London writer Jo Aspin rounds up the hottest new openings in London every month for her exclusive new column.
It may be cold outside, but the London restaurant scene is looking pretty hot for the start of the year, with a mix of cuisines ranging from Filipino and Middle Eastern to Portuguese. And if you are quick, some great offers!
Head south for Filipino food this month as Sarap sets up its first permanent site in Brixton Village Market. Head chef and owner Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya is all about the pork, serving up ‘Lechon Liempo’ as his signature – that’s slow-roasted pork belly rolled and stuffed with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chilli, coconut vinegar and soy, served with liver sauce, spiced coconut vinegar and atchara (grated papaya pickle) if you’re not down with the country’s cuisine.
However Budgie plans to make it mainstream – so watch this space London!
Following a first successful opening in Loughton Essex, a second (pop-up this time) Wing Shack opens in Farringdon this Feb. Choose your wings: Honey & Sesame; Tangy Buffalo or Inferno (for those that can handle the heat). Non-bird eaters are catered for too with the ‘Edgy Veggie burger’ featuring charred halloumi, soy-marinated mushroom, tomato relish and hummus. Wash it all down with Wing Shack’s ‘secret recipe’ homemade fruit punch.
Opens Friday 7 February
FREE WINGS (for the first 100 visitors) from 6 to 8pm on Monday 7 February
Sign up for the giveaway through the website. (Ts & Cs apply)
Apple Butter Café
This east meets west fusion café has landed in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden. A real apple tree takes centres stage (probs. for the gram) plus delicious sounding Middle Eastern day time fare such as Goat Labneh Salad – with Mesclun, baby spinach, caramelised walnuts, goji berries and balsamic dressing; Chicken Yakitori – served with honey mustard mayo, baby rocket, pickles and soya sesame oil; and their signature Lotus Flower dessert – filled with chocolate ganache, chocolate chips, and topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. Plus, get your coffee fix from their range of speciality coffees including ‘cold brew’ brewed in room temperature for 8-12 hours.
Bar Douro City
Portuguese restaurant and wine bar for 2020? Yes please! Bar Douro has opened a second city spot in Broadgate, Liverpool Street. Regional Portuguese wines along with contemporary food from restaurateur Max Graham, who spent his childhood in Porto, where his family’s business,
Churchill's Port, has been producing wine in the Douro Valley for over two centuries. Re. the food – think small plates like Croquetes de Alheira (croquettes with smoked sausage) and Pataniscas de Bacalhau (salt cod fritters) to bigger plates like Red Mullet, along with everyone’s fave Portuguese sweet: Pastel de Nata, served with cinnamon ice cream.
Soft launch offer: 50% off food from 28 January until 11 February (email email@example.com to book).
This popular Parisian hamburgé joint has a second stab at the London market. Big Fernand’s 1st London site opened in Percy Street W1 a few years back but sadly didn’t last. Now they’re back, this time in South Kensington.
We loved their Big Fernand the first time round featuring a generous-sized organic, responsibly sourced French beef patty between freshly baked brioche buns with Tomme de Savoie cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and Big Fernand’s tangy, moreish cocktail sauce – so we’re ready to get back in the queue. Plus, in suitably French style, you can pick up freshly Fresh pastries for breakfast too; Tartine or Ficelle beurrée bread baked on site.
Chatting Food Contributor Jo Aspin
Half American / half (born and bred) Londoner, Jo Aspin is a food writer and established freelance food, drink and lifestyle PR. She’ll be reporting on all the latest restaurant openings and news from the capital. When she’s not eating her way around London, she’s planning her next trip abroad: Next stop Tamil Nadu.