London’s best new bars and restaurants in May, from a theatrical restaurant near Waterloo’s Old Vic to an Instagrammable floral offering in South Kensington and a new Stork-themed restaurant in Mayfair
Lead image: Hello Darling
1 Iddu, South Kensington
Iddu restaurant in South Kensington is reinventing itself for the Instagram generation. Fusing its established offering of authentic Italian cuisine with high-end floristry, the project will reveal a restaurant that looks as good as the food tastes. Iddu restaurant is partnering with luxury florist Floral Couturier on the project, opening on 21 May to coincide with Chelsea Flower Show 2019. The new design of Iddu will have an authentic floral feel inspired by Milan’s opulence and its latest fashion trends. The refreshing floral menu full of signature cocktails and seasonal dishes made of organic ingredients, decorated with edible flowers to impress both food connoisseur and photo aesthetes. The restaurant will also host exclusive floral masterclasses, children’s workshops and cocktail-making classes using botanical ingredients.
44 Harrington Road, South Kensington SW7 3ND; iddulondon.com
2 The Alchemist, Shoreditch
Immersive cocktail bar and all-day dining experience, The Alchemist, is set to cast its spell on Shoreditch when it opens its latest venue at TechCity on 24 May. The northern powerhouse, founded in 2010 in Manchester, has two London venues already: St Martin’s Lane and Bevis Marks. More than 20 molecular mixologists will be creating mystical concoctions such as the signature Colour Changing One, the Bubblebath and the exclusive augmented reality cocktail collection. A tantalising all-day menu includes broken eggs, tempura prawn lollipops, the grilled mac ‘n’ cheese stack and The Alchemist’s infamous cotton candy baked Alaska. The cocktail bar is also planning an opening at Battersea’s Embassy gardens in 2020.
145 City Road EC1V 1LP; thealchemist.uk.com
3 Hello Darling, Waterloo
From the brilliant imaginations of theatrical set designers Darling and Edge, arts venue The Vaults, and 2013 Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman comes Hello Darling, a beguiling new space in Waterloo where you’ll feel like you’re drinking and dining inside a work of art. The playful restaurant and botanical bar has been designed to excite and oozes character with a labyrinthine collection of tiny rooms designed to resemble a house where you can sit on the kitchen worktops, lounge in the bedroom or sip cocktails in the bathtub. Natalie Coleman’s sharing dishes celebrate the noble vegetable, pairing colours as well as flavours – a floral tapas, if you will. Highlights of the menu include Miso-glazed Tuna Carpaccio with Wasabi, Watermelon and Radish, and Slow-Braised Lamb with Butterbean and Nettle Pesto. The botanical cocktail menu features the likes of Rosemary and Apricot Caipirinhas and Honeysuckle Gin Fizzes. Located just behind the iconic Old Vic theatre.
131 Waterloo Road SE1 8UR; hellodarling.london
4 The Grand Duchess, Paddington
London Shell Co. launches its second restaurant, The Grand Duchess, on 7 June – but bookings launch on 14 May and if you get in there quick you can enjoy some great soft launch offers for the first two weeks of June: get 50% off food from 7-13 June and 25% off food from 14-16 June. Moored adjacent to their cruising restaurant boat, The Prince Regent, The Grand Duchess will be a 40-capacity barge specialising in supreme British fish, delivered daily from independent Cornish fishermen, with a drinks list that focuses on sparkling wines. Highlights include Beer Battered Lobster & Fried Curry Leaves, Monkfish & Wild Garlic Kiev and Surf ‘n’ Turf with 500g Dexter Rib and grilled Langoustines. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, The Grand Duchess will remain permanently docked on the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Central, while The Prince Regent continues to offer cruising lunches and dinner. The Grand Duchess will also offer a relaxed setting to enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by bar sacks, as well as additional outside seating in the summer.
Sheldon Square, Paddington W2 6EP; londonshellco.com
5 Stork London, Mayfair
A new restaurant has taken flight in Mayfair, with the very recent opening of Stork, a fresh concept that puts the spotlight on modern British cuisine infused with the essence of West Africa and Eastern Europe. The concept follows the flight of the namesake stork on its journey from Eastern Europe to Western Africa, and the menu’s global influences are collected along this journey. Michael Adjovi Kalu and Nadina Grigoras, the couple behind the restaurant, have taken inspiration from their own backgrounds, as Michael felt London was missing the authentic west African cuisine he knows and loves. Chef Adebola Adeshina, who has worked with Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing, focuses on seasonality and top produce. The restaurant, located just around the corner from Burlington Arcade, has seating for 120 spread across two floors complete with a quirky stork-themed interior design scheme. Both floors are available for private hire for up to 60 guests with the top floor hosting weekly DJ sets.
13-14 Cork Street, Mayfair W1S 3NS; storkrestaurant.com
6 Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar
Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar reopens on 10 May to reveal an informal side to the food of Eneko Atxa, chef and founder of three Michelin-starred Azurmendi in the Basque Country. The restaurant has been closed since January 2019 due to the refurbishment of One Aldwych hotel. Alongside Head Chef Javi Blanco, Eneko will reopen his London restaurant with a new menu that is firmly embedded in the classical Basque cooking of his home region. Small sharing plates include Txipirones (squid tempura with caramelised onion), Arroz con almejas (rice with clams, garlic, chives and parsley) and Beef tartare with anchovy and pickled mushrooms. Larger sharing dishes include Txuleta, a dry-aged rib of beef finished in the Josper grill, grilled octopus with coriander and chilli, and roasted aubergine with burnt aubergine puree and pepper sauce. The Txoko tasting menu, priced at £80pp, is designed for two or more to share and offers a selection of 10 different dishes including breads, snacks, fish, meat, vegetables and desserts.
1 Aldwych, Covent Garden WC2B 4BZ; eneko.london
7 Haxells Restaurant & Bar, the Strand
The launch of Haxells, the brand-new art deco restaurant and bar at Strand Palace, marks a new era in dining for one of London’s most iconic hotels. The 240 cover restaurant is an all-day dining affair, serving guests breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an afternoon tearoom and a private dining room. New Executive Chef Alfonso Salvaggio, whose CV includes roles at Radisson Blu London and Crowne Plaza Dubai, has curated a brand-new menu with an emphasis on top quality ingredients. The menu will showcase modern British cuisine dishes, including sharing platters of British charcuterie and cheeseboards, alongside mains such as Grilled Marinated Tuna, Superfood Salad and Asparagus Risotto. Inspired by the hotel’s Roaring Twenties design, Haxells combines art deco glitz and gilded age elegance with a contemporary twist. New cocktail serves include the Spicy Vanilla Sidecar, Black Forest Mojito and Lychee Spritz. Open now, with afternoon tea launching on 14 May.
372 Strand WC2R 0JJ; strandpalacehotel.co.uk
8 Baba G’s, Camden
After over a decade of trading at London’s top street food markets, Baba G’s, recent winners on TV’s Million Pound Menu, will open its first permanent sit-down restaurant on Friday 24 May. Following their success on Million Pound Menu, co-founders Alec Owen and Liz Selway will take over a 50-seater restaurant unit next to the iconic statue of Amy Winehouse in Camden Market’s North Yard. Inspired by the overflowing spice cupboards of his childhood, head chef Alec’s dishes at Baba G’s have always focussed on bold Indian flavours with a modern twist. The all-new menu brings together Baba G’s favourite Indian-inspired classics from their past 10 years of street food trading, including the signature Pacho’s (poppadom nachos), Chicken Tikka nuggets and Bhangra burgers, as well as a more refined menu of small plates such as Raan Lamb and Achaar Croquettes. Soft launch offer: 50% off food from 24-27 May (walk-ins only).
726-727 Camden Market’s North Yard,Camden NW1 8AH; bhangraburger.com
9 Sloane Place, Chelsea
The recently opened Sloane Place is a new restaurant and hotel in Chelsea backed by award-winning Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer, who has worked at The Savoy and the Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel, and Matt Hobbs, former Managing Director of The Groucho Club. Chef Bernhard’s Sloane Place menu focuses on modern European dishes with an Asian twist, and both the breakfast menu and the all-day dining menu celebrate quality ingredients showcased in healthy dishes. Highlights of the all-day dining menu include rare grilled yellow fin tuna with pickled cucumber and olive peperonata, a baked tofu red curry with tender stem broccoli, black mushrooms and Jasmine rice, and a lobster and prawn burger with mango-chilli relish and avocado in a brioche bun. The private roof terrace located on the first floor offers a full all-day dining menu and cocktails, alongside beautiful views of Chelsea. There’s also a cocktail bar on the lower ground floor. Sloane Place is dog friendly.
62 Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea SW1W 8BP; sloaneplace.com
10 BAO Borough
Cult Taiwanese favourite BAO is opening its third permanent site, BAO Borough, compete with BAO’s first karaoke room. Launching on 9 May 2019, the culinary style will differ from its other venues with three new BAOs and a menu inspired by the late-night grill establishments often populated by commuters across Asia. Dishes include the Chicken Nugget BAO, Beef Meatballs with fried egg, and the Borough Curry. For those on the go, there will be a grab-and-go service from the hatch at the front of the restaurant. BAO KTV, the karaoke room, is bookable for up to 12 guests, with each session accompanied by an array of drinks including large cocktail pitchers and beer buckets for sharing, served alongside Fried and Grill Karaoke Platters. BAO Borough will also have one of the few Suntory Hi-Ball machines in the UK, pouring whisky and sodas designed to have the same bubbles as a champagne.
13 Stoney Street, Borough SE1 9AD; baolondon.com
11 Top Of The Pop, Tooting
Top Of The Pop opens in the hugely popular Tooting Market on 10 May. Located upstairs at Poptata, the aptly named sister bar Top Of The Pop will be
an all-day hangout offering playful cocktails, craft beers and wines to accompany Poptata’s signature premium street fries. The cocktail bar will offer a creative selection of drinks including cocktails on tap (espresso martinis and Aperol spritz all the way!), as well as a Gin & Tonic trolley and signature cocktails featuring botanical twists on classic cocktails. An extensive selection of wines and craft beers is also available. Located on the large mezzanine floor of Poptata, Top Of The Pop will incorporate elements of cool urban design with vibrant splashes of colour, high tables and copper-finish stools.
Upstairs at Poptata, Unit 4 ground floor market, 20 Totterdown Street, Tooting SW17 8TA; poptata.com
12 The Great Southern, Gipsy Hill
The Great Southern pub and kitchen, neighbouring Gipsy Hill train station, will open its doors on 28 May. As well as good pub grub, fizz on tap and an extensive cocktail menu, there’ll be a south-facing garden that’s perfect for spring/summer. Not shying away from the traditional pub favourites, diners can expect pizza, burgers, pies and sharing boards with home-cooked Sunday roasts, as well as an extensive cocktail menu and wines on tap from Frizzante to rose. Interiors take a sustainable approach with recycled furniture and floor tiles, locally sourced memorabilia and images of the area telling the story of old and new Gipsy Hill. The Great Southern will provide plenty of excuses to get together with pals including Monday Quiz nights, bottomless Frizzante on Sundays and a roster of live music from local bands and DJs. Soft launch offer: Get 50% off food when you book a table quoting GSSO or sign up at thegreatsouthernpub.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning one of 100 pizzas, 100 burgers and 100 pies from 28 May to 2 June.
79 Gipsy Hill SE19 1QH; thegreatsouthernpub.co.uk
13 MOLO, Hackney
Fine-dining meets street food with MOLO, a new street food brand focusing on gourmet fish buns opening on 18 May. Launching at Netil Market, MOLO will blend different seafood flavours and fine dining techniques to create the ultimate gourmet seafood buns. Co-founded by the previous development chef of Novikov Group, Giacomo Uzzo, with business partner Federico Ciampolini, the offering will consist of a tight menu of buns and sides. Using the finest sustainable seafood, Giacomo has fused Mediterranean and Asian flavours and packed them into rich brioche buns. Highlights include the King Crab with soy butter poached king crab, gem salad and a chive mayo in a brioche bun, Salmon, with 24-hour cured dill Gravlax, fried zucchini, roasted aubergine and feta cream in a sesame seed charcoal bun, and Vegano, with rice & nori patty, shredded carrot, Chinese cabbage salad dressing and garlic tofu aioli in a poppy seed brioche bun. Soft launch offer: £5 burgers for opening weekend and the weekend after.
Unit F Netil Market, 13-23 Westgate Street E8 3RL; thisismolo.com
14 Monsieur Le Duck, Clerkenwell
After a successful tenure in Spitalfields over the last six months, pop-up restaurant Monsieur Le Duck launches in Clerkenwell on 9 May. The concept, which takes inspiration from the gastronomy of Gascony, is enhancing its duck-focused menu of Duck Confit, Duck Magret Breast and Duck Burger with new additions such as the Duck Wellington, Duck Steak Baguette and Moules Marinière. In addition, a selection of small plates will appear on the new menu, including Duck Rillettes with bread, cornichons and jam, Confit Duck Croquettes with chilli mayo or truffle, and Confit Duck Wings on celeriac remoulade. You can also enjoy French-inspired cocktails from apéritif classics like the Pousse Rapière (Orange & Armagnac liqueur, Vin Sauvage) to French Tonique (Gin, Chambord, Elderflower, liqueur, tonic) and digestifs. The new interiors are warm and relaxing with exposed brickwork and low lighting, and in the summer alfresco dining will be an option. Soft launch offer: From 9-31 May, all customers who pre-book can get 20% off the final bill by quoting ‘20% Lucky Ducky’ on booking.
27 Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon EC1M 5RN; leduck.co.uk
15 Louie’s, Hoxton
There’s fried chicken, and there is Nashville Red-Hot Chicken. Louie’s, the first London restaurant to dedicate its menu to this local speciality of Tennessee, will open in Hoxton on 23 May. Louie’s is the new concept from Red Dog Saloon, the Austin-style BBQ and dive bar, also located in Hoxton. Unlike its lightly seasoned brothers and sisters from Louisiana or New Orleans, Nashville fried chicken is served blazing; coated in buttermilk and seasoned with paprika, garlic and brown sugar then fried in cayenne-infused hot oil, Louie’s chicken has distinctive deep red colour and a fiery, crispy coating. If you’re not into lip-numbing spiciness, then you can choose a milder spice level. It’s all served with traditional Southern sides from slaw to pickles.
37 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch N1 6NN; louieshotchicken.com