Best Dishes at 11 New London Restaurants: Rabbit Lasagne to Spicy Burger
There are so many new restaurants in London, it can be difficult to choose where to go.
So I asked the chefs and restaurateurs at 11 establishments about dishes that are in demand and gaining attention. Here are the popular dishes.
Grilled Bones With Parmesan and Parsley Salt: 45 Jermyn St.
This starter at the new all-day brasserie behind Fortnum & Mason references an historic dish from the same site and nods to chef Fergus Henderson's most famous creation at St. John: Roast bone marrow & parsley salad. Here, the herb shows up in a small pile of salt, and beside it is Parmesan cheese. The bone marrow has a fat, buttery texture. It's reminiscent of wagyu beef. Spread it on toast, only spread it thin.
45 Jermyn St., Piccadilly, SW1 6DN; +44-20-7205-4545
Rabbit Confit Lasagne, Tomato Compote: The Ninth
Chef Jun Tanaka wanted to create a dish that combined familiarity with the unusual and came up with this edible Watership Down. The meat is confited in duck fat and mixed with chicken mousse and diced shallots, celeriac and carrots. It's layered between sheets of pasta topped with a béchamel made with Pommery and Dijon mustard and served on a tomato compote.
23 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2NB; +44-20-3019-0880
El Chappo: Lucky Chip Burgers & Wine
One of London's finest burger companies has a new home on a market in Dalston. It's worth the journey to East London for regular burger lovers as well as aficionados to try options such as El Chappo. The patty (with aged meat from Walter Rose & Son) is grilled and then steamed under a cloche, with smoked bacon, Colston Bassett blue cheese, roasted jalapeños and aioli, served in a seeded bun. You can pay £3 to upgrade to dry-aged Galician beef but the cheese and chili flavors are so strong, it's probably not worth it.
25 Ridley Road, Dalston, E8 2NP; (no phone)
Beef With Clams, Juices & Cured Radishes: L.C. @ Climpson's Arch
Chef Leandro Carreira focuses on the flavors of his native Portugal. Here, he quickly grills aged topside so it is charred, yet almost raw, then extracts the juice of cockles bulhao pato (with garlic, coriander and lemon juice) and mixes it in with kudzu (a climbing plant) and cured radishes, finishing with coriander oil. The dense, earthy flesh gains a salty, maritime flavor and fragrance, like a sailor on home leave.
Arch 374 Helmsley Place, Hackney, E8 3SB; (no phone)
Cornish Whiting, Button Mushrooms, Shiitake & Meyer Lemon: Frenchie
Greg Marchand says button mushrooms are underrated, but they need a lot of work to bring out the flavor. He makes a fragrant broth, then a caramelized button mushroom puree, bright with lemon juice and a touch of aged balsamic. He marinates shiitakes in shiro dashi (stock) with three-cornered garlic and then makes a Meyer lemon puree, like a savory curd. He dusts discs of raw button mushrooms with black Iranian lemon so there is bitterness, sweetness and acidity. Finally, the whiting is poached slowly in brown butter, and finished with Brussel tops.
16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2 8QH; +44-20-7836-4422
Samphire Pakoras: Kricket
This tiny restaurant in a shipping container is drawing fans of modern Indian food to Brixton, in South London. The samphire pakoras well-represent Kricket's style of marrying Indian spicing with British ingredients. The batter is made with gram flour and pinches of turmeric and Kashmiri chili powder. After frying, a tamarind and date chutney is drizzled on top, while chili-garlic mayonnaise is served on the side. The spicing is subtle, with more sweetness than heat.
Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, Brixton, SW9 8PQ; (no phone)
Crispy Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Breast & Yoghurt: Oklava
This is one of the most popular dishes at this contemporary Turkish restaurant. Chef Selin Kiazim braises the lamb breasts (from butcher Turner & George) overnight in a stock with onions and bay leaves, debones them in the morning and finishes them to order on the plancha. Pomegranate molasses, together with cider vinegar and sugar, make for a sweet & sour flavor, while the texture of the meat is both crispy and soft. It's served on a bed of yogurt.
74 Luke Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4PY; +44-20-7729-3032
Tsukemen: Tonkotsu, Notting Hill
Thick wheat noodles are chilled in iced water and topped with rolled pork belly, egg and spring onion, served cold. They come with a hot broth built on a soy sauce base, with pork bones cracked and simmered in it for 18 hours and rice added for texture. The chef sprinkles bonito flakes on top for additional flavor. The result is a thick, deep and rich gravy that is salty, with fish notes at the end. The difference in temperatures adds another dimension as the flavors are released.
7 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2EE; +44-20-7221-8300
Alsacienne Tarte Flambée: Bellanger
This is the new restaurant of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the owners of the Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel. Here, the inspiration is the original Alsatian brasseries of Paris, so what better than that most typical of dishes, a tarte flambée? There are three options for this thin-rolled unlevened dough that is rolled very thin and topped with crème fraiche and cooked on a pizza stone. Chef Lee Ward tops the Alsacienne with smoked bacon chopped fine and soft white onions for a flavor that is both fresh and salty.
9 Islington Green, Islington, N1 8DU; +44-20-7226-2555
Pithivier of Littlebourne Snails, Madeira Jus: Piquet
Chef Allan Pickett gets his snails from the H&RH Escargots farm in his native Kent. Unlike their fatter French cousins, which reach the U.K. in cans, these sweet little beauties arrive at the restaurant live. Picket, who previously cooked at L'Escargot, braises them and then adds a chicken mousse colored green with chlorophyll extracted from parsley. Diced smoked bacon and baby onions go into the mix in a small pancake that is snuggled into puff pastry that receives a double wash with Cornish eggs. The flavor of this starter is sweet and salty. If you haven't tried snails, don't worry. It's just slow food.
20 Savile Row, London W1S 3PR; +44-20-7534-7000
Parmesan gnocchi, venison ragu: Bernardi's
Chef Sabrina Gidda braises Lake District shoulder of venison for nine hours and creates a rich sauce with juniper, sage and rosemary. The big flavors are warm and comforting for cold days, while the Parmesan gnocchi (pan-fried for crispness) are light, with a hint of sharpness for balance.
62 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 5BN; +44-20-3826 7940
Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines