If you’re anything like us, your resolutions for a dry January and new healthy-eating regime fell by the wayside on, er, New Year’s Day. Luckily, the New Year also heralds the arrival of a raft of new restaurants to add to your foodie hit list. Here are 10 to keep your eyes on in 2016.
1. Le Bab
Kingly Court, London, W1B, opening January
The post-boozing snack of choice gets a gourmet makeover thanks to a kitchen team previously from two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche at upmarket Soho kebab restaurant Le Bab. Hoping to lead a “kebab renaissance” (kebabaissance?), expect seasonal ingredients such as a roe deer shish with cavolo nero kimchi and artichoke crisps, an exciting veggie BBQ paneer option with beetroot and coconut puree, crispy onions and curry mayo, plus a list of fine wines to pair with your chosen ’bab.
Kebabs and wine? Now you’re talking.
2. Shuang Shuang
64 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D, open now
Chinatown gets a hot pot specialist in January, with the launch of Shuang Shuang. Diners will sit around their very own hot pot, which is sunk into the table, simmering with one of five different broths. To the pot, you simply add your choice of over 50 different ingredients passing by on a conveyor belt (à la Yo Sushi) – from wafer-thin slices of free-range pork or lotus root to chunks of sea bass and noodles. Choose a recipe card to follow or create your own unique dish. Perfect for fussy eaters.
3. Lucky Chip Burgers & Wine
23-25 Ridley Road, London, E8, opening January
One of the first burger vans that triggered burger mania in London and across the UK, Lucky Chip finally lays down permanent roots in Dalston this January. Old favourites such as the Kevin Bacon (with Applewood smoked bacon, cheese, mustard and pickles) and hand-cut triple-cooked fries make a welcome appearance, as does an extensive wine list, with classic magnums opened each month to pair with a specially created burger. Throw in chandeliers, a changing tasting menu and a vintage soundsystem pumping out Eighties hits and you’ve got the makings of a great night out.
16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2, opening January
Michelin-starred restaurant Adam’s has been hailed for rejuvenating the dining scene in Birmingham and was voted the number one UK restaurant for fine dining by TripAdvisor last year. Now, the restaurant is moving to a new, bigger site in Waterloo Street, with a chef’s table, where diners can interact with the team, and private dining room for up to 16 people. Doors open at the end of January with a lunch menu for £35, a set menu for £60 and a tasting menu for £85 per person, featuring the likes of brill, Jerusalem artichoke and chorizo, and a dark chocolate, lovage and salted caramel desert.
5. Polpo Leeds
Harvey Nichols, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds, LS1, opening February
Russell Norman’s popular Venetian tapas chain Polpo will open its first venue north of London (and only its second outside the capital) in February. Expect all the usual small plates – such as cod cheeks with lentils and salsa verde, deep-fried polenta-crusted meatballs and fig and prosciutto crostini – washed down with an Aperol spritz (or three).
16 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E, opening February
Getting a table at contemporary bistro Frenchie in Paris is about as easy as trying to pronounce the items on its menu (anyone for poularde de Culoiseau, coing, topinambour et châtaigne?). But help is at hand, as at least now you don’t have to cross the Channel to try husband and wife duo Greg and Marie Marchand’s acclaimed cooking. Greg got the nickname ‘Frenchie’ while working at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and his food is inspired by his travels from London to New York, Spain and Hong Kong. Expect “generous, yet precise dishes”, an expertly curated wine list and seasonal cocktails. Santé!
Newport Street Gallery, Newport Street, London, SE11, opening TBC
Damien Hirst’s fabled restaurant Pharmacy, which closed in 2003, is set to reopen as Pharmacy2 this spring at the artist’s Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall. Little is known about the venture at this stage but the original incarnation attracted the likes of Kate Moss, David Bowie and Madonna, so expect celebs aplenty.
Turnmill Building, 63 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M, opening March
Chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton continues his domination of the restaurant scene with two London openings this year. The first, Sosharu, is focused on Japanese cuisine, while later in the year Atherton will bring his Italian restaurant Nova to Victoria. Watch this space.
Old Street, opening March/April
Chef Stevie Parle’s (currently of the brilliant Craft London) protégé from his Dock Kitchen days is opening his first restaurant in 2016. Alex Jackson’s venture will be a bustling bistro reflecting the food of the Ligurian Sea (between France, Italy and Corsica). The menu promises such delights as leg of lamb à la ficelle cooked over a wood fire with boulangere potatoes to catch the juices and hand made pasta served with sausage, dandelion and ricotta. We can hardly wait.
10. Urban Standard
Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14, opening April/May
Hot on the heels of Urban Standard and North Street Standard in Bristol, this as-yet-unnamed bar and kitchen is set to bring the same British-European menu (think top-notch Sunday roasts, a hearty fish pie and sharing mezze boards) and laid-back vibes to Cardiff. Expect exposed brick walls, a diverse selection of craft beers and probably a well-groomed beard or two.