It’s that time again, folks! Here are the hottest openings to look forward to in August.
A mangal and Raki bar in Marylebone
Yes, Marylebone is getting its very own Turkish tavern. This grill restaurant and bar will be serving cold meze, hot starters, grilled dishes, and clay oven baked dishes and sides; there will even be a coal pit for roasting lamb.
Lovely vegetable dishes such as golden beetroot served with garlic and dill will make an appearance too, as will manti, which are like little Turkish dumplings served with yoghurt sauce and chilli oil. We love them. They’ll also serve what is arguably the best Turkish dessert of all time – kunefe – a syrup-soaked pastry dish with a molten cheese centre.
There will be Turkish wines on the list, something we’re seeing much more of in recent years, and drinks man Matt Whiley has been commissioned to draw up a cocktail of Raki-based refreshments.
Yosma, 50 Baker Street, W1U 7B. Open: 22 August for a 2 week soft launch, 50% off lunch and dinner.
Coastal Peruvian cuisine
Yet another Peruvian restaurant has opened in London, this time on King’s Road. Chicama comes from the people behind Marylebone restaurant Pachamama, which also serves Peruvian food.
The head chef has some pretty good creds too - he’s come from Maido, a top Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) restaurant in Peru and has earned stripes at many top London restaurants including Viajante (now closed) and Hélène Darroze at The Connaught.
The menu is based on coastal Peruvian cuisine so expect lots of fish on the menu, cooked on a Robata grill – a Japanese grill that uses a unique type of compressed wood charcoal.
Chicama, 383 King’s Road, SW10 0LP. Open: Now.
Cocktails, puppets and a taste of California
This unique pop up sounds like brilliant fun – food journalist and private caterer Charlie Nyereyegona will host an afternoon of cocktails and California inspired cuisine in a puppet shop in Clapham.
Sip a blood orange margarita or lime mojito before watching a puppet show and enjoying California style bites. Try a refreshing lobster gazpacho or avocado and coriander vegetarian alternative; chilli tequila chicken wings and sticky glazed sausages (or vegetarian alternative); grilled summer vegetables with green tequila salsa; corn cakes with Mexican chilli lamb or mushroom, beetroot and chipotle sauce.
There will then be another puppet show while you enjoy a couple of glasses of wine or beer. Non-alcoholic alternatives will also be available.
The pop-up takes place on 20 August, £25 per person all-inclusive. For the full menu and to book go to the Contact Us page at Charlie's Kitchen. Places are limited to 20.
Modern Basque in Covent Garden
Eneko Atxa will head up new Basque restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych. He’s behind Azurmendi, a restaurant in northern Spain which features in the controversial World’s 50 Best List.
Eneko says the restaurant will be “unpretentious” and “modern” in its approach to Basque cuisine, and dishes will feature ingredients such as suckling pig, pig’s trotter and rice pudding. We expect the latter may come a little more dressed up than the bog standard British version (not that there’s anything wrong with that – just keep the skin, thanks).
Eneko at One Aldwych, One Aldwych Hotel, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. Open: 1 August for soft launch until 1 September.
Home-style Bengali food in Fitzrovia
Shrimoyee Chakraborty has previously run successful Bengali pop-ups in her home, and now is launching a restaurant. Calcutta Street will open in Fitzrovia with a ground floor, no-reservations area, and a bookable downstairs dining room.
The food will be home-style, and dishes will include malai curry (jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce) and pithe (dessert pancakes made with rice flour with a coconut and jaggery filling).
The idea is to serve “Shrimoyee’s family dishes, passed down from mother to daughter over several generations but here made with great, seasonal British ingredients.”
Calcutta Street, 29 Tottenham Street, W1T 1RU. Open: 5 August. Soft launch with 20% off food throughout August.
Cha Chaan Teng Café for Holborn
Never heard of a Ch Chaan Teng café? The phrase means, literally, ‘tea restaurant’ and they’re found in China, where they serve Hong Kong-style Western cuisine.
It’ll be a whopping 170 covers, with a menu designed by School of Wok’s Jeremy Pang. Dishes will be affordable and along the lines of filled crusty rolls, chilli tiger prawns and crispy sea bream.
Super hip drinks team Soul Shakers will design a menu of cocktails inspired by tea culture.
Cha Chaan Teng, 36-38 Kingsway, WC2B 6EY. Open: 8 August with another month-long soft launch - 50% off food all month.
Do you think you're ready for Uzbeki?
A new Uzbeki restaurant will open on the old Fino site on Charlotte Street. Dishes will take inspiration from those eaten by founder Sanjar Nabiev during his childhood, and will include somsa, a pastry filled with lamb or sweet potato, and fatinon, a butter-laden, flaky bread. There will also be the rather unfortunately named jizbiz, which is lamb chops with potatoes. So, meat and carbs, then.
We’re sure there are plenty of vegetables to be had too, and we’ve been informed that some of the dishes will come with a shot of vodka, which is basically the same, right?
Samarkand, 33 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RR. Open: 12 August. Soft launch with 50% off food and drink from 12 August to 2 September.