Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: airports, shoe shops and openings galore
Not long after it was announced that Heston Blumenthal will be opening in Heathrow T2, American website Daily Meal has listed their pick of the world’s top 35 (we’re not sure why that number) airport restaurants. London came in second place (after New York) with three making the list: Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks at Gatwick at 19, Giraffe at Heathrow at 18, and Plane Food by Gordon Ramsay at T5 at 12.
Shoe Shopping Pit Stop
Few guys could claim to enjoy shoe shopping, but this could all change thanks to serial restaurateur Mark Hix, who has opened up a bar in the men’s shoe-wear department of Selfridges. Serving cocktails designed by Nick Strangeway, Mark’s own oyster ale and restorative espressos, it’s a handy place to hide-out during Oxford Street Christmas shopping even if you’re not in the market for any footwear. Women can, of course, pop by too.
Ape & Bird
The team behind restaurant sensation Polpo open Ape & Bird in Soho today. Featuring four bars over three floors, the concept behind it is simple: a gastropub with good food, good beers and good service, the latter being particularly key. Set near touristy Leicester Square, where pubs are usually more comparable to rugby scrums than restaurants, it will be interesting to see how this pans out. We’ll be down to check it out soon.
Swinging open their doors this week is Boopshi’s, a new Austrian-themed joint for Fitzrovia specialising in schnitzels (chicken, pork and humanely-reared rose veal) and spritz. Kitchenette has launched in Putney serving sunny Mediterranean dishes, the first UK branch of a chain with outposts in New York and Moscow. Following the success of the Kentish Town original, a new Chicken Shop has opened in Tooting (a saturated market, you might think). And seafood-serving street food gang the Mussel Men have today officially launched their Kingsland Road residency.
Happy New Year
Looking further ahead, this week has seen some interesting announcements for 2014. Plush Japanese robatayaki restaurant group Roka will open two new sites, one in Mayfair in February and one in Aldwych in the summer. Sourdough pizza restaurant Franco Manca, which started in Brixton Market, has plans to open five more central London venues following its recent Tottenham Court Road launch. And celeb chef Raymond Blanc is in the process of bringing three new gastropubs to the capital.
Not got plans yet? Check out our guide to the special menus and events on around town tonight here.
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