London is a gastronome’s city. The relentless wave of launches can leave one breathless, so we’ve gathered the best of them – as well as a few bedded-in gems – into this frequently updated checklist of the “wheres?” and “whys?” of London’s hot-ticket tables. The only question is: where to book first?
Itinerant chef/herb farmer Lukie Farrell’s southeast Asian takeover of the capital (he’s already done sinus-stripping southern Thai at Plaza Khao Gaeng, plus top-tier bánh mì at Viet Populaire and nocturnal Indonesian hawker grub at Bebek! Bebek!) continues apace with this: his high energy, Singha-sloshing, late-night take on a Bangkok café. It’s as effervescent as you’d expect. The flavours are massive – a salad of pickled mustard greens and Chinese sausage; stir-fried minced beef with holy basil; ash melon and eggplant curry – and the vibes immense. How much of the latter is down to the three-litre “beer towers” and mango and makrut lime leaf margaritas is up to you.
Housed within Shoreditch’s Blue Mountain School, Cycene is a mish-mash of private home and stylised design-mag aesthetics, featuring hand-painted tiles by 6a Architects and oak panels fashioned at the founders’ own woodshop. Chef Theo Clench (previously of Fitzrovia’s Akoko and Portland) plates up seafood-heavy tasting menus of Pan-Asian/Australasian dishes like cavatelli, sea urchin and kinome or turbot, lettuce and sake. Bang on-trend? The broths, “elixirs” and drinking vinegars served with them.
Straight off the bat, Mount St – a luxe British restaurant above Mayfair’s Audley Public House – could well be London’s comeliest dining room. Conceived by Artfarm (aka the “Wirth” half of contemporary art behemoth Hauser & Wirth) and Parisian architecture studio Laplace, it’s as much a gallery as a restaurant, with original works by Freud, Auerbach, Matisse and Warhol on the walls, and a bespoke palladiana mosaic by Rashid Johnson on the floor. The menu’s hardly an oversight, either – loaded with nostalgic riffs on British classics like mock turtle croquettes, Pigeons in Pimlico, and an almost comically decadent lobster pie.
Cadet is a beautiful, light-filled cave-à-manger (a Parisian-style hybrid wine shop/restaurant), launched by low-intervention importers Beattie & Roberts and charcutier George Jephson, with chef Jamie Smart heading up the kitchen. Late of St John, P Franco and the Haute-Loire’s fêted Auberge de Chassignolles, his menus channel bistronomic simplicity. Pair wines from vignerons like Alsace’s Anne Laure Laengel or Abruzzo’s Cantina Indigeno with plates of crab with fregola and marigold, fromage de tête tartine with chanterelles, or slabs of Jephson’s painterly pâté en croûte.