Aquavit serves up sublime Nordic inspired plates with 1st rate service – the Matje Herring dish is a winner – try that. To avoid a high bill, order lots of the Smörgåsbord which are around the £7 mark.The high ceilings, lights, understated but luxe chairs and tables alongside the original pieces of artwork by Olafur Eliasson pieces give the space a feeling of modern grandeur. Reservations recommended. Read more here
Style and substance at play at this much hyped Taiwanese small plates joint in Soho; the fried chicken bao is a must. The Lexington Street one has a minimalistic aesthetic and laid back vibe; it’s extremely compact and takes no reservations, so be prepared to queue. There’s another spot on Frith Street where you can book (downstairs only). Read more here
In Great Portland St and in desperate need of a bite to eat, I swung by Clipstone (sister resto of 1 Michelin starred Portland) to see if they could accommodate me. They did. They’re nice like that. Lovely pared back space. Ordered the very good house bread + olive oil along with a delightful plate of young carrots, yuzu and dandelion. I will be going back for a proper meal – top stuff. Reservations recommended.
Tasty little tapas bar just off Carnaby Street. Their tortilla is bomb. Quite a compact little restaurant, Dehesa has communal high tables and stools with a few individual seating spots, so if you’re not a fan of communal dining, then this place ain’t for you. Earthy tones, abstract art and hanging lights give the space a warm modern feel. Walk Ins & Reservations. Read more here
After the huge success of Frenchie in Paris, chef Gregory Marchant brought his popular brand of sharing dishes to the Big Smoke. This modern luxe restaurant serves up some interesting plates of food – not everything is a hit but overall it’s good. The lights are gorgeous but could do with being a bit dimmer for night time dining. Service is fun but professional. Reservations recommended. Read more here
I remember when I first went here, queue was mad, so I respected myself and moved on (though they do seem to have an efficient queuing system in place, you can put your name on their beeper thing and they’ll notify you when your table is ready but you need to get down EARLY). Months later, I’m in Soho, hungry, so I hit it up; it was 3pm during the middle of the week and there was STILL a queue. Speaking to Sri Lankans about their experience here, they said it was good but expensive for what it was but you have to consider they are paying Central London rent prices. I didn’t have much when I went, just had the chicken lollipop chukka, roti, sides of brinjal moju and potato fry. Lots of brown, wood and foliage and the walls are decorated with framed colourful posters. Part of the JKS fam (Gymkhana, Trishna and Motu).
Le Bab is in Kingly Court in Carnaby, so if you get weary from all the shopping and need a spot to refuel, I’d highly recommend this place. I was just meant to meet my mate here for post work drinks and of course we ended up getting food. I had the corn fed chicken shish (£12) – so not a cheap shish but this ain’t any plain shish – it’s got pickled broccoli and harissa mayo and is the bees knees – def order that. Oh and the double cooked fires with fondue? Peng. The space is modern and bright with pretty blue tiled walls but feels a little cramped. Reservations Recommended.
Hip wine bar by the folks behind the magazine of the same name, serving up the sort of food I’d happily eat everyday but probably shouldn’t. Dark browns and green make up the colour palette of the bottom part of the dining area with light wood and cool prints bringing an energetic colour pop to the room. Feels like a grown up space but a playful one. Reservations recommended. Read more here
Upscale Italian canteen (stone+marble+glass) – always heaving, loud and brash but one of my favourite spots in town. For the level it’s aiming at, it’s very decent fare with a mixture of a fab dessert bar, salad + pizza bar with a hot section right at the back Service can be laughably slow but I’m so used to it, it doesn’t bother me anymore! Perfect lunchtime pitstop close to Oxford Street. No reservations.