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The year ahead looks promising for London diners as high-profile chefs and restaurateurs from the U.K. and around the world prepare to open new restaurants, even in the face of Brexit concerns. Here are four we're eagerly awaiting, and why they should be on your list the next time a business lunch or dinner is called for.
Bob Bob Cité
This long-awaited establishment in the City financial district is the baby brother of Bob Bob Ricard, one of London’s most glamorous restaurants and known for posh comfort food such as lobster macaroni. At the original Bob Bob Ricard in Soho, each table is a booth equipped with a button to press for emergency supplies of Champagne.
The new dining room in the Leadenhall Building – aka 'The Cheesegrater' – will serve an accessible menu created by chef Eric Chavot, who previously held two Michelin stars at the Capital. The Russian owner, Leonid Shutov, says there have already been thousands of reservation requests. Opening Match 25 at 122 Leadenhall Street.
Adam Handling Chelsea
Adam Handling is a Scottish chef who first made his name in East London, serving modern British cuisine at the Frog. He’s edgy and creative and in some ways was a surprise choice to head the whole food operation at the luxury Belmond Cadogan Hotel. As chef-proprietor, he’ll be responsible for everything from breakfast, through afternoon tea to room service.
But attention is focused on the flagship restaurant. “There will be six starters, six mains and six desserts, plus a tasting menu,” he says. “And we’ll be serving lots of old-school Burgundy and lots of Champagne by the glass. It is going to be very elegant.” (Chef Adam Simmonds will head the kitchen.) Handling is known for fun snacks such as cheese doughnuts and dishes such as mackerel with oyster, apple and cucumber. Opening March 1 at 75 Sloane Street.
Irish chef Robin Gill is best known for the Dairy, a quietly ambitious neighborhood restaurant in Clapham. The ambition is on an entirely different scale at Darby’s, opposite the new U.S. embassy in Nine Elms.
This 465m² establishment in a new development will feature a bakery, a 360-degree bar and an oyster bar, as well as an all-day dining room with an open kitchen. (Darby’s will also serve a dramatic sky pool that traverses to the next building.) There will be live music, too.
“I took a lot of inspiration from big establishments like Balthazar and other places in New York,” Gill says. “There will be a big menu with dishes that people want to eat. It’s going to be old school, not current and fashionable.” Darby was his father’s nickname. It sounds like a labor of love. Dishes are likely to include burgers, steaks and lobster rolls. Opening late March at 3 Viaduct Gardens Road, Embassy Gardens.
This St John’s Wood establishment is the latest from the owners of the Wolseley, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. It’s named after the Russian-French painter Chaim Soutine, and the menu will be largely French.
“In terms of its role in the community, it will be similar to Fischer’s (Marylebone) and Colbert (Sloane Square),” King says, referencing two of the group’s other restaurants. “But it will be individual and has been created for this location and this community. St. John’s Wood has fantastic heritage in terms of artists and that was the catalyst for the idea.” The group is best known for central European dishes such as schnitzel. Opening April at 60 St John’s Wood High Street.