dinner will operate a no booking policy.
Champagne and Hot Dogs?
Bubbledogs will open in July on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, with James Knappett (previously of The Ledbury, Noma and Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, among others) as head chef and Sandia Chang (who has worked at The Berkeley, Noma and Per Se) as General Manager.
Bubbledogs will serve hot dogs and grower Champagne. Yes,that’s right. There will be a menu of ten hot dogs served on traditional steamed buns, including the BLT dog, wrapped in bacon and served with truffle mayo and caramelized lettuce; the Jose dog with guacamole, sour cream, salsa and jalapenos, and a regularly changing guest chef’s special.
The restaurant will also feature a separate ‘Kitchen Table’, which will seat a maximum of 19 guests, with three or five courses at lunch priced from £25, with evening menus priced from £50.
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