Visit London Blog » London Restaurant Festival Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Bar and Restaurant News: London Restaurant Festival, London Cocktail Week, Chotto Matte, Merchant’s Tavern, The Doll’s House Fri, 27 Sep 2013 11:23:46 +0000 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:

ChottoMatte Credit Oliver Rudkin

Chotto Matte
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
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.

Urban Meadow, the new destination cafe and bar, merges city chic with a calm rural influence, and is but a short stroll from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

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What’s On in London This Weekend: 5-7 October 2012 Thu, 04 Oct 2012 08:53:24 +0000

London throws up some dilemmas for the eager event-goer this weekend. Should you check out the contenders for the biggest prize in modern art, or delve through the Transport Museum’s rarely-seen depot collection? There’s also cut-price gastronomy and the chance to see a British music icon reborn as a hologram on stage. You might find it hard to choose.

London Transport Museum Depot Open Weekend

The London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton holds more than 400,000 objects that are not on display in the main museum – from historical cars, trains and buses to posters, signs and engineering drawings. This family-friendly open weekend lets you explore the collection and dabble in activities like craft workshops, miniature railway rides and storytelling with children’s book character Toby the Taxi6-7 Oct

Turner Prize 2012 at Tate Britain

The four short-listed artworks for this year’s Turner Prize are being hailed as some of the most though-provoking in the award’s 28-year history. Film is the medium of choice for two of the finalists: Luke Fowler blends archive footage and new film to explore the life and work of Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing, while Elizabeth Price’s video installations dissect our relationship with consumer culture. Perhaps the most fascinating pieces are Paul Noble’s detailed drawings of an entire fictional city called Nobson Newtown. The exhibition is at Tate Britain and the winner will be announced in December. Until 6 Jan

Best of Britannia at The Farmiloe Building

You’ll spot Made in Britain labels all over the place at the Best of Britannia show, a new celebration of British-made and British-designed products at The Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell. The eclectic lineup of talks features a Cumbrian shepherdess and the folks behind men’s health charity Movember, and each evening hosts live music including an appearance from a hologram of an iconic British superstar who has yet to be revealed. 5-7 Oct

London Restaurant Festival

Snap up some grub from Michelin Star restaurants like Trishna at seriously reduced prices at the London Restaurant Festival. Over 800 resturants have laid on two and three-course menus from £10 for this celebration of the capital’s gastronomy. At the other end of the price scale, if you can stump up £145 , the Gourmet Odyssey event takes you on a tour of top establishments on an old-fashioned red routemaster bus, tasting one course at each venue. Until 15 Oct

What events will you be at this weekend? Post below and let us know.

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London Restaurant Festival Tickets On Sale Now Tue, 08 Jun 2010 16:12:02 +0000

Tickets to London Restaurant Festival events went on sale today.

At this morning’s launch, chefs were announced for the prestigious London Restaurant Festival on the London Eye event. They will include Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett, Daniel Boulud and Giorgio Locatelli and the other famous faces you see in the above picture.

You can now buy tickets to London Restaurant Festival events including:

  • The Big Debate – AA Gill and Jonathan Meades versus Janet Street-Porter and Rosie Boycott argue the motion: Is French Food A Spent Force?
  • The Big Quiz – Get your friends together and book a table for this foodie fight at Le Café Anglais
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London Restaurant Festival Media Launch Wed, 14 Apr 2010 16:12:57 +0000 Last night, London Restaurant Festival 2010 was announced, with a media launch at the swanky Club at The Ivy near Seven Dials, Covent Garden.

The launch was attended by members of the press, chefs, restaurateurs and PRs. We spotted Observer food critic Jay Rayner, TV’s William Sitwell and Silvena Rowe, Tom Parker-Bowles, Wahaca’s Thomasina Miers, Pierre Koffmann,  John Nugent from Green & Fortune and Nick Jones, proprietor of Soho House and Shoreditch House.

Fay Maschler, festival chair and co-founder, spoke about Festival Menus, which will be at the heart of London Restaurant Festival 2010. Festival Menus give each participating restaurant the chance to show off their signature dishes at a special, fixed price.

Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, said London Restaurant Festival had the full support of both herself and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

“This is a great festival, encouraging Londoners to dine out and support their local restaurants and also maybe discover local gems which they may have right on their doorsteps. The real bonus is that there is a menu for every pocket.”

Festival director Simon Davis announced American Express as the headline sponsor for this year’s festival. He went on to outline five big festival events for 2010 so far:

  • Gourmet Odyssey: a sell-out at LRF 2009, this year it will be expanded to Soho and Shoreditch
  • London Restaurant Festival Suppliers’ Market at Covent Garden. A free-entry event
  • London Eye Restaurant Capsules: there will be ten nights to dine on the London eye at LRF 2010
  • Supersonic Masonique: the Bistrotheque boys are back with another fabulous pop-up restaurant
  • Festival Awards: this year’s event will be huge

Restaurants interested in taking part in London Restaurant Festival 2010 can sign up now. Register online before the the end of April to qualify for the £99 (+VAT) discount price at

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Visit London Asks: What’s Your Favourite Restaurant in London? Mon, 12 Oct 2009 09:22:05 +0000 Oysters and wine

In honour of this week’s ongoing London Restaurant Festival, we want to know:

What’s your favourite restaurant in London?

London really does have a fantastic range of different places to eat out. You can sample pretty much every style and variety of cuisine in the world in the city: here are 43 to whet your appetite, but we’re sure there are more!

There are cheap and cheerful cafes and budget restaurants perfect for grabbing a quick bite alongside really posh places where you can splurge on a special occasion… and everything in between!

But is there something that stands out for you? Let us know!

You can also vote for your favourite London Restaurant Festival Menu on toptable today: Have your say…

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Photo of the Week: London Restaurant Festival Cake Fri, 09 Oct 2009 10:26:32 +0000 London Restaurant Festival Cake

The London Restaurant Festival launched on Wednesday evening with festival organiser Fay Maschler cutting this astonishing cake. Where would you even begin to start eating this*? If it makes you feel hungry, have a meal out this weekend with one of the festival’s special menu offers!

Seen anything special in London this week? Add your London photos to our Visit London Flickr pool and we could be featuring your pictures!

*perhaps just mosh your face into it.

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London Restaurant Festival Vanity Fair Opening Party Thu, 08 Oct 2009 11:11:43 +0000 logo_lrfLondon Restaurant Festival was launched last night with a glittering opening party hosted by Vanity Fair magazine at iconic London restaurant Quaglino’s.

The red-carpet event’s guests were the great and good from the restaurant industry, plus foodie celebs including Fay Maschler – critic extraordinaire and co-founder of the festival.

With the festival’s main events getting underway today, the organisers have already had a fantastic response from chefs, restaurateurs and the public.

Pre-event targets of signing up 500 restaurants were exceeded with an exciting and diverse range of London establishments getting involved.

Tickets have been selling like hotcakes, with several festival events already sold out. But don’t fear, you can still book a Festival Menu, and get a great ticket deal on the following events by visiting the Festival Hub in Covent Garden:

From lunchtime today, London Restaurant Festival attendees can also vote for their favourite festival menu. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 13 October.

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Covent Garden Hosts Giant Bunny Thu, 08 Oct 2009 09:11:35 +0000 Copyright Jeff KoonsNow’s your chance to see a  53ft high piece of inflatable art.

For four days only, an inflatable replica of Jeff Koons’ metre-high Rabbit sculpture will be floating inside the Market Building.

Koons created the large-scale silver balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2007 in New York and it is in Covent Garden exclusively to celebrate the opening of Tate Modern’s new exhibition Pop Life: Art in Material World which runs until 17 January.

Don’t forget, Covent Garden is also the epicentre of London Restaurant Festival, with lots of foodie events taking place over the next week.

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Visit London Asks: What’s Your Recommendation for Autumn in London? Mon, 05 Oct 2009 11:29:57 +0000 Autumn by kitty_alex, courtesy of the Visit London photostream

Last week was all about London vs New York: if you read the comments, you’ll find London certainly came out on top!

This morning we woke up to autumn in London. Coats, scarves, macs and umbrellas were all in force on the journey into work.

But autumn in London means more than the occasional early-morning downpour. On the sporting calendar we can look forward to world-class rugby league, a visit from both the NBA and the NFL, and world gymnastics and world tennis championships.

With the weather turning colder, you’ve also got an excuse to check out London’s cosy museums and art galleries: autumn brings the Turner Prize to the Tate, Maharaja to the V&A, and Suburbia to the London Transport Museum.

You can also indulge in the Wine Show, the London Restaurant Festival and the RHS Autumn Harvest Show, bringing the countryside to London’s Horticultural Halls.

So, the weather might be a bit murky today, but there’s a lot to look forward to this season!

Let us know what your recommendations are for autumn in London.

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Eat Film at London Restaurant Festival Mon, 28 Sep 2009 11:00:43 +0000 Eat Film - just one of many tasty treats at London Restaurant FestivalYou know what it’s like, you see a really cool movie and, as you leave the cinema, you can’t help but feel like you want to wear that dress, kiss that boy or sit down to that feast from the film.

Well, we may not be able to provide the first two but London Restaurant Festival delivers the meal & movie thing on a plate!

Eat Film is one of the coolest events happening during the festival’s week-long celebration of food and restaurants in London.

At Eat Film you get to watch a film then eat food inspired by it.

For example, watch Goodfellas in the comfortable Soho Hotel screening room, then dine afterwards on delicious spaghetti and meatballs and drink funky Goodfellas-themed cocktails, such as “The Godfather” –  a tasty concoction of whisky, Amaretto and orange zest – or “The Wiseguy” – a muddled apple and rasperry drink featuring Ivan the Terrible vodka.  I bet that hits the spot (pun fully intended).

Or why not sample the new Meryl Streep film, Julie & Julia, which follows two very different American women, separated by time and geography, but brought together by a shared love of French cookery. It’s followed by a très bien French meal, naturellement.

Or you could taste cult film Eat Drink Man Woman, then be treated to a Taiwanese banquet at Keelung restaurant, featuring won tons, “drunken” chicken,  sichuan flavours and a pig’s trotter hot pot.

And families will enjoy the lunchtime screening of Ratatouille at The Barbican, followed by a kid-friendly meal in Searcy’s restaurant at the venue.

I’m getting hungry just writing about it. Get your tickets today from the London Restaurant Festival website.

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