The Best of Everything in London, 2019
2019 was odd. Literally. Figuratively. The whole spectrum.
Just like every other year.
But London did what it does better than anywhere, and provided us with some breathtakingly fun diversions, from great bars, to elegant restaurants, envelope-pushing games (not literally, but give it time), and much more besides. And we’ve done the due diligence, and sifted through the torrent of goings-on to find those little nuggets of pure gold…
The Very Best New Restaurant | Davies & Brook
It’s not really a surprise this is up here.
In fact, it would be a huge surprise if it wasn’t. After all, its sister restaurant in New York, Eleven Madison Park, has gotten to the point where it almost cannot win any more awards. Like, seriously. It’s maxed out its Michelin Stars, and hit the number one spot on the World’s 50 Best List.
Luckily, Davies & Brook also happens to have the same head chef, with the exact same team behind him, and the considerable resources of the Claridges Hotel – which is where you’ll find it – backing them up. And it’s absolutely stunning…
Details: Open Mon-Sat | Claridge’s, Brook Street, W1K 4HR | ££££
The Very Best New Bar | Milroys of Spitalfield
This one almost feels like it’s cheating.
Because Milroys of Soho, who already have decades of experience as London’s oldest whisky merchant, and who already have one of the best bars in London – the Vault in Soho – have essentially just replicated their winning formula across four floors-worth of excellent bars & tasting rooms. And it makes their Spitalfields venue more like a small whisky theme park…
Details: Open Mon-Sat | 76 Commercial Street, E1 6LY | £££
Most Bewilderingly Ambitious & Well-Executed Concept | Kebab Queen
The first thing you should know about Kebab Queen is that there are no plates.
And yes, at a fine-dining restaurant, this might set off some alarm bells. At one that only serves a tasting menu? Double alarm bells. But remarkably, they appear to have pulled it off and created a genuinely novel, delicious, ever-so-slightly fascinating dining experience the likes of which we can almost guarantee you’ve never had before…
Details: Open Weds-Sat | Downstairs at Maison Bab, Mercer’s Walk, WC2H 9QE | ££££
Most Gorgeously Theatrical Design | Darling House
Darling House is not your typical, average, everyday, ho-hum, garden variety bar.
Normal bars are typically accessed through a door rather than a painting. Normal bars restrict themselves to one or two rooms, not half a dozen. And they certainly don’t have beds, bathtubs, and 5ft high tigers heads coming out of the wall.
Details: Open Mon-Sat | 131 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UR | £££
Coolest Upgrade Of A Medieval Game | Electric Shuffle
Yes, shuffleboard – the sport we’ve all known and loved for the past five centuries – has finally been upgraded.
And in style, too. The people at Flight Club have applied their tech-touch, and created a game that’s fun, interesting, strategic, easy-to-pick-up, and fuelled by delicious cocktails.
Details: Open Daily | 10 Cabot Square, North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4EY | £££
Best Use Of A Wardrobe | Backyard Cinema Wandsworth
Some people put clothes in their wardrobes.
The people at Capital Studios decided to put an entire cinema in theirs.
Details: Open Daily | 13 Wandsworth Plain, SW18 1ET | ££
Best Venue To Worship Street Food | Mercato Mayfair
Mercato Metropolitano’s second street food market hasn’t popped up where you’d quite expect…
…unless you’re thinking of a Grade I listed, deconsecrated church in Mayfair celebrated as one of the finest examples of 19th century Greek revival architecture in London, that once counted President Dwight Eisenhower amongst its regulars.
In which case, it’s exactly where you’d expect.
Details: Open Daily | 13a North Audley Street, W1K 6ZA | ££
Most Ridiculously Opulent Dining Experience | Bob Bob Cité
These are words that completely fail to encompass what Bob Bob Cité has to offer.
A French sibling to Soho’s glamorous Bob Bob Ricard, Cité contains more shiny, reflective surfaces than you’re likely to have ever seen in one place. There are twenty five bespoke chandeliers. Several miles of mirror-polished steel trim. Forty eight thousand hand-polished wall panelling bolts.
And then there’s the food…
Details: Open Daily | 122 Leadenhall Street, EC3V 4QT | £££££
Best Non-Moving Boat | The Grand Duchess
Sure, the Grand Duchess doesn’t move. But you’re still immersed in the water, and overlooking the canal as it gently laps at the window a few inches away from you. And the seafood – which already tastes fantastic – somehow seems to be slightly more delicious because of it.
Details: Open Tue-Sun | Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, W2 6PY | £££
Biggest Everything | Gloria & Circolo Popolare
These two venues, from French outfit Big Mamma Group, are easily the biggest openings of the year.
And by ‘big’, we mean there are still queues around the block for both of them months after they cut the ribbon, big. We mean one of them has walls lined with 20 thousand liquor bottles, big. We mean you can get a ten-layer lasagne and a profiterole the size of a bowling ball, big.
Details: Open Daily | Gloria, 54-56 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3QR & Circolo Popolare, 40 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia, W1T 1HX | £££
Want more superlative goodness from the last 12 months? Then check out the best bars and restaurants of the year…