From new openings by three-Michelin-starred chefs, to crazy-golf-themed eateries and street food, there’s a lot on the menu this year when it comes to London’s restaurant scene. Here is ShufiLondon’s guide to the hottest new restaurant launches of 2016:
1. 100 Wardour Street, Soho
“Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Is it a club?” asks the teasing promo website for this new Soho venue. “Well actually it’s all three and more.” 100 Wardour St, which opens in January 2016, is “set to become Soho’s living room, a new destination for drinking, dining, working and playing.” It will be open from early on until the small hours of the morning, with everything from breakfast to cocktails on offer. In the basement – the former Marquee Club – there will be French-inspired food, vibrant live music and a late licence. It’s on the site of the old Floridita London.
2. Eneko Atxa at One Aldwych, Covent Garden
The Spanish chef Eneko Atxa, who is behind the three-Michelin-starred Azurmendi near Bilbao, is set to launch a restaurant at the One Aldwych hotel in Covent Garden this summer. Billed as a “stylish, relaxed Basque restaurant and bar”, it will be inspired by both Azurmendi – which is ranked among the world’s 50 best restaurants – and Atxa’s Bistro Pret A Porter concept.
3. Restaurant Ours, South Kensington
The Michelin-starred chef Tom Sellers is set to open this 120-cover European-inspired restaurant in February. The South Kensington restaurant – which will reportedly include a bar, upper mezzanine floor and even three large trees as part of the interior design – will complement the existing Restaurant Story, which came 13th in the Sunday Times ‘Restaurant of the Year’ ranking.
4. Pharmacy 2, Vauxhall
Artist Damien Hirst is set to revive the ‘Pharmacy’ restaurant concept at his Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall. Hirst launched the original Pharmacy in 1998, which included a number of his major artworks on the walls, along with medicine bottles lining the windows. Celebrity visitors to the first venture included Kate Moss, Tom Cruise and Madonna. That restaurant closed but its second incarnation is expected to open early in 2016.
5. Sosharu, Clerkenwell
Residents of the UAE may know of restaurateur Jason Atherton from visiting his Marina Social restaurant in Dubai. The Michelin-starred British chef is set to open a new “social Japanese dining experience” – an ‘izakaya’ concept restaurant – in London later this year. The long-awaited restaurant will include a basement bar and mini-restaurant upstairs for just 12-15 diners. It is set to open in March 2016.
6. Jason Atherton Nova, Victoria
It’s going to be a busy year for Atherton. The chef also plans to open an Italian restaurant at the vast Nova development close to Victoria station. The local area is hardly known as a foodie paradise – but this opening and others at Nova could certainly change that.
7. Swingers, City of London
A venue offering a combination of crazy golf, cocktails and street food sounds a little… well, crazy, right? Well not for the people behind ‘Swingers’, otherwise known as the ‘Institute of Competitive Socialising’. Their first concept, a pop-up venue in Shoreditch that ran from September 2014 to February 2015, combined the three concepts and proved a hit with the punters. A new venue opening early in 2016 plans to “take crazy golfing to the next level”. Housed in an ex-WWII bunker in the heart of central London, the site will feature two nine-hole crazy golf courses, a two-storey clubhouse with gin terrace, three street-food outlets and four bars. No need to pack your clubs – but a pair of Plus Fours wouldn’t look amiss (maybe).
8. Shaun Rankin at Flemings Mayfair
The Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin is set to open a restaurant at Flemings Mayfair, as part of a £14 million refurbishment plan of the hotel. Rankin has been Jersey-based for twenty years and has held a Michelin star for 11 years, with both Bohemia and his own Jersey restaurant, Ormer.
9. Viajante, Wapping
Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes launched a £1.75 million crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to launch this restaurant in an old Victorian warehouse in Wapping, London. “A pioneer in gastronomy, Nuno is a traveller or ‘viajante’ who has explored the globe in search of unique ingredients, innovative techniques and first-hand farming experiences,” the campaign pitch reads. Diners “will revel in a tasting menu of numerous courses bringing wave after wave of breathtaking tastes and textures in a setting of refined beauty and calm,” it added.
10. Clare Smyth, London
Clare Smyth – London’s highest-rated female chef, and a protegee of Gordon Ramsay – is reportedly opening her own restaurant this year. There are few details as yet, but Smyth has held three Michelin stars as head chef at the Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea – so expect great things as she branches out on her own.
More about Clare Smyth