Visit London Blog » restaurants Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video Of The Week: How To Do London – Eating Out Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:06:16 +0000

London is a gastronomic capital, boasting some of the most diverse eating experiences in the world. Watch this video about eating out in London to find out how much to tip and where to find the best pre-theatre restaurant deals. Tuck in!

Eating out in London

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St Patrick’s Day 2014: Top 5 Irish Bars and Restaurants in London Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:00:35 +0000 On 17 March each year, London adopts a decidedly Irish attitude to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. In addition to the free St Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festival in Trafalgar Square (this year on Sunday 16 March) many London bars and restaurants take the opportunity to become Irish for a day.

There is usually a sharp rise in Guinness sales during the St Patrick’s Day weekend and the experience of having fun with friends over a beer is often referred to as “the craic”. When raising your glass, it is also polite to say “Sláinte” (pronounced “slawnt-yeh”). Here are our Top 5 Irish bars and restaurants in London for celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2014.

London’s top wine tasting attraction, Vinopolis, is hosting two St Patrick’s Day events in March. On Friday 14 March. a Celtic Céilí will take place under the railway arches. This will include dancing and a live céilí bands performing Celtic and Irish tunes; an ideal opportunity to try Irish dances such as Walls of Limerick and Waves of Tory. You can enjoy a wine tasting experience plus entry to the event (with free Irish whiskey cocktail) for £35 per person. For those who like to celebrate the Irish at a slower pace, there is also an Irish whiskey masterclass on Monday 17 March.

The Porterhouse is probably one of the biggest and most authentic Irish bars in London. This multi-level bar in Covent Garden is filled with an array of interesting beers, stouts, ales and porters, each lovingly hand-crafted in Dublin, then exported to London. There is also a basement bar where live music is performed on Sunday afternoons.

Waxy O’Connors
Another Central London bar that has strong connections with Ireland is Waxy O’Connor’s in Chinatown. This unique rabbit warren bar is popular with many London visitors due to its West End location and unusual décor. The bar will be hosting a week of Irish-themed, St Patrick’s Day events with drinks promotions, whiskey tastings, live music, St Patrick’s Day menu, live Six Nations rugby (France Vs Ireland producing probably the biggest crowd), plus a St Patrick’s Day parade party on Sunday 16 March.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is run by celebrity chef and Irishman, Richard Corrigan. On Monday 17 March, Richard himself will be hosting a special three-course menu (£60) from 12:30pm which will be accompanied by live Irish music. Bentley’s still stands in the same Victorian building where it first opened back in 1916, providing a traditional backdrop to this St Patrick’s Day feast.

The Irish bar group, O’Neill’s, has a number of pubs around London. O’Neill’s Soho is hosting a week of events in celebration of St Patrick’s Day starting on 12 March with two Irish bands playing until 3am. Other highlights of the week-long party include dancing, lots of Guinness, comedy hats, live football, live GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), live Six Nations rugby, and an all-day party on St Patrick’s Day itself.

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Top 5 Dude Food Restaurants in London Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:00:25 +0000 Honest Burgers

Whether it’s melt-in-the-mouth ribs, meaty burgers, juicy steaks or hot dogs smothered with all kinds of toppings, London has sunk its teeth into ‘dude food’ in recent years; and it shows no sign of slowing with new eateries opening across the capital on a monthly basis.

But why has London got down and dirty with this trend – surely BBQ-sauce-soaked sleeves and greasy fingers are not the main draw? Burger mini-chain Honest Burgers co-founder Tom Barton says: “I think the demand for good quality and good value food has been a significant movement across London. Not just with ‘dude food’ but right across the board.” He adds: “London has embraced how amazing simple dishes can be when created using quality ingredients.”

Honest Burgers Kings Cross

Honest Burgers have shot to prominence since the opening of their first restaurant in Brixton Village in 2011. With increased popularity came new openings in Soho, Camden, Portobello and most recently at King’s Cross, which opened in December.

So what’s the secret? “I think the demand for good-quality burger restaurants will continue to get stronger and stronger,” Tom notes. “There’s no room for a bad burger in London anymore.”

With a multitude of options to digest, here are our top five dude food eateries:

Honest Burgers for burgers

Now on their fifth venture, Honest Burgers’ rise has been epic. Of their new King’s Cross opening, Tom says: “We’ve tried to keep the same formula that we started with in our first restaurant in Brixton – the core menu is exactly the same but we have added some more side orders. The focus on these was to revive old English classics with an Honest twist, for example: mini beer battered sausages and homemade curry sauce and the humble pork scratching.”

The recipe is simple: they use British-sourced meat served on a toasted bun with four choices (Beef, Classic, Honest or Chicken), served alongside moreish rosemary-salt chips and other sides such as beetroot and apple coleslaw.

Hawksmoor for steaksHawksmoor Seven Dials

Hawksmoor has spread out from its first venture in Spitalfields to locations in Guildhall, Seven Dials (Covent Garden) and Air Street (Piccadilly); the owners have also recently opened Foxlow, a more low-key eatery in Clerkenwell. Known for locally sourced meat, killer cocktails and stylish interiors, Hawksmoor is a place for meat-eaters who like their steaks charcoal-cooked to perfection. If that’s not enough, savour some hearty sides such as triple-cooked chips, macaroni cheese and bone marrow gravy.

Pitt Cue Co for ribs

The queue says it all. There’s no secret to Pitt Cue Co’s popularity: its succulent and smoky ribs, so tender they fall apart at the sight of a fork – coupled with the fact there are only 30 seats at this intimate restaurant – keep hungry foodies lined up around the block. Tom says he’s a “big fan” of this place and it’s easy to see why; it’s a real dude food joint with meat (not just ribs) served in cowboy-style trays and sides such as beans and slaw. There’s no reservation system, so get in early to secure a spot.

Tramshed for chickenTramshed: Photo by: Danny Elwes

Damien Hirst’s installation of a cow and chicken gives some clues away as to what’s on offer at Mark Hix’s convivial Tramshed restaurant. The menu at this Shoreditch venue is simple: share seasonal starters and then opt for either chicken or steak. The chicken, reared in rural Lancashire, is roasted and served bolt upright, accompanied by the likes of wild garlic sauce, chips and scrumpy fried onions.

Bubbledogs for hot dogs

Hot dogs have followed burgers as a major food trend in London, with the likes of Kensington griller Dirty Bones opening its doors in January. Bubbledogs was among the first on the scene and it continues to attract foodies for its marriage of deliciously indulgent all-beef, all-pork or vegetarian hot dogs with a champagne list as long as a Cumberland sausage.

]]> 5 Guest Editors: Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:07:41 +0000

Royal Ballet dancers, and husband and wife team, Thiago Soares and Marianela Nuñez tell their London Story in the video above.

During our interview the two dancers, who are both South American but met at London’s Royal Ballet told us about their life and work in London. We’ve used some of their favourite London experiences to populate our homepage from 4 to 6 February.

Here’s Marianela and Thiago’s London top five:

Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet

T: We have a really strong connection with Covent Garden. Because really, that’s where the dreams came true, isn’t it – both onstage and offstage.

M: Covent Garden definitely is a very special place for us.

T: We’ve spent so many nights here, visiting restaurants and doing things for the Royal Ballet Company, and of course, so many nights on stage at the Royal Opera House, here, so whenever we are walking around the piazza, it feels like home to us.

London Restaurants

T [It’s hard for me to surprise Marianela because] she’s not that keen on surprises and we work so hard that she knows exactly what she wants to do when she’s not dancing, whether that is go to a restaurant or go to her favourite shops. We very much like Roka, the Japanese restaurant on Charlotte Street.


M: We bought our first flat in Highbury & Islington and we’ve been living there for two years now. We fell in love with the area straight away. It feels very ‘homey’ and we are only 10 minutes from Upper Street which I love – it’s full of great restaurants, beautiful little boutiques and we are so happy there. We are only 20 minutes door-to-door from the Royal Opera House, so it’s very handy too.

T: A great nightlife as well, some great pubs and small clubs too.

M: Close to our flat we have Highbury Fields as well and I love it there. I also like to go to Columbia Market on Sunday mornings, I love it and could spend hours there.

London in 24 hours: Start at Portobello Market 

T: I would take them to maybe Portobello Market in the morning, walk around, get some cool stuff and look at the funky shops.

M: I would take them to see all the big sights like Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral. The Underground means you can get round the city in just one day. I would take them to my favourite shop, Liberty’s. So, see all the main spots and then finish your day by coming to the Royal Opera House to see us dance.

The National Gallery

M: We are very lucky to have the National Gallery right here near the Royal Opera House. I remember when we started going out together, he would call me and say, ‘Hi, I’m on a lunch break and I’m at the National Gallery.’ It’s amazing for us from where we come from as we don’t have that free entrance. We go there and get inspiration from all that incredible artwork.

T: There is so much going on in London, a lot of culture and a lot of art, and the real tradition that there is in this city in theatre, which is our field, is really amazing. You can just walk from here and see a number of high-class performances at so many places. I really believe that art makes all of us better people.

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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London Bar and Restaurant Menus for Thanksgiving Day 2013 Fri, 01 Nov 2013 09:21:15 +0000 With only a few weeks left until the Christmas holidays, Thanksgiving Day 2013 in London is a good opportunity for Americans and fans of the US food and drink culture to give their festive taste buds a trial run. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking to splash the cash and treat your family to a proper traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, Thursday 28 November 2013 can be a truly American day in London, if you have a few Thanksgiving ideas up your sleeve.

Budget London: Blues, Football and Pop-Ups

Fitzrovia’s home of live music and big screen sports action, Jetlag, is in a Thanksgiving Day mood for the entire day, screening NFL matinee movies and live NFL Thanksgiving football games later on (Green Bay Packers V Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders V Dallas Cowboys). To maintain the pace, the Thanksgiving menu includes pumpkin soup with bacon and cheese rolls (£5.50); roast turkey with whipped potato and apple cider gravy (£17.50); and a choice of either pecan pie or pumpkin pie (£6.50) for dessert. The celebration continues after the football with a live classic rock, pop and blues set from Mr Lee.

Blues Kitchen
f Blues is your sweet, sweet thang, head to north London’s home of guitar-based American rock, The Blues Kitchen (pictured above), to check out The Untouchables, champions of raw Chicago blues. The Thanksgiving Day recipe for fun will also include an all-American Thanksgiving meal (pre-orders only) with dishes such as roast turkey with side dishes of roast potatoes, cranberry jelly, cornbread, steamed greens, Mac & Cheese and corn on the cob, with pumpkin pie for dessert, all for only £16 per person. Pumpkin ale will be flowing for the occasion and a DJ will be spinning vintage sounds until 1am.

All four of London’s American Bodean’s BBQ smokehouse restaurants will be screening live NFL football games to complement their Thanksgiving turkey and ham sharing platter with cornbread stuffing, sandwiched between a clam chowder starter and a key lime pie dessert, all for only £22.95. Keep an eye out for the Brooklyn Brewery Pumpkin Ale too.

Grumblings From A Greedy Girl
Grumblings From A Greedy Girl will host a special American Thanksgiving pop-up evening in Tooting Market, for those with an intrepid heart. Here you can enjoy Thanksgiving food such as sweet potato soup topped with floating salted chilli marshmallows; turkey and cranberry sauce burgers with sausage stuffing on cornbread and pecan pie bars (pictured above). Diners can expect Thanksgiving activities like the Man V Food challenge, basketball hoops and a DJ. £30 per person, booking necessary.

Planet Hollywood
London’s star-spangled banner of American celebrity, Planet Hollywood, will have a two-course Thanksgiving Day lunch and dinner menu for £14.95 or, for those with serious American appetites, three courses for £19.95.

Treat Yourself

Joe Allen
Covent Garden’s classic American restaurant, Joe Allen (pictured above), is serving a traditional menu for £40 per person, including the Thanksgiving appetiser pulled pork and duck terrine with spiced plum and sour dough, followed by Sussex bronze slow-cooked Thanksgiving turkey and maple bacon bangers, pumpkin pie and marinated cherries, and coffee with petit fours.

Christopher’s, another classic American restaurant in London’s West End, has an all-day three-course Thanksgiving Day menu which boasts a wide selection of stateside cuisine, such as the slow-cooked ballotine of organic turkey served with side dishes of cornbread, hazelnut and Michigan cherry stuffing, cranberry relish, buttered beans and creamed potatoes. Leave enough room for the peanut butter chocolate tart dessert though. £48 per person, reservations required.

The Northall
The Northall, a grand restaurant in the Corinthia Hotel near Trafalgar Square, requires £65 from adults and £35 for kids in return for its lavish Thanksgiving Day lunch and dinner menu, promising (deep breath, here goes): Maryland softshell crab with southern spices; free range bronze turkey with sourdough, apple and golden raisin stuffing, roast sweet potato mash with raisins and marshmallow, Pennsylvania creamed corn, and pickled red cabbage; plus, lemon meringue pie for dessert; phew!

The Lockhart
One of London’s most recent American home-from-home additions, The Lockhart, is going one better than simple US food from 28 November – 1 December, with a Thanksgiving dinner menu paired with Californian wines. The Thanksgiving menu will be served family-style with starters to share; two main courses – including the traditional smoked heritage turkey; plus desserts of pecan pie with maple bourbon ice cream, and the classic pumpkin pie served with vanilla whipped cream. £60 per person (includes wines and a small recipe book containing tips on how to replicate this Thanksgiving dinner at home).

Also celebrating Thanksgiving Day in London…

CUT at 45 Park Lane is offering a three-course Thanksgiving dinner on 28 November for £90 per person. Stop off at Bar 45 (in the same hotel) first for a special Thanksgiving cocktail, priced at £16, which changes colour using an ice infusion.

Trader Vic’s, a recently-refurbished restaurant, also on Park Lane, will be adding pumpkin and shiitake mushroom eggrolls to the starter menu alongside roasted Diestel Thanksgiving turkey with traditional giblet gravy. Meyer lemon cranberry curd cheesecake is lined up for dessert.

Le Caprice and sister restaurant, 34, will both have Thanksgiving menus which include pumpkin martinis.

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London Bar and Restaurant News: PipsDish, Shimmy, Upstairs at Nancy’s, Purl Pop-Up Thu, 17 Oct 2013 09:00:42 +0000 To counteract London’s autumnal climate, a number of exciting new bars, restaurants and pubs are springing up, providing cosy interiors, heart-warming fare and entertaining distractions to keep the cold at bay.

PipsDish Covent Garden
After serving food in a disused north London Citroën Garage for two years, Philip Dundas – ex-BBC producer turned food writer and pop-up cook – now has a new restaurant in the West End. This “home from home” restaurant (pictured above) combines the magical atmosphere of the Garage pop-up with Philip’s no-bookings, no-menu, eat-what-you’re-given approach and a wine selection chosen by a Master of Wine.

Upstairs at Nancy's
Upstairs at Nancy’s
Located atop Shoreditch’s most recently revived public house, this new bar peddles the products of London’s best brewers, distillers, vintners and cocktail barrellers. Expect Borough Wines, Kamm & Sons, Butler’s, Boodles, Sipsmith, The Botanist, Five Points, Partizan and The Kernal.

West London now has a new, much needed, late night dance floor. Shimmy (hidden behind the door pictured above) encourages playfulness and eccentricity, with an enchanted wardrobe staircase, Scrabble tiled bar and “Magic Far Away Tree” theme. Optical illusions and quirky Victorian trinkets are complemented by stylish exposed brickwork and staff dressed in Gatsby-eque, flapper or bow-tie attire. And we won’t even dare to mention what happens in the toilets!

The White Hart
This Victorian Goliath at the river’s edge in Barnes has been through a huge transformation of late. The new Head Chef is BBC MasterChef finalist Tom Whitaker, the new restaurant boasts its own smokery and there are balconies on each of its three floors. Look out for future master classes, wine tastings and supplier evenings.

Also keep a look out in October and early November for…

Momentus – a fitting name for the new Moet Champagne bar at The Cumberland Hotel, opening in October.

PurlPurl at The Bedford is the first long-term pop-up (pictured right) from Marylebone-based cocktail specialists Purl, who are setting up in Balham’s Bedford pub from 5 November until the end of April. Expect aroma, fogs, airs, foams, food, bespoke serviceware and liquid nitrogen.

Rumble at the Deli is a new London event, held at Tom Conran’s Notting Hill hangout, Tom’s Deli. Two chefs go head to head each night to see who can create the best three course meal from ingredients selected fresh from the local market each morning. Launching on 7 November, big name chefs taking part include Pratap Chahal (Le Manoir, Chez Bruce, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s), and Tom Starker (Heston’s Dinner).

The House of Peroni will celebrate the New Wave of Italian Style and Creativity. Opening on 6 November, punters can expect a luxurious cinema space, two bars with cocktails created by Gerry Calabrese, a video installation by critically acclaimed video artist Quayola and a new House menu created by the Michelin-starred Costardi brothers.

More bars and restaurants in London

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London Bar and Restaurant News: Halloween Food, Cocktails and Events Mon, 14 Oct 2013 12:01:25 +0000 As the witching hour cloaks the streets of London in darkness, a number of the city’s most well-known bars, restaurants and event spaces are turning frightfully ghoulish for Halloween this year.

The Artesian
The Aqui Estoy cocktail (pictured above), served at The Artesian bar in The Langham Hotel, combines Don Julio Blanco Mexican tequila, with smoky Mezcal, finished with cinnamon cuts and rose buds. The cocktail’s scary presentation, in a skull with the eyes having been filled with rice flowers, is worth its £16.50 price tag alone.

The sprawling Victorian railway arches which entomb wine tasting venue Vinopolis near Borough Market (pictured right) will be hosting a special Halloween cocktail making masterclass (31 Oct, £40).

From 17 to 31 Oct, the terrace at Bluebird will transform into an American-style pumpkin patch, and the venue will also be holding a pumpkin-carving master class for kids (29 Oct), serving serial-killer cocktails for adults, and an afternoon tea that replaces classic English scones with ghost cupcakes. In addition to various Halloween inspired dishes on the menu, there will also be a night of scary speed-dating; a Halloween themed evening dedicated to helping singletons find love amongst the cobwebs.

Planet Hollywood
Those with little terrors to entertain, head to Planet Hollywood in central London where Halloween will be celebrated on both 26 Oct and 31 Oct with a two-course, £14.95 offer for adults (£8.95 for kids) which includes ghoulish menu items like the pumpkin soup cauldron starter, Frankenburger mains and Death by Chocolate to finish you off. Free face painting will available for those that dare!

A Secret Location in South London
The Simon Drake Spooktacular (pictured above) is to be held at a secret, 200-year old, gothic Victorian mansion (1 Nov, £45-£85) and the price of the ticket includes a 2-course dinner, haunted cellar tours, fortune telling, wandering magicians, Simon Drake’s illusionist show and zombie dancing until 1am. Halloween fancy dress will be necessary.

The Andaz Hotel next to Liverpool Street Station is home of 1901 restaurant and its floating cocktail bar (not literally, of course). A few years ago, a Masonic Temple was discovered behind a secret door in the hotel and it is rumoured that Jack The Ripper was one of the Freemasons who used it. A cocktail named Jack’s Martini – fresh cucumber, tangy lime, elderflower cordial and Hendricks gin – has been especially created to mark this eerie fact for Halloween.

Archer Street
Mexican Day of the Dead tradition meets Soho’s basement vibe this Halloween with Archer Street’s Don Julio bar (pictured above) where brightly coloured ponchos, sombreros, and skulls of the dead provide the backdrop for sipping tequila cocktails, such as the devilish Highway To Hell.

Brunel Museum
Following last year’s incredible reviews from guests and the media, the Midnight Apothecary Halloween Extravaganza (pictured above) at the Brunel Museum will be a ticket-only event in 2013. Pumpkin-laden revelry will unfold on the beautifully dressed rooftop garden and will include special themed cocktails and free toasted marshmallows around the fire pit. Sat 26 Oct, 5.30–11pm (last orders 10pm), tickets are £5.

The Montagu
From 28th October to 2nd November, The Montagu restaurant will be offering an imaginatively themed Halloween Afternoon Tea (pictured above) which includes Black Liquorice Panna Cotta, Pumpkin Frangipane Cakes and sawn-off finger Cupcakes! The Halloween Afternoon Tea will be served from 3-6pm, £30 per person.

Check out some of the best Halloween

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in London 2013 events

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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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The Best Places to Eat Pancakes in London Mon, 11 Feb 2013 12:26:54 +0000

We heartily encourage you to eat pancakes any day of the year, but tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, which means they are pretty much essential. As this list of restaurants demonstrates, the humble pancake comes in many different guises. Will it be American hotcakes with blueberries, or the timeless French crêpe with lemon and sugar? If you’re struggling to choose, we’ve picked out some of the most mouthwatering menu choices.

My Old Dutch

The original pancake house has branches in Kensington, Holborn and Chelsea and has been serving large flat Dutch pancakes known as pannekoeken since the 50s. The culinary influences extend far beyond the borders of Holland, with Italian, Greek and Chinese-inspired savoury pancakes – look out for the chicken curry one too. The sweet pancakes are more traditional, with tempting combinations including chocolate, syrup, lemon and berries.
Star pancake: It has to be the eponymous My Old Dutch: a favourite from Holland with smoked bacon, chicken, ham, sweet pepper, mushrooms, sweetcorn and cheese.

The Breakfast Club

While this trio of cafés do serve lunch and dinner, go there for the breakfast and brunches. The atmosphere is cosy, as the murmurs of half-asleep punters mix with clattering plates. Pancakes are of the American variety (smaller and fatter than French crêpes or Dutch pannekoeken) and come with cooked breakfasts or with maple syrup, or berries and ice cream for a sweet treat. Breakfast Clubs can be found in Hoxton, Angel, Soho or Spitalfield. Arrive early as they are very popular at weekends.
Star pancake: Pancakes and Bacon with maple syrup – an unrivalled combination of sweet and salty.

Crème de la Crêpe

Silly names and inventive combinations abound at this cool crêperie, which started off with a stall in Borough Market before graduating to its first shop in Covent Garden. Indulgent creations on the menu include the Billy Goat’s Gruff (goat’s cheese, caramelised onion marmalade, sweet cherrybell peppers and rocket) and the Cheap Date (Mars bar with Baileys). It now has a second outlet in South Kensington too.
Star pancake: The adventurous Gone Fishin’, with hot smoked salmon, spring onions, lemon juice, black pepper mayonnaise and rocket.

The Kensington Crêperie

This is where French locals head when they need a crêpe fix. Stalwart sweet options like lemon and sugar are perfect for snacks and puddings, and The Kensington Crêperie also serves a brilliant range of galettes – French pancakes made with buckwheat flour and a savoury filling.
Star pancake: The effortlessly French Tartiflette Galette, a buckwheat pancake filled with the classic French dish of bacon, potatoes, oozing Raclette cheese, cream, onion and white wine.

More information about Pancake Day in London

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Unusual Bars and Restaurants For Valentine’s Day in London Tue, 29 Jan 2013 10:30:10 +0000

February is approaching fast, and for those of you in a couple and looking to impress, so is the decision of what to do for Valentine’s Day. It can be a great excuse to do something special that you’ll remember – forget roses and cheesy piano music, why not go to a venue that is memorable (even if your companion isn’t)?

Opulent Sarastro packs the romance and gusto of opera into its gold and red interior, crammed with curious objects. Dine below ten opera boxes in differing styles, along with brash, erotic artwork and regular singing performances. Situated on Drury Lane in the heart of theatre land, Sarastro is a popular pre-theatre dining spot. The food has a Mediterranean theme and there’s a three-course Valentine’s menu for £35 a head.

Evans and Peel
Dates should be fun, and the entrance to cocktail bar Evans and Peel demands a level of imagination. It is set up like a detective agency, and guests must state their ‘case’ before being allowed to enter. If successful, you’ll be directed into a 1920s speakeasy bar, with old fashioned cocktails (watch out, they’re strong) and American diner food like mac ‘n’ cheese.

Dans le Noir?
Tucked away in an unassuming Clerkenwell location, this French-inspired restaurant has a unique setup. You eat in pitch blackness, guided by blind waiters. Talking to a companion without being able to see them is a strange and liberating experience, and you also don’t know what you’ve eaten until after the meal. Before you enter Dans le Noir’s darkness, you select for the vegetarian, meat, fish or ‘surprise’ menu. The later will appeal to the adventurous – it included zebra and shark when I visited.

Garlic and Shots
The name says it all – Garlic and Shots in Soho is dedicated to the white pungent bulb, as well as over 100 vodka shots. If your date likes garlic (it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac) this should be a winner. All the dishes, and bizarrely some of the drinks, contain garlic, and the décor is an eclectic mixture of American bar with influences from the restaurant’s Swedish founders.

Oriental fusion restaurant Inamo has two branches in London and some very tasty food, but that’s not why visitors come. The main draw is its e-table ordering system, which lets you scroll through images of food and view them on your plate before ordering from your table. You can also play games like battleships, switch between virtual tablecloths and watch the chefs working in real time with the ‘Chefcam’ function. A Valentine’s menu of four courses costs £35 per person.

A theatrical evening is guaranteed at Circus, the bar which doubles as a cabaret venue. It’s worth arriving early before a meal and staying late, to catch as many of the daring entertainment acts as you can – they range from acrobats to fire-breathers and dancers, and sometimes perform on the table in front of you. The cuisine is pan Asian and there’s a special Valentine’s offer for £70 per person.

Discover more unusual restaurants in London with our guide to the capital’s quirky restaurants.

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