With the cold chill of January settling in, it is important to have something to lift your spirits. Urbanologie reveals some of the top new openings that are kicking off the new year! Featuring some of the best restaurants in London that you need to visit.
Mere by MasterChef judge Monica Galetti
MasterChef judge Monica Galetti left her job as senior sous chef at two-Michelin starred restaurant Le Gavroche with plans to pursue a new and exciting venture in London. The move comes 12 years after she started as a commis chef and ended up as the senior sous chef at London culinary institution. Backed by WSH chairman Alastair Storey this is her first solo restaurant, which she plans to open in London’s Fitzrovia in January. Mere – pronounced Mary – comes from the French for ‘mother’ and the Samoan for Mary, Galetti’s mother’s name.
The venture occupies the ground floor and basement of a site on Charlotte Street and expect a menu that will be seasonal and ingredients-led and inspired by a personal take on some old classics. The space, which was not a restaurant previously, will undergo extensive renovation works to transform it into a 25-seat ground floor bar and 70-cover basement restaurant.
Brixton-based Indian restaurant Kricket new place in Soho…dishing up their delicious Indian small plates
The original 20 cover restaurant (which opened in 2015), housed in a shipping container – serves Indian small plates and cocktails and opened as one of the main food offerings at POP Brixton. Learning his Indian cookery skills in Mumbai, before mastering the modern techniques of London’s Cinnamon Kitchen, Will Bowlby combines the best of British seasonal ingredients with authentic Indian recipes and spices, in a relaxed, informal space.
This new, larger central London site offers the popular menu of modern Indian small plates (of refined versions of classic Indian dishes) and cocktails that have been so successfully received in Brixton – think Keralan fried chicken and a range of flavourful vegetarian options including samphire pakoras, and sticky gulab jamun for dessert.
Middle eastern restaurant serving food inspired by cuisine from the banks of the Caspian Sea…
Offering a taste of the Caspian, Jan celebrates flavours that border this Eastern Water, taking influence from the likes of Iran and Turkey. At the core of Jan’s cooking is a medieval-style charcoal oven – acting as the centre point of the menu producing traditionally cooked bread, meat and vegetable dishes. Beyond the charcoal dishes, there is also a selection of smaller plates perfect for sharing – served with Jan’s flatbread and Za’atar spiced oil.
There is space for 50 people, with a heated outdoor space. Spiced Middle Eastern cocktails are complemented by own-brand Jan beer created by Bermondsey’s Brew by Numbers.
Opening this January, Bōkan will offer decadent modern European dishes with a distinctly British slant, contemporary cocktails and an around the clock dining and drinking experience all overlooking the iconic London skyline. The 65-cover all-day destination restaurant on the 37th floor serves up modern European dishes exclusively developed by Head Chef Aurelie Altemaire – former Head Chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – using only the finest British ingredients, in a stylish urban-industrial setting inspired by the Docklands. Think rusted copper metalwork, speckled panelling and fabric backed chairs.
The 110-cover bar, located on the 38th floor, stocking spirits from London-based small batch distillers to create unique and bespoke cocktails alongside craft beers and wines. Experimental bar snacks such as oatmeal-dusted chilli squid with garlic dipping sauce and a proper Scotch egg with beetroot relish served alongside staples such as burgers, sandwiches and artisan pizzas.
The terrace, on the 39th floor, will play host to renowned DJs throughout the year and boasts unrivalled views across London. Recline on the day beds and chill out areas strewn with plush cushions and super-soft blankets for those chilly evenings. The name, by the way, means lighthouse.
A French rotisserie spot from the people who brought U Bermondsey’s superb little Parisian bistro Casse-Croute.
Just across the road from its sister restaurant, this 40-seater café revolves around chicken, specialising in designer breed Poulet de Bresse (which has appellation d’origine contrôlée status). Taking over a disused shelter built in 1929 – the room itself is clad in glass and wooden beams and has grand views of the Shard.
The restaurant is offering breakfast followed by rotisserie Bresse chicken and daily changing cuts of beef – pair it with wine picked by sommelier Alex Bonnefoy for a true taste of France.
Bala Baya brings a day in the life of Tel Aviv to Southwark’s Union Street Arches.
Bala Baya brings the raw creativity of Tel Aviv’s hip, all-day eateries to London. A sleek Bauhaus-inspired restaurant, this is the first stand alone project from Israeli-born Head Chef Eran Tibi, formerly of Ottolenghi, Made in Camden and the critically acclaimed Zest@JW3.
Eran’s vibrantly progressive cuisine is rooted in his mother’s Middle Eastern home cooking and generations of baking expertise, met co-founder and former creator of When Mac Met Cheese, Sammy Shonn, through a mutual fascination with the dynamic ‘White City’ from which Bala Baya derives inspiration. Tel Aviv’s atmosphere and aesthetic is reproduced in Bala Baya’s interior architecture and design by multi-award winning designer, Afroditi Krassa (also did Dishoom and Curzon), reflecting the particular Desert Bauhaus of the city – an urban, sun-drenched, modernist masterpiece.
A self-styled Cantonese canteen inspired by the barbecue and roasted meat shops of Hong Kong.
Headed up by Oli Brown, the former chef of Le Cafe Anglais (and also previously at The Continental in Hong Kong) , the Cantonese canteen is inspired in part by the BBQ and roasted meat shops of Hong Kong. The food is centred around Hong Kong staples with updates on the classics, such as glazed roast ducks, pork belly with five spice and steamed seabass with ginger and soy.
The utilitarian decor (in one of Pop Brixton’s shipping containers) is a contemporary take on these cafes with formica booths, pegboard and vinyl terrazzo tiles and fitted with a custom made duck dryer and oven from Hong Kong. On display is the restaurant’s signature duck, pork and goose which are all air-dried and roasted on site.
For beverages there expect a range of cocktails, tropical juices, and traditional milk tea. To round things off, tuck into Cha Chaan Teng French Toast, served with a condensed milk and soy ice cream, Mango Sago, and a choice of sorbet – lychee, pomelo or coconut. Closed on Mondays and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
The Whitechapel Gallery’s cafe is set to get a makeover from the team behind 10 Greek Street and 8 Hoxton Square. During the day The Whitechapel Refectory will be serving up a casual, seasonal menu including a Hoxton smoked trout, horseradish and watercress sarnie and a chorizo and potato tortilla. Then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the places turns into the After Hours wine bar, where you can tuck into bread and cheese boards alongside the booze. They’re even getting 10 Greek Street’s Little Black Book to drop in from time to time with rarer bottles for you to get stuck into.