Restaurant radar: December 2020

By James McAllister and Stefan Chomka

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurant radar: December 2020 Café Bao Gordon Ramsay Arôme Native Mark Hix Rudie's Jerk Imad Alarnab

Related tags: Restaurant

With the lockdown lifted, many restaurateurs - particularly in the capital - are pushing ahead with belated new launches including Gordon Ramsay, Ellen Chew and the Bao team.

Café Bao
The first all-day dining concept under the Bao brand sees breakfast items such as a Bao loaf with syrup and butter; baked ham hock congee pie; and a bacon, egg, cheese spring onion pancake join the menu. Located in King’s Cross’ St Pancras Square, the new restaurant is inspired by Yōshoku cuisine, a nostalgic take on western style cooking found throughout Asian cafes, and will feature a bakery goods counter serving the likes of a pork pie baozi; a salted egg ‘muffin’ bao and a Bao cookie to take away.
4 Pancras Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG

Gordon Ramsay Burger/Street Burger St Paul's /Street Pizza Southwark
Never one to do things by halves, Gordon Ramsay is opening not one, but three new restaurants in the capital this month, as he pushes ahead with major expansion plans to launch 50 new restaurants across the UK. They include the debut UK site for the chef’s gourmet Gordon Ramsay Burger chain, which has secured a spot at Harrods in London's Knightsbridge; the first ever location for his more casual Street Burger business, which will open at One New Change in the City of London; and a third London site for his all-you-can-eat Street Pizza brand in Southwark. While the two ‘Street’ brands follow a similar casual model, which allows diners to get a meal for around £15, Gordon Ramsay Burger is a much more premium offering with the menu featuring an £80 wagyu burger with beef patty, seared wagyu sirloin, truffle pecorino cheese, cep mayonnaise and fresh black truffle; and a £42 lobster and shrimp burger served with pickled vegetables and herb aioli.
GRB: 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL / SB: One New Change17 Upper, Cheapside, London EC2V 6AG / SP: 47-51 Great Suffolk St, London SE1 0BS


Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew has partnered with pâtissier Alix Andre to launch a permanent site for Asian-influenced bakery concept Arôme at The Yards in London's Covent Garde. Established by Chew and Andre last year as a pop up in Soho, Arôme will 'exude style and present a minimalistic feel'. Interiors will be lined with wooden panels and washed with warm light, with large glass panels giving customers a look into the kitchen operation. Firmly embedded in French pâtisserie, Arôme’s menu celebrates traditional methods whilst exploring multicultural flavours from Singapore, Japan and France. The menu will include dishes such as the Gula Melaka Coconut Bun, Laksa Tomato Bread and a selection of well-loved pastries, bread and desserts.
9 Mercer Street The Yards, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9QJ


Wild food restaurant Native opens in its new location on Osea Island this month. Owners Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis have upped sticks from London to open a new venue in a converted World War I torpedo store in the wilds of Essex. Native will serve hyper local food with ingredients sourced from the island with guests able to access it via boat or by car, depending on the tide.
Osea Island, Maldon, Essex​ 


Darjeeling Express
Asma Khan’s eagerly anticipated reboot of her hugely popular restaurant will open properly this week following the lifting the lockdown. The restaurant’s all-women team will serve up dishes that are a homage to Khan’s royal Mughlai ancestry and the streets of Calcutta, where she grew up, with Darjeeling Express also serving one of the most expensive Indian tasting menus in the country.
2A Garrick Street, London WC2E 9BH


Former Caravan head chef Nikos Kontogiannatos is to head up new Mediterranean-focused bistro and bar Joan, which is set to open in London’s Shoreditch today (2 December). Initially open for dinner during the week and for brunch on weekends, the restaurant will offer an all-day menu that draws inspiration from Kontogiannatos's native Greece as well as the casual, eclectic style of food from his time at Caravan. Highlights from the small plates menu include hispi cabbage with pancetta lardons, croutons, anchovies and garlic sauce; salmon tartare with avocado sorbet and squid ink tuile; and roasted cauliflower with spiced cumin yogurt, coriander and harissa. From the grill there will be a dish of braised mushrooms with chargrilled baby gem, tofu dressing and pumpkin seed pesto; slow-cooked lamb shoulder served on a bed of sourdough flatbread, sweet pepper sauce and finished with goat cheese; and Pan-fried fillet of cod with n’duja cannellini beans stew and lemon gremolata. Dessert options, meanwhile, will include a range of homemade ice cream and sorbets; orange pie with white chocolate cream, orange gel and crispy filo; chocolate vegan cream with raspberry sorbet and sesame tuile; and lemon cream with Italian meringue, raspberry sorbet and honeycomb.
19-23 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London E1 6LA​ 

Image: Zodee Media

Chef and restaurateur Ivan Simeoli will open his latest London venture this month, a fishmonger, seafood restaurant and cocktail bar. Called Crudo, it opens on Brick Lane on 4 December, and will be a high-quality fishmonger by day that will transform into modern seafood and cocktail restaurant by night, accessed via a secret door. Dishes on the menu will be split into sections such as ‘raw and fun’ - seared Yellowfin tuna; red prawn carpaccio – ‘tempura’ – tiger prawns; salt cod croquettes – and ‘sea buns’  - tuna tartare; tempura octopus; fish & chips. These can be washed down with a selection of inventive marine-inspired cocktails, such as a nori pisco sour made with nori seaweed syrup; a kombu seaweed martini; and a squid ink Mary that features squid in-infused vodka. Simeoli also owns two Laboratorio Pizza venues, one in Fitzrovia and one also on Brick Lane.
120-122 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, London

Rudie’s Jerk
Caribbean restaurant Rudie’s Jerk Shack is opening its third London location on Market Row in Brixton Village, marking a return to the full-service format previously operated from its now closed restaurant in Dalston (it currently has two grab-and-go Jerk Shacks at Boxpark Shoreditch and Borough Market). Husband and wife team Matin and Michelle Miah’s new 50-cover restaurant will be split across two levels and offer indoor and outdoor table service. The menu will feature Rudie’s ‘real jerk’ cooking, with meats and fish marinated for 24 hours before being grilled and smoked slowly over charcoal in a steel drum. Traditional Jamaican street food dishes will feature, including jerk chicken, curry goat and fried sweet plantain.
Unit 10, Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LB


Only Food and Courses
Restaurant and pop-up events business Only Food and Courses is to open its debut site at Pop Brixton, London, in the same incubator space previously used by Kricket and Smoke & Salt. The concept, which has been developed by chef Robbie Lorraine and restaurateur Martyn Barrett, will offer guests 'a modern take on food and interiors inspired by popular culture and culinary trends from the 80s and 90s'. While the design of the 28-cover space will be modelled on Britain's greasy spoon cafes, Lorraine's approach to the food is intended to be more elevated whilst remaining 'fun and modern'. Inspired by the food of his childhood, dishes on the menu will include crab scotch eggs; confit duck eclairs; and lobster doughnuts. According to Lorraine and Barrett, they already have a London high-street site earmarked to launch under the Only Food and Courses brand next summer.
49 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PQ

Zia Lucia Wandsworth
Neighbourhood-style pizza chain Zia Lucia is opening its fifth London restaurant this month in Wandsworth. The new 60-cover site will launch alongside a dedicated e-commerce site created by founders Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D’Angelo, which will offer a new range of craft beers made in partnership with Brighton brewery Laine Brew Co. As with Zia Lucia’s other restaurants, the Wandsworth menu will offer four different pizza doughs including traditional white flour; wholemeal; vegetable and charcoal; and one made with gluten-free flour. Pizza options will include the Napoli with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and capers; the ortolana with tomato, mozzarella, courgettes, aubergines and peppers; and the spicy burrata with tomato, mozzarella, burrata and spianata salami. The menu will also feature a selection of Italian-style starters, salads and desserts including mortadella with focaccia; rocket with asparagus, tomatoes and parmigiana; and homemade tiramisu.
356 Old York Rd, Wandsworth, London SW18 1SS​ 


Café Deco
With an opening hampered by the pandemic, this bar and restaurant in London’s Bloomsbury has been operating for takeaway but will open for dine in on 4 December. Former Rochelle Canteen head chef Anna Tobias has partnered with London’s 40 Maltby Street restaurant for her new restaurant, whose launch menu will include dishes such as charcuterie, marinated artichokes, root vegetable and Lancashire cheese pie; boeuf bourguignon and mashed potato; steamed treacle pudding and custard; and mince pie and Jersey cream.
43 Store Street, Boomsbury, London​  

The Fox Inn
Mark Hix is taking on The Fox Inn in Corscombe, Dorset. The chef and restaurateur behind restaurants including HIX Soho and HIX Oyster & Chop House in London will open his new pub on 10 December. Describing The Fox Inn as a “lovely inland contrast” to his The Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis, Hix says the pub will be “everything you expect from a local country pub” with thatched roof and open fires. He says it is a pub he used to visit with his father and that his friends Eva and the late Ray Harvey bought it about eight years ago to prevent it from being turned in to housing. It will have a dining area called Bill's Garden Room, named after Hix’s late grandfather; and a Fox Room, featuring illustrations from is daughter Lydia. Hix adds that he will be working with local farmers and gamekeepers to offer a menu of local meat and game dishes, some hearty pub classics, including rabbit brawn with piccalilli; and gamekeeper’s hotpot with pickled red cabbage, a couple of fish dishes and a Sunday roast After a small refurbishment next spring, the pub will also offer overnight stays.
Pound Hill, Dorchester DT2 0NS


Namaaste Highgate
Chef Sabbir Karim owner of Namaaste Kitchen and Salaam Namaste is opening his third restaurant Namaaste Highgate on 2 December. Much like its older siblings Namaaste Highgate will showcase redefined Indian home-style cooking along with modern twists on classic dishes from the sub-continent. Menu sections will include chaats and chapata from the bazaar; speciality small plates; market specials; Namaaste specialities; ribs and chops from the Tandoor and breads rice and sides.
4 South Grove, Highgate Village, London

Imad’s Syrian Kitchen
Syrian chef and refugee Imad Alarnab is opening his first permanent restaurant this month in Soho’s Kingly Court. Located on the former Darjeeling Express site, the restaurant will serve Syrian mezze, as well as main and sharing dishes such as fattet macdous - crispy baby aubergine stuffed with lamb, topped with flatbread and a garlic cumin sauce; and anginaar - roasted artichoke, stuffed with vegetables.
Top Floor, Kingly Court London, W1B 5PW


Como Garden
From the team behind Zuaya London and located right next door in London’s Kensington, Como Garden will celebrate dishes from across all of Italy’s regions. Following months of development, the restaurant’s offering hopes to champion ‘the best and freshest produce’ that will be sourced directly from Italy. Designed as a tapas/sharing concept, the menu features a myriad of meat, fish and veggie options with a strong focus on seasonal flavours. Interiors will feature green and cream hues throughout, along with foliage displays, hanging plants and statues influenced by the Italian renaissance era.
37-45 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5ED

Modern Japanese restaurant Bisushima will launch this month on the sixth floor of the newly refurbished Page8 hotel in London's Covent Garden. The 6,000sq ft space will be able to accommodate around 190 covers in total, and boast a separate bar area and two large roof terraces, one of which will directly overlook Trafalgar Square. Bisushima is the creation of The Markets Group MD Sergey Men, and his business partner Ruslan Ugarov. Having previously worked as a sushi chef in restaurants including Sumosan, Men has developed a 'signature style' that Bisushima will epitomise, placing 'an emphasis on harmony between the guests, environment and the food'. Example dishes include toro tataki with quinoa and pak choi salad; shime saba oshizushi (seared cured mackerel pressed sushi with ginger, shiso and sesame); unagi shirayaki with porcini mushrooms and miso infused spinach puree; and hojicha crème brulee with blackcurrant ice cream.
8 St. Martin's Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4JH


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