As Shrimpy's is run by the owners of Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green, you know it's going to be different. And it is. Located in a former petrol filling station in the rapidly developing area just north of King's Cross, the restaurant offers a South American-style menu that packs in the trendy from nearby Central Saint Martin's College of Arts and Design and those visiting King's Place for a concert. It's small and always packed, with a lovely terrace looking onto Regent's Park Canal. Dishes run from plantains and chips and dips to butternut and tortilla soup, a soft shell burger and pork pozole. Sun.-Thurs. 11am-10.30pm, Fri.-Sat. to 11pm. Shrimpy's, The King's Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, London N1, 020-8880 6111 .
The Duck & Waffle sounds like a country pub in the back of beyond. In fact, it's a sleek, 24-hour operation on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the City. Take breakfast with the movers and shakers of the financial world, or dine off the likes of oysters or mackerel tartare with smoked vodka and crème fraîche, followed by whole roast chicken. The windows give a terrific view; the late-night menu of burgers or duck leg and a waffle brings in the seriously dedicated or the party-goers. Mon.-Sat. 24 hours (kitchen closed 5 a.m.-6 a.m.). Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2, 020-3640 7310.
Opened in the autumn of 2012, Chrysan aims right for the top. It's the brainchild of the restaurateur who started Wagamama at the lower end and Hakkasan at the luxury end. He's achieved equal success with this City restaurant, set up with Kyoto chef Yoshihiro Murata. The restaurant is as crisp and smart as you'd expect, with offerings ranging from lunchtime box sets to formal seven-course kaiseki banquets for £85, which deliver ingredients and dishes you won't find elsewhere in London, including sushi and six different sashimi selections. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Chrysan, 1 Snowden St., London EC2, 020-3657 4777.
Revolution in Piccadilly
One of London's institutions has had a makeover. Le Caprice, which has pretty well defined the city's smart dining scene for years, has been given a new lick of paint. You wouldn't really know it; neither would the regulars who mostly fill the restaurant. But surprise --- they have also introduced a weekend brunch! So now you can try Thai spiced pumpkin and coconut soup to start, then follow with salt beef hash with fried egg and HP (that's originally Houses of Parliament, but really brown sauce) dressing. Le Caprice, Arlington House, Arlington St., London SW1, 020-7629 2239.
The Biggest Opening in 2013?
Keith McNally's Balthazar in New York was quite a smash hit when it opened in Greenwich Village. Now the English ex-pat is planning a similar venture to open in Covent Garden in mid February. It may well be London's biggest opening of 2013.
Polpo is ExpandingChef Shuffle
Polpo is expanding, like so many successful restaurants and bars in London. The food follows the same formula of small plates to be shared, and the distressed décor look has been similarly transplanted from the original Soho location. The expansion follows the closing of the small branch of Polpetto, above the French House in Soho. Daily noon-11pm (Sun. to 5pm). Polpo, 41 Beak St., London W1, 020-7734 4479.
Eric Chavot, who made his name at The Capital Hotel, disappeared for a while to the private Windsor Club in Florida. His pedigree is impeccable, and includes time spent in the kitchens of Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire, Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Nico Ladenis at Chez Nico and Marco Pierre White, who he joined to set up the notable, but sadly short-lived, Interlude de Chavot in 1995. His new restaurant, Brasserie Chavot, will open this spring on Conduit Street in Mayfair.
Bo London advertises its "X-treme Chinese" cuisine as well as its chef, Alvin Leung, who looks as avant-garde as his dishes, which deliver deconstructed and new interpretations of Chinese cooking. So don't expect the usual here; even the plates are different. Go for lunch and you get first-rate dim sum and one main course (£30) that might be cod with saffron miso in Sauternes and braised fennel. But the real show-stopper is the Chef's Menu of 16 courses at £138. It's expensive, and a sign of the returning confidence in London. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Bo London, 4 Mill St., London, UK W1, 020-7493 3886 .
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