Describing itself as a "Neighborhood Bar with Good Beer," this revamped John Salt bar and restaurant is a large two-story, slightly echoing space when it's not full, and noisy when it is, becoming even livelier on the weekends when DJs keep the pace and the sound level high. Try the charcoal grill for mainstream ideas, and the plates for some inventive concepts: small dishes of raw beef with pear and sesame seeds, and raw mullet with apple and bergamot to start, and the likes of green chilli chicken or mackerel with barbecued fennel, lime and mint as mains with sides such as chicken skin hash. The drinks list is wide, from London brewed beers to cocktails. Open Mon.-Fri. noon-midnight (Fri. to 1am), Sat. 11am-1am, Sun 11am-11pm. John Salt, 131 Upper St., London N1, 020-7359 7501.
The Clove Club has opened in the revamped Shoreditch Town Hall, which is planning a theatre and multi-purpose arts space. It's the inspiration of two ex DJs, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith, along with chef Isaac McHale. There's a bar serving small plates and cocktails and a more serious restaurant. The décor is modern and minimalist; the menu à la carte at lunch, but uncompromising at dinner with its five-course no-choice £47 deal. The cooking is inventive and adventurous and not for the traditional. Try smoked duck ham for starters and grilled squid with tarragon and green radishes. Lunch Tues.-Sat., Dinner Mon.-Sat. The Clove Club, 380 Old St., London EC1, 020-7729 6496.
With the re-launch of the nineteenth-century Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross is set to become even more attractive. Designed by the architects who conceived Hakkasan in London, the property will house a bar open from 7am to late, when DJs will keep the place jumping. The 90-seat restaurant called Plum + Spilt Milk will have huge floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the King's Cross piazza and St. Pancras International Station. All-day dining will be on offer from breakfast and brunch to dinner. The thoroughly British menu is due to Ray Patterson, whose restaurant Patterson's in Mayfair closed recently. Plum + Spilt Milk, Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross, London N1, 020-3388 0800.
Tyler Brûlé, the Canadian who made Wallpaper a significant influence on style and fashion in the 1990s and went on to found Monocle, the global affairs magazine and media brand, is about to open his first London restaurant, called The Monocle Café. There's already a Monocle café in Tokyo; the London version in Marylebone will open mid-April. Serving muesli, snacks and salads to eat in and takeaway, as well as macarons (de rigueur if you want to be trendy), and with Japanese chef Masayuki Hara, who was at Le Gavroche, in the kitchen, this is slated to become a most-fashionable spot in London. Open Mon.-Fri. 7am-4pm, Sat. 8am-4pm, Sun. 9am-3pm. The Monocle Cafe, 18 Chiltern St., London W1, 020-7725 4388.
The Shard will be home to four new restaurants this spring: Aqua Shard, Hutong, Oblixand Zuma at The Shard. Both Oblix and Zuma come from the same pair of restaurateurs, Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney, who have already wowed London with Zuma and Roka. Oblix will be a New York-style grill with a separate lounge bar designed by Claudio Silvestrin; he also designed L'Anima and Princi in London. The Shard, 32 London Bridge St., London SE1, no phone.
Dining Options at the Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, London
The Shard building has big plans. First of all, opening in May (projected) is the Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, London, a luxury property taking over 18 floors, from floor 34 to 52. The Shangri-La will have four restaurants: a gourmet deli on the ground floor, a lounge and restaurant (open all day) on level 35, and a bar called GŎNG with spectacular views on level 52. The bar will have three different areas: a cocktail bar, a Champagne bar and the swimming pool, which might compete with the infinity pool also on level 52. It will be London's highest cocktail bar.
The Vineyard Presents a "Californian Wine Weekend"Chef Shuffle
The Vineyard, the "Restaurant with Rooms" in Berkshire, is offering the "Californian Wine Weekend" from March 15-17. The hotel is known for top dining and for its wine cellar, but this event is very different. The weekend starts with the five-course Peter Michael Winery spring dinner with matching wines, such as the established Ma Belle-Fille Chardonnay, along with wines from the new vineyards from Sonoma Coast, Le Caprice and Ma Danseuse Pinot Noirs. Saturday sees a Californian tasting of over 50 wines from winery owners and representatives including Benovia, Ferrari-Carano, Waterstone, Honig Vineyards and Rudd Estate. Meet the producers and discuss their wines at a series of workshops. The five-course dinner from The Vineyard's executive chef Daniel Galmiche that evening is hosted by The Vineyard Cellars' director of wine James Hocking; matching wines will be from California's well-known wineries. The weekend costs £880 per person and includes two nights in a Deluxe or Atrium suite, the two dinners, Californian wine tasting on Saturday with the winery owner and representatives, a Schramsberg brunch on Sunday, and use of the ‘5 Bubbles' spa. You can also book the dinners and/or wine tasting separately. Book online or at 01635 528770. The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury RG20 8JU, 01635 897621.
Jun Tanaka made his name at Pearl, but for some time he's been selling his food from his food trucks called Street Kitchen. Now, with business partner Mark Jankel, he's launching a permanent Street Kitchen in Hackney House, in --- where else? --- trendy Shoreditch High Street. At lunchtime, expect boxes; in the evening, look for burgers and more. Also on the menu is a fish dish, a veggie alternative, a meat dish, broth and a dessert, all priced around £5 to £7.50. If you can't get there, try his food on-the-go in the City at Broadgate Circle and Battersea. Street Kitchen, 187 Shoreditch High St., London, UK E1, no phone.
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