With luck, 17 May is D-Day, with restaurants being allowed to open to diners inside. All of which means that many more new restaurants will be opening for the first time. Here's what you've got to look forward to.
Brand new openings
Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London W2 6HY
We've been eagerly awaiting this one for a while, but it's looking like the opening of London's first canal-based cheese restaurant is finally upon us. From the people who brought us the Cheese Truck and the much-Instagrammed cheese conveyor belt of Pick & Cheese, this is lined up to be another hit for them. We already crave their aligot that's laced with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire.
Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby London W1B 5PW
Imad's Syrian restaurant is another place which has had a few false starts and which came very close to opening in December. Starting life as an extremely popular supper club, founder Imad has had a long journey to this restaurant and it's already looking like one of the key openings of the year. Expect the classic Syrian food that was a hit at the pop-ups. And - talking of which - you can visit Imad's falafel popup before the main restaurant launch.
16 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4HW
Top French chef Cyril Lignac (bit of a TV star over there) is landing in Mayfair, taking over the space that was once Indian Accent. We're promised a modern French menu and it's definitely worth keeping an eye on the restaurant's desserts, like the vanilla and pecan praline mille-feuille.
10 Godliman St, London EC4V 5AJ
With more focus on alfresco than ever, news of a new rooftop space is always welcome (Sabine's imminent opening has been a very popular news story here on Hot Dinners). This rooftop bar has an amazing view of St Paul's, a stripped back look and greenery throughout. The launch menu should include dishes like burrata with white peach, pistachio and toast.
4 Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7AT
This new hotel is the latest from a group known for the NoMad in NYC (the name actually stands for North of Madison Square Park). Taking over the Bow Street Magistrates Court, this is a truly beautiful building and there's an NYC NoMad alumni, Ashley Abodeely, in charge of the food too. The space will have several bars and eating spots and the cocktails should be worth seeking out.
1 Geffrye Street, London, E2 8JH
This new museum cafe in Hoxton is from the same people as the Anchor & Hope in Waterloo and the more recently opened Clarence Tavern in Stoke Newington. So the team has a good track record and this bistro and bar looks set to continue that. The all day restaurant will serve up everything from potted shrimps to rabbit lasagne.
Opening to diners for the first time
These restaurants may have already opened for delivery and takeaway, but as they've had no outside space, this is their first time serving customers at their restaurants.
121-123 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3RH
This is the second Elliot's after their successful first opening in Borough. The restaurant has been open during lockdown doing a roaring trade in takeaway pizzas - but this will be their first opportunity to open as an actual restaurant. We're told there will be a great natural wine list too.
Guildford Street, Holborn, WC1N1EH
We actually had the chance to pop down for the launch event of WC Bloomsbury which managed to open for just a few days before having to lock down. Being a converted Victorian loo means alfresco space is not available, but we found it to be a beautiful looking room that's well worth checking out when it returns. They have a stellar charcuterie board.
301-303 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4HH
Republic got a fair bit of press after being featured by the BBC as a restaurant on the brink of opening in December 2020 but never making it. They've been doing delivery since then, but this will be the first opportunity to dine in at the restaurant from two Kricket alumni (formerly a pop-up which has found a permanent location),
101 Rosendale Road, London SE21 8EZ
Heritage is from an ex-Tamarind chef, and aims to cook "nostalgic family-taught dishes and unusual foods from lesser-known Indian regions and communities". They've kicked off with a delivery menu of set dining sharing boxes but this will be the first time they have people dining-in.
Sixes (Fitzrovia) - an indoor cricket pub with food by Mac & Wild
Maru (Mayfair) - the original Taka becomes an omakase restaurant
Humble Chicken (Soho) - Angelo Sato has been serving up a reduced menu on the terrace (the chicken katsu sando looks amazing) but later in May will be the first time the full yakitori menu is unleashed.
Lost Mochis (Notting Hill) - this is a mash-up of Mexican and Japanese cuisines with dishes including a truffled scrambled egg taco
Anya Cafe (Knightbridge) - Anya Hindmarch is opening a mini shopping village and this cafe will be part of it.
INO (Soho) - The latest from the people behind Opso, this is a Greek restaurant that focuses on live-fire grilling.
081 Pizzeria (Peckham) - Having started doing delivery this pizza restaurant at Peckham Levels is from one of the founders of Streatham's much-lauded Bravi Razgazzi.
Cin Cin (Fitzrovia) - This Italian restaurant comes via Brighton, where the original has been a big hit.
More new opening (and upcoming restaurants)...
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