Lead image: MOMO (photo: Mark Lawson Bell)
1 Momo, Mayfair
The iconic Momo restaurant on Heddon Street, now entering its 22nd year, has been undergoing a transformation and is set to reopen in March. Tucked away behind Regent Street, the elegant North African and Mediterranean brasserie will soon also offer a 19th century styled cocktail bar, Kwānt, by award-winning bartender Erik Lorincz (who previously led the American Bar at The Savoy to take top spot at The World’s 50 Best Bars Awards). Momo’s extended terrace and newly sumptuous interiors will perfectly complement Executive Head Chef Hervé Deville’s new menu. Previously Executive Head Chef at Sketch Mayfair for seven years, under three Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire, his culinary excellence, combined with the perfect balance of light Mediterranean dishes and hints of North African Flavour, will bring a contemporary new twist to this much-loved institution. Soft launch offer: 50% off the food bill at lunch and dinner from 11-14 March.
25 Heddon Street, Mayfair W1B 4BH; momoresto.com
2 Barullo, the City
Chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey of award-winning Catalan restaurant Rambla in Soho, is to open Barullo in the City. Translating literally as ‘hubbub’ or ‘commotion’, colloquially barullo means the moment of a party when the host gives up trying to keep order and the fun really ‘kicks off’, which is the energy Garvey hopes to recreate in his new restaurant. The 64-cover site at 19 Bevis Marks in the City will specialise in food from all over Spain, from classic tapas dishes to paella, as well as specially created new dishes. Scheduled to open in early March, Barullo will be a lively, colourful space open six days a week from lunch through to late evening, and serving its full menu to takeaway. Dishes to look forward to at include: KFC Kiko Fried Chicken (sherry lees-brined chicken dusted in roasted corn nuts and fried with an alegria pepper chutney), Paella ‘La Masía’ (saffron Calasparra rice, gambon giant prawns, confit pork belly and fire-roasted piquillo peppers) and Roasted & Pressed Suckling pig with salsa verde, kohlrabi and green apple slaw.
19 Bevis Marks, the City EC3A 7JA; @BarulloEC3
3 Orasay, Notting Hill
Jackson Boxer, with the support of Andrew Clarke, his colleague at Brunswick House and St Leonards, plans to open Orasay in Notting Hill this month. Inspired by the western isles of Scotland, where Jackson has spent every summer since he was a small child, the menu will have a strong emphasis on seafood, with the incredible oysters, langoustine, scallops, razor clams, crabs and lobster of the Hebrides. The menu reflects Jackson and Andrew’s belief in uniting over beautiful food in a thoughtful room for sparkling conversation. Leaves, vegetables, honey and eggs will be sourced from their organic farm in West Sussex, and there’ll be a focused wine list emphasizing the use of taps and kegs to keep young wines fresh and minimize the carbon footprint involved in production and transport. Orasay, which opens on 5 March, will replace Peyotito, the modern Mexican restaurant.
31 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill W11 2EU; orasay.london
4 St Martins Lane Kitchen, Covent Garden
Asia de Cuba, the first restaurant to introduce Chino-Latino cuisine to London, is set to close its doors on 28 February 2019 after a solid 20-year run. The restaurant, part of St Martins Lane hotel, will be closing its doors on 28 February 2019 as St Martins Lane prepares to welcome new destinations to the hotel. will make room for St Martins Lane Kitchen, a restaurant pop-up serving an Asian-inspired menu, opening on 1 March. Exploring the cuisine of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, starters at St Martins Lane Kitchen will include Soft Shell Crab and Vietnamese Pomelo Salad, while mains include Cambodian Fish Amok and Kampot Pepper Baby Chicken. There will also be a brunch menu, served Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 2.45pm, serving Breakfast In The Fields (eggs, grilled halloumi cheese, avocado, roasted tomato, mushrooms and asparagus) and Pancakes with fruit compote or maple syrup with crispy bacon – and there’s a bottomless option at £35! Choose from unlimited prosecco, mimosa, bellini or bespoke bloody Marys.
45 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden WC2N 4HX; stmartinslane.com
The company behind the Magic Roundabout in Old Street, The Good Mixer and Near & Far at Peckham Levels and in Angel, is set to open the third instalment of the Near & Far family on Friday 15 March. Taking the Palm Springs concept to the next level with pastel hues, lush greens, desert shades, palm trees and cacti, the new flagship site, set over four floors, will have a lounge area, two bars and a covered roof terrace with views over Camden Market and beyond. Cocktail highlights include The Benedict Cucumberbatch (gin, elderflower and cucumber) and the Emergency Brexit (a Near & Far play on a classic Negroni), while the kitchen will serve Mexican street food by Elote, one of London’s top pop-up kitchens (think Tamarind Dressed Crab Tostados and Braised Beef & Chipotle Tacos – and everything on the menu is gluten free! Soft launch offer: 25% off all food and drink from 6-13 March 2019.
48 Chalk Farm Road, Camden NW1 8AJ; nearandfarlondon.com
6 Brook House, Fulham
Brook House, overlooking Eel Brook Common, will offer a relaxed new dining experience combined with a welcoming, traditional pub offering in Fulham. Created by Mark Dyer and Eamonn Manson, who have had success in the area with popular pubs such as The Sands End and The Brown Cow in Fulham and The Crosskeys in Chelsea, the pub and restaurant will serve innovative seasonal dishes such as Steak Tartare with Cured Hen’s Egg and Tarragon Mustard to start, Spaghetti Alle Vongole, Clams, White Wine, Chilli and Parsley for the main and Caramelised Banana Soufflé, Biscuit Crumb and Caramel Ice Cream for dessert. There’ll be plenty of steaks, veggie dishes and pub classics too, alongside a great drinks selection – including quality wines on tap by London-based Uncharted Wines, and attention to detail in service and ambience. Opening 14 March.
65 New Kings Road, Fulham SW6 4SG; brookhousefulham.com
7 X-Upper, Islington
A sausage revolution is set to sweep the streets of Islington with the launch of X-Upper, a brand-new concept centred around one of the nation’s most beloved foods – the sausage. Launching on 1 March, X-Upper will serve Europe’s finest gourmet sausages, curated by top-rated chefs into memorable recipes. Chef James Tanner, from Ready Steady Cook and Saturday Kitchen, has developed the menu with the help of Francesco di Marzio, Executive Chef at the two Michelin-starred restaurant the Greenhouse. There will be six core sausages including the Olma Bratwurst, a protected Swiss bratwurst, as well as daily rotating special. The restaurant, which will also cater to grab-and-go consumers, will feature exposed brick walls, a vibrant urban neon decor and specially commissioned urban art. Launch offer: X-Upper will be giving away 500 free sausages on 1 and 2 March – 250 on each day – to the first people through the door. First come, first served.
88 Upper Street, Islington N1 0NP; x-upper.com
8 Motcombs Supper Club, Belgravia
Belgravia stalwart Motcombs will unveil Motcombs Supper Club on 7 March. Ross Anderson and wife Jax will incorporate their backgrounds in the arts as they breathe new life into the establishment with a new menu designed especially for the supperclub, set downstairs from the locally loved brasserie, alongside cocktail artistry and live music. On the walls, safari meets Belgravia as jungle-printed wallpaper combines with Motcomb’s eclectic art collection. On the menu, a regularly changing selection of dishes such as marbled duck liver terrine with sauternes jelly and brioche, Tornedos Rossini, and Miso blackened cod. Behind the wicker bar, an informed cocktail list of 1920s classic tipples. Their hope is that Motcombs Supper Club will be reminiscent of the old Belgravia, famed for its glamourous past with music, dancing and bright young things. Jax, a talented classical violinist who premiered as a soloist at the Philhamonic at just age nine, brings notes of her own musical pedigree to the venue with live Jazz Thursdays and hand-picked DJs until the early hours on weekends. Open Wednesdays to Sundays to those in the know.
26 Motcomb Street, Belgravia SW1X 8JU; motcombs.co.uk
9 The Perky Nel, Clapham
Clapham’s newest neighbourhood pub The Perky Nel has just opened its doors. Perking up Cavendish Parade, across the road from Clapham South station, the new drinking and dining spot from the Livelyhood group (The Clapham North, The Regent and The Old Frizzle) has taken over from Gigalum. Out front, the large west-facing terrace remains, but is now festooned with pretty lights and plants. Inside, the light, welcoming space has casual high tables and dining-friendly velvet banquettes. Expect pub classics but with added consideration, from gluten-free burgers to vegan-friendly dishes, small plates and specials. Brunch is available from opening until 3pm on weekdays and from midday at weekends (with an option for bottomless bubbles), and come Sunday it’s time for a roast. There’s a kids menu too, and the venue is dog friendly. Drinks include craft beers, locally-distilled spirits such as Balham-born Hayman’s Gin, unusual softs and classic cocktails. Oh and to keep the Gigalum spirit alive, there’ll be a summer schedule of events and seasonal parties.
7-8 Cavendish Parade, Clapham SW4 9DW; theperkynel.co.uk
10 Xier, Marylebone
Xier, the first solo project of Carlo Scotto, formerly Head Chef at Babbo in Mayfair, launched in Marylebone on 4 March. Located on Thayer Street, which links Oxford Street and St Christopher’s Place with Marylebone High Street, the restaurant offers modern European dishes with a global influence. The two-floor restaurant offers two dining experiences: Xier, on the first floor, which serves an ambitious tasting menu, priced at £90 for 10 courses, to just 38 guests each evening; and XR on the ground floor, a more casual dining offering. Xier will serve dishes such as red prawn crudo with raspberry, red caviar and yuzu, or rose-cured salmon with foie gras, burnt figs, leaf oil and citrus dressing, while XR’s à la carte menu offers the likes of Yellowfin tuna tartar served with aubergine caviar, garden salad and taro chips, and more classic dishes such as Hanger steak with pickled walnuts, shallots, parsley and baby aubergine, priced at around £15-£24.
13-14 Thayer Street, Marylebone W1U 3JR; XierLondon.com
11 The Halal Guys, Leicester Square
From humble beginnings as a New York hot dog cart to a world-renowned international brand, The Halal Guys story is the quintessential American dream. The brand has cut a swathe through the US and the Far East, and now the excitement The Halal Guys have landed in Leicester Square, to be followed by two more locations in London in 2019. Realising the huge demand for fast, authentic halal food from Muslim cab drivers in NYC, they converted their humble hotdog stand, set up in 1990, into a halal food cart, which has since become a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. The menu is simple and the portions generous – choose between a platter with rice, pita, lettuce, tomatoes and a choice of chicken, beef or vegan-friendly falafel, or a sandwich with the same choices all wrapped in a pita. And then add one of two legendary sauces – the secret ‘white sauce’ or the hot sauce, which has a Scoville rating of 130,000 (twice as hot as Tabasco).
14-15 Irving Street, Leicester Square WC2H 7AU; thehalalguys.com
12 Shola, White City
Following the rapturous response that greeted her Gourmet Karachi Supper Club, chef Aida Khan open her first restaurant, Shola. Launching in White City Place this month, Shola will offer an exceptional but fast casual South Asian culinary experience, using high quality ingredients and innovative cooking techniques. Determined to prove that Pakistani food is healthy and light, Aida has based Shola’s menu on family recipes that have been passed down over the years, with spices roasted and ground on site, and masalas made from scratch. The Beef Behari Kabab – a six-hour slow cooked spiced beef flavoured with pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and chillies – is destined to become an instant classics, as is the Khattee Daal, a mixture of lentils slow cooked and tempered with curry leaves and whole red chillies.
White City Place, 201 Wood Lane W12 7TU; sholakitchen.com
London Food News:
MARCH’S best bites
Piedmont Wine Dinner at The Hero of Maida, Maida Vale
Henry Harris and the team at The Hero of Maida will welcome celebrated Italian winemaker Giuseppe Vajra for an intimate one-off dinner on Tuesday 5 March. The evening will be designed to showcase the cutting edge, premium wines produced by the G.D. Vajra winery, alongside a paired four-course menu created by Henry. The dinner will start with purple sprouting broccoli, buttermilk and pecorino and a glass of 2017 ‘Dragon’ Langhe Bianco; followed by steak tartare, salmon roe and horseradish, paired with 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba and 2016 Barbera d’Alba. The main course of magret of duck will be served with the Barolo Bricco delle Viole, which is described as ‘masterpiece’. Tickets are £55pp.
55 Shirland Road, Maida Vale W9 2JD. To book email email@example.com or call 020 3960 9109
CUT at 45 Park Lane Welcomes James Knappett for 2019 Chef Series
45 Park Lane, the Dorchester Collection’s contemporary Mayfair hotel, has announced the latest in its chef series: James Knappett, of two Michelin-starred dining concept, Kitchen Table, will join David McIntyre to create a special tasting menu on 4 March. The dinner will feature a six-course set menu celebrating David’s modern American cooking and James’ strong focus on British traditions and ingredients. Dishes include Scallop with Smoked Cream and Caviar, Scottish Lobster, and duo of USDA Prime Black Angus Beef with Bone Marrow Emulsion and Braised Boneless Short Ribs. Sandia Chang – wife of James and the creative behind bubbledogs – will personally select the grower champagnes and wines for the evening. £195 per person, including a welcome glass of champagne (wine pairings will be available on the evening). Sittings from 6.30pm-9.30pm.
45 Park Lane, Mayfair W1K 1PN. To book email CUT.45L@dorchestercollection.com or call 020 7493 4545
Hoppers Sunday Sessions with Farang
Hoppers, the restaurant inspired by the home cooking and roadside stalls of Sri Lanka and southern India, is teaming up with award-winning modern Thai street food restaurant, Farang, to kick off Hoppers Sunday Sessions 2019 on Sunday 24 March. You’ll gather elbow-to-elbow at large communal tables to enjoy a feast of nutty Smoked Shrimp and Curry Leaf Mix, DIY Crab Miang, Chilli Jam Seabass, Jaffna Duck Leg Kari, Five Spice and Fermented Shrimp Roasted Goat Shoulder and, to finish, Cardamom Donuts with Pandan Dunkin Custard. To accompany the feast, Bar Manager James Stevenson will be fermenting a special Hoppers’ Toddy, which will be served alongside Sunday special cocktails, Sri Lankan Lion beer and premium bin-end wines. Tickets £50. Sittings 12pm, 3pm and 6pm.
49 Frith Street, Soho W1D 4SG. To book see sevenrooms.com
Wright Brothers £20 Sustainable Seafood Menu
Seafood experts Wright Brothers are offering a seasonal and sustainable seafood menu lunch throughout February and March. The Brixham Lunch Menu, available at their Spitalfields, Soho and Battersea restaurants for just £20 per person, will showcase the freshest fish, hand chosen directly from day boats and fishermen by the new Wright Brothers team at Brixham Market in Devon. The weekly-changing two-course set menu will feature a variety of seasonal catches, so you can enjoy a specially chosen starter and main. Dishes on offer each week will include sustainably caught fish such as Cuttlefish Croquettes, Whole Red Mullet a la Plancha, Roasted Sand Sole with Crab Butter, Spiced Gurnard Fishcakes and more. Available every Monday to Friday from 12-3pm.