Groups who love eating out at new and innovative venues will want to keep these nine London-based restaurants on their radar for dinner dates this year.
1. Sosharu, Clerkenwell, due to open in March
The restaurant’s name translates as ‘social’, and will take the form of a 75-seat izakaya – an informal Japanese restaurant that serves tapas-style Japanese food to go with drinks.
The menu will span sashimi, teppanyaki and robatayaki dishes. Upstairs there will be a small restaurant-within-a-restaurant called Kisets – ‘seasonal’ in Japanese – while downstairs guests can relax in a basement bar serving sake cocktails.
2. Flemings Mayfair, due to open in July
Flemings Mayfair Hotel is investing £14 million into a refurbishment plan, which includes a new restaurant featuring Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin in the role of executive chef.
The new Flemings Mayfair menu will offer seasonal Jersey produce to reflect Rankin’s love for the island, including fresh lobster, crab, oysters, hand-dived scallops, Jersey royals and hand-picked shoreline and foraged herbs.
3. StreetXo, Mayfair, due to open this autumn
This is the first London restaurant from David Muñoz, chef and creator of Madrid’s three Michelin-starred DiverXo.
He's bringing over his street-food inspired restaurant idea from Madrid and plans to oversee it at least twice a week.
The London StreetXo will be open 14 hours each day. The dining room will have a central open-kitchen with chefs front and centre, interacting directly with diners.
As for the food, the menu will change often, featuring between 12 and 14 dishes, and a particular special touch to the restaurant will be a trolley wheeled through the restaurant serving one-off creations.
4. D&D at Nova Victoria, due to open this autumn
The latest addition to restaurant chain D&D London’s portfolio will be housed over two floors of the Nova South building on Victoria Street, adjacent to the Victoria Palace Theatre – perfect for GTOs who’d like to organise a London itinerary combining a meal and a theatre trip.
The new development will include a café, bar, terrace and a restaurant on the first floor, so there are several dining options for varying group sizes and budgets in the complex.
D&D restaurants serve a huge variety of food, from everyday breakfasts to luxury fish dishes; the Nova Victoria menu is yet to be confirmed.
5. Pharmacy 2, Vauxhall, 2016 opening dates to be confirmed
English artist and entrepreneur Damien Hirst’s new gallery space, the Newport Street Gallery, will soon play host to his new restaurant venture, Pharmacy 2 – great for smaller groups.
The space will work as a canteen for visitors to the gallery during the day and offer a fine-dining experience in the evening. Hurst’s pictures are expected to decorate the walls, particularly his famous ‘pill’ images.
Located in Vauxhall, south London, Newport Street Gallery presents exhibitions of work from Damien Hirst’s art collection. Exhibitions vary between solo and group shows and admission to the gallery is free.
6. Coin Laundry, Clerkenwell, 2016 opening dates to be confirmed
Focusing on a 70s feel, Coin Laundry will put a modern touch on retro dishes, and states that it’s menu will be full of ‘well-cooked guilty pleasure dishes with good beer and wine.’ It also plans to revive some ‘unashamedly kitsch cocktails’.
Expect all of the 70’s trimmings including chicken kiev, rabbit balti pie and cauliflower cheese steak. Spag bol croquettes and cheese and pineapple are also on the menu.
7. The Botanicals by Tom Aikens, due to open this spring
Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens is set to open a new flagship restaurant in London serving 'British tapas' and featuring a botanicals bar, though a site has not yet been confirmed.
The restaurant will feature a central bar to divide the restaurant into more and less formal spaces, and cocktails will be a large part of the offering, with mixologists making syrups and tonics from scratch.
8. The Other Room, Bermondsey, due to open this summer
From the owners of the Bermondsey Arts Club comes a 40-cover bar serving 50 different beers and Californian-inspired food.
Diners can expect different brews from all over the world and from various breweries in London, including six fresh local beers on tap and 40 plus beer bottles.
Food-wise, think seafood, burgers and fries, accompanied by the soothing sounds of blues music.
9. Fatty Crab, site TBC, 2016 opening dates to be confirmed
The first UK branch of the US restaurant Fatty Crab will offer diners plenty of delicious options.
The menu will be Indonesian-based, so expect steamed buns, nasi lamak (chicken curry with coconut rice and slow poached egg), and the chain’s signature Dungeness crab with chilli sauce.
While menus vary at each restaurant location, groups dining at Fatty Crab can expect Fatty's specialities such as the fatty duck, chilli crab, and watermelon pickle and crispy pork.
Be warned, this is a finger-pulling, chewing, crunching sort of crab menu rather than the usual knife and fork dishes diners might be used to.