Autumn’s chill is here. It’s time for the winter wardrobe and to start planning a few months of long nights curling up in pubs.
While the ongoing volatility — that’s the polite word — of just about everything means the coming weeks look astonishingly uncertain, there are a slew of restaurant openings scheduled. The top end of the market seems to hold steady in times like these (those benefiting from tax cuts have to spend the money somewhere…) but that said, there are some more affordable places coming too — TikTok-anticipated Straker’s, the happy return of Lino, Mr Ji’s Camden move, the madcap fairground/food combo from Fairgame — so keep an eye on The Reveller for news of these and more.
In the meantime, here are 10 of the biggest restaurant openings to take you through until advent calendars become your daily source of nutrition.
While there’s scant update on Socca, her Mediterranean bistro opening with Clause Bosi, fans of restaurateur Samyukta Nair can get their fix with this new upmarket riff on an izakaya. Nair, who’s best known for MiMi Mei Fair, Bombay Bustle and Jamavar, has opened a two-sided coin: upstairs a bright sushi bar, downstairs a dark room where a robata grill burns. Expect red mullet tempura and hojicha-smoked, miso-marinated lamb, but also high prices and a crowd who won’t notice them. One for dates or celebrating deals.
Open now, 38 Grosvenor Street, W1, koynrestaurants.com
Despite some rather alarming Instagram marketing — dead-eyed sorts doing their best Gatsby impression — this follow-up to Richard Caring’s best restaurant looks suitably stylish. There are jokes to be had — boasting that the food is paired with the “scents and scenery of the river” seems comical, given the various recent sewage scandals — but in truth, Scott’s has always excelled at first-rate seafood, terrific service and plenty of Champagne.
Similarly to Koyn, go for a glamorous crowd and sky-high prices, only add in some beautiful waterside views to boot. Oh, and also expect to be seen there; that’s what Scott’s is for.
Open now, 4 Whittaker Avenue, TW9, scotts-richmond.com
Featuring not one or two but a full trio of actual speedboats hanging from the ceilings, this Chinatown opening comes from JKS restaurants and Luke Farrell, who already had the hit of the year with Thai restaurant Plaza Khao Gaeng. While Plaza had a sense of the transportive, Speedboat is full-throttle Disneyland; the doorway takes guests in from Rupert Street and straight onto the streets of Bangkok.
It boasts thudding, plastic Thai pop, six-pint towers and rocket-hot food made with spices and herbs grown in Farrell’s own greenhouses down in Dorset. Somewhere for late-night beers, cocktails and pool, but knockout food too.
September 29, 30 Rupert Street, W1, @speedboatbar
Din Tai Fung Centre Point
That the first Din Tai Fung drew queues of four hours spoke to just how good its bamboo baskets of crimped, steaming xiao long bao are. Their plans to move into Centre Point have been bounced since 2019 but they’re finally in. In the mid-century room — a huge 16,000 square feet, which should go some way to killing wait times — go to witness the chefs working up some of London’s best dumplings, and then sit down and wait for the robot waiters to serve them. The bar is expected to be a step up, as well.
October 1, 11 St Giles Square, WC2, dintaifung-uk.com
Restaurant St Barts
There is an awful lot of chatter about this place, which might reasonably be ascribed to the alluring island glamour its name conjures — but could also be something to do with the trio behind it. Johnnie Crowe, Luke Wasserman and Toby Neill have had hits with Hackney’s Nest and Fulham’s Fenn, both neighbourhood favourites, but now are heading in an altogether smarter direction with this, offering a 15-course tasting menu at £120 (a six-course lunch at £60 will be served too). Dishes are kept to two ingredients each, which might help with that feeling of overstuffing, and include the likes of wagyu with caviar, lobster with fermented red peppers and sweetbreads with Jerusalem artichoke. It’s actually named for the church it sits next to, but you don’t need to let on.
October 5, 63 Bartholomew Close, EC1, restaurant-stbarts.co.uk
Mount St. Restaurant
Call this a two-for-one deal (don’t; they’d probably hate it). Renowned gallerists Hauser & Wirth and their Artfarm arm are behind this beautiful renovation. Downstairs is the Audley, a pub that opened on Monday; it has been entirely freshly fitted but looks untouched (triumphantly old-fashioned carpet, gorgeous oak panelling that’s been battered with chains to age it). Upstairs is Mount St. Restaurant, an all-day 64-cover affair with no chain battering involved; instead, expect clean walls, a palladiana floor — marble crazy paving — and dishes including an impressive looking lobster pie, squab pigeon and omelette Arnold Bennett. Oh, and there is art everywhere, including a Freud, a Matisse, and a Warhol.
Mid-October, 41-43 Mount Street, W1, mountstrestaurant.com
Pedigree isn’t all, though in restaurants it seems to count for rather a lot, hence the anticipation over Dorian. Masterminded by Chris D’Sylva — behind the plainly named Notting Hill Fish + Meat Shop, and the vainly named Supermarket of Dreams — the head chef here is Max Coen, formerly of Ikoyi and Kitchen Table. Others are alumni of Core by Clare Smyth, the River Cafe, Phil Howard.
That’s an awful lot of Michelin firepower for a modern British bistro that promises to be “anti-Notting Hill”. Expect lots of wood-fired John Dory and great hunks of beef, and stylish, dark-wood surrounds. Hugh Grant types will presumably be barred on sight.
Late October, 105-107 Talbot Road, W11, @dorian.nottinghill
Dorian can be anti it all it likes, but Notting Hill is so very in. Taking the two-storey, tri-windowed site where Malabar used to be, Franco-Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan is opening his first UK restaurant. Kattan, who works more usually in Bethlehem’s Old City, is being reported variously as “the modern voice of Palestine cuisine”. His long-awaited site here — it was first set to open last year — will offer the likes of freekeh risotto, made with green wheat, saffron and cream, and mansef balls, where minced lamb is rolled up with rice, yoghurt and roasted garlic. What might be called a test-run at Charlotte Street’s Carousel earlier this year was well-received.
November, 27 Uxbridge Street, W8, akub-restaurant.com
Along with Bossa, below, Elis marks a trend beginning to take off. It comes from São Paulo-born chef Rafael Cagali, who owns Town Hall Hotel restaurant Da Terra, often cited as one of London’s best. Beside Da Terra used to be the Corner Room; now it will be Elis, named for Brazilian jazzer Elis Regina. Promising “rustic dishes, with a selection of elegant snacks and good wines” — those dishes include crab tagliolini verde, vitello tonnato and monkfish tail; those wines are from the Noble Rot boys — this should mark a casual, contemporary take on Brazilian cooking, with Cagali’s Italian influence ever present.
Mid-November, Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2, @rafacagali
More Brazilian as chef Alberto Landgraf opens at the Bond Street side of Marylebone. The opening is a London return for Landgraf, who trained here some two decades back under Tom Aikens and Gordon Ramsay. Known best for two-star Oteque in Rio de Janeiro, routinely cited as one of South America’s finest restaurants, a February pop-up at Lyle’s was judged a vibrant hit. Landgraf insists that Bossa will be like its name — fun, free-wheeling, relaxed — but given his propensity for the kind of food that is both detailed and disciplined, it seems improbable that he’ll hold himself back.
December, 3 Vere Street, W1, @albertolandgraf