here’s a palpable sense of hopefulness and anticipation on the streets of London as social distancing restrictions lift, and no more so than in the hospitality sector, which has finally been allowed to reopen its doors for indoor dining after months of being closed. Restaurants are finding themselves booked up for weeks in advance with a population that is hungry for hospitality – and with this renewed appetite comes a host of restaurateurs who are flocking to the capital to open new high-end launches. Here's our pick of the most exciting...
Every so often we get an imported restaurant concept from another city that makes a huge splash, and Gaia could very well be London’s next tidal wave arrival. Helmed by sought-after chef Izu Ani, who formerly rattled the pans at La Petite Maison and La Serre, Gaia will open in Mayfair this summer (exact date and location TBC) and will draw on Greek inspiration to create a modern taverna worth its salt. Diners will be treated to fresh Mediterranean cuisine, all served within a light interior with white painted woods and cream walls.
Those who were impressed with Taiji Maruyama’s kitchen work when he opened a second Taka in Marylebone last autumn will be pleased to hear the master itamae will be opening an exclusive sushi counter at the site of the first Taka, on Shepherd Market. Named Maru (after the chef), the venue will seat just 10 diners and serve a 20-course farm-to-table omakase menu.
18 Shepherd Market, W1J, takalondon.com
The NoMad hotel is one of the finest places in midtown Manhattan to revel and refuel and almost singlehandedly revivified New York City’s lounge bar scene. As part of the Sydell Group, NoMad finds itself in the same stable as Eleven Madison Park and The Ned in London, and will undoubtedly hold sway as one of the heaviest-hitting launches of 2021. For the London site, the group has chosen the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, a Grade II-listed building in Covent Garden. The word on the street is that the group has enlisted Eleven Madison Park alums Ian Coogan and Leo Robitschek to head up the restaurant, so expect Michelin-level cuisine.
28 Bow Street, WC2E, thenomadhotel.com
There’s been a ton of chatter around the opening of Nusr-Et Steakhouse, which sees Turkish restaurateur Nusret Gökçe open his inaugural British venture at the Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel. If you don’t recognise the name, you’ll likely know him for his sobriquet and alter ego Salt Bae, with which he took Instagram by storm. Guests can enjoy his theatrical and unorthodox approach to seasoning and serving meat in the flesh, which perhaps should be taken with a pinch of, er, salt. Thanks to Gökçe’s celebrity following, there’s no doubt droves of steak lovers will be flocking to Nusr-Et now that the restaurant has opened its doors.
101 Knightsbridge, SW1X, nusr-et.com
London has seen its fair share of quality Japanese restaurants, but is lacking in truly excellent Kaiseki eateries that specialise in ceremonial Nipponese tasting menus. Roketsu looks to right this wrong when it officially opens its doors this summer (exact date TBC). Helmed by Daisuke Hayashi, a protégée of seven-Michelin-starred chef Yoshihiro Murata, Roketsu will craft the finest produce into finely-wrought works of art in a dining room built by Sotoji Nakamura.
12 New Quebec Street, W1H, roketsu.co.uk
The latest addition to the culinary offering at the Conrad London hotel in St James comes from Sally Abé – the much gushed about chef who formely helmed the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms in Fulham. Opening on 1 July, the restaurant is inspired by suffragette Emily Wilding Davidson (known as Pem to her family) and will see some of the capital's top female culinary talent - including head chef Laetizia Keating and general manager Emma Underwood - take charge. Food, meanwhile, will be in Abé's signature elevated style and celebrate the best seasonal British produce.
22-28 Broadway, SW1H, thepemrestaurant.com
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