Your list of ‘absurdly good new restaurants to visit’ is probably a little too stacked already.
Because we’re only going to make things worse right now. Mostly thanks to the fact that 2017 was very much a red letter year for new eateries in this town, and we’ve lined up the 10 best right here. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the winners…
108 Garage | Ladbroke Grove
The lovechild of a former Wall Street financier ranking on Interpol’s “Most Wanted” list and an artist who accidentally became a chef by taking a kitchen day job (eventually working up to the triple Michelin-starred Piazza Duomo), 108 Garage was an unlikely horse to join the race. But within weeks of quietly opening it had become the food critics’ darling, was crowned the jewel of the West London dining scene, and tables promptly turned to gold dust. It’s all thanks to chef Chris Denney’s artfully presented dishes and unusual flavour combinations; expect numbers like butter-poached snow crab with pickled turnips, and fallow deer with cranberry cheese and red cabbage.
Details: Open Tuesday – Sunday | 108 Golborne Road, W10 5PS | £££
Duddell’s | London Bridge
Opening the first international outpost of a double Michelin-starred restaurant isn’t always a doddle.
In this case, for example, it’s a Duddell’s – but it more than lives up to the glory of its older Hong Kong sibling. Set in the Grade II listed St. Thomas Church, this eatery’s kept original features like stained glass windows, the dark wooden altar and the lofty ceilings, while adding a few of its own – namely a green-tiled cocktail bar, pastel pink walls, and the most wondrous dim sum you’ve tasted this year.
Details: Open daily | St. Thomas’ Church, St. Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | £££
Westerns Laundry | Drayton Park
Dining at Westerns Laundry will require you to head towards Arsenal, track down an old 1950s laundry building and make your way past a featherblade security fence. But trust us, it’s worth it. Because, as the second venture from the Primeur team, you’ll be rewarded with seasonal veg and seafood so fresh that the menu really does change every day (which you can find scribbled on file paper and posted up on instagram, of course).
Details: Open Tuesday – Sunday | 34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB | ££
Yen | Temple
Next time you have a yen for noodles, this is where you have to go. Essentially a Japanese-via-Parisian Padella, the soba here is handmade daily by the chefs (who have, coincidentally, been plucked from top-shelf restaurants in Kyoto and Hokkaido, the original Yen in Paris, and London’s own Zuma), and piled into broth dishes alongside scallops, seaweed, tempura and duck. Don’t leave without a slug of the No. 9 – a sesame-infused vodka cocktail with nutmeg syrup and coconut foam.
Details: Open daily | 5 Arundel Street, WC2R 3DX | £££
Ceremony | Tufnell Park
Ceremony proudly proclaim themselves to be “not your usual vegetarian restaurant”. And they’re right. It’s several notches above. The menu is entirely meat-free, and entirely delicious. Compact, it cuts all the fluff and nonsense and instead promises perfect execution on every plate. You can (and should) take in the likes of the crispy duck egg, elegantly balanced on a salty slick of polenta and wild mushrooms, or a couple of the fritters made with courgettes plucked from their garden out the back.
And to top it all off? The owners are none other than ex-Milk & Honey bartender Joe Stokoe and London Beer Week creative director, Ali Dedianko – meaning the drinks are just as good.
Details: Open daily | 131 Fortess Road, NW5 2HR | ££
Marcella | Deptford
Marcella brings that quintessential, beautifully simple chic that the Italians seem to have nailed sometime back in the ’50s to both its floors, while the kitchen is putting out the kind of beautifully simple & delicious dishes the Italians seem to have nailed back, well, basically since forever. The sophomore restaurant to Peckham’s illustrious Artusi, dishes here range from freshly made ink bucatini with squid and capers; fried artichokes scattered with parmesan; and bream stuffed with fennel and clams.
Details: Open daily | 165a Deptford High Street, SE8 3NU | ££
Neo Bistro | Mayfair
Neo Bistro comes to you from Anglo founder Mark Jarvis, who’s this time placed the dishes in the capable hands of Alex Harper, former Head Chef of the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms. And the dishes those hands are making take a strongly seasonal bent, with combinations like venison chorizo and fresh cheese with smoked potato; and pigeon with green strawberries, spiced lentils and tarragon. It all takes place in a sleek Mayfair diner, which takes its cue from the deconstructed brasseries of Paris with bare-brick walls, crystal decanters and rough wooden counters.
Details: Open Tuesday – Saturday | 11 Woodstock Street, W1C 2AE | £££
Xu | Soho
As a sibling restaurant to the much-vaunted BAO, Xu was pretty much a, er, Xu-in for any best of the year list before it even opened. But luckily the retro Taiwanese joint lives up to the hype, doling out hits like oyster congee, mapo tofu, and crab meat with salmon roe and egg drop sauce (made by er, dropping an egg into the sauce). Plus, if you want some privacy away from the hubbub of the 30s-styled pastel pink and emerald green dining room, they also have elegant screen-panelled private dining rooms with their own mah-jong sets.
It’s the perfect start to a night on the tiles.
Details: Open Mon-Sat | 30 Rupert Street, W1D 1DL | £££
Sushi Atelier | Marylebone
Sushi Atelier comes to you from the team behind Chisou – and it’s exactly as good as you’d expect. Served up in minimalist surroundings on Great Portland Street, dishes include omakase platters of the chef’s personal sushi recommendations; butterfish sashimi topped with blowtorched foie gras; and larger plates like the razor clam ceviche with whiskey jelly – served, naturally out of a smoking bell jar.
Details: Open Mon-Sat | 114 Great Portland Street, W1W 6PH | ££
Tamarind Kitchen | Soho
Nobody wants too much tamarind in a dish. But you can seemingly never have too much Tamarind in London, because this dressed-down spin-off of the Mayfair original (one of the first Indian restaurants in the world to score a Michelin star) ticks all the boxes. Headed up by the very same chef, the menu comprises well-balanced, punchy small plates; accompanied by excellent cocktails and a low-lit, totally dateworthy atmosphere helped along by distressed wall-paint and ornate, authentic decorative touches.
Details: Open Tues-Sun, plus dinner on Mondays | 167-169 Wardour Street, W1F 8WR | £££
Want to know who else has been good this year? Check our guide to the best bar openings of 2017…