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The London drinking and dining scene continues to grow this month with a number of new venues opening, and there are a few key calendar fillers that aim to inspire and entertain.
The annual city-wide celebration of dining out, the London Restaurant Festival, will once again challenge chefs from 350 of London’s top restaurants to conjure up special menus as inclusive, affordable tasters for all to enjoy. Running from 3 to 21 October, the festival will also provide a number of tours and trails, discussions and site-specific events that will include some familiar faces.
Not to be outshone by the world of food, the bar industry’s equally exciting London Cocktail Week begins on 7 October. Highlights this year include brand-lead pop-ups in Seven Dials, cocktail soirées and late-night after parties, expert seminars, events and master classes, and £4 cocktails at all participating bars on the Cocktail Tours (for those with the requisite wristband).
Also, the free Cheese and Wine Festival returns for its autumn event at the Southbank Centre from 11 to 13 October.
The most enticing new additions to the thriving bar and restaurant map of London include the following:
Offering four distinct areas over three floors, the new Chotto Matte Japanese restaurant and bar (above) in Soho is home to a lounge, a sushi bar, a robata grill and a 180-seater restaurant. The restaurateur behind the European development of Nobu Europe, Ping Pong and Hakkasan has created this vast project that blurs the boundaries between modern and traditional aesthetics. Expect Japanese-Peruvian cuisine (aka Nikkei) and colourful cocktails, alongside late-night dining, live music and DJ sets.
Merchant’s Tavern – the new Shoreditch venture in a Victorian warehouse and former apothecary – does for the restaurant scene what the Travelling Wilburys did for music, bringing together an A team of big name talents: namely Chef Neil Borthwick (formerly of Michel Bras and The Square), Angela Hartnett (of Murano) and Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone, the founders of the popular Canteen chain. Opening on 1 October, this update on the classic tavern creates a modern European menu that is determined by the seasons.
Karim Sethi of the Sethi family – owners of London’s Trishna, Bubbledogs and The Pearson Room restaurants – has opened Gymkhana restaurant and bar (above) in the heart of Mayfair. Here the aesthetic is drawn from prevalent sports at India’s Gymkhana such as cricket, polo and equestrian as well as expressions of tradition and opulence through the use of crests and ornate detailing. The modern Indian menu focuses on the tandoor oven and sigri charcoal grill with signature dishes including club-style nashtas (Indian all-day snack fare) such as duck egg and white crab bhurji. Dishes such as Achari roe deer chops, pickling spices, clove smoke, mustard mooli are served roasted from the tandoor.
AD12 at T42
AD12 at T42, a 12-week pop-up restaurant from acclaimed Michelin starred chef Anthony Demetre – he of Arbutus, Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons notoriety – opens on 1 October in the high rise building Tower 42. Demetre is the first of many renowned chefs who will be taking up short-term residencies at the location. Demetre’s accessible modern bistro menu will reflect the signature style at his London restaurants.
The Doll’s House
If a 12-week pop-up is not quite long enough for you, the year-long pop-up concept Doll’s House (above) should provide plenty of entertainment. The three-storey building it is housed in is due for demolition in a year’s time so this semi-permanent venue will be inviting street food vendors to guest edit its kitchen for one week at a time, meaning no two experiences will ever be the same. Although technically a members’ club, this concept welcomes all, and there is no charge to join (all that is asked of you is a small token gift to help make the venue more homely). In summer, keep an eye out for the lovely little roof terrace overlooking Hoxton Square.
More New Openings
100 Hoxton cocktail bar and restaurant in Shoreditch offers Asian-inspired innovative cuisine and superb cocktails.
Diciannove, a brand new restaurant, cicchetti bar and deli, replaces Refettorio restaurant in the Grade II-listed surroundings of the Crown Plaza London.
Augustine Kitchen is a new 60-seater French restaurant from Franck Raymond, formerly head chef at London institution Mon Plaisir in Covent Garden.