This summer season has already been hotter than most in London, so the restaurants have been emptier and the openings have slowed down. But there are a few new exciting eateries that should be on your radar, from new pasta joints to cocktails & small plate venues. Ottolenghi has a new restaurant making waves in Fitzrovia and zero-waste conscious Native has a new, bigger home in London Bridge. It has also been interesting to watch some of the capital’s best restaurants open second and third venues, building on their reputations and introducing new concepts to London’s thriving culinary scene. Here are five of my favourites to try this summer.
Cora Pearl – This Covent Garden restaurant is the new opening from the revered Kitty Fisher team. The name is inspired by a 19th-century courtesan who spent time in London and Paris and lived a life of luxury. The dining room echoes this lavish lifestyle with opulent forest green velvet seating and moody lighting. Chef George Barson has created a short delectable menu showcasing seasonal produce and simple, delicious recipes. Every dish I tried was faultless, from the subtle Cow’s curd agnolotti with truffle to the hearty Pork & Onions. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order a portion of their irresistible chips.
Gazelle – A stylish eatery hidden away in the heart of Mayfair on Albemarle Street. Gazelle is the newest venture from cocktail connoisseur Tony Conigliaro who has curated a menu of sophisticated and innovative drinks to pair with chef Rob Roy Cameron’s bold small plates. The interiors are decadent and sumptuous, with fuchsia pink walls and mustard yellow seating. We loved the Babydoll cocktail and the Leek with chicken and chives.
Rovi – Ottolenghi’s new vegetable-centric restaurant opened last month, with a menu that focusses on fermentation and cooking on an open fire. The kitchen is headed up by Neil Campbell who was previously head chef at Grain Store. Highlights from the menu included tempura stems with elderflower vinegar and hot tomatoes with cold yoghurt & Urfa chilli.
Bancone – Bancone is the newest homemade pasta eatery in town, opened by restaurateurs William Ellner and David Ramsey of Joanna’s in Crystal Palace. Tucked away on William IV street in Covent Garden Bancone serve a range of unfussy modern Italian cuisine, with a focus on pasta. Of the recipes we tried the simplest potato gnocchi with sage butter was the best – perfectly light and indulgently buttery.
Native – Although not strictly a new opening, Native restaurant has recently made the move south of the river, after being booted out of their previous home in Neal’s Yard. The concept and menu concentrates on foraged food and local British produce. I was very impressed with the zero-waste mentality that sees the kitchen produce beautiful snacks from yesterday’s leftovers. The courgette stalk “penne” was a triumph as were the creative desserts.