We’ve done the maths, and – we think this is right – you’ll be spending more time in May dossing about than you ever have done before, thanks to the embarrassment of bank holidays we are being treated with.
And what better way to celebrate than by sitting down at the table of one of the many new and delightful restaurants that are opening their doors this month?
Here are the very best pop-ups, residencies and brand new rezzies launching in May 2023. Eat well, dearest hungry readers.
1. The deeply decadent and highly ravishing restaurant
The Midland Grand Dining Room, King’s Cross
This one’s a proper looker. Situated inside The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – which was built 150 years ago as The Midland Grand – this is the majestic Victorian hotel’s original restaurant and until 2021 housed Marcus Wareing’s The Gilbert Scott. Pulling the strings now is the absolutely loaded restaurateur and developer Harry Handelsman (previous hits include Chiltern Firehouse), who’s enticed chef Patrick Powell from Stratford’s Allegra to whip up a menu of high end brassiere classics which will boast beaucoups of French flair. Doors open on May 2. Also check out the adjacent Gothic Bar, for absinthe cocktails and louche late night entertainment.
Euston Rd, NW1 2AR
2. Big Mamma’s fifth – and most elegant? – trattoria
You surely know the Big Mamma group’s thing by now; massive Italian portions, lavish locations and more cheese pulls than a pasta-fluencer’s camera roll. Their latest is a leather, velvet and marble swathed site on Marylebone High Street, which opens on May 12 to join the fancy gang of Jacuzzi, Gloria, Ave Mario and Circolo Popolare. The new menu features a very Big Mamma take on some Neapolitan and Sicilian classics, with rosé veal tartare, tempura shrimp cocktail, penne alla vodka with Cornish crab, and, in traditional Big Mamma style, a dessert more lavish than Liberace himself. This time it’s a ten-tiered choco fudge cake. Start saving room for pudding now.
77-78 Marylebone High St, W1U 5JX
3. The dumping joint from the Bao gang
Bao Mary, Marylebone
Marylebone (aka the Soho they don’t want you to know about) is having a right time of it this month. As well as the aforementioned Carlotta, the bun squad behind Bao are opening up their very own version of a Taiwanese dumpling house on these central London side streets in mid-May. Following branches in Soho, Borough, Shoreditch and King’s Cross, the Marylebone branch of Bao’s focus is all about scoring fabulous food in a hurry, with the likes of boiled cull yaw dumplings and quick cold dishes – think soy braised Lu Wei vegetables – on offer for all-day dining. Don’t miss the outside patio, perfect for summer al fresco lounging.
56 James St, W1U 1HF
4. The sleek, chic brutalist babe
Lasdun, South Bank
Fans of The Marksman, please gird your stomachs, as the linen chore coat-loving team behind the beloved Hackney Road gastro pub are opening up shop just south of the river on May 11. You’ll find Lasdun inside one of London’s most imposing buildings, the 1970s brutalist triumph that is the National Theatre, and this new brasserie will be named after the architect who designed it, Denys Lasdun. Food will include some signature Marksman dishes, such as seasonal sharing pies and brown butter and honey tart, but seafood will be Lasdun’s main focus, especially around the space’s elegant marble oyster counter.
Upper Ground, SE1 9PX
5. The paella paradise
The Campaner, Chelsea
Bringing some big, bold Spanish flavour to west London is the debut international venture from the folk behind Barcelona paella and tapas spot Terraza Martinez and pizza joint Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha. Opening May 2, The Campaner’s house speciality will be a monkfish and lobster casserole, alongside a host of charcoal-grilled meats and decadent dishes, such as Catalan ‘socarrat’ rice with prawns. But the Chelsea Barracks location is perhaps the most important part of the deal, with the redeveloped historic site featuring stunning landscaped gardens, and the Grade II-listed Garrison Chapel right by the restaurant. Book those summer seats with a view now.
Chelsea Barracks, 1 Garrison Sq, SW1W 8BG
6. The pop-up that’s bound to sell out
Decatur x Duvel at Mortimer House, Fitzrovia
When Louisiana foodies Decatur hosted a one day ‘po boy party’ in Leyton a couple of weeks back, a whopping 700 people showed up to get their sweaty paws on their oyster-stuffed baguettes. Expect just as much mayhem when tickets go on sale for this two night (May 12 and 13) engagement at Mortimer House, which sees the New Orleans scran specialists teaming up with Belgian beer Duvel for a three course, two snack and three beer dinner, complete with beignets. Tickets are £50 and go on sale May 1. Godspeed.
37-41 Mortimer St, W1T 3JH
7. The superstar chef’s Borough Market boozer residency
Joké and Friends, Borough
We’re still counting down the minutes until Adejoké Bakare opens her brand new incarnation of Time Out’s former restaurant of the year Chishuru this summer, but until the wonderful West African joint is relaunched in Fitzrovia, she’s giving us a two month residency upstairs at Borough Market’s Globe Tavern. Taking place from May 9 to July 1, the menu will be inspired by her childhood and Nigerian classics, but dishes will also come from cheffy pals Anna Higham (ex of Lyle’s and the upcoming Quince Bakery), Sirichai Kularbwong of Singburi and Guan Chua of Nyonya Supper Club.
8 Bedale St, SE1 9AL
8. The seriously massive craft beer festival
Brew//LDN, Surrey Quays
If you go down to Printworks on May 5 and 6, you’ll be greeted by a near endless array of ales. Brew//LDN is the UK’s biggest annual craft beer fezzie, and this edition will feature over 100 independent beer and cider brewers, as well as some seriously decent street food from the likes of From the Ashes BBQ, Chick N Sours, Oh My Dog! and E8 Fish. Sounds come from esteemed DJs Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy and Norman Jay MBE. All you need to remember is to pace yourself.
Surrey Quays Rd, SE16 7PJ