With Londoners looking forward to restaurant terraces opening 12 April and a full opening on 17 May, there has been a steady flow of new opening announcements. Many of these new restaurants were due to launch in 2020 and some did open briefly between Covid-19 lockdowns. Spring brings better news and a raft of welcome new dining experiences, including these seven hotly anticipated restaurants.
SUMI, Notting Hill
From the team behind Michelin-starred Endo at the Rotunda, SUMI in Notting Hill is a more casual addition to sushi master Endo Kazutoshi’s popular White City establishment. Until they launch on 17 May, SUMI is offering home delivery or collection. The menu for home delivery is extensive and gives diners a good idea of what to expect when they visit the restaurant in May. The impressive menu includes a fantastic selection of sashimi and sushi alongside robata grilled salmon, tuna two ways, bara chirashi – a selection of premium fresh and cured fish – lean Akami tuna, fatty Toro tuna, Japanese Hamachi yellowtail, Scottish scallops, sea bream and unagi eel. The Omakase Box is really special with Chef Endo’s daily-changing selection of fresh and cured fish, including the signature unagi and ikura. The sashimi offering is really varied and outstanding with three types of tuna, scallops, yellowtail, sea bass and salmon, served with caviar, rice, seaweed and wasabi. Vegans are also catered to with SUMI’s signature vegetable roll, deep friend Agedashi tofu, seasonal mushroom rice, grilled vegetables and Kompu garden salad.
Darjeeling Express, Covent Garden
Asma Khan, Chef and Owner of the successful Darjeeling Express and the first British Chef to be featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, launched her new restaurant in London’s Covent Garden in December. Government restrictions meant that home delivery was soon the only option so it will be great to see this Indian gem launch properly on 19 May. Darjeeling Express is run by an all-women team in the kitchen and the focus is Indian food lovingly cooked from family recipes that go back to generations. The menu features a well-thought out mix of street food like papri chaat and royal recipes like lamb dum biryani, covering all of India, from Calcutta in the east to Hyderabad in the south.
Award-winning Japanese restaurant Hot Stone has just opened a second London location, this time in Fitzrovia. Sushi, sashimi and signature hot stone steak is currently available for delivery and collection, before officially opening in May. With 19 years of experience in some of the country’s most prestigious restaurants, including Tsukiji, Nobu and Zuma, Executive Chef Padam Raj Rai’s menu includes sushi, with an extensive range of hot and chilled sashimi, carpaccio and razor sharp maki, hand-shaped and sliced fresh to order. Menu highlights include 48 hour marinated Black Cod, Japanese Wagyu don and grilled avocado with passion fruit and spicy mayonnaise. Hot dishes are also excellent, particularly the grilled aubergine with saikyo miso and sesame and the terriyaki grilled octopus. And for really special dinners, the Hot Stone Omakase box takes diners on a 24-step culinary journey of authentic and innovative Japanese cuisine. While fresh and sustainable produce is locally sourced, traditional specialty ingredients come straight from Japan – Sanpuku Nori grown at the shores of the Ariake Sea, premium Koshihikari rice, widely considered to be the best sushi rice grown in Japan, aged soy sauce (up to 30 years matured) and real Japanese wasabi, grated freshly to enjoy with sushi at home. Hot Stone Fitzrovia is also one of just nine restaurants in the UK to serve certified Kobe beef. The restaurant interiors have been inspired by the philosophy of minimalism and Japanese design, with traditional wooden paneling and beautiful artwork by 18th century Japanese ukiyo-e painter Hokusai Katsushika.
Farina, Notting Hill
Pizza restaurants are a dime a dozen but Farina Pizzeria Napoletana is really special. It was born out of the passion of two friends wanting to share their love of traditional, authentic pizza with pizza lovers across the capital. The eat-in restaurant will open in May but in the meantime, pizzas are available for home delivery. Co-owner Edy has already been a successful entrepreneur before opening Farina, having launched Terrone & Co in 2011, a coffee micro-roastery, based in North London. The focus at Farina is on real Neapolitan ingredients starting with the dough being made daily on site in the traditional way. The secret is live yeast and Caputo farina (flour) and it’s slow fermented twice up to 48 hours. This way it’s fresh and easy to digest with a puffy cornicione (crust). The pizzas are stretched by hand in the traditional shape of ruota di carro (carriage wheel) always over 12” diameter with a generous raised cornicione. San Marzano tomatoes which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana are other key special fresh ingredients. The brick pizza oven was handmade for Farina by Italian artisans on the outskirts of Naples. The ‘biscotto’ (stone base) on which the pizzas are baked was crafted by arguably the oldest and the last artisan workshop of its kind. The range and taste of pizzas is superb from the simple Margherita with fiordilatte mozzarella to the Salsiccia e Friarielli with Italian sausage and Neapolitan wild broccoli.
Los Mochis, Notting Hill
The spirit of Mexico meets Japanese elegance at Los Mochis, a new Pan-Pacific restaurant opening in Notting Hill on 17 May. Sure to be a foodie highlight of London openings this spring, the Taco Menu elevates this classic Mexican dish to gourmet level with luxury ingredients, such as miso black cod and Yakiniku steak. Also on the menu is an array of ceviches, tostadas and tiraditos. There’s even a selection of Maki rolls inspired by the team’s extensive and award-winning Japanese experience. Desserts will include Churro Ice Cream Sando, Tarta de Merengue de Ancho Chile Limoěn and the delectable sounding Cajeta de Dulce de Leche Fondant. The decor is sure to be a hit too, with a new mural from Mexican artist Jorge Tellaeche, renowned for his dreamlike landscapes.
Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Soho
Syrian chef Imad Alarnab started off his food career working as a restaurateur in Damascus, where he ran two restaurants alongside a number of juice bars and cafes. However, during the Battle of Damascus, he lost his entire business and was forced to flee the city in 2015. He travelled through Europe, cooking for refugees along the way, before reaching the UK where he raised thousands of pounds for charity Choose Love. Next month Imad will open his own bricks and mortar restaurant in London’s Kingly Court. Expect superior falafel, lamb shoulder and other much loved Syrian dishes.
Cafe Deco, Bloomsbury
Anna Tobias was previously at the River Cafe, Blueprint Cafe with Jeremy Lee and Head Chef at Margot Henderson’s acclaimed Rochelle Canteen. Here, she’s teamed up with the owners of 40 Maltby Street, the popular bistro and wine shop under railway arches near London Bridge to launch Cafe Deco. Simple, seasonal and hearty small plate dishes are served alongside a selection of natural wines. Keeping things local and seasonal, the menu will change regularly, with dishes like Cauraro (fresh anchovy, potato, pea and Cicoria stew, braised lamb shank and orzo and kale, lentil and rice stew