It's good to see new restaurants from some of London's top professionals, so Kitchen W8, opened on the former site of Bistrot Eleven (previously 11 Abingdon Road) in Kensingon, is a welcome venture. It's masterminded by Rebecca Mascarenhas who also has Sonny's and Philip Howard of The Square - he is overseeing young Mark Kempson who was previously at The Square. Lunch & Dinner daily. Kitchen W8, 11-13 Abingdon Rd., London W8, 020-7937 0120.
Perhaps the recession is finally receding; the City of London has just welcomed a newcomer with open wallets. Green's Restaurant & Oyster Bar has opened a second, eponymous restaurant in the former Lloyds Bank building in the City of London. There's a bar downstairs for celebrating those big City bonuses and a comfortable restaurant on the ground floor. And the cooking is up to the same reliable, consistent level of the St. James's mother venue. You can't go wrong with broccoli soup, rump of lamb, fish ‘n' chips and the like, all washed down with some very smart wines. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Fri. Green's Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 14 Cornhill, London EC3, 020-7220 6300.
Look Nelson in the Eye
From November 23 to December 31, you can see the top of Nelson's column (well, almost). The popular roof terrace at the top of The Trafalgar hotel, which looks towards Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, will reopen. It's covered over, but not so as to hide the spectacular view. Heaters and blankets will help against any nips in the air, so will the Winter Warmers Menu. Try a mulled wine cocktail, jacket potatoes, hot bourbon toddy and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Mon.-Fri. 4pm-11pm, Sat.-Sun. noon-11pm. The Trafalgar Roof Garden, The Trafalgar, 2 Spring Gardens, London SW1, 020-7870 2900.
If you're vegetarian you can often feel like a poor relation. While others dine off special menus, prepared with skill and love, you may be dining on a lettuce leaf with a bit of garnish. André Garrett, head chef at Galvin at Windows, has brought vegetarians in from the cold with a 'Menu Potager.' The seasonally changing, vegetable-focused tasting menu includes delights like celeriac royal with a hazelnut and Muscat salad; tart Tatin of cepes with fresh coco beans, potato and mozzarella cream, and more, all for £60 per person for the seven courses, £105 with matching wines and £125 with wines and Dom Perignon 2000 Champagne. Galvin at Windows, The London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Ln., 28th Floor, London W1, 020-7208 4021.
Affordable Luxury at a Top London Bar
Galvin at Windows, atop The London Hilton on Park Lane, is one of London's top venues, with a fabulous view and a first-rate chef. But if the restaurant seems too full on at lunch, then try the good-value, seasonally changing bar menu. Take a selection of small tapas-style dishes like Scottish salmon, Dorset crab, avocado and pink ginger (£7), risotto of mushrooms and Parmesan (£6), steak with pommes purée (£12), and a cheese plate (£6) accompanied by specially priced drinks - a glass of Champagne at £6.50 or large glasses of wine from £5 to £7, and you have a rare feast at affordable prices. It's served Monday to Friday noon to 3pm (last orders). Galvin at Windows, The London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Ln., 28th Floor, London W1, 020-7208 4021.
Luciano Changes Names – and DirectionChef Shuffle
Marco Pierre White's Luciano has been re-launched (don't worry, it's been re-launched by Marco Pierre White) as Wheeler's of St. James's. White had taken over Wheeler's of St. James's (in Duke of York Street) and ran it for a few years before selling it - it's now offices. In charge of the kitchens at the new Wheeler's is Garry Hollihead, who was at Geales fish restaurant in Notting Hill before a stint in Dubai. Wheeler's of St. James's, 72-73 St. James’s St., London SW1, 020-7408 1440.
William Drabble, who left Aubergine after a long and distinguished time in the kitchen, has just opened the restaurant that used to be Andaman Restaurant at St. James's Hotel & Club. It's now called Seven Park Place by William Drabble. Seven Park Place by William Drabble, St. James's Hotel & Club, 7-8 Park Pl., London SW1, 020-7316 1608.
It's a real merry go round of chefs at the moment, but Jérôme Ponchelle has left Wiltons to take over from Eric Chavot at The Capital, and his place at the old stalwart in St. James's is being assumed by Andrew Turner, who opened The Landau successfully at the Langham Hotel London (which coincidentally has just finished a splendid refurbishment). Wiltons, 55 Jermyn St., London W1, 020-7629 9955.
Eric Chavot, who steered a very steady path at The Capital hotel, has left and has been cooking with Pierre Koffman at his now closed temporary pop up restaurant at Selfridges. Chavot apparently has no firm plans, but will surely be much in demand. In his place at The Capital is Jérôme Ponchelle, who recently cooked at British stalwart Wiltons in Mayfair and alongside Michel Bourdin at The Connaught. Ponchelle is aiming to bring his particular game and seafood dishes as well as traditional English comfort food to the boutique hotel with the big restaurant. The Capital, The Capital, 22-24 Basil St., London SW3, 020-7589 5171.
Check back soon for more news.
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