London’s Best New Restaurants & Bars: December 2018

London’s best new restaurant and bar openings in December, from Boxpark Wembley to Canary Wharf Kitchen and Imperial Treasure, one of Asia’s top Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants, launching in St James’s

Lead image: Mare Street Market

1 Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, Bankside
Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, a new all-day dining restaurant and bar, opens on Blackfriars Road on Saturday 1 December. Launched by restaurant consultants Montana Fogg with a kitchen led by Head Chef Lee Streeton – formerly of 45 Jermyn Street, Browns Hotel and Caprice Holdings – the menu will celebrate the abundance of British produce through the seasons, sourced as locally as possible, while also drawing inspiration from European cuisines and cultures. Signature dishes will include Chargrilled Cuttlefish with Black Rice and Chorizo, Baked Bone Marrow with Curry Sauce, and a Cataplana of Monkfish, Shellfish, Saffron and Potato designed for two to share. Breakfast will also be served daily, incorporating light and contemporary dishes such Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Tahini Yoghurt and a Poached Egg, and Waffles with Winter Fruit Compote and Crème Fraiche. The cocktail and drinks menu will explore the people, places and produce from the Bankside area, from draught beers by Bermondsey brewery Fourpure to the Honey Washed Negroni made using honey from the restaurant’s own beehives.
2 Blackfriars Road SE1 9JU;

2 Imperial Treasure, St James’s
Imperial Treasure – one of Asia’s most admired Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants – will make its European debut on London’s Waterloo Place this December. Well known for roasting its Peking duck to perfection, Imperial Treasure serves the finest and most authentic iteration of the iconic dish, preserving the centuries-old methods of the Emperor’s imperial kitchen. Each whole duck, served perfectly crisp, is expertly carved tableside and comes with homemade pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and duck sauce. The London menu will champion high-end authentic Chinese specialties, fresh seasonal ingredients, responsibly sourced fish and live seafood. Expect dishes to indulge the senses with barbecued meats, grilled silver cod, baked crab and exceptional dim sum. Imperial Treasure’s cutting-edge interior, designed by French designers, Liagre, will take influence from traditional Chinese culture and architecture. Soft launch offer: Get 50% off a whole signature Peking Duck (usually £100) from 3-17 December (tables must be pre-booked via 020 3011 1328 or A minimum of 24-hours advanced booking is required.
9-10 Waterloo Place, St James’s SW1Y 4BE;

3 Mare Street Market, Hackney
Hackney food, drink and design consortium, Mare Street Market, has just opened its Dining Room. The 45-cover restaurant serving up modern British dishes is the final addition to the indoor marketplace. Opened in March this year, Mare Street Market is a modern marketplace bringing together east London’s finest producers into a curated space to eat, drink, shop and play. The 10,000 sq ft site features three dining spots, including the Deli and Off-License, Open Kitchen and the new Dining Room. Head Chef Dominik Moldenhauer, previously of Notting Hill’s The Shed, will oversee the Dining Room’s modern British menu which focuses on traditional techniques such as brining, curing and smoking, all carried out in-house, finished on the market’s charcoal fired Robata Grill. Decked out with vintage chandeliers and art-deco furniture from Shoreditch antiques and interiors merchants Pure White Lines, guests are invited to dine, but also to shop, with each curated piece in the Dining Room available to buy.
117 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RU;

4 Wild Food Café, Islington
Joel and Aiste Gazdar, the couple behind Covent Garden’s hugely popular vegan eatery, Wild Food Café, will open their new restaurant on Angel’s Upper Street on 14 December. The new Islington branch will expand on the couple’s vision for plant-based innovation, offering a menu featuring gluten-free wood fired pizzas, a ‘wild’ brunch plus a superfood cocktail bar. Under the experienced guidance of raw food pioneer and executive chef Joel Gazdar, in partnership with head chef Thet Min Tun, Wild Food Café, Islington, will focus on freshly foraged wild and artisanal ingredients, slow raw food processes and a commitment to organic, heirloom produce full of vitality and nutrients. Dishes will include a Living Laksa – a vegan twist on the popular Malaysian dish – and a coconut-seared plantain stew.
269-270 Upper Street N1 2UQ;

5 Wild Rice and Mamasan, Soho
Wild Rice and Mamasan have just opened on Brewer Street to offer you two new ways to enjoy Thai food. Wild Rice will be the ground floor restaurant focusing on small plates to share, showcasing traditional, bold and vibrant Thai flavours paired with seasonal British ingredients. The interiors will feature an entire wall of windows inspired by the richly coloured timber buildings that are ubiquitous in the old town of Bangkok. Its downstairs sister restaurant, Mamasan, is a casual dining concept offering street food dishes such as Southern Thai fried chicken and innovative bubble tea cocktails, inspired by the Yaowarat Thai bars in Bangkok. The décor will be themed on Chinatown in Thailand, with lanterns, neon signs and colourful lights. Both restaurants will open on 3 December for a two-week soft launch period where guests will receive 20% off the food bill.
28 Brewer Street, Soho W1F 0SR;

6 HOP Vietnamese at The Cheesegrater
HOP Vietnamese, the City’s grab-and-go eatery, will launch its biggest site yet at the base of The Leadenhall Building on 4 December. HOP regulars will be familiar with the popular daytime menu, offering the signature HOP box with curry and steamed rice, made-to-order bahn mi baguettes, pho soups and bun noodle salads. The new breakfast menu will include breakfast bahn mi baguettes, coconut porridge, congee and egg pots, as well as coffee from Taylor St Baristas alongside Vietnamese drip and iced coffees. Then there’s the evening menu, offering up small sharing plates of chicken wings and vegetable gyoza, as well as individual portions or platters of steamed bao buns with a choice of fillings including Hoisin pulled beef, pumpkin croquette and chicken satay. The cocktail list will see Asian twists on classics such as the Hot Damn, Vietnam, a spicy margarita with a sriracha salt rim.
122 Leadenhall Street EC3V 4AB; 

7 Wharf Kitchen, Canary Wharf
Wharf Kitchen, London’s newest independent street food market, opened right at the end of November. Located in Jubilee Place, the new food hall offers an eclectic mix of food from seven of the capital’s hottest new eateries, alongside live DJ sets. The traders have been hand-picked for their innovative menus, from The Vurger Co’s plant-based burgers to Ahi Poke’s signature bowls and Greek gastronomy by The Athenian. Wharf Kitchen will also be home to The Paleo Supply, a new concept from Protein Haus founder Carli Wheatley, offering super healthy food on the go. Open from breakfast through to dinner throughout the week, and seating up to 80 people, Wharf Kitchen will also play host to live music and DJs on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf E14 5NY;

8 Ninety One, Brick Lane
This December, Ninety One officially launches in the Old Truman Brewery as an all-day café and workspace, chef residency restaurant and late night bar for audiophiles. Designed to be everyone’s living room from morning meetings to late night beats, it is the answer to the rise of remote working and multi-experience venues, where dining and nightlife come together to create an innovative new ‘third space’ for London. A rotating series of chef residencies will take place every few months, championing local talent and showcasing up and coming chefs. Kicking things of with Sabel by husband and wife duo Toby Williams and Lianna Jewell, the menu will showcase their take on British dishes using locally sourced quality ingredients. During the day, Sabel at Ninety One will be serving a relaxed daily changing menu and, as evening draws in, the music volume creeps up and the space transforms into a low-lit casual dining room and cocktail bar.
91 Brick Lane E1 6QL;

9 Boxpark Wembley 
Boxpark Wembley – the first entirely indoor Boxpark and the largest site to date – launches on 8 December. The street-food-meets-retail hangout, which currently has sites in Shoreditch and Croydon, will be home to some of the capital’s favourite food and drink vendors including The Athenian, Cut + Grind, TapaVino, Bombay Burrito and Hola Guacamole. The site will celebrate its launch with a Rinse FM takeover and live sets from world-renowned performers including CASisDEAD, The Heatwave, Heartless Crew, Redlight, Unknown T and WSTRN (6pm-11pm, tickets £10). Then, on 9 December, the legendary Tim Westwood will host a special edition of Bingo Lingo (6pm-10pm, tickets £10).
Olympic Way, Wembley Park HA9;

10 Diogenes The Dog, Elephant & Castle
Newly opened wine bar and shop, Diogenes The Dog comes into its own this winter becoming the perfect refuge with rustic coffees and classic sweet treats by day, and an ambient wine bar by night. Open from 8am on weekdays and 10am on weekends, Diogenes The Dog serves freshly baked raisin buns, bread and cannoli’s from Kennington Bakery alongside their own single origin Guatemala coffee brand. Pull up a window-side stool and watch the world go by, or peruse the handmade leather wine racks and select a bottle of wine. Starting in December, evenings at Diogenes The Dog will welcome Barrel & Blues, a weekly Blues night. Artie and Jake Zaitz Duo, regulars at Ronnie Scott’s and Scarfes Bar, will play an acoustic set every Tuesday in the basement from 7pm to 9pm. Entry to Barrel & Blues is free but table bookings are still advised if you want to explore the wine list upstairs.
96 Rodney Road, Elephant & Castle SE17 1BG;

11 The Bedford, Balham 
London’s much-loved pub, grass-roots music venue and comedy club, The Bedford, reopens on 3 December following a multi-million-pound refurbishment. The newly renovated Grade II listed building has been restored to its former glory and now features five bars, four private rooms, a ballroom and a 250-capacity live music club as well as the addition of 15 individually designed en suite bedrooms. Having played host to some of the country and world’s best-known acts, including Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Eddie Izzard, Michael McIntyre and Frank Skinner, The Bedford hopes to re-establish itself as the ultimate must-visit venue with rip-roaring stand-up courtesy of Banana Cabaret (London’s longest running comedy club in one venue), burlesque shows, DJ nights, live music and much more. A riot of art deco and 70s style, there is an element of performance and glamour running through the design, from re-discovered listed features to marble bar tops, velvet booth seating, and gold ceilings. The menu features tasty burgers such as a buttermilk chicken with red slaw and chipotle relish, and the vegan Moving Mountain B12, as well as pork schnitzel, a grilled halloumi and aubergine wrap and artisan pizzas.
77 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9HD;