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The top restaurants to have opened in London

Lauren Hill

Contributor

Despite the challenges faced by hospitality throughout 2020, several bold restaurateurs have continued with their restaurant opening plans and debuted at a time they know will come with its obstacles. From highly anticipated Mexican-British restaurant KOL to Nordic-Japanese lifestyle destination Pantechnicon, these are the new dining spots to know.

Louie

Louie came to fruition when Guillaume Glipa of restaurant openings such as Chiltern Firehouse partnered up with the successful Parisian restaurant group led by Laurent de Gourcuff, Paris Society, which is behind venues such as Girafe and Loulou in the French capital. Together with renowned U.S. chef Slade Rushing, they have opened what is now Covent Garden’s latest hotspot. The September debuted Creole restaurant aims to combine the characteristics of four cities, from the soul of New Orleans, where the chef hails from, to the sophistication of Paris, sass of New York and the character of the city it’s based in, London. The five-storey townhouse, which was previously home to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, features a two-floor brasserie-style dining space distinguished by banquette seating, oyster bar and wood burning oven, with a bar and lounge upstairs and roof terrace with retractable roof. Choose between hors d’oeuvres such as hand cut steak tartare, dishes like steamed razor clams from the raw bar, fish plates like seafood gumbo and meat specialties including crispy poussin.

Pantechnicon

September saw the opening of Belgravia’s new and one-of-a-kind lifestyle destination Pantechnicon. Filling all five stories of a restored neoclassical building, this is a celebration of both Japanese and Nordic culture represented through design, craftsmanship and food. The minimalist interiors here houses two restaurants—Nordic restaurant Eldr and Japanese dining venue Sachi—along with Japanese-Parisian Cafe Kitsune, several stores and a roof garden. The second-floor restaurant Eldr invites you to taste the flavours of 10 Nordic countries and territories in a minimalist space with open kitchen. Tuck into starters such as scallops with leek, mussel sauce and reindeer and main dishes like venison with swede, cabbage and blackcurrant. The list of European wines includes ‘Nordic seasonal stories’ such as sparkling birch sap wine from Sweden. The Japanese restaurant Sachi, which has opened so far as a pop-up with plans to debut officially in 2021, then serves the culinary creations of Japanese cookbook author, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, using vegetables from Namayasai Farm in Sussex.

KOL Restaurant

The creation of former Noma Mexico chef, Santiago Lastra, KOL is among the city’s most talked about restaurant arrivals of the year. While there was some delay in opening from the original launch date of May, the chef chose to go ahead with the debut in October in the hope it would help reignite momentum on London’s dining scene. The Marylebone restaurant combines Lastra’s Mexican culinary roots with British produce, which he’s spent the last two years of the restaurant’s development researching. The two-level dining space, which was designed to reflect the colours of rural Mexico and incorporate elements of Nordic minimalism, encompasses a 56-cover dining room offering seasonal set menus, a specialist mezcal bar and 20-cover chef’s table. Try Mexican dishes reimagined with British ingredients like tostada with seared lamb leg, guajillo mayonnaise and wild herbs, and carnitas with confit pork cheek, cabbage leaves, gooseberry and pear salsa and black beans, or tuck into dishes like lobster and habanero tacos at the immersive chef’s table. The Mezcaleria champions Mexican spirits through cocktails incorporating seasonal British ingredients—try the sloe mezcal—and antojitos reinterpreting Mexican street food.

Noble Rot Soho

An offshoot of the stalwart restaurant and wine bar in Bloomsbury—which is also home to Noble Rot wine magazine—Noble Rot Soho has opened with a loyal following to draw on. Noble Rot Soho opened in September in the old location of legendary Polish restaurant The Gay Hussar on Greek Street. When Noble Rot’s founders, Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling, decided to open their second restaurant here, they set about honouring the history of this site and its 18th-century building. Seasonal menus created by head chef Alex Jackson, formerly of Sardine, and executive chef Stephen Harris of The Sportsman include dishes like Anjou pigeon with muscat grapes, watercress and liver toast, and polish-inspired beef shin goulash referencing the site’s history. The wine list is of course one of the main reasons to come here, with the option of taster servings meaning you can sample a few. A private dining room is also on the horizon for this new venue.

Giannino dal 1899

Having opened over 120 years ago in Milan, the original Giannino dal 1899 is considered a legend. Giannino Mayfair now signifies the restaurant’s expansion outside of Italy, and when it debuted in September it was one of the first Mayfair restaurants to open since the nation’s lockdown. The restaurant offers creative international cuisine with an unmistakeably Italian touch in an elegant space designed by the Italian architectural studio, Spagnulo & Partners. The executive chef Salvatore Suzzi, who is also at the helm of the restaurant in Milan, has brought to Mayfair some of his classic dishes along with exclusive creations for the London branch. Culinary highlights on a menu featuring a tasting experience and vegan options include veal ossobuco with gremolata and potato puree, a langoustine and sumac risotto and white truffle taglioni.

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