Evening Standard

Best new restaurants opening in London this October

“You want to be seriously off your rocker to open a restaurant now,” chef Richard Corrigan told the Standard last month. And this was before the government announced the 10pm curfew, a move which industry leaders have warned could be the “nail in the coffin” for many hospitality businesses.

And yet, here we are. As the restaurant world enters its own kind of spooky season, many in the industry are saying “boo” to the spectre of redundancies and venue closures, and are doing justice to years of planning by bravely opening their doors this October.

It is Londoners who reap the benefits. Diners in the capital can this month be treated to fine dining experiences from both Mexico and West Africa; an Indian restaurant juggernaut making its debut in the capital; a “behind the scenes” kitchen dinner in Hackney, and a Shoreditch newcomer with four big name chefs behind the pass.

Are this lot “off their rockers”? Let’s hope not, and give them all the support they need to succeed.

Kol

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A taco is a taco, right? Just a street-side snack, fast food? Not in the hands of Santiago Lastra. The man behind Noma Mexico has arrived in London to show the capital what Mexican fine dining looks like. One of the most highly anticipated openings of 2020 – and not just because its original May opening date went out of the window with lockdown – Kol has for months teased a taste of Lastra’s native Mexico, arriving in Marylebone via Copenhagen and the teachings of Rene Redzepi’s Noma. A tasting menu-only restaurant, dishes on the menus include a langoustine taco with smoked chilli and sea buckthorn and a tamal of chocolate steam cake for dessert, served with corn husk ice cream.

October 20, 9 Seymour Street, W1H 6BE, kolrestaurant.com

Pali Hill & Bhandra Bhai

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There is always sadness when a restaurant closes its doors – we have seen too many do so in 2020 already – followed by hope that something exciting will arrive in its place. When Indian restaurant Gaylord closed on Mortimer Street last year after 53 years in business, it came with news that the site was to become home to the first UK outpost by Delhi-based group Azure Hospitality. Pali Hill & Bhandra Bhai is that replacement: the former a ground floor restaurant, the latter an underground cocktail bar. Named for an area of Mumbai, Pali Hill will pull together pan-Indian flavours, with dishes ranging from mackerel marinated in homemade mango pickle with charred corn salad, to Chettinad-style veal shin with black pepper, fennel and chilli.

October 12, 79-81 Mortimer Street, W1W 7SJ, palihill.co.uk

The Tramshed Project

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Forget all that “too many cooks” nonsense: this new restaurant doesn’t have just one top chef in the kitchen, but four. The Tramshed Project is a new co-working space, food hall and arts centre, all housed inside the former home of Mark Hix’s Shoreditch restaurant of a similar name. A selection of kitchens will serve the 120-seater dining space: 12:51 chef James Cochran will be serving jerk-spiced meats and more; Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen will cook up an array of West African dishes, while Andrew Clarke (formerly St Leonards) and Daniel Watkins (formerly The Frog in Hoxton) serve both smoked meats and plant-based dishes.

October 9, 32 Rivington Street, EC2A 3LX, tramshedproject.com

Akoko

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West African food fans are in for a treat this month – the cuisine is set to make waves in Fitzrovia too, with the arrival of a new restaurant coupling traditional recipes with some considerable fine dining flare. Akoko is the long-awaited venture from British Nigerian restaurateur Aji Akokomi and MasterChef: The Professionals finalist William JM Chilila, which was first slated to open a year ago. The menu is set to showcase the diversity of cuisines across the Saharan region using both British and African produce, with tasting and set lunch menus featuring the likes of Ghanaian bofrot doughnuts filled with braised veal cheek, smoked goat with jollof rice, miyan taushe pumpkin stew with grilled lobster, and barbecued quail yassa.

October 8, 21 Berners Street, akoko.co.uk

Behind

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Thought Covid killed the kitchen counter? Turns out it just needs a spot of rearranging. This new London Fields restaurant will welcome 18 (socially distanced) diners to sit at a counter encircling the entire kitchen, inviting them “behind” the scenes. Chef owner Andy Beynon comes to his first solo restaurant after working as a development chef for Jason Atherton (you may recognise him from the BBC2 series The Chef’s Brigade), with his CV also featuring earlier stints at The Latymer, The Square and Hibiscus. The eight-course tasting menu at seafood-centric Behind will focus on sustainably caught fish, with dishes including a native oyster, cucumber and wasabi taco, as well as hake with emerald ice kale and roasted squid broth.

October 23, 20 Sidworth Street, E8 3SD, behindrestaurant.co.uk

Foodie events to tuck into this month

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London Cocktail Week

Yes, it’s still called London Cocktail Week, but the 2020 edition of the mixology festival is running for an entire month. Grab a festival pass and you’ll be able to enjoy special £6 cocktails at dozens of participating top bars in London, (including Kwant, Coupette and Happiness Forgets and many more) and get involved in events ranging from masterclasses to cocktail-paired dinners.

October 23October 1-31, various locations, londoncocktailweek.com

Muse Masters with Robin Gill

Tom Aikens is teaming up with a series of top chefs to cook at his critically acclaimed Belgravia restaurant Muse, kicking off with Robin Gill. The Irish chef will be serving a selection of favourites from his restaurant The Dairy, which recently upped sticks from Clapham and relocated to Bermondsey. Owing to Muse’s intimate setting there are just 23 tickets available – be quick.

October 14, 38 Groom Place, SW1X 7BA, musebytomaikens.co.uk

Tandoor Takeovers at Bombay Bustle

Mayfair Indian favourite is handing over the reins – or should that be pokers? – to its tandoor oven this month, welcoming top London restaurants to collaborate on dishes to be cooked in the fiery traditional oven. Throughout October, diners will be able to feast on dishes designed by the teams from Middle Eastern-style grill Berber & Q, Chinese restaurant Wun’s Tea Room, Brixton favourite Salon and sustainability-champions Native.

October 5 – November 5, 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA, bombaybustle.com

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