The 10 Best London Restaurants of 2018
Your list of absurdly good new restaurants to visit is probably overflowing already.
And we’re about to make it even more overflowing… thanks to the fact that 2018 truly was a red letter year for new eateries in London, and we’ve lined up the 10 of the best right here.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, behold the winners…
Two Lights | Shoreditch
Two Lights may have seemed destined for greatness from the outset: it’s helmed by Chase Lovecky, an American chef who’s been honing his extraordinary craft at the Michelin-Starred Clove Club (currently no. 26 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) for the last three years. Two Lights is his own restaurant, so his creative superpowers have been truly unleashed on perfectly executed dishes like roasted ray wings with dill pickle butter, and grape granita with mint & shiso leaf.
Details: Open Tuesday-Sunday | 28-30 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DA | £££
Kym’s | The City
We’re assuming Andrew Wong’s parents are either unfathomably proud, or a tiny bit jealous of their son. Probably the former. Because both are restauranteurs; but while their Chinese restaurant – also opened in London and also named Kym’s – did modestly well, his is going bananas. And that’s to add to the Michelin Star he earned at his first restaurant. Either way, Kym’s is a fantastic, beautiful spot, punctuated by a huge cherry blossom tree with a cocktail bar wrapped around its trunk. The food is all good, but the showstopper is the roasted meat – it’s made in the traditional way, takes around 48hrs from start to finish, and is meltingly delicious.
Details: Open daily | 19 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR | £££
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill | Embankment
To the great surprise of precisely no-one on earth, Tom Kerridge’s first London restaurant is fantastic. He’s taken a rather sharp turn from the rough & ready gastropub vibes of his other restaurants. For one, he’s set it within the lavish surroundings of the Corinthia Hotel. Its glossy, marbled space is filled with rich, burgundy leather seating, and encased by dark green walls dotted with pieces of contemporary art. And the food is just as stunning as you’d imagine – there’s the Instagram-crashing glazed omelette lobster thermidor; the incredibly posh fish and chips; and the subtle raspberry & rose geranium trifle.
Details: Open Daily | Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD | ££££
Coal Office | King’s Cross
Making King’s Cross considerably less cross, legendary chef Assaf Granit – the man behind The Palomar and The Barbary – has opened a new restaurant there. And it’s designed from head to foot by Tom Dixon, as if he needed any more help making it appealing. He’s loading the plates with his classic, topchelf Middle Eastern fare, including dishes like seabass with couscous and pumpkin butter, or beef fillet with black chickpea stew & poached egg.
Details: Open Daily | 2 Bagley Walk, N1C 4PQ | £££
1251 | Islington
James Cochran has had a rather interesting year. He left his restaurant (called James Cochran EC3) in Easter and subsequently discovered that he was no longer allowed to use his own name in the restaurant business. Then he joined the cast of The Great British Menu, and the owners of James Cochran EC3 decided to cash in on his newfound fame by selling his recipes. Being as talented as he is, he won the competition, then opened his new restaurant, 1251, to glowing reviews. And they’re completely deserved. The dishes are imaginative, expertly executed, absolutely moreish. And they belong to him.
Details: Open Daily | 107 Upper Street, N1 1QN | ££
Cornerstone | Hackney Wick
Nobody really saw Cornerstone coming – but it’s already looking like the foundation of something big. It comes to us from Tom Brown, who worked as the head chef at Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin-starred London seafood restaurant. And sure, that’s a decent pedigree – but no-body expected him to do this well with his own seafood stop. The place has already netted shoals of glowing reviews, as well as winning Best Newcomer at the Observer Food Monthly awards, and “One to Watch” at the National Restaurant Awards. Reeling in a table is getting more difficult by the day.
Details: Open Daily | 3 Prince Edward Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LX | £££
Brat | Shoreditch
Brat is almost impossible to find unless you know it’s there. There’s just an open door, with a small awning above it that leads into an empty corridor. Head to the stairs at the back, and you’ll find yourself in one of the city’s most talked-about, solidly booked, and deeply impressive restaurants. It seems there’s no need for passing trade when your tables are already like gold dust. And it’s all the more impressive that this is a debut space, coming from Tomos Parry who formerly manned the pans at Kitty Fishers. It’s all open-fire cooking, it’s simple, it’s elegant, and it’s sublime.
Details: Open Daily | First Floor, 4 Redchurch Street, E1 6JJ | ££££
Fare Bar + Canteen | Shoreditch
Fare was a pretty ambitious project from the outset. It’s a cocktail spot. It’s a restaurant. It’s a coffeeshop, and a breakfast place, and a wine bar. And despite the risk that trying to please everyone brings, it actually succeeds in pleasing everyone. The food is delicious and Modern European, the coffee is a bespoke roast from Assembly, the cocktails include a dozen on tap, and the wine involves a 250+ collection of bottles plucked from Sager + Wilde’s roster of lesser-known, independent growers.
Details: Open Mon-Sat | 11 Old Street, EC1V 9HL | £££
ROVI | Fitzrovia
Having conquered upper-middle-class lunch, Yotam Ottolenghi is coming for dinner. And his weapon of choice is ROVI, his new restaurant in Fitzorovia. It takes a slightly different lilt than his other joints, focusing on fermentation & fire to inform its more formalised, fine-dining approach. The menu thusly features goods like confit mussels with hay-smoked potatoes; some kohlrabi ‘ravioli’ with peas, broad beans and yuzu kosho; and onglet beef skewers with beef fat mayonnaise and fermented green chillies.
Details: Open Daily | 59 Wells Street, W1A 3AE | ££££
Casa Pastor | King’s Cross
If you’ve been to El Pastor in Borough, or their Bermondsey follow-up, Tortilleria El Pastor, you’ll know what we’re dealing with here. It’s easily some of the best Mexican food in the city, with all their tortillas in-house daily before being wrapped around the likes of lamb barbecoa, and cheese-stuffed fried chillies. Only this incarnation is housed in a gorgeous Victorian brick walls, arched windows with bright Mexican murals; coloured festoon bulbs; antique patterned tiles; and actual trees.
Details: Open Daily | Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1 | ££
Want something to drink with that? Check out the best bars of 2018…