You might have heard about a little holiday called Christmas coming up.
For the foodie, winter is filled with festive pop-ups, alpine ski lodges and places to drink mulled wine. But if you're suffering from a festive overload, it's nice to know the real world is still there, all the 'normal' restaurants are still as busy as ever, and there are a fair few new places to squeeze onto your must-visit list before the end of the year.
We've teamed up with Hot Dinners, the source of all London restaurant news from the latest openings to chef gossip, to bring you insider information about the upcoming openings for each month - in London and around the country.
Scroll down to read our latest list of brilliant new places to eat this month:
20 Savile Row, London W1S 3PR
Opened on: December 7
What's the story? Technically a re-opening, but Mayfair Italian favourite Sartoria has been closed since August, and the big news is that it has an exciting new chef-patron, Francesco Mazzei has joined the ranks, having left his City restaurant L'anima this spring.
Ox Club, Leeds
The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RG
Opened on: December 7
What’s the story? Leeds is fast becoming home to industrial-sized ‘cool spaces’ and Headrow House is the newest kid on the trendy block. Its sister restaurant, Ox Club has just emerged and it’s serving up both grill food, and brunch (not at the same time). If you’re looking to get your finger on the pulse of the UK’s food scene, it’s time to get yourself down there.
89 Kingsland High Street, E8 2BP
Opened on: 6 December
What’s the story? The aesthetic is key at Jidori, combining the beautiful food of Brett Redman of The Richmond, Hackney and the interiors of Giles Reid who contributed to the Shard amongst other things. Japanese yakitori skewers are done to perfection, and it’s as much a place to see as be seen.
4, 3 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT
Opening date: December 19
What’s the story? Adding a bit of the East London feel to Deptford, Buster Mantis is hosted underneath railway arches and comes with a built-in ‘creative space’ to collect any stray hipsters in the area. The food is the real excitement though, authentic Jamaican food without a hint of a gimmick – a mix of small plates and signature smokey jerk.
Opening date: 22/23 December for soft launch, with full service in the New Year
What’s the story? Vegan Cross is a destination for all London based vegans – a one-stop shop combining a deli as well as the best vegan products around. Since 2010 the shop has grown in popularity and is now opening its second branch in the South West – promising a mix of ‘vegan junk food’, treats and a firm gesture to those who are constantly asking vegans what they eat (hint: everything you do, just without animal products).
9 Islington Green, N1 2XH
Opened on: 14 December
What’s the story? Doesn’t every borough in London need a grand brasserie? Obviously the answer is yes, as Islington’s answer to Brasserie Zedel, The Delaunay and co opens just in time for the festive season. Ballgowns at the ready (or maybe just your best statement necklace).
The Stable, Cardiff
Ty Admiral House, Bridge Street, Cardiff CF10 2EH
Opened on: 10 December
What’s the story? Pizza. Pizza is the story. The Stable is the brainchild of two-Dorset based ex music industry execs who turned a hotel into their ideal destination – full of local produce and their favourite things. The hotel’s stable has since turned into a chain restaurant, serving up pizza, pie and cider (all their favourite things, see) and now it’s headed Cardiff-wards. Expect good things.
Unit 22b The Corn Exchange, Manchester, M4 3TR
Opened on: December 12
What’s the story? Italian staple Salvi’s reopens its popular mozzarella bar, bigger and better than ever before as part of the developments to the Corn Exchange area of Manchester. There’s also a menu change – integrating our favourite mozzarella host – pizza.
New branches of old favourites
There are enough new branches opening to fill an entire tree of restaurants (now that's something we'd like to see) - the ever popular ramen restaurant Kanada Ya has opened a second branch on Panton Street, not too far from its first UK opening. Shake Shack is opening a third London branch opposite Tottenham Court Road station, a new Flat Iron has arrived in Covent Garden and King's Cross' famous Grain Store has moved into airport food as it opens a second branch at Gatwick, suddenly making dining at the airport a lot more of a desirable idea.
Images courtesy of the restaurants and Rex Features