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Photograph: Tacos Padre
Photograph: Tacos Padre

Restaurant openings, new meal kits and other foodie things to look forward to in 2021

It’s a very tough time for London’s eateries, but that's not going to stop innovation from happening across the city

By Kate Lloyd
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So, here we are, back in lockdown with The Virus on an absolute rager around the city. Good stuff. No better way to start the year than with no access to London’s lovely restaurants, brilliant galleries or our friends – and with far too much access to a potentially deadly illness. We love it.

It goes without saying that the next few months will be tough, but there is the potential for Nice Things on the horizon. This month we’re rounding up all the cultural and foodie things on the way. We’ve already picked out exhibitions to look forward to and theatre shows that are maybe on the in 2021. Now read on to find out what’s happening in the restaurant world for London in a year where you can at least hope for a lot of positive change in among all the challenges.

The best of London's food scene in 2021

Photograph: Tom Aikens
Photograph: Tom Aikens
Photograph: Tom Aikens

@Cookingwithtomaikens

Restaurants British Belgravia

Did you know you can live-stream Tom Aikens’ kitchen this year? The chef’s starting a new virtual cookery school from behind-the-scenes at his restaurant Muse. The new paid subscription service just launched on a private Instagram, and gives users access to pre-recorded and live cooking classes from the top chef (as well as ingredient lists so you can cook along with class). Coming up? Salt-baked beetroot wellington, cabbage cannelloni and cauliflower tabbouleh. Find out more here.

Photograph: Bando Belly Instagram
Photograph: Bando Belly Instagram
Photograph: Bando Belly Instagram

Bando Belly

A new south-east London spot championing ‘soul food fusion’. And by that the founders mean food with flavours ‘inspired by America, the Caribbean, South East Asia and London’s diverse food heritage’. Think: a spin on Trinidadian doubles, soft shell crab with soy caramel drizzle, seasoned shrimp, a Philly cheesesteak x bahn mi hybrid and deep-fried oreos. Opening at Peckham Levels on January 15, its dishes will be available for pickup and delivery across London.

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Photograph: Hot 4 U
Photograph: Hot 4 U
Photograph: Hot 4 U

Hot 4 U east London takeover

The lads behind Hot 4 U are proper London food innovators. They launched one of our city’s earliest premium meal kits. Think: a weekly changing menu of vac-packed eco-aware, exciting food. In 2021 their plan for city domination continues. Alongside their finish-at-home menu, there’s a new Sunday roast delivery service, available for delivery and collection from east London pubs The Plough or The Prince Arthur now. Oh, and they’re transforming those two fine establishments into bougie grocery stores for the next few months too.

Angelina
Angelina
Photograph: Angelina

Angelina brunch meal kit

Restaurants Contemporary Global Dalston

Dalston joint Angelina is launching what we’re calling a Meal Kit+ later this month. Yes, you can expect to find everything you need to make a luxury Italian-Japanese brunch in there. But you’ll also bag special extras like bunches of flowers chosen each week from Covent Garden Flower Market, sommelier-selected bottles of wine and curated selections of olive oils and condiments tucked into the boxes too. Buy it for yourself and it’s a present for future you. Buy it for a friend and it’s a perfect lockdown birthday gift. Read more here.

 

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Tacos Padre meal kits

After spending last year as the buzziest taqueria in the city, Borough Market favourite Padre is building on its solid reputation for tacos, margaritas and Mexican small plates with a new line of meal kits. They’re available from Big Night – starting this Friday – and will be delivered to London and beyond. The options? Short-rib suadero, lamb barbacoa, cauliflower al pastor, cochinita pibil and pollo asado – all with tortillas, seasoning and two salsas.

Koya’s Omiyage Box

Restaurants Japanese Bank

Missing Koya’s perfect udon noodles already? Us too. Luckily, the restaurant is launching a nationwide subscription service later in January. The Omiyage box can be delivered through your letterbox and contains the eatery’s signature hand-made udon noodles and dashi, along with recipe cards from Head Chef Shuko. It means you’ll never have to go without good noods ever again.

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Fenn

The team behind Hackney's Nest is heading west to Fulham in March, opening a new joint called Fenn. The plan? Really, really good British seasonal food. Working the same brilliant suppliers the use at their east London spot, they'll be serving up the likes of hand-dived Scottish scallop, Wiltshire truffle dumplings, aged Yorkshire beef and even a bloody good English custard tart. Expect an outdoor dining terrace, walls decked with work by local artists, a wine shop and good vibes all round.

susuru by masaki at home ramen kit
susuru by masaki at home ramen kit
Photograph: Susuru by Masaki

Dinings SW3 meal kit

Restaurants Japanese Belgravia

Restaurants might be shuttered right now, but the DIY meal kit industry is flourishing. One we're particularly excited about? The new ramen bad boy from SW3 – Susuru by Masaki. Executive chef Masaki Sugisaki’s recipe is traditional and uses all natural ingredients. He says he has made it his mission to shine a light on ramen’s nuances and subtle complexities, a dish he says is often created at volume and without the respect it deserves. These kits will definitely do that. They cost £18 per person plus £5 delivery. Available every day this January – find out more here.

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Imad Alarnab Syrian Kitchen
Imad Alarnab Syrian Kitchen
Photograph: @thepositivejournalist

Imad’s Syrian Kitchen

Imad Alarnab was a successful restaurateur in Damascus. Then in 2014 his restaurants were destroyed by war and he was forced to flee to safety with his family. He found himself in Calais' refugee camps then in London. By 2017 he was running restaurant pop ups around the city, raising £200k to keep Aleppo's children's hospital going. Now, he's found a permanent home, where he'll cook a sharing menu paying homage to his home country. Expect slow cooked and marinated meats, crunchy flatbread and moreish takes on cooked veg. 

Booking.com

The Standard Rooftop

Hotels King’s Cross

It looks like it’s going to be another spring/summer of outdoor socialising this year. For an extremely luxe spot to catch all the rays and none of the germs, look no further than spangly King’s Cross hotel The Standard. The LA import is opening a new rooftop bar in April with beautiful views of the city and a New York-style hot dog cart doing good sausages in buns. Very, very nice stuff. 

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Humble Chicken

If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, you’ll probably have popped into an izakaya. They’re dive bar-style spaces where friends meet for drinks and sharing snacks. These were the inspiration for Angelo Sato’s Humble Chicken (opening on Frith Street in January 2021). Aiming to be a hidden oasis in the middle of Soho, it will offer ‘comb to tail’ dining, so expect to discover exciting ways to eat every bit of the bird: from the cartilage to the gizzards.

Brat restaurant pop up at Climpson’s Arch in Hackney
Brat restaurant pop up at Climpson’s Arch in Hackney
Photograph: Climpson’s Arch

Brat x Climpson’s Arch

Let’s roll back the months to after Lockdown One, when loads of restaurants were pivoting to outdoor dining concepts to allow customers to eat really well in Covid-secure environments. One of the most exciting was Brat’s takeover of Climpson’s Arch in Hackney. Its combination of grilled and wood-fired seasonal ingredients and greenhouse aesthetic was a huge hit, so it’s very good news that the space is being made a permanent fixture of London’s restaurant scene. Expect it to reopen after lockdown.

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H.O.M.E.

You probably already know Jason Atherton. He’s a TV chef, Gordon Ramsay restaurant allum and the brains behind Pollen Street Social. There, he does ‘deformalised cooking’, aka relaxed fine dining with British and French roots. Now he’s adding another joint to his portfolio… right next door to the first one. H.O.M.E. will be an extremely petite 16-seater restaurant. We wait in baited breath to see what comes of it.

Manzi’s

Take a couple of guys (Jeremy King and Chris Corbin) who've worked at pretty damn fancy places (The Wolseley, The Delaunay). Put them in a new restaurant space in Soho. What do you get? A gigantic nautical-themed seafood restaurant, of course, in the spirit of Brasserie Zedel (luxurious yet affordable). Plans are currently on hold because of You Know What, but if investors come through we might be dining inside this spot by the end of the year... maybe. 

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eataly london
eataly london
Photograph: Eataly

Eataly

If entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti gets his way, London will soon be home to a giant hub of Italian food. Think three restaurants, a bakery, cooking classes, and a marketplace all under one extremely cheesily named roof. Eataly outlets have been popping up around the world since 2007 (when the first one opened in Turin). Their aim? To show that high quality products can be available for everyone. You can find them in New York, Los Angeles and soon, hopefully, The City – unless we’re locked down until 2022. 

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