Marie Le Fort.
Less transient than in New York, more creative than in Paris, London restaurants are experimenting as much on the plate as they are with the decor. Chefs coming from all horizons, brining with them Southern, Scandinavian and French flavours, in minimalist settings or an Art Deco ambiance, the culinary scene across the Channel is pulling out all the stops to surprise us. Often with the greatest simplicity.
By Massimo David Collins
The latest address to open within the brand new Corinthia palace, Massimo – the name of the Italian chef Massimo Riccioli – is located in the vast hall of the famous Victorian Metropole Hotel (1886). This Art Deco space, designed by the excellent David Collins, as with the menu, Massimo puts one at ease: a marble Oyster Bar, burnt orange benches and large glass and bronze suspended globes, the scenery is spectacular.
Following the well-deserved success of his Ottolenhgi ‘catering’ boutiques, the chef Yoram Ottolenhgi has finally opened his restaurant. He mixes sunny Middle Eastern recipes with Asian accents to offer us delights such as braised carrots, mung beans and smoked Labna, or grilled mackerel, fresh coconut and mint salad. In an all-white decor designed by Alex Meitlis, the moto of the chef is “quality, innovation, freshness and abundance” with the creativity to make NOPI a rival of the best addresses in Soho.
Bond & Brook in Fenwicks
Restaurants or cafes in department stores usually always fall short of expectations: an uncomfortable space surrounded by clothes and racks, nauseatingly high ceilings, an ill-conceived menu etc… But, located on the second floor of Fenwick’s on Bond Street, Bond & Brook is exactly the opposite: an airy space, serenely accented with neo-Scandinavian furniture, a silver bar worthy of a piece by Zaha Hadid, all topped off with a menu that seamlessly brings together each hour of the day. Developed by Sicilian chef Giuseppe Liccardello-Maglia, it ranges from the traditional toast and eggs Florentine for breakfast to a range of antipasti which features grilled octopus and caponata alongside a few seasonal dishes. Whether you desire a traditional English Afternoon Tea or Detox Menu, everything is possible at any hour, with an excellent espresso to boot… which is particularly impressive, as the machine is about a half-century old !
63 new Bond Street, W1A 3BS Londres
Koffmann’s at The Berkeley
French chef Pierre Koffmann is a London legend: recognized, for years, as one of the best addresses in town, his restaurant Tante Claire has won every reward there is. After taking a well deserved early-retirement, this insatiable gourmand put his hat back on to open Koffmann’s at The Berkeley, in the famous eponymous luxury hotel. With photos of Le Creuset pots and crusty loaves on the walls, large flower bouquets, a lounge and small alcoves furnished in the style of a tastefully decorated home, this address reconciles neo-bourgeois luxury and tradition in the heart of Knightsbridge, with the excellence of French cuisine to boot: scallops in ink and cauliflower puree, oven-baked Scottish lobster or the menu of the day, Koffmann’s is elegance on a plate.
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RL Londres.
Opened last July, Galoupet is a newcomer on the London scene: combining marble tables, bronze sconces and Scandinavian chairs by Hans J. Wegner, this bright little restaurant and wine bar is home to the cuisine of chef Chris Golding – the former chef at Zuma. Using a combination of Mediterranean accents and Asian influences, local products prevail on this menu such as with the aubergines in miso sauce and Shizo leaves or the mackerel, purple potatoes, pistachio, mint and lemon. Also offering a wine pairing for each dish, Galoupet delivers on every level: freshness and taste, wine and seasonal produce, gourmet sophistication and simplicity.
13 Beauchamp Place, SW3 1NQ Londres.
Viajante & The Corner Room : a culinary revolution
Established in the Town Hall Hotel in London, Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes offers us the height of delicacy, simplicity and creativity from his restaurant Viajante. It has recently been expanded to incorporate the more low-key Corner Room, as the success of this place means it is packed everyday in London’s eccentric East End. A perfectionist and close to nature, Nuno transcends genres with dishes such as his prawns served with a reduction of dry ink and watermelon, accompanied with pistachios, young leeks and garlic powder. The products are simple and carefully chosen from the best farmers and producers: the dishes explode with inspired flavour. As for the purity of the Corner Room, he puts together essential dishes: poached artichokes, salmon confit served with beets and radishes, lamb accompanied by grain and roasted garlic, and rhubarb crumble and lavender ice cream. This is an address to remember.
Patriot square, Betthenal Green, E2 9NF Londres.
Building on the success of the Fig restaurant in Clerkenwell, Danish Chef Christoffer Hruskova delved into in the heart of his northern roots last winter to open up North Road. On the menu, there is a palette of Scandinavian flavours, such as the smoked scallops, accompanied by a horseradish mayonnaise, apples, walnuts and bitter watercress. In a minimalistic space created by El Nino Design, bronze, brass, vintage pieces, and oak flooring create a beautiful atmospheric experience, alongside exceptional cuisine.
69-73 St John Street, East End, EC1M 4AN Londres.
Housed in a building designed by Claudio Silvestrin, L’Anima makes one think, from the outset, of an elegant museum restaurant with their glass ramps and designer furniture that makes up a ‘white on white’ decor. Translated from Italian, L’Anima means ‘soul’, a definition that chef Francesco Mazzei took to heart. Cooking with seasonal produce, he excels in reviving the essence of regional Italian cuisine in the heart of London, with dishes such as Zitoni, N’duja and Aubergine from his native Calabria, as well as a Sardinian fregola.
1 Snowden Street, Broadgate West, EC2A 2DQ.
Header : Repeating on the wall, the motifs of the mosaic floor, the Massimo restaurant is a treasure trove of detail designed by David Collins.