London’s love affair with American steakhouses continues with a new venture in the Haymarket. The New York-based Altamarea Group (Osteria Morini, Costata, Marea and other New York restaurants) has joined forces with the owners of Rowley’s on Jermyn Street. The “butcher’s shop-inspired” restaurant Chop Shop promises meat and fish pâtés, “planks” of charcuterie or cheeses, and top USDA steaks and chops as well as burgers, roast chicken and more. Theater menus will bring in the crowds going to see Phantom of the Opera, etc. Chop House will open in September 2013. Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, London SW1, no phone.
Maddox Street might be tucked down a side street in Mayfair, but it’s a pretty hot area for restaurants. The latest place to expand into this expensive part of London is another branch of 28°-50°. The “wine workshop and kitchen” was started by Xavier Rousset and Agnar Sverrisson who went on to conquer the London restaurant world with Texture. Due to open in September, the new 28°-50° will be on two floors and will offer wines (over 30 by the glass) and food that runs from oysters, salads and soups to small plates and seafood platters. Among main courses, expect the likes of lemon sole, risotto and ox cheek. 28°-50°, 17-19 Maddox St., London W1, no phone.
Aubaine has always appealed with its Mediterranean feel, scrubbed wooden tables and chairs, light colors and oh-so-French menu. So it’s good news that another branch has opened in Hampstead. After a walk on Hampstead Heath, make your way down High Street for a thoroughly French snack of pâtisserie, macarons and other typical delights. But there’s also an all-day menu of favorites like gigot d’agneau, salade niçoise and different spaghettis. Mon.-Sat. 8am-10.30pm, Sun. 9am-10pm. Aubaine, 82 High St., London NW3, 020-3432 9260.
Chelsea is a good area for a restaurant called The Five Fields, which has recently opened near Sloane Square. It sounds rather countrified and that no doubt appeals to those living nearby who can’t nip down to their second (country) home. Décor is elegant and comfortable, and the service solicitous. Food-wise, many ingredients come from the restaurant’s Sussex gardens. The place is only open in the evenings, which makes one wonder if the cheerful staff are slaving away at the vegetable patch during the day. Chef/owner Taylor Bonnyman offers a set menu (£45 for three courses and £65 for an eight-course menu). You won’t go hungry on either as there are plenty of amuses appearing while you wait for the main treats. Expect the likes of roast veal sweetbread with its glazed shin, rhubarb, chicory and hazelnut for a starter, and poached Dover sole with horseradish cream, celery and green apple for a main. Tues.-Sat. 6.30pm-10pm. The Five Fields, 8-9 Blacklands Terrace, London SW3, 020-7838 1082.
There’s always room for a new gastropub, even in an area like Fitzrovia where restaurants are thick on the ground. So the opening of Newman Street Tavern on Newman Street is a welcome debut (this place is not to be confused with Newman Arms on Rathbone Street, which, by the way, serves excellent meat pies at good value prices). It’s the brainchild of chef Peter Weeden who has cooked in the kitchens of The Paternoster Chop House and the Boundary. British seasonal cooking is the order of the day; expect the likes of Devon crab salad and country pâté for starters, and mains of roast beef, breaded perch and chips (posh fish ‘n’ chips) and spring lamb. It’s all served in a smart two-story restaurant with the requisite oak floors, wooden tables and traditional dining chairs. There’s a bar for oysters, too, and a good selection of wines on a 250-odd list. Mon.-Sat. noon-11pm, Sun. 10.30am-5pm. Newman Street Tavern, 48 Newman St., London W1, 020-3667 1445.
If you fancy dining with a dinosaur as a companion, Jamie Oliver's Diner is your kind of place. The décor is decidedly quirky, the dinosaurs being surrounded by recycled furniture and odd sculptures. It's a new take on the U.S. diner from the famous chef who is on a crusade for healthy eating. So the burgers and steaks are made of free-range meat and there are plenty of salads. It's jolly, fun and a great spot to take children, just near Piccadilly Circus. It's not exactly a pop-up restaurant; this one has a lease of 3 years, so will close in 2016. Daily noon-midnight. Jamie Oliver's Diner, 19-23 Shaftesbury Ave., London W1, 020-3697 4117.
Notting Hill has always been a magnet for restaurants; after all, the supremely trendy area hosts some of the most affluent and adventurous diners in London. So it’s not surprising that the Notting Hill Kitchen, opening on July 15 and taking over from the Notting Hill Brasserie, has a top chef. Luis Baena from Portugal has worked with Paul Bocuse but has chosen Iberian cuisine for this venture. The Spanish-designed restaurant will offer a wide ranging menu from grazing plates to 3-course meals. Using native ingredients where possible, Baena will offer the likes of sautéed Atlantic turbot with sweet potatoes and garlic chips; confit Alentejo pork cheek with truffled bread and bacon crumble; and that great treat, slow-cooked Iberian milk-fed baby lamb. There’s a 200-bin wine list on offer featuring Iberian wines. Notting Hill Kitchen, 92 Kensington Park Rd., London W11, no phone.
Posh Summer CocktailsChef Shuffle
If you fancy something different when it comes to cocktails, make for Harvey Nichols and its summer L’Alchimie de Courvoisier terrace that will stay open to August 18. The rooftop terrace is designed to remind you of France, and specifically of Jarnac in southwest France, which is the home of Courvoisier. There’s a bespoke cocktail menu (using the likes of Courvoisier XO Imperial, which retails at Harvey Nichols for £155) and three food pairing packages from £45 to £75. This requires a minimum of six people and advanced booking. The £55 package, Exclusif Cold, includes a chilled glass of Courvoisier Exclusif with a seafood platter of Scottish whole lobster, clams, Irish rock oysters, langoustines, smoked eel and smoked mackerel. The Fifth Floor Cafe, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1, 020-7823 1839.
The residents of those leafy London villages south of the river are lucky to have Rebecca Mascarenhas as a local restaurateur. Sonny’s has long been a favorite. Now she has joined up with Theo Randall from the InterContinental London Park Lane in Mayfair for the Italian trattoria Bibo, due to open in September 2013. Bibo, 162-164 Lower Richmond Rd., London, UK SW15, no phone.
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