2014 Preview: 14 Openings We Can't Wait to Try
London is amazing with the number of new restaurants that are set to open in 2014, many of them taking their inspiration from the world's cuisines. House of Ho, which has already soft-opened in Soho, gets things kicked off of with an official opening of January 6. What's next? Here's a little of what we hear on the grapevine.
The most eagerly anticipated opening is at Claridge’s Hotel where Simon Rogan (pictured) will introduce his inventive modern British style when the restaurant re-opens this spring. Expect the unexpected and plenty of foraged wild ingredients from the talented chef of L’Enclume in the Lake District (49 Brook St., W1K 4HR; 020 7629 8860).
The newly opened Rosewood Hotel will add the Holborn Dining Room and Delicatessen in February, joining the up-and-running Mirror Room. Open all day, the Holborn Dining Room will be as British as possible; afternoon tea includes the hot savory Welsh Rabbit on the menu. The final news from Rosewood is the March opening of Scarfes Bar (pictured), named after one of Britain’s best-known cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd’s The Wall and political cartoonist for The Sunday Times and The New Yorker). His somewhat satirical version of Britain and its politicians will be on the walls; Indian dishes included on the bar menu (252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN; 020 7781 8888).
The chef merry-go-round continues as Jun Tanaka gets ready to open his own restaurant, set for a TBD location in central London, serving simple French and Mediterranean dishes designed for sharing. The emphasis will be on healthy, enjoyable dining - think wood-roasted seafood and meat and seasonal vegetables.
Indian chef Cyrus Todiwala is expanding from his colourful Cafe Spice Namaste, somewhat tucked away in a Whitechapel side street. Assado, which opens in March, will bring his inventive take on Pan-Indian cooking to a whole new clientele (157 Waterloo Rd., SE1 8XA).
The Hart brothers, who brought us tantalising tapas of a totally new standard at Barrafina and modern Spanish inventive cooking at Fino, are opening a second Barrafina in Covent Garden. The corner site will have an open kitchen and a long bar with seating, and offer both tapas and more of those modern Spanish delights we have come to expect from the talented pair. It opens in April (10 Adelaide St., WC2N 4HZ).
Just when you think it’s all been done, somebody comes up with a great new idea. This time it’s a Chinese gastropub called Duck & Rice, which comes courtesy of Alan Yau, famous for launching the great cheap noodle chain Wagamama, the sexy Chinese Hakkasan and the sophisticated Japanese Sake no Hana among others. All we know so far is that there’s a bar on the ground floor and an upstairs restaurant; everything else remains a mystery. The only certainty is that this will be another huge Alan Yau success (90 Berwick St., W1F OQB). The busy chef has two other projects in the works - there's also Park Chinois, a massive throwback to 1940s Shanghai, and a yet-to-be named Turkish restaurant.
Another success story has been the rise and rise of Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, whose Brasserie Zédel, Delaunay, Café Colbert and their first venture, The Wolseley, brought big grand central European cafés to London. And they’re about to do it again in Marylebone. Fischer’s, which opens in Spring 2014, will be early 20th-century Vienna style. Wiener schnitzel and sachertorte, anyone (50 Marylebone High St., W1U 5HN)?
The restaurant that introduced Londoners to the robata grill is expanding into Mayfair. Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney are replacing the Italian restaurant Banca, which never made it with either the critics nor the public, with another Roka. Let’s hope that the decor livens up; the always outstanding cooking we can rely on (30 North Audley St., London W1K 6HP).
The three restaurants in the Shard are about to be topped by Shard 35 in the Shangri-La luxury hotel, one storey up from the amazingly successful Hutong. But it’s the news about GŎNG that is the current talking point. On the 52nd floor, London’s highest cocktail bar will have the most spectacular view in London - unless it’s a cloudy day (40 Bermondsey St., SE1 3UD; 020 3102 3704).
More down-to-earth (in every sense) is the February opening of the Big Easy’s big, brash sibling, B.Q&Crabshack in Covent Garden (pictured). If it’s as good as it promises, then it’s going to be fun. The 9-meter long theater-style kitchen will have a ‘wall of fire,’ which is not as wild as it sounds, but Argentinian-style parilla charcoal grills, a rotisserie spit that will roast whole hogs and a large wood-burning oven area. With live music, 500 bottles on nine levels in the bar, and a lobster tank with around 2,000 live lobsters patiently waiting to be eaten, it should be a gas (12 Maiden Ln., WC2E 7NA).