Who else has shivered their way through April and May so far? Being able to meet friends outside has been a wonderful thing (and much-needed after the long, lonely lockdown) — but it’s been chilly, hasn’t it? Wrapping up in jumpers, sitting on our hands and pretending to ignore the swirling, murky drizzle has been fun, no doubt; but we’re certainly looking forward to being able to meet friends inside once again. We can’t stop talking about The Surprise, for one; everyone’s favourite Chelsea neighbourhood pub, which is ready and set to go for a triumphant, jubilant reopening on 17th May.
And there are a few other establishments that we’ve got our beady eye on, and which we’ll certainly be frequenting once we’re allowed. Their interiors are buzzy, chic and perfect for meeting friends (minus the shivering); and we’ve got our eye on some beautiful restaurant gardens, too — perfect for when summer finally (finally) arrives.
Where to find it: We assume you already know the answer to this, but we’ll tell you anyway — just in case. The Wolseley maintains a splendid residence on Piccadilly; adjacent to The Ritz, and just a stone’s throw from Green Park.
What to expect: A glittering, sparkling interior of positively cavernous proportions; with its domed ceiling, sweeping staircase and monochrome marble floor that seems to extend as far as the eye can see, it’s a restaurant that celebrates heritage and splendour in equal measure. And the food’s not too bad, either…
What to order: It really depends what you’re there for; The Wolseley can cater to all your breakfasting, brunching, lunching or suppering needs. But if you’re there for dinner, we’d say you could do worse than the Seared Scallops, followed by the Coq au Vin; and if you’re able to turn down the Black Forest Gâteau, you’re a stronger man than most.
Where to find it: This charming neighbourhood restaurant resides happily in the heart of Chelsea, right on Sloane Square. It’s convenient, it’s bustly and — if you sit outside — it’s ideal for people-watching (let’s not pretend that’s not all part of the fun of eating out…).
What to expect: Inspired by the traditional boulevard cafes of Paris, Colbert is a splash of French culture (and cuisine) in the middle of London. There’s a chance you may not make it to France this year; in which case, Colbert truly is the next best thing.
What to order: If you’re at a French restaurant, order snails. That’s our motto, anyway. Colbert’s Escargots à la Bourguignonne are just as mouth-wateringly exquisite as you’d expect to find in France itself; and we wouldn’t say no to their Duck Confit, either. (Although, for that matter, there isn’t really anything on this menu that we would say no to.)
Where to find it: Nestled in the heart of Belgravia. You won’t be able to miss it; just look out for that pristine Edwardian exterior and those trusty British flags fluttering in the breeze.
What to expect: The Goring is one of the great London hotels, embodying the very best of luxury living, quality service and fine dining. And best of all? British beachwear brand Love Brand & Co. are bringing a splash of the Cornish Coast to the hotel this summer.
The Goring Garden will be home to Love Brand & Co.’s exclusive print, titled “Party Like A Lobstar”: napkins, menus and staff aprons will be accordingly adorned with dancing lobsters and swaying palm trees in celebration of what will (hopefully) be a jubilant summer. A Cornish summer of Lobster & Fizz in the middle of Belgravia? Who could ask for more?
What to order: Well, given it’s the summer of lobster, it would be bizarre not to actually order lobster. Grilled lobster, a lobster omelette, the Lobster Caesar Salad; basically, just lobster it up. Oh, and the fizz: keep the fizz coming, too. Specifically, the Goring Garden is a lucky home to Delle Vite: an award winning prosecco created by the Delevigne sisters.
The Bar at Scott's
Where to find it: One of the oldest restaurants in London, Scott’s can be found in the heart of Mayfair; Mount Street, to be precise. We’re not the only ones who can pinpoint its location; Ian Fleming was a frequent patron during the 1950s and 60s, when the bar used to be housed in Haymarket.
What to expect: Elegance, luxury, and elegance again. Sleekly clad bar stools, gleaming countertops, soft lighting from evenly spaced golden lamps…oh, and seafood. So much seafood. The centrepiece to the bar itself is an awe-inspiring pile of crab, lobster and fish on ice: if that doesn’t ignite the seafood-loving tastebuds, we don’t know what will.
What to order: Seafood, naturally. Take your pick: but if you’re asking, we’re highly amenable to the Lindisfarne Rocks Oysters. And keep the champagne coming.
Where to find it: All over the place, really — which is good news if you’re a Blacklock fan, like us. With branches in Soho, the City and Shoreditch, meat lovers across London will be able to satiate their cravings for the perfectly done (or not done, depending on taste) steak from May 17th.
What to expect: Meat. Lots of meat. And not just any meat; Blacklock works exclusively with the Warren family, who are based in Cornwall and breed (and dry-age) native and rare-breed animals on their farm, where they are firmly committed to animal welfare of the highest degree.
What to order: Would it be too obvious if we said…meat? Ok, joking aside — the Soho and Shoreditch branches offer a stellar Breakfast Martini; and if you’re looking for something a little different, then ‘different’ appears in the form of a Pig’s Head on Toast at all three branches.
Where to find it: Again, this is a restaurant that’s happily found a home in multiple areas of London. You can gaze hungrily at its menus at branches in Soho, Brixton and White City.
What to expect: We’ve extolled the virtues of Kricket more times than we can count — but for the so far uninitiated, you can confidently expect Indian inspired cooking of the very highest degree. Founded by university friends Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell, Kricket started its triumphant career in a 20-seater shipping container at Pop Brixton; and the rest is history.
What to order: Good question. We could happily eat our way through the menu several times over; but if you’re sticking to a more regular order of just the one dish, we’d have to recommend the Lasooni Scallop with Celeriac Tadka.
Pied à Terre
Where to find it: This charming, stylish restaurant maintains a happy residence in the heart of Fitzrovia (Charlotte Street, to be more exact). Don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior; this is a restaurant with a suave interior and a mouth-watering menu.
What to expect: In a nutshell, it’s classic French dining with a subtle (yet distinctive) nod to Executive Chef Asimakis Chaniotis’s Greek heritage. It’s also previously won the award for the No 1 Vegan tasting experience in the UK — so if vegan fare is your fare of choice, this would be the place for you.
What to order: With vegan credentials of this sort, it would be rude not to dive headfirst into the vegan tasting experience; why not opt for the Vegan Dinner Tasting menu? The delectable offerings include Green Apple Ravioli and Honeydew Melon and Mint Gazpacho; to say nothing of the Australian Black Truffle Gariguette Strawberries…
Where to find it: We’ve zoomed back to Chelsea — right to Radnor Walk, a blissfully quiet street just a stone’s throw from the busier King’s Road.
What to expect: Exquisite Venetian cuisine of the very highest standards. Upon opening the restaurant, founder Roberto Colussi was committed to bringing a slice of Venice — in all its quintessential Italian glory — to the heart of Chelsea; and his original mission is still apparent in the menu, which showcases too many divine Venetian specialities to name.
What to order: But, if we were forced to name one, we’d have to go for the Tagliolini Verdi Gratinati (green noodles baked with ham, cream and Parmesan). If we could name two, we’d have to recommend the Spigola al Cartoccio (sea bass with garlic and rosemary); and if we were permitted to suggest three dishes, the Salsiccie di Cinghiale con Funghi — wild boar sausage with wild mushrooms and wine, served with polenta — would definitely be on there.
Where to find it: Right in the heart of Covent Garden: specifically, on the corner of Russell and Wellington Streets, just across from the Royal Opera House. Now that’s what we call a great location.
What to expect: Fanciful French fun, to be exact — and it’s fun in the form of a Moulin Rouge inspired ‘Le Spectacle’ series in partnership with Lillet. Old-school French extravagance will abound from May 17th onwards, together with an array of cocktails, courtesy of Lillet. From the moment you’re greeted by a ringmaster and cymbal player at the door, there’ll be no turning back…
What to order: We’ve got our eye on the Rose Gold cocktail: with Lillet Rose, Monkey 47, lemon juice and rosemary syrup, that’s a cocktail we can surely get on board with. And where the food’s concerned, we’d recommend going for broke with the Grilled Lobster. After so long away from restaurants, we’d say it’s time to celebrate their reopening in style.
Looking to stay in, instead? Well, these simple dishes are the best meals to cook on a dinner date…
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