Hutong at The Shard, London Bridge
One of my favourite new openings of 2013, Hutong offers Northern Chinese delights from the provinces of Peking, Shandong and Sichuan.
Hutong’s interiors involve dark woods, intricately carved furniture, and red lanterns lights, creating an intimate, stylish atmosphere, coupled with mesmerising views of London.
After dinner, I highly recommend heading 2 floors down to sister venue, Aqua Shard, for post dinner drinks – the bar at Aqua Shard is gorgeous late at night.
London has several excellent high-end Indian restaurants, and the latest arrival, Gymkhana, has jumped straight to the top, receiving universal praise immediately, making it a firm contender for one of the best new restaurants in London.
Inspired by the Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, the restaurant’s interiors feature dark woods, marble, ceiling fans and atmospheric low lighting.
The extensive menu is full of highlights including the Keralan Moilee Mussels served with Curry Leaf and Garlic Naan, and Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns with a Red Pepper Chutney.
Offering fine dining at exceptional value, Tartufo is based on the lower ground floor of the stylish Number 11 Cadogan Gardens boutique hotel in Chelsea.
The restaurant has a set menu set-up at £25 for 2 courses, £30 for three courses or £40 for four courses for dinner.
Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
Jason Atherton’s third restaurant opening of 2013, this time in a stunning dining in the new London Edition Hotel in Fitzrovia.
I suggest you make an evening of it at the London Edition by booking a table at the Punch Room, the hotel’s reservations-only bar.
Brasserie Chavot, Mayfair
Eric Chavot was well-known on the London dining scene having previously held 2 Michelin Stars at The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge. Taking a turn for the more casual brasserie approach, Brasserie Chavot launched on Conduit Street in Mayfair in early March 2013.
The dining room is stylish and rather glamorous with opulent chandeliers and tiled flooring. Brasserie Chavot gained a Michelin star in this year’s guide after being open for only 6 months.
Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch
Angela Hartnett has been busy during 2013 opening 2 new restaurants in quick succession. In Shoreditch, Merchants Tavern opened in a converted warehouse with a stylish design that’s rather refined for the area with a ‘tavern’ bar at the front.
The head chef, Neil Borthwick, has previously worked at a number of Michelin starred restaurants, but this is a more casual affair (although certainly no ‘tavern’ cooking!) with dishes such as Hogget broth with a Berkswell cheese on toast accompaniment.
Cafe Murano, St James’s
The second addition to super chef Angela Hartnett’s portfolio, Cafe Murano on St James’s Street offers a more casual version of Angela’s Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair, Murano.
The menu offers Northern Italian food and an exclusively Italian wine list. Dishes include a fabulous fettuccini with wild boar and gnocchi with sautéed ceps.
Social Eating House, Soho
Another restaurant from Jason Atherton’s empire that opened on Poland Street in Soho in the Spring.
The ground floor dining room’s décor features exposed brick walls, leather banquettes and restored furniture, while the kitchen on the lower ground floor is also home to ‘Employees Only’, the private dining room with 8 counter seats overlooking the kitchen.
The menu at Social Eating House reads like a modern bistro, and I love the ‘Jars’ to share as a pre-starter.
From the team that brought us Hawksmoor and its fantastic steaks comes Foxlow on St John Street in Clerkenwell.
The menu here also focuses on meats, but showcases lesser-known cuts and some slow-smoked dishes. Make sure you order the skin on fries with bacon salt.
HKK, The City
HKK actually opened in December 2012, but was too new to include in last year’s list. Based near Liverpool Street Station in The City, HKK is a part of the Hakkasan Group and the restaurant takes you on a tour of some of Hakkasan’s best bits but with a more delicate and refined take.
HKK offers a tasting menu approach for dinner, so make an evening of it and try the 15 course menu, but the a la carte menu is available for a quicker lunch.
We haven’t been there yet, but…
We’re very lucky at Bon Vivant that we get to visit London’s best and newest restaurants on a regular basis (It’s a tough job etc…) but we can’t get to every restaurant, however hard we try.
While we haven’t managed to visit yet, we have heard very good things about Rita’s Bar and Dining, LeCoq and the re-launched Quality Chop House. If you have visited these or have your own favourites of 2013, please comment below as we would love to hear from you.