Barrafina was one of the first successful tapas bars in London, and it has trained its chefs well. Now Tomasz Baranski has left the parent to set up his own tapas bar. Donostia takes some of the same ideas, such as a long bar, open kitchen and white walls. The menu is divided into pintxo specialties from leek and egg salad to creamy croquettes with ham; cold plates center on top hams; and tapas range from crispy baby squid to pigeon with fresh peas and pancetta. Good wine list with many by the glass. Open Tues.-Sat. 11am-3pm & 6pm-11pm, Sun. 10am-3pm. Donostia, 10 Seymour Place, London W1, 020-3620 1845.
Mark Hix has done it again---he's opened a successful restaurant called Tramshed in an iconic industrial building that serves an uncompromisingly simple menu. After choosing one of five starters you can move on to a steak or chicken dish. It's very good and the concept suits the vast former Tramshed building in Shoreditch. Staff are casual and welcoming and there's a separate bar and gallery space. Open Mon.-Sat. noon-10.30pm, Sun. noon-10pm. Tramshed, 32 Rivington St., London EC2, 020-7749 0478.
Briciole, an all-Italian café bar, deli and trattoria in the heart of Marylebone, has taken over a former pub space. It has brick walls, wooden tables and chairs, and a bright and breezy staff. The food comes from chef Maurizio Morelli, who once cooked Italian dishes at Latium. This menu is more informal. Expect a series of small, highly flavored tapas-type dishes from black pepper Sardinian cured ham to Roman-style roast pork. A regional wine list and a very useful bakery complete the welcome package. Open Mon.-Sat. 11am-11pm, Sun. 11am-10.30pm. Briciole, 20 Homer St., London W1, 020-7723 0040.
King's Cross is one of London's up and coming areas, with new hotels and restaurants plus an enormous expansion of housing. So the arrival of Shrimpy's, located in the Filling Station, a one-time BP filling station, is most welcome. It's a venture from the team at Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green, and is similarly casual with an American-style décor, a great terrace and vaguely south American dishes like plantains, chips and dips, sweet-corn chowder with salsa and sour cream, and fried chicken with red peppers. Open Sun.-Thurs. 11am-10.30pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-11pm. Shrimpy's, King's Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, London N1, 020-8880 6111.
Going for Gold at The Bar at The DorchesterChef Shuffle
Available throughout the summer, The Bar at The Dorchester will be honoring the competitive spirit of the Olympics in London with a special "Going For Gold" cocktail. Created by Giuliano Morandin and his team of mixologists, the cocktail uses London-made Gilpin's Gin, Laurel liquor, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and Morandin's own sugar syrup. The tall-glass cocktail is topped with ginger ale and served over crushed ice. Priced at £16, "Going for Gold" will be sold at The Bar at The Dorchester from July 2012 until September 2012. The Bar at The Dorchester, The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, London W1, 020-7629 8888.
The Baglioni Hotel London is slated to replace its restaurant Brunello and embark on a totally new approach. Heading up the kitchen will be Moreno Cedroni, who runs four restaurants in Italy including La Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia on the Adriatic coast and Clandestino in Milan. Baglioni Hotel London, 60 Hyde Park Gate, London SW75 5BB, 020 7368 5700.
Skye Gyngell left Petersham Nurseries Café last year after seven years at the garden centre. There were expectations placed on her after the establishment won all sorts of plaudits, which led to a change in the kind of customers frequenting the restaurant. They expected the top cooking and high prices but not the wobbly chairs and rustic setting, and a kitchen that was virtually in a garage. "Rus in urbe" was not for the destination diners. Now the Australian chef plans to open a 120-seat restaurant in central London in late October in conjunction with Heckfield Place, a boutique country house hotel outside London. Gyngell will divide her time between the country and London. The restaurant will be in Soho, but that's all the news there is so far. Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, London TW10 7AG, 020-8940 5230.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in London
Current News View archived news: January 2015 | December 2014 | November 2014 | October 2014 | May 2014 | April 2014 | March 2014 | February 2014 | December 2013 | November 2013 | October 2013 | August 2013 | July 2013 | June 2013 | April 2013 | March 2013 | February 2013 | January 2013 | December 2012 | November 2012 | October 2012 | September 2012 | August 2012 | July 2012 | May 2012 | April 2012 | March 2012 | February 2012 | January 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | October 2011 | September 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | April 2011 | March 2011 | February 2011 | January 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | November 2008 | October 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008