Culinary gymnastics and legerdemain meet original taste and texture at Ollie Dabbous’s celebrated Fitzrovia restaurant, with its sharp, industrial-style ground-floor room and very cool basement bar (run with aplomb by co-owner Oskar Kinberg). The hot-ticket chef continues to wow punters with dishes like home-cured goose and fenugreek, scallops and eucalyptus or barbecued octopus and cassava - arcane herbs and spices are essential props in the show.
When the turbulent world of London dining gets too much, head straight to Green’s. Simon Parker Bowles’s longstanding restaurant just exudes class, effortlessly. Lunch might be potted shrimps followed by smoked haddock Parker Bowles. Staff are properly drilled - no simpering ‘how is everything so far?’ Just sheer, calm perfection.
In a Grade II-listed 1850s building close to the Goring, Kyoichi Kai, who helped launch Zuma and the Arts Club, has surrounded himself with a crack team. They deliver top-grade 'new stream’ sashimi and wonderfully tangy dishes like yakitori chicken and lamb chops with miso paste, both from the charcoal grill. With a swish restaurant and open kitchen downstairs, ground-floor cocktail bar and mezzanine sushi bar, this is a welcome addition to this part of town.
There seem to be no end of big-name Italian chefs racing to open restaurants in London. But this newbie from chef/proprietor Antonio Mellino, above, whose two-starred restaurant at Nerano is often said to be the Amalfi Coast’s top spot, is an out-and-out class act. Showstoppers include risotto with Amalfi lemons and ginger-crusted turbot with citrus mayonnaise, both exquisitely presented. The room is smart and comfortable, and no detail has been overlooked - including differently designed glasses for still or sparkling water.
Roka’s fourth London opening is also its biggest. Although lavishly appointed, with its acres of stone, stained timber and sea of candles, the North bank newbie doesn’t rely on wow factor alone. New dishes, like langoustine and cod-cheek skewers, are exclusive to Aldwych, the soft-shell crab is divine, and for something to drink - wine, sake, Sochu - sommelier Charlie Carron Brown will patiently take you through the long list.
Situated opposite the hotel’s Artesian bar, the restaurant at the Langham is a very handsome and elegantly proportioned room, with wonderful natural light. Among head chef Chris King’s excellent dishes are Cornish squid with salt-cod brandade and squid-ink vinaigrette, and Pyrenean milk-fed lamb with, then there is the ever-attentive restaurant manager Franco Becci.