Welcome to our weekly digest of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: pubs, pies and Pret
Pop-up project The Cornish Grill, which has residencies at The Adam & Eve in Homerton and The Three Crowns in Stoke Newington, has acquired Fitzrovia’s The Newman Arms. The pub — which dates back to 1730 and featured in two of George Orwell’s novels — became known more recently for its upstairs pie room but shut earlier this year with the owners announcing plans to open a new pie pub in Stoke Newington. It will re-open for drinks next week, with a 24-cover restaurant to follow on the first floor in June. As at The Cornish Grill’s other sites, the menu will use top-notch produce sourced directly from Cornish farmers and fishermen — it remains to be seen whether a pie will feature.
Pret A Dinner
Reliable lunchtime spot Pret has branched out into dinner, with its Strand branch now serving evening meals from 6-11pm. The store has introduced wine, beer, table service, proper cutlery and background jazz as well as a menu that includes spicy meatballs, warm flat-bread with dips, salt beef toasties and Korean pulled pork. The move is an attempt to attract customers who’d otherwise be in restaurants or bars, but the chain says it currently has no plans to roll the concept out to further branches.
Sakura No Hana
Plush St James’s Japanese Sake No Hana will be celebrating the cherry blossom season — known as sakura in Japan — with a pop-up that runs until 20 June. As is now an annual tradition for the restaurant, its bar area will be decked out with cherry blossom and two real cherry trees in full bloom. A special menu of floral food, tea and cocktails will be served to match, including a cheesecake made with fresh cherries and cherry blossom macarons.
English country (sky) garden
When the Sky Garden opened atop the Walkie Talkie early this year, it promised seasonally changing themes — now it’s time for the first of these. For the duration of spring the area occupied by the Sky Pod bar will be transformed into an eccentric English country garden complete with fake lawn, daffodils and vintage bikes. There’ll be a summery assortment of cocktails to match, along with live music sessions every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 17 April. Details and booking on the Sky Garden website.
This week Covent Garden fried chicken joint Joe’s Southern Kitchen opened in Kentish Town, Taiwanese street food sensation Bao London launched its first bricks and mortar site on Soho’s Lexington Street, the fourth Ottolenghi café and deli opened in Spitalfields, and fast-service Vietnamese banh mi shop Whaam Banh Mi arrived on Soho’s Great Windmill Street. On Friday Old Street’s Korean fast-food restaurant On The Bab opens a second site in Covent Garden. You might want to check out this one night only pop-up cocktail bar in Sydenham on Saturday, too.
Next Monday (13) sees Stevie Parle’s latest restaurant Craft open in Greenwich, following on from his sites Dock Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove and Rotorino in Dalston. It will be on soft launch with 50% off food until 27 April. Later in the week Alan Yau’s very long awaited ‘Chinese gastropub’ The Duck & Rice will open on Soho’s Berwick Street, fried chicken and sours restaurant Chick N Sours will launch on Kingsland Road and Spanish chef José Pizarro — who has tapas bar José and restaurant Pizarro on Bermondsey Street — will open a combination of the two in the form of José Pizarro at the Broadgate development near Liverpool Street.
In June Spanish restaurant group Camino will open a restaurant in the Bankside area, adding to existing sites in King’s Cross, Blackfrairs and Monument. In the south east, The Peckham Peculiar reports that Mickey Smith, who runs the CLF Art Café in the Bussey Building, is set to open CLF Art Lounge above Jenny’s café in the arcade adjoining Peckham Rye station this summer. It will be a “a place for grown-ups to come, chill, chat, vibe and be entertained” says the paper. And in chain news, coffee and café group Benugo will shortly open in Hammersmith’s Lyric theatre, while healthy fast food restaurant Leon has announced a profit for the first time and is planning 19 new sites mostly in London.
We round-up London’s biggest food and drink news stories and the latest new and upcoming restaurant openings in this handy digest every Thursday afternoon. See our previous editions.
The Best Food And Drink In London — recommendations of where to enjoy the capital’s top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.
New Restaurant Reviews — our views on London’s latest openings.
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