London's Best New Restaurant Openings Of 2021

London's Best New Restaurant Openings Of 2021
The terrace at Chameleon, in Marylebone.

A lot of beloved London restaurants have closed permanently under the pressures of the last, brutal year. But there are still some good news stories ahead, with a bunch of new ventures and old favourites gearing up for spring and summer with launches, new branches and expanded outdoor seating.

Imad's Syrian Kitchen — Soho  

What's happening: A Syrian refugee, Imad Alarnab left behind his two Damascus restaurants and a string of cafes when he was forced to escape to Europe. After years of running his very successful residencies and pop ups in London, Alarnab's crowdfunded a bricks and mortar site in Kingly Court — and plans big, vivid sharing dishes, in a space inspired by his Damascene home.

Get excited about: Glorious things being done to vegetables in general, and aubergine in particular.

When: Opening in May, or in line with lockdown easing — till then you can find Alarnab's food at a pop up falafel bar on Ganton Street in partnership with Choose Love. £2 from every falafel box will be donated to help fund meals for people living in refugee camps.

Maru — Shepherd Market

What's happening: Taka are changing up their first London venue, and reopening as a counter dining, 10-cover omakase restaurant.

Get excited about: With chef Taiji Maruyama leading the restaurant — and his focus on the Japanese principle of 'shun', experiencing food in season and at its peak — expect a constantly changing menu and immaculately sourced ingredients. And a suitably enormous number of courses.

When: Opening in May, or in line with lockdown easing.

Eataly — Liverpool Street

What's happening: A big cluster of openings, really, with three restaurants and bars, and six 'eateries' — more of a market stall, counter seating vibe as far as we can tell — under one large roof. It'll be the 43rd Eataly in the world, but the first for the Torino-founded brand in the UK.

Get excited about: London's biggest Italian winery, handmade-while-you-watch pasta, and everything from Sicilian seafood and Tuscan stews to northern, cheese-heavy polentas.

When: TBC, but probably in May or in line with lockdown easing.  

Cincinnati Chilibomb — Shoreditch

What's happening: Big brioche loaves, chilli stuffed into its central hollow, topped with cheeses, fried onions, chilli oil, and jalapenos.

Get excited about: Their chilli oils — delivered in little syringes so you can inject it into the centre of the bun — the Scotch Bonnet oil's fiercely hot. And don't miss the vegan chilli (we reckon even smokier, punchier and better than the meat version), and the corn ribs.

When: Already open for takeaway and delivery — indoor dining will open in May or in line with lockdown easing.

Fenn — Fulham

What's happening: Seasonal British dishes, from the team behind Nest in Hackney — expect sourcing from small-scale farms and fishmongers, and indulgent set menus at around the £45 mark.  

Get excited about: Lincolnshire Poacher cheese & truffle dumplings.

When: Their terrace is opening from 12 April — indoor dining will open in May or in line with lockdown easing.

Chameleon — Marylebone

What's happening: A 'multi-experiential space', with a Tel Aviv-inspired menu and a home in Grade I listed building, One Marylebone.

Get excited about: Private dining in their four seater greenhouses, film nights, and a curated performance space inside the main building.

When: Their garden is opening from 23 April — indoor dining will open in May or in line with lockdown easing.

Marugame Udon — Liverpool Street

What's happening: The world's largest udon restaurant, from Japanese megachain Marugame Udon.

Get excited about: A modern riff on a traditional Kagawa-style udon kitchen, with the kama (udon boiler) taking centre stage. A good vegan offering, and a drinks list featuring Kanpai, London's only sake brewery.

When: July, 2021.

Campfire London — Barnsbury

What's happening: An outdoor space in the Two Tribes brewery yard — they aim to make it a community hub and entertainment space with music performances, and campfire cooking from guest chefs.

Get excited about: Steady flow of Two Tribes beer, a line up of big name chefs — switching between guests like Adam Handling, cooking there 19-20 April, and resident firejockeys From the Ashes BBQ, with their infamous 'nduja doughnuts, the rest of the time — and an informal space perfect for summer evenings.

When: 17 April, 2021.

Heritage — West Dulwich

What's happening: Modern Indian from chef Dayashankar Sharma, ex-Tamarind.

Get excited about: A strong vegetarian offering, dishes with influences from across India, and the Paneer Makhan Masala, rich, creamy, and steeped in a thick tomato and ginger sauce.

When: Open for delivery and takeaway — will open for dining in May or in line with lockdown easing.    

New branches

Cinquecento 500 — Notting Hill

What's happening: A third pizzeria for the west London chain.

Get excited about: Good pizza — with a proper Neapolitan puffy, chewy, lightly blistered crust. And slab of tiramisù by the generous slab.

When: Open for delivery and takeaway — will open for dining in May or in line with lockdown easing.

El Pastor — Soho

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by El Pastor (@tacos_el_pastor)

What's happening: A new taqueria across two floors, with a focus on seafood and a big mezcal list.

Get excited about: Most of the same things you'd be excited about at their Borough and King's Cross venues, with some new flourishes — including seafood tostadas and a crispy duck taco sharing dish.

When: June, 2021.

Rudy's Vegan Diner — Islington

Rudy's Dirty Vegan Burger

What's happening: More Rudy's outposts are good news for fans of the Camden original, or of the plant-based burger and hot dog meal kits they've been delivering through lockdown.

Get excited about: Vegan takes on US diner classics that feel just as sloppily filthy as the originals: mac and not-cheese, pretend-pastrami sandwiches, fake-milkshakes creaking under the weight of their toppings.

When: TBC.

Last Updated 04 April 2021