If you want to eat at London’s hottest new restaurants this year, you’ll quickly become familiar with three concepts, spelled out in four words: France. Resurrection. Jeremy King.
There will be so much French food and wine flowing around London, it might start to look like a Jean-Luc Godard film. Diners will be forgiven for thinking they accidentally got on the Eurostar and ended up on the other side of the English Channel.
The Franco-gastro scene in London is expanding to encompass the cozy food of Lyon, the splashy scene of the Riviera and the hearty cuisine of Alsace. And there will be a seemingly unlimited number of French-styled beverage programs: There might not be any wine left in France come summer. It’s the evolution of the trend of Parisian bistros taking over London that kicked off in earnest about a year ago.
Another thing you’ll see: the rebirth of some the hottest places in town in the noughties, or even further back in time. Spots like Tom Sellers’ innovative dining destination Restaurant Story, and Julie’s, the fabulous West London hangout, are getting proper makeovers.
But if there’s one person breathing new life into old restaurants, it’s Jeremy King. The venerable restaurateur made headlines in 2022 when he was pushed out of the restaurant group he co-founded—and establishments he started, namely the Wolseley. In 2024 he’ll welcome diners to three notable projects, including Simpsons in the Strand, which first started serving guests in 1828, and Arlington. The latter is conveniently located around the corner from the Wolseley.
And there’s more happening in London’s restaurants than just French food and reborn classics. In the next few months, openings will be held for a four-story Singaporean emporium and the second location of Notting Hill’s beloved Mexican-Japanese restaurant Los Mochis—the new one opening on a Liverpool Street rooftop has a license to serve drinks until 3 a.m. Here’s to great dining in 2024 at the 16 places that follow.
Restaurant Story, Southwark
Tom Sellers is inviting food lovers back to his flagship spot, which closed last February for a renovation that cost £2.5 million ($3.2 million). The high-profile chef wasn’t just overseeing construction during that hiatus; he opened Dovetale at 1 Hotel Mayfair, which serves one of London’s best roast chickens and a fantastical Knickerbocker Glory. Back at Restaurant Story, he’s serving the kind of quietly luxurious high-end food he’s become known for. The £250 nine-course tasting menus served at lunch and dinner start with a “candle” course, featuring beef extract and Parker House rolls, followed by barbecued langoustine tails and roasted crown of duck with barrel-aged vinegar. The expanded wine list will include 500 bottles, both old and new world, which you can explore around a brand-new fire pit for before- or after-dinner drinks. Opening: Jan. 12
Julie’s, Holland Park
Julie’s has attracted a glam crowd since it started pouring Champagne in the mid-’60s. In 2022 it closed. And now it’s back. New owner (and former Julie’s regular) Tara MacBain tapped chef Owen Kenworthy, a veteran of the kitchens at Brawn and the Pelican, to oversee the all-day French brasserie menu. There will be seafood towers from the raw fish counter, plus a roving martini trolley (and more Champagne). The 160-seat place in Kensington includes a two-level dining room and a terrace for nice weather. MacBain says diners will hear “the melodies of live piano music, in keeping with the restaurant’s history of attracting A-list musical talents from The Rolling Stones to Tina Turner,” to namecheck a few celebrities that frequented the place. Opening: Spring
Gilgamesh, Covent Garden
For years this was one of the restaurant world’s more over-the-top spaces, an 800-seat extravaganza that featured images of the namesake hero in the £12 million design when it opened in 2006. But things change, and now, after being closed for a few years, Gilgamesh has relaunched in central London in a more compact space—only 160 seats. The place is definitely still theatrical, with a pan-Asian menu ranging from small plates of popcorn shrimp with miso mayo, Japanese pizza with truffled tuna and baskets of dumplings to entrees like robata grilled lamb chops and cauliflower steaks. There are ubiquitous pornstar martinis, as well as sake-infused drinks. At 10 p.m. a DJ takes over in the late lounge. Opened: Jan. 2
Simpson’s in the Strand, Covent Garden
Simpson’s got its start almost 200 years ago, long before Covent Garden was the tourist-packed theater district it is now. This year it will reopen under the leadership of Jeremy King. The updated Savoy hotel restaurant, spreading out over two floors, is being done by architecture and design studio BradyWilliams. But be on the lookout for chess motifs, which was very much a theme of the original. Like the design, the updated food will pay homage to the traditional Simpsons playbook, with steak-and-kidney pie and roasted beef rib, King’s team says. Opening: Autumn
The New Spots
Chef Claude Bosi was busy in 2023, opening the elegant rooftop spot Brooklands in the Peninsula London and the stylish, Mediterranean-leaning Socca. His newest spot is more family-oriented; he’s partnered with his wife, Lucy, serving dishes his grandmother Josephine cooked for him. There’s a mix of Lyonnaise specialties, such as sausages cooked in brioche with a Beaujolais sauce, and bistro classics like French onion soup and rabbit in mustard sauce. The wine program includes a bin-end menu, with deals on bottles that will be revolving off the list. The place was designed to evoke a local Burgundian spot with an inviting blue facade and a few cafe seats arrayed out front on Fulham Road. Opening: January
The team behind Newington Green cult favorite Perilla—which features the best bread and butter in London—is bringing its natural wine and culinary sensibility to the Exmouth Market neighborhood. Ben Marks and Matthew Emmerson, along with chef Daniel Fletcher, will highlight a Mediterranean menu of dishes, including Santa Lucia-style octopus (stewed with tomatoes and garlic), salt-baked poussin, and hake with sobrasada sauce. The restaurant is set in a former bank: Almost 70 seats are arrayed around the open kitchen, and a convivial wine bar focuses on small, idiosyncratic producers. Opening: February
Camille, Borough Market
In the past year destination restaurants like Rambutan, Kolae and Akara have been rolling into Borough Market. Up next is Camille, a 40-seat French wine bar and restaurant from Clare Lattin and Tom Hill of Ducksoup fame and chef Elliot Hashtroudi, a veteran of St. John and the hip wine bar 107. The menu will offer inspired bistro dishes made with local produce from the market, with options such as tete de veau schnitzel, fennel-brown butter custard tart and a pasta of the day. The wine list is oriented toward small French labels. Opening: February
Ellen Chew has been pushing Singaporean food in London for years at her Singapulah pop-up concept—this winter will see the inaugural brick-and-mortar incarnation. The four-floor concept on Shaftesbury Avenue will feature rotating food-and-design purveyors, retail and a 100-or-so-seat dining space for guests to get a taste of the city-state’s cuisine. Chew’s grand project is being supported by the Singaporean government; its tourism board is helping promote it. Opening: February
This spot once was home to the celebrity-jammed hangout Le Caprice. Now the unstoppable restaurateur King is relaunching it as Arlington, named after the street it’s on. King says the design will have a familiar look, but adds that, “for things to remain the same, they have to change.” (The social media hashtag: #NotLeCaprice.) The menu will feature some of Le Caprice’s classics, re-created by the hot spot’s former chef, Will Halsall. Among the place’s more famous dishes, back in the day: salmon fishcakes, the shrimp burger, chicken alla Milanese. The restaurant’s famed maitre d’, Jesus Adorno, will also return for action. Opening: Early March
Los Mochis City, The City
At its Notting Hill flagship, Los Mochis specializes in the surprisingly scintillating mashup of Mexican and Japanese cuisines. This spring, a City outpost makes its much-anticipated debut up in the sky on the ninth floor at 100 Liverpool Street. At the vast, 14,000-square foot restaurant, founder Markus Thesleff and chef Leonard Tanyag, a Nobu veteran, have transplanted popular dishes like Trailer Park chicken tacos; new entrees will include DIY tacos centered around platters of Wagyu Tomahawk chops and king crab legs. Also different from Notting Hill: a sushi bar and robata grill, an agave bar and an outdoor terrace with major views. The place will cater to the City crowd by serving breakfast in the morning and drinks until 3 a.m. Opening: March
The Park, Bayswater
Set in a wraparound corner space at the base of the Park Modern building, this brasserie is another project from the very busy restaurateur King. The 215-seat spot is in a new space with plenty of terrace seating; King says the atmosphere will evoke the sort of place you might find around Central Park. In fact, the all-day Grand Cafe menu has an American theme. Opening: May
Last year, the historic Langham London was home to one of the city’s most engaging dining experiences, the Caribbean-fired Good Front Room from chef Dominic Taylor. This year, the hotel is bringing a new kind of party to the property. Mimosa, an outpost of the popular Paris restaurant from the Moma Group, will bring French Riviera energy to Mayfair in the space formerly occupied by Michel Roux. Now the dining room will feature turquoise-colored banquettes and apricot-hued chairs, and a sunny, Mediterranean menu from Jean-François Piège. Opening: Spring
Akira Back and Dosa, Mayfair
Akira Back’s restaurants dot the globe, from Paris to Seoul to Toronto. His first entry into London will be at the 50-room Mandarin Oriental Mayfair in Hanover Square with a pair of dining concepts and a bar. At his eponymous 148-seat restaurant, the Korean-born former pro snowboarder will serve signature dishes like the sashimi-topped AB Tuna Pizza and 48-hour short ribs cooked galbi style. For London, he’s introducing a handful of dishes, including wagyu tempura Wellington. At the 14-seat Dosa, he’ll serve modern Korean dishes. And his ABar Lounge will be a late-night cocktail venue with duck spring rolls and other snacks. Opening: Spring
Yet another good opportunity to drink natural wine in London is coming, on Charlotte Street. Chef Holly Hayes, who used to head up the kitchen at the OG of wine bars, 40 Maltby Street, is overseeing the French-Alsatian all-day menu, which will start with pastries in the morning and sandwiches at lunch; later in the day, there will be dishes such as halibut, clams and leeks with white wine and vin jaune butter sauce, plus charcuterie and cheese plates. Saturday lunches will feature whole roast chicken with housemade mayo. Owners Solynka Dumas, a food writer, and Julian Oschmann got the idea for their homey restaurant and menu from hosting supper clubs in Berlin during lockdown. Opening: Spring
The rollout of high-profile dining rooms at the commanding £1.4 billion OWO continues with this outpost of the fashionable Milan-based empire, which also has restaurants at the Cheval Blanc Paris hotel and, soon, in Miami. The seafood focused menu will adhere to the brand’s made-in-Italy philosophy, with the kind of luxe dishes it’s become known for—fried red prawns with scampi and calamari and spaghetti with rock lobster—as well as some dishes that will be created exclusively for London. Opening: Autumn
The Garden Cobham, Surrey
Ashley Palmer-Watts is fresh off the opening of London’s buzziest holiday season restaurant, the Devonshire pub in Piccadilly Circus. Next up in 2024, the former Fat Duck Group chef will spend some time in a more bucolic environment: He’s starting the Garden Cobham in a picturesque Victorian property in Cobham, with an array of eating and drinking options. The first phase of the opening will feature a wine bar with 50 seats and a menu of small plates, as well as a bakery and a cafe with 30 seats inside and 80 in the courtyard; a couple months later comes a 35-seat, fine-dining restaurant. Eventually, the space will have a handful of rooms for guests who don’t want to go anywhere after feasting in the idyllic setting.Opening: Spring