2018 is going to be a big year for fine dining in London. Whether it’s the return of Ollie Dabbous and his new dining project, or the arrival of Quiqui Dacosta (southern Spain’s iconic three-Michelin-star chef), London is continuing to cement its place as one of the greatest culinary cities in the world.
While the fine dining options in Mayfair and Chelsea continue to grow, two of the most exciting areas for 2018 are Covent Garden and White City. The former has always been a hot spot for discerning diners, however the launch of a new Sushi Samba, Temper and Petersham Nurseries, has the potential to make Covent Garden the ‘new Soho’.
White City, however, is undergoing the biggest transformation. Previously living in the shadow of the ubiquitous Westfield, the area is perhaps best defined by its huge variety of Middle Eastern restaurants alongside the odd independent cafe. However with the redevelopment of the old BBC Television Studios (and the inclusion of a new Soho House), the area’s surge in fine dining options will quickly make the west London borough a major dining destination.
With two venues in the capital already, Chucs latest opening will be their most opulent yet. Set inside the iconic Fine Watch Room in Harrods, the restaurant will focus on flavors of the Italian Riviera, with the menu featuring everything from green harissa lamb chops to Devonshire crab ravioli. The interior has been designed to feel like the inside of a luxury yacht, with wooden panelling, polished brass accents and framed photos of the Amalafi coast appearing throughout. The restaurant will open throughout the day, opening its doors at 10am, with last orders at 10.30pm, making this the perfect destination regardless of whether you’re doing a bit of light shopping or looking for a late-night dining spot.
Bluebird White City
Having been a hit since it opened on King’s Road 20 years ago, Bluebird has now announced it will be expanding, beginning with a new venue in the BBC’s former home, the Television Centre in White City – Soho House members club White City House will also be arriving here in spring 2018. Opening in April, the new Bluebird Café will span 5,000 sq ft, continuing in the same vein as the original restaurant in Chelsea by encompassing a café, bar, deli and year-round outdoor terrace, and by serving modern European cuisine with a particular focus on weekend brunch and cocktails. Developed by the restaurant group D&D London, this sister restaurant is said to be the first step in a bigger expansion.
Sushisamba Covent Garden
Following on from the success of Sushisamba Bishopsgate, the global restaurant group will be launching a new Sushisamba venue in Covent Garden this summer. Taking up residence in the Opera Terrace of Covent Garden’s historic Market Building, the new restaurant promises to be just as vibrant as its venues in Miami, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and London. Diners can expect the group’s signature Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian fusion cuisine, with dishes such as lobster taquitos and scallop ceviche, paired with the bar’s inventive cocktails. Characterized by its high energy vibe, the group is known for embracing the music and arts, and for initiating charitable projects.
Bryn Williams at Somerset House
The celebrated Welsh chef Bryn Williams will be opening his first London restaurant in a decade in the captivating surroundings of Somerset House. Bryn Williams at Somerset House will focus on modern British dining with a particular attention placed on seasonal dishes where fruits and vegetables take center stage, with importance placed on the ingredients’ sustainability and provenance. In its position within the landmark arts and cultural center, this restaurant will offer a relaxed and contemporary environment for the creative community – an identity that will be reflected through the food, service and interior décor. The restaurant will also house a draught beer bar complete with copper overhead beer casks.
Scully, St James’s Market
Previously the head chef of Ottolenghi’s revered restaurant NOPI, Ramael Scully is embarking on his own venture with the opening of a solo restaurant early this year. Taking on the name Scully, the new restaurant will be a part of the gastronomic enclave St James’s Market in the center of London. While the chef’s roots result in Chinese, Indian, Balinese and Irish influence, here the chef will also be drawing on the sustainable and seasonal produce he can source from around the British Isles, while creating his own ingredients such as syrups and preserves.
Din Tai Fung
Creators of some of the world’s most legendary dim sum, Din Tai Fung has built up an impressive following. The dumplings here have famously been called ‘pillows of happiness’ by Anthony Bourdain, and as well as being awarded a Michelin star, the restaurant was named among the world’s best by The New York Times. From its original restaurant in Taiwan, the dumpling specialist has grown into an international brand with restaurants continually popping up across Asia and a number of locations thriving in the US. Now, the celebrated restaurant group is arriving in the UK with its first London opening. Set to start welcoming people in from mid-2018, the new outlet will be located within the redeveloped London landmark, Centre Point. Be sure to try Din Tai Fung’s famous Xiao Long Bao.
Following last year’s closure of Michelin starred Dabbous in Fitzrovia, the revered British chef Ollie Dabbous is embarking on his latest venture, a brand new outlet of the chef’s eponymous restaurant at 85 Piccadilly in Mayfair. In partnership with mixologist Oskar Kinberg and Hedonism Wines, Dabbous is opening this sprawling multi-story site overlooking Green Park in spring. The new venue promises to showcase different culinary styles across each of its floors, with a mezzanine area that’s aiming for two Michelin stars and the promise of an especially ambitious wine list.
Bob Bob Cité
Bob Bob Ricard, the restaurant that’s risen to fame for its dining booths complete with ‘press for champagne’ buttons recently announced the imminent arrival of a sister restaurant. Bob Bob Cité will be located within the city’s Leadenhall Building, with revered chef Eric Chavot—who is currently the executive chef of Bob Bob Ricard—overseeing the new kitchen. Just like the original restaurant in Soho, the city venue will be made up of booths, with a collection of private dining rooms too, offering a menu of French dishes with Russian influence and the restaurant’s celebrated ‘press for champagne’ buttons.
With the opening of the new boutique hotel Vintry & Mercer taking place this spring comes the arrival of an equally as anticipated dining venue. Tucked into the historic streets at the heart of the City, the hotel will reflect the vibrancy of this area, providing a social hub as well as a place to stay. The Vintry Kitchen will be positioned on the hotel’s ground level where they’ll serve Mediterranean plates that are made for sharing from morning to night. Reflecting the neighborhood’s history of wine merchants, the restaurant will be placing a particular focus on its drinks offering with wine tapped straight from the restaurant’s barrels.
With the accomplished Spanish chef Quique Dacosta of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Denia behind this new venue, InPaella is sure to be one of London’s most talked about Spanish dining spots when it opens later this year on Oxford Street. Working in partnership with the Iberica group, Dacosta is making his London debut a homage to the traditional Spanish plate the restaurant takes its name from, with 25 meters of stove to see the dish being made at.
The New York dumpling favorite Red Farm is making its debut in London this year with the opening of a Covent Garden location. Celebrated stateside for its modern take on dim sum, more of the same can be expected on the London restaurant’s menu; steamed lobster dumplings, wide rice noodles with barbecued roast duck and pan-fried pork buns are among the US restaurants’ mouth-watering specialties. The restaurant is said to be opening in the second half of the year.
With a restaurant named Anglo, it’s pretty obvious where restauranteur Mark Jarvis gets his inspiration from. Focusing on modern British cuisine, Jarvis’ latest restaurant – Stem – will see Anglo’s head chef move over to the new venue, with the duo working on developing a number of innovative dishes that take their footing in the traditions of British food. With dishes such as smoked eel with celeriac and white chocolate, and pigeon with coconut and salted peanut, you can certainly expect to see some classic British dishes revived in a suitably modern way.
Tom’s Kitchen Chelsea
12 years after its initial opening, Tom’s Kitchen is set for a major relaunch in 2018. With world-renowned interior architects B3 Designers working on the restaurant’s refurbishment, diners can expect an airier venue with a focus on relaxed communal dining. The new menu will feature a series of small plates served alongside larger sharing dishes such as scallops with black pudding and peas, spatchcock Norfolk quail with peanut sauce and seven-hour slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. Initially Tom Aiken’s sharing-style menu will only be available in the Chelsea outpost before being rolled out across his five other venues.
Nestled inside a beautiful plant-filled greenhouse, Petersham Nurseries is perhaps one of London’s most well-known restaurants. Having spent the last decade wowing guests with their unpretentious menu and quaint interior, the family-owned restaurant is set to open their latest venture – La Goccia. While the proprietors remain the same, La Goccia is set to be completely different from its sister restaurant, focusing on offering an Italian cichetti and aperitvo inspired menu. The food on offer at La Goccia’s will feature dishes cooked over an open grill and a traditional Italian wood burning oven, and will sit on the aptly named Floral Street just behind Covent Garden station. So if Richmond ever felt too far flung for a visit to Petersham Nurseries you can now enjoy the wonders of south west London’s greatest restaurant in a WC2 postcode.
Mare Street Market
There’s very few chefs on the planet more exciting than Gizzi Erskine. A dab hand at all most everything, Erskine has made her name doing everything from opening dazzling pop-up restaurants in the Tate Modern, right through to writing opinion pieces on the dangers of the clean eating trend.
As skillful as she is knowledgeable, Erskine has been working on setting up her own permanent venue for the last three years, and after hearing news of a space opening up in the chic Mare Street Market, she jumped at the opportunity to open up shop in her beloved Hackney. Focusing on offering well-rounded dining experience, Erskine’s restaurant will open in a refurbished Hackney warehouse, where some of the dishes will include rotisserie chicken with a chicken schmaltz Béarnaise sauce and a whole salt baked celeriac with Romanesco. Alongside this Mare Street Market will also house event spaces, a podcast studio and a record shop, so now you’ve got no excuse for not making the trip out east.
temper Covent Garden
As you will already know, Elite Traveler is a big fan of Neil Rankin, and there’s no way for us to hide our excitement for the opening of temper Covent Garden. Having already taken both Soho and the City by storm, Rankin’s latest outpost will focus on redefining classic Italian dishes. temper Covent Garden will specialize in house-cured meats, pizza, vermouth, fine wine and a variety of ragus, made using game, goat and pork.
As with all of Rankin’s restaurants, temper Covent Garden will only use the finest locally sourced ingredients and will align itself to Rankin’s ongoing mission to eliminate factory farming from its production line.
The W Hotel Barcelona’s popular dining spot Mamarosa is making its welcome UK debut early this year. Taking over a two-story space in Shoreditch, the new restaurant will focus on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, including a selection of pizzas. With wine, cocktails and live music also playing a significant role, you know Mamarosa Shoreditch will be drawing people in for its atmosphere as well as cuisine. The kitchen will initially be overseen by the executive chef of Mamarosa Beach in Barcelona.