When I returned to London, after travelling the world for 5 months, there were a lot of new restaurants to catch up on. After weeks of feasting I’ve tried and tested many of the city’s top new eateries… Here’s my pick of the bunch, and which dish not to miss at each.
This Borough Market newbie is the little sister of neighbourhood Italian, Trullo in Islington. Pop in for a reasonably priced plate of pasta and a slice of seasonal tart.
Don’t miss: Pici cacio e pepe (hand-rolled noodle-like pasta with cheese and pepper).
Best for: Quick lunchtime sustenance, post Borough market shopping.
This elegant dining room in Farringdon is receiving five star reviews from every food critic who steps inside. Chef Mark Jarvis presents an understated seasonal menu that showcases his flair and confidence in the kitchen.
Don’t miss: British strawberries with lemon thyme and burnt meringue.
Best for: Quiet lunches with grown up family members.
I’ve never been to Sri Lanka but I’m keen to visit after tasting the vibrant cuisine at Hoppers. Located in the heart of Soho, there is always a queue so head there on a weekday lunch for a shorter wait.
Don’t miss: Egg Hopper (pancake) with Lamb Kari.
Best for: Pre-show dinner.
A more spacious branch of the popular original on Exmouth Market, serving moreish cuisine from Southern Spain to North Africa. Arrive hungry and order as many tapas plates as you can fit in.
Don’t miss: Crispy aubergine, whipped feta and date molasses.
Best for: Gathering up all your friends and ordering everything.
It may be nearly in Essex but it’s only a few stops further than East London on the central line. Chef Ben Murphy presents beautiful plates of food, and many predict a star for this stunning restaurant.
Don’t miss: The reasonably priced set lunch.
Best for: A special meal worth the journey to E18.
Located at the top of Pop Brixton’s temporary structure is the unassuming tiny Indian eatery, Kricket. Offering small plates of Southern Indian food with big flavours, I have already been back twice.
Don’t miss: Keralan Fried Chicken with curry leaf mayonnaise.
Best for: Friday night feast nights with anyone.
Vietnam has come to Peckham with this family-run, cosy restaurant. Minimalist modern decor and a brief but tasty menu has already made this new eatery a no-fuss, neighbourhood favourite.
Don’t miss: Beef in betel leaves.
Best for: Quiet and casual date nights.
The Parisian favourite comes to Covent Garden bringing classic French dishes and charismatic waiters. Sit at the bar to chat to staff about their favourite dishes.
Don’t miss: Seasonal specials.
Best for: Celebratory meals.
The new venue from the highly successful Palomar team, The Barbary (hidden in Neal’s Yard) offers small plates inspired by Berber flavours. There are only 24 seats round an intimate bar, so arrive early to avoid a lengthy wait.
Don’t miss: Pata Negra neck.
Best for: Catch up with your closest friends.
A petite but powerful modern Indian restaurant tucked round an unsuspecting corner of Spitalfields. This home-style restaurant has no reservations and is always busy with locals in the know.
Don’t miss: Sigree grilled mustard broccoli and venison doughnuts.
Best for: Indulgent work lunches.
This stylish new Thai restaurant aims to present London with an authentic taste of Thailand, and the dishes are unrecognisable compared to your average takeaway. After a successful stint at Climpson’s Arches the Thai team continue to thrill diners with confronting flavours and memorable recipes.
Don’t miss: Whole Deep Fried Seabass with roasted rice and Isaan herbs.
Best for: Dinner with a group of friends.
Fantastic food in a no fuss eatery in Islington. Tom Oldroyd is a genius in the kitchen creating dishes that are seasonally inspired and inventively thoughtful.
Don’t miss: Spinach and ricotta malfatti with broad beans and crispy sage.
Best for: Intimate lunches and dinners.
A renovated garage is now the home to Primeur, one of North London’s most exciting new restaurants. The delicious menu changes daily to reflect the produce available and guests sit round communal tables.
Don’t miss: Whatever the waiter recommends that day.
Best for: Weekend meals with your favourite people.
The most authentic Mexican yet to come to London. A colourful joint in the centre of Shoreditch serving up vibrant food and great cocktails.
Don’t miss: Guacamole and Elote.
Best for: Feasting with friends.
Both the space and the plates at Ellory scream contemporary cool. Normally full of Hackney hipsters, this modern restaurant serves stylish seasonal dishes that wow.
Don’t miss: Matching wines with your meal.
Best for: Lovely summer lunches with friends and family.
Jason Atherton’s latest restaurant, inspired by the izakaya eateries of Japan. Make sure you save space for cocktails in the underground 7 Tales bar downstairs.
Don’t miss: Tempura, almost as good as the real thing in Tokyo.
Best for: Business lunches and date nights.
The Good Egg
My new favourite breakfast stop, despite the fact that it’s a trek over to Stoke Newington. A Jewish style cafe/deli that is open all day but particularly busy for brunch.
Don’t miss: Shakshuka – baked eggs with tomato and peppers, preserved lemon yoghurt, sumac and a challah roll.
Best for: Long weekend brunches with friends.
The sophisticated first solo venture from brilliant chef Jun Tanaka. The menu features French inspired dishes that taste irresistibly good.
Don’t miss: Pain Perdu with vanilla ice-cream.
Best for: Weekday lazy lunches with mum.
A Nordic eatery championing the trend for smoked meat and pickled vegetables. Particularly reasonable at lunchtime.
Don’t miss: Nduja scotch egg.
Best for: Foodie friends meet up.
Marksman Public House
Most of my Sundays are spent at Columbia Road Flower Market so I am more than delighted to have a delicious new lunch place to stop off at, laden with blooms. A relaxed Victorian pub serving wholesome British dishes. Have a look upstairs too at the wonderfully-light redesigned contemporary dining room.
Don’t miss: Brown butter and honey tart.
Best for: Long Sunday lunches.
Black Axe Mangal
A posh Turkish kebab parlour with psychedelic decor and seriously tasty food. They have just started serving weekend brunch.
Don’t miss: the Reuben sandwich.
Best for: Weekend gorging with friends.
Blog post coming soon… the best new cocktail bars in London.