Chipotle Might Add an Item It Swore It Never Would, Queso
Housed in the grand hotel over at One Aldwych, this new Basque restaurant has a few aces up its sleeve. This spot has been developed by the talented hands of chef Eneko Atxa -- who already has a cool three Michelin stars over at Azurmendi in Spain. Taking the best flavours of his home region and updating them for a fresh, modern take, and focusing on easy eating, quality, and simplicity, the menu is divided up into the classifications sea, land, and garden. Think dishes like Basque chicken liver parfait served with txakoli apple, and seared duck with oyster mushrooms and pickled red onion.
Martin Morales returns to where it all began with his second Soho spot. Taking his East London hit, Andina, and making it a little more concentrated, this bi-level 58-seater offers a fully gluten-free menu. Some of the ingredients are bought directly from Peruvian farmers, including the chocolate, chilies, and quinoa. The decor is traditionally Peruvian, and the pisco bar is very much worth admiring. Tucked away on Great Windmill St, this is a perfect oasis from the busy central life.
The little sister to the much-lauded, Michelin-starred restaurant Portland, Clipstone is testing to see if lightning will strike twice. This spot echoes its predecessor’s minimalistic rustic decor, friendly yet polite service, and a serious focus on fresh and local ingredients -- it’s very clear that the two spots are related, and that’s not a bad thing. Try to grab one of the pavement-side tables, where we recommend ordering the flatbreads (one option involves slow-cooked goat, aubergine, yoghurt, and mint), and sipping one of the delicious wines available on tap.
While the thought of eating like a squirrel might leave some a bit nonplussed, the Inception Group has taken an interesting spin on it. Falling somewhere between a grab-and-go number and a kitschy cafe, this place is all about healthy eating, with properly balanced bowls of cold salads, hot grains, and fresh juices. Better known for bars like Bunga Bunga and Cahoots, Inception Group's new spot is alcohol-free, and features an indoor treehouse (no, really) where you can munch your ridiculously colourful and tasty bowl of health and look out at the treetops.
After conquering Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Portugal, Grupo SAGARDI has come to London with this massive space on Curtain Rd. Boasting 141 seats, this space is divided up into a separate bar space and a huge dining room, a kitchen built around a central charcoal grill, and an exposed dry-aging room where protein is visibly hanging from the ceiling. The food is mainly inspired by San Sebastian and the coastal region, offering up plenty of fresh fish, plus a wine list filled with Basque wines, sherry, and ciders.
This band of brothers ditched their day jobs for a pilgrimage across Italy in search of the perfect meatballs. After spending the last couple years slinging their tasty meat on the street and in Spitalfields, they finally put down roots in this 40-seater on Tooting High St. They’ve filled out beyond just the spherical start, adding polenta, cicchetti, salumi, and sandwiches.
Looking for good Mexican food in London is a bit like a hunt for a tube line that doesn’t have service delays. Luckily, Shepherd's Bush is now home to a permanent location for the formerly roving burrito stall. Serving up its famous Torpedo Burrito, which has a guac-filled taquito wrapped in the middle(!), Killer Tomato has also added a few new treats, like deep-fried avocado tostadas, cheeseburger tacos, and more.
After beating the odds with its tiny, out-of-the-way first venture, the Swedish smokehouse has expanded north to a Grade II-listed building on Upper St. Executive chef Matt Young has once again created a menu filled with super-easy sharing dishes full of delicate and unusual flavours, like beef rump with creamed cow's curd and sorrel vinegar, along with old favourites from the original location. The ever-talented Mr. Matt Whiley is once again behind the drinks, with a cocktail list filled with esoteric and delicious ingredients, and an expanded wine list.
The latest on the Jewish deli-inspired train, this spot is filled with all things cured, smoked, spiced, and cut. Open from 8am on, it'll let you in to try freshly baked fig & honey muffins. Or come by before it closes at 9pm for bigger dishes like the house specialty of pepper-cured pastrami with Tewkesbury mustard and pickles on honey-rye. Armed with a liquor license, it'll be adding craft wine and beer shortly.
Pescetarians rejoice; this one is just for you. Little sister to the ever-popular Pachamama in Marylebone, this seafood-only Peruvian spot is headed up by head chef Erren Nathaniel, who earned his stripes over at acclaimed Nikkei in New York, as well as London spots like Viajante, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, and 28-50. Seafood is at the center of the eating game here, with dishes like tuna tiradito, smoked tamari egg with black radish, and crispy confit sea bass rolls vying for your attention, along with a killer cocktail menu filled with plenty of agave, pisco, and Japanese whisky. Pro tip: ask about the 12-seater chef’s table.
1. Eneko at One AldwychOne Aldwych, London
2. Casita Andina31 Great Windmill Street, London
3. Clipstone Restaurant5 Clipstone Street, London
4. The Squirrel46 Chippenham Rd., Maida Vale
5. Sagardi95 Curtain Road, London
6. Belpassi Bros70 Tooting High Street, London
7. Killer Tomato18 Goldhawk Rd, London
8. Rök Islington149 Upper St, London
9. Cure + Cut36 Monmouth Street, London
10. Chicama383 Kings Road, London
This 110-seater restaurant introduces diners to Spanish-French Basque cuisine via artistically plated courses of gamey meats (like wild boar and oxtail) and seafood (cod tripe stew and grilled salmon). Reflecting the nouveau cuisine, the space also projects a futuristic theme, with fluid lines that divide multiple seating areas and combine upstairs with downstairs, and curvaceous booths and chairs that make the dining experience an intimate one.
This Peruvian restaurant serves shareable plates that are completely gluten-free, a trend that is common in traditional fare, and that results in savory yet gut-safe dishes like trout tiradito and salmon escabeche. There's an abundance of color in all courses, but also in the space, which glints with golden-framed mirrors, brightly striped booths, and a back patio lined with verdant potted plants.
Reviewing the menu at this less-formal corner spot from the team behind neighborhood darling Portland, you're not sure what you're in for: the ingredients, such as baked carrot, creme fraiche, and radishes, all sound average -- but then the plated reality reveals tediously garnished, colorful courses. The elegant dishes change with the seasons, but you can expect goodies like Isle of Mull scallops with lentils, brown butter, and dill. Be sure to save room for some buttermilk pudding, too. The space itself is minimalistic, sporting simple dark wood tables that let the artistic plates do all the persuading.
This Kensington space commits to its name with an interior painted with treetop ceilings, trees actually in the store, and seating made of raw wood. You'll even get the chance to dine like a wood creature here, with a menu full of nutritious options like salmon and kale salads, chipotle beef and brown rice bowls, and others, served in customized acorn bowls.
Having established themselves in Spain, Mexico and Argentina, the team behind Sagardi bring a polished menu of Basque treats like Txistorra sausage, Almalabra red tuna, and salt cod. They're all cooked in the centrally located grill, a fire-breathing wonder of steel and burning meat aromas that goes with the industrial design of the entire, casual space.
Belpassi Bros is the actualized version of a foodie's wildest dreams: two brothers who quit their respective day jobs and set out for the Italian countryside to feast on the nation's culinary history and perfect the art of the meatball. Having fulfilled their quest, they returned to their hometown of Tooting and opened up a food truck-based operation, so you can enjoy the spoils of their adventures. The stationary, stone-walled spot seats 40 people and fills up fast, aided by new additions to the menu ranging from pasta, meatball sandwiches, and cured meats.
In a city where authentic Mexican food is quite hard to find, Killer Tomato offers a respite. The trendy eatery (stylized street art wall murals, neon logo ablaze in the back) is the go-to burrito joint for the Shepherd's Bush area. While the avocado tostadas and house tacos -- two per order, ranging from flavors like beer-battered chips to green chorizo and more -- are totally satisfying, there's no denying that the clear standout of the menu is the heavy-hitting Torpedo Burrito, which incorporates a guac-filled taquito in the center. With a full bar and delicious margaritas, you can't really go wrong.
Drawing inspiration from traditional Nordic and Swedish cuisine, Rök serves a market-driven menu of cured and smoked meats in a bright, minimalist space. Fresh off the massive success of the original Shoreditch location by the same name, the kitchen creates artful interpretations of classic British dishes like potato gratin, seen here with tangy, fermented Swedish anchovies; likewise, duck paté gets a come-up when accompanied by knäckebröd & cloudberry jam. The freshness of flavor continues onto the cocktail list, utilizing eclectic, herb-forward ingredients.
Cure + Cut is the Jewish-inspired deli of the future, taking a modern approach to the classic meat counter-meets-sandwich shop. Helmed by two veterans of the London dining scene, there's a restaurant-like quality to the menu -- meats are cured and smoked in house and pickles are pickled on the premises, resulting in a freshness of flavor that manages to be gourmet and unpretentious all at once. The polished bistro sports 30 seats, meaning you'll likely experience a brief wait before getting to indulge on standouts like the Reuben, a glorious combination of house smoked, pepper-cured pastrami with gooey Emmental, sauerkraut and toasted rye. Don't worry if you can't swing the lunch break -- there's also a take away counter for those Londoners who need to run back to their offices in SoHo or Covent Garden.
Seafood reigns at this Chelsea hotspot. Helmed by chef Erren Nathaniel (of Nikkei and Viajante fame), the market-driven menu draws inspiration from Peruvian cuisine, blending bold flavors with regional offerings. While the fish entrées (each daily catch sourced fresh from Cornwall) prove wholly satisfying, the small plates boast vibrant and varied flavors, with highlights including fried aubergine (with plantain miso and toasted pecans for crunch, striking the perfect balance of savory and sweet), sea bass ceviche with orange tiger's milk, and blackened octopus (served with confit potato, sundried tomato chimichurri, and cauliflower). The industrial-chic lighting, gleaming white backsplashes, and an immaculate marble bartop make for an airy, chic interior, but the outdoor terrace proves equally as lovely on warmer evenings. If you're lucky enough to have gotten a coveted reservation and table in the first place, it's a blessing either way.